A Puzzle by Jeemz
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today we have a debut puzzle from Jeemz. 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.
After reading many of the comments, I think that the setter needs to drop the M from his or her pseudonym. This was tough, not helped by a grid where over a quarter of the solutions had less than 50 cross-checked letters and some misleading clues. It took me four or five sittings over the course of the day to solve this, which is too long. The commentometer reads as 8.5/27 or 31.5%
7 Mistake her age, muscle in, have another row (9)
REPECHAGE – An anagram (mistake) of HER and the AGE from the clue includes a three-letter word for a type of muscle.
8 Report touches on courses (5)
POURS – A homophone (report) of paws touches. On does not work as a link word and the clue breaks down cryptically to wordplay ON definition.
10 Is Ottawa in Scotland? It’s in the middle layer (8)
WAINSCOT – The answer is hidden (it’s in the middle) in the second to fourth words of the clue. Try to avoid superfluous words in clues – here the “is” is not required.
11 Parrot made a meal of by one of these? (6)
RAPTOR – An anagram (made a meal of) of PARROT.
12/22 Back first French guillotine used for footing! (4,4)
FLIP FLOP – A four-letter word meaning back followed by the first letter of French and a three-letter word meaning to guillotine. First X does not mean the first letter of X. Perhaps origin of French would be better. I don’t think that “footing” is a description of the solution.
13 Ways prepared fibre adheres to arteries (8)
TOWPATH – A three-letter word for a type of fibre followed by a five-letter word for arteries or main routes.
15 Hook Mac fished with in Thames village (7)
COOKHAM – An anagram (fished with) of HOOK MAC.
17 One hundred for resigning politician. Andy maybe? (7)
BURNHAM – Double definition of one of the Hundreds a post a sitting MP takes to trigger their resignation and the MP who is now mayor of Manchester. Hundred here needs a capital letter as you are referring to a proper noun. Perhaps too much general knowledge is required of the name of the Hundreds.
20 Star caught likely red-handed (8)
SUNBUNRT – A three-letter word for our star followed by a five-letter word meaning caught.
22 See 12
25 College issue complete agreement (6)
UNISON – A three-letter abbreviation for a collage followed by a three-letter word for a child or issue.
26 Alien embraces the Queen in the open (8)
EXOTERIC – A six-letter word for alien around (embraces) the abbreviation for the current queen.
27 Is 15 and 17 what Alfred did to them? (5)
CAKES – Cryptic definition for something that Alfred cooked and burnt. Perhaps an indication of the homophone would be better here.
28 Heads of secret service guarded second and first names of disorderly women (9)
SLATTERNS – The initial letters (heads of) secret service go around (guarded) a six-letter word meaning the second and the first letter of names. Apart from the acceptability of first X, this is a repetition of the wordplay first (see 12/12) that should have been avoided. Some editors will now allow wordplay of definition.
1 Secure: having no expertise (5)
BELAY – Split 2,3, this could mean having no expertise.
2 The meat for officer off the record (6)
KERNEL – A homophone (off the record) of colonel (officer). As off the record means informally, it does not really work as a homophone indicator. More importantly, you have the cryptic grammar definition for wordplay, which is back to front. You can have wordplay for the definition but not the reverse.
3 Animal vegetable mineral rich vegetable (8)
CHICKPEA – A five-letter word for a young farmyard animal followed by a three-letter word for a small green vegetable. Hyphens are important. There is a lot of difference between a little-used car and a little used-car. Here mineral-rich would be better in the clue.
4 Rock and roll: get a taxi after ten barred (7)
AGITATE – An anagram (roll) of GET A TAXI) after removing the Roman numeral for ten.
5 Brief contest gets the French in lament (8)
COMPLAIN – An abbreviation for competition (brief contest) and the IN from the clue include (gets) the French feminine singular form of the. As the abbreviation comp is not given for competition in the dictionaries, the clue does not work. The alternative requiring the solver to find a synonym, and remove a random number of letters is too indirect.
6 Win the quarrel first and make a point (9)
ARROWHEAD – A four-letter word meaning to win with a five-letter word for a quarrel before it (first). Perhaps to make a point would be better here. There is too much overlap between quarrel and the solution.
9 Band in which girl power can make a come-back (4)
CREW – The answer is hidden and reversed (in which … can make a comeback) in the fifth and sixth words of the clue. The most blatant misuse of padding words. The girl is no only not needed, it is positively misleading the terms of the clue as a whole.
14 Line dance for the tall mixer? (6,3)
COLUMN TAP – A six-letter word for a line of people followed by a three-letter word for a form of dance. The solution is not in the main dictionaries and is not, as far as I can tell, a propriety name or proper noun for something.
16 Boy had whiff and she finished off (8)
KIBOSHED – A three-letter word for a small boy includes (had) a two-letter abbreviation for body odour (whiff) and the SHE from the clue. Had as an instruction to include A in B is very weak and should be avoided.
18 Pays to tell the truth son (8)
UPFRONTS – A seven-letter word meaning the state of being honest or telling the truth followed by the abbreviation for son. The dictionaries do not give upfront as a verb, only as an adjective or adverb.
19 State beginning to rely on being treated well (7)
UTTERLY – The abbreviation for the state of Utah followed by the first letter (beginning) of to an an anagram (being treated) of RELY.
21 Soldiers paraded before Ulster Queen (4)
RANI – The abbreviation for Royal Artillery followed by the abbreviation for Northern Ireland. As many have pointed out, Ulster is not the same as Northern Ireland.
23 First in with a crowbar? (6)
OPENER – Double definition of a batsman and a description of a crowbar.
24 Club has no ill effects with the return of some members (5)
LIONS – The answer is hidden and reversed (with the return of some members) in the second to fourth words of the clue. Another clue with needless and misleading padding. The word effects is not part of the wordplay or the solution so should have been omitted.