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.
Welcome back to Rex Bassett who continue to delight and frustrate in equal measure. There are still too many rough edges in the clues. The commentometer reads as 5.5 / 31 or 17.7%
1 Creativity if New York City duet gets smashed (9)
FECUNDITY – An anagram (gets smashed) of IF NYC (New York City) DUET. A brief comment on using abbreviations in anagrams. Practice will vary. I think that a single letter abbreviation that is clear (for example N for new) is acceptable but abbreviations that require two steps, for example Oriental to Eastern to E should not be used. Here the abbreviation is a three letter abbreviation that forms a third of the solution. I think that this is better avoided.
8/9 Steer car a distance ahead commonly on way to Marble Arch (6,6)
OXFORD STREET – A two letter word for an animal known as a steer followed by a make of car and a word that is used in the phrase ?????? ahead to indicate superiority or distance. I am not sure that this clue works as the phrase requires the plural form of the word used in the solution. The use of on as a link word does not work as you have wordplay on definition.
12 Somehow undo noodles (4)
UDON – An anagram (somehow) of UNDO. As only one letter moves from the letters to be rearranged to the solution, perhaps a different form of wordplay should have been used.
13 Fiesta without one is unusual! (5)
FEAST – An anagram (is unusual) of FIESTA after removing the I (without one). The whole clue provides the solution. Again, another anagram where the only rearrangement is to move the final letter.
14 Sample of something rotten is unpleasant (4)
GROT – The answer is hidden (sample of) in the third and fourth words of the clue. The solution is a noun but it has been clues as an adjective. It does not really work as an all in one clue.
17 Prime TV rental? (3,6)
SET CHARGE – Double definition, to prime an explosive and the cost of renting a TV.
19 Legal decision returning to land (5)
TERRA – Reverse (returning) an obscure word for a legal decision. Whilst not wrong using an unusual word in the wordplay, makes the crossword much harder.
20 Arm which allowed lifeboat to go down (5)
DAVIT – A clue masquerading as a cryptic definition but results in being a straight definition.
22 Charming girls department in top Galleria (9)
DISARMING – The plural of the abbreviation for Diana followed by a three letter word for a department, the IN from the clue and the first letter (top) of Galleria. Some editors will not allow top on its own to indicate the first letter but would require top of. One point to watch here is that the definition shares the final six letters with the solution.
24 Societies for drinking and courting? (4)
INNS – Cryptic definition of where barristers practice
25 Tripper employs husband as guide (5)
USHER – A four letter word for someone who takes drugs (tripper) includes (employs) the abbreviation for husband.
27 Slight mumble (4)
SLUR – Double definition for a slight on someone’s character and distorted speech.
30 Playing at leading for a while (6)
ACTING – Double definition for playing a part and a description of someone who temporarily leads an organisation until a replacement is found.
31 It’s terrible having to put out cigar after tea say (6)
TRAGIC – An anagram (to put out) of CIGAR after the letter that is a homophone (say) of tea.
32 It’s Rick’s?….asks Cathy Duff (9)
HAYSTACKS – An anagram (duff) of ASKS CATHY – I think that the definition rick’s does not work as we are looking for a plural noun, not a possessive form of the solution.
2 Painful back but shoots arrows for the love of it! (4)
EROS – A reversal (back) of a four letter word meaning painful. Whilst verbal phrases can be used as a definition, it don’t think that this one works. It would be to have “he shoots…”
3 Turn nude round. It’s improper! (5)
UNDUE – A form of turn to go in the opposite direction followed by an anagram (round) of NUDE. There are too many clues where the solution is “It’s X”. It makes the cluing seem rather stilted where the same device is used repeatedly.
4 Picks up Calamity’s dress as it is shot to pieces…. (9)
DISASTERS – An anagram (shot to pieces) of DRESS AS IT. To definition the solution by a homophone gives a clue to a solution given by wordplay which would not be acceptable.
5 …..shot for entertainment usually (4)
TURN – Double definition. I think that you could have omitted the usually.
6 Urge to get money with menaces but the first thousand’s hard (6)
EXHORT – A six letter word meaning to get money with menaces with the first T (first thousand) becoming an H (hard). Again, some editors would require “first of” rather than first on its own.
7 Will be paid when demanding to support Queen (6)
BEARER – A four letter word meaning to support followed by the two letter abbreviation for the current queen. I think the definition would be better as “Will be paid when demanded”.
10 While dressing one undoes it if it’s on this way! (7,2)
OUTSIDE IN – An anagram (this way) of UNDOES IN. The component parts of this all in one clue does not really hang together.
11 First Lord escapes lynchers who are in The House unofficially? (9)
STRANGERS – The first letter of lord is removed from a ten letter word for lynchers. Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators. First has already been used in 6d.
15 Reports Bob has sexy feelings (5)
SHOTS – The abbreviation for schilling (bob) followed by a four letter word for sex feelings.
16 Vacuous sadist takes needle to heifer (5)
STIRK – The outer letters (vacuous) of sadist followed by a three letter word meaning anger or needle. Although the definition is an unusual word, it was clearly clued.
18 Changes plan and mixes Oriental dressing (9)
REDESIGNS – An anagram (mixed) of E DRESSING. To get from Oriental to E as part of the anagram letters is maybe a step too far.
21 Very eye opening and pleasant seaside city (6)
VENICE – The abbreviation for very followed by the first letter (opening) of eye and a four letter word meaning pleasant.
23 Signal regularly and help is dropped in (6)
INLAID – The even letters (regularly) in signal followed by a three letter word meaning help.
26 Particularly wide (5)
EXTRA – Double definition. As wide is a definition by example, perhaps a ? should have been used.
28 Old car get six to museum (4)
VIVA – The Roman numerals for six and the abbreviation for the Victoria and Albert museum. The word get should be gets. Even then, whilst you can have wordplay to get definition here you have definition to get wordplay which does not work in the cryptic reading of the clue.
29 The forwards carry a gun! (4)
PACK – Double definition for a group of rugby players and a slang word meaning to carry a gun.