A Puzzle by Rex Bassett
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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.
Rex returns. Whilst this was better than his previous crosswords, there were still too many rough edges. The grid was not solver friendly with eight solution where there was less than 50% checking letters. The commentometer reads as 5.5 / 36 or 15.3%.
1 Grange accommodates six but closes down early for cleaning (7)
GRAVING – The GRANGE without the final letter (closes down early) includes the Roman numerals for six.
5 District roundabout central Chennai used as a sports stadium (5)
ARENA – A four letter word for a district around the central letter of Chennai. The cryptic structure of wordplay used as a definition would be better as used for. For conciseness, you could have …has sports stadium.
8 Gave beer all round as refreshment (8)
BEVERAGE – An anagram (all round) of GAVE BEER.
9 Craving insect, she shortly eats ant (6)
MANTIS – A four letter word term of address for an unmarried lady (she) with the final letter removed (shortly) includes the ANT from the clue. The craving here is padding as far as I can see. The clue could have avoided the use of ANT in the wordplay with “She shortly eats one insect and another”
12/25 Don runs here to get into the drink… (8)
ABERDEEN – The Scottish city at the mouth of the River Don. The convention is that where the solution is split across the grid, the constituent parts must be words in their own right. Here, the resulting two four letter words fail this test.
13 …two for Uncle Sam but non-alcoholic by the sound of it (5)
DEUCE – A homophone (by the sound of it) of JUICE (non-alcoholic).
14 6? No, an 8 (4)
VINO – The Roman numeral for six followed by the NO from the clue. Several points here. The wordplay for Roman numeral for six has been used already in 1a. The convention is also that if you are referring to a clue and there is an across and a down clue with the same number, you should indicate this. This is another clue where a portion of the solution is lifted directly from the wordplay. Try to avoid doing this too often.
17 Secretly, at night few spinning a yarn (4)
WEFT – The answer is hidden in (secretly) and reversed (spinning) in the third and fourth words of the clue. Try to avoid hidden word clues where the solution stops or starts at a word boundary.
18 Unfair distribution made by inexperienced croupier dropping the Queen (3,4)
RAW DEAL – A three letter word meaning inexperienced followed by a six letter word for a croupier without the final ER (dropping the Queen).
21 Accurate tackle? (7)
DEADEYE – Double definition, the second being a block used in a ship’s rigging.
23 Design course, so perversely never used beige (4)
ECRU – An anagram (design) of COURSE after removing the letters in SO. The perversely indicates that the letters removed are in a different order.
26 Where Numbers include Deuteronomy (4)
CATS – Cryptic definition of the musical where the songs (numbers) include Old Deuteronomy. The clue, whilst good, fails as the number is not Deuteronomy on its own.
27 Derrick caused lifeboat to go down (5)
DAVIT – The hoist on a boat used to lower a lifeboat into the water.
28 High-pitched whistle if made in metal (4)
FIFE – The IF from the clue inside (made in) the abbreviation for iron. The use of “made in” does not quite work as a containment indicator as is does not indicate put in.
31 Hoods in front of the beak (6)
SNOODS – The first part of this is the definition. How the “in front of the beak” works is a mystery known to the setter and God, and the latter is slightly bemused!
32 Second point off Bush and Botham, coming from Augusta! (8)
GEORGIAN – The name of President Bush with the second abbreviation for East (point) removed followed by the first name of Mr Botham.
33 Jackass kicked off late but was at the right pitch (2-3)
ON-KEY – The animal also called a Jackass with the first letter removed (kicked off late).
34 Grooves to sound of poetry being presented (7)
REEDING – A homophone (being presented) of READING. The order of definition to wordplay is back to front.
2 Analysis minister, that’s the quick way to Westminster’s leadership (6)
REVIEW – The abbreviation for reverend (minister) followed by the abbreviation (the quick way) of that is (that’s) and the first letter (leadership) of Westminster.
3 Rave about insignia (4)
VARE – An anagram (about) of RAVE.
4 Fail to disseminate Intelligence Neil and I randomly put out (7)
NEGLECT – An anagram (to disseminate) of INTELLIGENCE after removing the letters in NEIL I. The randomly indicates that these letters are removed in a different order.
6 Arab’s money seen when top of case is removed (4)
RIAL – Remove the first letter (top) of a five letter word for a legal case.
7 Salts used when announcing evening ceremonies (8)
NITRITES – A homophone (announcing) of NIGHT (evening) and a five letter word for ceremonies. The structure definition used when wordplay would be better as definition uses wordplay.
8 Hand game‘s clothes round (4)
BRAG – Reverse (round) a four letter word for clothes. I think that the hand indicates a card game.
10 Mars, Sun, originally Pluto, Castor possibly and Sigma (6)
SPOILS – The abbreviation for sun, the first letter (originally) of Pluto, a type of liquid of which castor is an example (possibly) and the letter represented by Sigma in the Greek alphabet.
11 One’s got a right to a tree (4)
ACER – A three letter word meaning one followed by the abbreviation for right.
15 Not even bleariest soldier wears this (5)
BERET – The odd letters (not even) in the third word of the clue.
16 Is given a draw after recalculation (5)
AWARD – An anagram (after recalculation) of A DRAW. Is given would suggest a solution ending -ed. Give a draw… would be better.
19 Fiats ordered by Authority (6)
EDICTS – A single definition put two ways. Try to use double definitions where there is a different in the two meanings.
20 Leading herbalists who rant about natural cure for indigestion (8)
HAWTHORN – An anagram (about) of H (first letter – leading – of herbalists) WHO RANT. As about has been used as anagram indicator a different indicator should have been used here. I think that the definition requires a little too much specialist knowledge of natural remedies.
22 Style illustrated by Basque language (4)
ELAN – The answer is hidden in (illustrated by) in the final two words of the clue.
23 Look what goes into horrible, vile yeast (4,3)
EVIL EYE – The answer is hidden in (what goes into) the final three words of the clue.
24 Wheel shows what to do with tails and a donkey (6)
PINION – In the game with a donkey and a tail you pin one on the donkey.
25 See 12 Across
29 Announced promotions for sculpture (4)
ADZE – A homophone (announced) of ADS (promotions). The sculpture here is the wrong definition. The sculpture is what the sculptor makes with a tool like the solution.
30 Hurry-up, it’s jazz! (4)
TRAD – A several (up) of a word meaning hurry.