A Puzzle by Wire
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today’s we have a second puzzle from Wire. 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 Wire with a fine crossword with a well pitched degree of difficulty. The wordplay was for the greater part well thought out with only a few niggles but nothing major. I would much rather have the wordplay in order than have the wordplay sacrificed for a perfect surface reading. Getting the two to work together with wordplay and surface reading being seamless is something that will come with practice. The commentometer reads 3 out of 27 or 11.1%.
1 Fabulous bird photos catch chicken circling duck (7)
PHOENIX – A three letter informal word pictures around (catch) a three letter word for a chicken around the letter representing zero or a duck. For the cryptic reading to work, catch would be better capturing as we need the structure A capturing B circling C.
5 See 18 Down
10 Male Irish singer returned having pulled, sporting a low hairline (10)
MONOBROWED – The abbreviation for male followed by the reversal of an four letter name of an Irish singer and another word meaning having pulled as in used oars in a boat.
11 ‘I hear you are back in for gin?‘ (4)
RUIN – A homophone for you are (I hear) reversed (back) followed by the IN from the clue.
12 Old King Samuel ran amok across North East (8)
MENELAUS – An anagram (ran amok) around (across) the abbreviation for North East.
13 Improve opinion of umpire, regularly at Edgbaston’s opener (6)
UPRATE – The odd letters (regularly) in UMPIRE followed by the AT from the clue and the first letter (opener) of Edgbaston.
14 Woman in the drug business (4)
ESME – The abbreviation for Ecstasy followed by the abbreviation for Small to Medium Enterprise (business).
15 Low level of speed (have fixes during interval) (6,4)
SNAIL’S PACE – A five letter word meaning fixes or hammers in inside (within) a five letter word for an interval. Perhaps omitting the “have” would improve this slightly as the cryptic reading of definition have wordplay or definition – have A in B is not the smoothest.
17 Arrived cradling small amphibian; to hospital…could be sinister (4-6)
LEFT HANDED – A six letter word meaning arrived or disembarked around (cradling) a three letter word for a small amphibian.
21 Hoover is one to finally interrogate lady of distinction (4)
DAME – A three letter word for a structure of which Hoover is an example (is one) followed by the last letter (finally) of interrogate. A to B as charade indicator is just about ok.
23 They provide support when walking around the county (6)
STAFFS – Double definition for walking sticks and the abbreviation for a Midlands country.
25 Cool army jacket conceals space primarily for ‘medicinal’ canteen (3,5)
HIP FLASK – A three letter word meaning cool followed by a four letter word for a type of army jacket around (conceals) the first letter (primarily) of space. To be picky, the word army jacket stands as a noun to indicate an adjective as it is a type of jacket that is required.
26 Subdue Liberal’s habit (4)
COWL – A three letter word meaning subdue followed by the abbreviation for Liberal.
27 Set a clue about blokes in charge of the Christian church (10)
ECUMENICAL – An anagram (set) of A CLUE a three letter word for blokes and the abbreviation for in charge.
28 Went on and on in flagrante delicto (6)
RANTED – The answer is hidden (in) in FLAGRANTE DELICTO.
29 See 7 Down
2 Marksmen’s leader split off to find owls, perhaps (7)
HOOTERS – An eighth letter word for marksmen with the final letter removed (leader split off).
3 Part divided by operation? Bolt together to become one (9)
ELOPEMENT – A word for a part of something around (divided by) the abbreviation for operation.
4 Old drains reconstructed – that’s progress (7)
INROADS – An anagram (reconstructed) of O (old) DRAINS.
6 He had a bird on his arm in bar north of City (3,4)
ROD HULL – A three letter word for a bar before (north of) a port city.
7/29 Distressed Rosa re-emerges sapped of energy, getting ‘password incorrect’? (5,7)
ERROR MESSAGE – An anagram (distressed) of ROSA RE-EMERGES after removing an E (sapped of energy)
8 Nerve starts to show conductance, indicated by a twitch (7)
SCIATIC – The initial letters (start to) of the forth to sixth words of the clue followed by the A from the clue and a three letter word for a twitch.
9 Request place inside, being circled by one flogging tickets for a song (5,3,5)
TWIST AND SHOUT – A five letter word meaning place inside a four letter word for a request or desire with a four letter word for a ticket seller outside (circling around). Have used circled as a containment indicator previously, perhaps a different word should have been used here.
16 Reportedly go door-to-door selling glasses and kitchen containers (5,4)
PEDAL BINS – A homophone of peddle (go door to door selling) and a four letter abbreviation for binoculars (glasses).
18/5 Health advice from politicians after refreshing year out (3,4,6)
EAT YOUR GREENS – The name of an ecologically friendly political party after an anagram (refreshing) of YEAR OUT.
19 Plain beret suavely covers when receding (7)
AUSTERE – The answer is hidden (covers) and reversed (when receding) in BERET SUAVELY.
20 Run down piano is in key (7)
DEPLETE – The abbreviation for piano inside the name of a key on a keyboard.
22 Dupe Ollie’s funny friend into having an American car (7)
MUSTANG – The name of Oliver Hardy’s comedic companion inside (into) a three letter word for a dupe or fool. The construction A B into to mean B inside A is not the most elegant of constructions.
24 Loud man with Tesla…he has conviction (5)
FELON – The abbreviation for loud followed by the first name of Mr Musk, the creator of the Tesla car.