A Puzzle by Raymond
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Raymond is the latest 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 Raymond. There was a lot of strong cluing in the crossword but in too many instances it became too indirect with clues to clues or stretched synonyms. I think a greater attention to precision in the wordplay and avoiding overly complicating things would help improve the overall feel and accessibility of the crossword. The commentometer reads as 6 / 32 or 18.7%.
1 Sign over money in case of administration judgement (6)
ACUMEN – A three letter word for a sign or hint goes around (over) the abbreviation for money and the resulting letters are put into the outer letters (case) of administrations.
4 This one might give recitations of a cultural nature (8)
ARTISTIC – The solution with the “one” from the clue make an anagram of recitations.
10 Moves to release second single from “Old Towns” (7)
EXCITES – A two letter prefix meaning old and another word for large towns without the second I (to release second single).
11 Lend support (7)
ADVANCE – Double definition, the first to lend money and the second to promote or put further or support a cause.
12 Quiet sort starts to chat away merrily with a drop of lager inside (4)
CLAM – The initial letters (starts to) of the fifth to seventh words of the clue include the first letter (a drop) of lager.
13 The useless nag presses Dicky (10)
PASSENGERS – An anagram (dicky) of NAG PRESSES. The definition here is somewhat indirect as you have to get from the meaning of useless = carried along by other’s efforts = the solution.
15 Creeping dead out for grand practice at Halloween (6)
EGGING – A six letter word meaning creeping has the D (dead) removed and replaced by a G (grand). Another clue where the definition is somewhat vague. There is nothing other than hooliganism to suggest that throwing eggs is a practice at halloween.
16 Did suggest added strength for central Germany (7)
ADVISED – Replace the middle (central) D in added with the Latin word for force. I think that the “central” here is to far removed from the added to make it a fair indicator that you need to replace the central letter in it. I think that where you are going to use a foreign word, such as the Latin for force or power, it is better to use the direct translation of the word in the dictionary rather than a synonym for that word.
20 A day doing word searches starting in early May? (7)
ADVERBS – The A from the clue and the abbreviation for day followed by the part of speech representing a doing word and the first letter (starting) of searches. I am not convinced that x starting means the start of X. Also, I think that may is an auxiliary verb rather than an example of the solution – maybe would be the form required to define the solution.
21 Remove covers of Sunset Lens in camera (6)
UNSEEN – The inner letters (remove covers) of the fourth and fifth words of the clue.
24 Really slyly chip a shot (10)
PHYSICALLY – An anagram (shot) of SLYLY CHIP A.
26 Champ taken to bits (4)
BYTE – A homophone (taken) of BITE (champ). I don’t think that taken gives the necessary meaning of heard other than indirectly as taken = received = heard. Double steps like this should be avoided as A = B and B = C does not necessarily mean than A = C.
28 Almost essential new fish (7)
CRUCIAN – A seven letter word meaning essential with the final letter removed (almost) followed by the abbreviation for new.
29 Keeps rambling about becoming John Lennon? (7)
AIRPORT – That which is now known as John Lennon used to be Speke (an anagram (rambling about) of KEEPS). This is a clue to a clue. I think that the required two step wordplay is too much of a stretch for the solver.
30 Small tips hold second shelves (8)
SUSPENDS – The abbreviation for small followed by a six letter word meaning tips or inverts around (hold) the abbreviation for second. I think for the cryptic grammar to word, holding would be better to avoid A hold B.
31 Russian banker I’d caught followed…. (6)
OBEYED – A two letter Russian river (the seventh longest in the world) followed by a homophone (caught) of I’d.
1 …. information gathered by special CIA drugs operations (8)
AGENCIES – A three letter word meaning information inside an anagram (special) of CIA ES (the ES being drugs). I think that the borders on being an indirect anagram as you have to get from drugs to ecstasy an then pluralise it.
2 As was one not ready for games? (9)
UNCHANGED – Cryptic definition for someone who has not yet put their sports kit on.
3 Puts away folding seat (4)
EATS – An anagram (folding) of SEAT.
5 For such assistance as might be raised in case….. (8)
ROADSIDE – Pass. Any suggestions welcome.
6 ….short term withdrawal from negotiations leads to new developments….. (10)
INVENTIONS – Remove (withdrawal from) the TER (short term) from a thirteen letter word meaning negotiations. I don’t think that negotiations is the correct synonym. The thirteen letter word implies more mediation with a third party facilitating between opposing parties rather than the direct discussions between them.
7 … support involving partners is stressed (5)
TENSE – A type of support used in golf includes two partners in bridge.
8 You might be shot saying this (6)
CHEESE – Cryptic definition of what you say before a photo is taken.
9 American units all turned out as expected (5)
USUAL – The two letter abbreviation for American followed by the abbreviation for unit and the ALL with the final letter removed (turned out). Collins has the U as singular not plural and I am not sure that turned out means remove the final letter so I have probably misunderstood the wordplay here.
14 Not sure it’s the kind of article she’d wear in grey (10)
INDEFINITE – I don’t know how to classify this . The first and last words seem to be a double definition and the article worn by she would give ashen that does not define the solution.
17 All from when you dropped your boxers the day before over the back of Sainsbury (9)
EVERYBODY – A bit of an otter this one with the resulting surface reading not being the greatest. The abbreviation for date of birth (when you dropped), the outer letters (boxers) of your and the three letter word for the day before all reversed (over) the final letter (back of) Sainsbury.
18 Got old boy dancing in date (8)
OBTAINED – The abbreviation for old boy followed by an anagram (dancing) of IN DATE.
19 Put distorted events in papers (8)
INVESTED – An anagram (distorted) of EVENTS inside a two letter word for papers.
22 Aspic essence features strong flavours (6)
SPICES – The answer is hidden (features) in the first two words of the clue.
23 Take home free crystal (5)
CLEAR – Triple definition.
25 I’m truly after it (5)
YOURS – The word that can precede truly in correspondence.
27 Cold tea’s taken in bed (4)
CRIB – The abbreviation for cold followed by a homophone (taken) of teas. Avoid repetition of wordplay indicators.