A Puzzle by QuelFromage
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
QuelFromage makes his debut with a puzzle on a smaller-than-usual 13×13 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 to QuelFromage. Looking for the positives, 13d was a good clue and, as the grid was only 13×13, my task in reviewing this crossword took less time than it might have done.
Starting with the basics, apart from double definitions and cryptic definitions, each clue should have a definition and wordplay. The solution should match the definition in terms of the part of speech used and not be too vague. The wordplay should break down into a series of cryptic instructions that tell the solver how to arrive at the solution. On top of this, the clue when read in its own right should read like a natural sentence that make some kind of sense. These three basics are something that QuelFromage needs to concentrate on.
The commentometer reads as an eye-watering 19/26 or 73.1%
1 Reflects and copies (7)
MIRRORS – Double definition of a word meaning reflects and copies. Where possible, for double definitions, try to ensure that there is a more separation between the two definitions. Reflects and copies are synonyms in their own right. Perhaps something along the lines of “Copies of sailing boats” would be better.
5 Help! The football association is stuck in these (5)
SOFAS – The international distress signal meaning help includes “has stuck in” the abbreviation for the Football Association. The problem with this clue is that there is no definition of the solution. These on its own does not work, though to be generous, you might argue that the whole clue might lead to the solution. However, perhaps “stuck in seats” or “stuck in Chesterfield and Bridgewater?” Would be better.
8 Fruity German’s better half enjoys sun in England (9)
TANGERINE – The first three letters (better half) of Germany after a three-letter word meaning sun followed by the IN from the clue and the abbreviation for England. A number of points on this clue. The definition “fruity” is an adjective but is used to clue a noun. There is no instruction in the cryptic reading of the clue that the three letters representing sun go at the beginning of the clue. Finally, the “enjoy” seems to be padding. Even if enjoys sun is the intended wordplay for the part of the solution, this wold lead to tans, not tan.
9 Many auctions? No just one (3)
LOT – The singular of the name given to the items sold at auction. As even a single auction will have more than one of the solution, I am not sure that the clue works effectively.
10 Quiet! I am the sun! (5)
SHONE – A two-letter word meaning be quiet followed by the word represented by I. This clue breaks down to wordplay AM definition which does not work in the cryptic reading of the clue. Also, the the solution is what the sun did, not the sun itself.
12 Three in the back of the North-East and South-East portals (7)
ENTRIES – A three-letter prefix meaning three in a reversal (backing of the) of the abbreviations of North-East and South-East. “The back of the” as an instruction means the last letters rather than a reversal.
13 Zeal sounds like any quasi-urge of a nervous pal (13)
ENERGETICALLY – Three letters that sound like “any” followed by the last three letters (quasi) of urge, a three letter word for a nervous reaction and a four-letter word for a pal. I am not sure that quasi (as it were or in appearance only) means the removal of a letter. Nervous, as an adjective, does not define the nervous reaction itself. You would need “With zeal” to define the solution.
15 The sneaky saint is almost full health (7)
STEALTH – The two-letter abbreviation for saint followed by the last five letters of the “health” from the clue. I am not sure what the “The” is doing at the beginning of the clue, and the definition of “sneaky” would lead to the solution “stealthy”
17 Later the Queen was removed from the horse (5)
RIDER – The regnal cypher for the queen after (later) a three-letter word meaning removed. The structure of the clue here is wordplay from definition. It is more usual to say that the definition comes from the wordplay. More importantly, the definition “horse” is not synonymous with the person who sits on the horse.
19 Scoff at abnormal penalty (3)
EAT – The even letters (abnormal) of the last word of the clue. I do not think that abnormally indicates cryptically the alternate letters of a word.
