Lockdown by Skellig
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Another new setter emerges from lockdown! 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 to Skellig. A promising debut from our new Rookie with no major issue with the cluing but some polishing to produce a smoother crossword would have improved the clue. Watch out in particular for repeated wordplay indicators. The commentometer reads as 4/31 (12.9%).
A note after last week’s comments on a clean sheet. It is very rare to get a clean sheet, even for national setters who submit crosswords for editing. Even once you have set a crossword, had it test solved, it is usually the case that the editor will have two or three comments on the clues, areas where things need to be improved, etc. With new setter submitting crosswords, I suspect that some editors make a number of changes and comments to see how the setters react and whether they will be able to work with them in the future.
1 Remain in support (4)
STAY – Double definition meaning to abide in the same place and a supporting prop.
3/25 In endless eternal torment, quietly provide assistance to the housebound (4,4)
HOME HELP – A four letter word meaning “in” followed by another word for Hades (eternal torment) with the last letter removed (endless) and the musical notation for quietly. A minor point, if you have wordplay provide definition, the provide needs to be provides. Provide cannot be part of the definition as it would require a verb as the definition.
6 Loss aversion covers frustration of goal (4)
GOAL – The answer is hidden in (covers) the first two words of the clue.
9 See 30
11 Drama obsoletes children’s get-togethers (4,5)
PLAY DATES – A four letter word for a drama followed by another word for obsoletes. Whilst obsoletes is in the dictionary as a verb, its use is chiefly American and jars to UK readers ears. In the American usage, I think that the sense of the verb is to take something out of use, not to make it dated.
12 Indian cuisine? No, I do rat stew! (8)
TANDOORI – An anagram (stew) of NO I DO RAT.
13 Render cutback in small company (6)
STUCCO – Reverse (back) the cut from the clue and include in the abbreviations for small and company. Not all editors will allow lift and separate clues where you have to take a single word, divide it up and then work out the cryptic instructions.
15 Sweet treats with cash … and cashews? (9)
DOUGHNUTS – A five letter informal word for cash followed by a word describing cashews.
17 Top spot? New for a million spots (4)
ACNE – A four letter word for the top spot with the abbreviation for new replacing the abbreviation for a million.
19 Hospital department needs oxygen instead of a statement (4)
WORD – A four letter word for a hospital department has the chemical symbol for Oxygen in place of the A from the clue.
20 Change of direction in assemblies when new governments are chosen (9)
ELECTIONS – A nine letter word for assemblies or constructions has the R changed to an L. Watch for too many repeated wordplay ideas in a row. Here we have three change a letter clues in a row.
22 Dangerous guns a felon’s hiding (6)
UNSAFE – The answer is hidden (hiding) in the third to fifth words of the clue.
24 Eruption! Up he goes, before lava comes back (8)
UPHEAVAL – The UP and HE from the clue followed by a reversal of the LAVA from the clues
26 Plastic parrot heard west of area around Newcastle (9)
POLYTHENE – A homophone (heard) of a five letter word for a parrot followed by a phrase (3,2) describing the area around Newcastle.
28 Leave capital (5)
SPLIT – Double definition, the first being an informal term meaning to leave and the second a regional capital city. This city in Croatia is not the main capital, that is Zagreb. As the solution is a regional capital perhaps this should be indicated.
29 See 27 Down
30/9 Initially pandemic arrived: since then life is very eventful. Strange how we were before! (4,5)
PAST LIVES – The first letters (initially) of the second to tenths words of the clue.
31 Second-hand, and oddly unsteady (4)
USED – The odd letters in the last word of the clue.
1 Lout dies, confused in seclusion (8)
SOLITUDE – An anagram (confused) of LOUT DIES.
2 Audacious commercial opening under heartless, oddly vacant moguls (11)
ADVENTUROUS – A two letter abbreviation for a commercial followed by a four letter word for an opening, the outer letters (heartless) of under and the even letter (oddly vacant) of moguls. Take care not to repeat wordplay indicators. We have had oddly used as a regular letter deletion indicators in 31a.
4 Left in one up flying – lucky! (9)
OPPORTUNE – A four letter word for left in an anagram (flying) of ONE UP.
5 Former lover: the morning after is a test (4)
EXAM – A two letter word for a former lover followed by the abbreviation for morning.
6 Thus said in France: never mind (3,2)
SOD IT – A two letter word meaning thus followed by the French word meaning said.
7 Someone to perform a cat scan or lab test? Check! (3)
VET – Double definition of an animal doctor and to carry out a background check on someone.
8 Andy Murray, perhaps, in a tie (5)
ASCOT – A phrase (1,4) describing the nationality of Andy Murray.
10 Wasted all but initial capital on outbuilding (7)
SLOSHED – The capital of Norway with the first letter removed (all but initial) followed by a four letter word for an outbuilding.
14 Bindweed entangled uncle’s used Volvo (without seed) (11)
CONVOLVULUS – An anagram (entangled) of UNCLES USED VOLVO after removing the letters in SEED. Where the letters to be removed are in a different order to the word given in the wordplay, it is usual to give a secondary anagram indicator to show this.
16 Tossing and turning, strips back the Parisian sheets (just the covers) (9)
SLEEPLESS – Reverse (back) a five letter word meaning strips and followed with the French masculine singular form of the and the outer letters (just the covers) of sheets.
17 Fantastic NHS team gets rousing songs (7)
ANTHEMS – An anagram (fantastic) of NHS TEAM.
18 Alone, and also tied in knots (8)
ISOLATED – An anagram (in knots) of ALSO TIED.
21 In album, photo shows 27, 29 (5)
BUMPH – The answer is hidden in the second and third words of the clue.
23 Overweight Capone is deadly (5)
FATAL – A three letter word meaning overweight followed by the first name of the gangster Capone.
25 See 3 Across
27/29 Initial lack of ordering leads to intermittent riot and empty lavatorial supplies for bathroom (3,4)
LOO ROLLS – The first letters (initial) of the third to fifth wordThere is a repetition of initial as an initial letter indicator and, for the indicator to work in this clue, it would need to be initially. I think that intermittent works as a regularly letter deletion indicator as it means ceasing at intervals, though usually you would use intermittently.