Machines by Islander
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Islander 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 Islander. Technically, the cluing was fine with a few minor exceptions but I found the cryptic definitions with the exception of 17d very weak and possibly overused as a cluing device. One or two good cryptic definitions would be much better than a larger number of weaker ones. The commentometer reads as 2.5 / 29 or 8.6%.
6 Goes round, around winder (5)
SPOOL – A five-letter word meaning goes round is reversed (around).
7 Moderate rate adjustment retains casual worker (8)
ATTEMPER – An anagram (adjustment) of RATE includes a four-letter word for a casual worker.
10 Hair piece not initially on pate? Shine! (7)
FUBISH – A three-letter word for hair followed by a piece on a chess board without the initial letters (not initially) of on pate.
11 They help to cultivate posh schools (7)
HARROWS – The name of a public school in the plural. As there is only one public school of that name perhaps “Public school’s farm equipment” would be better.
12 Illicit encounter embraced by Julia is ongoing (7)
LIAISON – The answer is hidden (embraced by) in the final three words of the clue.
13 Successfully used haymaker and saw (7)
CLOCKED – Double definition, the haymaker being a type of punch and saw used in the sense of sight.
14 It makes for a smooth mechanism, like a circus seal’s nose? (4,7)
BALL BEARING – Think of what a circus seal might balance on its nose.
19 What not to lose if on edge? (7)
BALANCE – Mildly cryptic definition.
21 One gets meagre leftovers, finally becoming less fat (7)
GLEANER – The last letter (finally) of becoming followed by a six-letter word meaning less fat.
23 Last over versus Australia, bowling loose, England openers winning (7)
LOVABLE – The initial letters (openers) of the first seven words of the clue.
25 A gap one negotiated near the peak (7)
APOGEAN – An anagram (negotiated) of A GAP ONE.
26 Energy storage device could be source of buzz – our greatest invention? (8)
FLYWHEEL – A three-letter word for an insect that buzzes followed by a five-letter word for the most important invention in human history.
27 Systems that allow one good turn to create more? (5)
GEARS – What transfers rotary movement in a car or other mechanical system.
1 Tricky situation encountered in raising large family – find fixed post to latch onto (8)
DOORJAMB – A three-letter word for a tricky situation in a reversal (raising) of a five-letter word for a large family. As any number of children can be a brood in a family, the word large here is unfairly misleading.
2 Following illness, recognises what’s needed to maintain hydration (6)
FLUIDS – A three-letter word for an illness similar to a heavy cold followed by a three-letter word meaning recognises the identity of a person.
3 Okay for automation? Manufacturing nation wears the blame unfortunately (10)
MACHINABLE – A five-letter word word for a large oriental manufacturing nation inside (wears) an anagram (unfortunately) of BLAME. Where you have letters to be rearranged, you should avoid including the article with the other letters as it suggests that the letters to be rearranged are THE BLAME.
4 Yell at dog – not the first scratch mark (4)
ETCH – A command given to a dog to receive something without the first letter (not the first). I don’t think that “Yell at dog” works as a wordplay indication here.
5 Make changes to original piece of art that extends boundaries of repertoire (6)
REWORK – A four-letter word for a piece of art after (extends) the outer letters (boundaries) of repertoire.
6 Taking little risk, squash fleas with tip of brolly (6)
SAFELY – An anagram (squash) of FLEAS followed by the final letter (tip) of brolly.
8 Who managed to get the wireless working? (7)
MARCONI – The inventor of the radio. Not really a cryptic clue more a general knowledge clue with minimal deception in the wording.
9 Single out of consideration (5)
ASIDE – Split 1,4, the solution would be a single record.
13 Could result in Bill coming with a USB cable possibly (10)
CHARGEABLE – Double definition, the second being how an electronic device has its power levels restored.
15 Weapon for sucking up to royalty? (7)
LONGBOW – Split 4,3, the answer would be a form of court etiquette that would impress royals. For sucking up for royalty does not really convey for me the required wordplay – Perhaps “How to acknowledge king’s weapon”. Also, the structure of the clue definition for wordplay does not work.
16 Am gluten free and dark-grey (8)
GUNMETAL – An anagram (free) of AM GLUTEN.
17 Daggers drawn? (5)
OBLEI – The punctuation mark that is drawn like a dagger.
18 Eccentric types to wind up on first sign of solstice (6)
CRANKS – A five-letter word meaning to wind up followed by the first letter of solstice. Try to avoid reusing wordplay indicators – first was also used in 4d to indicate an initial letter.
20 Ordinary ones ceased in the 80s; only the advanced went on (6)
LEVELS – The type of exams of which Ordinary and Advanced were examples.
22 Point above zero, temperature gone up to required level (6)
ENOUGH – A point of the compass followed by a six-letter word for zero without the abbreviation for temperature.
24 Forerunner to EU containing ten – one running things (4)
EXEC – The abbreviation for European Economic Community around (containing) the Roman numeral for 10.