A Puzzle by MP
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
It’s been a while since MP’s last puzzle. I hope you find that it was worth the wait. 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.
Note to Rookie Setters – I have enough puzzles in the queue to feature a different setter every week until the New Year, so please be patient. I will try to publish them roughly in the order of dates of previous puzzles, so the next two will be by AK Mild and Jaffa.
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A review by Prolixic follows.
A goodly outing from MP with lots of variety and, apart from 21 across, good wordplay. The only comment is on the use of link words and the tense of the clues where some of the indicators in the past tense does not quite work in the cryptic reading of the clue. Polish the linkwords.
1 Repartee rotten in maturity (8)
BADINAGE – A three letter word meaning rotten followed by the IN from the clue and a three letter word meaning maturity
5 Curse a follower with brilliance (6)
BLIGHT – The letter following A with a five letter word meaning brilliance.
9 Household composition, a schoolboy’s bane (8)
HOMEWORK – Another word for household followed by a word for a composition.
10 Fruit beginning to go off is still fruit (6)
ANANAS – Remove the first letter from a yellow curved fruit to get another name for the pineapple.
11 Melody range right for a high flier (8)
AIRLINER – A three letter word for a melody followed by a four letter word for a range of goods and the abbreviation for right.
12 Jackass is idolised held by St Francis (6)
ASSISI – The answer is hidden in JACKASS IS IDOLISED. I don’t think that the wordplay quite works here. If the “held by” is the hidden word indicator, then it implies that the answer is hidden inside St Francis, rather than the other way around. If “held” on its own is the hidden word indicator then grammatically it should be holds and the “by” does not work as a link word for wordplay by definition.
14 Flourishes an unfinished drink before unfounded desires (10)
BRANDISHES – A kind of spirit that is drunk minus it last letter (unfinished) followed by a word for desires without its first letter (unfounded).
18 Broken deck bleeps when spotted (10)
BESPECKLED – An anagram (broken) of DECK BLEEPS. The link word, wordplay when definition does not work well for me.
22 Loveless alliance acceptable about the physical world (6)
NATURE – The name of a western military alliance without the final O (loveless) followed by the single letter meaning acceptable and a two letter word meaning about.
23 Flustered French film maker returns in elderly condition (8)
AGITATED – Reverse (returns) the four letter surname of a French film maker inside a four letter word meaning elderly. The condition here is padding as elderly on its own gives the required letters.
24 Overseas on a boat carrying the king (6)
ABROAD – A five letter word meaning on a boat includes (carrying) the abbreviation for Rex or king. This clue does not quite work as the word meaning on a boat includes an R already. Perhaps Overseas on a boat bringing King back would be correct this.
25 Crazy about crooner’s piercing (8)
STABBING – Reverse (about) a four letter word meaning crazy and follow it with the first name of Mr Crosby, the crooner.
26 Pass an alien insect? Quite the reverse (6)
TICKET – Reverse the order of the words for a loveable alien film character and a word meaning an insect.
27 Sloth slides off, gathering new energy (8)
IDLENESS – An anagram (off) of SLIDES includes the abbreviations for new and energy.
1 Execute and fulfil top job (6)
BEHEAD – Split 2, 4 this would mean fulfil or have the top job.
2 Mild serum Edison keeps around (6)
DEMURE – The answer is hidden (keeps) and reversed (around) in SERUM EDISON.
3 Could wine be drunk by rookie (6)
NEWBIE – An anagram (drunk) of WINE BE. Again, the wordplay by definition does not work for me. The definition is given by the wordplay, not the other way around.
4 A dark green building that is seen on the lawn (6,4)
GARDEN RAKE – An anagram (building) of A DARK GREEN.
6 Yearns to have up-to-date craft (8)
LONGSHIP – A five letter word meaning yearns followed by a word meaning trendy or up-to-date.
7 Tea Party restarted at The Ok Corral (8)
GUNFIGHT – A eight letter word for a party has the initial B replaced by another letter (restarted).
8 The most flavoursome wine in a trial (8)
TASTIEST – A for letter word for an Italian sparkling wine inside a four letter word for a trial.
13 Unbiased crew in single situation (10)
UNWEIGHTED – The number of people in a boat crew inside a five letter word for someone how is not married (in a single situation).
15 Chelsea Bun Dante provided was plentiful (8)
ABUNDANT – Answer is hidden inside (provided) inside CHELSEA BUN DANTE. Again, the past tense, provided , jars slightly as the answer is currently hidden in the letter. The link word in the past tense does not work. Here “Chelsea Bun Dante provides is plentiful” would be better.
16 Eric’s toe, rotten and unworldly (8)
ESOTERIC – An anagram (rotten) of ERICS TOE.
17 Press to make smaller (8)
DECREASE – Another word meaning to press or iron something to remove the wrinkles from it.
19 Steady establishment for an Arab? (6)
STABLE – Double definition, the second being the building where a horse such as an Arab is housed.
20 Good man has plenty of bad blood (6)
STRIFE – The abbreviation for saint (good man) followed by a four letter word meaning plenty. The usual rule is that definition of wordplay is permissible, but wordplay of definition is not.
21 Common era sage sharpened saws (6)
ADAGES – The abbreviation for Anno Domini (common era) followed by an anagram (sharpened) of SAGE.