Political Correctness by PhiSH
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Another setter makes his debut in Rookie Corner. 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 our new Rookie, PhiSH. Settings a themed crosswords with clues and solutions relating to a theme is tricky and our setter is to be congratulated on trying to pull this off with this crossword. However, in places, it does mean that the clues ran away with themselves and became overly wordy or did not make a coherent sentence in their own right.
A lot of the basics for creating clues have been achieved but there needs to be closer attention to ensuring that the definition matches the solution and not repeating wordplay ideas.
The commentometer reads as 7.5/28 or 26.8%
1 Thus you, Benn, change name for a protein source (4,4)
SOYA BEAN – A two-letter word meaning thus followed by an informal spelling of you (as in see ** later” and the Benn from the clue with the first N (name) changes for an A.
5/9 Pain in the neck lacking energy is member, actually PM (5,7)
BORIS JOHNSON – A four-letter word for a tiresome person (pain in the neck) without the E (lacking energy) followed by the IS from the clue and the member of Parliament who is the member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip and also the Prime Minister. I think that defining the surname as member when it is the person in the solution does not work particularly well.
10 Agitated mum – Senate delight (9)
AMUSEMENT – An anagram (agitated) of MUM SENATE.
11 One is in the game despite debilitating disease (5)
POLIO – Insert the letter I in a four-letter game played on horseback. The despite is out of place here the cryptic grammar reads wordplay despite definition. The “the” in “the game” should be omitted. Perhaps “One taking part in game with debilitating disease”
12 Not hard having badly joined Charles’ first together with his George and he sent the kids back to school (5,10)
GAVIN WILLIAMSON – An anagram (badly) of HAVING without the H (not hard) followed by the name of Prince Charles’ first son and the relationship between that son and his offspring George.
13 Assume that Boris has this? – huge prostitutes turning over (9)
STRATAGEM – A four-letter word meaning huge and a five-letter word meaning prostitutes all reversed. There needs to be a stronger link here between the definition and the solution. Perhaps “Maybe plan for Boris to have huge prostitutes coming back”.
15 Stupid man – to begin, Boris half starting Zoom (4)
BOZO – The first two letters (to begin) of Boris followed by the initial half (starting) of Zoom. You should only use beginning to indicate the first letter, not an arbitrary number of letters.
18 “Blink first Boris” rejected relationship (4)
LINK – Remove the B (first Boris) from the first word of the clue. Some editors will not allow first to be used as an initial letter indicator unless used in the form “first of”. Perhaps, “Blink when Boris initially rejected relationship”.
19 Choice of government is a brief demonstration and shout about bill (9)
DEMOCRACY – A four-letter word word a demonstration followed by a three-letter word for a shout about the abbreviation for account (bill).
24 Socialist philosophy follower is frustrated instant Mr Xi lies (7-8)
MARXIST-LENINIST – An anagram (frustrated).of INSTAND MR XI LIES.
25 Endorses poor guess in dropping EU (5)
SIGNS – An anagram (poor) of GUESS IN after removing the EU. Where the letters to be removed are in a different order, this should be indicated by an anagram or here, preferably, a reversal indicator. Perhaps “Endorses poor guess in dropping return of EU”
26 Probing “Tango Kilo” scandal (7,2)
LOOKING AT – An anagram (scandal) of TANGO KILO). Some editors will not allow a noun such as scandal as an anagram indicator.
27 Inquiry is robust after expelling Right (5)
STUDY – A six-letter word meaning robust without (expelling) the abbreviation for right.
28 As Gove did with Boris? Take a punt on a flash education (8)
BETRAYED – A three-letter word meaning take a punt on followed by a three-letter word meaning a flash of light and a two-letter abbreviation for education. Another clue where getting from the definition to the solution is perhaps too remote and would not be solvable by overseas solvers.
1 Boris? Droopy welcoming hard (6)
SHAGGY – The abbreviation for hard inside a five-letter word meaning droopy. Try to avoid repeating wordplay elements such as H for hard (already used in 12a. This could have been avoided and made more topical by using “leaving hospital”. This is another clue where the link between the definition and the solution is a little too tenuous. Perhaps “How Boris looks disheveled and droopy leaving hospital”.
2 Solver with Rousseau’s lead, against suffrage, a share certificate provides you with this? (4,6,5)
YOUR VOTING RIGHT – A three-letter word for the solver followed by the initial letter (lead) of Rousseau and a phrase (6,5) for suffrage. This looks like a made up phrase. This should be avoided when selecting grid entries. Whilst I am fairly lenient with new setters when it comes to surface readings, there are limits and this one sailed past them at a rate of knots. Clues should make a coherent sentence in their own right.
3 French good with broken nail comic relief, as an example (8)
BIENNIAL – A four-letter word in French meaning good followed by an anagram (broken) of NAIL. Comic Relief needs to be capitalised for the definition to work.
4 Crime cracked in centre-ground of Blair and May for us (7)
AMERICA – An anagram (cracked) of CRIME in the central letter of Blair and May. US in lower case is not a valid definition. The rule is that you can add false capitalisation but not deliberately change a proper noun or abbreviation to lower case.
6 Labour then rejection produces this? (6)
ORPHAN – Cryptic definition of a child that has lost its parents. The solution is defined as the loss of parents through death not rejection.
7 Rees-Mogg admonished for being this child selling you nonsense (4,11)
IDLE SLOUCHINGLY – An anagram (nonsense) of CHILD SELLING YOU. Whilst Rees Mogg was accused of sprawling across the bench in the House of Commons, I don’t think that the solution itself is a phase that was used. If anything he was accused of “slouching idly”.
8 PM initially accepted then turned leftist-electorate’s enemy (6)
ATTLEE – The initial letters of the final six words of the clue.
9 See 5 Across
14 Orgy Minister owning private club (3)
GYM – The answer is hidden (owning) in the first two words of the clue. Not sure that the solution is necessarily a private club. It is not the defining characteristic of the solution.
16 Spot gerrymandering’s first slack state boundaries (7)
GLIMPSE – The initial letter (first) of gerrymandering followed by a four letter word meaning slack and the outer letters (boundaries) of state. Perhaps states’ boundaries would give a better cryptic reading of the clue. Another wordplay repetition with first as an initial letter indicator.
17 Raunchier appalling filibuster – switch sides and remove the bull (8)
FRUITIER – An anagram (appalling) of FILIBUSTER Ofer changing the L to R (changing sides) and removing the BS (bull or bullshit).
20 Brexit deprived of UK national taxes – no Left singing the praises (6)
EXTOLS – Remove a four-letter word for a British national from the first word of the clue and follow with a five-letter word for taxes without one of the letters L (no Left). The definition would require extolling as the solution.
21 Lots of Labour? Dramatic work lacking ending and even monster (7)
OPEROSE – A five-letter word for a sung dramatic word with the last letter removed (lacking ending) followed by the even letter letters of the final word of the clue. The solution is an adjective so is not correctly defined by lots of labour. To indicate even or odd letters you should use evenly or oddly or another alternate letter indicator. Perhaps “Short dramatic work with Wooster oddly missing is tedious”
22 Killed Left twice, switched for SNP Sturgeon’s openers – an action that resulted in many a politicians’ downfall? (6)
KISSED – The first word of the clue has the two letter (left twice) replaced by the initial letters (openers) of SNP Sturgeon’s. Another clue where the definition would imply an an ING ending.
23 Reported that Heath should remain? Clearly expressed (6)
STATED – A homophone (reported) of STAY TED (Heath should remain).