Hurricanes by Maclog
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
We haven’t seen a puzzle from Maclog for a while – the wait is now over. 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 Maclog with a themed puzzle where the title gives a hint of what is to come (although not all of the solutions were the names of hurricanes). With a themed puzzle, there is more latitude in the construction of the grid and you will often get more three and four letter solutions. However, the cross-checking in 8d and 22d would not pass muster in a national paper with only 1/3 of the letters cross-checked. This could easily have been avoided by making 16a as “ERODE” and 22d as “PRIEST” and 22a as “PLAIN”. It would also have reduced the number of three letter solutions.
There were quite a few small niggles on the wordplay, particularly with the down clues that account for a commentometer reading of 8 out of 37 or 21.6%.
9 She caught you at first embracing a new duchess (5)
CINDY – The abbreviation for caught and the first letter of you include (embracing) a letter representing one (a) and the abbreviations for new and duchess.
10 Tank erosive mistakenly consumed by royal couple (9)
RESERVOIR – An anagram (mistakenly) of EROSIVE inside the abbreviation for royal repeated (couple). The abbreviation for Royal is in Collins though not in Chambers.
11 Good at home but away mostly on island (7)
OKINAWA – A two letter word meaning good followed by a two letter word meaning at home and the first three letters (mostly) of away. As a linkword, ON is not not ideal, wordplay on definition does not work very well for me.
12 Regressive tax initially too insulting to impose (7)
INTRUDE – A reversal of the abbreviation for national insurance (loosely a tax) followed by the first letter (initially) of too and a four letter word meaning insulting.
13 Most of the country used old money (5)
FRANC – The first five letters (most of) the country across the English channel from most of the solvers for the old pre-Euro currency of that country. As mostly has already been used, perhaps another tail-end deletion indicator should have been used. Also wordplay used definition is back to front – the definition uses the wordplay to get to the answer.
15 Assume godfather is academic (3)
DON – Triple definition with the meanings to wear or assume, a mafia godfather and a university academic.
16 Aspect of mind we all have got innately (3)
EGO – The answer is hidden in (innately) in HAVE GOT. I think that this could be shortened to “Aspect of mine we have innately” to remove the padding otherwise you would need “Aspect of mind we all have have got innately to separate the definition from the wordplay.
17 Force a long way back (3)
RAF – One of the British armed forces is a reversal (back) of a word meaning a long way.
19 Maize British Honduras formerly scattered in river (7)
ZAMBEZI – An anagram of MAIZE BZ (the informal IVR code for Belize, the former British Honduras). Borderline on an indirect anagram, particularly as the IVR code is not officially recognised, as you have to get from British Honduras, to Belize to BZ.
20 Motto is looked at (3)
SAW – Double definition.
23 Grass cut first then hair (3)
AWN – Remove the first letter (cut first) from a word for an area of grass.
24 Illuminated only every third character (3)
LIT – The third, sixth and ninth letters of the first word of the clue. The definition is part of the wordplay but it is a case where as a whole, I think that the clue works.
25 Triumphant cry of vandal (5)
YAHOO – Double definition, the vandals being from Gulliver’s Travels.
27 Blink perplexedly at books to find writing error (7)
INKBLOT – An anagram (perplexedly) followed by (at) the abbreviation for Old Testament.
29 Visceral ruse announced after downturn is over (7)
GASTRIC – A homophone (announced) of trick (ruse) after the reversal (is over) of another word for a slump or downturn.
32 Entrance for floating voters? (5,4)
SWING DOOR – Cryptic definition of a type of door that could open either way rather like the direction a floating voter might go from one party to another.
33 Guidelines adopted by some for clarity (5)
SPECS – Double definition for plans or guidelines for something an a visual aid to help see things clearly.
1 It is repeated in the valleys! (4)
ECHO – A reverberation that may be heard in some valleys.
2 Condition treated again with narcotics mainly (6)
ANGINA – An anagram (treated) of AGAIN followed by the first letter (mainly) of narcotics. I think that mainly means most of rather than the first letter of the wordplay.
3 Many disturbed by bird (4)
MYNA – An anagram (disturbed) of MANY. Four letter anagrams are not much of a challenge. They are best avoided. Wordplay by definition seems the wrong way around the definition comes by using the wordplay.
4 Regular liars mean to name female (4)
IRMA – The even letters (regularly) of LIARS MEAN. I don’t think that to name female means give the name of a female.
5 G-man is sent in disguise on mission (10)
ASSIGNMENT – An anagram (in disguise) of G MAN IS SENT. Again there is the problem with ON as a linkword.
6 He is in British river and in France (4)
BRET – The abbreviations for British and river followed by the French for “and”.
7 Noise you hear before troubled soul is inhabited (8)
POPULOUS – A three letter word for a type of noise followed by a homophone (hear) of you and an anagram (troubled) of SOUL. I think to maintain the cryptic reading of the clue, it requires “you heard”
8 Direction taken from French city points to hurricane (6)
ARLENE – The name of a French city with the final S removed (direction taken) followed by two compass points.
13 Nowhere near 17 coming up (3)
FAR – A reversal (coming up) of the answer to 17a.
14 Company philosophy is to cheat (5)
COZEN – A two letter abbreviation for company followed by a form of Buddhist philosophy.
15 Bulldozing oil men do it accidentally (10)
DEMOLITION – An anagram (accidentally) of OIL MEN DO IT.
16 She appears in road in cathedral town (5)
EMILY – The abbreviation for one of the British motorways inside the name of a fenland cathedral town. A minor pedantic point but it is a city not a town!
18 Honest about having nothing to return in natural disaster (8)
FRANKLIN – A five letter word meaning honest followed by a reversal (to return) of a three letter word meaning nothing. The about in the clue is not needed.
21 Which one of us is a doctor? (3)
WHO – The interrogative question is also the name of a time travelling Doctor.
22 In the meantime we have basic list though not alphabetical (6)
WHILST – The initial letters (basic) of we have followed by an anagram (though not alphabetical) of LIST. Basic as an initial letter indicator does not work for me and the anagram indicator is does not work either. Perhaps In the meantime we have initially disordered list.
26 Cocktail blots out complaining neighbour like number 8 (6)
HARVEY – The name of a cocktail made from orange juice, vodka and Galliano without the second word that could, is split 4,6 indicate a complaining neighbour.
28 Bears blows avoiding sobbing to begin with (4)
LUGS – A five letter word meaning blows or hits without the initial S (avoiding sobbing to begin with).
29 Storm danger TV revealed (4)
GERT – The answer is hidden in (revealed) in DANGER TV.
30 Special forces have bomb belt (4)
SASH – The abbreviation for the British special forces followed by the abbreviation for Hydrogen (bomb). I think that this should be type of bomb as H on its own is not a bomb.
31 Course regularly taken by president to meeting place (4)
CUSP – The odd letters (regularly) of COURSE followed by the abbreviation (given in Collins apparently but not in my Collins app) for president. As regularly has been used as an indicator already, a different one (oddly perhaps) could have been used.