A Puzzle by Willie
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today we have another setter making his debut. 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 Willie. This was a challenging crossword but for all the wrong reasons. Whilst the basic structure and wordplay is mostly in place (with a couple of exceptions), there were too many obscurities and elliptical cluing to make this an entirely fair or enjoyable crossword to solve. However, there were also some excellent clues such as the fantastic sextuple definition in 2d and the anagram and definition in 19a.
The obscurities and somewhat convoluted wordplay in some of the clues means that the commentometer reads at 9 / 28 or 32.1%.
1 Uproar when a scholar breaks into city toilet (10)
HULLABALOO – The A from the clue and the abbreviation for bachelor of arts (scholar) inside (breaks into) a four letter East Yorkshire city and a three letter word for a toilet.
6 No slouches in this city? On the contrary! (4)
OSLO – The answer is hidden in No slouches. The on the contrary reverses the wordplay suggested by the first part of the clue.
9 Many footballers facing a crowd filled with rancour finally flare up (10)
DEFLAGRATE – The Roman numeral for 500 (many) followed by the abbreviation for English Football League and a four letter word for the crowd or attendance at a match including (filled with) the final letter for rancour. Many to clue a roman numeral is a little loose. The abbreviation is not one recognised in the main dictionaries. Setter should use only those found in one of the main ones.
10 Fit to enter races once medical assistance available (19) (4)
ABLE – The answer if entered into TT (race) would give something that offers medical assistance. I am not sure what the (19) is doing in the clue. As a structure, I am not sure that the clue works entirely fairly for the solver as the “once…available” does not lead you to tablet.
12 Sterile drays for chewing gum suppliers (12)
DRYSALTERIES – An anagram (for chewing) of STERILE DRAYS. Whilst not technically incorrect, cluing unusual words as anagrams is not the fairest way of setting.
15 Unaccountable, but following directions initially, I gave most aid to international charities (9)
ENIGMATIC – The abbreviations for East and North (directions) followed by the initial letters for the final seven words of the clue.
17 Contractors taking legal action get result (5)
ENSUE – The contractions for East and North followed by a word meaning take legal action. I am not keen on contractors to clue abbreviations as the number of possible abbreviations is too many to make this fair. Also taking legal action would give suing, not sue and, if taking, is taken as an indicator to joint the wordplay together, legal action would require the noun suit.
18 Rear parts of architectural feature remaining after dilapidated YMCA demolished (5)
RECTA – Remove an anagram (dilapidated) of YMCA from CYMA RECTA (architectural feature). I think that this falls on the wrong side for fairness for the solver. The word for the architectural feature is obscure.
19 1100 leaderless Kurds won pitched battle for Union supremacy (5,4)
SCRUM DOWN – An anagram (pitched) of MC (1100) URDS (leaderless Kurds) WON.
20 After meeting Italian composer Lady Heather is keeping in touch (12)
CORRIVALLING – An obscure Italian composer (Corri) followed by a three letter ladies name and another word for heather. Again, the wordplay here is a little too obscure give the unusual word used as a solution.
24 No.24……a military alignment (4)
AXIS – I think that this is Across giving A X but cannot see where the IS is clued.
25 Develop strategy having bilateral support in fierce onslaught (10)
BRAINSTORM – A bilateral supporting garment for women followed by the IN from the clue and another word for a fierce onslaught.
26 Lack of energy creates an impasse (2,2)
NO GO – Double definition.
27 Poor No.10 tightens up in periods of extra time (10)
EXTENSIONS – I think that this is E for poor (as in a poor mark) followed by the roman numeral fo 10 and a word meaning tightens up. I think that “poor” on its own is not sufficient to give the letter.
1 Opening of childrens’ play closely followed by Sikh audience (4)
HIDE – The first part of the game Hide and Seek (Sikh audience). Audience on its own does not really give a homophone indicator. It needs to be for the audience. A minor point, but as children is a plural noun, the possessive form is children’s.
2 Split wing abandoned over Port Said according to report (4)
LEFT – Sextuple definition!! Said sounds like side.
3 Two postgraduates involved with rag antic – in such style! (12)
ANAGRAMMATIC – An anagram (involved) MA MA RAG ANTIC.
4 Two fronts united by cockney war hero (5)
ARRIS – How a Cockney might pronounce the surname of a World War II bomber commander in chief.
5 Employment agent offers university post in half-term (9)
OUTPLACER – The abbreviation for Open University followed by another word for a post or position in TR (half term). A phrase such as half term should be used to indicate TE or RM, not the alternate letters.
7 Young female captain returning to sinking ship offers resignation (10)
SUBMISSION – A three letter for an underwater ship followed by a four letter word for a young female and a reversal (returning) of No 1 (captain). I think that there needs to be a better indication that the boat appears first in the answer. Also, “number one” is not the captain. It is the first officer below the captain. Having offers as a linkword in consecutive clues should be avoided.
8 Ready to start sawing – or is that the foreman’s job? (10)
OVERSEEING – Pass! The wordplay makes no real sense even with the benefit of the setter’s notes.
11 Fundamentalists stop cars going on to back street (12)
DETERMINISTS – A five letter word meaning stop followed by a five letter words for small cars and a reversal (back) of the abbreviation for street.
13 Spraying pure Chanel is little help to Irish housewives (10)
LEPRECHAUN – An anagram (spraying) of PURE CHANEL.
14 Getting rid of dealer’s diamonds possibly (10)
DISCARDING – Loosely DIS-CARDING could be the dealer getting rid of cards – I am not convinced by the wordplay.
16 She wants to leave exam at Reading before 9 (9)
TESTATRIX – A four letter word for an exam followed by the AT from the clue, the abbreviation for reading (as in the three Rs) and the Roman numerals for 9.
21 In France you’ll find nothing to read about this region (5)
LOIRE – Put the letter representing nothing inside the French word meaning to read.
22 Country fare ready for eating (4)
TOGO – Split 2,2, the answer could mean ready for eating as in food from a takeaway.
23 Worldwide celebration when unidentified missile capsizes (4)
XMAS – One of the letters meaning an unknown or unidentified quantity followed by a reversal (capsizes) of a three letter word for a type of missile.