A Puzzle by Fez
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Prologue. 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.
Another impressive crossword from Fez. I was pleased to see that there were little or no obscure answers in this crossword (obscurity is in the eye of the solver) and there was not an over reliance on initial and final letter indicators. Even with 36 clues, I agree that four hidden word solutions is a little on the high side but you will probably be able to find a similar number in some national crosswords. I would echo the positive comments from many of the commentariat on this crossword. The quality reflected in the commentometer, which reads 1/36 or 2.8%. Another crossword like this, and we will need to move Fez upstairs.
1 Dan puts off tidying up? This might help (7)
DUSTPAN – An anagram (off) of DAN PUTS.
5 Beat by supposedly easy target, suggesting something fishy (7)
LAMPREY – A three-letter word meaning to beat or hit followed by a four-letter word for a supposedly easy target.
9 In the main, an irrational tone (5)
SEPIA – A three-letter word for the main (in the nautical sense) includes a two-letter word word for an irrational number being the ration of the circumference of the circle to its diameter.
10 Philanthropic Frenchman’s refusal to go for breaks (3-6)
NON-PROFIT – The French word for no followed by a three-letter word meaning to go or suit into which (breaks) you add a three-letter word meaning for.
11 Get to bottom of ground (6)
REASON – Double definition for a word meaning to deduce and the motive for something.
12 Drink spiked with whisky? Half-cut for some time (6)
AWHILE – A three-letter word for beer (drink) includes (spiked with) half the letters in whisky.
15 Perhaps Nicola Sturgeon principally thought to be strong female … or object of derision? (5)
SCOFF – The short form of the nationality of Nicola Sturgeon with the T (principally thought) replaced by the abbreviations for strong and female.
18 Shiny fabrics lit school up (9)
OILCLOTHS – An anagram (up) of LIT SCHOOL. I have no problem with up (in an excited state) as an anagram indicator.
20 Fruit trees (9)
PINEAPPLE – A four-letter coniferous tree followed by a five-letter tree found in an orchard.
22 Clean and tidy – that’s a turnaround for public transport (5)
SMART – Reverse (a turnaround) of a five-letter word for public transport making a comeback in many cities.
25 Benidorm area’s in recession; to some extent, it pushes down charges (6)
RAMROD – The answer is hidden and reversed (in recession to some extent) in the first two words of the clue.
26 Part of foot soldiers’ way of marching (6)
INSTEP – Split 2, 4 this would describe how soldiers may march.
29 Delicately balanced koala to start casually feeding on tip of eucalyptus (5-4)
KNIFE-EDGE – The initial letter (to start) of koala followed by an anagram (casually) of FEEDING and the first letter (tip) of eucalyptus.
30 US prison’s always short of methods of punishment (5)
PENAL – A three-letter word in America for a prison followed by the word always after removing a four-letter word meaning methods. Some editors will not allow wordplay of definition with of as the link word.
31 Spooner’s perhaps not considering uncle, in the end, as a godparent (7)
SPONSOR – An anagram (perhaps) of SPOONERS after removing (not considering) the final letter (in the end) of uncle.
32 Maybe Panama is briefly the second in importance to America (7)
ISTHMUS – The IS from the clue followed by all but the last letter (briefly) of the, the second letter of importance and the two-letter abbreviation for America.
1 Primarily desolate and covered in sand – trees rarely found in these (7)
DESERTS – The first letter (primarily) of desolate and the first letter of sand (and covered meaning removing the sand) include an anagram (rarely) of TREES.
2 Wayward son probed by Oprah – hard going for family member to watch on TV (7)
SOPRANO – An anagram (wayward) of SON includes (probed by) the Oprah from the clue without (going) the abbreviation for hard.
3 Bribe Arsenal’s right-winger to interfere, deciding match (4-3)
PLAY-OFF – A phase 3-3 for a bribe includes (to interfere) the rightmost letter (winger) in Arsenal.
4 Square in upwardly-mobile Newcastle area (4)
NINE – Reverse (upwardly-mobile) the IN from the clue followed by the abbreviation for the region of England where Newcastle is located.
5 Club’s after temporary signing – reportedly, they’re unlikely to play for the team (4,6)
LONE WOLVES – The nickname of a Midland football team after a homophone (reportedly) of LOAN (temporary signing).
6 Fighting related to marriage when it goes awry (7)
MARTIAL – The word marital (related to marriage with the IT reversed (going awry).
7 Wonder if leather clothing range is the right place for this? (5)
RIFLE – The answer is hidden (clothing) in the first three words of the clue.
8 Fez still getting mixed up – it’s abominable! (4)
YETI – A single letter for the setter (Fez) and a three-letter word meaning still have their order swapped (getting mixed up).
13 It’s used for cleaning area blanketed with very soft fresh snow (4,6)
SOAP POWDER – The abbreviation for area inside (blanketed with) a two-letter word meaning very and the abbreviation for soft followed by a six-letter word for fresh snow.
14 God’s found in the hearts of religious leaders (4)
THOR – The initial letters (leaders) of the fourth to seventh words of the clue.
16 Spring wind (4)
COIL – Double definition. Perhaps the two meanings are too similarly related.
17 Enemy returning of course – ultimately … (3)
FOE – Reverse (returning) the OF from the clue and follow with the final letter (ultimately) of course.
19 … that’s a disappointment to head of military resistance unit (3)
OHM – A two-letter word word used to express disappointment followed by the first letter (head) of military.
21 Don’t point so much, it’s frivolous (7)
AIMLESS– Split 3,4 the answer could mean don’t point so much.
22 Crossword essentially puns, beginning to end – pointless, not a patch on our setter (7)
SUNSPOT – The central letter (essentially) of crossword followed by the PUNS from the clue with the first letter moved the the end and the NOT from the clue after removing the abbreviation for North (pointless).
23 When considering chaos, order partial retreat of army? Not Napoleon! (7)
ANTONYM – The answer is hidden and reversed (partial retreat of) in the final three words off the clue. I am not sure that the definition is quite tight enough to indicate that you need to consider the relationship between chaos and order.
24 Time over for a tech giant – finally, business collapses (7)
TOPPLES – The abbreviation for time followed by the name of a tech company with the abbreviation for over replacing the A in the name and the final letter of business.
25 Animal one’s grabbed by unusual horn (5)
RHINO – The letter representing one inside (grabbed by) an anagram (unusual) of HORN.
27 Runners worn out in wintery conditions? (4)
SKIS – Cryptic definition of items worn to travel over snow.
28 Some guidelines for food shop (4)
DELI – The answer is hidden (some) in the second word of the clue. Some has already been used as a hidden word indicator in 25a.