Premier et Dernier, Peut-être by Moutarde
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today we have another setter making his debut. Sounds like hot stuff! 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.
Moutarde kicks off the fifth year of the Rookie Corner is grand style with a well constructed crossword with very few issues to comment upon. A couple of the surface readings could have been smoother to read as natural sentences in their own right and four homophones and four hidden words in one crossword was probably too many of each clue type.
The commentometer reads as 2.5 / 32 or 7.8%
1 Assume puzzle pleases (6)
AMUSES – An anagram (puzzle) of ASSUME. The anagram indicator functions as a noun in this clue. Some editors will not permit this. Whilst puzzle could be used as a verb, it would have to come before the letters to be rearranged to make grammatical sense in the cryptic reading.
5 One having a single cell? (6)
AMOEBA – Straight definition of a singled celled creature. There is a fine line between creating a cryptic definition that reads as if the answer could be something else. This one does not really work.
10 Caper from impulsive response after article (5)
ANTIC – The indefinite article used before a vowel followed by a three letter word for an impulsive response.
11 Artist in Paris, she runs to capture VIP (9)
ENAMELLER – The French word for she and the abbreviation for runs around (to capture) a four letter word for a celebrity.
12 Misdemeanour that could be taken as indicating disapproval (7)
OFFENCE – Double definition, the second used in the phase to take ******* to something.
13 Learned papers around university in ancient Greek (7)
THESEUS – A six letter word for an academic paper around the abbreviation for university.
14 Dreams of supporter before siesta is disturbed (9)
FANTASIES – A three letter word for a supporter followed by an anagram (is disturbed) of SIESTA.
17 Flutter created by jester in front of Queen (5)
WAGER – A three letter word for a jester before the regnal cypher for the current monarch.
18 Admission gained from Alpen tryst (5)
ENTRY – The answer is hidden in (gained from) ALPEN TRYST.
19 Hesitation between notes for those who sing tremulously (9)
QUAVERERS – A two letter word for a hesitation in speech inside (between) the plural of a musical note.
21 A vegan initially circles round bounder to get fruit (7)
AVOCADO – The A from the clue and the initial letter of vegan followed by two letters O (circles) round a three letter word for a bounder.
23 Soldiers taking on tricky race as source of threat (7)
MENACER – A three letter word for a soldiers followed by (taking on) an anagram (tricky) of RACE.
25 Pet saying upset residents of Memphis? (9)
EGYPTIANS – An anagram (upset) of PET SAYING.
26 Beach guard calling out ‘forbidden area’ (5)
GROIN – A homophone (calling out) of GROYNE (a beach guard). Care has to be taken when putting a homophone indicator in the middle of two words. Here as the two words have different numbers of letters, it is not too much of a problem but the tense “calling out” suggests that the answer ought to be a homophone of a forbidden area, not the reverse. Perhaps “called out” would have been better.
27 Investigate upper-class absorbed by prize (6)
PURSUE – A five letter word for a sporting cash prize around the abbreviation for upper-class.
28 Inclusive cost of charge to play tennis? (3,3)
NET FEE – Double definition (the second slightly fanciful as indicated by the question mark).
2 French word provided emblem (5)
MOTIF – The French for “word” followed by a two letter word meaning provided.
3 Inferior sort of education? (9)
SECONDARY – Double definition.
4 Watched broadcast showing Panorama (5)
SCENE – A homophone (broadcast) of SEEN (watched).
5 Santa redirected to the East for last princess (9)
ANASTASIA – An anagram (redirected) of SANTA followed by the name of an Eastern continent.
6 Box eyed to hold plant (2-3)
OX-EYE – The answer is hidden in (to hold) BOX EYED.
7 Symbolic flier that may need hair restorer? (4,5)
BALD EAGLE – Cryptic definition of the symbolic bird used by the USA.
8 Absconded to make copies (3,3)
RAN OFF – Double definition. The second part of the definition is in the wrong tense. It should be “Absconded having made copies”
9 Rubber tyres a retailer keeps rejecting (6)
ERASER – The answer is hidden and reversed (keeps rejecting) TYRES A RETAILER.
15 Denial of reportedly ram’s personal domain? (3,3,3)
NOT FOR YOU – A homophone (reportedly) of NOT FOR EWE (ram’s personal domain).
16 Reformatted equation incorporating basic skill, perhaps does not make required number (9)
INQUORATE – An anagram (reformatted) of EQUATION includes the single letter word representing reading, writing or arithmetic.
17 Hear fragile man on Tuesday evening? (9)
WEEKNIGHT – A homophone (hear) of weak (fragile) knight (man).
18 Delighted journalist supports legend making a comeback (6)
ELATED – A four letter word for a story or legend is reversed (making a comeback) and followed by a two letter word for a journalist.
20 Calm coming from laser energy (6)
SERENE – The answer is hidden in (coming from) LASER ENERGY.
22 USA to develop vehicles (5)
AUTOS – An anagram (develop) of USA TO. As a transitive verb, develop should precede the letters to be rearranged.
23 Two family members joined worker in secret society (5)
MASON – Another word for a mother and a word for one of her children with two definitions that result.
24 Old woman’s end of wafer covered in ice cream (5)
CRONE – A four letter word for a cornet around the last letter (end of) of water.