A Puzzle by AgentB
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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.
AgentB has made a good debut for someone setting their first crossword. Whilst there are rough edges, they can easily be addressed and there are some Rufusesque touches of humour in the clues. The commentometer reads as 7/28 or 25%.
6a Airborne transmitter (7,6)
CARRIER PIGEON: Cryptic definition of a means of avian communication.
8a Hiding place found in doors (8)
BOLTHOLE: The answer is where a part of the locking mechanism of a door would be engaged.
9a Fly from Abuja via Tenerife (6)
AVIATE: The answer is hidden (from) the final three words of the clue.
10a Praise or prays, either way she does both (3)
NUN: A palindromic (either way) religious sister.
11a Vaguely recalled being laid down (8)
CELLARED: An anagram (vaguely) of RECALLED.
13a Suspended opening rites, youth leader’s keen (6)
HUNGRY: A four-letter word meaning suspended followed by the first letter (opening) of rites and the first letter (leader). As well as reading as a sentence in its own right, the clue should give a grammatically correct set of instructions to the solver to reach the solution. Here, you need opening of rites to indicate the first letter.
14a Salchow begins then skater runs amok – naked! (7)
STREAKS: The initial letter (begins) of Salchow followed by an anagram (runs amok) of SKATER. You should not have part of a clue (runs amok) that does double duty as part of the wordplay (as an anagram indicator) and part of the solution. Another clue where the begins does not cryptically indicate that you take the first letter.
17a How the monarchy functions normally (2,1,4)
AS A RULE: Double definition. I am not convinced that the first part of the definition works. The “how the monarchy functions” requires “as rulers” as the solution.
20a Sweet little creature holding son (6)
MOUSSE: A five-letter wee timorous beastie includes (holding) the abbreviation for son.
21a Cause an incident (8)
OCCASION: Double definition .
24a Very quietly sneak around university’s small lab (3)
PUP: The musical abbreviation for very quietly around the abbreviation for university. Sneak does not work in the context of a containment indicator. Going around would be better. As lab is a definition by example, this should be indicated.
25a Awful gas made without innermost expressions (6)
ADAGES: An anagram (awful) of GASMADE without the innermost letter. Another case where the cryptic reading of the clue does not work as the is no context for innermost.
26a Bottled by Loire pro, achingly slight (8)
REPROACH: The answer is hidden (bottled by) the third to fifth words of the clue.
27a From Cain, it is a dreadful set of consequences (13)
RAMIFICATIONS: An anagram (dreadful) of FROM CAIN IT IS A.
1d Tough, dry, initially acidic Limoux (6)
BRUTAL: A four-letter word meaning dry followed by the initial letters of the final two words of the clue.
2d Number uttered for strength (6)
VIGOUR: A homophone (uttered) of figure (number). The homophone does not work as the F is not sounded as a V.
3d Dine out in priest’s company (7)
FRIENDS: An anagram (out) of DINE inside the two-letter abbreviation for father (priest) with the ‘s from priest’s preserved at the end.
4d Nasty pain and rash when they bite? (8)
PIRANHAS: An anagram (nasty) of PAIN RASH.
5d This setter perhaps, hidden following plea (8)
BEGINNER: A five-letter word meaning hidden after (following) a three-letter word mean plea. I am not sure that plea and beg synonymous. Plea is usually a noun and beg is a verb. Whilst plea can be used as a verb, it is in the sense of to dispute in a lawcourt, which is not the same as to beg.
6d A la carte anagrams might be prepared this way? (6,2,5)
COOKED TO ORDER: Double definition, the second part cryptic.
7d Eco-warriors? (7,6)
NATURAL FORCES: Cryptic definition suggesting those who fight for nature, but having a different meaning in the solution.
12d Could be used to bake a turnover (3)
AGA: The answer is a palindrome (a turnover). Not sure that a turnover is sufficient to indicate that the solution is a palindrome. Perhaps, either way, it could be used to bake.
15d Simple occupation leads to effortless win (4,4)
EASY GAME: A four-letter word meaning simple followed by a four-letter word for an occupation.
16d Guard castle’s central parapet, rifle arsenal (4,4)
KEEP SAFE: A four-letter word for a castle followed by the central letters of the final three words of the clue. Another clue where central on its own does not indicate the central letters.
18d Express surprise to 19 stalwarts (3)
AHA: Double definition. The second part of the definition does not work as the band in question has a hyphen in the name.
19d Go off and list a musical genre (3-4)
POP-ROCK: A three-letter word meaning go off followed by a four-letter word meaning list. I am not sure that list and rock are entirely synonymous. To list means to cause to lean to one side. To rock means to rock to an fro.
22d Novelist engaged in esoterica, potentially (6)
CAPOTE: The answer is hidden (engaged) in the final two words of the clue.
23d Precisely position the cricket side (4,2)
SPOT ON: A four-letter word meaning position followed by a two-letter word for a cricket side.