A Puzzle by Fez
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Fez is our latest 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 Fez with an excellent themed debut puzzle. With the exception of 10a there were no problems with clues. In writing the review, I felt that there was an over-reliance on using first and last letters of words to build up the wordplay. That may have been a constraint of the theme. The length (wordiness) of clues is a matter of style. I prefer shorter clues but you see a great deal of variation between setters. The commentometer reads as 1/32 or 3.1%.
1 Unconventional line-up, like Wolves (6)
LUPINE – An anagram (unconventional) of LINEUP.
4 They keep going back to assess clocks (8)
STICKERS – The final letter (back to) of assess followed by a seven-letter word for clocks.
10 One flying right across Morocco to get an all-encompassing view of the interior (7)
NEORAMA – An anagram (flying) of ONE followed by the abbreviations for Right and Across and the IVR code for Morocco. The solution is not in any of the modern dictionaries (Collins, Chambers and OED) that I consulted. A search on the internet reveals it was defined in a 1913 edition of Websters. Although a for across is used in crosswords, it is not given in dictionaries.
11 Dangerous types, kicking and smashing heads – getting worse! (7)
KILLERS – The initial letters (heads) of killing and smashing includes (getting) a five-letter word meaning getting worse.
12 Smirk as both sides take drugs (4)
LEER – The abbreviations for left and right (both sides) include (take) two letters E (drugs).
13 Swan around in Italy, entertaining popular singer and composer (10)
BOCCHERINI – A reversal (around) of the name of a male swan and the IN from the clue and the IVR code for Italy include (entertaining) a four-letter name of a popular singer.
15 Put lid back, first stopping to extract the most important bits (6)
DISTIL – A reversal (but back) of the LID from the clue includes (stopping) a three-letter representation of first.
16 Key part of diet for adolescent, say (7)
PROTEIN – A three-letter word meaning for or in favour of followed by a homophone (say) of TEEN (adolescent).
20 Beast in legendary tale about old soldier (7)
DRAGOON – A six-letter word for a legendary beast around (about) the abbreviation for old.
21 Awful taste of tobacco smoke comes back (6)
TRAGIC – The first letter (taste) of tobacco followed by a reversal (comes back) of CIGAR (smoke).
24 On vacation – dole cut, without doubt (10)
INDECISION – The outer letters (on vacation) of DOLE have an eight-letter word meaning cut around them (without). Without is a disputed containment indicator sometimes used by setters. I prefer not to use it.
26 Fussy about nits and lice, primarily (4)
ANAL – The initial letters (primarily) of the second to fifth words of the clue,
28 Tree chopped down to pursue source of dye? (7)
LOGWOOD – A three-letter word to describe a tree that has been chopped down followed by a three-letter word meaning to pursue romantically and the initial letter (source) of dye.
29 Boy returns to Royal Institution lectures, originally one of two to be picked? (7)
NOSTRIL – Reverse (returns) a three-letter word for a boy and follow with the initial letters (originally) of the third to sixth words of the clue.
30 Steadies tottering stockpile (3,5)
SET ASIDE – An anagram (tottering) of STEADIES.
31 Personal cover taken out as protection against falls? (6)
BROLLY – Cryptic definition of an item used to protect against the rain.
1 Pub manager worried all day after pinching new barmaid’s backside (8)
LANDLADY – An anagram (worried) of ALL DAY includes the abbreviation for new and the final letter (backside) of barmaid.
2 Academic leader to resign after department involved in promotion of petrol brand (9)
PROFESSOR – The abbreviation for public relations (department involved in promotion) followed by the OF from the clue and a four-letter word for a brand of petrol and the initial letter (leader) to resign.
3 Regularly interacts with elegant character (4)
NEAT – The even letters (regularly) of the second word of the clue.
5 Told to be cautious, returns to plug in electric vehicle (4,4)
TAKE CARE -A four-letter word meaning financial earnings includes a phrase 1-3 indicating an electric vehicle.
6 Cello case opening up to reveal stash – at first, might they try to gather it all up? (10)
COLLECTORS – The CELLO from the clue and the first letter (opening) of case are reversed and followed by TO from the clue and the initial letter (at first) of reveal stash.
7 Time left over to bottle fragrant resin (5)
ELEMI – The answer is hidden (to bottle) in a reversal over of the first two words of the clue.
8 Is family following closer to Atticus Finch? (6)
SISKIN – The IS from the clue and a three-letter word for family after (following) the final letter (close to) of Atticus.
9 Exceptional American student’s specialisation (5)
MAJOR – Double definition.
14 Cards put out where lines end (5,5)
KINGS CROSS – A five-letter word for the plural of one of the face cards in a deck of cards followed by a five-letter word meaning put out.
17 Usually home before Gordon, for one (2,7)
IN GENERAL – A two-letter word meaning home followed by the army rank of which Gordon, for one, held.
18 Did slope turn out to be uneven? (8)
LOPSIDED – An anagram (turn out) of DID SLOPE.
19 Decorate loaf with last drop of honey as a treat for kids (3,5)
ICE LOLLY – A three-letter word meaning to decorate a cake followed by a four-letter word meaning to loaf or idle and the final letter (last drop) of honey.
22 Innocent old lady initially taken in by villains’ introduction as members of a string quintet? (6)
VIOLAS – The initial letters (initially) of innocent old lady inside the initial letter (introduction) of villains and the AS from the clue.
23 Manage to check over five hundred – possibly make adjustment to the nearest one? (5)
ROUND – A three-letter word meaning to manage includes (to check) the abbreviation for over and the Roman numeral for 500.
25 Poke around, taking edges off with finger (5)
DIGIT – A three-letter word meaning to poke around followed in the inner letters (taking the edges off) of with.
27 Drug addict sure to be stoned (4)
USER – An anagram (to be stoned) of SURE.