A Puzzle by Simandl
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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 Simandl. I enjoyed this and there were a lot of good clues. There were, however, a number of clues where the cryptic grammar jarred slightly and where some synonyms were stretched. The commentometer reads as 6/28 or 21.4%.
1 Game ends in fighting for no reason (6)
GROUSE – The final letters (ends in) of fighting for no followed by a three-letter word for reason. I agree with the comments that reason is a stretch. Perhaps for no purpose would be better.
4 Fund Rab C. Nesbitt’s habit? (6)
INVEST – A phrase describing how Rab C Nesbitt is dressed. I think that the wordplay does not naturally clue the “in” in the solution. Also, I think that “fund” would require the solution + in.
9 See 27
10 Flatten with initial combo (4,6)
IRON MAIDEN – A four-letter word meaning to flatten using a household implement followed by a six-letter word meaning initial or first.
11 Old mother reported skin complaint (6)
ECZEMA – A homophone (reported) of EX (old) MA (mother)
12 Second constituent goes before members (8)
ELEMENTS – The abbreviation for second with a seven-letter word for constitute going before it. I think that the wordplay here with constituents and members being too closely related in meaning.
13 Give a wide berth to gluttonous frog lover (4,5)
MISS PIGGY – A four-letter word meaning give a wide berth to followed by a five-letter word meaning gluttonous.
15 Fell over disheartened after a short time (4)
MOOR – The outer letters (disheartened) of over after a two-letter word for a short period of time.
16 A pinch of cumin transforms flavour (4)
MINT – The answer is hidden in (a pinch of) the fourth and fifth words of the clue.
17 Irresponsible friends return without care (4-5)
SLAP-HAPPY – A reversal (return) of a four-letter word for friends followed by a five-letter word meaning without a care. Perhaps for the cryptic grammar to be smoother, returning would be better than return otherwise the clue resolves to A return plus B.
21 Old politician gets a grip on power with press beating (8)
WHIPPING – A four-letter word for an old politician whose party split in the 1850s around (gets a grip on) the abbreviation for power and a three-letter word meaning press.
22 Pictures hidden in pictures (6)
IMAGES – An eight-letter word meaning pictures or dreams without (hidden) the IN. Perhaps hiding in would be better for the cryptic reading of the clue.
24 Forced parliamentarian to don liberal colours in front of Tory base (10)
COMPULSORY – A two-letter abbreviation for a parliamentarian has an anagram (liberal) of COLOURS around it followed by the last letter (base) of Tory. I think that indicating the base of a word works only in a down clue.
25 Deputy manager takes a handful of drugs before start of playoff (4)
VEEP – I think this is the wordplay but I there may be a better solution. A handful of drugs gives you five es. Write this as V (Roman numeral for five) and EE (Es) and followed with the first letter (start) of playoff. The term is an Americanism so this should be indicated.
26 Lurid embellishment lacked a little nuance (6)
GARISH – A seven-letter word for an embellishment added to food without (lacked) the initial letter (little) of nuance. Again, the cryptic grammar could be smoother here. Lacks would be better that lacked and a little bit of would be better than a little to indicate the first letter.
27/9 Business Paper? (6,4)
TOILET ROLL – Cryptic definition of a necessity in the lavatory.
1 Questionable coaching loses Agassi’s title to Italian No. 1 (7)
GNOCCHI – An anagram (questionable) of COACHING after removing the first letter (title) of Agassi. Perhaps “Italian’s No. 1” is a little too indirect for the first course of a main course. Title as an initial word indicator does not work for me.
2 Fool lied, concealing trick on board (5)
OLLIE – The answer is hidden (concealing) the first two words of the clue.
3 Hunter is starting to trail rakish rogue (7)
SHIKARI – The first letter (starting) after (to trail) an anagram (rogue) of RAKISH. Is starting does not indicate the first letter in the cryptic reading of the clue. Perhaps Hunter is originally pursing rakish rogue. Also, starting repeats the wordplay indicator start / starting in 25a.
5 Mass anaesthetic? (6)
NUMBER – Double definition of a large quantity and an anaesthetic.
6 Maze 2 confounded author (5,4)
EMILE ZOLA – An anagram (confounded) of MAZE and the answer to 2d.
7 Speaker eventually got more charming having got rid of initial stammer (7)
TWEETER – The final letter (eventually) of got followed by a seven-letter word meaning more charming without (having got rid of) the first letter (initial) of stammer.
8 Crowd supports outlandish French band (7,6)
FOREIGN LEGION – A six-letter word for a crowd after (supporting) a seven-letter word meaning outlandish.
14 Bird seed picked up by machine (9)
SANDPIPER – The three-letter word for a seed inside (picked up by) a six-letter word for a woodworker’s machine for smoothing wood.
16 Game Jonah played in car, perhaps (7)
MAHJONG – An anagram (played) of JONAH inside a make of sports car.
18 Having been apprised of historic secret, Oscar goes after government base (5,2)
PRIVY TO – A five-letter word being a historic word for a secret followed by the letter represented by word Oscar in the NATO phonetic alphabet, itself after the final letter (base) of government. Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators such as base to indicate the final letter.
19 Put a stop to affair in the wake of publicity (7)
PREVENT – A five-letter word for an affair after (in the wake of) the abbreviation for publicity.
20 Victor sprinkles oils over a bunch of flowers (6)
VIOLAS – The letter represented by Victor in the NATO phonetic alphabet followed by an anagram (sprinkles) of OILS around the A from the clue. Again for the cryptic grammar to work, sprinkles needs to to be sprinkled.
23 ABBA finally released vinyl, taking year out for a bit of heavy metal (5)
ANVIL – The last letter (finally) of ABBA followed by an anagram (released) of vinyl after removing (taking … out) the abbreviation for year.