A Puzzle by DMS
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
DMS returns with the final Rookie puzzle of 2018. 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.
Welcome back to DMS. The theme in this crossword worked well with a number of associated answers linking together well. 12 anagrams was on the high side. You know you are in trouble if Gazza has to take is shoes and socks of to count them! Some of the surfaces could be improved as they made little sense in their own right. However, there were some very good clues as well from the well thought out anagram in 6/22/7 to the delightfully simple but effective 5d and the nice spot in 19d. The commentometer reads 3.5/32 or 10.93%.
A very happy new year to all Rookie setters and solvers. Here’s to a great 2019.
1 Hangs out with wimp, then rides off (4-5)
DRIP DRIES – A four letter word for a wimp followed by (then) an anagram (off) of RIDES.
6 Looked around Devon for five seconds (5)
NOSED – Replace the V (five) in Devon with an S (seconds) and reverse the letters (around). For the cryptic grammar to work, the around needs to follow the letters to be reversed. Your do not around something but something can be around.
9 Suspicion soon swept up broken cup (7)
SOUPCON – The soon from the clue includes (swept up) an anagram (broken) of CUP. A couple of minor points. The soon could have been clued with a synonym such as “just now”. Also, were possible try to include wordplay in the present tense “sweeps up” rather than swept up.
10 Is it stranger than artist having unknown disease? (7)
ANTHRAX – An anagram (stranger) of THAN followed by the abbreviation for an artist and a letter used in algebra to indicate an unknown quantity. The “Is it” at the beginning of the clue does not really work. It could have been omitted.
11 Cooler claim of pugilist outside church (6)
ICEBOX – A phrase (1,3) that may be used by a pugilist around (outside) the abbreviation for Church of England.
12 Record of events in EU is the last chance to celebrate (8)
EULOGISE – A three letter word for a record of events inside the EU and IS from the clue and the last letter of chance. Some editors will not allow constructions such as “last chance” to indicate the final letter. Again, to avoid to much reliance on using the words in clue directly in the solution, perhaps “community” would have been better than EU.
14 Getting bigger without success? This was an issue on board (4)
GROG – A seven letter word meaning getting bigger removing (without) WIN (success).
15 Call for middleman and publicist? (5,5)
PRESS AGENT – A five letter word meaning “call for” and a five letter word for a middleman or factor.
18 Prepared to kiss sprite before sending back sweet? (8,2)
PUCKERED UP – The name of a sprite or fairy in Midsummer Night’s Dream followed by a three letter poetic term for before and a reversal (sending back) of a three letter word for a dessert or sweet.
20 Horse racing gets over regard for safety (4)
CARE – The answer is hidden in (gets) and reversed (back) in HORSE RACING. Gets is not a strong hidden word indicator, particularly when combined with a reversal indicator. Perhaps “holds back”.
23 Drunk footballers – not EFL – might be found here (3,5)
BAR STOOL – An anagram (drunk) of FOOTBALLERS after removing (not) the letters EFL.
24 Cruel split ending in divorce (6)
SEVERE – A five letter word meaning split followed by the final letter (ending in) of divorce.
26 Ace film featuring tuner set in museum? (7)
VENTURA – An anagram (set) of TUNER inside the VA. Cryptically the & in V&A simply tells you to put the letters inside the V and A.
27 Played in a role on the wing (7)
AILERON – An anagram (played) of IN A ROLE. Some solvers do not like definitions such as “on the wing” to indicate something on the wing in the same way that “in Italy” is disliked as a definition of a name of an Italian city. Perhaps “Playing in a role, one on the wing” would overcome this. Playing works better as a present tense anagram indicator.
28 Take care of unexpected runs? First at Edgebaston! (5)
NURSE – An anagram (unexpected) of RUNS E (first letter of Edgbaston (note the correct spelling). Perhaps “first in Edgbaston” would be better as a first letter indicator.
29 Make sense of rubbish – not a lot – outside Switzerland (5,4)
LATCH ONTO – An anagram (rubbish) of NOT A LOT around (outside) the IVR code for Switzerland.
1 Serving food and discover there’s a bone in there? (7,2)
DISHING UP – A phrase (3,2) meaning discover around (in there) a four letter leg bone.
2 Routine operation 4 17 (2,5)
IN UTERO – An anagram (operation) of ROUTINE. Whilst not liked by all solvers, reciprocal definitions where the solution to one clue provides a definition to the second and vice versa is sometimes seen in national crosswords. Some editors will not allow a noun such as operation to be used as an anagram indicator.
3 Pervert – twice briefed during 1ac (6)
DOCTOR – The full name from the abbreviation (briefed) that appears twice in the answer to 1ac.
4 This is not contractually about tins (4)
ISNT– A contracted form (contractually) of the definition. An anagram (about) TINS. Like the use of about in 2ac, the about here should follow the letters to be rearranged. Perhaps an exclamation mark to indicate contractually is being used in an cryptic form might be appropriate.
5 Busty? (10)
STATUESQUE – Cryptic definition of the quality of a bust or another form of sculpture of a person.
6/22/7 Here, care is via the non-lethal variety! (8,6,7)
NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE – An anagram (variety) of CARE IS VIA THE NON LETHAL.
8 Dead before E111 shows up? Find a kettle! (5)
DIXIE – The abbreviation for dead followed by a reversal (shows up) of E + I + XI (the 11 in the final part of E111.
13 Fight, ideally found in this crossword? (4-3-3)
FREE-FOR-ALL – Double definition, the first for a fight and the second the principle on which the solution to 6/22/7 was founded.
16 14th? Without strong variation to that (9)
THEREUNTO – An anagram (variation) of FOURTEENTH without the F (strong). I don’t think that this is an indirect anagram as 14th = FOURTEENTH is a direct transliteration of the wordplay required for the solution.
17 Matchbox? 4, 2 (4,4)
TEST TUBE – Split matchbox into match and box and provide four letter synonyms for each word. Some editors do not like lift and separate clues that require solvers to divide a word into two without some further indication that this is required.
19 They’ll need to be informed if singer gets run down! (7)
CORONER – A seven letter word for a singer such as Bing Crosby with the R (run) moved one place downwards. Referring to an individual as “they” to avoid gender assignment is so common place that it is acceptable (if not grammatically correct) usage.
21/23 Revered visionary of Nirvana – bungee jumping with no string? (7,5)
ANEURIN BEVAN – An anagram (jumping) of NIRVANA BUNGEE without the G (with no string).
22 See 6
25 Tramp beginning to sing out (4)
TART – A five letter word meaning beginning without the first letter (beginning) of sing. The only major error in the cluing is that beginning is here doing double duty as the root word for the solution and a wordplay indicator.