A Puzzle by Zplig
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today we have a second puzzle from Zplig. 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 Zplig with another tough crossword. Although not to everyone’s taste, it was solvable with a lot of time and patience. This one took me three or four visits to the grid.
The commentometer reads 5.5 / 28 or 19.6%. Whilst still high, this is a distinct improvement on Zplig’s first crossword. I think that removing some of the obscurities and a little more attention to the cryptic grammar of the clues would help. Although the overall level of the clues was tough, in many cases they were fair and there were some nice definitions. One other point to watch is to keep the wordplay in the present tense where possible.
1 Gay politician’s campaign against Southern cowards (8)
MILKSOPS – The name of a US politician who was the first to be openly gay followed by a two letter abbreviation for campaign or operation and the abbreviation for Southern. Whilst the clue is not wrong, expecting solvers to know the name of a gay American politician is a big stretch.
5 City contest the Observer caught (6)
WARSAW – A three letter word for a battle or contest followed by a word meaning what an observer caught.
9 Rascal caught in a lie making shoes (7)
BROGUES – A five letter word for a rogue inside the abbreviation for bullshit (lie).
10 During brief recreation, fellow turned to a soft-soled shoe (7)
CREEPER – A four letter word for a contemporary or colleague (fellow) inside a three letter abbreviation (brief) for recreation all reversed (turned). I think that the structure wordplay to definition is ok though turned “to find” might have prevented quibbles.
11 Explosive opening to Advent – bishops covered the shortest prayer (1-4)
A-BOMB – The first letter (opening to) of Advent followed by the abbreviation for bishop twice around (covered) a two letter mantra or prayer. Where possible try to keep wordplay in the present tense. The bishops still are covering the prayer in the solution.
12 Was once privy to details Graeme bore in error? (9)
GARDEROBE – The surname of the Goodie Graeme with the final letter removed (details) followed by an anagram (in error) of robe. The structure of this clue definition to wordplay does not work. Also for the cryptic grammar to work correctly, you need detailed or, in this clue, you could have to detail so that the to give the imperative instruction to remove the final letter.
13 “Perceptive Conservative character that descended into madness” – quoted on the radio (5-7)
CLEAR-SIGHTED – The abbreviation for Conservative followed by the name of a mad Shakespearean King and an homophone (on the radio) of cited (quoted).
17 Disease minimised in hotbed (12)
TUBERCULOSIS – The name of a disease whose abbreviation (minimised) is found in hotbed.
20 Imitate G-d in farce – wasn’t so severe (9)
MITIGATED – An anagram (in farce) of IMITATE GD. The definition give the wrong part of speech, the solution means made less severe. As you need only to move the I and the G is is not much of an anagram.
22 Good drops a little bit (5)
GRAIN – The abbreviation for good followed by drops that fall from the sky.
23 Shoes for sale – worn (7)
LOAFERS – An anagram (word) of FOR SALE.
24 Lieutenant stopped touring envoy for trivial matter (7)
NOVELTY – The abbreviation for lieutenant inside (stopped) an anagram (touring) of ENVOY. Another clue where the wordplay could have been put into the present tense with stops rather than stopped.
25 I‘m determined the pro’s odd (6)
SETTER – A three letter word meaning determined followed by the odd letters of the pro. When looking at the cryptic reading you have definition am wordplay which does not work.
26 Hacking measure added new login input (8)
USERNAME – An anagram (hacking) of MEASURE includes (added) the abbreviation for new. Another clue where adding, rather than added, would have been better.
1 Mafia syndicate boss passed over decorative bonnet (3,3)
MOB CAP – A three letter word for the mafia followed by the name of a mafia (syndicate) boss without the O (passed over).
2 View of bathroom floor – intro to nacre (4,2)
LOOK ON – A three letter word for a bathroom or toilet followed by the abbreviation for knock-out and first letter to nacre.
3 Wrangler almost cops bullet and luckily extinguishes racketeering leads (9)
SQUABBLER – A five letter word for a group of policeman with the final word removed (almost) followed by a type of small bullet used in air-rifles and the initial letters (leads) of luckily extinguishes racketeering.
4 Office makes specific adjustments for future doctors (13)
POSTGRADUATES – A four letter word for an office followed by a nine letter word meaning makes specific adjustments.
6 Live on the soulless and rocky edge (5)
ARETE – A three letter word meaning live followed by the outer letters (soulless) of the.
7 Props to good guys eating up unfinished pork (8)
SUPPORTS – The abbreviation for saints (in the plural) includes (eating) the UP from the clue and the PORK from the clue with the final letter removed (unfinished).
8 Spooner’s wench marries – they’ll blow you away! (8)
WARHEADS – A Spoonerism of WHORE (wench) WEDS (marries).
10 Second person involved with sacrament’s ending? More than one (13)
CORESPONDENTS – An anagram (involved) of SECOND PERSON T (the final letter – ending – of sacrament. Although the clue suggests the answer as a whole, it is not the clearest of definitions with the inclusion of sacraments. A tighter definition would have been better here. The solution should be 2-11.
14 Run one rule back-to-front for exam (5,4)
GOING OVER – A two letter word meaning rule followed the letter representing one and a word meaning rule with the back letter moved to the front.
15 Litmus test on University’s influence (8)
STIMULUS – An anagram (test) of LITMUS followed by the abbreviation for university with the ’s maintained in the solution. I am not keen on test as an anagram indicator.
16 Six-pack stretch isn’t practical (8)
ABSTRACT – The name of the muscles forming a six pack followed by another word for a stretch of land.
18 Trouble raised after prosecutor introduced husband’s girl (6)
DAHLIA – A two letter word meaning prosecutor followed by a three letter word for trouble reversed includes the abbreviation for husband. Again, introducing husband would be better. Also, as a girl’s name this is obscure though the wordplay is clear.
19 Limits to Eastern Zymology and Medicine? It can start something (6)
ENZYME – The outer letters (limits to) of the third, fourth and sixth words of the clue. An enzyme promotes the speed of a reaction rather than starting it.
21 Fools turn to the Right over ‘endless gender’ (5)
GEESE – A three letter word used in equestrianism to indicate a move the right followed by a three letter word meaning gender with the final letter removed.