A Puzzle by Oraora
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today Oraora makes his debut. 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 to OraOra. Overall, this was something of curate’s egg. Parts of it were excellent but there were a lot of basic errors that needed correcting. There was an issue with the grid, 8d and 13 down both contain 3 consecutive un-checked letters. This would not be permitted in most national cryptic crosswords. There is one stock Telegraph grid that breaches this rule but it is universally avoided by setters. There have been several comments about the surface readings. I agree that many of them were not the best in the world. You should try to create clues that read naturally as a sentence in their own right. Compare 1a with 27a. More of the former type of clue and fewer (preferably none) of the latter.
Overall, the commenometer reads as 7/32 or 21.9%
1 Cruel if complicated devil (7)
LUCIFER – An anagram (complicated) of CRUEL IF.
5 Spiky cut this in a grumble (7)
MOHICAN – A three-letter word in Latin meaning this inside a four-letter word meaning to grumble. I think that some indication is needed that it is the Latin word for this that is needed.
9 NASA lander hides about a trunk (5)
NASAL – The answer is hidden in the first two words of the clue. Hidden word clues work best when the answer is fully hidden in the wordplay.
10 Ancient poet leaves resistance and unending church surveillance (9)
VIGILANCE – A six-letter name of a Roman poet without (leaves) the abbreviation for resistance followed by the AND from the clue without the last letter (unending) and the abbreviation for Church of England.
11 Recapture earlier TV broadcast (9)
RETRIEVAL – An anagram (broadcast) of EARLIER TV.
12 26 road turned east ably (4)
WELL – The answer to 26d with the A (road) changed (turned) to E (east). I think that you need turned to East for the cryptic grammar to work. However, even with that change, you need to indicate a type of road, not a road itself.
15 Docked figure buried within network operator assets (6)
ESTATE – A five-letter word for figure inside the two-letter name of a UK mobile network operator. I wonder whether figures would be better here to give stats as the word to be docked.
16 Capital territory where cold cuts are sold hot inside (5)
DELHI – A shop that sells cold cuts of meat includes (inside) the abbreviation for hot.
19 After record, I see reason (5)
LOGIC – A three-letter word for a record followed by (after) the I from the clue and the letter that sounds like see. As see is the phonetic spelling of the word, it is does not require a homophone indicator.
20 Sombre, we require content beer maker (6)
BREWER – The answer is hidden (content) in the first three words of the clue.
23 Sad Spanish gran forgets answers in confusion (4)
BLUE – An anagram (in confusion) of ABUELA (Spanish gran) after removing the As (forgets answers). Oh dear! It’s being a long time since we have had the cardinal sin of an indirect anagram. The basic rule is that the letters to be rearranged should be given in the clue and not referred to indirectly. To compound the error, the word clued is a Spanish one that not many solvers would bring to mind. To further compound the error it is a subtractive anagram.
24 Tip sells out trinket vendors (4, 5) (9)
GIFT SHOPS – A four-letter word for a gift followed by a five-letter word meaning sells out.
27 Putting back shop closer promoted inside loop (9)
RESTORING – A five-letter word for a stop with the last letter moved to the front (closer promoted) all inside a four-letter word for a loop.
28 Circle huge final letter (5)
OMEGA – The letter that is circular followed by a four-letter word meaning huge.
29 Trash modest royal to some extent (7)
DESTROY – The answer is hidden in (to some extent) in the second and third words of the clue.
30 Waves back off, rod spinner sounding odd (7)
SURREAL – A four-letter word for waves with the last letter removed (back off) followed by a homophone (sounding) of something that spins on a fishing rod.
1 Protracted naked blow followed by underwhelming ends (4)
LONG – The inner letters (naked) of blow followed by the last two letters (ends) of underwhelming. You should not use ends to indicate a random number of letters at the end of the word. Ends implies the front and back letters.
2 Tape outcome of ace tests (8)
CASSETTE – An anagram (coming out of) of ACE TESTS.
3 Sieve cut off, black goop up one on separating process (10)
FILTRATION – A six-letter word meaning to sieve with the final two letters removed (cut off) followed by a reversal (up) of a three-letter word for black goop, the letter representing one and the ON from the clue. Rather like 1d, you cannot use cut-off to indicate removing a random number of letters from the end of the clue.
4 Assess minister that’s beginning to waver (6)
REVIEW – The abbreviation for reverend (minister) followed by the abbreviation for that is and the first letter (beginning to) of waiver.
5 Mary mother, boy brought up, after good measure (8)
MAGDALEN – A two-letter word for a mother followed by a reversal (brought up) of a three-letter word for a boy after the abbreviation for good, all followed by a two-letter word for a printer’s measure.
6 Devout learner avoids prickly plant (4)
HOLY – Remove the abbreviation for learner from a five-letter word for a prickly plant. Perhaps as the prickly plant contains two Ls, it might be better to have Devout single learner…
7 Heart of innocent Eros, as across the pond (6)
CENTER – The answer is hidden (heart of) in the third and fourth words of the clue. The word heart is doing double duty as the definition (combined with the final words of the clue to indicate the American spelling) and part of the wordplay. This should be avoided. As a hidden word indicator, heart, like centre of implies the middle letters looked at symmetrically. Having four hidden word clues is too many for a crossword.
8 Eccentric drew leek on embroidery (10)
NEEDLEWORK – An anagram (eccentric) of DREW LEEK ON.
13 Penis crushed by vibrator called to mind (10)
REMEMBERED – A six-letter word for a penis inside (crushed by) a four-letter word for an item that vibrates in a woodwind instrument.
14 Regular prayer almost stirs chief leaver (10)
CHURCHGOER – A six-letter word meaning stirs with the final two letters removed (almost) followed by the abbreviation for chief and a four-letter word for a leaver. Another clue where a random number of letters has to be removed.
17 God fool in chapterless metropolis (8)
DIVINITY – A three-letter word for a fool followed by the IN from the clue and a four-letter word for a metropolis without the abbreviation for city.
18 Suit set as far as amity pronounced (3, 5) (3-5)
TWO-PIECE – A homophone (pronounced) of TOO (as far as) PEACE (amity).
21 Sources note unmoored rowboats seen escaping slipshod harbours (6)
NURSES – The initial letters (sources) of the second to seventh words of the clue. For the cryptic grammar to work, you should have sources of.
22 Puts on legs (6)
STAGES – Double definition.
25 Leading boffins owlishly analyse rare animal (4)
BOAR – The initial letters (leading) of the second to fifth words of the clue. Leading on its own does not work. You needs Leaders of boffins for the cryptic grammar to be correct.
26 Screen unfinished animated robot (4)
WALL – The name of an animated robot with the final letter removed (unfinished).