A Puzzle by QuelFromage
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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.
The good news for QuelFromage is that this crossword marks a substantial improvement on the first crossword. The commentometer is down to 12/27 or 42.9% and, save in a few cases, the definitions match the solutions. The cluing was clearer and fairer to the solver. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement particularly with the technical aspects of the cluing to achieve the level of precision required in setting a clue and avoiding repeating wordplay indicators.
1 Lick scrubbed king in front of saloon that’s known to all (6)
PUBLIC – The lick from the clue without the K (scrubbed king) after (in front of) a three-letter word for a saloon or bar. The in front of is wrong. The front of the word is its beginning. Behind saloon would be correct wordplay here.
4 Half-cut umpire, after eating some gazpacho, cheats on price (6)
GAZUMP – The first three letters (half-cut) of umpire after the first three letters (some) of gazpacho. The “eating” in this clue is padding and misleading as eating implies putting one set of letters in another word. Some should not be used to indicate a random number of letters from a word. Finally, the solution “cheats on price” implies that the solution is in the plural but it is in the singular.
9 Headhunter’s excitement reveals ordinary idol (4)
HERO – The initial letters (head) of hunter and the next three words of the clue. To indicate the initial letters for more than one word, you would needs heads of…Even for a single letter, it should be head of (not head on its own). The joining of head and hunters as a single word would not be accepted by all editors as it requires an un-indicated word break.
10 Engineers see Western inducements (10)
SWEETENERS – An anagram (engineers) of SEE WESTERN. As an imperative instruction to rearrange the letters, engineers should be engineer.
11 Medium oddly delves after dim reflection (6)
MIDDLE – The odd letters of delves after a reversal (reflection) of the DIM from the clue. Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators. After as a positional indicator has already been used in 4a.
12 Elderly relative’s love at first touch excites cold heartless tiny robots (8)
NANOTECH – A three-letter word for an elderly relative followed by the initial letters (at first) of the sixth to ninth words of the clue.
13 Child makes double den with gym inside and vault at the back (9)
DEPENDENT – DEN twice (double) with the abbreviation for gym inside all followed by the final letter (at the back) of vault. The makes as a link word does not work. The wordplay can make (note the the singular) the definition but the definition cannot make the wordplay.
15 Heartless Amir with endless uses is a stubborn, foolish man (4)
ARSE – The outer letters (heartless) of AMIR followed by the inner letters (endless) of USES.
16 Odd cook pays for duplicate (4)
COPY – The odd letters of the second and third words of the clue. You need oddly to indicate alternate letters (odd on its own does not work in the cryptic reading of the clue). Also, as oddly has already been used in 11a.
17 Death rate starts multiplying – omnicron research takes advice from vacant lady who embodies sex appeal (9)
MORTALITY – The initial letters (starts) of the fourth to eighth words of the clue followed by the outer letters (vacant) of lady holding (who embodies) a two-letter word for sex appeal. For the initial letters of more than one word, you need to use starts to…The from in the clue is misleading padding and should be omitted. Also, I think that for the cryptic reading of the clue embodying would be better that “who embodies” as, in the cryptic reading, who cannot refer to the letters to be used. This is a clue that as well as being technically flawed has run away with itself and become too cumbersome and nonsensical for its own good. Finally, omnicron should be omicron.
21 Hip sounds follow loud row about new semi-cool drug (8)
ROHYPNOL – A homophone (sounds) of hip after (follow) a homophone (sound) of row followed by a reversal (about) the abbreviation for new and half (semi) of cool. Before looking at the technical aspects of this clue, I think that to have a solution that is used as a date rape drug with the wordplay semi-cool as well as the derogatory solution to 2/23d shows a lack of taste and judgement in setting the crossword. As to the clue itself, the follow in the clue should be following for the cryptic reading of the clue to work. I would have preferred audible to sound for the second homophone indicator or perhaps brief row to indicate deleting the last letter. As a reversal indicator “about” should follow the words to be reversed.
22 Pet prattle (6)
RABBIT – Double definition, the first a small pet and the second to talk.
24 Never go back for good; fuel bedlam to be vindictive (10)
REVENGEFUL – A reversal (go back) of the NEVER from the clue followed by the abbreviation for good and an anagram (bedlam) of fuel. A couple of technical points. “Go back” should be going back or goes back for the cryptic reading to read grammatically. Secondly, the “for” in the clue does not make sense in the cryptic reading of the clue and should be omitted.
25 Secretly grandma konks shark (4)
MAKO – The answer is hidden in (secretly) the middle two words of the clue.
26 Secretly cast rays to lead away from moral convention (6)
ASTRAY – The answer is hidden (secretly) in the second and third words of the clue. Repetition of wordplay indicators should be avoided. It is blatant here as the same hidden word indicator was used in the previous clue. The definition to lead away from implies a verbal solution
27 Swimming style is a genius feat (6)
STROKE – Double definition.
1 Childish peril breaks broken European Union (7)
PUERILE – An anagram (childish) of PERIL includes (breaks) an anagram (broken) of the abbreviation for European Union. Breaks is not used correctly here. It implies that the anagram is included in the rest of the wordplay. Also, I would have used a reversal indicator instead of an anagram indicator for the EU component of the wordplay.
2/23 Love bomb blind, disfigured, pretty, stupid girl (5,5)
BLOND BIMBO – An anagram (disfigured) of O (love) BOMB BLIND. See my comment on 21a. Avoid repeating wordplay indicators. Love for O was used in 12a.
3 Alternatively, wrestle Saint Ed (7)
INSTEAD – An anagram (wrestle) of SAINT ED.
5 Giant Charlie playing (6)
ACTING – An anagram (playing) of GIANT C (Charlie). As playing is used as the anagram indicator, it should not also double as the definition. Four anagrams in a row, followed by three in the next four clues, should be avoided. Try to vary the wordplay used in the clues.
6 Artificial freak (9)
UNNATURAL – Double definition.
7 Mangled corpse devours husband in car (7)
PORCHE – An anagram (mangled) of CORPSE includes (devours) the abbreviation for husband.
8 A feminine golf eccentric knows what it’s all about (7,2,4)
MEANING OF LIFE – An anagram (eccentric) of A FEMININE GOLF. I don’t think that the definition here matches the solution. The solution is a nounal phrase but the definition is a verbal phrase.
14 Careless men’s petty stage of life (5,4)
EMPTY NEST – An anagram (careless) of MENS PETTY.
16 Church and old student are coming back with disease (7)
CHOLERA – The abbreviation for church followed by the abbreviations for old and student and a reverse (coming back) of the ARE from the clue. Back has also being used as a reversal indicator in 24a.
18 In triple time, Earl goes crazy about sweet little pie (7)
TARTLET – An anagram (goes crazy about) of TTT (triple time) EARL. Perhaps “goes crazy for sweet little pie” would have been better.
19 With a glint in the eye, doppelganger gives back fifty grand with dread at heart (7)
TWINKLE – A four-letter word for a doppelgänger followed by a reversal (gives back) of the Roman numeral for fifty and another abbreviation for 1,000 (grant) and the middle letter (at heart) of dread. Another repetition of back as a reversal indicator and the gives in the clue does not really work with back as a reversal indicator. With a glint in the eye would imply twinkling as the solution.
20 The last flipping gin mum is after creates riddle (6)
ENIGMA – The last letter of the the from the clue followed by a reversal (flipping) of the gin from the clue and a two-letter word for mother.
23 See 2