A Puzzle by Zulu
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today Zulu has decided to put his head above the parapet (or is that the stockade!) with 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.
A warm welcome to Zulu. When the first comments from JollySwagman indicate that he has problems with the clues, you begin to get very worried indeed. However, apart from a handful of clues, there was a sound crossword with some good ideas in the clues. A few general observations:
- It is not usual to end clues with a full stop.
- The grid design with the clues at 5 across and 26 across having three consecutive unchecked letters and less than 50% of the letter cross checked is not something that would be accepted in the daily papers.
- There was a heavy reliance on verbal and adjectival phrases as definitions. This made the crossword feel unbalanced. These types of clue are not universally popular.
The commentometer reads at 8/28 or 28.6%.
1 Landlady perhaps with kisses on the bottom? (6)
LETTER – Double definition, the second being an adjective phrase of something written that might contain kisses after the signature. As a general comment, not as a criticism, the use (or overuse) of verbal and adjectival phrases is not universally popular.
5 Speeding vehicle is a bit over the top. (8)
CARAPACE – A three letter word for a vehicle followed by a five letter word for speeding. As there is no indication that the word order is changed from the clue to the solution, it might have been better to have had “Vehicle speeding…”
8 Edifice constructed when Balham turned to god. (8)
ALHAMBRA – An anagram (turned) of BALHAM followed by a two letter Egyptian deity.
9 Esau certainly provided a container but unsuitable for pottage. (6)
SAUCER – The answer is hidden (provided a container for) in ESAU CERTAINLY.
11 Therefore, upon reflection, it is a monster. (4)
OGRE – A reversal (upon reflection) of the Latin for therefore. Care has to be taken with this type of clue as it could be read as reflecting the name of the monster to give the Latin for therefore.
12 Multiple take off on board, travelling in stages and landing on sand. (6,4)
TRIPLE JUMP – Cryptic definition of a sporting event that involves these stages.
13 It’s good for an old master to stay in shape but one can be carried away by it. (9)
STRETCHER – Double definition, the first being that which keeps the canvas of a painting taut and the second being something that carries a patient.
14 Property at about one hundred and fifty-seven degrees. (5)
ASSET – The AT from the clue about the compass direction at 157 degrees on a compass rose.
17 Intended to prohibit movement it may allow one to perform a roll. (5)
SNARE – Double definition, the first being a type of trap and the second a type of drum on which a drum roll could be performed.
18 Boring a hole has no point after stop when tea is taken. (9)
SOPORIFIC – Remove the T (tea?) from the STOP in the clue and follow it with another word for a hole without the final E (no point). Tea for T is not a recognised definition. It could have been replaced by “tee” as the phonetic spelling of the letter. It would have suggested a golfing theme.
21 Western sees bloody exchange that is not intentional. (10)
ACCIDENTAL – The word meaning western (opposed to eastern) with a change in the initial letter for one blood group for another.
23 I start to return a letter. (4)
IOTA – The I from the clue followed by a reversal (return) of the TO from the clue and the A from the clue. The “Start” in the clue is somewhat awkward and could have been overcome with “I return to a letter”.
24 A way to the unknown when one can’t be bothered? (6)
APATHY – The A from the clue followed by a four letter word for a pavement or way and a letter representing an unknown quantity.
25 Supporter behind gets everyone feeling nervous. (8)
BACKBONE – A four letter word meaning behind followed by a word describing when you feel anxious to the ….”. This is perhaps a little oblique.
26 Means of setting off when one is unsteady? (8)
TREMBLER – Double definition, the first being a type of detonator and the second being someone who is unsteady.
27 Compositions suitable for assembly one may go to under duress. (6)
PIECES – Triple definition, the first being musical compositions, the second bits that can be assembled together and the final one being something that you may be said to go to under stress or duress.
2 Teach and in some ways brilliance can be installed. (9)
ENLIGHTEN – Put a five letter word meaning brilliance inside (can be installed) EN EN (some ways)
3 Performs with intent to create suspense. (7,6)
TRAPEZE ARTIST – Cryptic definition of a circus performer. Perhaps “One who performs…” would have been better.
4 Power to implement a programme (of arms possibly) – nothing personal. (8)
ROBOTICS – My only guess here is that is is a cryptic definition of the process of creating automatic machines that may have arms. It does not feel very satisfactory to me.
5 Cup of Indian tea with unwelcome visitors? (7)
CHALICE – The three letter word for tea followed by a type of creature that infests hair. The Indian is misleading as Indian tea is chai.
6 Beef extract, a soft sound. (6)
RUSTLE – Double definition, the first being the theft of a cow (beef extract).
7 The best note paper. (5)
CREAM – A single letter note on the musical scale followed by a four letter word for a quantity of paper.
10 Not warranted and not fair if bail is set before end of sentence. (13)
UNJUSTIFIABLE – A six letter word meaning not fair followed by an anagram (is set) of IF BAIL and the last letter (end of) of sentence.
15 Being in the river is nicest in a way. (9)
EXISTENCE – An anagram (in a way) of NICEST inside a three letter word for a south western river.
16 Three hundred and thirty, one way, flat out – top gear for an idiot? (8)
FOOLSCAP – The name of a paper size that is 330 × 200 mm in size if split 4’1, 3 would be a hat for an idiot. I think that this is slightly unfair as no indicator of the measurement is given and the words “flat out” are not needed and detract from the meaning.
19 O to be in parts of Carolina in the fall. (7)
OCTOBER – The O followed by the TO BE from the clue inside CR (part of Carolina). There is no indication of which parts of Carolina are to be used. This is not a valid way of indicating letters.
20 Hide the transformer in the garden. (6)
JEKYLL – Double definition, the first being the alter ego of Hyde and second the surname of a garden designer. The clue requires a homophone indicator to get from Hide to Hyde.
22 One may be cut with spirit and used as an ingredient. (5)
CAPER — A double definition, the first being used in the phrase “to cut a ….”, the second meaning a cooking ingredient.