A Puzzle by Umber
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
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 Umber. This was something of a curate’s egg. Parts of it were excellent but there were two major errors in the cluing and a lot of niggling points as well. The commentometer reads as 7.5/32 or 23.4%.
1 Record one to one example (7)
EPITOME – The abbreviation for Extended Play record followed the letter representing one, the to from the clue and another way of saying one (as in “it does not really appeal to one”. To get from one to me is a little contrived. Me can be used for I but that would require a two-step: one = I = me.
5 Morning: American accepts gold Oscar for Randy (7)
AMOROUS – The abbreviation for morning and the abbreviation for United States (America) includes the heraldic word for gold and the letter represented by Oscar in the NATO phonetic alphabet.
10 Remove cap from tapioca and stir in a tiny amount (4)
IOTA – Remove the letters in CAP from TAPIOCA and make an anagram of the letters that remain. The usual convention, though sometimes ignored, is that where the letters to be removed are not in the correct order, a secondary anagram indicator should be used, such as remove broken cap from…
11 Custom design arrived at (6-4)
TAILOR-MADE – A six letter word meaning design and an four letter word meaning arrived at (as in we arrived at a decision after a long discussion.
12 Spotty‘s baffled (5)
FOXED – Double definition, the first being a description of a book with spotty marks on the pages.
13 Denies listeners after those in favour of won (9)
FORSWEARS – A four letter word for the organs of hearing after a four letter word meaning those in favour of and the abbreviation for won (as in the Korean currency).
15 Can be cracked over report (4)
EGGS – A homophone (report) of over gives a clue to the solution. A verbal or adjectival phrase to define a noun is not liked by all. Perhaps here, you could have had “Gives encouragement over report” which improves the surface reading and cryptic reading of the clue.
17 Rum and scotch (5)
QUEER – Double definition of something strange (rum) and to stop or scotch something.
18 Lead takes time off to dance (4)
PROM – The intended wordplay was to take a six letter word meaning to lead or give someone a cue with the final two letter removed. However, only one letter is indicated to be removed (the T – time) rather than the PT.
19 Which starters of Tottenham has Arsenal taken? (4)
THAT – The initial letters (starters) of the final four words of the clue.
20 Stella’s pickle contains jelly (5)
ASPIC – The answer is hidden (contains) in the first two words of the clue.
22 You all right in that harness? (4)
YOKE – A two letter word meaning you includes (in that) a two letter word meaning all right.
23 Iraq muses over noblemen (9)
MARQUISES – An anagram (over) of IRAQ MUSES.
25 Coals to Newcastle carries some weight (5)
STONE – The answer is hidden (carried) in the first three words of the clue.
28 Celebrity due to talent? Doesn’t look like it (10)
NOTABILITY – Split 3, 7 the answer would suggest no talent.
29 Smelly, way off and very black (4)
INKY – Remove the abbreviation for street( way off) from a six letter word meaning smelly. Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators such as “off” for the removal of a letter.
30 Intially it’s on the screen (7)
WYSIWYG – The abbreviation for “what you see is what you get” where a computer screen reproduces what will be seen on paper instead of a coded representation of it. Not sure that the definition is precise enough as it does not indicate the faithful reproduction. Perhaps Initially its faithfully show on the screen. Alway spellcheck the clues. There is a typo in the first word.
31 Too wise, reportedly, to keep lawyer inside that man’s (7)
HEYDAYS – Two Ys (too wise reportedly) include the abbreviation for District Attorney (lawyer) with the resulting letters going into the contracted way of saying “that man is”. Major error here that the clue does not contain a definition!
2 Stretch out and go ‘Ooh!’ pregnantly to doctor (7,3,5)
PROLONG THE AGONY – An anagram (to doctor) of GO OOH PREGNANTLY. If you are using “to doctor”, in the cryptic reading of the clue, these words would need to go before the letter to be rearranged.
3 Article keeps one noble (5)
THANE – The definite article includes a two letter word meaning an, as in “I will have one orange”.
4 Very small point put after test (4)
MOTE – A point of the compass after the three letter word for a car test. The definition suggests an adjective as the solution but the solution is a noun.
6 Lunatic bares bum to traffic (10)
MOONSTRUCK – A five letter word meaning bears bum to followed by a five letter word meaning traffic.
7 China grass – with butter, that is (5)
RAMIE – A three letter word for a male sheep (butter) followed by the abbreviation for that is.
8 Wayward Edna knuckled Roy and got put away (5,4,3,3)
UNDER LOCK AND KEY – An anagram (wayward) of EDNA KNUCKLED ROY.
9 Two ducks sitting on the French aerial (6)
DIPOLE – A three letter word meaning duck (as in move downwards to avoid) followed by the letter represented by a duck over (sitting on) the French masculine singular version of that.
14 Quint: Aye, I’m suffering sangfroid (10)
EQUANIMITY – An anagram (suffering) of QUINT AYE IM. As others have mentioned, the Quint here is contrived. Unlike 2d where the names in the letters to be rearranged tell part of the story, here it looks as though you ran out of useable words and had to make up a name.
16 Settled – Susan’s initial acceleration starts treadmill (3)
SAT – The first letter (initial) of Susan followed by the abbreviation for acceleration and the first letter (starts) of treadmill. Starts treadmill does not mean the initial letter – it would have to be start of treadmill. There is another wordplay repetition in the use of Initial / initially as an initial letter indicator.
18 Nose and winkle (3)
PRY – Double definition – the first meaning to be nosy and the second to prise something out.
21 Bird cry’s over it (6)
PEEWIT – Reverse (over) a four letter word meaning to cry and follow by the IT in the clue.
24 Question: Similar to India to some degree? (5)
QUASI – A two letter abbreviation for question followed by a two letter word meaning similar to and the letter represented by India in the Nato phonetic alphabet.
26 I’m in a type of jazz group of three (5)
TRIAD – The I from the clue inside a four letter word for a type of jazz group. As the I is not functioning as a pronoun, critically I am in X does not work as you could not say for other letters, B am in x. The usual way to resolve this is to say “I may / can be in”
27 It’s plucked from quarterly records (4)
LYRE – The answer is hidden (from) the final two words of the clue.