Shoe by Solemate
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
I originally scheduled this puzzle for last Monday, but moved it back a week to accommodate the debut puzzle by Hippogryph. Little did I realise until I went to set it up that its theme was so similar to Saturday’s NTSPP by Alchemi. Welcome back Solemate. 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.
After Solemate’s first crossword, I had a strong suspicion as to who the setter was. This crossword left no doubts although, to be fair, one of his test solvers confirmed my initial suspicions when I asked her at a Sloggers and Betters meeting.
After a very impressive debut, I was looking forward to solving this crossword. It did not disappoint but there were quite a few more snagging items in the clues that mean that running repairs might be required to bring it up to an better standard.
A number of the solutions were shoe related with 1a, 9a, 10a, 11a, 12a14a, 20a, 3d, 4d, 19d, 22d, 23d and 25d.
In terms of the commentometer (ignoring points where editor’s views may differ), then score is 4.5 / 32 or 14.06%. I think that, we need another crossword with the polish of Solemate’s first crossword before promotion to the NTSPP is in order.
1 Pumps delivered by Spooner’s thin Europeans (9)
PLIMSOLLS – A homophone (delivered by) of SLIM (thin) POLES (Europeans).
6 See through quiet beer without beginning to belch (5)
SHEER – A two letter word meaning quite followed by the beer from the clue without the B (beginning to belch). Perhaps the clue could have been better disguised with drink instead of beer.
9 Fixes salesman with music (7)
REPAIRS – A three letter word for a salesman followed by a four letter word for music.
10 Hide the real deal (7)
LEATHER – An anagram (deal) of THE REAL. A very minor point. If deal stands as a noun (as in an arrangement), then some editors would not permit this as an anagram indicator. If it stands as a verb, then you would need deal “letters to be arranged” or “letters to be rearranged” dealt to make the clue read as a cryptic instruction.
11 Announcement of basement retailer (6)
SELLER – A homophone (announcement) of CELLAR (basement)
12 Stag takes hint to find man with a plan (8)
DESIGNER – A four letter for for the type of animal of which stag is an exemplar includes a four letter word for a hint.
14 Box perhaps in centre everytime (4)
TREE – The answer is hidden in CENTRE EVERYTIME. The word “everytime” is not in the dictionaries. Whilst you could have every time, it would leave a letter not contributing to the wordplay or definition. Whilst some editors permit this, it is not universally accepted. Perhaps “Box perhaps held by centre employee” would have overcome this issue.
15 Legal document describes a tin whistle? (10)
INSTRUMENT – Double definition.
18 Toff caused criminal to be stifled (10)
SUFFOCATED – An anagram (criminal) of TOFF CAUSED. As an adjective, criminal should precede the letters to be rearranged.
20 Assess sad sounds (4)
SIZE – A homophone sounds of signs (sad).
23 Seducer found destiny having laugh by Olympic City (8)
LOTHARIO – A three letter word for destiny followed by a two letter word for a laugh and a three letter word for a South American city that was a summer Olympics venue. Definition found wordplay does not work particularly well as the definition is found from the wordplay. Perhaps “Seducer’s destiny, having laugh with Olympic’s host“ would be better here.
24 Short cut symbolises the law (6)
COPPER – Remove the last letter from cut for a chemical symbol that, when spelled out is also another word for a policemen or the law.
26 Unruly nieces consume hot takeaway (7)
CHINESE – An anagram (unruly) of NIECES includes (consume) the abbreviation for hot. Within the cryptic reading, it should read “An anagram of these letters consumes the abbreviation for hot.” As this would jar in the surface reading, the way to overcome this is to change the consume to consuming.
27 Starts alternative newspaper on spirits (7)
ORIGINS – A two letter word for expressing an alternative followed by the single letter for a newspaper and a four letter word for alcoholic spirits.
28 Wise men point to a long time (5)
SAGES – The abbreviation for south (point) followed by a word for a long time.
29 Concoction from evil sounding dissertation (9)
SYNTHESIS – A homophone (sounding) of SIN followed by another word for a dissertation.
1 Trooper spots hangers on (9)
PARASITES – A four letter word for a airborne trooper followed by a five letter word for spots or locations.
2 Rascal goes to upper-class university on a whim (7)
IMPULSE – A three letter word for a rascal followed by the abbreviation for upper class and the abbreviation for London School or Economics (university).
3 Quiet! Fashionable queen gets black eye (6)
SHINER – A two letter word for be quiet followed by a two letter word for fashionable and the regnal cipher for the current queen. As quiet has already been used an indicator in 6a, a different indicator should ideally have been used.
4 The French way to end (4)
LAST – The French feminine singular for the followed by the abbreviation for street.
5 Seems fleet at sea shows personal pride (4,6)
SELF ESTEEM – An anagram (at sea) of SEEMS FLEET.
6 Extensive debts follow internationals’ return (8)
SPACIOUS – Reverse (return) a four letter word for international players followed by the four letter word representing debts. Perhaps following would be better than follow so that the cryptic reading is “a word for debts following a reversal of a word for internationals”.
7 To make things better first of all encourage new hope and never create enemies (7)
ENHANCE – The initial letters (first of all) of the final seven letters of the clue.
8 Blue compared to pink is more unusual (5)
RARER – Think of the cooking of steak and how your would compare a blue steak to a pink one.
13 United Nations’ simple sounding head creates uncertainty (10)
UNEASINESS – The abbreviation for United Nations followed by a homophone (sounding) of EASY (simple) and a four letter word for a head (in terms of a cape or head of land). As sounding has already been used as a homophone indictor, a different indicator should be used here.
16 Wonders how horse ties in a tangle (9)
THEORISES – An anagram (in a tangle) of HORSE TIES.
17 Cruisers could be Peeping Toms dropping uniform and snorting a gram (8)
VOYAGERS – A seven letter word for peeping toms without the U (dropping uniform) around (snorting) the A from the clue and the abbreviation for gram.
19 Appropriate installation (7)
FITTING – Double definition, the second being a word used for items affixed to a property.
21 Single member raises topic and hinders progress (7)
IMPAIRS – The letter for single or one followed by the abbreviation for MP and a word meaning raises a topic.
22 People produce shiny finish (6)
POLISH – Double definition for the people of Poland and something that is applied to provide a shiny finish to shoes. Perhaps producing would be better than produce so that you have definition A producing definition B.
23 They’re tied up in Oxford? (5)
LACES – What may be tied up in an Oxford shoe.
25 Brass comes from Hydrogen or Nitrogen (4)
HORN – The chemical symbol for hydrogen followed by the OR from the clue and the chemical symbol for nitrogen.