A Puzzle by Laccaria
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
It’s been a while since Laccaria’s last puzzle. I hope you find that it’s been worth the wait. 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 Laccaria. The difficulty level has been pegged back again which was helpful. The use of the theme meant there were some unusual words in the grid but these were clued fairly. Less fair was the unusual word for a demon in 10a.
Some of the indicators could have been a bit tighter but this will come with practice. Apart from the cluing for lines in 7d, there were no major errors but, as might be expected for newer setters, minor niggles.
The commentometer reads at 5.5 out of 33 or 16.66%.
1 Wander on highway which doubles up at the end (4)
ROAM – A four letter word for a highway has the final letter changes from the Roman numeral for 500 to the Roman numeral for 1000 (doubles up at the end). A minor point but the use of “on” as a link word for Definition ON wordplay does not work particularly well.
4 More angry, missing grand summer (5)
ADDER – A six letter word meaning more angry has the Roman numeral for 1000 removed (missing grand).
7 That man gets order to approach (4)
HOME – A two letter word for that man goes around (gets) the abbreviation for Order of Merit (order). Gets is a weak containment indicator. Perhaps “holds” might be better. Also, to approach means ???? IN, not the solution on its own.
9 Unripe cactus extract will make you sick (6)
IPECAC – The answer is hidden in (extract) UNRIPE CACTUS. Bonus points for clearly cluing an unusual word.
10 Landowner possessed by half-evil spirit is friend of gardener (8)
LADYBIRD – A five letter word for a Scottish landowner includes (possessed by) half of the word DYBUCK (evil spirit). Bonus points lost for using an obscure word and requiring solvers to use half of it.
11 Try to influence series: spur for re-write (10)
PRESSURISE – An anagram (for re-write) of SERIES SPUR.
12 Object of Scotland Yard – getting one back (4)
ITEM – The abbreviation for the Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard) and I (one) all reversed (back).
13 Secretive clergyman returns joint to army chief (6)
COVERT – The abbreviation for Reverend (clergyman) is reversed (returns) and is followed by single letter representing a type of plumbing joint after the abbreviation for Commanding Officer (army chief). The positional indicators here are not very helpful.
15 Had cross argument – it’s in the frame! (4,4)
SASH CORD – An anagram (argument) of HAD CROSS. Argument as a noun is not an attractive anagram indicator and does not, even as a noun, indicate any form of rearrangement.
17 Means of improving personal image? Shunning – that is – assistance (4-4)
SELF-HELP – A word for a picture taken of oneself (personal image) without (shunning) the abbreviation for that is followed by a four letter word for assistance.
19 Here you may discuss customs about uniform (6)
FORUMS – A five letter word for customs or rites around the abbreviation for uniform.
20 Sack provided – back on (4)
FIRE – A two letter word meaning provided is reversed (back) followed by the abbreviation for about or on.
22 Terribly icy: in a dash for train, bearing flowers? (5,5)
DAISY CHAIN – An anagram (terribly) of ICY IN A DASH.
25 Issue of firm avoiding chronicled mistake (8)
CHILDREN – Remove (avoiding) the abbreviation for company (firm) from the word chronicled and make an anagram (mistake) of the remaining letters.
26 Upsets the War Office, being sent to North Dakota in America (6)
WOUNDS – The abbreviation for War Office followed by the abbreviation for North Dakota inside (in) the abbreviation for United States.
27 Charity swapping sides for weapons (4)
ARMS – A four letter word for charity has the L changes for an R (swapping sides).
28 Being up at dawn is noble? In short, yes! (5)
EARLY – A four letter word for a nobleman followed by the abbreviation for Yes.
29 Nothing to regret: sent back cash (4)
EURO – The letter representing nothing followed by a three letter word meaning regret all reversed (sent back). As we have already had back twice already as a reversal indicator, perhaps a different indicator should be used. Perhaps nothing to regret over cash.
2 Wilfully disagree with capturing old city – point accepted (2,7)
ON PURPOSE – A two letter word for an old biblical city and the abbreviation for North (point) inside (accepted) a six letter word meaning to disagree.
3 Problem arising about copper in secretion (5)
MUCUS – A three letter word for a mathematical problem is reversed (arising) around the chemical symbol for copper.
4 Volume set to zero, interrupting relation of story (7)
ACCOUNT – The abbreviation for cubic centimetres (volume) and the letter representing zero inside (interrupting) a four letter word for female relation. Some editors will not accept the construction wordplay of definition.
5 Clumsily hide student in City (5)
DELHI – An anagram (clumsily) of HIDE includes (in) the abbreviation for learner (student).
6 Saves loads of paperwork, reportedly – editor on board (7)
REDEEMS – A homophone (reportedly) of REAMS (loads of paperwork) includes (on board) the abbreviation for editor.
7 Last of ley lines obstruct covered vehicle: it’s better for the environment (6,3)
HYBRID CAR – The final letter (last of ) of Ley and the abbreviation for British Rail inside (obstruct) a three letter word meaning covered followed by a three letter word for a type of vehicle. The abbreviation for British Rail is not the same as lines (BR was the company – the railway is the lines).
8 Almost a bite for Inspector! (5)
MORSE – Remove the last letter (almost) from a word for a small bite of something to eat.
14 Makes possible payment for article? Renders less effective (9)
ENFEEBLES – A seven letter word meaning makes possible has the A (article) replaced by a three letter word for a payment.
15 Nothing’s been left out of first course, so eat! (3)
SUP – Remove the letter meaning nothing from a type of starter in a meal. As nothing has already been used as the letter indicator, a different indicator should have been used.
16 Memo about a set of volumes left unsold (9)
REMAINDER – An eight letter word meaning a memo around (about) the A from the clue. Volumes left unsold would work equally well.
18 Back also-ran (coming in last!) at East London racecourse? (7)
ENDORSE – How a cockney might describe a horse coming in last at a racecourse.
19 Leave tack embedded in skin (3,4)
FLY AWAY – A three letter word meaning to tack or zig-zag inside (embedded in) a four latter word meaning to skin. Although both words in the definition and solution for tack can mean zig-zag, the correspondence is loose as tack means to do so deliberately and the solution word means to to so unsteadily or in a meandering manner.
21 Heavenly fluid concocted from chicory with ends removed (5)
ICHOR – An anagram (concocted) from the inner letters (with ends removed) of CHICORY
23 Local to Queen means, nearer Centre (5)
INNER – A three letter word for a local or pub followed by the abbreviation for queen. Although TO can mean beside (according to Chambers), this meaning when used as a position indicator really means it should be used in across clues only as the queen is under the local in the solution.
24 American entrapped by weed? Bingo! (5)
HOUSE – A three letter word meaning to week goes around (entrapped) the abbreviation for American. As we have already had America used to clue the two letters a different indicator should have been used.