A Puzzle by Shabbo
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today it’s the return of Shabbo. 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 excellent crossword from Shabbo with some good wordplay and humour thrown in. In a few places there were some minor points on the wordplay where the clues could have been polished and some of the cryptic definitions were perhaps on the easy side. However, these did not detract from the overall quality of the crossword. The commentometer is a creditable 3/28 or 10.7%
1 Genetic donors found in outskirts of Palma (6,3,6)
FATHER AND MOTHER – The outskirts of Palma are PA and MA. Expand these to get the answer.
9 Worryingly entrust eccentrics (7)
NUTTERS – An anagram (worryingly) of ENTRUST.
10 Scathing extract from newspaper perhaps (7)
CUTTING – Double definition.
11 Northern Ireland in race to make final matches (3-2)
RUN-IN – The abbreviation for Northern Ireland inside a three letter word for a race.
12 He has designs on getting under one’s skin (9)
TATTOOIST – Cryptic definition of someone who draws patterns on the body.
13 Drop into the pub first for cheap conversation (5,4)
LOCAL CALL – A five letter word for a pub before (first) a four letter word meaning drop into. A minor niggle but “drop into” as a phrase does not give the final four words of the clue – it would give a phrase ending in “on or in”. It would need to be “drop in” to work. Whilst you could argue that you need to separate the into so that the “to” becomes a positional indicator, this would not work here as the word for the pub comes first and, in any event, unindicated separations like this are not acceptable to some editors. The “the” could have been omitted.
15 American soldiers return letter (5)
SIGMA – Reverse (return) a two letter abbreviation for American and a three letter abbreviation for soldiers.
16 Novello linked with unknown piano key (5)
IVORY – The first name of the composer Mr Novello followed by a letter used in algebra to indicate an unknown quantity. A minor point but Chambers indicates that for piano keys the plural is required. I don’t think that this justifies the use of the solution in the singular as the plural is used as a collective noun for the set of keys.
18 Protected prisoner did time (9)
CONSERVED – A three letter word for a prisoner followed by a six letter word meaning having done time in prison or in the armed forces / police etc.
20 Adapt or I will join the French revolutionary leader (9)
EDITORIAL – A four letter word meaning adapt or amend followed by the OR I from the clue and a reversal (revolutionary) of the French feminine form of “the”.
23 More unusual to see lion perhaps with nothing to lose (5)
RARER – A description of a lion by reference to the sound that it make without the letter O (nothing to lose). The link words “to see” don’t work as you have DEFINTION to see WORDPLAY but you should have WORDPLAY to see DEFINITION.
24 Kiln in moor produces hot snack (7)
TOASTIE – A four letter word for kiln in which hops are dried inside a three letter word meaning to moor or dock somewhere.
25 African, Welshman and Scotsman (7)
IVORIAN – A four letter Welsh name followed by a three letter Scots name. As the Welsh name has already been used in 16a, it would be been better to have found a different way of cluing this or the other clue.
26 Come down hard and exercise pets with no lead (4,4,3,4)
RAIN CATS AND DOGS – A phrase 5,4,3,4 meaning to exercise felines and canines without the initial letter (with no lead).
1 He might be undertaking a late assignment (7,8)
FUNERAL DIRECTOR – The profession of someone one who attends to the needs of the bereaved for the burial of the deceased.
2 I can’t get worked up about the other ship (7)
TITANIC – An anagram (get worked up) of ICANT around a two letter word for sex (the other). As the letters to be rearranged are treated a as unit (the anagram indicator works on them collectively) the cryptic grammar does not work here as you have A get worked up rather than A gets works up.
3 Outside times lost for ever (9)
ETERNALLY – A ten letter word meaning outside without (lost) the letter representing times.
4 Rise in old savings account is a benefit (5)
ASSET – Reverse (rise in) the name of an old savings account.
5 Last month 50% of athletes joined on two day event (9)
DECATHLON – The abbreviation for the last month of the year, the first four letters (50%) of the word athletes and the ON from the clue.
6 Alfresco party put in the shade (5)
OUTDO – Split 3-2, the solution would suggest an alfresco (open air) party.
7 Calling a cab in bad weather? (7)
HAILING – Double definition.
8 Wright’s grandson struggling with moral code (6,3,6)
RIGHTS AND WRONGS – An anagram (struggling) of WRIGHTS GRANDSON. The anagram here is not helped by the fact that the first five letters of the solution appear in the same order in the first work of the clue. Perhaps “Put up with grandson struggling with moral code” would have disguised this better.
14 Building drawer for wren possibly (9)
ARCHITECT – Single definition described two ways. The convention is that you can capitalise common nouns to deceive but that you should not have a proper noun in lower case.
15 Last weapon outside could be bloody (5,4)
SWEAR WORD – a five letter word for a bladed weapon around (outside) a four letter word meaning to last or endure.
17 How to make paper increasingly attractive? (7)
ORIGAMI – A cryptic definition of the art of paper-folding – soon to be televised I hear on a paper view channel.
19 I go green at first with dizziness (7)
VERTIGO – A four letter word for heraldic green before (first) the I GO from the clue. As we have had first as a positional indicator perhaps a different indicator could have been used in one of the clues.
21 Difficult topic for alcohol supplier (5)
OPTIC – An anagram (difficult) of TOPIC.
22 Sounds like a high flying canine (5)
LAIKA – A homophone (sounds) of LIKE A. Perhaps an imperative verb sound, rather than sounds, would have given a better indicator here.