A Puzzle by Rex Bassett
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
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 Rex. Overall, there were fewer niggles with this crossword and the cluing is improving but still with rough edges that need to be smoothed out. With the notable exception of 27a (a bit of a car crash) the basic cluing structure was there and there were some enjoyable clues such as 2d and my favourite for the penny drop moment in 21 / 18.
The commentometer reads as 4.5 / 30 or 15%.
1 Goes too far and fires a warning? (10)
OVERSHOOTS – Definition and cryptic definition, the second part being warning shots fired above the heads of people perhaps.
6 Interminable conflict in betting exchange (4)
SWAP – A three letter word for conflict with the last letter removed (interminable) inside the abbreviation for starting price (betting).
10 Thanks to a warning trainee put in knives, forks and plates etc (9)
TABLEWARE – A two letter word meaning thanks followed by a six letter word for a warning that includes (put in) the abbreviation for a learner.
11 Before noon not quite time for love! (5)
AMOUR – The abbreviation for morning (before noon) followed by a period of time with the first letter removed (not quite). Usually “not quite” means the removal of the last letter. Perhaps “In the morning start off time for love.
12/13 What a dozen vowels has? (6,7)
TWELVE LETTERS – Cryptically “a dozen vowels” has this number of letters
15 Reporting that tin leads to irritation (9)
SNITCHING – The chemical symbol for tin before (leads to) a seven letter word for an irritation.
18 See 21
19 Used to be the mornings you get the papers (5)
EXAMS – A two letter word meaning use to be followed by the abbreviation for mornings. I know it was clued previously as before noon but there is an element of repetition here of AM for morning.
21/18 The deer’s running, it’s all happening (3,4,2,5)
THE GAMES AFOOT – Cryptic definition of a description of running deer.
23 Attack and capture (7)
SEIZURE – Double definition, the first being a medical attack and the second meaning the capture of something.
24 Brought up in front of the meeting a scale model finally (6)
PHLEGM – Before (in front of) the abbreviation for extraordinary general meeting put the scale for measuring acidity and the last letter (finally) of model. I don’t think that the verbal phrase is a good definition for the noun that it indicates. It is not specific enough.
27 Car’s running without disc brake and is smashed, so cycled (5)
BIKED – An anagram (and is smashed) of DISC BRAKE without the letters (rearranged – running – ) in cars. As several commentators have pointed out, the use of without as the deletion indicator does not work here.
28 Initiated vote in a new Democratic amendment (9)
INNOVATED – An anagram (amendment) of VOTE IN A N (new) D (Democratic). Some editors would not allow a noun such as amendment to be used as an anagram indicator.
29 Ideal place for online study? (4)
EDEN – The single letter abbreviation meaning on-line followed by a three letter word for a study.
30 Channel has problem getting reception initially on tall building (10)
SKYSCRAPER – The name of a TV channel followed by a six letter word for a problem and the first letter (initially) of reception. Being pedantic, the first three letters of the clue are the name of the broadcaster. The channels are ??? One, ??? Atlantic, ??? Movies, etc. More importantly, the link word “on” does not work as you then have wordplay on definition in the cryptic reading of the clue.
1 Chooses towpaths occasionally (4)
OPTS – The even letters (occasionally) of the second word of the clue.
2 Crook is below ground (5)
ELBOW – An anagram (ground) of BELOW.
3 Defeat Japan? (7)
SHELLAC – Double definition of the North American slang word for a defeat and the type of polish used to “japan” a piece of furniture. As you are using a North American slang word, this should have been indicated. Maybe “Trump’s defeat of Japan”.
4 Pontificate about description of traitor accepted by a dictionary (5)
ORATE – A three letter word for the description of a traitor inside the first two letters of the abbreviation for the Oxford English Dictionary. You cannot simply use part of the abbreviation in this way.
5 Design English Unionist logo with the minister (9)
THEOLOGUE – An anagram (design) of E (English) U (unionist) LOGO THE.
7 World Health leaders get praise in Spanish circles, a number are good (9)
WHOLESOME – The initial letters (leaders) of the first two words of the clue followed by a three letter Spanish word indicating praise and a four letter word meaning a number. The are as the link word does not work as you have wordplay are definition in the cryptic reading which does not make grammatical sense.
8 To live on building site as pair (10)
PARASITISE – An anagram (building) of SITE AS PAIR.
9 Slogan taken from Pitman translation (6)
MANTRA – The answer is hidden in (taken from) the final two words of the clue.
14 So-called huge units, not half horrible! (10)
OSTENSIBLE – The abbreviation for oversized (huge) followed by the units used in the decimal system of counting and the last half of the letters in horrible.
16 Having difficulty knowing where to find the onions? (2,1,6)
IN A PICKLE – Definition and cryptic definition. I don’t think that the “knowing” quite works here.
17 Healthy but extraordinarily thin and start eventually to rattle (2,3,4)
IN THE PINK – An anagram (extraordinarily) of THIN followed by the first letter (start) of eventually and a four letter word meaning to rattle. Some editors would require “start of” to indicate the initial letter.
20 Read about right animal disease (6)
STURDY – A five letter word meaning to read around the abbreviation for right.
22 Complete beginner taken on by a partner (3,4)
ALL OVER – The A from the clue and a five letter word for a sexual partner include (taken on) the abbreviation for beginner. Rather like the two clues that lead to morning earlier in the crossword, we have the same use for getting to learner.
24 Appendix written about objective passages in Scots (5)
PENDS – The abbreviation for postscript (abbreviation) around a three letter word for an objective.
25 Rig put, for example, in reverse (3,2)
GET UP – The put fro the clue and the abbreviation for “for example” all reversed.
26 Reed bursts into flower in Germany (4)
EDER – An anagram (bursts) of REED.