Captivating by 8ball
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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 to 8Ball. The good news with this crossword is that all of the comments are minor ones that are required to give the clues a polish. There were a number of these so the commentometer reads as 4 / 34 or 11.8%.
The theme alluded to by the title is that there are a number of animals held captive in the solutions. These are (in clue order) CROW RAM YAK PIG TERN OTTER GOAT RAT APE MOLE. Taking the initial letters of those animals gives an added bonus as they spell CRYPTOGRAM.
1 Method of cooking that’s no good for surfer? (9)
MICROWAVE – Split 5,4 this small movement of the sea would not be of use to someone on a surfboard.
6 Board changing hands is a joke! (5)
PRANK – A five-letter word for a scaffolding board has the L changed to an R (changing hands)
9 Pie and lager nearly spilt on the ground (7)
EPIGEAL – An anagram (spilt) of PIE LAGE (lager nearly = remove the last letter).
10 Resentful over college, Weasley and Potter at last retired from dark arts (7)
SORCERY – A four-letter word meaning resentful around (over) the abbreviation for college followed by the last letter of Weasley and Potter reversed (retired). I think stylistically it is better to refer to the definition from the wordplay rather than the wordplay from the definition.
11 Some neon getting picked up? (3)
ANY – A homophone (getting picked up) of Ne (the chemical symbol for Neon).
12 Seriously bad style worn by sailors (7)
STERNLY – An anagram (bad) of STYLE around (worn by) the abbreviation for Royal Navy (sailors).
13 Fairytale brothers’s denied writing mostly unpleasant scheme (7)
GIMMICK – The name of the brothers who collated fairytales without the letter R (denied writing) followed by a four-letter word meaning unpleasant without the first letter (mostly). Using mostly as a wordplay indicator implies removing the last letter, not the first.
14 Recalled setter receiving a kiss and getting physical (4)
EXAM – A two-letter word for the setter includes the A from the clue and the letter representing a kiss with all the letters then reversed (recalled). As a physical is a type of the solution, there should be a definition by example indicator for this clue.
15 Act more crazy by beginning to solve puzzles (9)
BEWILDERS – A phrase (2,6) meaning act more crazy followed by the first letter (beginning to) of solve.
19 Addition of protective clothing at the heart of calamitous agenda (9)
APPENDAGE – A three-letter abbreviation for protective clothing worn by doctors and nurses inside (at the heart of) an anagram (calamitous) of AGENDA. The wordplay indicator at the heart of implies the word go in the middle, which is not the case here.
21 Kid with time will become the best ever? (4)
GOAT – Double definition, the first the animal a kid becomes when older and the second being the abbreviation for greatest of all time.
25 Monkey say, given order to get more bananas (7)
NUTTIER – A three-letter word for the type of food of which monkey is an example followed by a four-letter word for an order or rank.
26 Gone off mature cheddar finally eaten. Mistake (7)
ERRATUM – A anagram (gone off) of MATURE includes (eaten) the final letter of cheddar.
27 Volleyball team involved in sexism, taken aback (3)
SIX – The answer is hidden (involved) and reversed (taken aback) in sexism.
28 Armies heading for trouble turned to experts (7)
MAESTRI – An anagram (turned) of ARMIES T (first letter – heading to – of trouble).
29 Swingers bar for role reversal with freedom it’s said (7)
TRAPEZE – A four-letter word for a role is reversed and followed by a homophone (it’s said) of ease (freedom). I agree the for the surface reading, Swingers needs to be Swingers’ and that the cryptic reading of definition for wordplay does not work.
30 Chicken skin (5)
LAYER – Double defintion
31 Good to claim pool regularly in Middle Eastern country for a dip (9)
GUACAMOLE – The abbreviation for good and the even letters (regularly) of claim pool all inside UAE (Middle Eastern country)
1 Set menu with starter of regional melted cheese (8)
MUENSTER – An anagram (melted) of SET MENU R (first letter – starter – of regional).
2 Fancy ring a king brought back (7)
CHIMERA – A five-letter word meaning ring followed by a reversal (brought back) of the A from the clue and the single letter abbreviation for Rex (king).
3 Directed a second detailed series of heist films (6)
OCEANS – An anagram (directed) of A SECON (second without its last letter – detailed).
4 A friend round to ease pain? (5)
ALLAY – The A from the clue with a four-letter word for a friend going around it.
5 Relaxed when travelling with piece of cake first (4,5)
EASY GOING – A five-letter word for travelling preceded by (first) a four-letter word meaning a piece of cake.
6 In past, oddly find princess and queen climbing ancient structures (8)
PYRAMIDS – The odd letters of past include a reversal (climbing) of a two-letter name of a princess and a four-letter name of a queen.
7 Studio been fed false story by reporter’s source (7)
ATELIER – A three-letter word meaning been fed followed by a three-letter word for a false story and the initial letter (source) of reported.
8 Talks after Korea evacuated by boats (6)
KAYAKS – A four-letter word meaning talks after the outer letters (evacuated) of Korea. In boats would make a better cryptic reading than by boats. The definition can be given by the wordplay but the wordplay is not given by the definition.
16 Recommending seller not initially take part in karaoke (9)
ENDORSING – A six-letter word for a seller with the initial letter removed (not initially) followed by a four-letter word meaning take part in karaoke.
17 List of possible presents I regret rewriting with son (8)
REGISTER – An anagram (rewriting) of I REGRET S (abbreviation for son).
18 Put foot down over energy charge (8)
STAMPEDE – a seven-letter word meaning put foot down hard followed by the abbreviation for energy.
20 Snooker player’s completion of century is a work of art (7)
POTTERY – A six-letter word for someone who plays snooker followed by the last letter (completion) of century.
22 Working hard – there’s a chance that will advance you to this position? (2,3,2)
ON THE GO – Double definition, the second referring to the game of Monopoly.
23 After 50% off sale lions hair rejected for making canine’s coat? (6)
ENAMEL – A reversal (rejected) of the last two letters (50% off) of sale and a four-letter word for lion’s hair. Lions hair should be lion’s hair.
24 Barrier stopping a force retreating to ships (6)
ARMADA – A reversal (retreating) of a three-letter word for a barrier inside the A from the clue and the abbreviation for Royal Artillery (force).
26 Former partner returning pictures and more (5)
EXTRA – A two-letter word for a former partner and a reversal (returning) of a three-letter word that represent pictures and other things. Although comments have been made about the number of anagrams (which given there is 34 clues is not unusually large). Nobody has commented on the number of reversals in the clue which, at 9 is more than the number of anagrams.