A Puzzle by Skinny
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Our latest setter making his debut in Rookie Corner is Skinny. 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.
A confident debut from Skinny. There was very little fat to trim when reviewing this crossword. With the exception of 1d, there was little of note on the clues other than to highlight a few areas to be polished a little. This is a good sign of things to come. The only other point to note is that 10 anagrams out of 30 clues is a little on the high side. There was a hidden theme with the names of some home computers from the 1980s forming solutions.
1 Pictured Parisian artist retiring in life cut short at first (9)
ENVISAGED – Reverse (retiring) the name of a French (Parisian) artist and precede it (at first) with the French for “in life” with the final letter removed (cut short). I wonder whether the wordplay is specific enough to indicate that it is both the artist and the “in life” that has to be French.
6 Bend sinister? (4)
ARCH – Double definition, the first for a curve and the second for something sly or sinister. The phrase in the clue is device used to denote illegitimacy in heraldic shields.
8 Inventor of microcomputers first abandoned by reckless criminals (8)
SINCLAIR – An anagram (reckless) of CRIMINALS after removing the M (microcomputers first). The microcomputers needs an ‘s at the end of the clue for this to word grammatically.
9 Samphire’s taken from the sea? On the contrary, when cooked it’s seafood. (6)
SHRIMP – An anagram (cooked) of SAMPHIRE after removing the letters in SEA with the “on the contrary” reversed the order of what is removed from what. As the letters in SEA are removed in a different order a subsidiary anagram indicator is required. A question mark is a very weak form of indicator. Perhaps restless or stormy could have been used.
10 Hike price of brolly covering 40% of Zulus (6)
GAZUMP – A four letter (informal) word for an umbrella goes around the first two letters (40%) of Zulus.
11 Dish served hot and cold with aplomb (4,4)
LAMB CHOP – An anagram (served) of H (hot) C (cold) APLOMB.
12 “A tough patch“, might The Samaritans say? (6)
CALLUS – Split 4,2 the solution might be what the Samaritans say to someone who is in distress.
15 Notice possibility of acceptance (8)
ADOPTION – A two letter word for an advert or notice followed by a six letter word indicating a possibility.
16 Muscle engaged in finger span (8)
SPECTRUM – A three letter word for a muscle inside (engaged in) a word meaning to finger (as you would play a guitar).
19 Crawlers desert country, touring south (3-3)
YES-MEN – The name of an African country around (touring) the abbreviation for South.
21 Primitive tea, for example, taken outside scruffy dive (8)
MEDIEVAL – A four letter for what tea (in food rather than drink terms) is around (taken outside) an anagram (scruffy) of DIVE.
22 A quiet place, a quiet crowd (6)
ASHRAM – The A from the clue followed by a two letter word meaning quiet and a three letter word meaning to push or to crowd something.
24 Puff of smoke (6)
DRAGON – Split 4,2 this would mean smoke. As the definition is a definition by example, this should have been indicated.
25 You and me returning before collecting event’s first prize (8)
SUPERIOR – Reverse (returning) the two letter word meaning you and me and follow these letters with a word meaning before with the first letter of event being included (collecting).
26 For each drug swallowed there’s a count, for example (4)
PEER – A three letter word meaning “for each” includes (swallowed) the abbreviation for ecstasy.
27 Glut of flies evenly blended with protein shake (9)
REPLETION – An anagram (shake) of LE (the even letters in flies) PROTEIN. I think that shake after the letters to be rearranged does not work in the cryptic reading of the clue. As you already have blended you could omit the shake entirely to have A blended with B.
1 Type of heather I can’t extract (5)
ERICA – The answer is hidden in HEATHER I CANT. The only major point in this crossword is that heather here is doing double duty as part of the definition and the wordplay.
2 Food cut roughly and stuffed in bottle (7)
VICTUAL – An anagram(roughly) of CUT inside (stuffed in) a four letter word for a small bottle.
3 Scalpel’s first instrument for cutting (5)
SHARP – The first letter of scalpel followed by a stringed instrument. As first has already been used as an initial letter indicator perhaps a different way of indicating this should have been used.
4 Channel hijacked by Indian state thug (7)
GORILLA – A four letter word for a small stream or channel inside a three letter word for an Indian state.
5 Free spirit – I do my beds untidily (9)
DISEMBODY – An anagram (untidily) of I DO MY BEDS.
6 No end of tropical exotic fruit (7)
APRICOT – An anagram (exotic) of TROPICAL with the final letter removed (no end). Again, grammatically, exotic as an anagram indicator should precede the letters to be rearranged.
7 Skipper‘s potty, hoarding gold (9)
COMMODORE – A seven letter word for a potty or item of furniture that holds a chamber pot around (hoarding) a two letter word for gold.
13 Parrot eats stormy petrel – it’s an excellent source of nutrition (5,4)
APPLE TREE – A three letter word meaning parrot or copy around (eats) an anagram (stormy) of PETREL.
14 Writer scraps compositions initially, torn apart with little hesitation (9)
SCRIVENER – The first letters (initially) of scraps and compositions followed by a five letter word meaning torn apart and a two letter word used to express hesitation.
17 Hanger-on about to hang around (7)
CLINGER – A single letter abbreviation for circa or about followed by a six letter word meaning to hang around.
18 Polish consume varieties of chicken (7)
MILKSOP – A three letter word meaning polish around (consume) a four letter word meaning varieties. I think that the synonym here is a little loose (to polish is not to mop) and, cryptically, is should be A consumes B. Also, in terms of the structure, some editors will permit definition of wordplay but not wordplay of definition.
20 Lively movements portrayed in some Escher zig-zag designs (7)
SCHERZI – The answer is hidden in (portrayed in some) ESCHER ZIG-ZAG. The word designs is padding for the surface reading but could have been omitted by making the zig-zag plural.
22 Handsome politician gripped by booze (5)
AMPLE – The two letter abbreviation for Member of Parliament inside a three letter word for beer.
23 Synthetic carbon black removed – could be the start of something big (5)
ACORN – An anagram (synthetic) of CARBON after removing the abbreviation for black.