A Puzzle by Widdersbel
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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.
Rookie crosswords on which there is little or nothing to comment on are as rare as hen’s teeth. Widdersbel has produced a masterpiece where the only comment is so minor that I have to award that rarest of accolades, a commentometer reading of 0% and a promotion to the NTSPP slot.
The grid was not the friendliest of grids for the solver. Having a number of solutions with the initial letter unchecked is not a problem. However, in this grid, 12 of the solutions without an initial cross-checked letter also had less than 50% of the letters cross-checked. Some editors may not allow such a large number of solutions of this type.
7a Dye from black rock covering ravine (9)
COCHINEAL: A four-letter word for a black sedimentary form of rock (used as a fuel) around a five-letter word for a ravine.
8a Italian village’s housing block (5)
ANVIL: The answer is hidden (housing) in the first two words of the clue.
9a Work after hours weaving thing with loom (9)
MOONLIGHT: An anagram (weaving) of THING LOOM.
10a Scottish minister’s residence cut domestic help by 50% (5)
MANSE: A ten-letter word for a domestic help with the last five letters removed (cut…by 50%).
12a Tried hard to lose weight at your desk? (6)
SEATED: A seven-letter word meaning tried hard without (to lose) the abbreviation for weight.
13a Alert: head of robbers captured and handed to police (6,2)
TURNED IN: A phrase (5,2) meaning alert includes (captured) the first letter (head) of robbers.
14a Label bridge player leading heart (7)
STICKER: The abbreviation for one of the players in a game of bridge before (leading) a six-letter word for the heart.
17a Husband fills ditch to get across (7)
THROUGH: The abbreviation for husband inside (fills) a six-letter word for a ditch.
20a Care for wounded tree by grave (5,3)
FIRST AID: A three-letter word for a type of tree followed by a five-letter word meaning grave.
22a Lean towards pressure point (6)
PREFER: The abbreviation for pressure followed by a five-letter word meaning point or indicate.
24a Carriage full of gremlins? (5)
BUGGY: Double definition of a pram and someone who has a viral or bacterial infection.
25a 1 tsp lemon stirred in mug (9)
SIMPLETON: An anagram (stirred) of I TSP LEMON.
26a Clay fireplace less hot at first (5)
EARTH: A six-letter word for a fireplace without the initial H (less hot at first).
27a Well-groomed former patient, according to doctor? (9)
MANICURED: Split (3, 1, 5), this could be a doctor’s description of a former male patient who has been healed.
1d Mosquito’s wings moved up and down (6)
MOROSE: The outer letters (wings) of mosquito followed by a four letter word meaning moved up.
2d Alien stops playing Chopin as it sounds (8)
PHONETIC: Our favourite two-letter film alien inside (stops) an anagram (playing) of CHOPIN.
3d In Paris, a breeze produces chill (6)
UNWIND: The French masculine singular for A followed by a four-letter word for a breeze.
4d Ecstasy for Kurt’s leading character in new version of Mack The Knife (7)
MACHETE: An anagram new version of MACK THE after replacing the K (Kurt’s leading character) with an E (ecstasy).
5d Home study for new pupils (6)
INTAKE: A two-letter word meaning home followed by a four-letter word meaning study.
6d Priest’s content with fish and wine (8)
RIESLING: The inner letters (content) of priest followed by a four-letter word for a fish.
11d Most important substance in potatoes? No way! (4)
ARCH: A type of carbohydrate found in potatoes without the abbreviation for street (no way).
15d Criminal in brutal court hearing (8)
TRIBUNAL: An anagram (criminal) of IN BRUTAL.
16d Style of cycling path (4)
ELAN: A four-letter word for a path with the letters cycled around.
18d Was Frank prepared to trade? (6,2)
OPENED UP: Double definition.
19d Briefly, rather like a large butterfly (7)
ADMIRAL: A six-letter word meaning rather like with the final letter removed followed by the A from the clue and the abbreviation for large.
21d Spies gathered names (6)
SIGHTS: A homophone (gathered) of CITES. Ideally the homophone indicator should not sit between the definition and the solution as it can lead to ambiguity, is the first word or the last word of the clue the one you use as the definition. However, where, as here, the solution is not the same length as the word from which the homophone is made, it is less of an issue.
22d Visit bearing scrap of lacy cloth (6)
POPLIN: A phrase (3,2) meaning to visit includes (bearing) the first letter (scrap) of lacy.
23d Look up trousers boy wears (6)
ERODES: A three-letter word meaning look is reversed (up) and includes (trousers) a three-letter name of a boy. Technically, there is nothing wrong with including names in the solution, though some solvers do not like this.