A Puzzle by Troellog
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
This week Troellog joins Rookie Corner. 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.
Troellog is a Welsh term meaning devious; mazy; sinuous; spiral or tortuous. Whether our new Rookie is from Wales or not, the crossword was entertaining and not overly devious. As many have pointed out, there are a number of rough edges to the clues that need to be smoothed away. However, the basic structure or framework of the clues is good. I think that the particular points to concentrate on are avoiding repetitions in the wordplay and avoiding padding words in the clues.
Given the number of rough edges, the commentometer is fairly high, but all the issues are ones that can be easily remedied, so I hope that his or her next crossword shows a marked improvement if a lot of the simple issues can be addressed. The informal scores on the doors in 8 / 32 or 25%
1 Ended ten-pin playing for free? (11)
INDEPENDENT – An anagram (playing) of ENDED TEN PIN.
7 Great in a sofa-bed (3)
FAB – The answer is hidden in the hyphenated word in the clue.
9 Act distant when topless (5)
EMOTE – A six-letter word meaning distant without the first letter (when topless).
10 Spell test, against the clock (4,5)
TIME TRIAL -A four-letter word for period or spell followed by a five-letter word for a test. Here, the verbal phrase against the clock doe not lead to the nounal phrase in the solution.
11 Used to play with gorilla poop in back street (4,5)
TAPE DECKS – A three-letter word for a gorilla and a four-letter word for the part of a ship described as a poop all in a reversal (back) of the abbreviation for street. Some solvers do not like verbal definitions where a verbal phrase is used to indicate a noun. Provided that the verbal phrase identifies the noun sufficiently, this is permissible. You can avoid the issue by indicating the noun with a contraction such as “One used to play…”
12 Fortunate girl ingests vitamin (5)
LUCKY – A four-letter name of a girl includes (ingests) a letter representing a vitamin required for, among other things, blood clotting.
13 Onwards! To battle, in Harrison (7)
FORWARD – A three-letter word meaning to battle inside the surname of the actor whose first name is Harrison. As Harrison is a definition by example of people called by that surname, a definition by example indicator is required. Perhaps a ? at the end of the clue.
15 To cut back before end of term is a test (4)
EXAM – A three-letter word meaning to cut is reversed (back) before the final letter (end) of term. Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators. Back was used as reversal indicator in 11a.
18 Singer from Reading? Sounds like it (4)
OTIS – The first name of the singer whose surname is Redding which sounds like the pronunciation of the Berkshire town of Reading.
20 I hear that their two relates to it, in legal terms? (7)
THERETO – Homophone (I hear that) of THEIR TWO. It is a good discipline to try to avoid the same clue types in successive clues, particularly for homophone and hidden word clues which are simpler clues for the solver. I would also omit the “that”.
23 After I ride every rodeo in the beginning, I get a horse? (5)
AIRER – The initial letters (in the beginning) of the first five words of the clue.
24 Box, rear and start to pogo jump, a celebratory move? (5,4)
CHEST BUMP – A five-letter word for a type of box followed by a three-letter word for a bottom or rear and the initial letter (start to) of pogo. The jump in the clue is superfluous. You should try avoid padding words that do not add to the wordplay.
26 Part of rig glides in one direction, squirming the most (9)
WIGGLIEST – Five letters (part of) from the third and fourth words of the clue inside one of the points of the compass (in one direction). The word “in” has been used as an insertion indicator three times now. Again, try to avoid this sort of repetition. More importantly, I think that the clue lacks enough precision to make it fair for the solver. In the same way that should should not use “Most of X “to indicate an indeterminate number of initial letters from a word, here you asking the solver to take an unknown number of letters hidden in the clue and insert them into another unknown word of indeterminate length.
27 Agitated, slew a red dragon here? (5)
WALES – An anagram (agitated) of SLEW A.
28 Use this to shoot spineless penguins? (3)
GUN – Remove the letters in spine (spine-less) from the last word of the clue. Where the letters to be removed are not in the same order, it is customary to include an anagram indicator to show this.
29 A downtrodden dreary shrew does the laundry (6-5)
WASHER-DRYER – An anagram (downtrodden) of DREARY SHREW. I think that the A at the beginning of the clue should be omitted here. Again this is another verbal phrase to define a noun. You could avoid this by having “dreary shrew’s one that does…”
1 Recognise some parts only fit Ned if back to front (8)
IDENTIFY – The answer is hidden (some parts) and reversed (back to front) in the fourth to seventh words of the clue. Again there is the repetition of wordplay indicators (part has a hidden word indicator has been used is 26a and back (being similar to back to front) in 11a.
2 Very quiet as heart of complicated orders. Butterfingers?! (8)
DROPPERS – The musical abbreviation for very quiet inside (as the heart of) an anagram (complicated) of ORDERS.
3 Beg for parking at the front (5)
PLEAD – The abbreviation for parking followed by a four-letter word meaning at the front. With link words such as “for”, the work only in one direction. You can have wordplay for definition but not definition for wordplay.
4 Saw that bun was plain! (7)
NOTICED – Split 3-4, this would indicate a bun without sugar confection on the top.
5 Together, heard to be working with large numbers (2,5)
EN-MASSE – A homophone (heard to be) of ON (working) MASS (large numbers). Another repetition of a wordplay indicator with hear already being used in 20a.
6 Stimulate it poorly in gallery (9)
TITILLATE – The it from the clue and a three-letter word meaning poorly inside (in – again) a four-letter name for an art gallery.
7 Quail is another bird on the one hand (6)
FLINCH – The abbreviation for left (one hand) inside a five-letter word for another bird. I don’t think that the clue works to indicate that the abbreviation has to be inserted in the name of the bird. A on B in a down clue indicates A on top of B, not A around B. The link of defintion IS wordplay does not really work.
8 Go like this? Like a goat with unknown blood type? (6)
BILLYO – A five-letter word for a male goat followed by the letter for a blood type. The unknown indicator is not required here as the name of the goat already ends with a letter Y.
14 Flush subsequent to having grand down (9)
AFTERGLOW – A five-letter word meaning subsequent to followed by the abbreviation for grand and three-letter word meaning down.
16 Erotically make male or female university friend (8)
SEXUALLY – A three-letter word indicating gender (male or female) followed by the abbreviation for university and a four-letter word for a friend. Make as a link word does not work as the clue resolves cryptically to definition make wordplay. Again it is a one way link word. You could have wordplay makes (note the plural) definition, but not definition make wordplay.
17 Songwriter is also officer in charge and male model (8)
COMPOSER – A two-letter abbreviation for an officer in charge followed by the abbreviation for male and a five-letter word for a model. Try to avoid superfluous words. Here, I would omit “is also” to avoid the structure “definition is also” wordplay and replace it with “Songwriter’s” to give the structure definition has wordplay.
19 At the start, stand up can cause extreme stress symptoms – but what an achievement (7)
SUCCESS – The initial letters of the fourth to tenth words of the clue.
20 A table from a very French atelier, oddly (7)
TRESTLE – A four-letter French word meaning very followed by the odd letters of atelier. This is another clue where the two As could be omitted – particularly the second one.
21 Bug, using a bug? (6)
EARWIG – Double definition of to eavesdrop and a type of insect.
22 Doctor Silver on mythical creature that hoards gold (6)
DRAGON – A two-letter abbreviation for doctor followed by the chemical symbol for silver and the on from the clue
25 Dragged, to do this at the altar? (5)
TOWED – The two from the clue followed by a three-letter word of what a bride and groom do before the altar.