How wonderful to be invisible! by Māyā of Auckland
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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 to Māyā with his debut in the Rookie corner. Although his website indicates that he has set crosswords for various publications, as a non-UK published setter, he still qualifies as a Rookie. Most of the basics of the clues were fine but there were a number of rough edges. The commentometer reads as 5.5/28 or 19.6%.
1 Drop cup from routine examination where one may join the darned? (4)
HECK – Take a phase (5,2) for a routine examination and remove (drop) the letters in cup. I think that both solution and definition are references to hell. I am generally forgiving on surface readings. New setters should strive to achieve sentences that you might hear in everyday conversation. However, where the surface reading does not make any sense, I will point this out – as here.
3 Spin a real butcher’s, as they say (10)
PROPAGANDA – A homophone (as they say) of PROPER (real) GANDER (butchers). The grocer’s apostrophe appears to be contagious and has spread to butchers!
10 I bail out, which is why I wasn’t there (5)
ALIBI – An anagram (out) of I BAIL.
11 Spooner’s carbon bundles found at trunk-related markets? (4,5)
BOOT SALES – A Spoonerism of soot (carbon) bales (bundles). Spoonerisms rely on the vocal transposition of syllables. The vocal transcription of the solution would give suit bales. If you need to use American terms in a crossword for a UK audience (such a trunk as part of a car), this should be indicated.
12 Trial of George and Who, for example, in the coat I have (4,5)
TEST DRIVE – The abbreviations for saint and doctor (George and Who, for example) in the outer letters (coat) of “the” and the contracted form of “I have”.
13 Doll’s house creator held back by E.Nesbit (5)
IBSEN – The answer is hidden and reversed (held back by) in the final word (including the E.) of the clue. The convention is that you can capitalise a common noun to suggest a different word but you should not give proper nouns (Doll’s house) in lower case.
14 Dahl left out motorbike for bad driver (4,3)
ROAD HOG – The first name of the author Dahl without the L (left out) followed by the informal name for a Harley Davidson motorbike (from the piglet used as the racing team mascot.
16 Give right to line in “E.T.” (“E.T.” is alien) (7)
ENTITLE – The abbreviation for line in an anagram (is client) of IN ET ET. The “in” in the clue is doing double duty as the insertion indicator and also part of the letters to be rearranged. This should be avoided.
17 Herd content to leave Weever fish (7)
WRANGLE – The outer letters (content to leave) of Weaver followed by a five-letter word meaning to fish.
20 Care about holding Johnny and what’s in the pan (7)
CEREBRA – An anagram (about) of CARE includes an American term (from Johnny ???) for a confederate soldier. The American reference to a confederate soldier is not incorrect but in fairness to the solver, something less obscure may have been appropriate.
22/26 It’s wonderful to be invisible (3,2,5)
OUT OF SIGHT – Double definition.
23 I berate, in turmoil, a dame like Edna (9)
INEBRIATE – An anagram (turmoil) of I BERATE IN. Of the Barry Humphrey’s characters, it was Les Patterson who was the drunkard, rather than Dame Edna.
25 Red hot men excited female scout leader (3,6)
DEN MOTHER – An anagram (excited) of RED HOT MEN. Another clue where the solution is an American term that should have been indicated.
26 See 22
27 Contemplation of a remarkably spacious country (10)
RUMINATION – A homophone (remarkably) of ROOMY (spacious) NATION (country).
28 Wise to drop one’s eagle (4)
ERNIE – The first name of the English comedian whose surname was Wise without (to drop) the letter representing one. Where you are using a definition by example, this should be indicated. Also, try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators. Drop to remove a letter was used in 1a.
1 See 8
2 Crossing with a quantity of gnocchi as main (7)
CHIASMA – The answer is hidden (a quantity of) in the final three words of the clue.
4 Hood worn by British, good for mugging (7)
ROBBING – The first name of the outlaw Hood around (worn by) the abbreviation for Britain all followed the abbreviation for good.
5 Ward off toper and revolutionary for example (7)
PROTEGE – An anagram (off) of TOPER followed by a reversal (revolutionary) of the abbreviation for “for example”. A word such as “off” as an an anagram indicator should come after the letters to be rearranged.
6 Tradesperson to bend over those more likely to survive (3,6)
GAS FITTER – A reversal (over) of a three-letter word meaning to bend followed by a comparative term for those more likely to survive.
7 Sell out stops enthusiast, as mathematically it’s empty? (4,3)
NULL SET – An anagram (out) of SELL in (stops) a three-letter word for an enthusiast).
8/1 “Want Forces Centre to cultivate Henry”, say, is often considered an 18 of 22 26 22 9 (7,5,3,5,4,6)
ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER – A seven-letter word meaning a want or lack of something, followed by a five-letter word meaning forces, a phrase (3,5) meaning centre, a four-letter word meaning to grow and the a homophone (say) of the surname of an actor whose first name is Henry. Another instance of repeating a wordplay indicator. Say (“as they say”) was used in 3a.
9 Object of consciousness? (4)
MIND – Double definition.
15 He filled balloon could be this pretentious? (4-5)
HIGH FLOWN – Cryptic definition and definition.
18 Mark and his leader are opposite (7)
ANTONYM – The name of the Roman emperor Mark and the first letter (leader) of his first name.
19 Peg backing around Centre – such is “The Young Pretender” (7)
EPITHET – The name of a golf peg reversed (back) around a four-letter word for the centre of something.
20 I re-echo jolly farewell (7)
CHEERIO – An anagram (jolly) of I RE-ECHO.
21 A follower, one who’s behind smooth talker (7)
BLAGGER – The letter following A followed by a six-letter word for one who dawdles being.
24 A game of chance? (4)
RISK – Double definition, the first being the board game.