A Puzzle by Porcia
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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
Porcia has improved but with plenty of scope for further improvement. Some of the clue were simply too obtuse to be readily solvable. The number of commentators who admired to having to reveal letters to make progress is a good indicator that this was, in places, simply too complex.
The crossword itself was lightened by a lot of self-referential crossword references and references to the previous review. I hope that my comments give plenty of material for Porcia’s next crossword!
One point to bear in mind is what I call the broken item syndrome. If you take an everyday object to pieces, you know what it one was so can readily identify what the pieces represent. Someone else who has not see the whole object will look at those pieces and find it more difficult to piece them together. The temptation for the setter is to look at the pieces and think that the solution is obvious and to further disguise or break down the pieces. The result is that the solver then has great difficulty in putting all the pieces back together. Just because the setter knows the solution and think that the clue is therefore obvious does not mean that the solver will see it in the same way. Beware of wrapping an enigma inside a riddle wrapped up in a mystery.
The commentometer reads as 4.5/28 or 16%.
7 À la recherche du temps perdu: meet one in favour of Proust crossing out every other letter (7)
APROPOS – The single letter article meaning one, a three letter word meaning in favour of followed by the odd letters (crossing out every other letter) of Proust. Not sure how recherché applies to the solution. The literal translation “in search of lost time” makes no sense in terms of the solution. The “a la” on its own may be the primary definition in the sense of in the manner of and the remaining part of the definition a subsidiary definition. Checking both Chambers and Collins, there is nothing obvious in terms of present or past usage of recherché. Perhaps the definition is a little too opaque or relying on obscure usage.
8 Nobody‘s picked up why it may be (7)|
UNKNOWN – A homophone (picked up) of why gives Y which then you have translate to its use in algebra. A criticism of Porcia last crossword was the use of too many two-step clues where you have a clue to a clue to arrive at the solution. Sadly, the use has continued.
10 Bugs, hitting the mark precisely, coming back with a trace of sarcasm (4)
TAPS – A three letter word meaning hitting the mark precisely is reversed ((coming back) followed by the first letter (a trace) of sarcasm.
11 Down with rubbish reversal indicator! (5,4)
KNOCK BACK – A five letter word as a verb meaning to rubbish followed by a four letter reversal indicator.
12 Stretch wings on Luftwaffe apprenticeship (4)
LEAP – The outer letters (wings on) of the final two word of the clue. Perhaps both wings of … would have given a clearer indication that it is the outer letters of both words.
13 Rectifying or putting right before designer’s beaten up (10)
REDRESSING – The abbreviation for right precedes (before) by an anagram (beaten up) of DESIGNERS.
14 Further to the recent checks,… (5)
OTHER – The answer is hidden (checks) in the second to fourth words of the clue.
16 …Porcia’s half prepared… (3)`
SET – The description of Porcia as a compiler of crosswords cut in half.
17 …to improve, turning chess board round next to finish off Spassky (5)
EDIFY – The abbreviation for the International chess authority followed by the final letter (finish off) of Spassky.
21 Anagram so indirect, revealing judgement (10)
DISCRETION – An anagram (anagram) of SO INDIRECT.
23 Gull following ladies about? (4)
FOOL – The abbreviation for following followed by a reversal (about) of a three letter word for a toilet (ladies).
LAST ONE IN – A description of the position of the clue at 23d and a description of the I in the solution in relation to the remaining letters. The omission of the enumeration is not acceptable. Even in advanced cryptics you would expect something along the lines of (three words). In standard cryptics, the enumeration should be given.
25 Tease fault-finder (4)
NARK – Double definition, the first meaning to tease or irritate and the second someone who reports on people’s faults.
26 Tip from Hancock: what a pint is (very nearly) is unhealthy (7)
HARMFUL – The first letter (tip from) of Hancock followed by how Tony Hancock described a pint of blood in Hancock’s Half Hour.
27 Returned training aid, leaving Porcia to fail again (7)
RELAPSE – Reverse (return) a frame used for training plants without the I (leaving Porcia).
1 Obvious Daddy and Mummy perhaps going separate ways (8)
APPARENT – Reverse a two letter word for daddy (going separate ways implies on word is reversed) and follow with another word for a mother.
2 A bit rudely, repeatedly go over other peoples’ business (6)
GOSSIP – The first “go over” forms the first part of the clue with the go going over the next part of the wordplay. The second go over is a euphemism for urinate and this is reversed (over) and the third go over forms part of the definition.
3 Porcia’s taking in Australian lout, becoming laughing stock (7)
MOCKERY – At two letter expression meaning Pocia’s includes (taking in) a give letter word for an Australian lout.
4 More treacherous Ukraine’s periodically rising up, supported by Armenia doing the same (7)
SNAKIER – Reverse (rising up) the even letters in Ukraine’s and followed with a reversal (doing the same) of the even letter Armenia.
5 Horridly bothered after cycling, wordplay not properly solved (8)
UNPARSED – A vulgar (horridly) expression meaning bothered (as in I can’t be …….” after a three letter word meaning comedic wordplay with the first letter moved to the end (cycling).
6 Surface with surface within and without a surface (6)
AWAKEN – The closest I can get to this is a four letter word meaning to surface within the and from the clue without the bottom letter (without a surface – the bottom surface being the letter D). If this is the case the clue is slight same as the surface as the definition is simply a repetition of the surface in the wordplay.
9 “Rude! We bridled!”…so cleaned up (11)
BOWDLERISED – An anagram (rude) of WE BRIDLED SO.
15 Previous crossword’s first exploit leads to much embarrassment. Sorry (6,2)
EXCUSE ME – A two letter prefix meaning previous or old followed by the first letter of crossword, a three letter word meaning exploit and the first letters (leads to) the seventh and eighth words of the clue.
18 Like Hancock’s signature light starters, prepared without using the ingredients for aunt’s dark fudge flambé (8)
FLOURISH – An anagram of the first letters of all solutions (light starters) after removing the letters in AUNTS DARK FUDGE FLAMBE). Far too complex and indulgent. You cannot solve this clue until all of the other clues have been solved.
19 Propriety observed in function with drink in the City? On the contrary! (7)
DECORUM – The postcode for the City of London inside a two letter word for a party followed by a three letter drink.
20 Not scandalised, taking off without being finished? (7)
UNENDED – A ten letter word meaning not scandalised without the off.
22 Quite so off colour? More or less? (3,3)
I’LL SAY – A three letter word meaning off colour followed by a three letter word meaning more or or less.
23 Last word of feature in French, setting up what follows so one gets crowning 18 (6)
FINIAL – A three letter word that appears at the end of a French movie followed by a reversal of the note that follows So and the letter representing one reversed (setting up).