A Puzzle by Zplig
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today we have a third 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. His third crossword maintains the difficulty levels from his previous crosswords. Often this comes from trying to overcomplicate the wordplay which sometimes obscures the good clues. On the difficulty level, this grid was very solver unfriendly. There were ten entries where there was less than 50% cross-checking. This should be avoided.
The commentometer reads at 6/32 or 18.75%.
7 Politician‘s staff comes with conditions (9)
STATESMAN – A six letter word means conditions followed by a three letter word meaning to staff. Looking the cryptic reading you have “Politician is/has staff comes with conditions”. As the cryptic reading should also make a grammatical sentence, perhaps “coming” would be better “Politician has staff coming with conditions”.
8 Legally hinder web site? (5)
ESTOP – The abbreviation for electronic or on-line followed by a four letter word for a site.
9 Gal’s pals, Pat and Sid – cryptically they’re all a disappointment! (5-4)
KNOCK-BACK – A reversal of gal’s, pals, Pat or Sid gives a word that, when added before a reversal indicator gives a phrase meaning a disappointment.
10 Mindful telecom provider created Family Pack (5)
BEGOT – The abbreviation for British Telecom include a three letter word for mind (mindful). As mindful means bearing in mind, the container indication seems to me to be the wrong way around.
12 Princess from Ireland’s tip betrayed by European (6)
ISOLDE – The first letter (tip) of Ireland followed by a four letter word meaning betrayed and the abbreviation for European.
13 Cold drink breaks old worker’s liver (8)
OCCUPANT – The abbreviation for cold and a three letter word for a drink inside (breaks) the abbreviation for old and a three letter insect worker.
16 Outstanding piece of cricket! Last out in a close contest (7)
OVERDUE – A series of six balls in cricket followed by another word for a close contest between two people with the final letter removed.
19 States start to interrogate in camera – crazy (7)
AMERICA – The first letter (start to) interrogate inside an anagram (crazy) of CAMERA.
22 She’s missing a buzzer, hold in the mail (8)
ABSENTEE – The A from the clue followed by the name of an insect that buzzes around (hold) a four letter word meaning “in the mail). For the cryptic grammar to word the wordplay should be “holds in the mail”. The surface reading here does not make much sense.
25 Retreat? Retreat! Retreat? Run away! No way! (6)
DENIAL – A three letter word for a retreat or place to hide away followed by a reversal (retreat) of a four letter word for a retreat with the abbreviation for run removed.
27 Bookkeeper orders flesh (5)
SHELF – An anagram (orders) of FLESH. As orders comes before the letters to be rearranged, ordering would give a better cryptic reading.
28 Zippo lighter & Romeo y Julieta? (4,5)
LOVE MATCH – A four letter word meaning zippo or nothing followed by another word for a lighter.
29 A free duck (5)
AVOID – The A from clue followed by a four letter word meaning free.
30 Radical coursework eclipses university associates (2-7)
CO-WORKERS – An anagram (radical) of COURSEWORK without (eclipses) the abbreviation for university. Eclipsing might give a better cryptic reading here.
1 Supports made from threads showing no resistance (6)
STANDS – A seven letter word for threads of cotton without (showing no) the abbreviation for resistance.
2 Bare-bones crossword puzzle – one must be scrupulous! (8)
STICKLER – The central letter (bare-bones) of crossword followed by a seven letter word for a puzzle.
3 Functional and posh; black fur (6)
USABLE – The single letter abbreviation for posh followed by a type of black fur.
4 Peaceful Young Prince caught over there in Scotland (7)
HALCYON – The three letter word for the young prince Henry followed by the abbreviation for caught and a three letter word of Scottish extraction meaning over there.
5 Undercover to stop slippery killer? (6)
ASLEEP – A three letter word meaning cover inside (to stop) a three letter word for a snake (slippery killer). Whilst not universally accepted, words such as undercover in the wordplay alone are sometime seen where you have an un-indicated split to get under and cover, this is not to be encouraged for combining the definition and the wordplay.
6 Companies against protection for one not ready (6)
COCOON – The abbreviation for company twice followed by a two letter word meaning against.
11 Turncoats’ trick (4)
SCAM – Turn a four letter word for coats. Not all editors would accept the need to lift and separate the turn and coats.
14 Important figure in the Caliphate (3)
ALI – The answer is hidden (in) CALIPHATE. The definition here is a little too unspecific.
15 Trade contents dispatched by a Russian Caravan perhaps? (3)
TEA – The outer letters (contents dispatched) of trade followed by the A from the clue.
16 Eggs on virtuous acting leads (3)
OVA – The initial letters (leads) of the middle three words in the clue.
17 Hermes delivers the odd letter or two (3)
EMS – The odd letters of the first word of the clue. For the cryptic wording to work, letters needs to be in the plural otherwise you only have one odd letter from the clue.
18 Looks like it’s from a common bit in the Bible? (4)
UNTO – Split the answer 2-2 and the solution looks (fancifully) as though it could be the reverse of to (giving the from in the clue) and the answer is also a common word in the bible (8326 times in the King James version).
20 Pillages sustained pillages (8)
RANSACKS – A three letter word meaning sustained or organised followed by a word meaning pillages.
21 Can a loser change? Nothing in it (7)
AEROSOL – An anagram (change) of A LOSER include an O (nothing in it). Change ought to come before the words to be rearranged as it operates as an imperative verb.
23 Retreat? Retreat? They’re endless – don’t mess about! (6)
BEHAVE – A three letter word for a resting place (retreat) and a five letter word for a harbour (retreat) each with the final letter removed.
24 Writer James pens cold exposé turned puff piece (6)
ECLAIR – The initials of the author of Fifty Shades of Grey around (pens) the abbreviation for cold and followed by a three letter word meaning expose. Putting the accent on the final e changes entirely the meaning of the word and therefore cannot be used to indicate the final part of the solution.
25 Genius mad woman heads out rambling (6)
DAEMON – An anagram (rambling) of AD OMEN (mad and women with the first letters (heads) removed). As admitted, there is an error in this clue as the clue should be women not woman. With women, a different deletion indicator would be needed as heads would have to be in the singular to make sense of the surface reading but this would then not indicate removing both initial letters.
26 A blend of notes sung in harmony (6)
ACCORD – The A from the clue followed by a homophone (sung) of another word for a blend of notes played together.