A Puzzle by Rex Bassett
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
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 back to Rex Bassett. Like his first crossword, there are some good ideas in this crossword but far too many rough edges. On a positive note, the grid was much better The commentometer reads at 10.5 / 30 or 35%.
1 Applies to those in the cabinet in charge of promotion? (11)
ADMINISTERS – Split 2,9 this might mean members of the cabinet responsible for adverts.
7 Complexes before noon? The pits (7)
AMMINES -The abbreviation for morning followed by another word for pits where minerals / ores are extracted. The definition might have been a little more precise but the wordplay was clear.
8/2 Perhaps doubtful or curious and ofttimes bewildered (5,2,4)
STATE OF MIND – An anagram (bewildered) of AND OFTTIMES.
10 A line connecting Collage to the network (4)
CLAN – The abbreviation for college followed by the abbreviation for local area network. If the setter intended Collage as the indicator for C, this is an error – you cannot use any old word beginning with the letter you want to use in the wordplay. Only recognised abbreviations should be used. If the setter intended college, then the typo is an error that makes the clue impossible to solve.
11 Make animal noise round the table (5)
BLEAT – An anagram (round) of TABLE. The “the” should be omitted from the clue. Also, round as an anagram indicator before the letters to be rearranged does not really work. Whilst you might round the horn, it means to go around, not to rearrange.
12 Usually in a sea passage late getting underway (4)
ISLE – Another word for a passage with the first letter removed (late getting underway). Verbal phrases to indicate a noun are fair but not all solvers like them.
15 Not something normally seen on Commando! (9)
UNDERWEAR – Cryptic definition of something not worn if you are going commando. Whilst potentially a good clue, you would need “going commando” in the wordplay for this to work.
17 Emergency rations allegedly made by married woman (5)
MANNA – The abbreviation for married followed by a four letter woman’s name.
18 Lake leads to a healthy outside existence (5)
TAHOE – The initial letters (leads) of the final five words of the clue. Leads on its own does not work as the initial letter indicator – it would need to be “leads to” but as the “to” is already in the clue, you would end up with “leads to to” – perhaps “leads to taking a…” would work better.
20 Shows signs of being a sadist or tediously twisted . (9)
DISTORTED – The answer is hidden in SADIST OR TEDIOUSLY. I am not wholly convinced by “shows signs of” as the hidden word indicator and the “being” is padding. Perhaps “In part a sadist or tediously twisted.
22 ..but shows signs of being noble (4)
NEON – Cryptic definition of a noble gas used in signs.
23 Having none of it is nothing to do with you! (5)
TRUCK – Cryptic definition.
25 Test shows note reverberating in airway? (4)
BETA – A reversal (reverberating) of a musical note inside the abbreviation for British Airways. Whilst in the plural form, airways can refer to airline companies, it does not have the same meaning in the singular.
28 Flat with a variety of Antirrhinum plants (4,3)
SALT PAN – The a from the clue followed by an anagram (variety of) of PLANTS. I see the setter has said that the “A” was superfluous in the clue. If this is the case, then you cannot use Antirrhinum as an indicator for A as it is not an abbreviation given in the dictionaries. Perhaps “Flat area with variety of plants” would have been better.
29 Songbird in late spring? What nonsense (7)
MALARKY – A four letter bird’s name inside one the late spring months.
30 Teacher training by an expert? (11)
MASTERCLASS – A six letter word for a teacher followed by another word for training. There is too much overlap between component elements of this clue to make it entirely satisfactory.
1 Insignia worn by almost all military musicians (7)
ARMBAND – A four letter word for the military with the final word removed followed by a four letter word for musicians. Insignia is a plural noun though can be used in the singular.
2 See 8 Across
3 Get oneself occasionally involved with support group for protection historically (5)
NASAL – An anagram (involved) of NSL (the even letters – occasionally – in oneself) AA (the abbreviation for Alcoholics Anonymous). The first of two indirect anagrams. As there could be many support groups whose abbreviations could be used, it is not fair on the solver to expect them to alight on the right pair of initials required. The crime is compounded by using an ancient nounal form of the solution as a protective bridge on a helmet which makes it even harder to get back from the definition to divine the correct wordplay.
4 Twice the SAS have bewildered airmen in for tea (9)
SASSAFRAS – An anagram (bewildered) of SAS SAS RAF. The second of our indirect anagrams. A simple rule for rookie setters. Don’t use indirect anagrams. Also, whilst anagram clues for obscure words are technically allowed, they really do not give solvers much chance unless the cross-checking letters are friendly.
5 Surprised expression from aged doctor (4)
EGAD – An anagram (doctor) of AGED. The position of the anagram indicator is wrong. You doctor something. Therefore, the anagram indicator must go before the letters to be rearranged. Many of the anagrams in this crossword are four or five letters. This does not give the solver much of a challenge.
6 Often worn on the hands (7)
STETSON – Cryptic definition of a hat worn by cowboys (hands). Again a nice attempt at a cryptic definition but fails as the hats are worn by (not on) hands. “They may found on American hands” would be a little better.
7 They give balance to stories going round at National Assembly (11)
ACCOUNTANTS – An eight letter word for stories around an anagram (assembly) of AT N (national). The clue structure of definition TO wordplay does not work. Wordplay to definition is the accepted order.
9 Relaxed safe and yearned to get drunk (4,3,4)
FREE AND EASY – An anagram (to get drunk) of SAFE YEARNED.
13 Persistent juror? (5)
TRIER – Double definition of someone who is persistent and someone who tries a case giving a verdict as a jury member.
14 Is smut regularly seen with binoculars through a hole in the hedge (5)
SMOOT – The even letters (regularly) of “is smut” around (seen with … through) a pair of letter that look like the end of binoculars. The definition is an obscure one. You should use the definition from one of the main English dictionaries such as Chambers, Collins or the OED and not rely on on-line dictionaries where the provenance of the definition is not known.
16 Guts and cooks deer and Aberdeen Angus, nice now and again (9)
ENDURANCE – An anagram (cooks) of DEED A (Aberdeen) NU NC (the even letter – now and again – in Angus Nice). Another instance where the setter has taken word where the first letter is to be used in an illegal manner. “…head of Aberdeen Angus…” would be better.
19 It is criminal to stop smoking! (7)
HOODLUM – If you were to put a cover over a three letter word for a chimney you would get a name of a criminal. As the answer is a person, the “It is” could be omitted.
21 Creativity from unorthodox Non- European theatres (3,4)
THE ARTS – An anagram (unorthodox) of THEATRES without the E (non-European).
24 Type of opera children will see? (5)
COMIC – Double definition of a type of opera and something that children will read and see.
26 Bird’s nest soup after a big bottle of bubbly usually (4)
OPUS – An anagram (bird’s nest) of SOUP. It is bad enough having nouns following the letters to be rearranged as an anagram indicator. To put the noun before the letters compounds the problem. Perhaps “Soup is prepared after…” would be better.
27 Return to the heart of Casablanca to see Rose (4)
ALBA -The answer is hidden in (the heart of) and reversed (return) in CASABLANCA. The first “to” in the clue jars and destroys the cryptic reading. Perhaps “Rose returns from the centre of Casablanca”
I will see you all in two weeks’ time. Next week we have a mystery reviewer who will blog the next puzzle in the Rookie Crossword Corner.