A Puzzle by Fiddlesticks
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
It’s been just over a year since the forst puzzle from Fiddlesticks. I hope you find it was worth the wait for his second. 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 Fiddlesticks. This crossword reminds me of the nursery rhyme, “The was a little girl who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead…” Parts of this crossword were very good, parts were not very good at all. When you want to produce a crossword of this difficultly level the cluing has to be razor sharp (more so than for an easier crossword) to give the solver confidence that they will get there in the end. Unfortunately this crossword had to many obscurities, unusual abbreviations, incorrect clue constructions and sometimes repetitions to give the confidence level required. My advice would be to rein back on the difficulty level and get a better grasp of the basics before ramping up the difficulty level so that the foundations are in place before the more complex constructions are built on them.
There is nothing wrong in setting difficult crosswords and many solvers will relish the challenge. Others will be less inclined to solve overly tough crosswords but there is room for all levels of challenge. However, diving in with this level of difficulty for a Rookie is probably a mistake.
9 1 after strange rune unlocks cell (7)
NEURONE – The spelling of 1 after an anagram (strange) of RUNE. Unlocks as a link word seems fine to me. The wordplay unlocks or gives the answer to the solution.
10 Success with models (7)
VICTORY – Double definition, the second being possibly the name of a model making company or car marques – Victor and Tesla or famous statues of Nike and Victoria (both statues of Victory). The second part of the clue is probably too obscure to give solvers a fair chance of solving the clue. Maybe if the intention was car models, you should have had “Success with car models”
11 Anger and frenzy after test, having missed the start (7)
UMBRAGE – A four letter word meaning frenzy after a five letter word PLUMB missing the first two letters. Plumb for test is a stretch. Requiring the solver to remove two letters with the instruction missing its start is unfair. The start of the word is simply the letter P.
12 Homeowner’s overhead as proof to administration (7)
ROOFTOP – An anagram (administration) of PROOF TO. As you only have to move one letter, the P, to the end, this could perhaps have been clued with a different device.
13 Whenever returning, return to old flame’s bed… (9)
FIREPLACE – Reverse (returning) a two letter word meaning whenever and followed it by a word remaining return (as in put back). I don’t think that the “old” here is necessary and perhaps adds confusion as to the wordplay.
15 …because of a couple finding love (3,2)
DUE TO – A four letter word for a musical couple followed by the letter representing love.
16 Get away from crab’s condition (7)
ABSCOND – The answer is hidden in (from) CRABS CONDITION.
19 Works point on old phone connectors (7)
SONATAS – The compass point abbreviation for South followed by the ON from the clue and the abbreviation for Analog Telephone Adaptors. The abbreviation for the phone connectors is not given in Chambers or Collins. As a rule, you should use only abbreviations found in the main dictionaries.
20 All in one getting nothing back? (5)
ALONE – An all in one clue. If you add LIN (nothing back) into the answer, you get the phrase “All In One”.
21 Monitor picked up swap at wedding? (9)
SURVEILLE – A homophone (picked up) of something which is so obscure that it is not in dictionaries. From his notes, I see this is meant to be a homophone of Sir Veil. This is too obscure. Also the answer is a US term so this should have been indicated.
25 Send note back to clear school concerns (7)
AFFAIRS – Reverse (send … back) the musical note Fa and follow this with a word (in weather terms) meaning clear and a single letter abbreviation for school. I don’t know where the abbreviation S for School comes from but it is not in the dictionaries. Again, only canonical abbreviations from main dictionaries should be used.
26 Centerpiece of record, desert area having a bearing (7)
EPERGNE – A two letter abbreviation for a record followed by a three letter word for a desert area and the abbreviation for North East (bearing).
28 Backward artist pursuing great end product to become solvent (7)
ACETONE – A three letter word meaning great followed by the final letter (end) of product and a reversal (backward) of the artist ENO. Some editors will not allow “end” on its own to indicate the last letter. There are also several instances of “end” being used a positional indicator. Ideally, wordplay indicators should not be repeated. Later on, end is also used as the first letter indicator. Traditionally it is used as a last letter indicator but, of course, words have two ends (unless they are single letter words).
