A Puzzle by Italicus
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Italicus is a new setter and this is his first published puzzle in the UK, although he has had some puzzles published in Italy. 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.
A singularly impressive debut from Italicus. The construction of the clues and the surface readings had been given a lot of care with only one or two minor comments on them. The overall standard of cluing was high. I agree with those who thought that the theme was a little too specialist. Given the length of time since the series was broadcast, it makes it difficult to solve, even for those who who watched the original broadcasts. Had it been produced at the time of the series or shortly after, it would have been fairer.
1 24a’s baddie gets left in a sticky spot (4)
BLOB – The abbreviation for left inside the name of the demonic entity that killed Laura Palmer in the series that forms the theme.
4 Has the power to lead wayward supporter to the light (10)
CANDELABRA – A three letter word meaning has the power to followed by an anagram (wayward) of LEAD and an item of clothing that supplies support.
9/13 Tough hero unready for 24a’s teenage temptress (6,5)
AUDREY HORNE – An anagram (tough) of HERO.UNREADY. I think that after 20 years since the series, this requires too much knowledge of the solver. It also includes one of my pet peeves, anagrams used to clue obscure answers. Although perfectly valid as a form of cluing, the fairness is questionable as the solver can have too many possible solutions. The first qualifying crossword for the Times Crossword championship had the name of a relatively obscure Russian poet clued as an anagram with rather unhelpful cross-checkers. My own feeling is that this type of clue ls a little below the belt. If you know the Russian Poet, solving the crossword is more a test of general knowledge. If you don’t getting the letters in the right order is sometimes a matter of luck. Neither path is an ideal way of testing crossword solving prowess. I am not wholly convinced that tough is a good anagram indicator although Chambers gives it as an informal adverb word violently.
10 Sinister influence of posh girl on football manager, one concludes (8)
SVENGALI – The name of one of the England football managers followed by a posh three letter word for girl and the letter representing one.
11 Better off child, say, in poor part of city (2,3,4)
TO THE GOOD – A three letter word for a small child followed by the abbreviation for say inside an informal Americanism for the poor part of a city.
13 See 9
16 Retired clergyman gets brown outside the pub (6)
TAVERN – A reversal of the three letter abbreviation for reverend with a three letter word meaning to get brown from sunbathing around it.
17 Attempt to pinch an undergarment is seen as perversion (8)
TRAVESTY – A phrase 1,4 for an item of underwear inside a word meaning a shot or attempt at something.
18 Possible accessory to shooting keeps mum! (8)
SILENCER – The accessory put at the end of the barrel of a gun to muffle the sound of the shot.
19 Disposal of uranium added to 7’s misgivings (6)
BURIAL – An anagram (misgivings) of the abbreviation for Uranium and the answer to 7d. Although unusual, misgivings in the sense of given erroneously may be supportable.
21 Regularly delve into an Argentinean’s biography (5)
EVITA – The even letters (regularly) of the third to fifth words of the clue (ignoring the spaces). As the answer is the name of a person, I think that to give the definition of Argentinean’s biography is misleading.
24 Dance record makes a comeback following triumph on prime time show (4,5)
TWIN PEAKS – Following the first letter (prime) of time, add a word meaning a triumph or victory and a reversal of a type of dance music and the abbreviation for a record.
25 Put up with the popular press’s line (8)
INCREASE – A word meaning popular or trendy followed by a word meaning to press a line into a clothes. Although the press’s could be omitted, it is technically a valid part of the wordplay and adds to the surface reading.
26 Invest one million in corporation selling offices (6)
SIMONY – The letter representing one and the abbreviation for million inside the name of a Japanese electronics corporation.
27 Added to occult legend surrounding the Nag’s Head (10)
LENGTHENED – An anagram (occult) of LEGEND around the “the” from the clue and the first letter (head) of Nag.
28 With heartless nonchalance, journalist portrays poverty (4)
NEED – The outer letters (heartless) of nonchalance followed by the abbreviation for editor (journalist).
2 Lion devouring British mother provokes walleyed reaction (7)
LEUKOMA – The three letter Latin word for lion includes (devouring) the abbreviation for United Kingdom (Britain – pedants please write to the setter) followed by a two letter word for mother.
3 A problem from the start with delivery? Swap sides! (5,6)
BIRTH DEFECT – A word meaning a delivery followed by a word meaning to swap sides (as in moving from one political party to another).
4 Freezing ones vitals in particularly scenic orgy (10)
CRYOGENICS – An anagram (particularly) of SCENIC ORGY.
5/6 Director enthusiastically welcomed by CND upon return home (5,5)
DAVID LYNCH – Reverse the letters of CND (upon return) and include (welcomed) a six letter word meaning enthusiastically and the first letter of home. I don’t think that H on its own is an abbreviation for home and there is no initial letter indicator.
7 Politician´s right to support bailout (5)
BLAIR – The abbreviation for right goes underneath an anagram (out) of BAIL. Not all editors would accept the need to split bailout into a word and a wordplay indicator without further indication.
8 A soldier scales Luxembourg Cathedral with catlike ease (7)
AGILELY – The a from the clue followed by the two letter abbreviation for a US soldier goes on top of (scales) the abbreviation for Luxembourg and the name of a diocese or Cathedral in the East of England.
12 Pull faster to ward off going round the bend (7)
OUTDRAW – An anagram (off) of TO WARD around a type of bend used in plumbing.
14 24a character – a lone gunslinger (3-5,3)
ONE-ARMED MAN – Split (1, 5, 3) this could be a single person with a gun.
15 Burnt bodices and ran wild (10)
CARBONISED – An anagram (wild) of BODICES RAN.
18/23 CIA plane gets reassigned to 24a investigator (7,5)
SPECIAL AGENT – An anagram (reassigned) of CIA PLANE GETS.
20 Critically query article on modern times (7)
ASKANCE – A three letter word for query followed by a two letter indefinite article and the abbreviation for Common Era (moderns times).
22 Where to store film of a lost civilisation? (5)
INCAN – Split 2,3, this might be where a celluloid film is stored.
23 See 18
24 Housing original sculpture in gallery makes sense (5)
TASTE – The first letter (original) of sculpture inside the name of a London modern art gallery.