A Puzzle by Rags
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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 of this puzzle by Silvanus follows:
I was greatly honoured to be invited to deputise for Prolixic this week. Whilst the Commentometer might be having a week off too, I can confirm that my Repetition Radar was switched on as usual, but it bleeped just the once! Welcome back to Rags with another example of the very enjoyable type of crosswords that we have come to expect from him, with some commendably concise cluing.
9a –How do leading characters escape classic tragedy? (5)
HELLO: One of Shakespeare’s more famous tragedies, without its first two letters (“leading characters escape”).
Although the definition appears in Collins, I couldn’t find it in Chambers, not even as a regional alternative.
10a –Secretly like a soldier (9)
PRIVATELY: A cryptic way of describing something in the manner of one occupying the lowest Army rank.
Perhaps a comma after the definition and a question mark at the end of the clue might have been useful additions.
11a –Spot on – I fancy drinks! (7)
POTIONS: An anagram (“fancy”) with the fodder preceding it.
12a –Subject drinker to Italian food (7)
RISOTTO: A charade consisting of the abbreviation for (a school) subject plus a synonym for one who drinks excessively and “to” from the clue.
13a –He edited article to be unorthodox (9)
HERETICAL: HE (from the clue) plus an anagram (“edited”) of ARTICLE.
16a –Dada proponent occupies tavern, stumped (5)
ERNST: The surname of a German pioneer of the Dada movement is hidden within (“occupies”) the last two words of the clue.
I think something like “German painter” would have been fairer to solvers as a definition, although it would not have been hard to guess the answer, even for someone not possessing the required General Knowledge.
17a –Polite competence test at a brewery for youngster (3)
PUP: A less crude way to describe what incompetent types are considered incapable of organising at said establishment.
19a –Prospect of difficult time in hospital? On the contrary (7)
THOUGHT: The abbreviation for “hospital” inside a synonym for difficult, followed by the abbreviation for “time”, i.e. the opposite of what the wordplay of the clue is suggesting (“on the contrary”).
20a –Pair coming back in proudly (3)
DUO: The solution is hidden within a reversal (“coming back”) of “proudly”.
22a –’Just Eat’ app now serving starters wearing these (5)
JEANS: The initial letters (“starters”) of the first five words in the clue.
23a –Highest possible, say, majority (9)
UTTERMOST: Synonyms for “say” and “majority”.
25a –Allowing Her Majesty to leave signage (7)
LETTING: Another word for “signage” minus our Queen’s royal cipher.
27a –Trade in fine art from the East by fellow in charge (7)
TRAFFIC: A charade consisting of the abbreviation for “fine” plus ART (from the clue) reversed (“from the East”) with further abbreviations for “fellow” and “in charge”.
29a –Icon drunk magic port (9)
PICTOGRAM: An anagram (“drunk”) with the fodder following it.
30a –Republic’s back to front airline supplier (5)
SCUBA: Possessive form of a Caribbean republic with its final letter moved to be first (“back to front”).
1d –What karate enthusiast does, perhaps, quickly (4,4)
CHOP CHOP: Slightly cryptically, repeated actions of someone practicing karate.
Chambers has the answer as hyphenated, but it’s shown as unhyphenated in Collins. I’m unconvinced that the wordplay suggests more than one instance of CHOP, without having a word like “repeatedly” or a phrase like “more than once” included as well
2d –‘Fiddler on the Roof’ critic (6)
SLATER: A double definition, the first a little cryptic.
3d –Two sailors turning up undistinguished (2-2)
SO-SO: A reversal (“turning up”) of the abbreviation for Ordinary Seaman, twice.
4d –Job Centre put us under pressure to find work (4)
OPUS: The middle letter of JOB, plus an instruction for US (from the clue) to follow the abbreviation for “pressure”.
Strict adherents of Ximenean cluing might feel that only Job’s Centre could clue “O”!
5d –It provides a little power in personal banking (10)
MICROLIGHT: A cryptic definition of the type of single-seat aircraft that has a very small power source.
Once again, I think a question mark might not have gone amiss at the end of the clue.
6d –Cut flower stand (4)
DAIS: A type of common flower with its final letter removed (“cut”).
7d –Organised, one’s essentially a full marks editor (8)
NEATENED: The middle letters (“essentially”) of ONES plus a top mark (in certain sports, say) and the abbreviation for “editor”.
It’s a moot point whether “full marks” is fair without describing its context, e.g. in a diving competition. Full marks in other instances could mean many different numbers.
8d –Setter’s stocking filler? I’m not buying that! (2.4)
MY FOOT: An interjection expressing disbelief that could also represent what Rags might put in a stocking.
14d –Show disapproval of our skirts (5)
TUTUS: A synonym for “show disapproval” plus a pronoun that is the objective case of “we”.
Whereas “of us” can mean “our”, I don’t think “of our” (or “our” on its own) can equate to “us”, if that was the setter’s intention.
15d –Does she sing at dawn or refrain? (6,4)
CHORUS GIRL: A cryptic reference to the singing of birds in the early morning and a synonym for “chorus”, either of which might involve the answer.
16d –Log space, time, energy and resistance (5)
ENTER: A two-letter word for a (printing) space, plus abbreviations for the final three words.
This is the second instance of “time” being used to clue the letter T.
“Resistance” was misspelt in the clue.
18d –Procedure of Bill cutting cost (8)
PRACTICE: A word for what a bill (in Parliament) creates inside (“cutting”) a synonym for “cost”.
21d –Colour blind? Wrong predication, suggests goggles flogger (8)
OPTICIAN: An anagram (“wrong”) of PREDICATION with the three letter primary colour inside it hidden (“blind”).
22d –Bird eating cut banger (6)
JALOPY: The bird that is also the pseudonym of the Telegraph’s Wednesday backpage setter outside (“eating”) a synonym for “cut”.
24d –It’s not on, saving leftover (6)
OFFCUT: The opposite of “on” plus another word for “saving”.
26d –Hero vows liberation at first (4)
IDOL: Split (1,2) the first three letters of the solution refer to what is said at the conclusion of marriage vows, plus the initial letter (“at first”) of “liberation”.
27d –Self-addressed book (4)
TOME: Split (2,2), this could be how a label to oneself is written.
28d – Inexplicable feeling arising after a church recess (4)
APSE: A reversal (“arising”) of the abbreviation for extrasensory perception following “a” from the clue.