A Puzzle by Fiddlesticks
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today we have a new puzzle from Fiddlesticks. 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 Fiddlesticks. This was a considerable improvement on his previous two crosswords. The obscurities, unusual abbreviations, incorrect clue constructions and sometimes repetitions evident in his last crossword have been largely removed. The difficulty level was still high but this was manageable as the clues were much fairer. I agree that some of the surface readings could have been improved but I would rather that the clue construction skills are in place then the surface readings can follow.
The commentometer reads at 4/31 or 12.9%. By way of contrast, the previous crossword (Number 200) would have scored 10/30 or 33% so there is every indication that Fiddlesticks is heading in the right direction.
1 Pub rivals catching fish symbols with lines (3,5)
BAR CODES – A three letter for a pub and rivals in a game of bridge include (catching) a three letter type fish often eaten with chips.
5,11 Beatles song has farm animal reflecting on God given ability, hears Spooner? (4,2,2,3)
FROM ME TO YOU – A Spoonerism of FROM YE TO MOO. I don’t think that this clue really works. Ye is the Old English form of the or you. In Old English “from God” would be “from Thee” as thee and thou we’re used to address God. The Spoonerism is not what Spooner would hear but what he would say!
10 Left setter with rodent eating in car (9)
LIMOUSINE – The abbreviation for left followed by a single letter to represent the setter and a five letter word for a type of rodent in which is inserted (eating) the IN from the clue.
11 See 5
12 Called headless ape (4)
RANG – Remove the first letter (headless) from a species of ape.
13 Furniture for arranging notes? (5,5)
PIANO STOOL – Cryptic definition of where a musical composer might sit.
15 Make merry and return, bar used to pressure… (5)
REVEL – Revers (return) a five letter word for a bar used to exert pressure to open something.
16 …in this place charity’s natural (8)
INHERENT – The IN from the clue followed by a four letter word meaning this place and the abbreviation for National Trust (charity).
19 Six on ice sports, cutting out… (8)
EXCISION – An anagram (sports) of SIX ON ICE.
21 …series of slopes (5)
LISTS – Double definition, the first being a schedule or rota of events and the second another way of saying leans or slopes.
25 Carriage in wobble in line of four (10)
TETRAMETER – A four letter word for a form of public transport (carriage) inside a six letter word meaning wobble.
26 Throw up in pigeon shed (4)
LOFT – Double definition, the second being another term for where pigeons are housed.
28 Wood producing a lot of resin (5)
BALSA – Remove the final letter (a lot of) from another word for a fragrant resin.
29 Home challenging European court on setter’s accusation (9)
INVECTIVE – A two letter word meaning home followed by the abbreviation for against or challenging, the abbreviations for European and Court and a three letter contraction for I have (setter’s or setter has).
30 Flower show by Gaza leader (6)
AZALEA – The answer is hidden in (show by) GAZA LEADER. Grammatically, this should read “shown by”.
31 Wastes food (8)
FRITTERS – Double definition, the second being a type of battered and deep fried food item.
1 Dance coat (6)
BOLERO – Double definition, the first being a Spanish dance and the second a form of waistcoat.
2 Tale of ancient empire and present time (7)
ROMANCE – The ancient empire of Caesar and the abbreviation for Common Era (present time)
3 Composition of liquid discharged by duck (4)
OPUS – The letter represented by a duck or zero followed by a form of liquid discharge from a boil or ulcer.
4 Obtain wrong report (6)
ELICIT – A homophone (report) of illicit (wrong)
6 Poirot is series detective of restaurant (10)
ROTISSERIE – The answer is hidden in (of) POIROT IS SERIES. The “detective” is padding and should, ideally, be avoided. Also, of as a hidden word indicator needs come before the letters in which the solution is hidden. Perhaps Poirot is series featured in restaurant – quite the reverse.
7 Can European get support for dance? (7)
MAYPOLE – A three letter word meaning can (as indicating permission to do something used in common parlance though, grammatically, arguably incorrect as can indicates ability rather than permission) followed by a four letter word for an Eastern European.
8 Uniformity of drug grade (8)
EQUALITY – The abbreviation for ecstasy followed by a seven letter word meaning grade.
9 Moving in a roundabout way loses the German sense (7)
MEANING – A ten letter word meaning moving in a roundabout way or aimless fashion without the DER (the German).
14 Reduce extent of climbing plant, state overdue (2-8)
DE-ESCALATE – Reverse (climbing) a four letter word for something from which a plant grows and follow it with the two letter abbreviation for the State of California and a four letter word meaning overdue. I don’t think that plant is correct synonym here. Something along the lines of stock would have been better.
17 Green, black and white one missing first back segment (8)
VERTEBRA – A four letter word for green used in heraldry (from the French) followed by a black and white animal without the first letter (one missing first).
18 Fruit grew fashionable (7)
ROSEHIP – A four letter word meaning grew or increased in height followed by a three letter word meaning trendy or fashionable.
20 Track-laying vehicle on mountain to get a tree (7)
CATALPA – A three letter abbreviation (given in Collins but not Chambers) for a vehicle that moves by laying its own tracks in front of it in a continuous loop system followed by a three letter word for a European mountain and the A from the clue.
22 Couple at age to cheat (3-4)
TWO-TIME – A three letter word for a couple followed by a four letter word meaning age.
23 Castor live? Declare to be true (6)
BEAVER – A two letter word meaning live or exist followed by a four letter word meaning declare to be true.
24 Hasten to exploit capital… (6)
ATHENS – An anagram (to exploit) of HASTEN. As to exploit is a transitive verb it needs to come before the letters to be rearranged.
27 …leave quickly, dropping fish (4)
SCAT – Triple definition.