A Puzzle by PostMark
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
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.
Another excellent offering from PostMark. Apart from the unfortunate error in 23d, there are only minor tidying comments. The attempt at a Nina was good but spoiled by the V in the bottom right corner and the grid (or the word at 23d) should have been adjusted to give NORTH / NORTHS or SOUTH / SOUTHS at the top and bottom of the grid. The commentometer reads as 3/28 or 10.7%.
7a Space-time constructs the results of boring work? (9)
WORMHOLES: The type of voids made by annelids, perhaps, as they move through the earth.
8a Cause chewed lip (5)
SAUCE: An anagram (chewed) of CAUSE.
9a Pay English trainee to replace first name in memorial (9)
EMOLUMENT: The abbreviation for English followed by an eight-letter word for a memorial with the first N (name) replaced by an L (trainee).
10a Zone around new sporting complex (5)
ARENA: A four-letter word for a zone around the abbreviation for new.
12a Censured PostMark overlooked when particulars returned (6)
SLATED: A seven-letter word for particulars is reversed (returned) after removing the I (PostMark).
13a Film celebrities in conflict? Quite the reverse (4,4)
STAR WARS: A three-letter word for a conflict inside a five-letter word for celebrities.
14a Occupying brute: he ransacked ancient city (7)
TEHERAN: The answer is hidden (occupying) the second to fourth words of the clue.
17a Discharge goes against grain maybe in hearing (7)
EARSHOT: A four-letter word for a discharge from a gun after (goes against) a three-letter word for grain, among other plants.
20a Long story short, German tennis star named by some for citation (8)
EPIGRAPH: A four-letter word for a long story with the final letter removed followed by a homophone (named by some) of Graf (German tennis star).
22a Classical poet in House Competition (6)
HORACE: A two-abbreviation for house followed by a four-letter word for a type of competition.
24a It sweeps back and forth (5)
RADAR: A locating device whose name is a palindrome.
25a Hawk is near goner, sadly (9)
WARMONGER: A four-letter word used in a game to say that someone is near to an object to be found followed by an anagram (sadly) of GONER.
26a Provided time in US city? Neat! (5)
NIFTY: A two-letter word meaning provided and the abbreviation for time inside the abbreviation for New York. Avoiding the repetition of the A in B construction with in being the insertion indicator is difficult, but this was used in 13a as well.
27a Distressed señoritas making statement (9)
ASSERTION: An anagram (distressed) of SENORITAS.
1d Conqueror, possibly, abruptly left? Typical! (6)
NORMAL: A six-letter for a group of people who conquered Britain with the final letter removed (abruptly) followed by the abbreviation for left.
2d Some letters describing French food (8)
OMELETTE: The answer is hidden (some) in the second and third words of the clue.
3d American shared lodgings with young Aussie beside sea (6)
ROOMED: A three-letter word for a young marsupial followed by the shortened form of Mediterranean. As a positional indicator, beside should only be used in an across clue.
4d Tiny youngster messed up sty (7)
TEENTSY: A four-letter word for a youngster followed by an anagram (messed up) of STY.
5d Cause distress for public school (6)
HARROW: Double definition.
6d Dreadful car noise situation (8)
SCENARIO: An anagram (dreadful) of CAR NOISE.
11d Fair knight had lost (4)
GALA: One of the knights of the round table without (lost) the HAD.
15d Stress Ecstasy and speed unchanged (8)
EMPHASIS: The abbreviations for Ecstasy and Miles Per Hour (speed) followed by a phrase (2,2) meaning unchanged.
16d Captain encountering whale: ‘That’s surprising, sailor!’ (4)
AHAB: A two-letter word expressing surprise followed by the abbreviation for Able Seaman (sailor).
18d Might swap sides during street measurement (8)
STRENGTH: The abbreviation for street and a six-letter word for a measurement with the L changed to an R (swap sides).
19d Suit has failed pressure treatment (7)
SHIATSU: An anagram (failed) of SUIT HAS.
21d Leading couples from Glasgow assent to familiar festival (6)
GLASTO: The first pairs of letters from Glasgow and Assent followed by the TO from the clue.
22d Village mascot you reportedly lost after an hour (6)
HAMLET: A six-letter word for a talisman or mascot without the U (you reportedly) after the single letter abbreviation for hour. Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators such a lost (used in 11d).
23d Playwright‘s one from Prague in broadcast half over (6)
CHEKOV: A homophone (in broadcast) of Czech (one from Prague) followed by half of the word over. Shades of Mrs Beaton (see here) so PostMark is in good company. The playwright should have an H in his name.