A Puzzle by Shabbo
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Recently Shabbo wrote to me “You may or may not recall that we met at The George in May. I was the one who was pestering you about what I needed to do to become a crossword compiler.”. Well, I did remember, and had posted a picture of Shabbo with his wife in the Gallery. Here is his very first 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 to Shabbo with a highly creditable debut crossword which had a nice balance of clues and a good range of difficulty to required to solve it. There were a few minor issues with the clues of the sort that would be ironed out with test solving.
1 I might get fired if couple have dessert but no starters (3,5)
AIR RIFLE – A four letter word for a couple and a six letter word for a jelly, sponge, custard and cream dessert, each without their initial letters (no starters). For the cryptic reading to work, the clue would be better if it read couple has dessert…
5 Join beginner in excitement (6)
SPLICE – The abbreviation for learner (beginner) inside a five letter word for excitement.
10 Overturn surprise result (5)
UPSET – Double definition. Perhaps the two meanings are a little too similar as the surprise result is the one that overturns the expected result.
11 Fixing telephone after 22. is recycled (9)
ANCHORING – An anagram(is recycled) of the answer to 22 across followed by a four letter word meaning telephoned. As others have commented, you do not need to include the full stop after the number in the clue.
12 Bond selector and intelligent straight man (5,4)
ERNIE WISE – The name of the computer that selects premium bond winners followed by a word meaning intelligent.
13 Composer becomes a sculptor after dealing with personal hygiene (5)
RODIN – Remove the BO from the name of a classical composer. Dealing with personal hygiene could mean getting rid of BO.
14 Stop current advert for peacemakers? (6)
UNPLUG – Split 2, 4 this could be an advert for the United Nations.
15 The spirit of a German city church (7)
ESSENCE – A five letter name of a German City followed by the abbreviation for Church of England.
18 Pretend to have a change of heart on church revenue (7)
PREBEND – Change the T in pretend to a B (to have a change of heart). You could increase the difficulty level here by feign having a change of heart. The construction wordplay on definition does not read particularly will with “on” as the link word between the two parts of the clue.
20 Gateshead newlywed about to cross the river? (6)
BRIDGE – The name of a newly wed woman around (about) the first letter (head) of gate (gate’s head). Not all editors would accept the construction gateshead.
22 Small number hold endless yearning for a snack (5)
NACHO – A two letter abbreviation for number holds a word meaning yearning with the final letter removed (endless). Perhaps holding would maintain the cryptic reading of the clue A holding B gives the answer ratter than A hold B for the answer.
24 Redesigned and pre-dated a disaster (9)
READAPTED – An anagram (disaster) of PRE-DATED A
25 In France the world’s all about a number of drinks (9)
LEMONADES – The French for the world, preserving the ’s from the clue around the A from the clue. About has been used a number of time as a container and contents indicator. Perhaps more variety in the wordplay indicators would be better. Whilst the all could be omitted, all about works subject to the comment about the repeated use of about.
26 Publication that is all about perception (5)
IMAGE – The abbreviation for that is goes around the shortened form of magazine (publication).
27 Type 15. (6)
NATURE – Double definition. Perhaps it is a single definition stated in two different ways where a great degree of separation might be better.
28 Cockney lovers cling to each other in face of south winds (8)
MEANDER – Me and her without the H (Cockney lovers) before (in the face of) the abbreviation for South.
1 Charm left out of a dodgy haircut? (6)
AMULET – The A from the clue and a type of derided haircut (described in Chambers as ‘a hairstyle that is short at the front, long at the back and ridiculous all round’) with one of the Ls removed (left out). Where there are two more more of the letters in the wordplay to be removed, some may like to indicate that only one of the letters is removed ‘Charm one left out of a dodgy haircut’.
2 Vibrancy of short break on an ecclesiastical building (9)
RESONANCE – A four letter word for a break with the final letter removed (short) followed by the ON from the clue and the abbreviation for Church of England. CE is the name of the institution not the building in which its worship takes place.
3 Where a boxer who’s down might take a few seconds to recover? (2,3,4,6)
IN THE BLUE CORNER – The name of one of the boxer’s rest places in the boxing ring where he or she is attended to be seconds or helps and where where someone who is sad (who’s down) might be. I agree that the clue would be sharper if it were “Where box who’s down needs a few seconds to recover.
4 Gathering topless tendency (7)
LEANING – A word for harvesting or gathering with the first letter removed (topless).
6 It’s off-putting when one country goes after publicity on misplaced Croats (15)
PROCRASTINATION – A two letter abbreviation for public relations (publicity) followed by an anagram (misplaced) of CROATS, the letter representing one and another word for a country.
7 I lift assembly with epic poem (5)
ILIAD – The I from the clue followed by a word for the Irish parliament or assembly reversed (lift).
8 Her Majesty is after motor mechanic? (8)
ENGINEER – A six letter word for a motor followed by the abbreviation of current queen.
9 Seem upset about church project (6)
SCHEME – An anagram (upset) of SEEM around the abbreviation for church. There have been quite a few references to church so perhaps a little more variety in the indicators would be better.
16 Dark horse might be a bad dream (9)
NIGHTMARE – A five letter word meaning dark followed by a four letter for a horse.
17 Unfold drawing that shows no internal walls (4,4)
OPEN PLAN – A four letter word meaning unfold followed by a word for a drawing.
19 Laugh at hidden bits of nude riders (6)
DERIDE – The answer is hidden in (bits of) NUDE RIDERS. The hidden here could have been omitted as “bits of” on its own would be a sufficient hidden word indicator.
20 Support ship that is joining old club (7)
BRASSIE – A three letter word for supporting underwear followed by the abbreviation for steamship joined by the abbreviation for that is. As the abbreviation for that is has already been used, a different indicator should ideally be used.
21 Snakes and ladders? Not initially (6)
ADDERS – Remove the initial letter (not initially) from the ladders in the clue.
23 Company paid for astronomical event (5)
COMET – The abbreviation for company followed by a word meaning paid or settled. I am not sure that the answer is an astronomical event, rather its appearance is the event.