A Puzzle by Conto
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Conto is today’s debutant. 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 Conto. The comments reveal how tricky this crossword was. Trickiness is not a fault but if CrypticSue and Gazza start and then throw in the towel, it is a good sign that the complexity outweighs the enjoyment in solving the crossword. I suspect that most solvers, by the time they had managed to solve this would have been too exhausted to see the Nina where etc cardinal points of the crossword appear in their appointed places around the perimeter of the crossword.
There were come good ideas on display in clues such as 12a ,20a (with the alliteration) and 16d. Some of the surface readings of the clues do not make sense in their own right (compare 8a with 11a). More of the former and fewer (ideally, none) of the latter would improve the crossword.
In terms of the style of the cluing, there were a handful of devices that would not be seen in all cryptic – such as the gift and separate device in 10a.
The commentometer reads as 6/28 or 21.4%.
8. Edwina prepared to make a bold entrance (4,4)
WADE INTO – An anagram (prepared) of EDWINA followed by the “to” from the clue.
9. Aleluia! Take lithium then flap bastard wings! (6)
ALULAE – Correct the spelling mistake in the first word of the clue and remove the chemical symbol for Lithium then make an anagram (flap) of the remaining letters. Watch out for typos. Particularly unfortunate in an anagram clue. Depending on your point of view, clueing unusual words as an anagram, whilst technically correct, is not liked by many solvers.
10. Lame duck’s close to the east of USA (4)
WEAK – The last letter (close) of duck after (to the east of) some complicated wordplay with USA. Split to give US + A and replace the US with the corresponding direct pronoun. Lifting and separating the USA in this way would not be accepted by some editors. Where it is permitted, there should be a discernible spilt in the word as it pronounced. Also going from the indirect to the direct pronoun without indication is too much a stretch for solvers.
11. Tree, high tree, broadcast by satellite (9)
PISTACHIO – A homophone (broadcast) of PISSED (high) ASH (tree) followed be a two letter name of a moon of Jupiter.
12. Bread-maker L-L (6)
EARNER – The word for which L is the abbreviation minus the initial L
14. Bereft of Johnson, England’s aristocracy (8)
NOBLESSE – A phrase (3, 4) that might indicate the absence of Boris Johnson or any other Etonian) followed by the abbreviation for England. Perhaps a definition by example indicator that Johnson is an example of this category person should be included.
15. Penetrating documentary edited – we pay taxes, no way! (3-4)
SEX-TAPE – An anagram (edited) of WE PAY TAXES after removing the WAY. The solution is not a phrase recognised by the main dictionaries. A solution beginning “red” would have been better as setters should use words and phrases in the dictionaries.
17. A thousand quiet before man up the tree (7)
GRANDPA – A five-letter word meaning a thousand followed by the abbreviations for quiet and before (ante). If there is a literary allusion to the solution and definition it has eluded me.
20. About now, about right, about the equator (8)
TROPICAL – A seven-letter word meaning current or about now around the abbreviation for right.
22. ‘Seized by Rioja’ or ‘Tasting from the Heart‘ (6)
AORTAS – the answer is hidden (seized by) the third to fifths words from the clues. I think the plural just about works. However prepositional definitions do not work for me in the same way that “in India” is a pretty poor definition for a town in India.
23. On a list up in South Queens: volunteers required (9)
SUPERSTAR – The “up” from the clue in the abbreviations for South and two abbreviations for Queen (the first two letters and the second one letter. The insert (required) the abbreviation for Territorial Army (volunteers). I don’t think that required works as an insertion indicator. The definition puts the A in A list into lower case. The rule is that you can capitalise to mislead but, should not put proper nouns into lower case.
24. Lower down (4)
FLAT – Double definition of lower in pitch and feeling out of sorts.
25. Combat resistance in Lyonnaise Buffet? (6)
WARREN – A three-letter word for a conflict followed by the abbreviation for resistance and the French word meaning “in”
26. Put on and take off, say (wrong-headedly) ‘it fits‘ (8)
APPOSITE – An eight-letter word describing “put on” and “take off” with a different first letter (wrong-heatedly). I think that the initial part of the wordplay leads to the plural form of the word where the solution requires the singular.
1. Reveal wine – another Rose? (8)
NAMESAKE – A four-letter word meaning reveal followed by a four-letter word for a Japanese rice wine. I think that the definition is an eponym, not an example of the solution.
2. By eck, Nan’s first snog! (4)
NECK – The “eck” from the clue after (by) the first letter on Nan.
3. I leave balls on first level (2,1,3)
ON A PAR – A phrase 1,4 describing the testicles without the I preceded by the “on” from the clue.
4. In retrospect, Captain is sorry he scored (7)
ROSSINI – The answer is hidden and reversed (in retrospect) in the third to fifth words of the clue. “In retrospect” does not quite work for me as a hidden reversal indicator. Together they imply a reversal but to work as a hidden reversal, it would need to be “Retrospectively in”.
5. Hot or cold starters for a Spaniard buying a range here (5,3)
TAPAS BAR – A three-letter word for something that could be hot or cold followed by the initial letters (starters for) in the sixth to tenth words of the clue.
6. Cuddle largebreasted, topless bird with iron back in his mansion? (4,6)
HUGH HEFNER – A three-letter word meaning cuddle followed by the cup-size of a very large breasted woman followed by a reversal (back) of a four-letter word for a type of bird without its initial letter (topless) and the chemical symbol for iron. Largebreasted needs to be hyphenated.
7. Panjandrums‘ funk embraced by cops (6)
NABOBS – A two letter abbreviation for a nasty smell (funk) inside a four letter word meaning cops or captures.
13. Leaves? No, teaware is emptied daily (10)
NOTEPAPERS – The “no” from the clue followed by the outer letters (emptied) of teaware and a six-letter word meaning daily press. “Teaware” is not a word. It should be “tea ware” also the daily should be dailies for the plural required by the solution.
16. I.e. traded in one trillionth of city’s cheese (8)
PECORINO – The prefix for one trillionth and a city in Nevada have the I and E exchanged (I.e. traded).
18. Labourers around South Africa are cheap/non-U (8)
PEASANTS – A seven-letter word meaning cheap without the U around the abbreviation for South Africa. For the cryptic grammar to work the structure would need to be around A is B, not around A are
19. Serve up on gold table (7)
PLATEAU – A five-letter word meaning serve up followed by the chemical abbreviation for gold.
21. They witnessed the return of spiritual leader, an Emperor (6)
RASTAS – Reverse the first letter (leader) of spiritual and a phrase 1,4 for a Russian emperor.
22. This (6)
ABRUPT – This clue is this. It also does not work very well as a clue.
24. Bass? A bit loud! (4)
FISH – A bit-loud would be loudish. Now replace the loud with the musical abbreviation for it. Perhaps a bit of a stretch for solvers to follow all the steps required to reach the solution.