29 Drag around head right before end of term on Friday, damaging (7)
HARMFUL – A four letter word meaning drag around the first letter (head) of right, the last letter (end) of term and the abbreviation for Friday. Head is not needed as an indicator as R = Right is an abbreviation in its own right and some editors will require “head of” as an initial letter indicator. The abbreviation F for Friday is simply wishful thinking on the part of the setter (like S for School). Only abbreviations from dictionaries should be used.
1 Deluge is eye-opener mid-evening at bay (6)
ENGULF – The first letter opener of eye, the middle letter (mid) of evening and a word for a large oceanic bay.
2 Trouble climbing plant when another copper turns up (6)
CUMBER – If you add (turns up or arrives) another CU (copper) to the answer, you have a climbing plant that produces green juicy edible gourds.
3 Clothing discipline as model becomes youth leader (4)
TOGA – Replace the Y (youth leader) in a a spiritual disciple with a T (model as in Model T ford). The clue here is the wrong way round as it tells you to replace the T with a Y.
4 Classes in which teaching efforts are negated in opposition (6)
GENERA – The answer is hidden (in which) and reversed (in opposition) in ARE NEGATED. The words “teaching efforts” are pure padding which should be avoided where possible. Also the end of the hidden word ends as a word boundary and, ideally, the hidden word should straddle words.
5 Administers external report (8)
OVERSEES – A homophone (report) of OVERSEAS (external).
6 Hotel group trip agreement (10)
ACCORDANCE – A five letter word for a hotel group (owners of among others of the Ibis and Novotel chains) plus another word for a trip as in an activity undertaken at a ball.
7 Support for shooting centre in wood (8)
FOOTREST – Include the central two letters in shooting inside a six letter word for a wood. The structure of the clue with definition for wordplay is back to front, it should be wordplay for definition.
8 Signs reverse of my check with confusing comment about first of signatories (8)
SYMPTOMS – Reverse (separately) MY and MOT (test) and mix in with a PS (comment) and S (first of signatories). This clue is too complex to enable sensible parsing on the part of the solver, not aided by the fact that there is no instruction to reverse the MY and MOT separately.
14 Founder when one expert after another leaves us, having to recruit beginner (10)
PROGENITOR – A three letter word for expert (from professional) followed by another (a term used to describe someone like Einstein) with the US removed (leave us) followed by the TO from the clue and the first letter (beginner) of recruit.
16 Setter‘s melodic mode is back again (4-4)
AGAR-AGAR – Reverse (twice) a word for a traditional Hindu musical form.
17 Rattled at first after fag end in view in bed, but escaping injury (4-4)
SCOT-FREE – The first letter of rattled after the first letter (end) of fag in a three letter word meaning view with an insertion of a three letter word for a bed. The clue implies that the letters are inserted into the word for bed, when exactly the reverse is required.
18 Force member’s flower to sticky end (8)
DISASTER – A three letter abbreviation for Detective Inspector (maintaining the S from the ’s) followed by the name of a flower.
22 Agree choir section for repeat (2-4)
RE-ECHO – The answer is hidden in (section) in AGREE CHOIR.
23 Before game, look at strong finish (6)
LOGOFF – A two letter word meaning look at followed by a two letter word for a game the musical abbreviation for very loud. The indication in the clue would give only one F for forte.
24 Cathedral city accommodates cleric fairly (6)
EVENLY – The abbreviation for Venerable (the title of an Archdeacon) inside a three letter name of an East England diocese.
27 Peer at listener’s tail end (4)
EARL – The three letter organ of listening followed by the last letter (end) of tail. I am not keen on the construction definition at wordplay.
Congratulations to all the Rookie Setters who have brought us to the 200th Rookie Crossword.