A Puzzle by Porcia
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
This week Porcia makes 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 Porica with a complex (too complex?) crossword. Whilst the majority of the wordplay was accurate and there was a lot of promise in the construction of the clues, I think that a lot of the difficulty came from the use of Americanisms and American spellings, a lot of Yoda like cluing, for example using AB in to indicate putting B inside A and a number of clues where you need a two step process – for example seasonal (which means periodic or recurring as an adjective) meaning temporary and then using temporary as a temporary or seasonal worker and abbreviating to temp.
The commentometer reads at 6 / 28 or 21.4%
5 Having ejaculated, drooping, love champion returned home for games (7)
OLYMPIA – A homophone (ejaculated – as an exclamatory remark) of LIMP (drooping) inside (having – as in what are you having / eating for dinner) the letter representing love and a reversal (returned) of A1 (champion). Please refer to the comments on the crossword about the use of smutty clues.
7 Superior‘s promoting a scrubber (5)
ALOOF – A word for a sponge used as a scrubber in the bath with the A moved to the left. Care needs to be taken with clues where the wordplay could work either way. With this clue, another reading would be to take a word for superior and move the A to give the scrubber.
9 Art going to use inspirational Bookends and Bridge over Troubled Water reprise initially (4)
WILT – Reverse (reprise) the initial letters of troubled and water and put them around (bridge over) the first and last letters (bookends) of inspirational. I am not sure that reprise (which means to repeat, reissue or resume) is a good reversal indicator). Whilst repeat might, in a performance, indicate come back with, you have a two step process, reprise = repeat = come back with.
10 French, and scantily dressed in style (5)
ECLAT – The French word for and includes (in) a four letter word meaning dressed with the final letter removed (scantily). Try to avoid using the Yoda like A B in structure to indicate putting B in A. It produces rather stilted clues when you look at the cryptic reading.
11 Refuse nude nymphs clothing (4)
DENY – The answer is hidden (clothing) in RUDE NYMPS.
12 Innocent woman’s covering for stiff back is essential (8)
INHERENT – A three letter word meaning woman’s replaces (covering for) the three letter word meaning to stiff or dupe that is reversed (back) in the INNOCENT from the clue.
14 March in March and the middle of Sept, on foot (6)
INSTEP – How you might refer to the current month (for example March in March) followed by the middle letters of Sept.
16 Say ‘conjoined’, in short, replacing former description (4)
THAI – A homophone (say) of TIED (conjoined) with the final letter removed (in short). The definition here does not pass muster. The solution is an adjective but the definition is both imprecise and suggests an answer that is a verb.
18 Charts alt-left since kidnapping (5)
ATLAS – A two letter word meaning since includes (kidnapping) a reversal (left) of the ALT from the clue. Whilst back can be used as a verb to indicate a reversal, I don’t think that the same can be said of left. It would need to be “to the left” as you cannot “left something”.
19 A name I call myself from the start of school to the end of class (4)
MISS – The musical note from the song Do-Re-Mi followed by the first letter (start) of school and the last letter (end) of class.
20 Reputable New York brothel? (6)
HONEST – Split 2,4, this could describe a place where American prostitutes may be found. Perhaps an exclamation mark here would be appropriate to indicate that there is a liberty with the wordplay.
21 Something that is concerning in universe (8)
ENTIRETY – A six letter word meaning something that is or exists includes (in) a two letter word meaning concerning or about. Another AB in structure. Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators, here using the in as a containment indicator.
24 PA with next to no pants (4)
AIDE – A nine letter word meaning next to has a five letter word for trousers (pants) removed. I think that there is an Americanism here as the word “longs” is used in Britain to indicate long trousers not pants.
26 Queen’s call? “West End essentially foul!” (5)
MIAOU – Reverse (West) a three letter word meaning end or objective and follow with the inner letters (essentially) of foul. Another reversal indicator that would need to be “to the West” as you cannot “west something”
28 Rookie mistake – try over (4)
TYRO – An anagram (mistake) of TRYO (O being the abbreviation for over). Whilst mistake something, I don’t think it works as an imperative verb to mean reorganise something. The anagram is not a complex one.
29 The latest information has been received disclosing secret location (1-4)
G-SPOT – The abbreviation for starting price (the latest information) inside (received) a three letter word meaning has been. Another Yoda like structure A B received to indicate B inside A.
30 Drives a coach and horses through cut flower beds (7)
DEBUNKS – A three letter river (flower) with the final letter removed (cut) followed by another word for beds.
1 Wrong sounding conjecture needs sulfur for gold to achieve alchemy (10)
SYNTHESIZE – A homophone (sounding) of SIN (wrong) followed by a word for conjecture with the OR (gold) replaced by an S (sulfur). Where producing a crossword for a UK site or paper, you should stick to British not American spellings both in the wordplay and in the solution.
2 Globe revealed as Columbus’ last ship finally arrived (6)
SPHERE – The final letters (last and finally) of Columbus and Ship followed by a four letter word meaning arrived.
3 Masters Pinta in a storm, having been tossed about briefly (8)
CAPTAINS – A word meaning tossed has the final letter removed (briefly) and goes around (about) an anagram (in a storm) of PINTA.
4/15 They stop to help complete Santa Maria’s refit after leaving American coast (4,10)
GOOD SAMARITANS – A four letter word meaning complete followed by an anagram (refit) of SANTA MARIAS after removing the first letter (coast) of American. You could have had “leaving America” rather than American coast. Coast does not tell you which coast or side.
5 Digit getting trapped in workings by rings? (5)
ONION – The letter representing one (digit) inside two instances of a two letter word meaning working.
6/8/27/22 Awkward, as Nina going down (3,7,3,6)
ALL FINGERS AND THUMBS – Look at the first and third columns of the crossword and come up with a synonym meaning with all hands.
13 Missed the boat at 6 (5)
TILDE – You have to know the names of your ships. Christophe Columbus had three ships, Pinta, Santa Maria and Nina. The spelling of Nina has a punctuation mark that is the solution to this clue that is missing in the word Nina in the clue to 6d. I think that this is too obtuse and unfair on the solver.
15 See 4
17 Avant-garde Goon hit producing guffaws (7)
HOOTING – An anagram (avant-garde) of GOON HIT.
18 Goes towards seasonal temperatures (8)
ATTEMPTS – A two letter word meaning towards followed by a four letter word meaning seasonal and the abbreviation for temperature with an s (as temperatures is in the plural).
22 See 6
23 Spells master’s spelling savagely without using A’s (5)
TERMS – An anagram (spelling savagely) of MASTERS after removing the A and S
25 Glimpse another way of seeing something unknown (4)
ESPY – The abbreviation for extra sensory perception followed by a letter representing an unknown quantity.
27 See 6