A Puzzle by Dr Diva
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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.
Apologies for the delay in posting the review. Real life has intervened over the last few evenings. There was a lot to enjoy in this crossword and some inventive cluing. Perhaps in some places, Dr Diva tends to over-elaborate the clues. Whilst this can work, and I rather liked the “containing less richness” for “lite”, in other places it can make the clues misleading. Whilst the intention of the clue is to mislead, it must do so in a way that the solution is unambiguous when the clue is solved. In some places, I think that the over-elaboration produced too many ambiguities. The commentometer reads as 4/29 or 13.8%.
6 Musical enthusiast returns with unusual mixture of fuel (7)
TUNEFUL – A three letter word for an enthusiast reversed (returned) followed by an anagram (unusual mixture) of FUEL.
7 Detail commonly behind rise in debt (7)
ARREARS – A common / vulgar word for your behind has its final letter removed (detailed) and a four-letter word meaning rise is included within them.
9 Bride-to-be seductively revealing a bit of fat (5)
OBESE – The answer is hidden in (revealing a bit) the first two words of the clue. There is a tendency to over-elaborate wordplay indicators. Revealing on its own would be sufficient as a hidden word indicator. Adding “a bit” then suggests that the solution is a “bit of fat” which is it not and “revealing a bit” does not work as well as a hidden word indicator. Whilst you can mislead the solver, the resolution of the clue must be unambiguous. I am not sure that it is here. Some editors will not allow the construction wordplay of definition. Definition of wordplay, with “of” used in the sense of “from” works.
10 Redesigned a meme girl used as a way of communicating with many people (4,5)
MAIL MERGE – An anagram (redesigned) of A MEME GIRL.
11 Young man cutting baguette, for instance, is champion (7)
PALADIN – A three-letter word for a young man is included in (cutting) a four-letter French word for bread (baguette for example). As a matter of style, I would have made it clearer that you are looking for the French word for bread using “cutting French loaf” or something similar.
13 Group rumoured to have established the gender of space invader? (6)
SEXTET – A homophone (rumoured) of SEXED (established the gender of) followed by the two-letter abbreviation for extra-terrestrial.
15 Footwear‘s arousing – hottest I’ll see! (8,5)
STILETTO HEELS – An anagram (arousing) HOTTEST ILL SEE.
19 Like thyme & rosemary? Chuck in a touch of elderflower with this! (6)
HEREBY – A five-letter word describing the qualities of thyme and rosemary includes (chuck in) the first letter (a touch) of elderflower.
20 One of two singing rabbits with sibling’s frame (7)
CHASSIS – One of the Cockney singing duo whose hits included “Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit” followed by the three-letter diminutive word for a sister (sibling). The wordplay did not raise an eyebrow but did raise a smile which went a little way to removing the frown at the nonsensical surface reading.
23 Openly gay couple, say, resolves to be greater than others (9)
OUTNUMBER – A three-letter word meaning openly gay followed by a six-letter word for a couple.
24 What we can all see – aide going mad before farewell! (5)
ADIEU – The film classification meaning available for all to see with an anagram (going mad) of AIDE before it. What we can see is the film with this classification. This would have worked better as “We can all see aide going mad before farewell.
26 Serious nets are quite different (7)
EARNEST – A anagram (quite different) of NETS ARE.
27 Loves nicking king’s unpleasant daughter’s food flavouring (7)
OREGANO – Two letters O (loves) include (nicking) the name of King Lear’s unpleasant daughter.
1 Bet both essential ingredients of advanced whitener… (4)
ANTE – The central letters (essential ingredients) of both advanced and whitener.
2 …break the law as a result of rotten finish (6)
OFFEND – A three-letter word meaning rotten followed by a three-letter word meaning finish.
3 Stop restriction over tiny particle of salt during explosive case (9)
ELIMINATE – A five-letter word over part of the chemical formula for salt all inside the outer letters (case) of explosive. I don’t think that a tiny particle of salt leads to part of the chemical formula. “50% reduction in salt” would have worked better here.
4 Half prompt old man from Paris about first event (8)
PREMIERE – Half of an eight-letter word meaning a prompt or memory jogger with the French (from Paris) for a father (old man) around it.
5 Calamitous safety rail inventions (5,5)
FAIRY TALES – An anagram (calamitous) of SAFETY RAIL.
6 Band tore up school letters (6)
TROUPE – An anagram (school letters) of TORE UP. I think that as an imperative instruction to rearrange the letters, school letters should not appear after the letters to be rearranged.
7 Fanatical social media video clip (4)
AVID – The answer is hidden (clip) In the third and fourth words of the clue. Try to avoid adding padding words in clues. Here “social” does not contribute to the clue other than as padding.
8 Inspector taking nothing from inertia involving Union (6)
SLEUTH – Remover the letter representing nothing from a five-letter word meaning inertia and include (involving) the abbreviation of European Union.
12 Writings containing less richness and joy with paragraph missing (10)
LITERATURE – A four-letter word meaning diet (containing less richness) followed a seven-letter word meaning joy without (missing) the abbreviation for paragraph. I cannot find authority in the main dictionaries for p being used as an abbreviation for paragraph.
14 Surefire trick swapping places; consequently sent back pieces (9)
CONCERTOS – A four-letter word meaning sure fire before (swapping places) a three-letter word for a trick all followed by a two-letter word meaning consequently reversed (sent back).
16 Hesitation supporting party for worker (8)
LABOURER – A two-letter word used when expressing hesitation underneath (supporting) a six-letter name of a political party.
17 Angry hornet goes to toilet (6)
THRONE – An anagram (angry) of HORNET. Goes to does not work as a link word. You would need wordplay gets to definition to make the grammatical construction of the clue to work. “Angry hornet in the toilet” would have worked better.
18 Oddly missing from outdoor event, sparse crowd initially leads to change in island group (6)
ESCUDO – The even letters (oddly missing) of outdoor with the initial letters (initially) of event sparse crowd before them (leads). I am happy with “to” as a link word in wordplay to definition as “to” can be used in the sense of “for” or “with the result of” according to Chambers. I am embarrassed to say that it took four or five attempts to parse this clue satisfactorily before realising that “leads to” was not a link phrase but that “leads” was the positional indicator. That was a nice piece of misdirection.
21 Each character in turn content leaving a field of flowering shrub (6)
AZALEA – The alphabet (each character in turn) without the middle letters (content leaving) followed by the A from the clue and a three-letter word for a field.
22 Rub up against a New Yorker’s pronounced bottom (4)
ABUT – The A from the clue followed by a homophone (pronounced) of an American term for a bottom.
25 Country this puzzling author ruled (4)
IRAN – The single letter representing the setter of the crossword followed by a three-letter word meaning ruled.