A Puzzle by Dr Diva
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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 Dr Diva. There were good ideas on show in the clues but there needs to be much greater precision in the wordplay given by the surface readings. In too many cases, the cryptic grammar coming from the surface reading did not quite work. In part, this explains some of the difficulty in solving the crossword as the instructions to the solver were not quite right.
The commentometer reads as 8/32 or 25%.
1 Art lover finds biblical queen’s consumed about making king disappear (8)
AESTHETE – Take the name of a Biblical queen (who has a book of the Bible to her name) and the put a three letter word meaning consumed around (about) it and remove the single letter abbreviation for king. Perhaps the link word does not quite work as Definition finds Wordplay seems the wrong way around – Perhaps Biblical queen briefly worried about art lover
5 Eton unexpectedly accepts church rave music (6)
TECHNO – An anagram (unexpectedly) of ETON includes (accepts) a two-letter abbreviation for a church.
9 Tricks cad into wise changes (8)
WHEELIES – A four-letter word for a cad inside (into) an anagram (changes) of WISE. Cryptically, the wordplay works better if changes is changed to change.
10 Arrange for Geneva to retaliate (6)
AVENGE – An anagram (arrange for) of GENEVA. The anagram indicator “arrange for” does not work. Perhaps Geneva arranged to retaliate. Try to avoid long runs of clues with the same wordplay such as three anagrams in a row.
12 Fib about liberal student town (5)
LILLE – A three-letter word for a fib around (about) the abbreviations for liberal and a learner or student. Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators. About as a containment indicator has been used previously in 1a.
13 Disappointing outcome of steamy satire (4,5)
DAMP SQUIB – A four-letter word meaning steamy followed by a five-letter word for a short piece of satire.
14 Why end argument with a tip? (6)
POINTY – The letter that sounds like why after (end) a five-letter word for an argument. End on its own does not indicate that the letter goes at the end. Ends would be better but does not fit grammatically into the surface reading.
16 Disorganised notice about vulgar nonsense (7)
SCRAPPY – A three-letter word meaning notice around (about – third time of use) a four-letter vulgar word meaning nonsense.
19 Oversees parasites in returning token (7)
POLICES – A four-letter word for parasites found in hair in a reversal (returning) of a three-letter word for a token gesture.
21 Old man gets you to say name of fruit (6)
PAPAYA – A four-letter word for an old man followed by a two-letter word for an informal way of saying you.
23 Chant to the sound of the prairie? (9)
PLAINSONG – Split 5,4 this could be the music or sound of a prairie land. Definition to wordplay does not really work. You can have wordplay to give the definition.
25 What you once had in the shell (5)
THINE – Take the in from the clue and put the :”the” from the clue around it (shell). The wordplay here is stilted and does not work particularly well to me and the definition does not quite hit the mark.
26 Beneficiary of income stream? (6)
EARNER – A very, very, very mild cryptic definition.
27 Playful routine takes little time, in a way (8)
SKITTISH – A four-letter word for a routine on stage followed by the abbreviation for time and a three-letter suffix meaning in a way.
28 Fungal infection follows agreement (6)
YEASTY – A three-letter word for an infection after (follows) a three-letter word indicating an agreement.
29 Animal disturbed near outside source of milk (8)
ANTEATER – An anagram (disturbed) of NEAR around (outside) a four-letter word for the part of the body from which milk comes.
1 A fabric used as required (2,4)
AT WILL – The A from the clue followed by a five-letter word for a type of fabric.
2 Told to nick coat from abrasive stripper (5,4)
STEEL WOOL – A homophone (told) of a steal (to nick) followed by a four-letter word for an animal’s coat. Definition from wordplay does not really work too well. The definition comes from the wordplay though is it marginal as you might say the wordplay is from the definition. Abrasive stripper’s told to nick coat would work.
3 Have to surround port of Split (5)
HALVE – The have from the clue around the abbreviation for left. Try to avoid two-step clues where you have to get from port to left to L. I have done this in the past and had my knuckles rapped. Some editors will not allow wordplay of definition.
4 Period used to redesign Scottish river housing (7)
TUESDAY – An anagram (to redesign) inside (housing) a three-letter name of a Scottish river. The use of an infinitive to redesign does not really work as an anagram indicator.
6 Unexpectedly saved rope for earwig (9)
EAVESDROP – An anagram (unexpectedly) of SAVED ROPE. This is a repetition of an anagram indicator.
7 Bend back over religion (5)
HINDU – The letter that looks like a bend in plumbing piping with a four-letter word for back above it (over). I think that a believer in the religion gives the definition. The religion requires “ism”
8 Gets too many of you mixed up with verbs (8)
OVERBUYS – An anagram (mixed up) of YOU VERBS.
11 Vote to join Mum’s holiday (4)
XMAS – The mark or letter used when voting followed by (to join) a three-letter word meaning mother’s.
15 Unopposed when verifying the absence of fraud? (2,7)
NO CONTEST – Split 2, 3, 4 this might indicate something that verifies that there is no fraud.
17 Scientist said to have effervescent growth (9)
PHYSICIST – A homophone (said) of FIZZY (effervescent) CYST (growth).
18 A law accepting report on unknown anger (8)
APOPLEXY – The A from the clue an a three-letter word for law includes a three-letter word for a sound or report all followed by a letter representing an unknown amount.
20 Region has no internal screen interference (4)
SNOW – The abbreviation for south-west (region) includes (has … internal) the NO from the clue. Again, looking at the cryptic reading has … internal does not resolve grammatically to putting the NO inside the other letters.
21 Hide pint before skiing accident (7)
PIGSKIN – The abbreviation for pint followed by an anagram (accident) of SKIING. P for pint is not an abbreviation recognised by the major dictionaries. Some editors will not allow a noun (accident) to be used as an anagram indicator.
22 Starter for three welcomes the restraint (6)
TETHER – The prefix meaning three (as in tercentenary) includes (welcome) the THE from the clue.
24 Vessel uses first alternative to army (5)
AORTA – The first letter of alternative followed by a two-letter word indicating an alternative and the abbreviation for territorial army. Not all editors will allow first X to indicate the first letter of X. As the territorial army no longer exists – it is now the army reserve. Perhaps old army would be better.
25 Chap ends bird levy (5)
TITHE – A two-letter pronoun for a man after (ends) a three-letter word for a bird. End has already been used (albeit incorrectly) as a wordplay indicator in a previous clue.