A Puzzle by Fringilla
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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.
Welcome back to Fringilla. Although there were a lot of improvements in this crossword, the number of obscure or stretched synonyms reduced the enjoyment of solving it. The commentometer reads as 5 / 33 or 15.2%
1 28 across, perhaps, in the centre of it all in 10 down? (6)
HOOKER – Double definition for a lady of the night and a rugby player.
4 Correct a conservative minister (8)
ACCURATE – The A from the clue followed by the single letter abbreviation for conservative and a six-letter word for a minister of religion.
9 Overcome some ecstasy (5)
THEME – A four letter word meaning some followed by the abbreviation for ecstasy. The solution is an obscure meaning of the word overcome as a noun.
10 Surveyor who races vans precariously (9)
CANVASSER – An anagram (precariously) of RACES VANS. The “who” could have been omitted from this clue.
11 Shoe part at the back (4)
LAST – Double definition. I don’t think that the first part is technically correct. The solution is the form on which the shoe is made, not part of the shoe itself.
12 Fit back-space (4)
MOOR – Reverse (back) a four letter word for a space enclosed by walls in a building. Another synonym that is not precise enough. A good test is whether you could use the solution in place of the definition in a sentence. Here, you would not fit a boat.
13 Spread defaced shoot (5)
RANCH – Remove the first letter (defaced) from a six letter word for a shoot or bough of a tree.
15 Sell paintings back to French fellow I contacted initially (7)
TRAFFIC – A three letter word for paintings reversed (back) followed by a single letter abbreviation for French, the abbreviation for fellow, the I from the clue and the initial letter of contracted. A couple of points here. First, F is the IVR code for France so cannot be used for French (whose abbreviation is Fr). Secondly, there is a repetition of back as a reversal indicator (used in 12a).
16 Resign from finance department (4)
CEDE – The answer is hidden (from) in the last two words of the clue.
17 Light clamour (3)
HUE – Double definition. The first being the appearance or complexion of something and the second being often used in the phrase ??? and cry.
20 Politician surrounded male member (4)
LIMB – The abbreviation for liberal (politician) around the abbreviation for male.
21 Perform nearby now (7)
PRESENT – Triple definition, the first being to put on a performance, the second being a word meaning readily to hand and the third being the current time.
24 Story of boxer who was put before the British Institute (5)
ALIBI – The famous heavyweight boxer followed by the abbreviations for British and Institute.
25 Fix on your finger (4)
NAIL – Double definition, the second being something on the end of your finger. Although used by setters, I dislike prepositional definitions such as “on your finger” to clue something on your finger.
26 Trace a cat (4)
ATOM – The A from the clue followed by a three letter word for a male cat.
28 Mistress recounts a massage (9)
COURTESAN – An anagram (massage) of RECOUNTS A. If massage is being used as an imperative verb, it should come before the letters to be rearranged. If it is used as a noun, some editors would not allow it as nounal anagram indicators are frowned upon in some quarters.
29 A single off your own bat (5)
ALONE – The A from the clue (there are rather a lot of A from the clue clues!) followed by a four letter word meaning single.
30 Dearth of pastry is appalling (8)
SPARSITY – An anagram (appalling) of PASTRY IS.
31 Hell, the French interrupt! (6)
HECKLE – Another mild imprecation that might be used instead of hell followed by the French masculine singular form of “the”.
1 Used for cooking spicy muffin (8)
HOTPLATE – A three letter word meaning spicy followed by a piece of crockery sometimes known as a muffin. There are a number of clues where one of the more obscure meanings of a word are used. Overuse of this reduces the enjoyment of the crossword for solvers.
2 No more Dead Irish eg, abroad (8)
OVERSEAS – A four letter word meaning no more followed by a word for bodies of water of which the Dead and the Irish are examples.
3 Drawn back in? Never! (4)
EVEN – The answer is reversed (the third use of back as a reversal indicator) in the last word of the clue.
5 Nice not to carp on, but perhaps use this instead of rebellion for ‘extinction’? (13)
CONTRACEPTION – An anagram (perhaps) of NICE NOT TO CARP. The definition here is meaningless in the context of the solution as far as I can see. The “ON” in the clue is padding and, which an anagram clue particularly, is misleading.
6 A cross in German and complete (10)
UNABRIDGED – The A from the clue (again) and a six letter verb meaning to cross all inside the German for AND.
7 Sailor posted miles away (6)
ABSENT – The abbreviation for able-bodied seaman (sailor) followed by a four letter word meaning posted.
8 Raunchy sod, Yankee (6)
EARTHY – Another word for a clump of soil (sod) followed by the letter represented by Yankee in the NATO phonetic alphabet.
10 Rugby Referee’s instructions: Dare to embrace, then lie down (6,4,3)
CROUCH BIND SET – A six letter word meaning to dare followed by a four letter word meaning to embrace or tie up and a three letter word meaning lie down. The synonym for dare is not only obscure but is also marked as obsolete in Chambers. I think that the final word might be better as “lay down”. The solution is rather specialist.
14 Combines feast I fail to digest (10)
AFFILIATES – An anagram (to digest) of FEAST I FAIL.
18 Perfect reading before work (8)
TEXTBOOK – A four letter word for a biblical reading followed by a four letter word for a piece of literature that might be described as a work.
19 Beat bald Saint in race (8)
STAMPEDE – A five letter word meaning to beat or tread heavily on followed by the name of a venerable saint (famous for his work on the history of the English people) whose first letter has been removed (bald).
22 Dips lip over top of soup (6)
SAUCES – A five letter word for cheek or lip followed by the initial letter (top) of soup.
23 Lie at first under limp ankle bone (5) (6)
FIBULA – A three letter word for a lie followed by the initial letters (at first) of the third to fifth words of the clue.
27 Beware, it’s a man thing! (4)
CAVE – A term for a place where men can work on their hobbies (a man-????) and a Latin warning word meaning beware.