Sport by Alf
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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 Alf. In most places, this was technically sound. Some of the constructions were ones that you would see only in the Guardian and FT reflecting the style of the editors of crosswords in those papers. The grid was not one that would be accepted, particularly with the three-letter word solutions with only one checking letter and four other clues with less than 50% checking. It would have been possible to make the two three-letter words four-letter one interesting with the across clues.
I thought that the theme did not get overly bogged down. However, with the theme, there was a slight tendency to run away with clues and over-engineer them. It meant that in places, it felt as though you were trying too hard to create a cryptic clue by over-elaborating the wordplay.
The commentometer reads 2/29 or 6.8%
1 Grandpa’s sportiness essentially only reading the papers (8)
PASSPORT – The answer is hidden (essentially) in the first two words of the clue. Whilst needed for the surface reading, the “only reading” feel slightly redundant in the cryptic reading of the clue.
6 Pep Guardiola’s finale, leaving music with repetitive bass line? (5)
OOMPH – A type of brass band music without the final letter of Guardiola.
10 On the radio s-stuttering is rare (6)
SIERRA – An anagram (stuttering) of IS RARE. Joining the definition to the wordplay, even with the use of punctuation (here using s-) is generally discouraged. Most editors will no longer allow clues that allude to stammering as being disrespectful to those with speech impediments.
11 Jockeys under these orders for courses to begin with (8)
STARTERS – Double definition for the beginning of a are and the first course of a meal.
12 Scout intends to gather midfield flyers for observation (9)
SPYPLANES – A three-letter word for a scout followed by a five-letter word for intends around (gathers) the middle letter (mid) of field.
14 Rains Cats and Dogs, Wasps and Wolves, by the sound of it (5)
TEEMS – A homophone (by the sound of it) of TEAMS (Wasps and Wolves).
16 European Sport’s principal scraps fencing seeds again (6)
RESOWS – The abbreviation for European and the first letter (principal) of sport has a four-letter word for scraps or argues around it (fencing).
18 This clue doesn’t suffer relegation (2,4)
GO DOWN – Double definition, the first by reference to the direction of the clue.
19 Companion is in control, returning boats (6)
YACHTS – The abbreviation for companion inside a reversal (returning) of a four-letter word meaning control.
20 Turf accountant‘s novice mislaying the odds and receiving fine after bogus tip (6)
BOOKIE – The even letters (mislaying the odds) of novice includes (receiving) a two-letter word meaning fine all after the first letter (tip) of bogus.
22 Volleyball-shaped (5)
ROUND – Double definition, the first for a volley of shots and the second meaning ball-shaped. Not all editors will allow un-indicated lift and separate clues where the solver had to split a word in the clue to solve it.
23 Gracious me! And you follow spot of tennis with conclusion to make love (9)
COURTEOUS – A two-letter word meaning me and you after (follow) the place where tennis is played, the last letter (conclusion) of make and the letter representing love.
26 Entertainment for sportspeople going downhill fast: squeeze in a short nap (5-3)
APRES-SKI – A five-letter word meaning squeeze inside the A from the clue and a three-letter word meaning nap with the last letter removed.
27 Jumps to extremes (6)
BOUNDS – Double definition.
29 “Cheers for the Hamburger, spoilsport!” (5)
PROST – An anagram (spoil) of SPORT. Another lift and separate clue where some editors will not allow the un-indicated requirement to split the final word to give the anagram indicator and the letters to be rearranged.
30 Ultimate troubled hero left theatregoers aghast (8)
GREATEST – Remove the letters in hero from THEATREGOERS and make an anagram (aghast) of the letters that remain. Troubled had been correctly used to indicate that the letters in Hero are not in the order removed. Left in the past tense should be avoided. I know leaving (same root word so there is some repetition in wordplay) has been used so leaving would not work.
2 Fellow lost in Manila? The reverse! (3)
ALI – Remove a three-letter word for a fellow from Manila and reverse the letters that remain.
3 Take off sports kit (5)
STRIP – Double definition,
4 Equal to a throw and a pin when wrestling (2,1,3,4)
ON A PAR WITH – An anagram (when wrestling) of A THROW A PIN.
5 Pitched to officials: “Soccer should eliminate damaging headers” (6)
TOSSED – The initial letters (headers) of the second to seventh words of the clue.
7 Hanging up so can be phoned? (2,3,4)
ON THE HOOK – Double definition, the second implying that the phone is not being used.
8 After rejecting every second sportsman’s tea, united for brunch, say (11)
PORTMANTEAU – Remove all the letters S (rejecting every second) from sportsman’s and follow with the TEA from the clue and the abbreviation for united.
9 Mohawk regularly sported to discourage visitors to Oxford? (3)
OAK – The even letters (regularly) in OAK.
13 Bash one doing business? Spoilsport! (5,6)
PARTY POOPER – A five-letter word for a bash or social occasion followed by a six-letter word describing someone on the toilet.
15 See 28
17 Temporarily transferred staff: it’s said Chelsea and Everton have them but Arsenal and Liverpool don’t (9)
SECONDEES – Look at the number of letters E in Chelsea and Everton and Arsenal and Liverpool.
21 Sound of a bell ringing: team sport (6)
BOXING – A four-letter word for the sound of bell around (ringing) the number of people in a football team in Roman numerals.
24 Break out, climbing sheer escarpment at the end (5)
ERUPT – A reversal (climbing) of a four-letter word meaning sheer followed by the last letter (at the end) of escarpment.
25 Added words onto one’s letter (3)
PSI – The abbreviation for added words at the end of a letter over (onto) the letter represented by one.
28/15 Certainly not, Sporting Lisbon had Euro upset (13)
DISHONOURABLE – An anagram (upset) of LISBON HAD EURO. You sometime see solutions that are one word split across two solutions. So long as the split leaves real words, some editors will allow this.