A Puzzle by Clueso
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Another brave new setter puts his head above the parapet – this time it’s Clueso. As usual, the setter will be delighted to receive feedback from you, the solvers. I do ask that you remember that for most setters this is a new experience, so please only offer constructive criticism.
This was a superb debut crossword from Clueso. It was challenging unless you could get the long quotation but with the crossing I at 18a, the word could only really have been “into” and the remainder of the quote dropping into place giving sufficient checking letters to complete the crossword.
Some of the comments about double unches are a little unfair. You will often see them, even in the Times Crossword. Where there is at least 50% cross-checking, it is a fact of life that grids contain them. I didn’t find the surface readings too clunky. This is something that comes with practice.
There was handful of clues where some editors would have raised an eyebrow at the constructions but these were gettable. Apart from a few minor glitches, this was of high quality.
1 Frame conmen with illicit surveillance (8)
DOORCASE – Split con/men and provide a two letter word for con and an abbreviation for soldiers or men and then add a word meaning to carry out illicit surveillance. I am not sure that “illicit surveillance” on its own gives the verb required. Some editors would not be happy with the unindicated requirement to split conmen into two words before applying wordplay to each part.
5 Happy hurters accept host with oily charm (6)
SMARMY – The abbreviation for sadomasochism followed by a word meaning a host or crowd. Chambers give the abbreviation for the act not the people who engage in it and Collins concurs with this.
8 Cash carrier drawn upon by Man With No Name (8,7)
NUMBERED ACCOUNT – An elliptical definition of a bank account to which there is no name attached.
10 Painter of note – half Venetian (6)
TITIAN – A two letter musical note followed by half of the letters in Venetian
12 Good man was trapped inside vast store, losing bearing, a mark of evil (8)
SWASTIKA – The “was” from the clue goes inside the abbreviation for a saint (good man) and this is followed by the name of a large furniture and home furnishing store with the E removed (losing bearing).
13 See 25
15 Rushed around quietly making…making a mess of ship (10)
TORPEDOING – A four letter word for rushed goes around the abbreviation for quietly and this is followed by a five letter word meaning making.
16 Former pronounced Nationalist no longer at home here (10)
EXPATRIATE – The two letter prefix meaning former followed by a homophone (pronounced) of another word for a nationalist.
18 See 1 Down
20 Initially dug holes to make ascent (8)
TOEHOLDS – An anagram (make) of D (initially dug) HOLES TO with the whole clue providing the definition. As make as a verb is a transitive verb, it should ideally go before letters to be rearranged – make X rather than X make.
21 Head saw, in old medicine centre, Pandora’s box (6)
TREPAN – The answer is hidden in (box) CENTRE PANDORA. The cryptic grammar here does not quite read correctly as to express the containment you would have to have boxes or boxing.
23 Heartbreaking, crushing, world ending… (15)
EARTHSHATTERING – An anagram (shattering) of HEART following by another word meaning crushing.
25/13 Unprecedented chances of Elvis being found alive, say (making album of bits and pieces) (6,4)
RECORD ODDS – Another word meaning an album followed by another word for bits and pieces.
26 I install sound and vision (8)
EYESIGHT – A homophone (sound) of I SITE (install).
Down 1/18/9 Advice from Thomas on phone-in about jousting tactics (2,3,2,6,4,4,4,5)
DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT – A homophone and pun on a line from a Dylan Thomas poem.
2 Monty storms off. Take too many drugs. I am alone. (2,2,3)
ON MY TOD – An anagram (storms off) of MONTY followed by the abbreviation for overdose (take too many drugs).
3 Revolutionary Russian spooks American draughtsman by the sound of it (5)
CHEKA – A homophone (by the sound of it) of checker (or chequer) (American draughtsman). As we have had sound as a homophone indicator, ideally different indicator should be used.
4 The man sold you this article for last employer (3-4)
END USER – The last letters for the first seven words of the clue. I am not sure that last on its own indicates the last letters of all the words (or for the same matter, even one word).
5 At home wedding reception, do bash balls – any one of them (6,5)
SOCIAL EVENTS, six definitions by example of the solution.
6 A strong defensive structure, an eleven containing trained men, stronger conclusion implied (1,8)
A FORTIORI – The A from the clue followed by the name of a strong defensive structure and the Roman numerals for 11 inside which you include an abbreviation for soldiers or trained men. As the abbreviation here has already been used in 1a, a different indicator should have been used.
7 See 24
9 See 1
11 Saluted rain so transformed into Brit (11)
NATURALISED – An anagram (transformed) of SALUTED RAIN. The transformed is doing double duty here as part of the wordplay and part of the definition. Perhaps, as the answer could be becoming citizen of any country, a ? should have been added.
14 One piece of pasta in poor quarter of Bath perhaps (9)
SPAGHETTO – Split 3, 6, the answer would indicate a poor area of a city such as Bath (given its notable feature).
17 Calm down with sausage roll (7)
ASSUAGE – An anagram (roll) of SAUSAGE.
19 Top tipping, cloth capping, quick kipping (7)
NAPPING – Triple definition.
22 Missing boy generates essential media for Thatcher (5)
REEDS – A word meaning generates without the abbreviation for boy. The main edition of Chambers and Collins do not recognise the abbreviation for boy.
24/7 A lover of games played by Weissmuller (3,3)
APE MAN – Split 1, 2, 3 this would read as a lover of games otherwise it is a description of Tarzan (as played by Weissmuller.