A Puzzle by Zorro
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
This week we have another debut puzzle. 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 Zorro. For a debut crossword this was highly polished and showed very assured cluing. My main reservation is the number of anagrams. 15 out of 29 clues involved an anagram. This is way too many. Six to eight is probably around the number to aim for. Interestingly most of the comments come towards the end of the down clues. I wonder whether there was a rush to get the clues finished which meant that attention to detail show in the earlier clues was lost slightly?
The commentometer reads as 2.5/29 or 8.6%.
1 Awkward teen holds back passion for island (8)
TENERIFE – An anagram (awkward) of TEEN includes a reversal (holds back) a four letter word meaning passion.
5 Central location houses extravagant bath (3,3)
HOT TUB – A three letter word for a central location includes (houses) a three letter abbreviation for over the top (extravagant).
9 Nothing upset a string player (8)
ORGANIST – The letter representing nothing followed by an anagram (upset) of A STRING.
10 See 16 Down
12 Authority figure from hell with pupils leaving a master in torment (12)
HEADMISTRESS – Remove the LL from hell (pupils leaving) and follow with the A from the clue and the abbreviation for master inside a seven letter word for distress.
15 Without concern for social standing, as retired teachers may be? (9)
CLASSLESS – A retired teach would not have any groups of students to teach.
17 After endless fish, sailors are agitated (5)
CHURN – A four letter fresh water fish with the final letter removed (endless) followed by the abbreviation for Royal Navy (sailors). I think that the definition works in phrases such as “My emotions churn / are agitated when…
18 In haste, I descended volcano (5)
TEIDE – The answer in hidden in the third to fourth words of the clue.
20 Fifty times fifty is, in an odd way, infinite (9)
LIMITLESS – An anagram (in an odd way) of L TIMES L IS (where L is the Roman numeral for fifty.
22 Restless phantom trapped, it’s said, in royal palace (7,5)
HAMPTON COURT – An anagram (restless) of PHANTOM followed by a homophone (it’s said) of caught (trapped).
26 Like one of the twelve considering a stab in the back? (6)
INJURY – Split 2,4 this would describe the location of a panel member in a criminal court trial.
27 In recital, possibly, I’ll be blown (8)
CLARINET – An anagram (possibly) of IN RECITAL after removing (be blown) of one of the letters I.
28 Robot Turing, half cut, let run amok (6)
TURTLE – Half (half-cut) the letters in Turing followed by an anagram (run amok) of LET.
29 Eccentric North Siamese composer (8)
MESSIAEN – An anagram (eccentric) of N (North) SIAMESE.
1 Haul up jackass (4)
TOOL – Reverse (up) a four letter word for a haul or proceeds from a robbery.
2 Annoying sorts sang discordantly (4)
NAGS – An anagram (discordantly) of SANG.
3 Referee initially infuriates team (7)
RANGERS – The first letter (initially) of Referee followed by a six letter word meaning infuriates.
4 Joined together by force applied (5)
FUSED – The abbreviation for force followed by a four letter word meaning applied.
6 Strangely I do not care primarily about teeth (7)
ODONTIC – An anagram (strangely) of I DO NOT C (care primarily).
7 Leitmotifs from opera with old characters deposing king? (5,5)
THEME TUNES – A phrase for an opera house or company followed by a five letter word for old symbolic characters without the abbreviation for king. Perhaps opera house would be slightly fairer.
8 Ben is so shy – unfortunately it’s characteristic of many children (10)
BOYISHNESS – An anagram (unfortunately) of BEN IS SO SHY.
11 After sex change, fogey turned willowy (6)
LISSOM – A six letter word for a fogey or person of old fashioned ways has the F changed for an M (after sex change) and the letter reversed (turned).
13 Drizzle put a stop to Tim’s rambling (6,4)
SCOTCH MIST – A six letter word meaning put a stop to followed by an anagram (rambling) of TIMS.
14 Oscar win in dispute after losing unseemly row with important group of stars (5,5)
CANIS MAJOR – An anagram (in dispute) of OSCAR WIN after removing the letters in ROW (unseemly being a secondary anagram indicator to show that the letters are removed in a different order) followed by a five letter word meaning important.
16/10 Cool, edgy cinema company dropped crazy old movie (6,6)
EALING COMEDY – An anagram (crazy) of COOL EDGY CINEMA after removing (dropped) the abbreviation for company.
19 With wavering note The Lark Ascending endlessly shows charm (7)
ENTHRAL – An anagram (with wavering) of N THE followed by the LARK from the clue reversed (ascending) after removing the last letter (endlessly). Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators such as endless / endlessly used in 17a and here.
21 Bullfighters wound up under heap of rocks (7)
TOREROS – A three letter word for a heap of rocks followed by a reversal (up) of a four letter word for a wound or injury. Another repetition of a wordplay indicator with UP having been used previously. I am not sure that to describe a rocky height as a heap of rocks is precise enough as this meaning is given only in Collins as a Southwest dialect word.
23 25’s partner, round and beginning to look porky (5)
OLLIE – The letter that is round followed by the first letter (beginning to) of look and a three letter word for a porky or untruth. Whilst it is not wrong to do so, having a pair of clues that define each other is not a device much liked by solvers.
24 Pavlova made with two thirds of a mashed banana (4)
ANNA – An anagram (mashed) of the final four letters (two-thirds) of baNANA.
25 23’s partner, comedian passing up dessert (4)
STAN – A phrase (5,2) for a comedian without (passing) a reversal (up) of PUD (dessert). Another repetition of UP as a reversal indicator. Perhaps passing dessert up would give a smoother cryptic reading.