A Puzzle by Sundance
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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 Sundance and apologies for the delay in the review. The run up to Christmas is always a busy one and I am out most evenings when I would otherwise be preparing the review. This is Sundance’s second crossword. There was some improvement which was encouraging to sell. There are still rough edges to address. The number of interlinked clues might have been off-putting for some solvers and it is better not to rely too heavily on them unless there is a themed crossword. Some of the verbal definitions missed the mark for being too imprecise and surface readings need to be improved in some cases. The commentometer reads as 4.5 / 30 or 15%.
1 First son has appropriate rank (7)
CAPTAIN – The first son of Adam and Eve includes (has) a three letter word meaning appropriate. Perhaps in this case had would be a better inclusion word as in I had / ate an apple.
5 Some voters have chosen a tory politician (7)
SENATOR – The answer is hidden in the forth to sixth words of the clue. The words “voters have” are padding and as they create a large separation between the hidden word indicator and the words where the solution is hidden it detracts from the effectiveness of the clue.
9 Where to find Oliver or Sharon Stone perhaps (2,3)
ON SET – An anagram (perhaps) of STONE.
10 The possibility of 6 with competence (9)
VIABILITY – The Roman numerals for six followed by a seven letter word meaning competence.
11 With the first part of 5d, notice an environmentally friendly timepiece (5,5)
WATER CLOCK -Another word for the first part of the answer to 5d followed by a five letter word meaning notice.
12 Rock without a friend (4)
OPAL – Split 1,3 the solution would imply zero and friend.
14 Transport facilitators containing river have bounce (11)
TRAMPOLINES – The rails one which urban transport runs includes (containing) a two letter name of a river. Although I am lenient when it comes to surface readings, this one is particularly bad. The verbal phrase defining the answer is not precise enough for my liking. Have bounce would need to be it has bounce.
18 Sao Tome’s partner and a backward fool combine for Italian 8 (not first) (11)
PRINCIPESSA – An eight letter word that completes the name of the Islands (Sao Tome and …) followed by a reversal (backward) of a three letter word for a fool.
21 His can be self important but useful for writing (4)
NIBS – Double definition, the first being the word following his in the description of an important pend and the second a part of a pen.
22 Organise our violent struggle (10)
REVOLUTION – An anagram (organise) of OUR VIOLENT.
25 Heard about Rackham’s popularity where he learnt? (3,6)
ART SCHOOL – The diminutive form of Arthur (the first name of the artist Arthur Rackham) with an S to include the possessive form of Rackham’s followed by a homophone (heard about) of cool.
26 Land of certain dialects (5)
INDIA – The answer is hidden (of) in the last two words of the clue,
27 Blade is used to make ineffective (7)
DISABLE – An anagram (used) of BLADE IS.
28 FBI in whole or part (7)
SEGMENT– A phrase (1,3) used to describe the FBI inside a three letter word meaning whole.
1 Strangle holds with Bantu language (6)
CHOKWE – A five letter word meaning strangle includes (holds) the abbreviation for with. Another surface reading that is not the best.
2 Bread returned in late September was once useful for 16 (6)
PESETA – A type of money (bread) once used by a person from Spain (see the answer to 16d) is hidden (in) and reversed (returned) in the fourth and fifth words of the clue.
3 Insect on top of the world – a long way from that (10)
ANTARCTICA – A three letter insect followed by the northernmost region of the plant.
4 Unusual month on the railway (5)
NOVEL – The abbreviation for the eleventh month of the year followed by the two letter word for an elevated railway.
5 Views 7 (for example) cloaks (9)
SEASCAPES – The bodies of water of which there are said to be seven followed by another word for the items of clothing cloaks.
6 Arrest one surrounded by nothing (4)
NAIL – The letter (indefinite article) inside (surrounded by) a three letter word meaning nothing.
7 Paying a little extra around the start of Ramadan whilst high (8)
TRIPPING – The gratuity paid at the end of a meal on top of the bill around the first letter (start of) of Ramadan. I don’t like the whilst as a link word wordplay whilst definition does not work for me.
8 Supporter of Charles is not solitary (8)
ROYALIST – An anagram (is not) of SOLITARY. Is not does not work as an anagram indicator for me. As the definition is by example, this should be indicated.
13 Quiet meadows and posh jewellery can be gratifying (10)
PLEASURING – The abbreviation for quiet and a four letter word for meadows followed by the abbreviation for posh and an item of jewellery worn on the finger.
15 In the centre of fruit replace one hundred with five hundred and reveal a Devon village (9)
APPLEDORE – The piece of an apple at the centre with the (one hundred) replaced by a D (five hundred). Another clue where the surface reading is sadly lacking.
16 Spiny rock plant from Barcelona, say (8)
SPANIARD – Double definition for a type of plant and homeward from Barcelona.
17 Could bad diets be a cause? (8)
DIABETES – An anagram (bad) of DIETS BE A.
19 Sieve can be confusing (6)
RIDDLE – Double definition for a sieve and a puzzle that can be confusing. Verbal phrases such as the second double definition are problematical. Whilst verbal phrases can be used as a definition, the work best when the verbal phrase defines precisely the solution or used with a pronoun such as “it could be confusing”.
20 Whole mix excluding the queen (6)
INTACT – An eight letter word meaning mix socially without the two letter abbreviation for the current queen.
23 Looks on web? – no go but still looks (5)
OGLES – A seven letter word meaning carries out a web search without the initial GO.
24 Crust keeps on working (4)
SCAB – Double definition – the first being a crust over a wound and the second a strike breaker. This is another instance where the verbal phrase does not precisely enough define the solution.