A Puzzle by Effra
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Effra returns with his second attempt. 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 Effra. After the first crossword where the the clues were technically good but needed attention to the surface readings, the tables are turned where the surface readings are better but there are more technical issues. The is reflected in the commentometer which reads as 6.5 / 33 or 19.7. Combining technically sound clues with smooth surface readings is the most difficult aspect of clue writing and comes with a lot of practice and good test solvers who are not afraid to point out your infelicities. There were a lot of good clues as well with 29a being a particularly good example.
9 Pizza topping‘s spice complementing beer (9)
PEPPERONI – A three letter word meaning spice followed by the name of an Italian brand of beer.
10 Originally guys elevated noisome toilet seats: well-mannered types (5)
GENTS – The first letters (originally) of the second to sixth words of the clue.
11 Flog skimpy underwear (5)
THONG – Double definition. The verb to flog should not be used to clue a noun. If, in the past, the solution was a verb, this should be indicated in the clue with, for example, In the past flog skimpy underwear
12 Exotic prize toad has form (9)
TRAPEZOID – An anagram (exotic) of PRIZE TOAD.
13 Sherlock admires copycats (7)
PIRATES – The abbreviation for private investigator followed by a five letter word meaning admires. As Sherlock is used as a definition by example, it should strictly have a definition by example indicator – perhaps “Sherlock, for one, admires copycats”
14 Stationing American soldier in pub closest to my house makes sense (7)
LOGICAL – The two letter abbreviation for an American soldier inside a five letter word for a public house. I think that the word clued by pub is well known enough not to be padded out with the word closest to my house.
17 Support for pair (5)
BRACE – Double definition, the first being a strut or supporting rod and the second being used to denote a pair in phrases such as a ????? of pheasants.
19 The difference we’re told to be wary of? (3)
GAP – Double definition, the first being the difference between two numbers and the second being something that you have to mind on the tube in London.
20 Group’s retreat (5)
OASIS – Double definition, the first being a band from Manchester and the second being a retreat or watering hole.
21 Holy oil presented by man with honour (7)
CHRISOM – A five letter shortened man’s name followed by the abbreviation for Order of Merit (honour). Chambers (printed version) has the answer as being the christening gown with the solution without the O being the holy oil. However, Chambers on-line and Collins dictionary support the word with an O being the holy oil.
22 Counter-intuitively, obtrusively, lacking soul is the soul of wit? (7)
BREVITY – Remove the letters in SOUL from OBTRUSIVELY and make an anagram (counter-intuitively) from the remaining letters. Some editors would require a secondary anagram indicator as the letters in SOUL are not removed in the same order from OBTRUSIVELY. Maybe lacking “animated soul”.
24 Undo anoraks, go for jumpers (9)
KANGAROOS – An anagram (undo) of ANORAKS GO.
26 Lunatic naughtily suppressing tiny titter (5)
LAUGH – An anagram (lunatic) of NAUGHTILY having removed (suppressing) the letters in TINY. The same point about a secondary anagram indicator applies here. One other point to watch is variety in clue types. In 17a to 19a we had three consecutive double definitions. Here we have had three anagram clues in a row. Not wrong, but mixing up the clue types is better.
28 Women’s Institute members: those lacking balls? (5)
WIMPS – The abbreviation for Women’s Institute followed by the abbreviation for Members of Parliament.
29 Mmmm . . . a great deal! (9)
THOUSANDS – The plural of the number represented by M in roman numerals. A really good clue.
1 Rain lightly for BBQ (4)
SPIT – Double definition for a light rain and the device on which you barbecue meat.
2 Ill-made armour plate lacking metal prompts complaint (6)
UPROAR – An anagram (ill-made) of ARMOUR PLATE after removing (lacking) the letters in METAL. Again there should be secondary anagram indicator, maybe “lacking malleable metal”. Also, as “lacking” has been used as a removal indicator, an alternative should have been used here.
3 Airy woman, forty-two rather than fifty (10)
WEIGHTLESS – The abbreviation for woman followed by the difference between 42 and 50 as a phrase (5,4). A problem here is that woman cannot be abbreviated to W as W is the abbreviation for women not woman.
4 Rival team leader no good for developing individual? (6)
FOETUS – A three letter word for a rival followed by the first letter (leader) of team and the abbreviation for unserviceable (no good).
5 Computer speed means temporary job a disappointment (8)
GIGAFLOP – A three letter word for a temporary job followed y the A from the clue and a four letter word for a disappointment. The structure definition means wordplay does not quite work.
6 Improperly get a load of assorted Lego? (4)
OGLE – An anagram (assorted) of LEGO.
7 Statements where accents are heard (8)
INVOICES – Split 2,6, this would be where you might hear accents.
8 Second-hand American edition? (4)
USED – The abbreviation for United States (American) followed by the abbreviation for edition.
13 Kind of hair that’s popular when length is trimmed (5)
PUBLIC – A six letter word meaning popular (though I think general or widespread is the real meaning of the word here) without the abbreviation for length.
15 After bottom pinch: body makes hair stand on end (10)
GOOSEFLESH – A five letter word meaning bottom pinch followed by a five letter word for the body.
16 Passionate love everyone can see with good man over time (5)
LUSTY – A single letter meaning love followed by the abbreviation for Universal (everyone can see) and the abbreviations for saint (good man) and year (time). L for love is not a recognised abbreviation. Perhaps “Passionate lecturer…”
18 Words composed of the first letters of the words in a phrase are initially awesome clue resources – occasionally, naively you mispell some (8)
ACRONYMS – The initial letters (initially) of the final eight letters of the clue. The clue is over wordy and ironically, misspell had been misspelled!
19 Stew over good book on skinhead footwear (3,5)
GUM BOOTS – A five letter word for a creole stew followed by the abbreviation for Old Testament and the first letter (head) of skin. Some editors would not allow skinhead as an indicator for S.
22 Twice break faith with clergyman (6)
BISHOP – A three letter word meaning twice in Latin followed by a three letter word meaning break faith.
23 Antiguan anaconda digests lizard (6)
IGUANA – The answer is hidden (digests) in ANTIGUAN ANACONDA.
24 Some ski with bird (4)
KIWI – The answer is hidden in (some) SKI WITH. Again there is an issue with successive clues having the same clue type.
25 Laos bombed too (4)
ASLO – An anagram (bombed) of LAOS. Four letter anagrams are not wrong but not much of a challenge.
27 Chaff, sledge, hound without end (4)
HUSK – Remove the final letter (without end) from a type of dog used to pull sledged. Perhaps with docked tail would have fitted the surface of the clue better.