A Puzzle by Simandl
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
In order to avoid confusion with one of the regular blog commenters, Simandl is the new name adopted by “Manders”. 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 the setter formerly known as Manders. Looking back at the first crossword, I found more niggles and errors in this crossword than in the previous one. Key points to concentrate on are to avoid repetitions in wordplay ideas. Using the percentage device and the 3rd letter device twice detracts from the crossword as a whole. There were some other reputations as well. It is a good idea to keep a list of the devices you have used when setting a crossword to try and avoid duplication and to keep a good variety of clue types. This crossword was high on the anagram count (around a third of the clues) and four anagrams in a row is excessive.
On a positive note, there were some good clues to enjoy that painted pictures such as 12a, 20a, 3d and 19d. Some of the surface readings of other clues need some polishing. The word offender was 29a.
The commentometer reads as 7.5 / 32 or 23.4%.
9 Confused nun leader is ignorant (9)
UNLEARNED – An anagram (confused) of NUN LEADER
10 Band starts to take record of old performances (5)
TROOP – The initial letters (starts to) the final five words of the clue.
11 Malaise about piss, we hear? (5)
ENNUI– A homophone (we hear) of ON (about) WEE (piss).
12 Nude bounding around boundary cannot be bound! (9)
UNLIMITED – An anagram (bounding) of NUDE around a five-letter word for a boundary.
13 Start rant (7)
KICKOFF – Double definition of the start of a match and to being an argument. As the rant definition should be 3,4, this would have been a better enumeration.
14 Dump Trump’s rump! Timeless old blower (7)
SACKBUT – A four-letter word meaning dump followed by a four-letter American (Trump’s) word for a rump without the final T (timeless).
17 State jail imprisons nut (5)
PECAN – A two -letter state code for California inside a three-letter word (American) for a jail. As the word for jail is an American word, perhaps State penitentiary imprisons nut would be fairer as there is then a direct link to the abbreviation.
19 75% of this belongs to him (3)
HIS – Three-quarters (75%) of the word this.
20 Contests 3rd over with 6 balls (5)
MEETS – An anagram (balls) of E (third letter of over) and the answer to 6d.
21 Wave nuts about in front of topless (and bottomless) Jamie (7)
TSUNAMI – An anagram (about) of NUTS and the inner letters (topless and bottomless) of Jamie.
22 Devour crazy drug. It’s outstanding! (7)
OVERDUE – An anagram (crazy) of DEVOUR followed by the abbreviation for ecstasy.
24 Circular race ship turns left (9)
SPHERICAL – An anagram (turns) of RACE SHIP followed by the abbreviation for left. Try to vary wordplay. Four anagrams in a row is excessive.
26 Shred dessert to disregard the French (5)
CRUMB – A seven-letter word for a type of desert without the final LE (the French). Perhaps there is too-much of an overlap between the solution and the wordplay.
28 To be more confident, guarantee provider loses popular front (5)
SURER – A person who provides cover for losses without a two-letter word meaning popular that is at the front of the word.
29 Mollusc arms castle at sea following return of net (9)
TENTACLES – An anagram (at sea) of CASTLE after a reversal (return) of the NET from the clue. I am lenient when reviewing clues in terms of surface readings if they make some kind of sense but this one is nonsense.
1 Instrument blower is not loud (4)
LUTE – A wind-instrument (blower) without the initial letter (is not loud).
2 Back in the group we hear, surrounding place for treatment (6)
CLINIC – Reverse the IN from the clue and add a homophone of CLIQUE around it. Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators. We hear has been used already in 11a. I don’t think that resulting letters sound the same when in the solution.
3 Energy lacking from coal fire in a messy state (10)
CALIFORNIA – An anagram (messy) of COAL FIRE IN A without (lacking) the abbreviation for energy.
4 Submerge broken flugelhorn missing 3rd valve and chord centre (6)
ENGULF – An anagram (broken) of FLUGELHORN after removing the third letter in value and the central letter in chord. Again this repeats wordplay in 20a.
5 Union vows to keep register of hero worshippers (8)
IDOLISTS – The wrong words used in marriage vows (the correct phrase is I will) followed by a five-letter word meaning to keep register. Some editors will not allow wordplay of definition. However, it is in my version of Chambers.
6 Stalk New York team around (4)
STEM – Reverse (around) a four-letter word for NY baseball team.
7 Drink can may be lifted (8)
PORTABLE – A four-letter word for a fortified wine followed by a four-letter word meaning can. A common mistake but can and the part included in the wordplay are not synonymous.
8 Opinionated article endured cut by principal censor (2-2)
OP-ED – A five-letter word meaning endured without the initial letter (principal) of censor.
13 Set up a kiss, held back by ex? (5)
KAPUT – The answer is hidden and reversed (held back by) in the first three words in the clue. I don’t the word order works. The solution is not held back by ex.
15 Profitable business madame met resistance and left behind agency (10)
COMMERCIAL – A two-letter abbreviation for company followed by a three-letter abbreviation for madame and the abbreviation for resistance and then the abbreviation for left after the US intelligence agency. Another repetition of wordplay with Left used in 20a
16 Try to spoil a test (5)
TASTE – An anagram (spoil) of A TEST.
18 Old blower gives brief job without spirit and stripped (8)
CRUMHORN – A five-letter word word a job without the final letter (brief) around a three-letter word for an alcoholic sprit followed by the inner letter (stripped) of and. Definition gives wordplay does not work. The wordplay gives the definition, not the reverse.
19 Trims Spooner’s vocal love shanties (8)
HAIRCUTS – A homophone (vocal) of Spoonerism of CARE (love) HUTS (shanties).
22 00 flour (40%) and mango (40%) makes tea (6)
OOLONG – The OO from the clue followed by 2two-fifths of the letters (40%) from flour and two-fifths (40%) of the letters from mango. The percentage device has already been used in 19a. Also, it is better to use this device to indicate the number of letters from the start or end of the word.
23 Big player has two shots to get fish (6,4)
DOUBLE BASS – A six-letter word meaning two shots followed by a four-letter word for a fish.
24 Odd show’s not 2.5 stars? (2-2)
SO-SO – The odd letters for the second and third words of the clue. Oddly is better as an alternate letter indicator. Show’s not, oddly, 2.5 stars would be better.
25 Lightly cooked rear? (4)
RARE – An anagram (cooked) of REAR. Apart from the fact that an anagram of only four letters is not much of a challenge, the bigger issue here is that cooked is doing double duty as part of the definition and an anagram indicator. This should be avoided.
27 (See 23) (4)