A Puzzle by Conto
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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.
Conto is improving but overall I felt that in places he was pushing the envelope too far with some of the cluing in this crossword. The commentometer reads as 5/36 or 13.9%. If you look at the eight cardinal points of the crossword, you will see that the compass directions appear.
2 Brash modern art in Gatsby’s chattering characters (9)
POPINJAYS – A three-letter word for a type of brash modern art followed by the IN from the clue and the first name of the main character in the Great Gatsby (maintaining the s from Gatsby’s).
8 Drive with one learner then another (4)
WILL – The abbreviation for with followed by the letter represented by one and the abbreviation for learner twice.
9 Medal-wearing duck gets reeds put in mouth (4)
OBOE – The letter representing a duck or zero has a three-letter abbreviation for a medal around it (medal-wearing).
10 This loser would be a winner with a change of heart (5)
CHUMP – A five-letter word (the shortened form of champion) has the middle letter changed (with a change of heart).
11 The endless surge of infection (6)
THRUSH – The first two letters (endless) of the the from the clue followed by a four-letter word meaning to rush. Some editors will not accept the structure of wordplay of definition.
12 My uncle belts out number and rocks the concert hall (6)
LYCEUM – An anagram (rocks) of MY UNCLE after removing (belts out) the abbreviation for number.
14 Quickly commit to eastern religion following violent play? (4,4)
RUSH INTO – A five-letter word for an eastern religion after (following) the abbreviation for Rugby Union (violent play). I suspect followers of rugby will disagree with your description. Physical play would work as well and cause less offence.
16 Pressure in piston? It’s usually at the front (6)
STRESS – Another word for emphasis – as the emphasis is on the frontmost syllable in piston.
18/22 Old President’s golf-club line with sports brand (7,6)
WOODROW WILSON – A four-letter word for a type of golf club followed by a three-letter word for a line and (I presume) a five-letter word for a sport’s brand. I think that the reference to an American sporting manufacturer (now part of another group) is too obscure for most solvers.
19 Cheer as drunk makes a complaint (7)
EARACHE – An anagram (drunk) of CHEER A A (as). I think that “as” to represent A A is to indirect. If you are referring to the plural of letters you would normally refer to As with the capital A.
22 See 18
25 Cha-cha? (3,5)
TEA DANCE – A weak cryptic definition.
27 Go try a 7 mixture of this cultured dish (6)
YOGURT – An anagram (mixture) of GO TRY U (the U coming from 7d). This clue does not work. The A in “a 7” is not part of the anagram and the answer to 7d would imply the U is removed.
29 Former dock suppplying an area south of the Bristol Channel (6)
EXMOOR – A two-letter prefix meaning old followed by a four-letter word meaning to dock at a quayside. The spelling of supplying needs correcting.
31 Withdraw his toys, including card game (5)
WHIST – The answer is hidden (including) in the first three words of the clue.
32 Cover raw wound gently (4)
WRAP – An anagram (wound) of RAW followed by the musical abbreviation for quietly.
33 Refusal from aggrieved Spooner, having regularly suffered loss (4)
NOPE – An anagram (aggrieved) of the PO and NE from Spooner. Whilst regularly is used to indicate every other letter, some editors but not all will allow it to indicate every second letter, third letter etc.
34 ‘Happy Day’ is the 1st of February, i.e. the end of Eid (9)
SATISFIED -The abbreviation for Saturday (day) followed by the IS from the clue, the first letter of February, the IE from the clue and the last letter (end) of Eid.
1 Shortly to return in gusseted halter tops (4)
NIGH – A reversal (to return) of the IN from the clue followed by the first letters (tops) of gusseted halter.
2 Turner’s heavenly picture? (6)
PLOUGH – Double definition of the agricultural tool that turns the earth and a shape of a constellation.
3 Post office containing a small space for Japanese pinball (8)
PACHINKO – The abbreviation for Post Office includes the A from the clue and five-letter word for a small space.
4 Novel read aloud by 80s movie star? (7)
NEUTRON – A homophone (read aloud) of NEW (novel) followed by a four-letter name of a 1980’s American science fiction film.
5 No-one carries out fruit (6)
APPLES – Remove the letter representing one from a seven-letter word meaning carries out. Try to avoid repeating wordplay.
6 The game in America sounds like a belter! (6)
SOCCER – A homophone (sounds like) of SOCKER (belter).
7 Nancy’s dismissal of you? (3-1)
NON-U – The French for no (dismissal) followed by how you would text the word you. I think that you need more indication of a homophone or text speak to indicate the final letter of the solution.
11 Discard that which can be discarded (9)
THROWAWAY – Split 5,4 the solution means discard and together means that which can be discarded. The wordplay and the solution are too closely related for my liking.
13 Masculine fragrance on T-shirt carried by the Queen’s gunman (9)
MUSKETEER – A four-letter word for a masculine fragrance followed by the abbreviation for the queen holding (carried by) a three-letter word for a T-shirt.
15 Hotel in Laos served up fish (5)
SHOAL – The abbreviation for hotel in a reversal (served up) of Laos. Rather like Fez’s last Rookie crossword, I don’t think that you can define the noun by reference to a collective noun for a group of them.
17 One’s finished porridge in Pyrex container (2-3)
EX-CON – The answer is hidden in the last two words of the clue.
20 A horse race near India that features 26 (8)
AMARETTI – The A from the clue followed by a four-letter word for a horse, the abbreviation for time trials (race) and the letter represented by India in the NATO phonetic alphabet.
21 Warehouses, including ‘Conto’s Fabrications’ (7)
STORIES – A six-letter word for warehouses includes the single letter representing the setter (Conto).
23 Confuses things on the cricket pitch (6)
STUMPS – Double definition.
24 Jerk or berk – it rhymes! (6)
NITWIT – The solution split 3,3 creates two words that rhyme.
26 Tree screening the northern edges of calm pond (6)
ALMOND – Remove the first letters (screening the northern edges) of the last two words of clue.
28 Paddles rise, moving front-to-back (4)
OARS – A four-letter word meaning rise with the first letter moved to the end.
30 O dear! O, O, I forgot something! (4)
OOPS – The two Os from the clue followed by the abbreviation for postscript.