A Puzzle by Zplig
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Prologue. 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.
Whilst this was markedly easier than Zplig’s previous crosswords, there are still a number of loose ends that need to be tidied up to make solving the crossword a smoother experience. There are some excellent clues – often these are the deceptively simple ones such as 24a or 4d. However, a few things to concentrate on are using the correct part of speech when constructing a synonym, a little more attention to ensuring that words in the clue are not transcribed straight into the answer, thinking a little more about the cryptic grammar and trying to avoid repetitions in the wordplay. The commentometer reads as 5/30 or 16.7%.
1 No-good swine loses money in roulette spin (9)
PIROUETTE – Remove the G (no-good) from a three letter word for a swine (farmyard animal variety) and follow with the roulette from the clue without the abbreviation for pounds sterling (loses money). In the cryptic readings “loses money in X” does not read grammatically as an instruction to removing the letter. Perhaps losing money would have worked better here for the cryptic grammar.
6 Southern type of fabric (4)
SILK – The abbreviation for southern followed by a three letter word meaning type. Some editors will not allow wordplay OF definition.
8 VAR’s used in abrupt cross (8)
TRAVERSE – An anagram (used) of VAR inside a five letter word meaning abrupt. In terms of anagram letters to be rearranged, I am not keen on using abbreviations in this way and anagram of three letters is not much of a challenge. The anagram indicator “is used” is weak – used in what way? It does not indicate strongly a movement of the letters.
9 Phony legal action quoted by party (6)
PSEUDO – A homophone (quoted) of SUE (legal action) followed by a two letter word for a party. Legal action in the clue is a noun but is used to indicate a verb in the solution. Legal action would give suit rather than sue. Phony is the (mainly) US spelling so the UK phoney would be better here.
10 Some mature couples make up (6)
RECOUP – The answer is hidden (some) in the second and third words of the clue.
11 During turmoil her plans change (8)
SHRAPNEL – An anagram (during turmoil) of HER PLANS. I think that “In turmoil” would better suit the surface reading and work better as the anagram indicator.
12 Shakespeare’s first part about battle (6)
ACTION – A shortening of the phrase “Act One” (Shakespeare’s first part) followed by a two letter word meaning about. As Shakespeare’s first part is being as representative example of a playwright, perhaps “Maybe Shakespeare’s first part…” would be better.
15 Perhaps Eddie can sing? (8)
NICKNAME – A four letter word for a prison or can followed by a four letter word meaning sing or betray.
16 Smooth talker initially called nervous (6,2)
STRUNG UP – The initial letters (initially) of smooth and talker followed by a phrase (4,2) meaning called or telephoned.
19 Pin down the Fountain of Youth, say? (6)
LEGEND – A three letter word for the part of a body sometimes referred to a pin followed by a three letter word meaning dead. I am not convinced by down meaning the same as the final three letters of the clue. You can down a plane in the sense of destroying it. To destroy something means to bring it to an end but this does not make down and end synonymous.
21 Buddhist rejects her innermost essence as she is trying to find peace (8)
MEDIATOR – What a Buddhist does to achieve inner peace without its central letter (rejects her innermost essence). As meditation is not unique to the Buddhist tradition, I think that some clearer indicator of the practice involved rather than the performer of the practice is required.
22 Sleeping dog gives off good humming sound (6)
DOZING – Remove the G (good) from the dog in the clue and follow with a four letter word for a humming sound.
24 Dance routine (6)
GROOVE – Double definition for an informal word for a dance and another word for a rut or routine.
25 Publically I make suggestion (8)
OVERTONE – A five letter word meaning publicly followed by the full spelling of the number represented by I. Publicly would give overtly. Perhaps In public I make suggestion would be better as “in this wordplay you fine this definition”. Watch out for correct spellings. Publically should be publicly.
26 Positive ex-student loses first choice (4)
PLUM – The abbreviation for positive followed by a four letter word presumable meaning alumnus without the first letter (loses first). As the word for the ex-student is an Americanism, this should be indicated – perhaps “Trump’s ex-student”
27 Study a woman’s clothing – that’s forward! (9)
READDRESS – A four letter word meaning study followed by a five letter word for women’s clothing.
1 Hunt lost upper class funds (5)
PURSE – A six letter word meaning to hunt or chase without the second abbreviation for upper class.
2 Rule against smearing garlic mayo over pasta (7)
RAVIOLI – The abbreviation for rule followed by another word for garlic mayonnaise around (smearing … over) the abbreviation for versus (against).
3 Open University starts to name rude immodest professors (5)
UNRIP – The abbreviation for University followed by the initial letters (starts to) of the final four words of the clue.
4 Cicero denounced this deceitful senator? (7)
TREASON – An anagram (deceitful) of SENATOR.
5 Investigator delves into odd miracle through trial and error (9)
EMPIRICAL – The abbreviation for private investigator inside an anagram (odd) of MIRACLE
6 Stay out or miss out on life (5,2)
SLEEP IN – Double definition (I think) with the first meaning to have a lie in.
7 A damsel in distress? A man looking to impress! (6,3)
LADIES MAN – An anagram (distress) of A DAMSEL IN. A shame that the “man” from the clue also appears in the solution.
13 About the rotating pig fat, it contains a large mass (9)
CATHEDRAL – A two letter word meaning about followed by the “the” from the clue and a reversal rotating of a four letter word for the rendered fat of a big. Whilst not incorrect, I think that “holding” would be better than containing here for the definition.
14 Sack get-up worn with anger (9)
NIGHTWEAR – A anagram (worn) of WITH ANGER.
17 University document’s the same for everyone (7)
UNIFORM – A three letter abbreviation for university followed by a four letter word for an official document to be filled in.
18 Fanciful poser – an actor’s image (7)
PERSONA – An anagram (fanciful) of POSER AN.
20 Newspaper‘s fixed view, dry and English (7)
GAZETTE – A four letter word for a fixed view or state followed by the abbreviation for teetotal and the abbreviation for English.
22 Queen’s in utter state of fear (5)
DREAD – A single letter abbreviation for queen inside a four letter word meaning utter. I think to make the four letter word required by the solution, you would need to use “utterly”.
23 No·2’s? They’re taboos (2-3)
NO NOS – The no from the clue followed by the abbreviation for numbers (2’s). Having the first word in the clue as the first word of the solution is unfortunate and should be avoided.