A Puzzle by Jaffa (updated)
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Jaffa returns with his second 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.
Welcome back to Jaffa. All the basic skill are present in this crossword and there are some nice clues but there are a few areas where a bit of polish would not go amiss, particularly in pruning out needed words from the clue that are at best a minor irritation for solvers and at word, misleading.
The grid was unusual with two blocks of fully intersecting clues that meant that could could complete some of the answers without solving the clues. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this but it did lead to an imbalance between the number of across and down clues (see below).
1 Rebellion necessary for successful Hot Cross Bun production? (6,6)
EASTER RISING – Cryptic definition of what the dough must do around the end of Lent to produce hot-cross buns. Not the fault of the setter, but I swear that supermarkets now put out hot cross buns on display on boxing day.
8 Find something Russian in Tom’s kiosk (4)
OMSK – The name of a Russian city / district is hidden in TOMS KIOSK. Perhaps this would have been reworded as “Russian’s place in Tom’s kiosk”.
11 Devilishly good squash shot oft played at the critical moment (2,3,4,2,4)
IN THE NICK OF TIME – An allusive clue where the name of the good squash shot (the third word) played at the right moment (oft) split OF/ T (= Time) might give a phrase meaning at the critical moment. I am not convinced that the wordplay leads definitively to the solution. The allusion is not precise enough for me.
13 A quiet god (4)
ODIN – Split 1,3, this could me no noise (quiet). The indention article could have been omitted here.
14 Confused as Cagliari provides a source of Scottish stones (5,5)
ALISA CRAIG – An anagram (confused) of AS CAGLIARI from whence come the stones used in curling.
17 A mixed Maths class produces breathlessness (6)
ASTHMA -The A from the clue and an anagram (mixed) of MATHS. The class here is superfluous and should not have been included.
20 0.125 Not sober (3,4,3,5)
ONE OVER THE EIGHT – Express (in words) the fraction that equals 0.125. Again this clue does not quite work for me as the fraction would not be described using the definite article required in the solution.
21 The starry quality say of Ms McCartney (6)
STELLA – Double definition, the second being the first name of the daughter of Paul and Linda McCartney.
24 Cook sage stew as a potential source of windiness (5,5)
WASTE GASES – An anagram (cook) of SAGE STEW AS.
26 Moreover it takes the biscuit (4)
OREO – The answer is hidden in (it takes) in MOREOVER.
28 Individual not welcome in the Forum? (7,3,5)
PERSONA NON GRATA – The phrase that would have been use in a Roman forum to describe an unwanted person.
31 The Ethernet is regularly not available in this accommodation (4)
TENT – The even letters (is regularly not available) of ETHERNET. The “The” in the clue is redundant and should have been omitted. Whilst you can include articles with the solution, wordplay make an/the X, when it comes to the wordplay, it is far better to remove unnecessary articles.
32 Prove it’s wealthy swapping a pound for a note (12)
SUBSTANTIATE – Remove the L (pound) from the end of a word meaning wealthy and replace it with a word for a musical note. Like the previous clue, the indefinite articles could have been omitted to give “pound for a note”. Also, I am not convinced that wealthy is synonymous with the word used in the solution.
A brief note on the down clues. There are many more down clues that across clues. In a printed crossword, this creates problems with the layout. It is less of an issue where the crossword is online but editors will not like crosswords where there is a large imbalance between the number of across and down clues.
1 Ms Roe and boss from America create acidic environment (10)
ERICACEOUS – The (misspelled) name of the famous streaker Ms Row followed by the abbreviation for chief executive officer and a two letter abbreviation for America. The misspelling could have been used to create a homophone “Report of Mr Roe…”
2 Whilst en route to Carlisle perhaps, pay an account in North Yorkshire (6)
SETTLE – Triple definition of the place on the line from Carlisle, a word meaning to pay a bill and a place in Yorkshire.
3 Treatment designed to give you a moving experience (5)
ENEMA – Cryptic definition of a treatment that get the bowels moving.
4 French king originally from Eire (3)
ROI – The IVR code for Eire (Republic of Ireland) gives the French word for king.
5 Obi-Wan Kenobi’s people up from Nigeria, twice (3)
IBO – The name of a Nigerian ethnic group appears twice in reverse form (up) in the clue. Ideally the definition should be at the end or beginning of the clue. Here the twice breaks this rule but it works in the context of the wordplay and definition.
6 Dismissed request and suffered failure at the auction (3,6)
GOT OUTBID – A phrase 3,3 meaning dismissed (in cricket) followed by another word for a request. As a rule, a phase such as this which, although is a phrase that makes sense in a conversation, should not be used as a solution unless it stands in its own right as a definition in the dictionary.
7 Retrospectively I’m into reflective music enthusiast producing heavy metal (6)
OSMIUM – Reverse (retrospectively) the IM from the clue into a reversal (reflective) informal term for a music enthusiast.
9 Dip reflected between extremes (3)
MID – A word meaning to dip or lower (as in dip or … the lights) reversed (reflected).
10 Does he know something north of the border? (3)
KEN – Cryptic definition of the name of a man and the Scottish word (north of the Border) meaning to know
12 What swallows and heliophiles do in winter (5,3,3)
CHASE THE SUN – A vaguely cryptic definition of those who move South for the winter. Another phrase that does not appear in the dictionary.
15 Airline baggage rules or earlier judicial rulings (4,3)
CASE LAW – Double definition, the first part cryptic. As a lawyer, I liked this one.
16 Thomson’s African sprinter (7)
GAZELLE – A definition by reference to the fast running African animal named by Mr Thomson.
18 Lotion following trim, superfluous for Mr Todd (10)
AFTERSHAVE – Another nice ingenious clue. What Mr Todd would not have needed to use after a fatal visit to his barber’s shop.
19 Use jumpers for these which may be moved (9)
GOALPOSTS – What may be used by children playing football to mark the ends of the pitch that, in the well known phrase may be moved when someone changes the rules.
22 Gyrate with lots of energy included to create dish (6)
TUREEN – A word meaning gyrate includes two Es (lots of energy).
23 The Texas Marauders retain African capital (6)
ASMARA – The answer is hidden in (retain – to maintain the cryptic reading this should be retains but this would mean having Texas Marauder retains) TEXAS MARAUDER. Another clue where the definite article could have been deleted.
25 Soldier obtained leg of mutton (5)
GIGOT – A two letter word for an American soldier followed by a word meaning obtained.
26 Choose the best without mother and me (3)
OPT – A word meaning the best without the I (me) and a three letter word for a mother
27 A sea eagle with short, fat, hairy legs (3)
ERN – Remove the last letter (short) from the name of a sea eagle to give the diminutive name of a comedian with short fat hairy legs. The clue does not quite work for me. Short, not “with short” is needed to indicate the last letter being deleted. Perhaps “Tailless sea eagle, one wth short fat hairy legs” would have been better and also remove the unnecessary indefinite article at the beginning of the clue.
29 Grab a hat (3)
NAB – Double definition. The second is given in Chambers as obsolete slang. Perhaps the obsolete nature of the second definition should have been indicated in the clue as “Grab obsolete hat”.
30 Eggs hunted for in this movable feast (3)
OVA – The answer is hidden (hunted for in) MOVABLE. Again the “feast” is padding. You do see padding more often with hidden word clues but it is better to omit padding words if possible. Perhaps “Eggs hunted for in Czechoslovakia” would have avoided the need for the additional word though you would have lost the Easter allusion.