A Puzzle by Gonzo
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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 by Prolixic follows.
Welcome back to Gonzo. This crossword shows the promise of the setter but looking at the commentometer, there has not been much improvement since the previous crossword. The anagram count is a little lower. Perhaps reducing some of the complexity of the wordplay would help improve the surface readings. The commentometer reads as 5.5/30 or 18.3%.
1 Handed money over to a child to make organ stop (8)
DIAPASON – A four letter word meaning handed money reversed (over) followed by the a from the clue an a three letter word for a male child. I think that the over is potentially doing double duty as really “handed money over” is required to make the first four letters of the solution but there is then no reversal indicator.
5 Fish with a brief smear of aromatic bulb (6)
GARLIC – A three letter word for a fish followed by a four letter word meaning smear with the final letter removed (brief). Some editors will not allow wordplay of definition.
10 Those who unearth skeletons for Trump alone failing to see the point in afterthoughts (15)
PALEONTOLOGISTS – (American spelling – for Trump). An anagram (failing) of ALONE, the TO from the clue, a two letter word meaning see and a four letter word meaning point all inside a fro letter abbreviation for an afterthought.
11 Drifting about Gateshead and mouth of Tyne, gets craft to give a tow (7)
TUGBOATS – An anagram (drifting) of ABOUT G (first letter – head – of gates) T (first letter – mouth – of Tyne). Some editors will not allow single words to be split to give, for example, gate’s head or maiden head.
12 Not much weight given on reflection to relief scheme (7)
DIAGRAM – A four letter word for a light weight after (given on) a reversal (reflection to) of a three letter word for relief.
13 Group seizing letters, shortly brought back to heel (8)
STILETTO – A three letter word for a group around (seizing) a reversal (brought back) of an abbreviation for literature (letters) followed by the TO from the clue. I think that to get from letters to literature with the abbreviation then needed is a little indirect. I would be tempted to have used books or even literature here.
15 Such an ape could make any repast a shambles (5)
SATYR – A compound anagram where the solution with AN APE makes an anagram (shambles) of ANY REPAST A.
18 Dancer kiddy regularly getting right up your nose (5)
ACRID – The even letters (regularly) in the first words in the clue.
20 Wing removed, son messed with a civil aircraft’s electrics (8)
AVIONICS – An anagram (messed) of ON (son with the first letter – wing – removed) A CIVIL
23 Picked up a couple of joints to have after a little goat’s entrails (7)
KIDNEYS – A three letter word for a little goat followed by a homophone (picked up) of KNEES (a couple of joints).
25 Discharge in body of tumour (7)
SARCOMA – A three letter word for an electrical discharge inside a four letter word for a body. Some editors will not allow clues that have the structure wordplay of definition.
26 Run amok with smart gun? I love it – it’s too exciting! (15)
OVERSTIMULATING – An anagram (run amok) of SMART GUN I LOVE IT.
27 Guarantee premier avoids blame (6)
ENSURE – A seven letter word for blame with the first letter removed (premier avoids).
28 Son having consent to accommodate “fluff” succeeded getting chromosomes paired up (8)
SYNAPSES – The abbreviation for son followed by a three letter word for consent including (to accommodate) a three letter word for fluff and the abbreviation for succeeded. Take care when you have complex wordplay such as this as the resulting surface reading can make little or no sense as in this clue.
1 Cover tax case for the Record (6)
DEPUTY – A four letter word for tax goes around (case for) an abbreviation for a record.
2 Reptile has the whole of Eire up in arms? Quite the contrary (9)
ALLIGATOR – A three letter word meaning the whole of followed by a reversal (up) of the abbreviation for Republic of Ireland around a three letter word for a gun. Quite the contrary tells us that the gun goes inside the reversal rather than what the previous part of the clue suggests.
3 Salamander scattering a couple of eggs in Manx flat ale regularly (7)
AXOLOTL – A couple of Os go separately (scattering) in the even letters (regularly) of MANX FLAT ALE. Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators. Regularly was used in 18a.
4 Musicians essential to concoct études (5)
OCTET – The answer is hidden in (essential to) the final two words of the clue.
6 Dogs‘ coats (7)
AFGHANS – Double definition, the second been a type of sheepskin goat.
7 Class berk content to make you beam (5)
LASER – The inner letter (content) of the first two words of the clue.
8 Tangled mesh in mind’s fabric (8)
CASHMERE – An anagram (tangled) of MESH inside a four letter word meaning mind.
9 Boy, one I note coming back round in bloomers (8)
GLADIOLI – The I from the clue and a three letter word meaning note received (coming back) around (round) a three letter word for a boy and the letter representing one.
14 Poles in a fair pickle in Texas subject to paralysis (8)
TRANSFIX – The abbreviations for North and South (poles) inside an anagram (pickle) of FAIR all inside the two letter abbreviation for Texas. I would omit the A from “a fair” as it suggests that is is part of the letters to be rearranged.
16 Court notices attempt to make a study of faults (9)
TECTONICS – An anagram (attempt) of CT (court) NOTICES. I cannot see how attempt makes a suitable anagram indicator unless you have a two stage process attempt = shot = in pieces.
17 Rector coming out of cab smash with broken spine (8)
BACKBONE – An anagram (smash) of CAB BROKEN without the R (rector coming out). Smash is in the wrong tense as the wordplay becomes A smash with B. Smashed cab with broken spine would work.
19 Padre’s sermon enthralling Abigail (7)
DRESSER – The answer is hidden (enthralling) in the first two words of the clue. As the definition is a definition by example, this should be indicated with a question mark or a for example.
21 Art briefly in ascendant, taking the lead in blissful state (7)
NIRVANA – The ART from the clue with the final letter removed (briefly) and the IN from the clue all reversed (ascendant) includes a three letter word meaning the lead.
22 Judges fruit on the radio (6)
GAUGES – A homophone (on the radio) of gages (fruit).
24 Darned gash – alternately, dross (5)
DREGS – The odd letters (alternately) of the first two words of the clue.
25 Forward from the beginning? (5)
SAUCY – A quizzical (hence the ?) rendering of SOURCEY (from the beginning). The question mark is not sufficient to indicate that there is a homophone as well a a quizzical rendering of from the beginning.