A Puzzle by Gonzo
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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.
Tough – Yes. Nothing wrong with that. Wordy clues. Each setter has his or her own style. My only comment, as previously stated, is that more verbose clues are often more easily broken down to spot the wordplay required. Fair – largely yes. There were one or two areas where I thought things were being stretched a little too far. Overall the commentometer reads as 3/30 or 10%.
7 Struggles with buckets to keep dry (7)
BATTLES – A four letter word meaning buckets used in boats with the abbreviation for teetotal (dry) inside (keeps).
8 Warily, a criminal makes tracks (7)
RAILWAY – An anagram (criminal) of A WARILY.
9 Satisfactory whisky measure (4)
WELL – The letter represented by Whisky in the NATO phonetic alphabet followed by a measure of cloth.
10 Messages sent by early text badly spelt, yet exciting to begin with (9)
TELETYPES – An anagram (badly) of SPELT YET E (first letter – to begin with – of exciting).
12 Hope to prune a tree-top (5)
SPIRE – Remove the A (to prune) from a six letter word meaning hope.
13 Premier to increase backing after success with Dutch water engine (4,4)
WIND PUMP – The abbreviation for prime minister and a two letter word meaning increase all reversed (backing) after a three letter word meaning success and the abbreviation for Dutch.
15 Course which, on the box, reportedly makes you a mind-reader (4)
PATH – An eight letter word describing a mind-reader from which you remove a homophone (reportedly) of telly (on the box). Whilst removing a homophone of the word from the wordplay is novel, it is a good idea and clearly clued.
16 Possible requirement for scramblers in Civil Service, claims newspaper (5)
CRAGS – The abbreviation for Civil Service includes (claims) a three letter word for a lowbrow newspaper. Whilst the wordplay is fine, I think that the definition here is too indirect.
17 Commons smear gets MP involved in exchange (4)
PARK – A four letter word for smear has the M replaced by a P (MP involved in exchange).
18 Catch over sixteen ounces is worth half a score (3-5)
TEN-POUND – A three letter word meaning catch is reversed (over) and followed by the measure of weight equal to sixteen ounces.
20 Tie given hot scrub (5)
HEATH – A four letter word for a sporting tie followed by the abbreviation for hot.
21 Spooner’s unfriendly escorts are status symbols (4,5)
GOLD CARDS – A Spoonerism of cold (unfriendly) guards (escorts).
22 Maybe jigger about US uncle when getting tense (4)
MAST – A reversal (about) of the eponymous American Uncle followed by the abbreviation for tense. I am not sure that about as a reversal indicator works particularly well when preceding the letters to be reversed.
24 Tower‘s perfect to hold expanse of land (7)
MINARET – A four letter word meaning perfect (as in perfect condition) includes a three letter word for a measure of land.
25 Warning lights even able to attach to 22 right away (7)
BEACONS – The even letters in able followed by another word for mast (as the nut produced by a tree) without the abbreviation for right. For regular letters, you need evenly or oddly. Even X does not grammatically mean the even letters of X.
1 Pool‘s kinglike wingers to take on City (4)
LAKE – The outer letters (wingers) of kinglike preceded by (to take on) the abbreviation for Los Angeles (city).
2 Husband at the bottom of pitch to get sister dressing like a leggy bird? (8)
STILTISH – The abbreviation for husband after (at the bottom of) a four letter word meaning pitch (as in lean over) inside (to get … dressing) a three letter abbreviation for sister.
3 Heart lifts in desert necropolis (6)
CENTRE – The answer is hidden (in) and reversed (lifts) in the final two words of the clue.
4 A spring tide’s flow could be modified if we drop these flooded fields (8)
SALTINGS – An anagram (could be modified) of A SPRING TIDES FLOW gives the IF WE DROP and the solution.
5 Knocking up students is a mistake (4-2)
SLIP-UP – Reversed (up) a six letter word for students.
6 What’s said to be covering a snooker table’s pockets? (4)
BAYS – A homophone (what’s said) of baize (covering of a snooker table). I am not sure that pockets and the solution are quite synonymous.
11 One employing Scots to pull down housing estate (9)
LOWLANDER – A five letter word meaning to pull down includes (housing) a four letter word for an estate.
12 Frequently sick; asleep for graduation (5)
SCALE – The odd letters (frequently) of the second and third words of the clue.
14 Romeo admitted to crush in the bog (5)
MARSH – The letter represented by Romeo in the NATO phonetic alphabet inside a four letter word meaning crush.
16 Unionist and Roman Catholic Cardinal to open clubs and High School for multiple faiths (8)
CHURCHES – The abbreviations for unionist and Roman Catholic and His Eminence (Cardinal) inside (opens up) the abbreviations for clubs and high school.
17 Quick to bind injury here on the high street (8)
PHARMACY – A four letter word meaning quick around (to bind) a four letter word for injury.
19 Bored with everything, tear up post (6)
PILLAR – A three letter word meaning everything inside (bored with) a three letter word meaning tear all reversed (up). Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators. Up has already been used.
20 The lost losing little time stumbling into an inn (6)
HOSTEL – An anagram (stumbling) of THE LOST without the abbreviation for time.
21 Network of drainage inspectors receives grant at first when set up (4)
GRID – The initial letters (at first) of the third to sixth words of the clue all reversed (when set up). Set up and up are too similar in terms of the repetition of wordplay indicators.
23 Polish hospital department (4)
SAND – A three letter word for a hospital followed by the abbreviation for department.