20 Remember Monsieur found fish that sounded like pilferage (9)
MNEMONICS – The abbreviation for monsieur followed by the name of the fish that was found in the Pixar film and a homophone (sounded like) nicks (pilferage). I don’t think that pilferage, a noun, can be used to clue a verb nicks, even as part of a homophone. The “that” in the clue does not work. For an instruction to join two parts of the wordplay together, you would need “that’s” (in the sense of that has) to work. The solution is a system for remembering, the definition of remember is therefore incorrect
22 Organs echo Valentine gift (5)
NOSES – A word that rhymes (echo) with roses.
23 Nuns tern almost captured by Gestapo following half a sigh (7)
SISTERS – The tern from the clue without the last letter (almost) after half of the word sigh all inside the abbreviation for Gestapo. I think that Gestapo and the SS were separate Nazi organisations. All the clue reads as if half the word “sigh” comes after the insertion of the letters into SS. Try to avoid reusing wordplay indicators such as almost to remove one letter (used in 5a and in 6d).
1 Quiet back there! This is mummy’s time for her studying! (5)
MATHS – A two-letter word meaning be quiet reversed (back there) after a two-letter word for a mother and the abbreviation for time. There is a a repetition of the wordplay quiet for SH (see 10a) and there is no indication in the clue that the wordplay for mummy’s and time goes before the first part of the wordplay. The definition is another loose one and might be better as field of study to clue a subject not the process of studying.
2 Bolt in rune (3)
RUN – The answer is hidden (in) the last word of the clue! I don’t think that a hidden word clue works where all you do is remove the last letter of a word.
3 Not under not chicken not skewed (7)
OVEREGG – The opposites (not) of under and chicken. I fail to see how “not skewed” leads to the solution unless the not is redundant and even the “skewed” would lead to a solution ending in ED.
4 Decreasing its tenancy leads to hellbound, hot, fishy feet (8,5)
STILETTO HEELS – A reversal (decreasing) of the ITS from the clue followed by a three-letter word for a tenancy before (leads to) a reversal (hellbound) of the HOT from the clue and a 4 letter word for fish. A lot of points on this clue (it is a good job that I do go above a score of 1 in terms of comments on clues otherwise the commentometer might read at more than 100%). I do not think that either decreasing or hellbound indicate reversing letters, fishy (an adjective) cannot clue the noun fish and the definition inaccurate – they are not feet.
5 Liquid iron whiffed (5)
SMELT – Double definition. I think that the first part of the definition is not the liquid iron itself but the process meaning to melt.
6 Almost full but totally satisfied (9)
FULFILLED – The first three letters (almost) of full followed by a six-letter word meaning totally. As well as the repetition of almost as a wordplay indicator, I am not convinced that totally is a synonym for the word used in the solution.
7 Quench with part dosa part tissue yet awkwardly funny (7)
SATISFY – The last two letters (part) of the dosa from the clue and the first here letters (part) of the tissue from the clue and the outer letters (awkward) of funny. Part should not be used to clue an indeterminate number of letter from the words in the clue. There is no way that awkwardly can mean the outer letters of a word.
11 Hug yours truly and allow shortened test for breakfast (9)
OMELETTES – The letter representing an embrace (circling) and a two-letter for the the setter folded by a a three-letter word meaning allow and the first three letters (shortened) of the test fro the clue. Hug to represent 0 is a bit of a stretch. More importantly, the solution is part of the definition not the definition itself.
13 Disrupt nearest orientation (7)
EASTERN – An anagram (disrupt) of NEAREST.
14 Edible vehicle decays (7)
CARROTS – A three-letter word for a motor vehicle followed by a four-letter word meaning decays. The definition “edible” is too imprecise.
16 Babies‘ balms are broken (5)
LAMBS – An anagram (are broken) of BALMS. For the anagram to work, the cryptic grammar needs A is broken not A are broken. Broken balms would work.
18 Lies about alternative sites (5)
RESTS – The two-letter word meaning about followed by the odd letters (alternative) of the last word of the clue. Alternative is not the same as alternate so does not work as an every other letter indicator.
21 Angrily fired and chopped (3)
IRE – The inner letters (chopped) of the second word of the clue. The definition is an adverb but is being used to clue a noun.