A Puzzle by Italicus
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today we have a new puzzle from Italicus. 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 very well constructed crossword from Italicus. The theme was used well with the gateway answer not being too obvious as, with it, the remaining themed clues were easy to solve. The grid was slightly unfriendly for the solver with 8 clues having less than 50% cross-checking letters. However, with a themed puzzle, there is slightly more latitude offered to the setter with the design of the grid. For a vanilla crossword, this would not be a grid that editors would encourage particularly as all eight answers have an unchecked initial letter as well.
There were a handful of comments on the clues where occasionally, the high attention to detail slipped.
7 Police bust on dodgy pub leads to reprimand (7)
UPBRAID – Another word for a police operation or bust follows (on) an anagram (dodgy) of PUB.
8 19’s tip (7)
POINTER – Double definition of a breed of dog and a tip or hint.
10 Sounds like Greek salad without the cheese is free (10)
UNFETTERED – A homophone (sounds like) a phrase that could mean without Feta (Greek salad without cheese).
11 Almost rejecting New York as a title (4)
EARL – Remove (rejecting) the letters NY (New York) from a word meaning almost.
12 Mythical 19’s remarkably secure about British retreat (8)
CERBERUS – An anagram (remarkably) of SECURE around (about) a reversal (retreat) the abbreviation for British.
14 Cut-down jeans were the right solution (6)
ANSWER – The answer is hidden (cut-down) in JEANS WERE.
15 19’s girl getting hot with me! (5,6)
IRISH SETTER – A four letter girl’s name followed by the abbreviation for hot and a word describing a person who creates crosswords (me – as in Italicus in this instance).
19 An ivory walking stick found outside home (6)
CANINE – A four-letter word for a walking stick around (found outside) a two letter word meaning home.
20 Happening to spot 19 in rare coin bearing Galba’s head (8)
OCCURING – A three letter word describing 19 inside (to spot … in) an anagram (rare) of COIN followed by (bearing) the initial letter (head) of Galba. A small point but bearing means to carrying in its verbal sense and would therefore indicate a containment in an across clue. More importantly, the correct spelling requires a double R not the single R given in the solution.
22 Stopper left in 19 (4)
PLUG – The abbreviation for left inside a three-letter breed of 19.
23 Fixing a dead bolt onto front of pleasure steamer (10)
PADDLEBOAT – An anagram (fixing) of A DEAD BOLD after the first letter (front of) of pleasure.
25 Soldier taking leave before November, for example (7)
PARAGON – A four-letter abbreviation for a soldier followed a two letter word meaning leave or depart and the letter represented by November in the Nato phonetic alphabet.
26/6 19’s fluid, but it’ll set in water (7,7)
PIT BULL TERRIER – An anagram (fluid) of BUT ITLL inside a brand name of bottled water. Solvers would not have been helped by the incorrect enumeration of the first word which should be 3,4 not 7.
1 Glib speech defending Article 19 (7)
SPANIEL – A word for patter or glib speech around (defending) the two letter indefinite article.
2 Never rat about commandeering the odd bit of wood (4)
TREE – The odd letters (the odd bit) in NEVER RAT when reversed (about). Odd bit on its own does not quite work – odd bits would be fine. Some editors will not allow wordplay of solution as a clue structure.
3 Ale’s temperature maintained by 19, say (6)
BITTER – a five letter derogatory description of 19 around the abbreviation for temperature.
4 Remain true when husband goes on historic hunger strike (4,4)
HOLD FAST – The abbreviation for husband followed by a three-letter word for historic and a four-letter word for hunger-strike.
5 Handling problem with dentures artfully in front of Queen (10)
UNDERSTEER – An anagram (artfully) of DENTURES followed by the two letter abbreviation for the current queen. In front of as a positional indicator does not really work too well in a down clue. The definition would suggest an answer ending ING so is perhaps unfairly misleading.
6 See 26 Across
9 A violent exchange with second in duel (5,6)
CROSS SWORDS – The abbreviation for second inside a violent verbal exchange.
13 As off ones 2 as a 19? (7,3)
BARKING MAD – Another phrase meaning as off ones answer to 2d in terms of the answer to 19.
16 Female 19 holds record 19 (8)
SHEEPDOG – A three letter pronoun for a female followed by the breed of animal represented by 19 around (holding) a two letter abbreviation for a vinyl record.
17 Minute animal freaks out postal worker (7)
MAILMAN – The abbreviation for minute followed by an anagram (freaks out) of ANIMAL.
18 Requires guts? Run away! (7)
ENTAILS – An eight letter word for the guts with the abbreviation for run removed (away).
21 19’s old king capturing large island (6)
COLLIE – The name of the nursery rhyme old king includes (capturing) the abbreviations for large and island.
24 Graduate before having child (4)
BABY – A two-letter abbreviation for a graduate followed by a two-letter word meaning before (as in be home ???? midnight.