A Puzzle by Rex Bassett
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today’s puzzle is the first one from Rex Bassett. 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 to Rex Basset. There was a lot of potential showed in the clues but also a considerable number of rough edges that need to be honed. As well as the comments on the clues themselves, there is a major problem with the grid. Each of the outer solutions has three unchecked letters. This is considered a no-no when designing grids. In particular, with the two outer down clues, you have 13 letter solutions with only 5 cross-checking letters giving a ration of checkers of 38%. The ideal is to have at least 50% cross-checking letters in any solution.
The commentometer reads as 10/31 or 32.3%.
1 Bury a Kray without feelings almost in the space between Charles and his son (11)
INTERREGNUM – A five letter word meaning bury followed by the name of one of the Kray twins and a four letter word meaning without feelings with the final letter removed. The period is the one between Charles I and his son Charles II. A minor point but the twin in question was known as “Reggie” not the three letter term used in the wordplay.
8 Busy express with external flue broken (8)
EVENTFUL – A four letter word meaning to express or let out with an anagram (broken) of FLUE around it (external).
9 Bluff used by snooker player before stadium is not even half built (6)
CUESTA – The three letter name for the rod used to play snooker followed by the first three letters for stadium (not even half built). As the solution is an unusual word, defining by bluff is, whilst not technically incorrect, not the fairest way this could have been clued. The structure definition used by wordplay does not quite work.
11 Enlisted in the SAS, having only part of the uniform (4)
SASH – The answer is hidden (enlisted in) SAS HAVING. A minor point but hidden words work best when the solution does not start or end at a word break.
12 Barker title sees story’s central characters appear in posh car (5)
ROVER – The central letters of novel (story) inside the abbreviation for Rolls Royce (posh car).
13 Colourful festival played early on in holiday (4)
HOLI – The first four letters (played early on) of the final word of the clue. Perhaps seen earlier on would have been a better indicator.
16 Porters at a jumble sale (4)
ALES – An anagram (jumble) of SALE. The at a does not work very well linking the definition and wordplay. The cryptic reading becomes definition at a wordplay. Porters in jumble sale would have been better.
17 See 30
19 Chock’s away for a visit! (7)
STOP OFF – A four letter word for a chock followed by a three letter word meaning away. In the sense of visit, Chambers gives the enumeration as (4,3).
21 Drachma’s part in Euro bollocks (4)
OBOL – The answer is hidden in EURO BOLLOCKS.
23 One jerk left knowing nothing about yesterday’s kick off (4)
YANK – Reverse (left) the initial letters (kick-off) of the fourth to seventh words of clue. The indicators in this clue do not quite work. Something more than left is required for a reversal indicator and there needs to be an indication that the initial letters are taken from all the words. The cryptic reading of “yesterday’s kick-off” means only the first letter of yesterday. The one at the start of the clue should have been omitted as it does not contribute to the wordplay or to the definition. Perhaps Jerk originally knowing nothing about yesterday coming back.
24 Exercise followed by pulse reading? On your bike! (5)
PEDAL – A two letter word meaning exercise followed by a three letter word for a type of pulse or vegetable. The “reading” in the clue is padding as it does not contribute to the wordplay or the definition. Perhaps “Pulse following exercise on your bike!” would have been better.
25 Vacuous weakest Cardinal (4)
WEST – Remove the central letters (vacuous) from weakest. As vacuous means empty, this really indicates the outer letters only, not the out pair of letters. Perhaps Cardinal’s weakest losing heart.
28 Cross the borders of Eire full out (6)
IREFUL – Remove the outer letters (borders) from EIRE FULL.
29 Sign of times? No, something more (8)
ADDITION – Cryptic definition and definition of the sign used to indicate that you calculate the sum of two or more numbers.
30/17 Fit experienced by Tinnitus sufferer? (5,2,4,3,4)
SOUND IN MIND AND BODY – Definition and cryptic definition of the mental and physical symptoms of tinnitus.
1 Exists to fly back from Essen International Airport (2,4)
IN ESSE – The answer is hidden and reversed (to fly back from) ESSEN INTERNATIONAL. Again, a hidden word should not, ideally, stop at a word break. In addition, the “airport” is padding and should ideally be avoided, though some editors will allow padding like this. Perhaps “Being returning from Messenia”
2 Little ones bounce back (4)
TOTS – Reverse (back) a Scottish word meaning bounce. Where dialect or Scottish words are being used, this should be indicated.
3 It’s harsh to scour gold roughly (7)
RAUCOUS – An anagram (roughly) of SCOUR AU (gold). This comes just over the borderline for an indirect anagram for me. The letters to be rearranged should be given in the clue. Whilst abbreviations can be used, it is better to use words where there is a direct link between the letter and the abbreviation (for example B for British. However, this is a marginal example and some may be happy with it.
4 We French show common sense (4)
NOUS – Double definition of the French pronoun and a word meaning common sense. The link word here should be shows or showing. The cryptic reading of first definition show second definition does not works.
5 Dispatched nomads to find old hoofed tusker (8)
MASTODON – An anagram (dispatched) of NOMADS TO. Again, the link word gives wordplay find definition where it should be wordplay finds definition.
6 What target practice and a good Ophthalmological transplant surgeon does? (4,4,3,2)
GETS ONES EYE IN – Definition and cryptic definition.
7 Notes for issue and return to wealth (6,7)
FAMILY FORTUNE – Reverse the order (and return) to get issue for notes and replace issue with a six letter word for offspring, use the FOR from the clue and add another word for a series of musical notes.
10 Hellenic character is seen when Boeotian is regular ignored (4)
BETA – Remove the even letters (is regularly ignored) from Boeotian.
14 One master reportedly pulls back (5)
SLOOP – Reverse (back) POOLS (homophone of pulls). Possible the worst homophone of the year. This simply does not work.
15 When needed, made Sophocles central to both (2,3)
AD HOC – The central letter of made and Sophocles.
18 Goes down academically one day a year (8)
FOUNDERS – Double definition, the second being the day celebrating a school’s founder.
20 Wear on musician’s fingertips? (4)
FRET – Double definition. A minor point but the fingertip are on the solution not the other way around.
21 Constantly what makes you get up in the middle of the day dizzy (2,3,2)
ON AND ON – Reverse (get up) DNA (what make you) inside an anagram (dizzy) of NOON. Firstly, this is directly in indirect anagram territory. The two step process to go from midday to noon and then make an anagram of it is considered unfair in all but advance cryptic crossword and even then only where absolutely necessary. Secondly the reversal indicator should be gets up.
22 Stop time (6)
PERIOD – Double definition, the first being an American term for a full stop. Where an American terms is being used, it is thought fairer to indicate this.
26 Expert hears W almost breaking into G&R (4)
GURU – Put two Us (double U as a homophone – hears – of W) split into the G and R. The wordplay indicates that the two Us go inside the G & R, not straddle them.
27 Modern concert followed by a 50s film (4)
GIGI – A three letter word for a concert followed by a letter meaning one or a.