A Puzzle by Rags
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Rags returns with his second puzzle. I know he has tried very hard to take on board the lessons he learnt from his debut puzzle. 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 Rags with his second crossword. His first puzzle (175) was a promising debut but there was a need to work on some of the surface readings. This has been done in this crossword. However, as a result, there are quite a few more minor (and some more major) quibbles on the wordplay itself. Getting convincing surface readings with good cryptic grammar by far the hardest task for the setter so this should not be seen as a discouragement. A lot of the clues were inventive and had good wordplay.
1 Heads we’re winning, tails we’re not (7)
LEADERS – A straight definition with the remaining words in clue giving a misleading phrase referring to the toss of a coin although a a stretch, the tails could be the opposite of the solution in a queue of people. I don’t think that this clue quite hits the mark. The idea is clever but just does not gel.
5 Cheese-eating united thousands from English city (7)
BRUMMIE – A type of French cheese includes the abbreviation for United and two Ms (thousands in Roman numerals). The inclusion of the hyphen unfortunately reverses the intended wordplay with the implication that the UMM includes the French cheese.
9 Imply ‘return shabby goods’, for example (3,2)
GET AT – A reversal (return) a three letter word for shabby goods and the abbreviation for say or for example.
10 On a quest, I modified formulas (9)
EQUATIONS – An anagram (modified) of ON A QUEST I.
11 Large stones set me a slight problem! (9)
MEGALITHS – An anagram (set) of ME A SLIGHT. The “problem” appears to be padding. The alternative would be for problem to be the anagram indicator but as a noun this would not be acceptable to all editors and set would then be an awkward link word as “definition set wordplay’.
12 A place that’s only half comforting? (5)
THERE – A word that is repeated when giving words of comfort to someone distressed.
13 Homeless child distressed waitress with note (4)
WAIF – Remove a word for hair from the waitress in the clue and follow with the letter representing a musical note.
15 Voucher lures Rodney back in (8)
ENDORSER – The answer is hidden (in) and reversed (back) in LURES RODNEY. The positioning of the wordplay indicator “back in” at the end of the clue does not work for me.
18 Requirement to get men on board… (5,3)
CHESS SET – Cryptic definition of the pieces needed for a board game.
19 …does sound familiar (4)
DEER – A homophone (sound) of “dear” (familiar).
22 Passage of tailless insect (5)
LOCUS – Remove the final letter (tailless) from an insect that devours crops when they come in a plague.
24 Old, worn out description of cast? (4-5)
WORM-EATEN – The cast is what this creature produces when it goes through the earth.
26 German Union? Waste of time (9)
DALLIANCE – The abbreviation for German followed by a word for a union. The letter used for German is used incorrectly. The letter is the IVR code for Germany not German.
27 Crop photo and nothing more for a lasting impression (5)
IMAGO – Remove the final letter (crop) from another word for a photo and follow with the letter representing nothing.
28 During the cricket, you’re liable to collapse! (7)
RICKETY – The answer is hidden in (during) CRICKET YOU’RE. The “the” could have been omitted from the clue.
29 One can handle rough terrain (7)
TRAINER – An anagram (rough) of TERRAIN.
1 Fruit from Hull (6)
LEGUME – A fruit that can be shelled (from hull or husk). As the solution are peas or beans, perhaps vegetable would have been a better definition although fruit as the product of something works.
2 Sign above a tavern: ‘Ragout Special!’ (9)
AUTOGRAPH – An anagram (special) of RAGOUT followed by the A from the clue and the abbreviation for public house (tavern). I don’t think that special works as an anagram indicator after the letters to be rearranged. Before the letters it would work as an adjective as in peculiar.
3 Express approval of a standard size; X-L (5)
EXTOL – The letter representing a standard European size (short for estimated) followed by the X-L with the – changed to TO. The actual letter is not really an “e”. It looks like one – it is a symbol in its own right.
4 These may need support in bed (9)
SWEET PEAS – Cryptic definition of a climbing plant that needs support in a garden bed. Chambers gives the enumeration as 5,4. As there are so many climbing plants that this type of cryptic definition is very difficult to solve correctly without the crossing letters.
5 Spells primarily brought on unfortunate travails, sadly (5)
BOUTS – The initial letters (primarily) of the final five words of the clue.
6 Lacking form, turned out disastrously (9)
UNTUTORED – An anagram (disastrously) of TURNED OUT.
7 Flying over some wapiti (5)
MOOSE – An anagram (flying) of O (over) SOME.
8 Followed action-packed final (6)
ENSUED – A three letter for for final includes (packed) a three letter word for action. The word required in the wordplay means to take action, not the action itself.
14 Angle-cutting turning tool (4,5)
FISH SLICE – A four letter word meaning to angle (as a pastime or sport) followed a word for a cutting.
16 It’s French potatoes, not apples, conservationists block (9)
DETERRENT – The French word for potatoes has the French word for apples removed and then followed by the abbreviation for National Trust (conservationists).
17 What spotter does and what may result (9)
EYESTRAIN – Split 4, 5, the answer suggests what spotters on a railway platform might do.
20 It’s pulled up, but comes back down again, naturally (6)
GLIDER – Cryptic definition of a powerless aircraft. As others have noted, sledge would be an equally valid answer. Care has to be taken with this type of cryptic definition.
21 One place to find old, old interior (6)
INDOOR – Split 2,4, the answer suggests one place where you might find O O (old, old).
23 Oil prepared in small quantity to cure this? (5)
COLIC – An anagram (prepared) of OIL inside the abbreviation for cubic centimetre (small quantity).
24 Out of line – a likely state after five downs (5)
WONKY – How you might be after five drinks. I don’t think that this clue survived the change in the answer to 5d very well.
25 Central American’s ling (5)
ERICA – The central letters of AMERICANS.
This week’s commentometer reads as 7.5 / 32 or 23.4%.