A Puzzle by Laccaria
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
It’s been a while since we had a puzzle from Laccaria. Enjoy! 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.
Another good crossword from Laccaria, with some nice clues to savour. However, as with previous puzzles, there are rather too many loose ends that need tidying up. Particularly, there were a lot of repetitions in the wordplay that a final review and edit could remove. These loose ends mean that the commentometer is 4.5/29 or 15.5%. This is high but easily remediable.
1 Remote transmitter initially picked up last Sunday afternoon – radio? (6)
PULSAR – The first letters (initially) of the final six words of the clue.
4 Opens chat about training (5)
GAPES – A three letter word meaning chat around the abbreviation for physical exercise (training).
8 Answer not concerning small body of water (4)
POND – A seven letter word meaning answer without (not) the abbreviations for concerning and small.
9 This is very sour personality, following rejected reference which separates Powers (6,4)
ACETIC ACID – A two letter word for personality followed a reversal (rejected) of a four letter word for reference or quote inside (which separates) the abbreviation for alternating current twice (as powers is in the plural).
10 King and queen feed horse buns here (6)
BAKERY – The abbreviations for king and the current queen inside (feed) a three letter word for a horse.
11 Will manager almost kill off research to start with? (8)
EXECUTOR – A seven letter word meaning kill with the final letter removed (almost) followed by the initial letters (to start with) of off research.
12 Make aware, Nessie is traced originally at sea (9)
SENSITISE – An anagram (at sea) of NESSIT IS T (traced originally).
14 Labour’s first idiot head (4)
LOAF – The initial letter (first) of labour followed by a three letter word for an idiot.
15 Nothing in returned bill for junk? (4)
BOAT – The letter representing nothing inside a reversal (returned) of a three letter word for a bar bill.
16 Possibly irons suit after whip-round (4-5)
GOLF CLUBS – One of the suits in a deck of cards after a reversal (round) of a word meaning whip. I think that the solution should omit the hyphen.
20 Please start with one ripe variety of sausage (8)
PEPERONI – An anagram (variety) of P (please start) ONE RIPE. Grammatically, start on its own does not mean the initial letter and we have also had start as an initial letter indicator in 11a. Some editors would not allow wordplay OF definition with the OF as the link word.
21 Senseless man initially out to throw away stunted fruit (6)
NUBBIN – A four letter word meaning senseless with the first letter (initially) of man removed followed by a three letter word meaning to throw away. Perhaps an indication that the solution is an Americanism should be added.
23 Upset police officer to cut a dash, given time (10)
DISHEARTEN – The abbreviation for Detective Inspector (police officer) followed by a five letter word meaning to cut and a two letter word for a printer’s space or dash with a T (time) included (given). Technically, the “en” is a space or gap in the printing and the en-dash is a dash of equivalent length. This does not make the dash synonymous with the space. Given on its own is a weak containment indicator. As Encota said, “given time inside” would have improved the surface reading and the cryptic instructions.
24 Uncouth chaps are right about one point (4)
OIKS – A two letter word meaning right around (about) the letter representing one and the abbreviation for south (point). The cryptic reading of definition ARE wordplay does not work. The are could be omitted to solve this.
25 Worthless award without a thousand taking exercise (5)
EMPTY – A four letter word for a theatre or TV award omits second M (without a thousand) and includes (taking) the abbreviation for physical training.
26 Playwright owes Kermit a part (6)
WESKER – The answer is hidden in (a part) OWES KERMIT.
1 Soldiers brought up to check about 11’s concern (7)
PROBATE – The abbreviation for Territorial Army (soldiers) is reversed (brought up) and included inside (about) a five letter word meaning to check or investigate.
2 Left in charge to dish out (5)
LADLE – The abbreviation for left inside (in) a four letter word meaning to load or charge.
3 A nasty criminal kidnaps, at first, Lucian Freud? (7)
ANALYST – An anagram (criminal) of A NASTY includes (kidnaps) the first letter of Lucian. We have had a number of “firsts” to indicate initial letters. A greater variety in use of indicators improves the crossword.
4 Flyer has old coin, one used further South (6)
GLIDER – The variant spelling of an old Dutch or German coin has the I moved down (one used further south). As we have had one for I in 24a, ideally a different indicator should have been used on of the clues.
5 Lucy, perhaps with ease, to fry with this? (6,3)
PEANUT OIL – The name of cartoon strip (without the S) in which Lucy appears with Charlie Brown and a three letter word meaning to facilitate or ease the progress of something. Whilst Lucy was a character in the cartoon strip, she is not a peanut so this was a little bit of a stretch for the solver.
6 Derivative result of bad cornering (4-3)
SPIN-OFF – Double definition, the first being something like merchandise sold off the back of a successful film and the second where a car goes out of control through poor cornering.
7 Rebels sit angrily in hearings concerning church (13)
SECESSIONISTS – An anagram (angrily) of SIT inside (in) an 8 letter word meaning hearings with the resulting letters going around (concerning) the abbreviation for Church of England. Concerning is not a good containment indicator. Whilst concerning can mean about (in the sense of related to) and about can mean around (in the sense of containing), this does not mean that concerning means containing.
13 Chips and peas cooked in vessel (5-4)
SPACE-SHIP – An anagram (cooked) of CHIPS PEAS. The answer should probably by (9) not hyphenated as 5-4.
15 Queen is here for hairdo (7)
BEEHIVE – Double definition of where a queen of the insect variety might be and a type of hairdo, names for the shape it forms.
17 Pay for our European neighbour: not right to keep in! (7)
FINANCE – The name country at the other end of the channel tunnel without (not) the abbreviation for right but including (to keep) the IN from the clue. As we have already had not and keep as indicators, the double repetition here unfortunate.
18 It obstructs view of motorcyclist bearing left and heading to Northampton (7)
BLINKER – A five letter word for a motorcyclist includes (bearing) the abbreviation for left and the first letter (heading to) of Northampton. Another repetition of left for L. Also an indication that the two letter are inserted disjunctively would be fairer for the solver.
19 Lawyer, not one to keep books (6)
NOTARY – A four letter word meaning not one includes (to keep) the abbreviation for Old Testament (books). A third use of to keep as a containment indicator. Also “not one” translates to “nary a”, not nary on its own.
22 Conway first welcomed by man without back-stop (5)
BLOCK – A five letter word meaning a man without the final letter (without back) includes the first letter of Conway. Conway first does not indicate the C. It would have to be Conway’s first. Also, many editors will not permit the wordplay to be elided with the solution as in “back-stop”.