A Puzzle by DMS
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today’s new setter is only new in the sense of setting a whole puzzle – many of you may remember him as aclueaday on Twitter, and more recently as 7UpisLemonade. 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 strong start for DMS in his Rookie debut. The main points to watch are the repetition of wordplay indicators and ensuring that the clues only have the words required for the solution. In a couple of cases the words added took the solver in the wrong direction in a slightly unfair way. The commentometer reads at 5 out of 29 or 17.2%.
1 Group of 12, 13a, 20 and 25, perhaps? (6)
SMITHS – A word that could go after each of the solutions given in the clue to create groups of artisans is also the name of a band or group.
4 Races king instead of bishop – on these? (6)
TRIKES – A word for groups of people (races) has the abbreviation for king instead of the abbreviation for bishop.
8 Let go of present (7)
RELEASE – Double definition, the second being used in the sense of presenting a new film or record. The two meaning are quite similar and maybe a greater separation between the two meaning would be better.
9 Train? Make it a loco! (4,3)
TAKE AIM – An anagram (loco) of MAKE IT A.
11 Traversed 20a? No thank you! (4,6)
WENT ACROSS – Spell out 20 and remove the abbreviation for thank you (the initial letters). The abbreviation is not give in Chambers or Collins. As a rule, only abbreviations used in one of the standard dictionaries should be used when setting clues or if text speak is used, this is indicated
12 Turn the key of timepiece wanting a start (4)
LOCK – Remove the initial letter (wanting a start) from a timepiece.
13 Awful chess player (5)
BLACK – Double definition, the second being the colour of one set of chess pieces.
14 He was often seen interviewing or returning when rubbish is collected (5,3)
ROBIN DAY – Reverse (returning) the OR from the clue and add a phrase (3,3) for when rubbish is collected.
16 Goes out and returns topless (8)
EGRESSES – A nine letter word meaning returns without the initial letter (topless).
18 Noisy argument with dandy? (5)
ROWDY – A three letter word for an argument followed by the D AND Y from the clue. The question mark indicates that the clue is slightly elliptical. Some editors might require a stronger indicator that “DANDY” has to be split D AND Y.
20 Promise Germany fight is over (4)
WORD – The IVR code for Germany followed by a three letter word for a fight all reversed (is over).
21 Spa town where 100 men work with terrible health (10)
CHELTENHAM – The Roman numeral for 100 followed by an anagram of MEN HEALTH. There are too many anagram indicators here as there is only the one anagram of MEN HEALTH. The clue as written tells the solver that there is an anagram (work) of MEN and an anagram (terrible) of HEALTH.
23 Tomato doesn’t have to be found in school bread basket (7)
STOMACH – Remove the final TO from tomato and put the remaining letters in the abbreviation for school. A couple of points here to note. Ideally, the clue should indicate which“TO” is to be removed from tomato. More importantly, the cryptic grammar resolves to A be found in C which is not a grammatical construction in the cryptic reading of the clue.
24 Tool was returned after unnecessary worry (7)
FRETSAW – Reverse (returned) the WAS from the clue after a word meaning unnecessary worry.
25 Second place for struggling Elvis to get the runs (6)
SILVER – An anagram (struggling) of ELVIS followed by the abbreviation for runs.
26 Shut and shut again? (6)
UNOPEN – An elliptical clue where the second part cryptically means the first part.
1 Kidnapped? (5)
SUEDE – Word for kid (or other form of leather) that has been napped. As with 18a, some editors might require a stronger indicator that you need to split the clue into KID-NAPPED.
2 Leaves cold? (4,3)
ICED TEA – Cryptic definition of a chilled caffeinated brew.
3 Spooner notes fishes will get you high (4,5)
HASH CAKES – A Spoonerism of CASH (notes) HAKES (fishes).
5 Arsenal risk removing the odd backs (5)
REARS – Remove the odd letters from the first two words of the clue.
6 King repositioned Merlin to seat of government (7)
KREMLIN -The abbreviation for king followed by an anagram (repositioned) of MERLIN. As K for king has already been used, a different indicator should have been used.
7 Bats inside cage? (4-5)
STIR-CRAZY – Cryptic definition of a form of insanity suffered by prisoners.
10 He sang a version of, ‘I’m so sorry’ in English with nothing held back (9)
MORRISSEY – An anagram (a version of) IM SO SORRY E after removing an O (with nothing held back). The IN in this clue needs to be removed as it functions only as padding but is suggestive of being part of the anagram letters to be rearranged.
13 Large insects swallow all ages of talkative people (9)
BIGMOUTHS – A phrase 3,5 indicating large insects includes (swallowing) the letter used in films to indicate that all ages can view it. For the cryptic reading to work this needs to resolve to A swallows B or A swallowing B. Some editors will not allow wordplay of definition but will allow definition of wordplay.
15 Boss’ hit upset Ron Burton (4,2,3)
BORN TO RUN – An anagram (upset) fo RON BURTON. Bruce Springstein is “The Boss” not Boss.
17 Big Brother creator, George Orwell’s finally getting new rally (7)
ENDEMOL – The last letters of George and Orwell include the abbreviation for new and a four letter word for a rally or protest. I think that knowing the name of a production company for a program strays too much into general knowledge for a clue.
19 Shoe? Rugby player returns mine! (7)
WINGTIP – A four letter word for a rugby player followed by a reversal (returns) of another word for a mine. As return has already been used twice (once as returned) a different indicator should have been used. As the answer is an American word for a shoe, this should have been indicated.
21 Use a chopper? (5)
CYCLE – Cryptic definition of riding a bike. As chopper in lower case is a motorbike and the answer indicated moving by pedal power, chopper should have an initial capital to indicate a type of bike.
22 25 in a turmoil once more (5)
AGAIN – The chemical symbol for the answer to 25a followed by an anagram (turmoil) of IN A.