A Puzzle by Coot
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Coot 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.
Coot makes his or her first flight as a fledgling setter in the Rookie corner. Whilst there are a number of comments, they are technical ones with no major issues. There were too many anagrams as pointed out in the comments but you see higher anagram counts in some national papers.
The commentometer reads as 5.5 / 32 of 17.19%
1 Pick up nuts, taking in dance song of yesteryear (8,5)
FOOTBALL CRAZY – A four-letter word meaning to pick up a bill and a five-letter word meaning nuts or mad includes (taking in) a four-letter word for a formal dance.
10 Full pitch at cricket, awfully testing if pulled off, isn’t cheating (5)
CHAIN – Remove (if pulled off) an anagram (awfully) of TESTING from the final two words of clue. The cryptic grammar is a little stilted as the “if pulled off” needs to come after “isn’t cheating” for it to flow smoothly. Perhaps “Isn’t cheating avoiding random testing in series”
11 Dock salary (1000 off) – adjustment made for dirty storage areas (9)
COALYARDS – An anagram (adjustment made) of DOCK SALARY without (off) the abbreviation for 1000. Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators such as off as a deletion indicator.
12 Vi spins round after an imaginary line (4)
AXIS – A reversal (spins round) of SIX (vi) after the indefinite article (an).
13 Balls turning with knock unfinished in first appearance (5)
DEBUT – Reverse (turning) the first name of the politician whose surname is Balls followed by a four-letter word meaning to knock with the final letter removed (unfinished). Where you are referring to a person by reference to their surname, it is usual to add an indication that this is a definition by example.
14 Gloria devastated, both sides cut a tragic figure (4)
IAGO – An anagram (devastated) of GLORIA after removing the abbreviations for left and right (both sides cut).
17 “Keep it”, he thinks, exuding characteristic quality (7)
EPITHET – The answer is hidden (exuding) in the first four words of the clue.
18 Regularly set sum is no longer examined (7)
STUDIED – The odd letters (regularly) in set sum followed by a four letter word meaning deceased (is no longer).
20 Time to go for a haircut? It’s just a short sprint (7)
FURLONG – Split 3, 4 this may indicate that an animal needs a haircut.
22 Several this year may be moved to say au revoir (7)
VARIOUS – An anagram (may be moved) of the solution (this) and YEAR could make the phrase “to say au revior”. Moved has already been used as an anagram indicator..
23 Take home pot? It’s been reported (4)
EARN – A homophone (it’s been reported) of urn (pot).
25 Guy is clumsy at first and competent thereafter (5)
CABLE – The first letter of clumsy followed by a four-letter word meaning competent.
26 What person abandons love for Coot’s fanciful idea? (4)
WHIM – A four-letter word meaning what person with the O love (replaced) by a single letter meaning the setter (Coot).
29 Woman has to accept scales – in a mess, social life having suffered (9)
DECLASSEE – A three-letter woman’s name includes an anagram (in a mess) of SCALES.
30 Before dark, light’s extremes revolved (5)
UNTIL – A five-letter word meaning dark with the L and T (light’s extremes) turned (revolved).
31 Ritual opening of e-coupon I meant to be chucked (4,4,1,4)
ONCE UPON A TIME – An anagram (to be chucked) of E-COUPON IN MEANT.
2 No tranquiliser, it leads to loss of clarity (9)
OPACIFIER – The letter representing no or nothing followed by an eight-letter word for a tranquilliser. Watch the spelling of words in the clue.
3 Strong smell from dangling insect (4)
TANG – A reversal (dangling) of a four-letter word for a small insect.
4 Nice: a battered book from the mists of time (7)
ANCIENT – An anagram (battered) of A NICE followed by the abbreviation for New Testament. Perhaps collection of books would be better to reflect the New Testament’s status as a set of books.
5 Seagull, a little lost, has energy to fly around for some miles (7)
LEAGUES – An anagram (to fly around) of SEAGUL (seagull, a little lost – removing last letter) E (energy)
6 Sunshine provides lift in conversation (4)
RAYS – A homophone (in conversation) of RAISE (lift).
7 Greek send-up of chum absorbed in road atlas (5)
ZORBA -A three-letter word for a friend or brother in (absorbed) the two-letter word for a road atlas all reversed (send-up).
8 Clement scene had to be moved around – an unsympathetic response (13)
SCHADENFREUDE – An anagram (to be moved) of SCENE HAD around the surname of the psychologist whose first name is Clement. Another clue where a definition by example indicator should be used. Where possible, try to write clues in the present tense. “Has to be moved around” reads a lot better.
9 Agadoo? I’m a less excitable Miss by comparison! (2,4,2,1,4)
AS GOOD AS A MILE – An anagram (excitable) of AGADOO IM A LESS.
15 Wobbled after slugs – bottoms up! (5)
SHOOK – A five-letter word for slugs or punches with the last letter moved to the top. As given in the clue, bottoms implies two more more letters to be moved.
16 What’s unacceptable when volume’s halved? Rock, mostly (5)
QUART – Remove the last letter (mostly) from a type of rock. The definition here is too indirect and too much of a flight of fancy on the part of the setter. The solver would have little chance of getting the saying about quarts and pint pots.
19 Musical repetition equates to love over time (9)
ISORHYTHM – A two-letter word meaning equate to, the letter represented by love or nothing over a six-letter word for time. I don’t think that the final six letters required are the same as time. Love is repeated as a wordplay indicator.
21 Gal titivated at length, going on booze – it’s what she does (5-2)
GLAMS-UP – An anagram (titivated) of GAL followed by the abbreviation for metre (length) and a three-letter word meaning to drink.
22 Old tenant‘s very sick, beginning to expire at home (7)
VILLEIN – The abbreviation for very followed by a three-letter word meaning sick, the first letter (beginning to) of expire and a two-letter word meaning at home.
24 Military service provides cover for chemical manufacturer producing toxin (5)
RICIN – The abbreviation for Royal Navy (military service) around (provides cover) for a three-letter name for a chemicals company. In a down clue, provides covers for implies it goes over the letters, not around them. Also, the chemical company has not existed since 2008 so should be former chemicals company.
27 Concern shown when leading characters in plot swap roles (4)
CARE – A four-letter word for an area of land (plot) with the initial characters reversed (swap roles).
28 Fair fight with nothing barred (4)
JUST – A five-letter word for a medieval form of fight with the O (nothing) removed (barred).