A Sestercentennial by Grecian
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
When a new setter sends in a puzzle they usually can’t wait to see it published. Grecian asked for this one to be held back until December. How long will it take to realise why? 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.
17 December this year marks the 250th anniversary (sestercentennial) of the birth of the composed at 27a.
An enjoyable if tricky crossword from Grecian. The core wordplay was there but, as might be expected, there were a few rough edges and areas where the setter perhaps expected a little too much of the solver. The commentometer reads 3/28 or 10.7%.
7 Grills politician involved in unpleasant matter (5)
PUMPS – The abbreviation for member of parliament (politician) inside a three-letter word for unpleasant matter in a boil.
8 Oddly grey Brazil nuts not good (9)
BIZARRELY – An anagram (nuts) of GREY BRAZIL after removing the G (not good).
10 26 maybe hot in pink (6)
CHORAL – The abbreviation for hot inside a five-letter word for a shade of pink.
11 Twisted Sister could be in terrible need (8)
ENTWINED – A four-letter word describing a sister who has a sibling of the same age inside an anagram (terrible) of NEED. The wordplay here for the sister is too tenuous as a link to the word required in the solution.
12 Disgustingly necrotic creations (8)
CONCERTI – An anagram (disgustingly) of NECROTIC. Perhaps artistic creations or music would be a clearer definition,
13 Left-leaning retreat in Iranian capital (4)
RIAL – A reversal (left-leaning) of a four-letter word for a retreat or den.
15 Agent turned in revolutionary city is The Penguin (7)
EMPEROR – A reversal (turned) of a three-letter word for an agent inside a reversal (revolutionary) of the capital of Italy (city).
17 Instrument used in Call of Duty (7)
CLARION – A type of trumpet that is used to call people to duty giving rise to the phrase “A ???? Call”.
20 Possibly man is species lacking empathy originally (4)
ISLE – The initial letters (originally) of the third to sixth words of the clue. As a general rule, setter can capitalise a common noun to mislead but must not change a proper noun to lower case to do so. Here “man” as the definition is incorrect.
22 Dog on lead in Countryfile? (8)
LANDLINE – Split the final word of the clue into country and file and find four-letter word synonyms for both of them. The solution is be reference to the cockney rhyming slang for a phone. Some editors will not allow clue where you have an unindicated split in a word as part of the wordplay in the clue.
25 “4” caddy shouted out? (8)
BOUNDARY – A homophone (shouted out) of boundery – like a bounder (caddy). I think that the steps required of getting from caddy meaning like a cad and substituting it with a made up word for like a bounder and then producing a homophone is requiring too much from the solver.
26 Oil rag massage for aureole (6)
GLORIA – An anagram (massage) of OIL RAG.
27 Top German scorer sent one over the bar woefully, on rarest failure to register (9)
BEETHOVEN – An anagram (woefully) of SENT ONE OVER THE BAR after removing (failure to register) the letters in rarest. For subtractive anagrams, the general rule is that where the letters to be removed are not in the order given in the clue, a secondary anagram indicator should be given.
28 Component of diethyl ether caused memory loss when drunk (5)
LETHE – The solution is hidden (component of) in the third and fourth words of the clue.
1 Fun guy heard booms! (9)
MUSHROOMS – Another word for fungi (homophone – heard) of fun guy.
2 Lace rips around orifice (8)
SPIRACLE – An anagram (around) of LACE RIPS.
3 Poem about lubed up regular in Covent Garden? (7)
FIDELIO – A two-letter poem by Rudyard Kipling is reversed (about) followed by a reversal (up) of a five-letter word meaning lubed.
4 Clerical error in Lara’s top score (8)
PASTORAL – An anagram (error in) of LARAS TOP.
5 Heartless pornography piece dedicated to French 15 (6)
EROICA – Remove the central T (heartless) of a seven-letter word for pornography.
6 Skins up to REM? (5)
SLEEP – Reverse (up) a five-letter word meaning skins.
9 Slight stumble (4)
SLUR – Double definition of a verbal slight and to stumble over your words.
14 Spooner’s idiot may take on extra duty? (9)
MOONLIGHT – A Spoonerism of LOON (idiot) MIGHT (may).
16 3 perhaps over the hill at 100? (8)
OPERATOR – A five-letter word for the type of performance of which the answer to 5d is a example over a three-letter word for a hill. Perhaps for someone at 100 would be better as s definition.
18 Chuck’s advice to 27 that may pay dividends later? (8)
ROLLOVER – Double definition for a word in the title of the song by Chuck Berry and what would pay dividends later if the lottery has not been won.
19 Pressure put on writer that may prevent issue coming out? (7)
PLAYPEN – The abbreviation for pressure followed by a three-letter word meaning put on and a three-letter word for something that writes.
21 Work inside prison at Alcatraz (6)
SONATA – The answer is hidden (inside) in the final two words of the clue.
23 Nearly booze up time (4)
NIGH – Reverse (up) a three letter word for a drink and follow with the abbreviation for hour (time). Take care not to repeat wordplay indicators – here this is the third use of “up” to indicate a reversal.
24 27 wrote them messages (5)
NOTES – Double definition of the comment parts of music and messages.