A Puzzle by Metatron
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Metatron returns with another one of those multi-word answers. 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 back to Metatron – up to his usual tricks with an amazingly produced anagram which does not quite live up to the rest of the crossword. It would be good if he could rein in his penchant for producing anagrams that take up over half the grid entry and concentrate on a regular crossword where we could better see the the good ideas for wordplay and setting that are sometimes lost in the remainder of the crossword where the grid fill becomes less than helpful.
1/12/19/30A/11/23A/35/36/37/38/3 A noted author’s best-known line, if flawed, wildly assumed satisfaction’s a motive enough to put a ring on a finger (2,2,1,5,11,12,4,1,6,3,2,10,2,1,4,7,4,2,2,4,2,1,4)
IT IS A TRUTH UNIVERSALLY ACKNOWLEDGED THAT A SINGLE MAN IN POSSESSION OF A GOOD FORTUNE MUST BE IN WANT OF A WIFE – An anagram (flawed) of WILDLY ASSUMED SATISFACTIONS A MOTIVE ENOUGH TO PUT A RING ON A FINGER. The problem with a long anagram such as this (no matter how well it is clued) if you can spot the solution, then you have solved most of the crossword – close on 60% in this case. Having the first letter in 12a, the answer was immediately obvious. The resulting impact of fitting in the long quote on the grid is not helpful with two clues with three unchecked letters in a row and two solutions of two letters. Neither of these would be accepted in a daily crossword. Whilst it is good to be ambitious when setting, it would be helpful to start off with something more standard that better displays your talents rather than becoming a one-trick pony. The only benefit for the reviewer is the it cuts down the number of clues to review.
6 Maggot food (4)
GRUB – Double definition, the second being an informal word for food.
10 Runaway heard in Devon (7)
EXITTER – A homophone (heard) of a city in Devon. The use of prepositional indicators as a definition is often used (though it is not universally approved of). When you then have to get from an obliquely referenced city to a homophone to an unusual word it becomes a stretch for the solver. Perhaps “Report of a Devon city’s runaway.” would have been fairer.
11 See 1
12 See 1
16 Setter’s intention to be sick (3)
ILL – The contractor of “I will” (the setter’s intention).
17 An even hedge, say (2)
EG – The even letters in hedge. An even as an indicator to select the even letters does not work in the cryptic grammar. Perhaps “Oddly cut hedge, say” would be better. As mentioned, the use of two letters solutions is not found in daily 15 x 15 grids.
19 See 1
23 See 1
27 Roman tonic, a fifth of which gives 25 (2)
UT – The first note in the Latin names of the musical notes, the fifth note of which (in English) is the answer in 25 down.
29 Royalty rights withdrawn by record label (1,1,1)
EMI – Remove the abbreviation for right from the name of an Arab ruler (royalty). As only one right is removed, this should be right’s removed otherwise the cryptic grammar does not make sense.
30 See 1
35 See 1
36 See 1
37 See 1
38 See 1
1 Untried hatchet-job to get in (7)
INTRUDE – An anagram (hatchet job) of UNTRIED.
2 Ancient tribe from glacial Ulster (5)
ICENI – A word meaning frozen water followed by a two letter abbreviation for the province sometimes incorrectly referred to as Ulster. There are two issues with this clue. Glacial means icy, not ice and secondly, Ulster is not NI (Northern Ireland), nor vice versa, but Northern Ireland is part of Ulster.
3 See 1 Across
4 Lies with appearance of work schedules (3)
ROTAS – A three letter word meaning lies or rubbish followed by a two letter word meaning with the appearance of. A minor point, but the enumeration here is wrong. It should be (5) not (3).
5 Doughnut-like hill overlooking state (5)
TORAL – A three letter word for a hill followed by the abbreviation for Alabama (state). Even though the word is an unusual once, it has rightly been clued more simply.
7 Hot on the campaign trail… (7)
RUNNING – Double definition, the first of which is slightly loose.
8 …after backhander’s indication it’s a mess (7)
BUNGLED – A four letter word for a backhander followed by a three letter word for an indicator light. I don’t think that indication is the correct word to clue the light. Perhaps “… after backhander it may indicate a mess.”
9 I turned up with my gong (4)
EMMY – Reverse a two letter word meaning colloquially “I” followed by the MY from the clue.
13 By the way (3)
VIA – A three letter word meaning by the way of. Not the most cryptic of clues.
14 Confrontational opposition hides soldier (7)
AGONIST – Remove (hides) a three letter word for a soldier or insect from a word meaning opposition. To give confrontational, you would need “agonistic” as the solution. Perhaps “Opposition dismisses soldier as chief character.”
15 £2 for a duck sandwich? That’s funny (1,1,1)
LOL – Put two L’s (pounds sterling) around the letter representing a duck.
18 Greek leader of the world (3)
GEO – The Greek prefix meaning “of the world” as in geography.
20 Audible signal to start corralling us evenly (3)
CUE – The initial letters (to start) of the final three words of clue. Perhaps initially would work better as indicating the first letters of more than one word.
21 Echobelly’s grandiose opener (3)
EGO – The initial letters of the words in the clue. The initial letter indicator is not give. To understand this, the solver needs to know the title of the first album “Everyone’s Got One” of a not very well known group. This relies on too much general knowledge and is not fair to the majority of solvers.
22 Insecure fiscal arrangement before ’99 (3)
ECU – The abbreviation for the European Currency Unit that was replaced in 1999. This clue is more general knowledge than cryptic.
23 1930s measurement added to prime formula (7)
PREWARM – A description of the 1930’s before WWII followed by the abbreviation for metre (measurement). I presume that formula here is formula milk for babies.
24 Sea salts (7)
SAILORS – The name of naval personnel referred to as salts.
25 Thus we hear note (3)
SOH – A homophone (we hear) of SO.
26 The end of French cinema (3)
FIN – The French for “the end” that would be shown at the end of a French film.
28 21 (3,4)
THE SELF – A direct synonym with absolutely no cryptic content for the answer to 21d. Perhaps “21’a article on author”. This is another clue with three unchecked letter. Given the lack of wordplay, this was perhaps an unfair on the solver.
30 A little high-class – voila! (2-2)
TA-DA – A three letter word meaning a little followed by the letter indicating first or high class.
31 He drove women to despair (5)
ALFIE – A cryptic reference to the film named from the central character, played by Michael Caine, who was a womanising chauffeur.
32 Lennon‘s recovery team, right on (5)
AARON – The abbreviation for Automobile Association (recovery team) followed the abbreviation for right and the ON from the clue. Although the answer here requires general knowledge of the names of footballers, the wordplay is simpler to compensate.
33 Daisy introduces class to Republicans (5)
INULA – The abbreviation for upper-class inside the abbreviation for Irish National Liberation Army (Republicans). As only a few daisies are inures, perhaps a definition by example indicator would be helpful.
34 Deranged water fowl is welcome (5)
GREET – An anagram (deranged) of EGRET (waterfowl). If deranged is used as an anagram indicator, this gives an indirect anagram where you have to find the synonym and then make an anagram of the letters. This is not usually allowed in mainstream cryptic crosswords. Here, the clue could been made fairer with “Welcome waterfowl with drooping head”