A Puzzle by Modica
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Modica becomes the latest to make his debut in Rookie Corner. 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.
Modica makes a promising start with his or her first Rookie crosswords. There were some common Rookie errors, notably indirect anagrams but these are easily avoided. In terms of the grid, some of the Telegraph grids have a word beginning with two unchecked letters. Other national papers will not allow this. There were some very smooth surface readings and nice anagrams. The commentometer reads as 7/32 or 21.9%
1 Sitting pretty with pot noodle for stirring. Not I! (2,3,2,3,5)
ON TOP OF THE WORLD – An anagram (stirring) of WITH POT NOODLE FOR without (not) the I.
9 Refined characteristic of a town with east end (6)
URBANE – A five letter word meaning of a town with the abbreviation for east at the end. This could also be parsed as the first letter (end) of east. I am not sure which the setter intended.
10 Incomplete illusion takes in one fool for a period of time (8)
TRIASSIC – A five letter word for an illusion without its final letter (incomplete) includes (takes in) a letter representing one and a three letter word for a fool.
11 Treat moderate conservative grasped (8)
MEDICATE – A seven letter word meaning moderate includes (grasped) the abbreviation for conservative.
14 Having two sons in good health is a bother (6)
HASSLE – The abbreviation for sons twice inside (in) a four letter word meaning good health.
17 Overlooks commercial vehicle good man holds in esteem (13)
ADMINISTRATES – The two letter abbreviation for a commercial followed by a four letter word for a small car, the abbreviation for saint (good man) and a five letter word meaning holds in esteem.
20 Dare somewhat confused biblical son to follow? It’s doubtful (13)
CHALLENGEABLE – A nine letter word meaning dare followed by an anagram (somewhat confused) of ABEL (or ABEL with the final two letters exchanged). Either interpretation gives an indirect anagram where the words to be rearranged have first to be guessed by the solver.
23 Cloakrooms Her Majesty visits are less secure (6)
LOOSER – A four letter word for toilets or cloakrooms followed by the abbreviation for the current queen. I think that visits as concatenation indicator does not work. Visits suggests A goes inside B. Also, the link word gives the grammatical construction wordplay are definition which does not make sense.
25 A very loud long varied tune is a bit rich (8)
AFFLUENT – The A from the clue followed by the musical abbreviation for very loud an abbreviation for long and an anagram (varied) of TUNE. L for long is not given in the dictionaries as a recognised abbreviation.
28 Devours a humbug and relished it? (8)
SAVOURED – An anagram (humbug) of DEVOURS A.
29 Twelve upheld appeal. Now there’s an idea (6)
NOTION – A four letter word midday (twelve) includes a reversal (upheld) of IT (appeal). Upheld does not work as a reversal indicator in an across clue.
30 Befuddled domestic duo blab all over the place (15)
DISCOMBOBULATED – An anagram (befuddled) of DOMESTIC DUO BLAB.
2 Turbulent British river where impulsive sensations flow (6)
NERVES – An anagram (turbulent) of SEVERN (British river). A common rookie mistake is to use an indirect anagram where the letters to be rearranged are not given in the clue. Here the solver has to think of a six letter river and make an anagram of the letters or (to compound the number of possibilities) think of an anagram of a five letter river after the abbreviation for British. The simple rule in standard cryptic crosswords is avoid indirect anagrams like the plague.
3 Competent ace detective is a beast (5)
OKAPI – The abbreviation for okay (competent) followed by the abbreviations for ace and private investigator (detective).
4 Hope ranch house accommodates Norma maybe (5)
OPERA – The answer is hidden (accommodates) in the first two words of the clue. The house in the clue is padding and could have been omitted here. Some editors are stricter that other in disallowing the use of padding words that do not contribute to the definition or the wordplay. It is best to avoid padding words.
5 Flyer the French handle (5)
TITLE – A three letter bird name followed by the French for the.
6 Description given when former Soviet Union leaves trusteeship in confusion (7)
EPITHET – Remove the letters in USSR (former Soviet Union) from TRUSTEESHIP and make an anagram (in confusion) of the letters that remain. Where the letters to be removed are not in the same order as they appear in the word, it is customary to provide a secondary anagram indicator to indicate this. Also, it would have been better to have referred to USSR in the clue to avoid another indirect anagram.
7 Watering hole where brothers seldom agree? (5)
OASIS – Double definition of a desert watering hole and the group in which Noel and Liam Gallagher rarely agreed.
8 Dropped but got rid of Root perhaps? (9)
DECREASED – Definition and cryptic definition, the second being an oblique way of saying that Joe Root has been dismissed in a game of cricket.
12 Oddly claim we’ll follow this as the Carry On crew did (5)
CAMEL – The odd letters in the second and third words of the clue.
13 Saw group of musicians returning (5)
TENON – Reverse (returning) a word for a group of nine musicians.
15 Tea is stirred for a French man of note (5)
SATIE – An anagram (stirred) of TEA IS.
16 Spoke against Orange County boxer cursed with a lack of mongrel (9)
VOCALISED – A single letter abbreviation meaning against or versus followed by an abbreviation for Orange County, the three name surname of a former heavyweight boxer and the word cursed without the three letter word for a mongrel dog. I cannot find the abbreviation for orange county in the dictionaries. The convention is to use only those abbreviations given in one of the major dictionaries.
17 Gangster seen before a second mission (5)
ALAMO – The first name of Mr Capone (gangster) followed by the A from the clue and a two letter word meaning second.
18 Quiet little creature found under the sea? (5)
SHELF – A two letter word meaning be quiet followed by a little goblin like creature. I think that the definition here is too vague.
19 Anarchist repeated by Bowie? (5)
REBEL – The solution, if repeated gives the title of a song by David Bowie.
21 Confuse a murder hearing with this? (7)
EARDRUM – An anagram (confuse) of A MURDER.
22 Once mistakenly placed in front of French convert? (6)
ENCODE -An anagram (mistakenly) of ONCE followed by the French for “of”. The clue requires a second of to make the cryptic grammar work (although this would break the surface reading). At present the instruction to the solver are “An anagram of ONCE in front a word in French meaning of.”
24 One scot is injured being brave (5)
STOIC – An anagram of I (one) SCOT.
25 Car with zero sound (5)
AUDIO – A four letter brand of car followed by the letter representing zero.
26 Ballet movement is almost saucy (5)
FONDU – Remove the final letter (almost) from a meal involving meats or other items dipped in a cheese sauce. The ballet movement is given in Collins but not in Chambers but is therefore fair to include. I think that the clue requires “something saucy” as the wordplay requires the final letter removed from a noun not an adjective that the clue currently suggests.
27 Extremist is captured by difficult radical group (5)
ULTRA – The answer is hidden in (captured by) the fifth and sixth words of the clue. Again there is a padding word, group, at the end that should have been avoided.