Off to a Flyer by Phantom
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today we have a first puzzle from Phantom. 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 Phantom. Despite some of the initial comments on the blog, I was impressed with the overall quality of the cluing. There were some more “Guardian” style clues. Although I have indicated these, they represent different styles of cluing and they do not contribute to the overall assessment of the crossword. In this case, the commentometer is a credible 2.5/29 or 8.6%.
I will leave it to the readers to discover the names of the birds that are hidden in the solutions.
7 Investigating type of rock with hidden compartment (7)
PROBING – A four-letter word for a type of rock music includes (with hidden) a three-letter word for a compartment.
9 Expand workspace available (4,3)
OPEN OUT – A two-letter word for work followed by a two-letter word for a printer’s space and a three-letter word meaning available or published. Some editors will not allow lift and separate clues where a single word has to be split into two without an indication that this is the case.
10 Material made from precious diamonds (5)
TWEED – A four-letter word meaning precious followed by the abbreviation for diamonds.
11 Running spy (9)
OPERATIVE – Double definition, the first meaning that a machine is running and the second being a synonym for a spy.
12 The milliners of ‘alifax might produce scraps (7)
TATTERS – How someone from ‘alifax might describe hat makers.
13 Rips off covers – about time! (6)
STEALS – A five-letter word meaning covers or stops up around the abbreviation for time.
15 Prisoner beating up veterans breaks the law (11)
CONTRAVENES – A three-letter word for a prisoner followed by an anagram (beating up) of VETERANS.
19 Ship needs a rebuild to become buoyant (6)
BOUNTY – An anagram (rebuild) of the A from the clue and the solution would give the word buoyant. The cryptic grammar of the opening of the clue is a little stilted. Perhaps “Ship American redesigned to become buoyant.
21 Reversing into hipster, German is sorry (7)
REGRETS – The answer is hidden and reversed (reversing into) in the third and fourth words of the clue.
24 Warm up voice with warm stew (9)
MICROWAVE – An anagram (stew) of VOICE WARM.
25 Old relative’s hand amputated in Oz (5)
OUNCE – The abbreviation for old followed by the name of a male relative without the abbreviation for left (hand amputated).
26 It could move you to drop ring into escort’s cocktail (7)
SCOOTER – Put the letter O (ring) into an anagram (cocktail) of ESCORT.
27 Plastered date returning pudding with just a bit nibbled off (7)
DRESSED – The abbreviation for date followed by a seven-letter word for a pudding with the last letter removed (just a bit nibbled off) and reversed (returning).
1 Servant‘s head: somewhat sticky (8)
DOMESTIC – A four-letter word for a head followed by 2/3 (somewhat) of the word sticky. Words like somewhat should be restricted to removing the final letter of a word, not a random number of letters.
2 Shoot one less than expected, it’s able to fly away (6)
BIRDIE – Double definition of a golf score and a feather animal that can fly.
3 Start to despair having finished port (5)
DOVER – The initial letter (start to) of despair followed by a four-letter word meaning finished.
4 Fear nest is demolished, fix it again (8)
REFASTEN – An anagram (is demolished) of FEAR NEST.
5 Naked protestor encouraging singer? (6)
GODIVA – Split 2,4 the solution could be words of encouragement to a singer.
6 Death ensures housing capital (6)
ATHENS – The answer is hidden (housing) in the first two words of the clue.
7 Small dog, perhaps setter, has endless meal (6)
PETITE – The abbreviation for small followed by a three-letter word describing a dog or other tamed animal followed by a single letter word describing the setter and a three-letter word for an afternoon meal with the final letter removed (endless).
8 It explains terms of victory, admits flipping idiot (8)
GLOSSARY – A five-letter word for victory includes (admits) a reversal (flipping) of a three-letter word for an idiot.
14 Heaved or threw up (8)
OVERHEAD – An anagram (threw) of HEAVED OR. The anagram indicator (threw) would work better and thrown.
16 Overall wealth generated by rainy part of country changing directions (3,5)
NET WORTH – Swap the initial directors in the words Wet (rainy) North (part of the country). As not all the directions are changed in the words (there is an E that is unchanged) perhaps “exchanging leaders” would work better.
17 Hemingway goes after virtuous person, being most sober (8)
STERNEST – The first name of the author Hemingway after (goes after) the abbreviation for saint (virtuous person). Whilst a definition by example indicator could be used with Hemingway where the definition by example is ubiquitous, this requirement is often dropped.
18 Breakdances to get title (6)
ASCEND – An anagram (break) of DANCES. Another lift and separate clue where some editors would not accept the un-indicated need to split the word.
19 Puzzle to inspire artist? (6)
BEMUSE – Split 2,4 the solution might indicate the role you would take to inspire an artist.
20 Hot or not?! (6)
UNCOOL – Split 2,4 this might indicate the opposite of hot and together it means the opposite of trendy or hot. I think that the split 2,4 would be more suggestive of heat (though it is marginal).
22 Farm man reported seller of produce (6)
GROCER – A homophone (reportedly) of GROW (farm) SIR (man).
23 Female ethereal being (5)
FAIRY – The abbreviation for female followed by a four-letter word meaning ethereal. The ethereal is going double duty here as part of the wordplay and part of the definition. This should be avoided.