A Puzzle by Clueso
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
As we enter the fouth year of Rookie Corner it occurred to me that one of the most satisfying aspects is that, like Clueso, most of the setters follow their debut with a second puzzle – and then … 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.
Clueso returns with a second crossword. The difficultly level here has increased with a lot more complex wordplay. However, the more complex the wordplay, the more precise you have to be with the cluing to maintain fairness for the solver. I have therefore been a little more pernickety about some of the comments on the clue. There were a number of clue where the first letter indicators would not be acceptable to all editors.
The cluing was of Toughie standard and there were some inventive touches.
1 Fifty points scored for unravelling head girl’s large jumper (8)
BULLFROG – The part of a dartboard where you score fifty followed by an anagram (unravelled) of FOR and the first letter head of girl. Depending on your editor head on its own to indicate the first letter of a word will not be acceptable.
6 Headcount includes Australian but excludes American – cheats! (6)
COZENS – A six letter word for a headcount includes a two letter slang term for Australian and omits the two letter abbreviation for America.
9 Shrink-wrapped nourishing starter in place of porridge (4)
JUNG – The first letter (starter) of nourishing inside (wrapped … in place of) a three letter slang word for a prison or porridge. Editors may not accept the definition linked to the wordplay by a hyphen as in “shrink-wrapped”
10 Bollards! No left turn. Other cars keep heading into them. (10)
ROADBLOCKS – An anagram (turn) of BOLLARDS without one L (no left) includes the initial letters heading of “other cars keep”. The singular heading should be in the plural if you want to indicate the first letters of two or more words. There is no real definition here. At a generous stretch, the whole clue could just about be taken as a semblance of the solution but I am not convinced!
11 After losing original member and reforming, Quarrymen at age to form rock band now (10)
QUATERNARY – An anagram (reforming) of QUARRYMEN AT after removing the M (original member). The answer is a reference to the current geographical era. Some may not like original but as a noun, original can mean an origin.
13 Director’s first title cut roughly (2,2)
OR SO – Remove (cut) the last letter of the first name of Mr Wells, the film directors. I cannot see how first title leads to removing the N.
14 Baseball team is outside pub with alluring young girls (8)
NYMPHETS – The name (3,5) of a Baseball team around the abbreviation for public house (pub).
16 Part of the air “Oh To Be Heard” (6)
OXYGEN – The gas whose chemical symbols sounds like (be heard) of “Oh to”. The be heard reads ungrammatically in the cryptic reading of the clue.
18 Supercilious, suspicious Poles came first (6)
SNIFFY – The abbreviations for South and North (poles came first) followed by a four letter word meaning suspicious.
20 Most short passes youngster, overlapping, passes back (8)
NEEDIEST – A four letter word meaning passes goes inside (overlapping) a four letter word for a teenager that has been reversed (passes back). Overlapping is a bad choice of containment indicator. If something overlaps it cannot be wholly contained.
22 Leaders will always drink if runner’s course is dry (4)
WADI – The initial letters (leaders) of the second to fifth words of the clue. Like head some editors would require “leaders of” to maintain the cryptic reading of the clue.
24 Have good air quality (10)
TELEVISUAL – A cryptic definition of someone who looks (air quality) good on TV.
26 “MK Dons sat back – a bloomer” – Manager (10)
TASKMASTER – Reverse (back) the MK and SAT from the clue and follow this with the name of a flower (bloomer). The dons here is padding and is unfairly misleading as it suggests a containment indicator that isn’t required.
28 Something for soldiers to dip into, if not hard boiled (4)
YOLK – A cryptic definition of the part of the egg into which you can dip slices of bread.
29 Parts of accounts kept away from some auditors (6)
ASIDES – A cryptic definition of stage whispers or lines spoken only some of the listeners or auditors.
30 First day in junior school ages kids (8)
PRETENDS – The first letter of day in an highly misleading definition of the ages at which people go to junior school. As they leave at the age of 11, this clue needs attention. As D is a recognised abbreviation for day, you could omit the “first”.
2 Negative forecast? First umbrella’s put up by American native (9)
URUGUAYAN – A reversals (put up) of a three letter word meaning a negative vote, a five letter word meaning forecast and the first letter (first) of umbrella. Regardless of your view on first as an initial letter indicator, it has already been used in 30a and a different indicator should ideally be used.
3 Get a fag on for mild high (5,2)
LIGHT UP – Double definition.
4 Rights are in short supply (5)
RARER – Put the are from the clue inside two abbreviations for right.
5 Indian state has ball in net, offside (3)
GOA – Remove (off) the abbreviation for left (side) from a word describing a ball going into the net.
6 Little boy in uniform tending flag? It’s a niche. (9)
CUBBYHOLE – A three letter word for a little boy in uniform followed by a word (perhaps a little abstruse) meaning tending hole in golfing terms.
7 Probably the last in the list of subjects learning about our Kingdom… (7)
ZOOLOGY – The subject that might be last alphabetically in a list of school or university subjects.
8 …Kingdom around which are various points with weapons… (5)
NUKES – Three points of the compass around the abbreviation for United Kingdom.
12 …weapons stored here – a laser complex without name (7)
ARSENAL – An anagram (complex) of A LASER around (without) the abbreviation for name. Does without mean to surround. Opinions differ.
15 Spying tea brewed by Africans (9)
EGYPTIANS – An anagram (brewed) of SPYING TEA. Ideally you should have definition [given] by wordplay rather than wordplay by definition (for Africans) would have been better.
17 Leaving Strasbourg at last, Englanders horribly beset by problems (9)
ENSNARED – An anagram (horribly) of ENGLANDERS after removing the G (Strasbourg at last).
19 Danger in having been given food felt all over (7)
FRISKED – The one line version of the crossword gives FLICKED as the solution which must surely be incorrect. A four letter word meaning danger inside a three letter word meaning having been given food.
21 I, the new Le Pen, entering with panache (2,5)
IN STYLE – The I, the abbreviation for new and the LE from the clue include (entering) a three letter word meaning a pen or enclosure. I would have been happier if the “the” could have been omitted from the clue.
23 Group, mad as The Dead Presidents (5)
ADAMS – An anagram (group) of MAD AS.
25 Taken as an example Minister returns on edge (5)
VERGE – The abbreviation for “for example” and the three letter abbreviation for a minister all reversed (returns). I am not too sure about the construction definition on wordplay as a clue structure.
27 This on shoulder, rather than pat on back? (3)
TAP – A reversal (back) of the PAT from the clue. Again, I would be happier if the “on” were omitted from the clue as “on back” does not indicate a reversal.