A Puzzle by Tater
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
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 back to Tater. The typos in the version I downloaded had been corrected but it is important to double check before submission. Overall, this was much more polished and accessible than the previous crossword. Two points particularly to watch are producing a balanced set of solutions and clue types and looking at the subtle changes in the meaning of words depending on context in which a word is used. For example, to circle can mean to go around but circulating means moving in a circle or from place to place. The commentometer reads as 5/30 or 16.7%.
9 Praise circulating small hospital after current achievements (15)
ACCOMPLISHMENTS – A ten-letter word meaning praise goes around (circulating) the abbreviations for small and hospital after a two letter abbreviation for alternating current. To circulate means to move in a circle or to pass from person to person or place to place, not to go around something, so as a container indicator, I am not sure that it works.
10 Animal trail encompassing northern outskirts of Ecuador (7)
PANTHER – A four-letter word for a trail goes around the abbreviation for northern followed by the outer letters (outskirts) of Ecuador.
12 Launch meeting perhaps concerning head of government – non-drinker in temperance club (7)
REGATTA – A two-letter word meaning concerning and the first letter (head) of Government following by the abbreviation for teetotaller (non-drinker) in the abbreviation for Alcoholics Anonymous (temperance club).
13 Doffs cap reportedly any way you like (9)
FREESTYLE -A five-letter word meaning doffs followed by a homophone (reportedly) of tile (cap). I don’t thing that the first five letters of the solution are synonymous with doffs.
14 Nutcase perhaps boat picked up (5)
SKULL – A homophone (picked up) of scull (boat).
15 Exercise papers at university (5-2)
PRESS-UP – A five-letter word for papers followed by a two-letter word meaning at university.
18 Set back following celebrity debut (5-2)
START-UP – A three-letter word meaning set is reversed (back) after four-letter word for a celebrity.
21 Swimmer turning back after missing start of thermal therapy (5)
REHAB – A six-letter word for a swimmer is reversed (turning back) after removing the initial letter (start) of thermal.
23 Liberty perhaps, reduced (9)
STATUETTE – A cryptic definition of a small (reduced) statute (Liberty perhaps).
25 Soap performance before theatre (5,2)
SCRUB UP – Cryptic definition of a cleansing routing before an operation in a theatre. Try to thing about word similarities in the solutions. In the space of five clues we have had three solutions all ending with the same two-letter word.
26 Blusterer, head of state travels east to see mates perhaps (7)
BOATERS – A seven-letter word word for someone who blusters with the S (head of state) moving to the end (travels east). Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators. Head of as an initial letter indicator has already been used in 12a.
29 Seb – Croatian idol upset by dope (8,7)
ANABOLIC STEROID – An anagram (upset) of SEB CROATIAN IDOL. I think you can have the definition given by the wordplay but wordplay by the definition does not work as a link word.
1 Privileged American existed prior to start of Prohibition (4)
WASP – A three-letter word meaning existed before (prior to) the initial letter (start) of prohibition. Another wordplay repetition with start of already used in 21a.
2 Have a quick look around keeping poles apart (4)
SCAN – A two-letter abbreviation meaning around inside (keeping … apart) the abbreviation for the magnetic poles.
3 Misshape misshape! (8)
EMPHASIS – An anagram (misshape) of MISSHAPE. Maybe something more is required to give the clue a firmer indication that the repetition is the solution. Perhaps putting the second word in bold italics?
4 Cloth – extremely casual grey blend (6)
CLERGY – The outer letters (extremely) of casual followed by an anagram (blend) of grey. Although extremes of can mean the extremities, extremely means exceedingly, which is not the same thing.
5 Title challengers Spurs rue upsetting (8)
USURPERS – An anagram (upsetting) SPURS RUE. For upsetting to work as an anagram indicator, it needs to go before the letters to be rearranged for the cryptic grammar to work.
6 Pictures games I toyed with (6)
IMAGES– An anagram (toyed with) of GAMES I. Try to look at the balance of clue types across the crossword. We have just had four anagram clues in a row.
7 Update this month about detailed dealings (8)
INSTRUCT – A four-letter word meaning thing month around a five-letter word meaning dealings with the final letter removed (detailed).
8 Collapse after digesting crummy food (8)
ESCALLOP – An anagram (after digesting) of COLLAPSE.
11 Horse maybe more graceful – non-starter (5)
AIRER – A six-letter word meaning more graceful without the first letter (non-starter).
15 Soft airs playing on piano discovered by Edith Piaf perhaps (8)
PARISIAN – The musical abbreviation for soft followed by an anagram (playing) of airs over (on) the inner letters (discovered) of piano.
16 Heavenly light (8)
ETHEREAL – Double definition.
17 Type of mail delay puts one off receiving charity (4-4)
POST-PAID – An eight-letter word meaning delay without the “one” from the clue followed by a three-letter word for charity or assistance.
19 Flatters tory leader involved in corrupt USA deal (8)
ADULATES – The initial letter (leader) of Tory inside an anagram (corrupt) of USA DEAL. Tory should be capitalised in the clue.
20 Perfect state (5)
UTTER – Double definition, the second meaning to speak.
22 Monkey smell surrounding sailor working (6)
BABOON – The abbreviation for body odour around (surrounding) the abbreviation for able seaman followed by a two-letter word meaning working.
24 Confirm bishop accepted after second time absconding – not quite good enough (2,4)
AT BEST – A six-letter word meaning confirm with the second T (time) removed and the abbreviation for bishop included.
27 Half-naked archer discovered in bedrooms regularly (4)
EROS – The even letters (regularly) in bedrooms.
28 Motown pop (4)
SODA – Cryptic definition of an American term (Motown) for a fizzy drink.