A Puzzle by Median
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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.
Median returns with an accessible crossword. There were a number of errors in the cluing that could have been avoided. There were some nice definitions such as “death sentences” in 11a and the whimsical cryptic definition in 27a. Combining that touch with more precision in the wordplay would be the goal for his next crossword. The commentometer reads 5/27 or 18.5%
7 Three ways a king tails creep (5)
SNEAK – Three cardinal points of the compass (ways) followed by the A from the clue and the abbreviation for king.
8 Entrancing expert to pity NHS doctor (9)
HYPNOTIST – An anagram (doctor) of TO PITY NHS. As doctor as verb requires a direct object, it cannot come after the words to be rearranged. You doctor something.
10 Pavement 17, bread producer, doing a swap for us (6)
BUSKER – A five-letter word for a bread producer with the A from the clue replaced by the US from the clue. “Doing a swap for us” does not quite work as a substitution indicator. Perhaps “(American) leaving for US” would be better.
11 Death sentences? There’s no information before the end of two months (8)
OBITUARY – A phrase (1,3) that might indicate no information followed by four letters that appear at the end of January and February. I think that the phrase “end of two months” is too imprecise to indicate the final four letters of the solution.
12 Chief thug is unstable (3-5)
TOP HEAVY – A three-letter word meaning chief followed by a five-letter word for a thug.
13 See 2 Down
15 Comedians on Ulster time are 23s (7)
NITWITS – A four-letter word for comedians after (on) the abbreviation for the province of Ulster. As pointed out, Ulster is not the same as Northern Ireland.
17 One of many here would give it a rest after work… (7)
ARTISTE – An anagram (after work) of IT A REST – In terms of construction, the wordplay can give the solution but the solution does not give the wordplay.
20 … with no work for this joker (4)
IDLE – Double definition, the second being one of the Monty Python team.
22 Open without cosier arrangement of surface tension (8)
UNFASTEN – An anagram (arrangement of) SURFACE TENSION after removing the letters (without) in cosier. As a rule, where the letters to be removed are not in the order given in the clue, a secondary anagram indicator is required.
25 Audible horse protest precedes freeze in North American city (8)
WINNIPEG – A homophone (audible) off whiney (horse protest) followed by a three-letter word meaning to freeze.
26 Old Greek characters, one returning for a drug (6)
OPIATE – The abbreviation for old followed by two Greek letters, the second reversed (returning).
27 Chili at breakfast could be a warm-up for this 17 (4-5)
FIRE-EATER – A circus performer who swallows something hot who might find a breakfast of hot peppers a warm-up for their act.
28 Player works endlessly (5)
ACTOR – Remove the first and last letters from a seven-letter word for works.
1 Fresh complaint here is said to be a serious illness (9)
PNEUMONIA – A homophone (is said) of NEW (fresh) MOAN (complaint) HERE (from the clue). I don’t the final here works as the pronunciation is not as it appears in the solution.
2/13 Hotshot walks clumsily into Ross, say (4-4,4)
TALK-SHOW HOST – An anagram (clumsily) of HOTSHOT WALKS.
3 Eg 16 and 28 go to Roget for it (7)
SYNONYM – A word that describes two or more words (of which 16 and 28 are examples) that are listed in Roget’s thesaurus.
4 Disguise prince and he’ll scramble (8)
ENCIPHER – An anagram (disguise) of PRINCE HE. I think that the LL does not work in the clue. Even if the definition is disguise and the anagram indicator is scramble, the same problem arises.
5 Supports game in two-way streets (6)
STRUTS – The abbreviation for Rugby Union (game) in two abbreviations for street, the second reversed (two-way).
6 Anyone can see half the Treasury lending rapaciously (5)
USARY – The letter for the film classification for a film anyone can see followed by half the letters in treasury.
9 Animal visible from two coastal states? (4)
ORCA – The state abbreviations for Oregon and California.
14 Mental focus forces order (9)
ATTENTION – Double definition, the second being a command issued in the armed forces. For the second part of the definition to work, it would need to be forces’ order.
16 With a job on the boards, he paints for recreation (8)
THESPIAN – An anagram (for re-creation) of HE PAINTS. Perhaps “One whose job is on the boards” would be better.
18 What comes naturally in cold spell outside (8)
INSTINCT – The IN from the clue followed by the abbreviation for cold with a five-letter word for a spell of time around it.
19 One keeping balls up and under vessel, finally spilling all the water (7)
JUGGLER – A three-letter word for a vessel followed by (under) the final letters of the last four words of the clue.
21 Doctor covering bad acne is one of Santa’s team (6)
DANCER – The abbreviation for doctor around an anagram (bad) of ACNE. In a down clue if A covers B it implies that A goes before B.
23 Play with dessert (4)
FOOL – Double definition.
24 Copy three notes (5)
MIMIC – Two notes (the same on repeated) of the sol-fa scale followed by a single letter for a musical note.