A Puzzle by Spud
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Spud is the last of the current run of debutants. 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.
A highly creditable debut from Spud. It is always a good sign when the points on the clues are minor ones, which is the case here. The commentometer reads as 2.5 / 30 or 8.3%.
As an aside, if another setter has already used the pseudonym Spud it would be better to find an alternative.
8 Grain the French swapped with the Spanish? Hardly! (6)
BARELY – A type of grain has the LE (the French) changed (swapped) to EL (the Spanish).
9 The last Sri Lankan separatist gets time in the European Union when returned (8)
ULTIMATE – A five-letter word for a Sri Lankan terrorist includes (gets) the abbreviation for time and the resulting letters are placed in the abbreviation for European and everything is reversed (when returned). Gets is a very weak insertion indicator and should be avoided.
10 Garden variety similar to tree in street (6-2-3-4)
MIDDLE-OF-THE-ROAD – look at the the letters that surround the word tree in street and make a phrase that describes this. I am not convinced that Garden variety on its own is a correct definition.
12 Maybe volume that whispers are heard (4)
SIZE – A homophone (are heard) of sighs (whispers). The that does not work well as a link word in the cryptic reading as you have definition that wordplay. Perhaps Maybe volume of whispers overheard
13 Not the first estimate, but of lower value (6-4)
SECOND-RATE – A six-letter word meaning not the first followed by a four-letter word meaning estimate or value. The but a a link word does not work particularly well. You have wordplay but definition. Perhaps Not the first estimate to give lower value.
17 Bike rider losing most of trouser grip results in nasty lump (4)
CYST – A seven-letter word meaning a bike rider has a shortened four-letter word for a trouser grip that they use removed from it.
18 Raliegh’s final docking procedure (5)
AXING – A cryptic definition of how Sir Walter Raleigh met his end. Watch the spelling of proper names.
19 Cultivate wax (4)
GROW – Double definition.
21 Real v Inter fixed, pointless (10)
IRRELEVANT – An anagram (fixed) of REAL V INTER.
24 Record old reservists exercises (4)
TAPE – The abbreviation for Territorial Army followed by the abbreviation for Physical Exercise.
25 Pekingese men in sedan chair ridiculed (8,7)
MANDARIN CHINESE – An anagram (fixed) of MEN IN SEDAN CHAIR.
29 Deride changes having the setter set right (8)
REMEDIED – An anagram (changes) of DERIDE includes (having) a two-letter word for the setter. Another weak indicator for containment that should be avoided.
30 Make the grave-digger wait it’s said, tell me more (6)
DILATE – A homophone (it’s said) of DIE LATE (make the grave digger wait).
1 Means to take out shredded roasts after cooking satisfactorily (8)
FACILITY – An anagram (cooking) of SATISFACTORILY after removing the re-arranged letters (shredded) of ROASTS.
2 Gold for Robin Hood (4,6)
DEAD CENTRE – Cryptic definition for the middle of the archery target. As Robin Hood would not have aimed for such a target, it does not really work.
3 Spy Rebecca cavorting where tweeters meet (10)
CYBERSPACE – An anagram (cavorting) of SPY REBECCA.
4 Cadge key documentation? (4)
BUMF – A three-letter word meaning cadge and a musical key.
5 Fancy vermouth before cow heel starters? (4)
ITCH – The two-letter word for Vermouth before the initial letters (starters) of cow heel.
6 Kalahari menfolk hold back chieftain (4)
EMIR – The answer is hidden and reversed (holding back) in the first two words of the clue. For the cryptic grammar to work it would need to be holds back. Perhaps Kashmiri menfolk holding back …
7 The first James perhaps to begin in uniform? On the contrary (6)
STUART – The letter represented by uniform in the phonetic alphabet in a five-letter word meaning to begin.
11 Give up taking Pernod on a regular basis (3)
END – The even letters (on a regular basis) of Pernod. I think that the taking could have been omitted here. Perhaps Finish Pernod on a regular basis would be better.
14 Introductions to chicks happen infrequently, need a friend? (5)
CHINA – The initial letters (introductions to) of the third to seventh words of the clue.
15 The dashing, criminal poisoner (10)
NIGHTSHADE – An anagram (criminal) of THE DASHING.
16 First of things removed from complete mess found in corner of square (5,5)
RIGHT ANGLE – A phrase (5,6) for a complete mess has the first letter of things removed from it.
20 On the other side, pertinent opener out for a duck (8)
OPPOSITE – An eight-letter word for pertinent has the initial letter (opening) removed and replaced by the letter representing nothing (a duck).
22 Lecturer of French in back seat (6)
READER – The French for of inside a four-letter word meaning your back seat.
23 Plain wallop – top to bottom (3)
LEA – A three-letter word for beer (wallop) has the top letter moved to the bottom.
26 Chinese water perhaps is overpriced reportedly (4)
DEER – A homophone (reportedly) of DEAR.
27 Bankruptcy? Mother’s spirited solution (4)
RUIN – Double definition, the second being the word that follows the word Mother’s when describing gin.
28 Acknowledges that head of state, a Spanish gent, is coming north (4)
NODS – The first letter (head) of state followed by a three-letter word for a Spanish gentleman, all reversed (is coming north).