A Puzzle by Melvis
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Melvis is in the building! Has it been worth the wait? I’ll let you decide. 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.
Welcome back to Melvis who last entertained us over the Christmas holidays. This was a good crossword with some minor niggles and a couple of more serious technical issues. All were ones that are easily corrected. The majority of the clue were very well constructed with good surface readings so overall this was an encouraging second crossword.
The structure of the grid (with two clues having three unchecked letters in a row) would not be acceptable by most editors. I was less concerned by the preponderance of 3 word solutions but can see that (if the clues are too easy for them), they can be a little on the distracting side.
1 Foolish coaching without a good source of carbohydrate (7)
GNOCCHI – An anagram (foolish) of COACHING without the G (without a good).
5 Mob rush madly for diamond (7)
RHOMBUS – An anagram (madly) of MOB RUSH. Perhaps as a diamond is an example of the solution, this should be indicated with a question mark but it is a minor point.
9 Peer broadcast next step (5)
STAIR – A homophone (broadcast) of stair. This is one of those clues where the homophone could have worked either way. Putting the homophone in the middle means that the solver does not know which of the two potential solutions the correct one is until there are checking letters. It is good practice to ensure that the solver can arrive at the solution unambiguously without the need for checking letters. I am not sure that the “next” adds anything to the clue. It anything it is apt to muddy the meaning of the definition. Perhaps “Broadcast step up for peer”?
10 Two containers and a bar (7)
CANTINA – Two three letter words for a container followed by the A from the clue.
11 Favouring master (3)
PRO – Double definition meaning either if favour or the abbreviated form of professional.
12 Fancy wax (5)
SHINE – Double definition, the first as in to take a fancy / ????? to someone and the second to describe what the moon does. I am not sure that the second definition is entirely fair. To wax means to increase in intensity or surface area of illumination, not to glow. It is, in this context, the opposite of wane.
13 Fruit is good between underripe and mature (9)
GREENGAGE – A five letter word meaning under ripe and a three letter word meaning to mature with the abbreviation for good between them. As G for good has already been used in 1a, perhaps a different letter indicator could have been used here.
15 Either way, a superior lady (3)
NUN – Another name for a sister or female religious that is a palindrome (either way).
16 Nine daring trapeze artists perform this way (5)
NONET – Split 2-3, this group of nine would be how daring trapeze artist’s perform.
17 Create or start your schedule (9)
INVENTORY – A six letter word meaning create followed by the OR from the clue and the first letter (start) of your. Some editors would not allow start on its own to signify the first letter of a word and would require start of X or beginning of X.
20 Mope after favourite holiday (9)
HONEYMOON – A five letter word meaning favourite or dear followed by a four letter word meaning to mope.
23 State I had nothing around (5)
IDAHO – An anagram (around) of I HAD O (nothing). As nothing is a common synonym for the letter O in crosswords, I don’t think that this makes this an indirect anagram.
25 Pull initially towards ultimate goal (3)
TUG – The first letters (initially) of the final three words of the clue.
26 Past eight rustled up something for dinner (9)
SPAGHETTI – An anagram (rustled up) of PAST EIGHT.
29 Take 50% of wavelength (5)
HALVE – An anagram (unindicated) of 50% of the letters in wavelength. Like sex in a multi-storey car park, this clue is wrong on so many levels. There is no anagram indicator. There is no indication of which letters in wavelength should be used. There are over 18,000 possible permutations of 5 letters from 10 (taking into account the double e). Also, using the 50% as part of the definition and part of the wordplay would not be acceptable.
30 Project from 35 across (3)
LOB – A three letter word that is found in the solution to 35a.
31 Country from the Great Lakes to Niagara (7)
ESTONIA – The answer is hidden in LAKES TO NIAGARA. The “the Great” is technically surplus to requirements as it does not contribute to the wordplay or the definition. However, as “The Great Lakes” could be regarded as a compound noun, it is a minor point.
32 Pipes groan terribly (5)
ORGAN – An anagram (terribly) of GROAN. Perhaps the definition here is a tad loose. Perhaps “Set of pipes in church…” would be more precise.
34 Flag bordered in crimson withdrawn (7)
RETIRED – A word meaning to weary or flag with a three letter word meaning crimson around it.
35 Aristocrat with award for jewellery? (7)
EARLOBE – A four letter word for an member of the peerage (aristocrat) followed by the abbreviation for Order of the British Empire (award).
1 Collapse backwards and babble (3)
GAS – A reversal (backwards) of a word meaning collapse.
2 Lecture is first of others to share (7)
ORATION – The first letter of others followed by (to) a word for a share or portion.
3 Trapped in lift, requires specialist skills (9)
CARPENTRY – A four letter word meaning trapped inside a five letter word meaning to lift or bear something. Maybe “it requires specialist skills” would be better as a definition.
4 Noticing nothing, curiously disguised (9)
INCOGNITO – An anagram (curiously) of NOTICING O (nothing). As nothing for O has already been used, a different letter indicator should be used.
5 Spread innards of stranger (5)
RANGE – The answer is hidden in (innards of) STRANGER.
6 On and on with one often pickled (5)
ONION – The two ons from the clue with an I (one) inside. I would have liked to have seen a stronger insertion indicator to tell the solver that the I is inserted rather than simply with the two Ons.
7 Show officer on the rise in good cheer (7)
BARAVADO – Reverse (on the rise) the abbreviation for District Attorney, an American legal officer, and include the letters inside a cheer that it made to celebrate something good.
8 Create grand residence by renovating the motel, say (7,4)
STATELY HOME – An anagram (renovating) of THE MOTEL SAY.
12 Shy sister excited with new fancy keyboard (11)
SYNTHESISER – An anagram (excited) of SHY SISTER N with an E that was not indicated in the clue. Perhaps “Shy sister excited with nearly new fancy keyboard”
14 First lady heartily persevered (3)
EVE – The answer is hidden (heartily) in PERSEVERED.
18 Italian score behind schedule to air (9)
VENTILATE – The Italian for 20 (score) followed by a four letter word meaning behind schedule. I wonder how well know the Italian numbers are for use in cryptic crosswords?
19 Close friend can be rough in play (9)
NEIGHBOUR – An anagram (play) of BE ROUGH IN. The formation of the clue as definition CAN wordplay does not work.
21 Auditor in lodging conveniently located (7)
NEAREST – A word for the organ of hearing (auditor) in a word for a lodging or home.
22 Sound of spring month, West of Brooklyn (3)
MAE – The first name of the Brooklyn actress, Ms West.
24 Quickly go really berserk with no end of vivacity (7)
ALLEGRO – An anagram (berserk) of GO REALLY without the Y (with no end of vivacity).
27 Boiler losing energy leaves one extremely negative (5)
HATER – Remove the abbreviation for energy from another word for a boiler.
28 One starts diet after end of workout to get this way (5)
TONED – The ONE from the clue and the first letter (starts) of diet after the last letter (end of) of workout. Apart of the use of starts on its own as an initial letter indicator, both starts and end have been used as letter indicators and alternatives should be found. Also, maybe the definition is pointing more to a verb rather than an adjective. Perhaps “One beginning to diet after conclusion of workout gets this condition”
33 Sound of stallion said to be born female (3)
NEE – A homophone (said) of the sound made by a stallion.