A Puzzle by Manders
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Manders is our latest debutant (with two ore iting in the wings!). 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 Manders (the setter not the poster on the main blog). A good start for a debut crossword. Save in a couple of instances, there were no major problems with the clues. The commentometer reads as 5 out of 30 or 16.67%
1 No stamp? Perhaps he won’t deliver! (7)
POSTMAN – An anagram (perhaps) of NO STAMP.
5 Husband to broadcast code which keeps locks secure (7)
HAIRPIN – The abbreviation for husband followed by a three-letter word meaning to broadcast and a three-letter abbreviation for the code you use to access services when using a cash machine.
9 Bach analysis reveals pulse (5)
CHANA – The answer is hidden (reveals) in the first two words of the clue.
10 Conniving business member drunk hiding cut diamonds (9)
COMPLICIT – The abbreviations for company (business) and member of parliament (member) followed by a three-letter word meaning drunk inside which (hiding) you include a three-letter word for diamonds with the final letter removed (cut).
11 Drug Marie Curie initially backed encompassing riotous wild trips with conscience? (10)
ECOTOURISM – The abbreviation for ecstasy (drug) followed by a reversal (backed) of the initial letter (initially) of Maria Curie inside which (encompassing) you include an anagram (wild) of RIOTOUS.
12 Steal lager back (4)
SLIP – A reversal (back) of a four-letter word for a type of European lager.
14 Spooner’s bomber rained building material (12)
PLASTERBOARD – A Spoonerism of blaster (bomber) poured (rained). As the solution requires a homophone of one of the resulting words rather than direct swap of the initial letters, perhaps Spooner’s announced “Bomber rained building material” might have been better.
18 Sit-com about Trump supporters? (12)
CHEERLEADERS – A six-letter name of a US sitcom around a six-letter word for describing a person such as Donald Trump before President Biden took the reins of America.
21 Dial tone conceals recorder (4)
ALTO – The answer is hidden (conceals) in the first two words of the clue. The solution is defined as any instrument in the relevant voice register. Therefore, recorder is a definition by example and this should be indicated.
22 S&M skill: I Never, not ever swallow (4,6)
SAND MARTIN – The S from the clue, the word that is represented by &, the M from the clue followed by a three-letter word meaning skill and the I never from the clue without the ever.
25 Stuttering p-priest in type of suit (9)
PINSTRIPE – An anagram (stuttering) of P PRIEST IN.
26 Woman has husband from Cork, say? (5)
IRISH – A four-letter word being a woman’s name followed by the abbreviation for husband. Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators such as H for husband – already used in 5 across.
27 Stand up poop scoop (7)
DUSTPAN – An anagram (poop) of STAND UP. I don’t think that poop works as an indicator. As a verb or an adjective, it does not carry any sense of rearranging the letters.
28 Trigger alien leaving philanthropist (7)
DONATOR – A nine-letter word for a trigger for an explosive device without the abbreviation for extra-terrestrial (alien).
1 Ruffle fairy queen (6)
PUCKER – A four-letter word for the name of a fairy in Midsummer’s Night Dream followed by a two-letter abbreviation for the current queen.
2 Issue after sea salt, say (6)
SEASON – A three-letter word for a child (issue) after the SEA from the clue.
3 I walk road disturbing grassland bird (10)
MEADOWLARK – A two-letter word meaning I followed by an anagram (disturbing) of ROAD WALK. With disturbing as an anagram indicator, it needs to go before the letters to be rearranged for the cryptic grammar to work correctly.
4 French city runs better (5)
NICER – The name of a French city on the Riviera followed by the abbreviation for runs.
5 Hot unit has messy dates in North-West London (9)
HAMPSTEAD – The abbreviation for hot followed by the unit of measurement for electrical current and an anagram (messy) of DATES. Try to avoid vague definitions such as in North West London to define places.
6 Lidl employees keep slack (4)
IDLE – The answer is hidden (keep) in the first two words of the clue.
7 Funny Individual (8)
PECULIAR – Double definition. I threw myself for a while by writing in Singular which I think is a valid solution as well. Whilst it is hard to spot alternative solutions, sometimes having a test-solver who comes up with an equally valid answer is helpful to weed out the unintended solution.
8 Diaries, not records, restrict publicity (8)
NOTEPADS – The NOT from the clue followed by the abbreviation (in the plural) for extended play records around (restricting) a two-letter word for publicity. The definition “diaries” is not really a synonym for the solution.
13 Lincoln, in short, runs quota anomaly (10)
ABERRATION – The three-letter abbreviated form of Abraham (Lincoln in short) followed by the abbreviation for runs and a six-letter word for a quota. Another repetition of wordplay indicators with run having been used in 4d.
15 A strained calculation of SI Unit (9)
STERADIAN – An anagram (calculation) of A STRAINED. A few points here. First, a noun (calculation) should not be used as an anagram indicator though some editors will permit it. Even then, the noun must have some indication of rearrangement (such as organisation). Secondly, whilst the wordplay using an anagram is a valid form of wordplay, cluing unusual words with an anagram is not the fairest form of clue for the solver. Finally, some editors will not allow wordplay of definition as a clue structure.
16 “One-day diet” taken from discredited eating program is abandoned (8)
SCRAPPED – Remove the letters in I D (day) DIET from the DISCREDITED from the clue and include (eating) a three-letter word for a computer program. As the letters to be removed are not in the order given in the clue an anagram indicator is required.
17 Instruments remaining on board ship (8)
SEXTANTS – A six-letter word meaning remaining inside the abbreviation for steamship.
19 Rigorous independent court goes after leaders of sex trafficking ring (6)
STRICT – The abbreviations for Independent and court after the initial letters (leaders) of sex trafficking ring.
20 Harbour announcer (6)
ANCHOR – Double definition.
23 Fear about cutting Father (5)
DREAD – A two-letter word meaning about inside (cutting) a three-letter word for a father.
24 Bust open revealing end (4)
STOP – The answer is hidden (revealing) in the first two words of the clue. Whilst there is no hard and fast rule, I would try to have no more than two hidden word indicators in the clues. If there is a third, try to ensure that one of them is a hidden reversed clue.