A Puzzle by Jabberwock
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Jabberwock joins Rookie Corner with his 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.
Congratulations to a graduate from Rookie Corner who makes his debut in today’s Indy!
A review by Prolixic follows.
An impressive though tough debut from Jabberwock. Some of the clues were very good and showed some ingenious ideas. There were some shortcomings, many of which have been identified in the comments. The commentometer reads as 6.5 / 32 or 20.3%
1 Matt finish? (6,3)
POLISH OFF – An elliptical definition where if something has a matt finish, it had its lustre removed and the whole clue also means finish.
6 Better dressed than in your pants (5)
CRABS – Type of seafood that might be presented in this way which is better than having public lice in your pants. This is one of many clues where the link between the wordplay and the intended solution is perhaps a little too tenuous.
9 Poorly trimmed mullet, say? In rather bad taste (7)
SICKISH – A four letter word meaning poorly followed by the animal of which mullet is an example without the first letters (trimmed).
10 Sprinter on drugs? (7)
CHEETAH – A homophone of cheater (on drugs). This clue lacks a homophone indicator. “Sprinter on drugs, we hear” would solve this.
11 Back two, as a mathematician might say (4,3)
ROOT FOR – The way that a mathematician might say that 2 is the square root of four.
12 Late adopter‘s nuts working? Not applicable (7)
MADONNA – A three letter meaning nuts followed by a two letter word meaning working and the abbreviation for not applicable. Another clue where the definition, whilst technically accurate, gives the solver very little information about the solution. However, the wordplay is clear here so it is not impossible to solve.
13 Abracadabra? Abra Cadabra?? Abra Kadabra??? (9)
SPELLINGS – Magic incantations with different ways of writing out the letters!
15 In time, Royalists backed scope of authority (5)
REMIT – The answer is hidden and reverse (backed) in the second and third words of the clue.
16 Soup containing what dangles from its end (5)
RAMEN – Look at the answer dangling from the end of this solution – the answer is a type of soup made from this.
19 In compliant mode after initial post-menopausal change? Big time! (9)
MASSIVELY – A nine letter word meaning in compliant mode with the initial P changed to and M (initial post-menopausal change). Not sure that “initial post-menopausal change” means swap the P for an M.
22 Chooses not to put so cryptically (4,3)
OPTS OUT – An anagram (cryptically) of TO PUT SO.
23 Most satisfactory interpretation of map in case (7)
AMPLEST – An anagram (interpretation) of MAP followed by a four letter word meaning in case.
25 Pestered husky driver, perhaps (7)
HASSLED – Split 3,4 this would describe the possession of a husky driver. Husky driver on its own does not lead to the solution. Perhaps “‘Pestered’ – a description of husky driver?’
26 Vaguely like paella stirred too carelessly. But less paprika? (7)
RISOTTO – An anagram (carelessly) of stirred too after removing the RED (less paprika).
27 After 12, starting to “endearingly” emulate naff singers (5)
TEENS – The initial letters (starting) of the final five words of the clue.
28 Starship discovered when used to broadcast extra-orbitally (6,3)
SUSSED OUT – The prefix for a starship in Star Trek with an anagram (broadcast) of USED TO around it (extra-orbitally). The convention is that the definition must come at the start or end of the clue..
1 Vain riddler? (5)
POSER – Double definition of someone who puts on a act and someone who sets riddles.
2 Performance in ditch not tolerated by some (7)
LACTOSE – A three letter word meaning performance inside a four letter word meaning to ditch.
3 Eventually drunk in wicked excess of booze (7)
SKINFUL – The last letter (eventually) of drunk in a six letter word meaning excess.
4 Remaining calmer after sobbing starts (5)
OTHER – A seven letter word for a baby’s calmer without the initial SO (sobbing starts). Starts to indicate an indeterminate number of letters to be removed should be avoided.
5 They may protect us from dubious scams involving fake bananas (4,5)
FACE MASKS An anagram (dubious) of SCAMS and an anagram (bananas) of FAKE. The cryptic instructions here do not work. An anagram of A involving an anagram of B means put an anagram of B inside an anagram of A.
6 Dad unwisely invested in expensive foreign food (7)
CHEDDAR. -An anagram (unwisely) of DAD in the French word (foreign) for expensive.
7 In enemy not named we find friend, perhaps? (7)
ANTONYM – The answer is hidden and reversed in the third to fifth words of the clue. The clue lacks a reversal indicator to show that the answer is reversed in the words of the clue. I am not sure that the definition works here as you have to juxtapose the enemy at the start of the clue with the friend at the end. Perhaps In revolutionary enemy not named we find friend to foe?
8 Schmoozy topless dance: yukky start, but not gooey, syrupy (9)
SCHMALTZY – Remove a four letter word meaning gooey from the first word of the clue, follow with the name of a dance danced in 3/4 time and the first letter (start) of yukky. A small point, the spelling should be yucky. Try to avoid using repeated wordplay indicators such as start / starting for initial letter indicators.
13 Sexy (ish) arrangement of photo crop (4,2,3)
SORT OF HOT – A four letter word meaning arrangement followed by the OF from the clue and the inner letters (crop) of photo.
14 Funny name, sounds like creep’s crawlers (9)
NEMATODES – An anagram (funny) of NAME followed by a homophone of TOAD (creep).
17 Paper-cutter‘s maîtresse snipping about it the wrong way (7)
MATISSE – Remove (snipping) the two letter word meaning about from maitresse and reverse (the wrong way) the it in the clue. Another clue where the definition is perhaps too vague to be fair as you need to know that the artist was, as well as a painter, also known for collages and that to make collages you need to cut paper.
18 Loosely improvises new lots (7)
NOODLES – The abbreviation for new followed by a six letter word for lots.
20 Goblin behind gnome’s back, neither can advance (7)
IMPASSE – A thee letter word for a goblin followed by a three letter word for behind and the final letter (back) of gnome.
21 Audibly chews, or conversely hip-hop (7)
ELECTRO – A synonym for a homophone (audibly) of chews rolled by a reversal (conversely) of the OR from the clue.
23 They’re so far out and naturally kinky (5)
AFROS – Cryptic definition of a voluminous tightly curled hairstyle.
24 Caught tickling her bottom in time out (5)
TROUT – The last letter (bottom) of her inside the abbreviation for time and the out from the clue. Perhaps They’re caught by tickling their bottom in time out would be better.