A Puzzle by Laccaria
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
It’s been a while since we heard from Laccaria, but not 200 years! 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 back to Laccaria. This was much improved with greater attention to detail and far fewer repeated used of wordplay indicators (though not wholly eliminated). The theme was well used for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick. The commentometer reads as 1.5 / 29 or 5.1%.
1 Good job I escaped from fifth State: shut out! (5,3,5)
THATS THE STUFF – An anagram (out) of FIFTH STATE SHUT after removing the I (I escaped).
8 Help sure disrupted round! (8)
SPHERULE – An anagram (disrupted) of HELP SURE.
9 Film inside of horse before it’s even born (6)
FOETAL – A two letter Spielberg film inside a four letter word for a young horse. Perhaps the “even” could be omitted here.
10 Swimmer is healthy, after first washing (5)
WHALE – A four letter word meaning health after the first letter of washing. Some editors will not allow first X to represent the first letter of X.
12 They decide on well-cooked English rib steak (3-6)
TIE-BREAKS – An anagram (well-cooked) of E (English) RIB STEAK.
14 Her Majesty almost meeting, in Malaga, that good friend of 20‘s (8)
QUEEQUEG – The title of Her Majesty with the last letter removed (almost) followed by the Spanish (Malaga) for that and the abbreviation for good. Although technically correct, the process of finding the definition is maybe too convoluted. When you look as 20 down, you have to look to 17 across, which to solve, you first have to solve 25 across. In a themed crossword, this may be acceptable but too much use of linked clues like this can be off-putting for solvers so should be used sparingly.
15 Dig up dried red gelatine extract (6)
DREDGE – The answer is hidden (extract) in the third to fifth words of the clue.
17/20 Celebrated 25, stupidly sell him a camel (4,2,7)
CALL ME ISHMAEL – An anagram (stupidly) of SELL HIM A CAMEL.
19 Setter’s superior briefly lives with back trouble (8)
MYELITIS – A two letter word meaning the setter’s followed by a five letter word meaning superior with the final letter removed (briefly) and a two letter word meaning lives.
21 Nasty little boys are back to crudely suck drinks here? (9)
STARBUCKS – Revers (are back) a flve letter word for for nasty boys and follow with an anagram (crudely) of SUCK.
23 Colour of own hair, tied evenly (5)
WHITE – Even letters of the third to fifth words of the clue (ignoring the spaces).
25 Cricketer prone after stumbling to Cover Point (6)
OPENER – An anagram (after stumbling) of PRONE around (to cover) the abbreviation for East (point).
26 Companion to take around, as an afterthought, for drink (8)
SCHNAPPS – The abbreviation for companion with a four letter word meaning to take a photo around it followed by the abbreviation of postscript (an afterthought).
28 They stop entering into discussions about birds returning to young, bringing edible larvae initially (8,5)
CHASTITY BELTS – A five letter word for talks or discussions about a reversal (returning) of TITS (birds) and the initial letters of tenth to thirteens words of the clue.
1 Ace spinner (3)
TOP – Double definition, the second being a child’s toy.
2 Darker patches are invaded by flower pushing up (7)
AREOLAE The ARE from the clue includes a reversal (pushing up) of ALOE (flower).
3 Put out objections raised (4)
STUB – A reversal (raised) of a four letter word meaning objections.
4 Observant journalist supports ambassador in Guatemala at first (7)
HEEDING – The abbreviation for editor under (supports) the abbreviation for an ambassador all followed by the IN from the clue and the first letter of Guatemala. Try to avoid using repeated indicators such as first for the first letters.
5 Boneless, but faint unpleasant smell has gone (4-6)
SOFT BODIED – A four letter word meaning faint followed by the abbreviation for body odour and a four letter word meaning deceased (has gone).
6 The Spanish twice support country over European guitar (7)
UKELELE – The Spanish for “the” repeated (twice) under (support) the abbreviation for United Kingdom (country) all over the abbreviation for European. Another repetition of a wordplay indicator with “support” used in 4d.
7 Cup side substitutes one Pole for another (5)
FLASK – A five letter word for a side with the N replaced by an S (one pole for another). Perhaps the definition here is too inexact.
11 African ethnic group has a university accommodated (5)
HAUSA – The HAS and A from the clue includes (accommodated) the abbreviation for university.
13 Zealous official flyer injected with preparation of curare and uranium (10)
BUREAUCRAT – A three letter word for a flying mammal includes an anagram (preparation of) CURARE U (uranium).
16 Expensively adorned for hearing? Shame! (5)
GUILT – A homophone (for hearing) of GILT (expensively adorned).
18 Shower of rain, old girl! (7)
LORINDA – An anagram (shower of) RAIN OLD.
19 Succeeds in flying kites, to a degree (5,2)
MAKES IT – The abbreviation for Master of Arts (a degree) followed by an anagram (flying) of KITES.
20 See 17 Across
22 Issue of global hot-spot – right away! (5)
TOPIC – A hot region of the planet without the abbreviation of right.
24 I’m surprised at British man appearing in Bible (4)
AHAB – A three letter interjection meaning I’m surprised followed by the abbreviation for British.
27 Drink up yellowish liquid (3)
PUS – Reverse (up) a three letter word meaning drink. Another repetition with up following the pushed up in 2d.