A Puzzle by Heno
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today Heno, one of our regular commenters, puts his head above the parapet! 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.
What fun to have Heno appear as a Rookie. Some good clues and some rough edges but a strong enough debut. A review follows.
My earlier message was slightly tongue in cheek but there is an important point. Reviewing the Rookie crosswords is fun but does take a considerable amount of time. Anything between 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours goes into the solving, writing the review and adding it on-line. Most of this has to be done when I get home in the evening. If, by that time, you have, as with this crossword, at least three almost full analyses of the clues and other semi-analyses, it all seems rather a waste of time.
One of the joys of the site is that everyone contributes and shares experiences but effectively having three full reviews of the technical aspects of the clues plus my review is getting out of hand. Not only that, it also means that I have to review the reviews as there are, sometimes, points where I need to comment on the comments.
I am more than happy to carry on reviewing the Rookie puzzles but subject to Big Dave’s approval, if people would prefer to move to a model where everyone comments and reviews to the comments become more of a bazaar, I won’t feel offended.
I hope that this is not a case of raining on Heno’s parade so here is the review. The commentometer is 6.5 / 29 or 22%.
7 Cutting Carol taking European vicar back (8)
SEVERING – The abbreviation for European and reversal (back) of the abbreviation for reverend (vicar) inside (taking) a four letter word meaning to carol.
9 Payment to grind old floorwalker losing pound (6)
SOCOME – The name of one of the characters in Are You Being Served without the letters in the abbreviation for pound (as a weight). The definition is an archaic legal term not in the main dictionaries. It is not a payment but a legal right to grind corn. The character in Are You Being Served was not a floorwalker – that was Captain Peacock. As the letters in the abbreviation are removed separately, this should have been indicated. The use of obscure archaic words such as this should be avoided unless you are setting advanced barred crosswords. In the preamble, there is usually a note to say that one or more of the solutions are not in Chambers. The crossing letters would allow “Sachmo” (Louis Armstrong” as an alternative entry.
10 Gains sound like seas including tragic king (6)
CLEARS – The letters CS (homophone – sound like – of seas) include the name of a tragic Shakespearean king.
11 Builders online vicars? (8)
ERECTORS – The abbreviation meaning on-line followed by another word for vicars. Technically, someone is either a vicar or a rector of a parish. At one time, parishes had a rector. However, sometimes a person would become the rector of two or more parishes so they would appoint someone under them who would vicariously be the parish priest in place of the absentee rector – hence the term vicar. However, this is a very subtle distinction and in common parlance, people would use the terms interchangeably.
12 Pain in the bones caused by current in mad rheostat riots (14)
OSTEOARTHRITIS -The abbreviation for current inside an anagram (mad) of RHEOSTAT RIOTS. I am not keen on definition caused by wordplay as a clue structure. The surface reading goes beyond the surreal into the nonsensical!
15 Short girl may be spikey? (4)
BARB – Remove the ARA (short) from a seven letter girl’s name, The convention is that indicators such as short are used to indicate the removal of a single letter, not an indeterminate number of letters.
17 Firstly light action saving equestrian s rising beam (5)
LASER – The initial letters (firstly) of the second to sixth words of the clue.
18 Some passengers ailing go by boat (7) (4)
SAILING – The answer is hidden in (some) the second and third words of the clue. Ideally, a hidden word clue should not end at a word break. The clue is not technically incorrect but it is more satisfying for the solver when it is properly hidden.
19 Cricket or part of golf course without parking left in (4,4)
FAIR PLAY – A seven letter word for part of a golf course has the W removed (with-out) and the abbreviations for parking and left included. Some editors will not allow the lift and separate device of taking a single word “without” to give “with out”.
21 Sign varies in the Zodiac (5)
ARIES – The answer is the final five letters of the second word of the clue. There is little to indicate that there is a hidden word and the definition seems to be at both ends of the clue.
24 Restrained leg pressed on the radio (8)
PINIONED – A three letter word for a leg followed by a highly dubious homophone of ironed (press on the radio).
26 Old architect taking in 4th grade blue (6)
INDIGO – The first name of Mr Jones, the 17th Century architect includes the fourth letter in grade. Some editors would not allow a simple 4th to indicate the fourth letter of a word but most would be happy with this.
28 25 has drugs making confection (6)
TOFFEE – Another word for a posh person (25) has two Es (drugs) added. Not sure that the answer to 25 down is necessarily a posh person.
29 Nightmare opposite? (8)
DAYDREAM – The opposite of a bad night time dream would take place during the day.
1 Glance up at angler’s equipment (4)
REEL – Reverse(up) a four letter word for a lascivious sideways glance or look at someone.
2 Dear me! Strange, I’ve done it again! (6)
REMADE – An anagram (strange) of DEAR ME.
3 Beast that may gore you? (4)
OGRE – An anagram (that may … ) of GORE. Whilst you occasionally see anagrams posed as Word A may be or become Word A as an indication of an anagram, I am not enamoured of the device.
4 A character assassination could be covering (6)
ASMEAR – The A from the clue and a five letter word for a character assassination. Perhaps “Poetically covered a character assassination” would be better wording for the clue.
5 Whizz galleries may be media (8)
ACETATES – A three letter word meaning whizz followed by the plural (as there are more than one) of art galleries in London.
6 Awesome VIP remiss about direction (10)
IMPRESSIVE – An anagram of (about) of VIP REMISS followed by the abbreviation for East (direction).
8 To place in office left Stalin out (7)
INSTALL – An anagram of L (left) STALIN. A duplication of L for Left here. It was used in 19a.
13 Man cars for execs at work (5,5)
STAFF LIMOS – A five letter word meaning to man followed by a word for posh cars. The definition seems incomplete or cars is doing double duty as part of the wordplay and the definition. It would have worked better as “those for execs at work”
14 Electric scientist manipulated Telstar without right (5)
TESLA – An anagram (manipulated) of TELSTAR after removing the abbreviation two letter abbreviation for right. Technically, as the letters for right are not removed in order this should have been indicated. Perhaps “Scientist redesigned interior of Telstar.”
16 These are sent in when fibs fail oddly to convince the landlord (8)
BAILIFFS – An anagram (oddly) of FIBS FAIL. The whole clue provides the definition.
20 Bloomers without drug makes small horses (6)
PONIES – Remove the first E (drug) from the name of a plant. Again there is duplication with E for drug having been used in 28a.
22 Passengers amendments (6)
RIDERS – Double definition, the second being written amendments made to a contract during negotiations. The clue should have an ‘s or an s’ to be grammatically correct.
23 DIYer sorted without hesitation, first time, organised (4)
TIDY – An anagram (sorted) of DIYER T (time) without the ER (hesitation).
25 Naff Cardinal is swell (4)
DUDE – A three letter word for naff followed by one of the cardinal directions of the compass.
27 o.g. up by Pacino gets there in the end (4)
GOAL – Reverse (up) the OG and follow with the first name of Mr Pacino. The OG on its own spoils the clue. Perhaps “Raising a self-inflicted mistake, Pacino, for one becomes the target.
As some people have notices, the grid was asymmetrical. There is no absolute rule against such grids but the vast majority of crossword are symmetrical and this convention should be adhered to unless there is a very good reason for departing from it.