A Puzzle by Laccaria
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
This is Laccaria’s second puzzle in Rookie Corner, he has decided to use this alias instead of FirmlyDirac. 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.
I found this much easier than Laccaria’s previous crossword (in the guise of FirmlyDirac) so he had eased up on the difficulty level though, from some of the comments, maybe not enough. That being said, I went through this fairly quickly and only slowed at the end with some of the more unusual words and convoluted wordplay. I have indicated where some of the more complex clues could be simplified.
There was a hidden theme of the murder weapons in Cluedo as some of the solutions.
1 Object is to remove front leg from spider (6)
RECUSE – Remove the L (front leg) from a breed of spider known as a recluse. Some editors would require front of leg to complete the cryptic grammar of the clue so it would become “Object to is remove front of leg from spider. I am not sure how well known the recluse species of spider is. Perhaps if you wanted to make the clue friendlier you could use hermit.
4 Puss catching one rat, wrong in the head? (8)
UPSTAIRS – An anagram (wrong) of PUSS I (one) RAT. The catching as a conjunction for the anagram letters grates slightly as catching implies an inclusion indicator. Mix A and B or Mix A with B works. Perhaps “Puss and one rat mad in the head”
9 See 22 Down
10 Minister and another look back at piece (8)
REVOLVER – The abbreviation for reverend (minister) followed by the same abbreviation and a two letter word meaning look reversed (back). I am not convinced by AT as a link word for wordplay at definition.
11 It contains a little drop for this setter, working – comes up earlier (about 10) (7,7)
SURFACE TENSION – An eight letter word meaning comes up around the spelling of 10 followed by the single letter for this setter and a two letter word meaning working. The construction of the clue definition for wordplay does not really work. You can have wordplay for a definition but not the reverse.
13 He saw you earlier, coming back, taking boiled sweets in (10)
EYEWITNESS – A reversal (coming back) of the two letter old word (earlier) for you followed by an anagram (boiled) of SWEETS IN.
14 That man had about a pound in stock (4)
HELD – A three letter contraction meaning that man had around the abbreviation for pound. The indefinite article can be used in the clue without appearing in the wordplay but, where possible should be omitted. Here, it helps the surface reading as “That man has about pound in stock” does not read so well.
16 Hearing part of high-pitch note (4)
LOBE – A three letter word for a high-pitch or ball thrown high up followed by a musical note.
18 They wanted to reform metal crank parts without driving initially to Spain (10)
ALBIGENSES – The chemical symbol for aluminium followed by a word (in the plural) for the part of the car that is the end of a connecting rod or piston rod that is attached to a crankpin with the D (driving initially) removed followed by a two letter abbreviation for Spain. The answer is an obscure one (a French religious movement squashed by the Catholic church) with a complicated wordplay requiring knowledge of engine parts and uses an abbreviation for Spain that is not in the dictionary. ES is the IVR code for El Salvador. This is another clue that could have been simplified – Perhaps “Wearing robes Genesis is abridged and rewritten for French religious reformers”
21 May first to abolish Sunday working break? (7,7)
BUSMAN’S HOLIDAY – An anagram (working) OF M (May first) ABOLISH SUNDAY. As with front leg, some editors will required May’s first to maintain the cryptic grammar. More importantly, working is doing double duty as both a wordplay indicator for the anagram and as part of the definition. Many editors will not permit this. Perhaps “Bizarrely abolish Sunday with May’s first working break?
23 Press complaint: almost no escape from this! (4,4)
IRON GRIP – A four letter word meaning press followed by a five letter word for a complaint with the final letter removed (almost).
24 Intended setter to be in Paris maybe – not right! (6)
FIANCE – The single letter word for the setter in the country of which Paris is the capital without the R (not right). I for the setter has already been used, so ideally a different indicator should be used. I am not keen on using Paris maybe (as a definition by example) for France.
25 Potter mustn’t hear of this – it’s poisonous! (8)
MANDRAKE – A cryptic definition of the type of poisonous root whose mythical screams Harry Potter and his classmates were not allowed to hear when in class.
26 Where yeast is reported to have depleted gene pool? (6)
INBRED – A homophone (reported) where in a baker’s output you might find yeast.
1 Punishment for eggs being soft inside (4)
ROPE – A three letter word for fish eggs around the musical abbreviation for soft. As a form of punishment, the solution should be “The rope”, not rope.
2 Arrest Boatman on the river (7)
CAPTURE – The abbreviation for captain (boatman) followed by a three letter river.
3 Finest model leaves in a fury, to hold pub party (4,4)
SINN FIEN – An anagram (in a fury) of FINEST after removing the T (model leaves) around (to hold) a three letter word for a pub.
5 Street-walker picks up girl on building site – fast work! (11)
PRESTISSIMO – A reversal (up) of a four letter word for a girl on an anagram (building) of site all inside a three letter abbreviation for a prostitute (street-walker). The cryptic grammar here is convoluted and not helped by the up seemingly doing double duty for a reversal indicator and as part of the containment indicator (picks up). An alternative would be that “picks up” is the containment indicator for the MISS and an anagram of SITE but then there is no reversal indicator for the miss.
6 God and partners might give you a flat (6)
THORNS – A four letter word for a Viking god followed by a pair of bridge partners. Perhaps “they might give you a flat” would be be a better definition.
7 Bill sings well… (7)
INVOICE – Split 2, 5, this might mean sings well.
8 …and entertains sender (sea-sick!) (9)
SERENADES – An anagram (sick) of SENDER SEA.
12 Ornament that Dick can’t sell, unfortunately, even after knocking a pound off (11)
CANDLESTICK – An anagram (unfortunately) of DICK CANT SELL after removing the abbreviation for pound. As L for pound has already been used as wordplay, a different definition would be better here.
13 Discharged Marine holds party and is collecting plates (2-7)
EX-LIBRISM – A two letter word meaning discharged or former and the abbreviation for Royal Marine includes the abbreviation for Liberal (party) and, separately, the IS from the clue. Where the two parts of the wordplay require separate insertions it is better to indicate this as a curtesy to the solver. An interesting point but while Lib is the abbreviation for Liberal this is given in the singular in Chambers, not the plural for Liberals as a party.
15 Clear to be adopted by middle line (8)
MERIDIAN – A three letter word meaning clear and an I (unclued) inside a four letter word meaning middle. As previously acknowledged, this clue lacks an indication for the I in the solution.
17 Need early qualifications to play this? (7)
BASSOON – A three letter word for qualifications (in the pluralisation of the abbreviation followed by a word meaning early.
19 Wrongdoer, father for one, turns some nuts! (7)
SPANNER – A six letter word for a wrongdoer has a two letter word meaning father replace the I in the word. Perhaps “it turns some nuts” would be a better definition.
20 Mark‘s children’s horse in outrageous ‘dare’ (6)
DAGGER – A two letter word used by children for a horse inside an anagram (outrageous) of DARE.
22/9 Better not to accept drink from this person in charge of the Pibroch? (4,6)
LEAD PIPING – The leader of a pipe band refer to this form of plumbing to be avoided. I think that the wordplay would give LEAD PIPER or LEADING PIPING but not LEAD PIPING.