A Puzzle by MacLog
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
MacLog is the latest new setter to put his head above the parapet. 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:
Thanks to MacLog for his debut crossword. The basics were present with a good variety of wordplay and mostly fair cluing. As might be expected with a debut crossword, there were a number of rough edges but I am sure that these will be honed in future crosswords. There were, arguably, a few too many initial letters clues. The anagram count was not too high so I would not worry about that but would not increase the number in future crosswords.
1 Horrible crimes including dye are felt (9)
INSTINCTS – An anagram (horrible) of SINS (crime) about an archaic word meaning to dye. This clue contains an indirect anagram where the letters to be rearranged are not evident from the clue – you first have to find a synonym for crime and then rearrange the letters. Indirect anagrams should not be used as they are considered unfair to the solver. Whilst verbal phrases such as are felt can be used to define nouns, they are not universally popular. Perhaps the clue could have been reworked to give “What may be felt dye is found in key solvent originally”.
6 Confuse live before soup (5)
BEFOG – A two letter word meaning to live and a three letter word meaning soup. Although the three letter word can be described as a pea-souper, I am not sure that soup on its own is a valid synonym. It is not given in Chambers as a meaning of soup.
9 400 surrounding mêlée is a lot of people (5)
CROWD – The Roman numerals for 400 around (surrounding) another word for a mêlée.
10 Maker admits, unusually, cancer kills right at the start for journalist (9)
MUCKRAKER – Include the initial letters (at the start) of unusually cancer, kills right) into the MAKER from the clue. Perhaps a synonym for maker – perhaps manufacturer would have worked here.
11 Urdu coil is affected and frankly laughable (10)
RIDICULOUS – An anagram (affected) of URDU COIL IS.
12 Alms change hands for weapons (4)
ARMS – Change the L for an R (change hands). Again, perhaps a synonym could have been used to provide an extra level of complexity, such as Charitable donations changing hands for weapons.
14 Extreme nails reportedly very unpopular! (4,3)
POLL TAX – A homophone (reportedly) of POLE (extreme) TACKS (nails). The definition here “very unpopular” is not really a definition of the answer and is not even a verbal phrase that leads to the answer. Perhaps “Unpopular levy on cut nails reportedly”.
15 Brogue with it has nothing for eating (7)
BURRITO – A four letter word for a brogue or accent followed by the IT from the clue and the letter representing nothing. Again, to avoid the verbal phrase, “for food” would have worked equally well.
17 Insect above seen on the road (7)
FLYOVER – A three letter insect followed by a word meaning above. I would have preferred a definition such “bridge”.
19 Function before end is adjourned (4,3)
SINE DIE – A four letter word for a mathematical function followed by a word meaning to end.
20 Unpleasant HQ? (4)
BASE – Double definition of something or someone who is unpleasant and a military or other headquarters.
22 It is logical Bio Engineering pertains to life (10)
BIOLOGICAL – An anagram (engineering) of logical bio. As the anagram simply involves swapping the words around, it is not really an anagram. Perhaps “Bacilli mixed with goo creates a form of washing powder”. This would also avoid having the slightly out of place “it is” at the beginning of the clue.
25 Male hoots derisively and is not nice (9)
LOATHSOME – An anagram (derisively) of MALE HOOTS.
26 New order is so youthful at first but loud! (5)
NOISY – The initial letters (at first) of the first five words of the clue. Perhaps to maintain a link with the pop theme, it should be “New Order”.
27 Most raw food contains wheat (5)
STRAW – The answer is hidden (contains) in MOST RAW.
28 I say reach around for comfort (4,5)
EASY CHAIR – An anagram (around) of I SAY REACH. Another clue with a verbal phrase for a definition that could have been avoided by a clue such as “I say reach around seat/furniture/etc.”
1 Suffer pain cure inside (5)
INCUR – The answer is hidden (inside) PAIN CURE.
2 What we love after son could be fencing (9)
SWORDPLAY – The abbreviation for son followed by what solvers used to get to the definition in a cryptic crossword.
3 Invited CIA assembled and in a mood (10)
INDICATIVE – An anagram (assembled) of INVITED CIA. I would omit the “and” so that the “in” is functioning as the link word and not trying to be part of the definition.
4 Firm politician with wee Alexander is dense (7)
COMPLEX -The abbreviation for company followed by the abbreviation for a political and a three letter diminutive form (wee) of Alexander.
5 Reserve bridging two centuries followed by pause to comply (7)
SUCCUMB – The three letter term for reserve player goes around (bridging) the abbreviation for century (twice) and a two letter verbal hesitation.
6 Initially begat all Romeo did (4)
BARD – The initial letters (initially) of the finally four words of the clue. My personal preference would be to include the implicit “who” in the the clue “Who initially begat all Romeo did”.
7 Just about the end of walk for poor ascetic (5)
FAKIR – A four letter word meaning just or reasonable around the final letter (end of) of walk.
8 Got up carrying cop after heartless guy they go round (9)
GYROSCOPE – After the outer letters (heartless) of guy add a word meaning got up with the COP from the clue inside (carrying). Perhaps synonym for cop could have been used.
13 Resting can oddly lead to DNA mix up (10)
TRANSGENIC – An anagram (oddly) of RESTING CAN. The lead to should be leads to in order to maintain the cryptic reading of wordplay leads to definition.
14 Pulls round very noisy baby wanting second half fruit (9)
PUFFBALLS – The pulls from the clue goes around the musical abbreviation for very loud/noisy and the first half (wanting second half) of baby.
16 Act in Peking perhaps to get Vietnam maybe (9)
INDOCHINA – A two letter word meaning act inside the IN from the clue and the country in which Peking is to be found. Unless Peking is cluing a verbal phrase “in China” which is potentially unfair, the wordplay does not stack up here as the IN in the clue is doing double duty.
18 To get to the root ring me right here in zone firstly (7)
RHIZOME – The initial letters (firstly) of right heir in zone before the letter representing a ring and the ME from the clue. The firstly here is doing double duty as telling you to take the first letters of the words and then to put the first in the wordplay to get to the solution.
19 Knights without love dropping over for awards (7)
SILVERS – A four letter word for knights around (without) the love from the clue without the O dropping over.
21 Riser upset IRA after Patrick maybe (5)
STAIR – An anagram (upset) of IRA after the abbreviation for Saint (Patrick maybe).
23 Between sides there is assent for film (5)
LAYER – A three letter word meaning an assent in-between the abbreviations for left and right (between sides).
24 What is to used to warm up (4)
THAW – An anagram (is to used to) of WHAT. I don’t think that the clue works particularly well with “is to used to”.