A Puzzle by Chameleon
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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.
Chameleon is coming on leaps and bounds with his crosswords. There was a theme of game shows in the crossword with a hint to the theme in 18a. The comments are really picky ones to polish a good crossword. The commentometer reads as 2/29 or 6.9%.
9 Old German discussing Merkel endlessly (5)
ANGLE – A homophone of the first name of the German Chancellor with the last letter of her name removed (endlessly)
10 Dracula, perhaps, to stop plane protocol before lift-off? (9)
COUNTDOWN – The style or title of which Dracula’s title is an example followed by a four letter word meaning to stop a plane, for example, a dogfight or missile attack.
11 Short-lived May’s successor in “chaos” is overwhelmed by radical repeal (9)
EPHEMERAL – The three letters that follow may in a word meaning chaos with an anagram (radical) of REPEAL around them (overwhelmed by).
12 Hazardous alcoholic spirit in Wossy’s mouth (5)
RISKY – The spelling of how Jonathan Ross (Wossy) might pronounce whiskey. The clue does not quite work for me, as JR would pronounce the spirit as it is spelled. He would say the solution so that it also sounds like whiskey but that is not what the clue suggests to me.
13 Touchstone, say – Shakespeare put two at the very start of a certain comedy (7)
MEASURE – Double definition, the second being the word that appears twice in one of Shakespeare’s comedies.
15 Join a couple of knights and Brussels government in bed (7)
CONNECT – The abbreviation for knight twice and the abbreviation for European Commission (Brussel’s government) inside a three letter word for a bed. A pedantic point but the European Commission is the executive body of the EU (it exercises executive powers, but no legislative ones other than legislative initiative) and is accountable to the European Parliament. Does this make it a government – discuss!
17 Rice dish a chef may have a yen for? (5)
SUSHI – Cryptic definition of a Japanese rice dish for which you may pay in yen.
18 Typers’ oddly overlooked response to ‘is there a theme?’ (3)
YES – The even letters (oddly overlooked) in the first word of the clue.
20 Thrifty person transferring capital to far east states (5)
AVERS -The word describing someone who keeps money in their account with the first letter (capital) moved to the end (to far east).
22 Most long-faced horse’s seat ditches learner by street (7)
SADDEST – The word for the seat on which a horse rider sits with the L (learner) removed followed by the abbreviation for street.
25 Prize Chameleon loses tail following short spat… (7)
ROSETTE – A description of Chameleon as a complier of crosswords with the final letter removed (losing tail) after (following) a three letter word for a spat with the final letter removed (short).
26 …I spy it go snap and squash (5)
GAMES – Five definitions of pastimes and sports that collectively give the solution. Perhaps adding “Together I spy…” might give a better indication that the solution is in the plural where each of the constituent elements is in the singular.
27 In music hall, Engelbert covered something difficult (9)
CHALLENGE -The answer is hidden (in) in the second to fourth words of the clue.
30 Meaningless and futile… a 29 like this not worth much (9)
POINTLESS – Cryptic definition by reference to the usefulness of the solution to 29s that has been blunted.
31 Hunt exposed GCHQ bases (5)
CHASES – The inner letters (exposed) of the final two words of the clue.
1 See 3
2 Brainboxes, for example, finding good leads (8)
EGGHEADS – The abbreviation for ‘for example’ followed by the abbreviation for good and a five letter word
3/1 Tame wild pair – they’re on your side (4,4)
TEAM MATE – An anagram (wild) of TAME followed a word meaning to pair sexually. I know that modern usage allowed the use of the plural to indicate a singular to avoid using he or she. Nevertheless, a cryptic clue has to have greater precision so the definition here is perhaps too misleading. Perhaps tame wild pair for partner might have ben better.
4 Vehicle enters small carbon city? Hardly! (8)
SCARCELY – A three letter word for a motor vehicle inside the abbreviations for small and carbon followed by a three letter Cathedral city on the Fens. Perhaps the weakest clue in terms of the surface reading.
5/23 Property rights no longer apply here – vandalise a cold mini bar to start (6,6)
PUBLIC DOMAIN – An anagram (vandalise) of A COLD MINI preceded by (to start) a three letter word for a bar.
6 Experimental NT star is in film school (2,8)
ST TRINIANS – An anagram (experimental) of NT STAR IS IN.
7 14 27 initially announced – understand now? (3,3)
YOU SEE – How you would write the first letters of the solutions to 14d and 27a.
8 Nothing but love can heal humanity, ultimately (4)
ONLY – The letter representing love or nothing followed by the final letters (ultimately) of the fourth to sixth words of the clue.
13 After a short while, leaders in scientific enterprise suggest tablet dispenser (5)
MOSES – A two letter word for a short period of time followed by the first letters (leaders) of the seventh to ninth words of the clue.
14 Virtue and sin clash over unknown academic institution (10)
UNIVERSITY – An anagram (clash) of VIRTUE SIN over a letter representing an unknown quantity.
16 Roots of ancient Inca spices inject welcome flavour (5)
TASTE – The final letters (roots) of the third to seventh words of the clue.
19 Weed in the sea (8)
SARGASSO – The name of a sea noted for its seaweed.
21 European society taken over by Boris Johnson, for one (8)
ESTONIAN – The abbreviation for society inside (taken over by) the name given to a public schoolboy from BJ’s alma mater.
23 See 5
24 Camera team’s essentially hurtful tape machine upset us (2,4)
TV CREW – The central letter (essentially) of hurtful followed by the abbreviation for a video recorder and a reversal (upset) of a pronoun incorrectly clued by “us”.
26 Breaks a little pasta up (4)
GAPS – A reversal (up) of the diminutive spelling of spaghetti. The diminutive spelling is not given in the main dictionaries except in the definition of Spaghetti Bolognese.
28 Fortune made by headless chicken’s noise (4)
LUCK – Remove the first letter from the sound made by a chicken. Another clue where the surface reading is not the greatest.
29 Life peer’s smuggling something for a fence? (4)
EPEE – The answer is hidden (smuggling) in the first two words of the clue.