A Puzzle by Brunel
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Brunel returns with his second puzzle. 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 Brunel. Another good crossword with come excellent clues. In one or two places, the wordplay and length of clues got a little out of hand. The commentometer reads at 2/28 or 7.14%
1 Competent bit of art, representing human form (11)
WORKMANLIKE – A four letter word for a bit of art followed by a phrase (3-4) meaning representing human form.
9 Adorn sculpture of stone (7)
FESTOON – An anagram (sculpture) of OF STONE.
10 Speed cycling in ace pullover (4,3)
TANK TOP – A four letter word meaning to speed or go quickly with the first letter moved to the end (cycling) inside a three letter word meaning ace.
11 Army’s a pet career for one who may be styled General (9)
PAYMASTER – An anagram (career) of ARMYS A PET. Words to be rearranged “career” does not quite work grammatically as an anagram indicator. It would have to be words to be rearranged careering/careers to work grammatically in the cryptic reading of the clue.
12 Mark II (5)
TWAIN – Double definition of an American author whose first name is Mark and another word for two. Whilst Mark is being used as a definition by example for the solution, as there is only the one overlapping solution to the double definition and he is so well known, the lack of a definition by example is not a great issue.
13 Advertise beer without head (4)
TOUT – The name of a type of beer of which Guinness is an example without the first letter (head).
14 Orally testing origins of uniform ancient lettering, like the Rosetta Stone (10)
TRILINGUAL – A homophone (orally) of TRIALLING (testing) followed by the initial letters (origins of) uniform ancient lettering.
16 Girl and boy to pick up Mike in banger (6,4)
CHERRY BOMB – A six letter girl’s name (also a type of blossom or fruit) followed by a three letter shortened form of a boy’s name around (to pick up) the letter represented by Mike in the NATO phonetic alphabet. Given that the solution is an American term that is not used in the UK, it would have been fairer to clue this as “in American banger”. The use of names in clues can be contentious though it is not technically incorrect but, given the number of possible permutations of girl’s and boy’s names, to have two in a clue is over the top.
19 Space age turned on first of Apollos (4)
AREA – A three letter word meaning age reversed (turned) before (on) the first letter of Apollos.
22 Discharge of gas accumulated in Trump’s insides (5)
RHEUM – The chemical symbol for Helium (gas) inside (accumulated in) the inner letters of Trump.
23 Hidden spaces formerly used in digital recording (9)
ENSCONCED – The printer’s space in the plural (spaces) followed by a four letter word meaning formerly inside (used in) the abbreviation for Compact Disc (digital recording).
24 Dropped, and went down gradually (7)
SHELVED – Double definition, the first meaning abandoned or dropped and the second meaning gently sloping or went down gradually.
25 Character, wearing Spanish article, beside another (7)
EPSILON – A three letter Greek letter inside (wearing) the Spanish for “the” followed by a two letter word meaning beside.
26 Underground event that might give you heart (5,6)
EARTH TREMOR – A reverse anagram, the solution giving five letters followed by an anagram indicator that would result in “heart” as the solution.
1 Hi! Hurry – we see woe… (that’s tortuous – if only the solver was in my place!) (4,3,4,4)
WISH YOU WERE HERE – An anagram (that’s tortuous) of HI HURRY WE SEE WOE. The less said about the surface reading the better.
2 Irishman gets the nod in inn (6)
RYOKAN – A two letter word meaning yes or gets the nod inside a four letter Irish name. Given the unusual nature of the word, perhaps in “Japanese inn” might have been a fairer definition for the solver. Where you have more obscure words, the cluing needs to be simpler to compensate. The wordplay here is clear.
3 Lizard’s egg laid amid heath (7)
MONITOR – A three letter word for the egg of the head louse inside (laid amid) a four letter word for a heath.
4 Uncultivated province surrounding city, both old (7)
NATURAL – An old South African province (five letters) around an old Biblical city (two letters).
5 Great headless idiot in Force needing firing (8)
IGNITING – A three letter word meaning great without the first letter (headless – a little close to without head used in 13a) followed by a three letter word for an idiot, the IN from the clue and the abbreviation for the force of gravity.
6 More spicy food heard to replace part-Indian starter in item outside main courses (15)
EXTRACURRICULAR – A five letter word for more followed by a homophone (heard) of curry that replaced the PARTI (part Indian starter) in a ten letter word for an item. Perhaps the wordplay is overly complicated.
7 Dad’s immersed in bad thriller, initially memorised fully! (3,3)
OFF PAT – A two letter word for dad inside (immersed in) a three letter word meaning bad or rancid and the first letter (initially) of thriller.
8 Reflective eyepiece captures short fastening of gemstone (6)
SPINEL –A reversal (reflective) of a four letter word for eyepiece around (captures) a three letter word for a fastening with the final letter removed (short). As this is a more unusual word, perhaps the wordplay could have been simplified a bit.
15 Bouncing initially against vessel’s edge, some balls spill down its sides (4,4)
BRIM OVER – The first letter (initially) of bouncing followed by a three letter word for the edge of a cup or other vessel and the term for six ball in a game of cricket. We have already had initially as a first letter indicator in 7d.
16 Anxieties leading to second stroke (6)
CARESS – A five letter word for anxieties followed by the abbreviation for second.
17 Trim sides of rhomb – read the distance across (7)
BREADTH – An anagram (trim) of RB (sides of rhomb) READ.
18 Don’t catch correctly when talking – don’t catch at this point (7)
MISHEAR – A homophone (when talking) of MISS (don’t catch) HERE (at this point).
20 Burning to read steamy books (6)
ARDENT – An anagram (steamy) of READ followed by the abbreviation for New Testament (books). I don’t like the structure definition to wordplay. It should be wordplay to definition.
21 One isn’t really late to be playing this (6)
POSSUM – Cryptic definition of the phrase playing ?????? where someone pretends to be dead (late).