A Puzzle by Deuce
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Deuce returns with his fourth Rookie 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.
Another brain bender from Deuce. When you produce complex clues, you have to hone the precision to remove all ambiguities to be fair to the solver. In a few instances, I think that the fairness was stretched in this crossword. There were some very good constructions but it became something of a chore to unpack them all.
1 Whiteman, at first, and Mingus played such (5,5)
SWING MUSIC – An anagram (played) of W (Whitman at first) MINGUS followed by the Scottish dialect word for such with the whole clue providing a definition (Whiteman and Mingus being big band leaders). If you are using a Scottish dialect word, it would be fairer to the solver to indicate this.
7 Parrot exercises, essentially (4)
ROTE – The answer is hidden (essentially) in PARROT EXERCISES. The whole clue provides a definition.
9 Her husband fake, mean one stays indoors (8)
HAVISHAM – The abbreviation for husband and a four letter word for fake includes a two letter abbreviation for average and the letter representing one. The whole clue provides a character in Great Expectations.
10 Miss Robinson’s original character is artful one (6)
DODGER – A word meaning miss followed by the first letter (original) of Robinson. I think that the simile here is misleading. To miss implies that you have gone for something and failed to achieve what you are aiming for. The answer requires a word implying you have moved out of the way to avoid something.
11 Hay fever symptoms result when grasses lose outer part of stamen (6)
ITCHES – Remove the SN (outer part of stamen – the first and last letter) from the beginning of a word meaning grasses or betrays.
12 Surrounded by green? On the contrary (2,3,3)
IN THE RED – The reverse of surrounded by green could also mean being without money (of which green is a slang expression).
13 In short, is Spanish name for woman (6)
SENORA – The shortened form of is (as in Peter’s a saint) followed by an E for Spanish and the name of a woman. The abbreviation is for Spain and should not be clued by Spanish.
14 Negative reflection placed to include confusing flip on axis (4-4)
SELF-PITY – A three letter word meaning to place includes an anagram (confusing) of FLIP all followed by one of the axes on a graph.
17 A duke or knight, queen has these decorated (8)
ADORNERS – The A from the clue followed by the abbreviation for duke, the OR from the clue and the abbreviations for knight and queen and a final contraction of the word has. Perhaps “these people decorated” might be been a more accurate definition.
20 Pack for Sydney (6)
CARTON – Double definition, the second being a character in Tale of Two Cities. As Sydney is a definition by example, perhaps this should have been indicated.
22 School followed by a musical German (8)
SCHLAGER – A three letter abbreviation for school followed by the musical note A expressed in the tonic sol-fa scale and a three letter abbreviation for German. The whole answer defines an obscure German style of music. Give the obscure general knowledge needed to solve this, perhaps a simpler way of cluing this would have been fairer to the solver.
25 Attempting to pick up fluid, I try clumsily (6)
FLIRTY – The two letter abbreviation for fluid followed by an anagram (clumsily) of I TRY. The definition implies a verbal solution but the answer is an adjective.
26 A lubricant applied backwards, to produce smoothness (6)
LEGATO – The A from the clue and a three letter word for a lubricant all reversed (applied backwards) followed by the TO from the clue. The answer means smooth or smoothly, not necessarily smoothness. Also, the link should be produces for the cryptic reading to be maintained.
27 After hours, talking to stop and pub to close (8)
OVERTIME – The word said when stopping talking and the word used when the pub is about to close. I think that wordplay here is a little too loose to be entirely fair to the solver.
28 Area, one between capitals of Seoul and Ankara (4)
ASIA – The abbreviation for area followed by the letter representing one in-between the first letters (capital) of Seoul and Ankara. As one for I has already been used, an alternative indicator would have been better here.
29 Tip cut short in hair style (10)
TRENDINESS – A six letter word meaning tip with the final word removed in another word for a lock of hair. I don’t think that ending means tip. The end of something is its tip, not its ending.
2/18 With Dolly Varden, as plot gets more complex, editor enters with emphatic demand (4,3,7)
WHAT THE DICKENS – The abbreviation for with followed by an item of clothing of which a Dolly Varden is an example and a word meaning that the plot of a story is becoming more complex with the abbreviation for an editor inside. I don’t thing that the solution is a demand, it is more of an emphatic interjection.
3 To be close, or be in hug tight (9)
NEIGHBOUR – An anagram (tight as in drunk) of OR BE IN HUG.
4 Mosh furiously to bit of music, rating hard rock highly (4,5)
MOHS SCALE – An anagram (furiously) of MOSH followed by a series of musical notes. Again, the definition implies a verbal solution and is not quite a verbal phrase to define a noun.
5 More than one top fits when taking in millimetres (7)
SUMMITS – A five letter word meaning fits or matches includes the abbreviation for millimetres.
6 Intern detective imprisoning lawyer in fixup (5)
CADET – A reversal (fixup) of a three letter word for a detective including the two letter abbreviation for an American lawyer.
7 Boy of 18 behaving poorly around little girl (5)
RUDGE – A word meaning behaving poorly around the abbreviation for girl. The abbreviation for girl is not given in Chambers or Collins but may be in Chambers Crossword Abbreviations.
8/21 When following it was opening to book – of crossword highlights, perhaps? (3,4,2,5)
THE BEST OF TIMES – The opening words of one of Dickens’ works could be clued cryptically as one newspaper’s top crosswords.
15 Staffs place to replace chief with first of lieutenants coming in closer (9)
LICHFIELD – An anagram (to replace) of CHIEF L (first of lieutenants) inside a three letter word for a cover or closer.
16 According to spies, can continue (7,2)
PERSIST IN – A three letter word meaning according to followed by the abbreviation for Secret Intelligence Service and another word for a can or container.
18 See 2
19 Unexpectedly score zero having taken header to goal – is a close one (7)
SCROOGE – An anagram (unexpectedly) of SCORE O includes the first letter (header to) of goal for the name of a character in a Christmas Carol.
21 See 8
23 City surrounding Himalayan peak, being occupied (5)
LHASA – The abbreviation for Los Angeles around the first letter (peak) of Himalayan and a two letter word meaning being. I am not sure that you can interchange As and Being in a sentence.
24 Perhaps Christmas present initially given by party organiser (5)
GHOST – The first letter (initially) of given followed by the name for a party organiser for one of the spirits in a Christmas Carol.