A Puzzle by Dharma
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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:
My laptop is undergoing major surgery so I am trying to write and post this review on an iPad. Anything might happen to the review and probably will!
Thanks to Dharma for another enjoyable crossword. A good sign in the review is when the only comments are minor ones. The commentometer reads as 2.5/28 or 8.9%.
7a Top-notch meal except for starter of pasta (5)
SUPER: The name of a late evening meal without one of the letters P (starter of pasta). Perhaps an indication that only one of the letters P needs to be removed would be better.
8a Doctor Bell, enthusiastic at first, taken in by tip for health (9)
WELLBEING: An anagram (doctor) of BELL and the first letter (starter) of enthusiastic inside (taking in by) a four-letter word for a wing.
10a Small meal is sad artistic creation (6)
WEEPIE: A three-letter word meaning small followed by a three-letter word for an item that might be eaten as a meal. I would have preferred some indication that it is a food item, not a meal in itself.
11a Remarkably, a tailless rodent is eaten by insect (8)
FAMOUSLY: The A from the clue and a five-letter word for a type of rodent without the final letter (tailless), all inside a three-letter name of a type of insect.
12a Decline loveless dance, unconvincing by the sound of it (8)
DISCLAIM: A five-letter word for a type of dance without the final O (loveless) followed by a homophone (by the sound of it) of lame (unconvincing).
13a Obsessively aware of pronoun? About right (4)
WOKE: A two-letter pronouns around (about) a two-letter word meaning right. Perhaps obsessive is too pejorative.
15a More chaotic when eggs, principally in M&S rise inordinately (7)
MESSIER: An anagram (inordinately) of E (eggs principally) MS RISE.
17a Female at the 24d must be hoping she’s found him? (2,5)
MR RIGHT: Cryptic definition. The first three things the bride needs to remember is that she walks down the aisle, stands in front of the altar and sings a hymn. It is very easy to remember (I’ll alter him).
20a Get back please, like ASAP! (4)
RSVP: The abbreviation (like ASAP) used in correspondence meaning get back to me please.
22a Honestly working? It would seem not (2,3,3)
ON THE SLY: An anagram (working) of HONESTLY.
25a Pick fruit clasping heads of each colourful tangerine rigorously (8)
PLECTRUM: A four-letter type of fruit around (clasping) the initial letters (heads) of the final four words of the clue.
26a Call unknown number….it’s fake (6)
PHONEY: A five-letter word meaning to call followed by a letter representing an unknown number in algebra.
27a Air a human circulated for plant (9)
MARIHUANA: An anagram (circulated) of AIR A HUMAN.
28a Advertises seals (5)
PLUGS: Double definition.
1d Youngsters from Italian football team they say, score perhaps, getting points (9)
JUVENILES: A four-letter contraction of how people might describe Juventus followed by a three-letter word for a score of no points and two points of the compass.
2d Star of the party maybe, bites and bullies (8)
HENPECKS: A three-letter word for the star of a party for the bride to be followed by a five-letter word meaning bites.
3d Smell a storm (7)
PERFUME: A three-letter word meaning a followed by a four-letter word meaning storm or rage.
4d Abusive exchange from last bit of tiff over fermented warm ale (8)
FLAMEWAR: The final letter (last bit) of tiff followed by an anagram (fermented) of WARM ALE.
5d Disparage when Head occasionally turns up with moonshine (6)
DEBUNK: The even letters (occasionally) of head reversed (turns up) followed by a four-letter word meaning moonshine or rubbish.
6d Relative pronoun clear? Somewhat (5)
UNCLE: The answer is hidden (somewhat) in the second and third words of the clue.
9d Punt with a character (4)
BETA: A three-letter word for a punt or wager followed by the A from the clue. Perhaps an indication that it is a Greek character would be appropriate.
14d Dare to question (9)
CHALLENGE: Double definition.
16d Nothing accepted by fashionable premium store (8)
EMPORIUM: The letter representing nothing inside (accepted by) an anagram (fashionable) of PREMIUM. I think fashionable does not quite work as an anagram indicator. The fact that something might be fashioned does not tell the solver to fashion it!
18d Cello I played with lady shunning publicity, a Summer treat? (3,5)
ICE LOLLY: A anagram (played) of CELLO I followed by outer letters of lady (lady shunning publicity meaning remove the AD)
19d Harry Hill expected on the radio (7)
TORMENT: A three-letter word for a hill followed by a homophone (on the radio) of meant (expected).
21d Disappointed over idea, regularly ignored for career break? (6)
SICKIE: A four-letter words meaning disappointed followed by the odd letters (regularly ignored) of idea. Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators. Over has been used in 4d.
23d Sensuality perfectly describes model (4)
TYPE: The answer is hidden (describes) in the first two words of the clue.
24d Key on stripped bark table (5)
ALTAR: A three-letter word for a key on a keyboard followed by the inner letters (stripped) of bark.