A Puzzle by Sarah Lolley
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Sarah Lolley is the latest setter to put her head above the parapet – enjoy her debut puzzle. 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.
A review by Prolixic follows.
This was a promising start and with some very good wordplay. There were too many anagrams in the clues which made it feel a little unbalanced, including five clues in a row that involved them. To include so many words for the birthday theme was an achievement, particularly as there were no really obscure words other than, perhaps 24a (though it may a term of endearment used for the setter!) Others have commented on the grid. In the early days of crosswords, you used to get grids with disconnected sections but this days, there should be connections between all parts of the grid. Overall, these are minor comments and can easily be addressed.
1 Yearly event altered by a third (8)
BIRTHDAY – An anagram (altered) of BY A THIRD.
5 Author heard more sound? (6)
WRITER – A homophone (heard) of “righter” – more sound.
9 Foxlike, reveals when the Enigma machine was broken (5-3)
FORTY-ONE – The central letters XLI of foxlike give the Roman numerals for the answer. As has been pointed out by several commentators, it was the code that was broken, not the machine. Welcome to the home of pedants anonymous!
10 Every second of her scene, the words seemed adeptly repeated (6)
ECHOED – The second letters of the fourth to ninth words of the clue. Very well constructed clue to maintain the surface reading with the cryptic wordplay.
12 Claim about neutral fabric (5)
LINEN – Another word for a legal claim around the abbreviation for neutral. N for neutral is given in Collins but not, unless I have missed it, in Chambers.
13 Blind envy in Paris (8)
JALOUSIE – Double definition of a type of window blind and a French for for envy.
15 Coach: “Ride after thunder” (7)
RAILCAR – A word meaning to thunder or protest against something followed by another word for a ride.
17 Energized about right set (7)
PREPPED – Another word meaning energised around the abbreviation for right.
19 Indicate instead a woman in Milan (7)
SIGNORA – Another word meaning to indicate followed by a two letter word meaning instead and the A from the clue.
20 Sees the world starting to come apart before year’s end (7)
TRAVELS – The first letter (starting) of to followed by a five letter word meaning to come apart or unwind and last letter (end) of years. Starting on its own does not work within the cryptic grammar. Ideally you need start of or a similar construction. Year’s end with the possessive means the end of year or an R not the final S.
22 She hurts flying songbirds (8)
THRUSHES – An anagram (flying) of SHE HURTS.
24 Almost frightening sweetheart (5)
SPOOKY – Remove the first letter (almost) from a word meaning frightening or supernatural. Almost is traditionally used to indicate the removal of the last letter, not the first letter.
26 Went off on famous mathematician (6)
NEWTON – An anagram (off) of WENT followed by the ON from the clue.
27 Fairmont really hosts Habs home (8)
MONTREAL – The answer is hidden in (hosts) FAIRMONT REALLY. Whilst the nickname of the city’s team is obscure, the wordplay was very clear and easily solvable.
28 Is it possible a father turns 150 this year (6)
CANADA – A three letter word meaning is it possible followed by the A from the clue and a two letter word for a father (a dialect form of dad).
29 New game has a railroad and a union (8)
MARRIAGE – An anagram (new) of GAME includes (has) the first A from the clue, an abbreviation for railroad and another letter meaning a or one. Collins gives the two letter abbreviation for railroad as American or Canadian in usage. It is not in Chambers.
1 He confuses bigwig opening rigged raffle (7)
BAFFLER – The first letter (opening) of bigwig followed by an anagram (rigged) of RAFFLE.
2 Once more, playing about with silly nun in circle (9)
RERUNNING – A two letter word meaning about followed by an anagram (silly) of NUN in another word for a circle.
3 Remixed handy composer (5)
HAYDN – An anagram (remixed) of HANDY.
4 Spots battered cane (4)
ACNE – An anagram (battered) of CANE.
6 Tommy, among others, changed Korea crop (4,5)
ROCK OPERA – An anagram (changed) of KOREA CROP. A good discipline in setting a crossword is to avoid blocks of clues with the same type of wordplay. This is the fifth clue in a row with an anagram.
7 Dust up about first of thrown blows (5)
TOOTS – A reversal (up) of a word meaning dust around the first letter of thrown.
8 He dared sauté ginger (7)
REDHEAD – An anagram (sauté) of HE DARED. As an imperative verb, sauté should come before the letters to be rearranged.
11 Runners fired representative between California and eastern tip of Massachusetts (7)
CARPETS – The two letter abbreviation for California and the last two letters (tip) of Massachusetts includes (between) an anagram (fired) of the abbreviation for representative. Having to make an anagram of the abbreviation is coming close to an indirect anagram. Perhaps, small representative would have helped. More importantly, the tip of Massachusetts is the letter S, not the letters TS.
14 Romantic doctor held in connection with actions primarily by me (7)
DREAMER – The abbreviation for doctor includes the two letter word meaning in connection with, the first letter (primarily) of actions and the me from the clue. Having the past tense, held for the inclusion indicator does not work two well and the answer currently holds the letters.
16 Endlessly angry, foil your current pastime? (9)
CROSSWORD – A meaning meaning angry with the last letter removed (almost) followed by the name of a weapon or foil.
18 Chicken writing on the wall in Pennsylvania wonders (9)
PHENOMENA – A three letter word for a chicken and a four letter word meaning writing on the wall inside the abbreviation for Pennsylvania.
19 Wicked cat is an upheaval (7)
SATANIC – An anagram (upheaval) of CAT IS AN.
21 Be sulky after editing Azure (3-4)
SKY BLUE – An anagram (after editing) of BE SULKY.
23 Highbrow antique holds ash (5)
ROWAN – The answer is hidden in (holds) HIGHBROW ANTIQUE.
24 Ease dog or cat expressing hesitation (5)
PETER – A word for a domesticated animal such as a dog or cat followed by a two letter word meaning to express hesitation.
25 Goya abstract: it maybe be hot (4)
YOGA – An anagram (abstract) of GOYA. Although the wordplay is clear, the answer is a little obscure.