A Puzzle by Montyfred
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Montyfred is the first of several setters making their debut over the next few weeks. 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.
A warm welcome to MontyFred with a debut Rookie puzzle. There was a lot of potential shown in the cluing of the crossword but, as you would expect from a debut crossword, areas for improvement. The big area to watch is the use of indirect anagrams where the letters to be rearranged are not given clearly in the clue. The simple clues worked the best list 11a or 14a.
With so many indirect anagrams, the commentometer has a high reading today of 10/30 or 33.3%
1 It’s bad form if it’s just not used before this game (7)
CRICKET – The name of the game that goes after the words “It’s just not” to indicate something that is bad form.
5 Gives rise to Asian river drowning engineer (7)
INDUCES – The name of an Asian river around (drowning) the abbreviation for civil engineer.
9 Smoked but no longer suffering from it (5)
CURED – Double definition, the first describing fish that has been smoked and the second meaning have been treated for and recovered from an illness.
10 Protected from shock that made the sultan die (9)
INSULATED – An anagram (that made) of SULTAN DIE. As the “the” does not form part of the letters required to be rearranged, it should have been omitted.
11 Single person’s holiday? Don’t touch it! (5,5)
LEAVE ALONE – The solution, read in a different way might suggest being on holiday without anyone else.
12 It may be used, or heard by players at The Crucible (3)
CUE – A verbal prompt given to actors who may be performing at The Crucible or used by snooker players at the championships also held there.
14 Overly mean, but better than most (5,7)
ABOVE AVERAGE – A five-letter word meaning overly followed by a seven letter word meaning mean in the mathematical sense of the word.
18 Limitations put on men given time to re-use dog-ends (12)
CURTAILMENTS – The men from the clue and the abbreviation for time inside a three-letter word for a mongrel dog and a five-letter word meaning ends. I don’t think that re-use indicates the required element of insertion. It is more of an anagram indicator. If it was, then it would be an indirect anagram as you have to find words for dog and tail and then rearrange them. However, as there is no rearrangement required, I doubt this was the intention. Perhaps “Limitations put on men given time surrounded by dog-ends.
21 Ritter gets a shortened message (3)
TEX – Remove the last letter (shortened) from a four-letter word meaning a message. As Ritter, the Singing Cowboy, is a definition by example for solution, this should be indicated. This could be “Shortened message for Ritter?”.
22 Not in favour of reaching the top – what a let down! (10)
ANTICLIMAX – A four-letter word meaning not in favour of followed by a six letter word meaning reaching the top. Reaching the top would indicate the word ending in ING. Perhaps “Not in favour of summit that’s a let-down”
25 Light covering has made record recovery (9)
LAMPSHADE – an anagram (recovery) of HAS MADE LP (record). This is an indirect anagram as you need to find the correct abbreviation for record before making the anagram. You can use direct abbreviations (as in the next clue where Old becomes O as there is a direct correspondence between the word and the abbreviation. That is not the case here.
26 Battered old sort of body (5)
TORSO – An anagram (battered) of O (old) SORT. Some editors will not allow wordplay of definition where “of” is used as the link word.
27 Skill you outwardly use when behaving morosely (7)
SULKILY – An anagram (use) of SKILL YU (the outer letters of you). To maintain the cryptic reading of the clue, use should be used here – These letters are used to make the solution. When a link word between the wordplay and the definition does not work. “Skill you outwardly used behaving morosely” would be fine.
28 Burdened as a horse may be (7)
SADDLED – Double definition meaning burdened and a description of a horse with its tack on ready to receive a rider. The two meaning are perhaps closely related as the burdened meaning comes from the description of a horse carrying too much.
1 She puts many in charge of this city (6)
CICELY – The Roman numeral for 100 (many) followed by the abbreviation meaning in charge followed by a three letter city in the Fens. Puts as a link word (definition puts wordplay) does not work. Also, the abbreviation is “in charge” not “in charge of”. Whilst not wrong, simply referring to a name as “she” is frowned upon by some. Perhaps “Maybe Dame Saunders has many in charge over city”.
2 Raid on raid perhaps (6)
INROAD – An anagram (perhaps) of ON RAID.
3 Band played in key note to get the pulse (6,4)
KIDNEY BEAN – An anagram (played) of BAND IN KEY E (note). Another anagram that is indirect as you do not have a direct correspondence between the letter to be included in the letters to be rearranged and the wordplay “note”. Note could be any of the seven musical notes or the letter N.
4 Hearing test? (5)
TRIAL – Double definition of a court case and a test.
5 Suggest that, in error say, you took food (9)
INSINUATE – The IN from the clue followed by a three-letter word meaning error, a homophone (say) of you and a three-letter word meaning took food.
6 Many followed Derek down to the valley (4)
DELL – The Roman numeral for fifty (many) after (followed) a shortened form of name Derek. The “down to” seems to be padding. Followed would be better as following. Perhaps “Many following Derek into valley”. Also, watch out for repeated wordplay indicators. Many has already been used to clue C.
7 A deep sea diver who doesn’t often come up for air (8)
CETACEAN – Cryptic definition of a mammal that dives to the depths in the sea.
8 Depressed by an utterly tearful conclusion (8)
SADDENED – A homophone (utterly) of a three-letter word meaning tearful and an three-letter meaning conclusion.
13 Discussed being respired (10)
VENTILATED – Double definition meaning discussed or aired an opinion and let out a breath.
15 Discretionary solo instrumental piece (9)
VOLUNTARY – Double definition, the first meaning not compulsory and the second being a solo musical piece as in a trumpet …
16 Small cutlets cooked by the fireside (8)
SCUTTLES – The abbreviation for small followed by an anagram (cooked) of CUTLETS. Try to avoid definitions such as “by the fireside” that define something by its position. Here “Small cutlets cooked in buckets” would have been better.
17 Primal ox showed early development (8)
PROXIMAL – An anagram (showed) of PRIMAL OX. I don’t think that the definition is correct. Chambers, Collins and the OED all give the solution as meaning nearer the centre rather than early development. Also I don’t think that showed words as an anagram indicator.
19 A good way to behave? Not like this! (6)
AMORAL – The A from the clue and a word meaning a good way to behave.
20 Neat way to cross the river when on foot (6)
OXFORD – A two letter word for a cow (neat) followed by a four-letter word indicating a way to cross a river. The structure wordplay WHEN definition does not work. Also, there is another positional definition.
23 Thoughts inspired by stage whisper (5)
IDEAS – An anagram (inspired by) of ASIDE. Another indirect anagram as your have to fist think of a word for a stage whisper and then rearrange the letters from the word you have found. Inspired by does not suggest rearranging the letters.
24 Alcohol that’s served up containing two units a glass (4)
ASTI – The answer is hidden and reversed (served up containing) in the seventh and eights words of the clue. A few points here. The “two” and the “glass” are padding words and should be omitted. Containing would be better as “in” and where you have a hidden word clue, it is much better to ensure that the hidden word does not have a boundary with one of the words. Perhaps “Alcohol served up in fruit salad”.