A Puzzle by Modica
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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 Modica. It is encouraging that most of the comments on this crossword were concentrating on the minutiae of the clues rather than obvious errors. It is a sign that there is a good grounding in the construction of the clues and it is achieving the final polish that is required. The commentometer reads as 3.5/32 or 10.9%.
1 Ban on leaving boomerang flying around (7)
EMBARGO – An anagram (flying around) of BOOMERANG after removing (leaving) the ON.
5 Penniless Bob Dylan performance for ancient city (7)
BABYLON – An anagram (performance) of BOB DYLAN after removing the D (penniless). A minor point but some editors will not allow a noun (such as performance) as an anagram indicator. Here, this could be overcome by using performing. Performing in or performing for both work though performing in reads more naturally.
9 What ‘D’ does at public event (4,3)
OPEN DAY – The solution could be read as a cryptic clue to the letter D. Marginal given the discussion but I think that what D does it to open / start / begin the second word of the clue. Used in a clue, though, some editors would not allow the solution on its own as a cryptic letter indicator. I agree that the clue could be improved by using Dee rather than ‘D’.
10 At first a new acting engagement made Idris completely washed out (7)
ANAEMIC – The initial letters (at first) of the third to ninth words of the clue. Initial letter clues work best where there are no single letter words. It is not wrong to have at first a… but replacing it with “another” would be better.
11 Head off alone with no approval for cosy corner (9)
INGLENOOK – Remove the first letter (head off) a seven letter word meaning alone and follow with the NO from the clue and a two letter word meaning an approval.
12 Geisha keeps swallowing milky drink (5)
SHAKE – The answer is hidden in (swallowing) in the first two words of the clue.
13 Unhinged like a group of teachers? (5)
NUTTY – The solution, fancifully, could mean being a member of the National Union of Teachers.
15 Retired educator found hanging around galleries (3,6)
OLD MASTER – This type of art work seen in art galleries would be a description of a retired teacher.
17 He goes before Belgian town to produce conjuror’s command (3,6)
HEY PRESTO – The he from the clue followed by a five-letter name of a Belgian town and the TO from the clue. The cryptic reading has wordplay produce definition which does not work without the “to” doing double duty as part of the wordplay and part of the link between the wordplay and the definition.
19 Massage one can’t do without, so to speak (5)
KNEAD – A homophone (so to speak) of NEED (one can’t do without). I don’t think that ‘what one can’t do without” leads to need.
22 Prussian navy music (5)
BLUES – In the plural the colour of which Prussian and navy are examples.
23 Excessively fraudulent we hear. It hurts. (9)
TOOTHACHE – An appalling homophone of TOO FAKE. This really needs an indicator that it relies on a regional pronunciation.
25 Could a no good fish describe this pastime? (7)
ANGLING – The A from the clue followed by the abbreviation for no good and a four-letter word for a fish.
26 Payment taking week is difficult to deal with (7)
AWKWARD – A five-letter word for a payment includes (taking) the abbreviation for week.
27 Hefty holy man is the greatest (7)
LARGEST – A five-letter word meaning hefty followed by the abbreviation for saint (holy man).
28 Reportedly disturbed daughter seated on high chair (7)
THRONED – A homophone (reportedly) of thrown (disturbed) followed by the abbreviation for daughter.
1 First erotic proposal creates feeling (7)
EMOTION – The first letter of erotic followed by a six-letter word for a proposal. Some editors will not allow first X to indicate the first letter of X.
2 Unwanted hangover after too much ale? (4,3)
BEER GUT – Cryptic definition of the excess weight put on if you drink too much ale.
3 Start off crossing narrow crest (5)
RIDGE – Remove the first letter (start off) a six-letter word for a crossing.
4 Clearly confused and randomly ordered figures of speech (9)
OXYMORONS – “Clearly confused” and “randomly ordered” are definitions by example of the solution.
5 Empty space left in reserve (5)
BLANK – The abbreviation for left in a four-letter word meaning reserve.
6 Runners’ chat helps Jack ascend (9)
BEANSTALK – The type of vegetable of which runners are an example followed by a four-letter word meaning to chat. Not everyone likes verbal definitions of a noun but the reason is that the verbal definition needs to point clearly to the noun that it is defining. Here, I think it does.
7 Postgraduate entering after all the others gets severe reprimand (7)
LAMBAST – A three-letter abbreviation for a post-graduate degree inside (entering) a four-letter word means after all the others. The solution here is a verb but has been clued as a noun. Perhaps “… to give a severe reprimand”
8 Power source transparent after UN reversal (7)
NUCLEAR – Reverse the UN and follow (after) with a five-letter word meaning transparent. The definition is a noun but the solution is used as an adjective to describe the power source.
14 Risky hero runs around county (9)
YORKSHIRE – An anagram (runs around) of RISKY HERO.
16 Do not dare change. No sweat! (9)
DEODORANT – An anagram (change) of DO NOT DARE. I think that this might have been better in terms of the definition if it was “Do not dare to change toiletry item”
17 Unfashionable but not unsafe arrangement used to reinforce footwear (7)
HOBNAIL – An anagram (used) of UNFASHIONABLE after removing the letters in UNSAFE. Correctly, there is an secondary anagram indicator for (arrangement) for unsafe as the letters are removed in a different order.
18 We all were yesterday! (7)
YOUNGER – Cryptic definition as we all are older today. Perhaps “What we all were yesterday” would work better.
20 Hold fast in French mountain range (7)
ENCHAIN – The two-letter French word for in followed by a five-letter word for a mountain range.
21 Feared a Rastafarian perhaps (7)
DREADED – A way, perhaps, of saying that someone has dreadlocks as a Rastafarian might.
23 Penny-pinching drunk (5)
TIGHT – Double definition.
24 Walker says hello to king and queen (5)
HIKER – A two letter word meaning hello followed by a single letter abbreviation for king and the two letter abbreviation for the current queen. The says is padding here and could be omitted by using “Walker’s hello to king and queen”