A Puzzle by Maclog
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today we have another puzzle from Maclog. 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 MacLog who provided us with a Christmas cracker of a crossword. The basics were all present but there were a few spiky bits of holly admits the tinsel glitter. A little more time polishing some of the clues to remove repeated wordplay elements and looking at some of the less polished surface readings would have helped. There were a few synonyms that did not quite ring true. However, overall, there was improvement and it was enjoyable to solve.
1 Old man takes assistant often back for fruit (6)
PAPAYA – A two letter word for an old man or father followed by the abbreviation for personal assistant and a reversal (back) of a word meaning often. As others have commented, AY does not mean often, it means always or for ever, as in the line of the hymn, “For his mercies ay endure, ever faithful, ever sure.”
4 Soldier tales told to petrify (8)
PARALYSE – A four letter word for a soldier followed by a homophone (told) of lies (tales). My personal preference is, where possible, for homophones to produce a word in their own right but this is a self-imposed discipline and not an absolute rule when setting crosswords.
10 Computer image from uninhabited street is going back to mainly weeds yearly growing (7)
WYSIWYG – Remove the central letter (uninhabited – nice indicator) from a three letter word for a street an follow this with a reversal (back) of the IS from the clue and this initial letters (mainly) of the final three words of the clue. A few points on this clue. Having used back as a reversal indicator in 1a, a different indicator would have been better. Mainly as an initial letter indicator is, I think, OK. Mainly can mean chiefly which give the sense of the first letters as “in the first place”. The biggest problem with this clue is the nonsensical surface reading.
11 Cats for example calm us when upset with one (7)
MUSICAL – An anagram (upset) of CALM US I (one).
12 Authentic sounding rock and roll (4)
REEL – A homophone (sounding) of REAL (authentic). Care has to be taken when including homophone indicators in the middle of the definition and wordplay as the clue could be read as an indication that REAL is the solution. Whilst this is a crossword and you have rely on checking letters, it is good practice to ensure that each clue can be unambiguously resolved to get the solution without checking letters.
13 Low flying airplane to haul catholic to service on time (10)
HOVERCRAFT – A four letter word meaning to haul followed by the abbreviation for Roman Catholic, the branch of one of the armed forces service) and the abbreviation for time. As hove is the past participle of the verb to heave or haul, “hauled” would have been a more accurate indicator.
15 Agreement to take safety first in concert (6)
UNISON – The initial letter (first) of safety inside a word meaning an agreement.
16 Layer cake returning in quantity (7)
STRATUM – Reverse (returning) a four letter word for a type of cake or open topped pastry confection inside a three letter word for quantity.
20 Creator designed energy producer (7)
REACTOR – An anagram (designed) of CREATOR.
21 Bill has odd bulge and is sickly (6)
FEEBLE – A three letter word for a bill followed by the odd letters of bulge. Ideally for odd letters the indicator should be oddly.
24 Doing minor alteration in restaurant (6-4)
DINING ROOM – An anagram (alteration) of DOING MINOR. Some editors will not allow a noun such as alteration to be used as an anagram indicator.
26 Roger‘s nothing to chat about (4)
OKAY – The letter representing zero or nothing followed by a reversal (about) of a word meaning to chat.
28 Material for book involves two males touching (7)
BUCKRAM – The names of two male animals (rabbit and sheep).
29 Only two suppliers properly holding over parts ordered basically (7)
DUOPOLY – A four letter word meaning properly includes (holding) the initial letters (basically – as in from the outset) of the sixth to eighth words of the clue.
30 Task former monarch couldn’t start is finally done (8)
EXERCISE – A two letter word meaning former followed by the abbreviation for the current queen, the first letter (start) of couldn’t, the IS from the clue and the last letter (finally) of done. Some editors will not allow “start” on its own to indicate the first letter.
31 Vulgar drunk admits name and is sacked (6)
CANNED – A vulgar term meaning drunk includes (admits) the abbreviation for name.
1 Truce broken after prisoner of war gets reduced authority (5,3)
POWER CUT – An anagram (broken) of TRUCE follows (after) the abbreviation for prisoner for war. Whilst you could have “in the general election, Theresa May had her power cut, I don’t think that this means that “power cut” on its own means reduced authority.
2 Direction to go by Ireland first for flier (9)
PASSERINE – A four letter word meaning to go by followed by a four letter word Celtic word for Ireland and one of the directions of the compass.
3 Twists and was shaken by unknown (4)
YAWS – An anagram (shaken) of WAS after a letter representing an unknown quantity. Whilst by works as a positional indicator in an across clue, it is less suited to use in a down clue.
5 Member supports constituents in comfortable seat (8)
ARMRESTS – A three letter word for a limb or member of the body followed by a word meaning supports.
6 Incorporated a Scots idea modified (10)
ASSOCIATED – An anagram (modified) of A SCOTS IDEA.
7 Perennial disgust expressed by one (5)
YUCCA – A homophone (expressed) of YUCK followed by a letter representing one.
8 Brilliant displays in ruined castle (6)
ECLATS – An anagram (ruined) of CASTLE.
9 Shiny metal base (5)
AGLOW – The chemical symbol for silver followed by a three letter word meaning mean or base.
14 Trick money state creates initially circulates around the same spot (10)
CONCENTRIC – A three letter word for a trick followed by a four letter word for an American coin (money), the abbreviation for Rhode Island (state) and the first letter (initially) of creates.
17 Anonymous number outside to exist inside is not revealed (9)
UNBEKNOWN – A seven letter word meaning an antonymous number includes a two letter word meaning to exist. I found the “outside to exist inside”unhelpful as it gives two positional indicator where only one is required.
18 Fish belonging to us held by good friends in France (8)
GOURAMIS – The abbreviation for good and the French word for friends goes around a word meaning belonging to us.
19 Green fee we had noticed is announced (4-4)
DEWY-EYED – A homophone of DUE (fee) WE followed by a word meaning had noticed.
22 Stay back! First let everyone get something to eat (6)
EDIBLE – A four letter word meaning stay s reverse (back – again!) followed by the first letters of let everyone. Firstly would be a better indicator for the initial letters. Also the GET as the link word does not work in the cryptic grammar as you have wordplay GET definition.
23 Why do garbled introduction? (5)
HOWDY – An anagram (garbled) of WHY DO.
25 Ornamental layer discovered in a creature (5)
NACRE – Remove the outer letters (dis-covered) from IN A CREATURE.
27 Source of drug firm can access initially (4)
COCA – The abbreviation for a firm or company followed by the initially letters of can access. Again, initially has already been used as a first letter indicator so a different indicator should have been used if possible.
A very happy Christmas to one and all and, particularly, to all of the Rookies who have put their heads above the parapet to entertain us throughout 2017.