A Puzzle by Manxman
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today Manxman is putting his head above the parapet with his debut 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.
If you have sent me a puzzle recently please be patient. I try to alternate new setters with existing ones. Currently I have three more new setters, with a possible fourth, and several puzzles by existing setters.
A review by Prolixic follows.
Thanks to Manxman for taking the time to produce a good first crossword. There was some solid cluing and nice touches with attention to the surface readings. There were some minor niggles that I have indicated but these are all ones that will be easy to correct with more practice and polish.
8 Nonsense encapsulated in low pest (8)
MOSQUITO – A five letter informal word for nonsense inside (encapsulated in) the sound a cow makes (low).
9 Look largely empty but handsome (6)
SEEMLY – A four letter word meaning look or appear followed by the outer letters (empty). The structure wordplay BUT definition is not a particularly elegant one.
10 I would be listened to with a hypothesis (4)
IDEA – A homophone (be listened to) of the contracted form of “I would” followed by the A from the clue. Be listened to does not quite fit in the cryptic reading of the clue. Perhaps “I would broadcast a hypothesis” would have been better.
11 Too small? French and German articles are measured (10)
UNDERSIZED – The French masculine form of A and the German masculine for of the followed by a word meaning are measured. Perhaps the are could be omitted from the clue as the are measures gives the resulting wordplay in the solution as are ?????.
12 Writer makes reluctant soldier? (6)
COWARD – Double definition of the playwright and author of works such as Blythe Spirit and a word that describes a soldier reluctant to fight.
14 Make conditions healthier – commonsense includes a thanks to leader (8)
SANITATE – A four letter word meaning common sense includes a letter meaning one or a, a two letter word meaning thanks and the first letter (leader) of to.
15 Is in Paris about an African leader’s country (7)
ESTONIA – The French third person singular of the verb to be (is in Paris), a two letter word meaning about, a letter meaning one (an) an the first letter (leader) of African. Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators. In this clue and the preceding one, leader has been used as an initial letter indicator.
17 A crime in the East is absurd (7)
ASININE – The A from the clue followed by a three letter word for a crime, the IN in the clue and the abbreviation for East.
20 Flyer with nuts and bolt (5,3)
FRUIT FLY – A family of food of which nuts are loosely a member of followed by a word meaning to bolt or run quickly. The overlap between flyer and part of the solution should have been avoided. As nuts are an example of the food family, this should technically have been indicated but not all editors will require this. Perhaps “Maybe nuts and bolt put together in subject of scientific research?”
22 Made befuddled on spirit (6)
DAEMON – An anagram (befuddled) of MADE followed by the ON in the clue.
23 Hot air at Jeremy’s pressers (5,5)
STEAM IRONS – The physical form of water in a gaseous state followed by the name of an actor who first name is Jeremy. Here there is a stronger case for indicating that Jeremy is a definition by example.
24 Dislike cover on egg top (4)
HATE – A three letter word for a head covering followed by the first letter (top) of egg. Top would work better in a down clue. Regardless of this, egg’s top or top of egg would give a better cryptic reading of the clue.
25 Cut-back holding key for prosperity (6)
WEALTH – A three letter word meaning cut or chop is reversed (back) around (holding) a three letter name of a key on a keyboard.
26 You will be broadcast before current season (8)
YULETIDE – A homophone (be broadcast) of the contracted form of YOU WILL before a word meaning current. Again the “be” jars slightly in the cryptic reading of the clue. Perhaps “‘You will’, it’s said, before current season”
1 M5? Pigs pursue inconsiderate drivers (4,4)
ROAD HOGS – A word for which the M5 is a definition by example (hence the question mark) followed by a word for pigs. This is one of the clue where the definition with the enumeration is enough on its own to solve the clue without the wordplay.
2 Blue water (4)
AQUA – Double definition of a type of blue and another name for water from which the colour gets its name. Perhaps there is too much of a link between the two parts of the definition.
3 £51 solution? (6)
LIQUID – The Roman numerals for 51 followed by an informal word for a pound (£).
4 Juno the beauty (7)
GODDESS – Double definition of he mythical being of which Juno is an example and another word for a beauty.
5 Brief panties for playing with (1-7)
G-STRING – Double definition of a scanty form of underwear and something on a violin that produces a musical note when bowed.
6 Pay and beat church allowance (10)
REMITTANCE – A five letter word meaning to pay followed by a three letter word meaning beat and the abbreviation for Church of England. Again, there is a large overlap between the wordplay for pay and the solution.
7 First letter of French holy man (6)
ELDEST – The phonetic spelling of L followed by the French for “of” and the abbreviation for saint (holy man).
13 Beastly snowman as described in Nepal possibly (10)
ABOMINABLE – The adjective that describes a Yeti.
16 Describing jumbo’s food? (2-6)
IN-FLIGHT – Where food might be served on a Jumbo Jet.
18 The middle of the day is the best part (8)
NOONTIDE – Double definition, the first self-explanatory and the second being a poetic way of describing the highest point or culmination of something, as he was in the ???????? of his acting career.
19 Does cruciverbalist use crossword setter for this? (7)
SYNONYM – The word that described the relationship between cruciverabalist and and crossword setter.
21 Rubbish United playing one down? Result is bad (6)
ROTTEN – A three letter word meaning rubbish and the number of players in football team if playing one man down. There is perhaps too much equivalence between the word for rubbish, the synonym and the required solution.
22 Make drinkable from delta’s source? (6)
DESALT – An anagram (source) of DELTAS. I am not keen on the use of source as an anagram indicator
24 In the top 20? This might be! (4)
HITS – An anagram (this might be) of THIS. There is no proper anagram indicator in the clue. The answer in the plural would require “these might be” in the surface reading.