A Puzzle by Conto
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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.
I think, overall, Conto’s technical grasp of setting clues is steadily improving and there were very few errors to comment on. The style of cluing is, like any form of the arts, going to have those who like the style and those who do not. What I would say is that if you have longer, more elaborate clues, it is much harder to maintain a convincing surface reading. 5a is an example of where this failed but 19a is an example of where it worked.
Overall, the commentometer reads as 4/32 or 12.5%
1 Gunners behind revolutionary plan to kill priest (7)
ARSENAL – A four-letter word for your behind followed by a reversal (revolutionary) of the word plan from the clue after removing t(to kill) he abbreviation for priest.
5 Essentially, redundant e’s added to mis-spelt face…Joe Brand? (7)
NESCAFE – The central letter (essentially) of redundant and the ES from the clue followed by an anagram (mis-spelt) of FACE. I think that requiring solvers to know Joe is an American term for coffee is asking too much of the solver.
9 Club and rod waved by son of Judah (5)
ORDER – An anagram (waved) of ROD followed by the name of the eldest son of Judah. Rather like Joe, the need to know the name of a minor biblical character is requiring too much general knowledge.
10 The peculiar attraction of lifeless celebrities (3,6)
WAX MUSEUM – Cryptic definition of an attraction such as Madam Tussauds.
11/13 Chaotic cartwheels? If so, get straight (2,3,4,5)
AS THE CROW FLIES – An anagram (chaotic) of CARTWHEELS IF SO. Cryptically, the clue breaks down to wordplay get definition, which should be wordplay gets definition.
14 Tables covered by blanket (11)
SPREADSHEET – A five-letter word meaning covered followed by a five-letter word for a blanket.
17 The sound of one fat lady caused anxiety (3)
ATE – A homophone of eight (two fat ladies being 88 in bingo).
18 Granted, this is small and, in short, high-pitched (3)
SOP – Double definition of a small benefit that may be granted and the abbreviation form of the name of singing voice.
19 Holding the end of Sellotape, prepare to mend your old book (11)
DEUTERONOMY – The last letter (end) of Sellotape inside an anagram (prepare) of TO MEND YOUR.
21 Time after work for play? Yes, with music and singing too (5)
OPERA – A three-letter word for a period of time after the abbreviation for opus (work).
23 Elaborate start of myth – little brother eaten by duck (9)
EMBROIDER – The first letter (start) of myth and the abbreviation for brother all inside (eaten by) a five-letter word word for a duck.
25 Fasten our Flies, an old German film (9)
NOSFERATU – An anagram (flies) of FASTEN OUR.
27 Approval from French and German board set up to hear from those who are late (5)
OUIJA – The French and German words for yes.
28 Hot water dispensed by this energy administration (3,4)
RED TAPE – A phrase for the faucet with the colour indicating it dispenses hot water (3,3) followed by the abbreviation for energy.
29 Bone from bird found in half-eaten Chinese dumpling (7)
STERNUM – A four-letter word for a bird inside half of the name of a Chinese dumpling.
1 Coats of arms’ contents replaced with characters represented in Koran (7)
ANORAKS – The ARMS from the clue with the inner letters (contents) replaced by an anagram (represented) of IN KORAN,
2 Upset with former Egyptian leader (5)
SADAT – A phrase 3,2 meaning upset with.
3 Hold the tops of matches?! An incredibly dangerous issue taken care of by this professional (9)
NURSEMAID – A five-letter word meaning to hold followed by the initial letters (tops) of the fifth to eighth words of the clue.
4 Deep and sonorous bars of ‘Stormy Weather’? (3,8)
LOW PRESSURE – A cryptic definition of what the isobars on a map represent if they bring stormy weather. I am not sure that this holds together as a clue – it is more impressionistic than I would like.
5 We hear the devil’s duck (3)
NIX – A homophone (we hear) of Nick’s.
6 Stud’s tail bitten off by very loud ram (5)
STUFF – The stud from the clue without the last letter (tail bitten of) by the musical abbreviation for very loud.
7 What the tax-man might get from Starbucks? Diddly-squat! (9)
AMERICANO – Starbucks, an American company, organises its tax affairs efficiently so that it pays little or no taxes.
8 Conto’s straddling a little horse after short dash together (2,5)
ENMASSE – A two-letter word for the setter (Conto) around (straddling) a three-letter word for a small horse all after a two-letter word for a printer’s dash.
12 Burne-Jones initially overwhelmed by Waterhouse’s desperate situation (11)
WHEREABOUTS – The first letter of Burne-Jones inside (overwhelmed by) an anagram (desperate) of WATERHOUSE.
15 Uptight about journalists, both collectively and singularly (9)
REPRESSED – A two-letter word meaning about followed by a five-letter word for the press and a a two-letter abbreviation for editor.
16 ‘Bog off!’ ‘F off!’ ‘It’s a deal!‘ (3-3-3)
TWO-FOR-ONE – Remove (off) the F from the first two words for the abbreviation for a shop deal.
18 This indicates tops have been changed – something Prince Philip used to do in bed! (7)
SPOONER – Split 5,2 this might indicate to make amorous advances towards the Queen.
20 Three feet on one limb – part of a Portuguese man-of-war? (4,3)
YARD ARM – The unit of measure equal to three feet followed by the name of a limb of the body.
22 Brand of seemingly benign robots destroy half of Classical library (5)
ALEXA – One half of the name of the city of the largest classical library. I think that describing the solution as a brand of robots is inaccurate and Amazon’s lawyers would have a field day at the implication that the AI system is “seemingly benign”.
24 Stoop to hear Hamlet? (5)
DEIGN – A homophone (to hear) of DANE. Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators where “hear” has already been used as a homophone indicator in 5d.
26 Delete start of side 1 (3)
ACE – A four-letter word word a side without the initial letter (delete start of). Another repetition in wordplay with “start” having been used in 23a.