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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Hearing my plea for puzzles, one of our rookies responded with this one. 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.
Greeting from the South of France where your reviewer is enjoying a few days R and R in Menton. This is being typed overlooking the verdant hills around the town. The quality and variety of the flowers still in bloom in mid-November is stunning.
Welcome to our anonymous Rookie though I suspect that this setter would not be out of place in one of the daily papers given the quality of the clues with only one or two minor points to raise. There are a number of pointers to his identity. Look at the first letters of the final four down clues and read in a circle the four letters of starting with the last letter of 6d. There is also a hidden message at the end of the 2nd and 14th rows. Highlight all of them and turn the grid sideways and you get LOL. The commentometer reads at 1.5 out of 32 or 4.7%.
1 Old pictures of a Greek character parting oceans (6)
SEPIAS – The name of the Greek letter used to describe the ratio of the diameter of a circle to its circumference inside (parting) another word for oceans.
4 Flat refusals to cover a democrat in The Times (8)
NOWADAYS – A phase (2,5) expressing outright refusals around (to cover) the A from the clue and the abbreviation for Democrat.
10 One French King happy to be isolated (9)
UNRELATED – The French masculine form of one followed by the abbreviation for a king and a six letter word meaning happy.
11 Sever supply lines? (5)
VERSE – An anagram (supply) of SEVER.
12 Wood occasionally found in the park (4)
TEAK – The odd letters (occasionally) of THE PARK.
13 Address Spooner’s absent leading lady (6,4)
DOMAIN NAME – A Spoonerism of NO MAIN DAME (absent leading lady).
15 Typical example of great short book (7)
EPITOME – A four letter word meaning great with the final letter removed (short) followed by a four letter word for a book.
16 Half of Square remains cordial (6)
SQUASH – The first three letters (half of) of square followed by a three letter word meaning remains.
19 Mother books artist to find inspiration, it’s said (6)
MANTRA – A two letter word for a mother, followed by the abbreviation for New Testament (books) and the abbreviation for an artist.
21 Mediocre Viceroy has a crack (7)
CREVICE – The answer is hidden in (has) MEDIOCRE VICEROY.
23 St Michael’s reformed those who sought to make gold (10)
ALCHEMISTS – An anagram (reformed) of ST MICHAELS.
25 Further a group of players (4)
ALSO – The A from the clue followed by the abbreviation for the London Symphony Orchestra (group of players).
27 Slip away and describe Penny at length (5)
ELOPE – Remove the PEN (de-scribe) from the full name (at length) of someone called Penny.
28 Back to back shows sharing a hand (9)
OPERATIVE – The words opera and Evita (reversed) (back to back shows) sharing the letter A.
29 Bright winger kept area in order (8)
PARAKEET – An anagram (in order) of KEPT AREA.
30 Second on court, entertaining English judge (6)
REJECT – A two letter word meaning on or about and the abbreviation for court hold the abbreviations for English and Judge.
1 Dumbfound tactical leader with army doubles (8)
STUNTMEN – A four letter word meaning stun followed by the first letter (leader) of tactical and a three letter word for a group of people (army).
2 A Head appreciates finishing early for a change (3,6)
PER CAPITA – An anagram (for a change) of APPRECIATES after removing the ES (finishing early). Finishing early really implies removing only one letter. Perhaps final couple leaving for a change would be better.
3 Article by lake at bottom of mine shaft (4)
AXLE – The letter A (article) followed by a letter meaning by or times, the abbreviation for lake and the final letter (bottom of) mine.
5 Freeloader’s travails? (7)
ORDEALS – An anagram (free) of LOADERS. Some editors would not allow the implicit requirement to lift and separate freeloader’s to free loader’s to get to the solution.
6 Traveller coming upon old city with hesitation (10)
ADVENTURER – A six letter word meaning coming followed by a two letter biblical city and a two letter verbal hesitation.
7 Vessel from North dumping outsiders in some areas (5)
AORTA – The inner letters (dumping outsiders) of North inside the abbreviation for Area twice (as areas is in the plural).
8 Lacking credit, hecklers scrambled for bread in Israel (6)
SHEKEL – Remove the abbreviation for credit from HECKLERS and make an anagram(scrambled) of the remaining letters.
9 Good man was up and walked (6)
STRODE – The abbreviation for saint (good man) followed by a four letter word meaning was up or on a horse.
14 Where to bung wine (10)
BOTTLENECK – Cryptic definition of where to put the cork.
17 Picture that’s not quick? (5,4)
STILL LIFE – Cryptic definition of a a type of painting of inanimate objects (not quick – using the biblical notion of the quick and the dead).
18 Fast again, having an air (8)
REDOLENT – Split 4, 4 this would indicate following a forty day period of fasting again.
20 Now I sit, getting fat (7)
ADIPOSE – The abbreviation for Anno Domini (now), the I from the clue and a four letter word meaning sit for an artist.
21 Rib Gran? (6)
CUTLET – A reverse clue. To get from Grant to Gran you could cut let (a synonym for grant). Perhaps a stronger indication of a reverse clue would be better “Rib Gran for the setter?” perhaps.
22 Artificial cheese (4-2)
MADE UP – Another reverse clue – A type of cheese reversed. I think that there needs to be an indication that the solution is a reverse clue, perhaps by adding an exclamation mark or question mark.
24 Group of grasses? (5)
CHOIR – Cryptic definition based on grasses being those who betray or sing.
26 Swinger‘s pronounced walk (4)
GATE – A homophone (pronounced) of GAIT (walk). Although often used by setters in this way, there is nothing in the clue that indicates which way the homophone works. Taken in isolation, GAIT would be a valid solution to this clue.