A Puzzle by Tyjer
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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.
I did not have the opportunity to review Tyjer’s last crossword but I did solve it. This one was, I think, a distinct improvement both in terms of the grid and in respect of the accuracy of the cluing. There were one or two clues that went a little astray with their ambition, but overall this was enjoyable to solve. The commentometer reads as 5/28 or 17.8%.
8a Approved of one for one exchange in beauty treatment (8)
OFFICIAL: The OF from the clue followed by a six-letter word for a beauty treatment to the face with an A (one) changed to (I) one.
9a Halt in vacant unoccupied zone (6)
FREEZE: A four-letter word meaning vacant followed by the outer letters (unoccupied) of zone.
11a Suspects story concealed in Dali biography (5)
ALIBI: The answer is hidden (concealed) in the last two words of the clue. The clue needs “Suspect’s” to read correctly.
12a Vehicle you loaned reportedly uncooperative (9)
TRUCULENT: A homophone (reportedly) of TRUCK (vehicle) YOU LENT (loaned).
13a Add vital element to narcotic general consumed (9)
OXYGENATE: A three-letter shortened form of oxycodone (narcotic) followed by the abbreviation for general and a three-letter word meaning consumed.
14a Commotion around key step (5)
STAIR: A four-letter word for a commotion around a musical key.
15a Skill returned after old boy repeated phrase (6)
MANTRA: A three-letter word meaning skill reversed (returned) and a three-letter word for a person an boy grows into (old boy).
17a Shares gossip: is he caught between hearts of Ada and Susie? (6)
DISHES: The IS and the HE from the clue between the central letters (hearts) of Ada and Susie.
21a Things that stick together? (5)
TINES: Cryptic definition. I am not entirely convinced by this. A good cryptic definition should lead to an “of course that is what it is” not an “well the solution has to be this, but why?”
23a Shelter reached by climbing backward, bare cheek exposed in very short pants (4,5)
TREE HOUSE: The inner letters (bare) of cheek reversed (backwards) inside a an eight-letter word for pants with the final two letters removed (very short). I don’t think it is fair to the solver either to have the additional word “exposed” in a complicated clue where there are lots of wordplay elements or (b) to use very short to indicate removing two letters from the end of the word.
25a Sly entomologist originally, with piano, composed part of South Pacific (9)
POLYNESIA: An anagram (composed) of SLY E (entomologist originally) PIANO.
26a Flower found in plenty around central slums (5)
LOTUS: A four-letter word meaning plenty around the middle letter (central) of slums. I think that grammatically, centre of slums would be better
27a Could be eruptions from last of live volcanic fissures (6)
EVENTS: The last letter of live followed by a five-letter word for volcanic fissures. I think that the definition is a little too stretched.
28a Cooks in oil containing, for example, bit of tabasco: burns the most! (8)
FIERIEST: A five-letter word meaning cook in oil includes (containing) the abbreviation for “that is” and is followed by the first letter (bit) of tabasco. The clue is flawed as “for example” is “eg” an the abbreviation for that is forms part of the solution.
1d Not any old carthorse: atop Pentagon with all but one line broken! (7)
NONAGON: A phrase 2,3 indicating that a horse is not any old carthorse followed by a two-letter word meaning atop. I think that the definition is far too abstruse. Breaking a line of a pentagon does not create a figure with more sides.
2d Burning in this does no harm to one’s image (6)
EFFIGY: I think this is meant to be a double definition, the first being the word that replaces “this” in the “burning in this” and the second “one’s image” with the two linked by the fact that doing the first does no harm to the second.
3d Unexpected turn of events in flaccid entertainment (8)
ACCIDENT: The answer is hidden in the final two words of the clue.
4d Start trial: I’m a trained fighter (7,6)
MARTIAL ARTIST: An anagram (trained) of START TRIAL IM A.
5d Odd reversal as fed up Gerda talks back (6)
ARGUES: The odd letters read backwards (odd reversal) of the third to sixth words of the clue. Odd on its own does not mean take the odd letters of the words. Also, the clue implies you take the odd letter and reverse them but in order to get the solution, you take the odd letters if reading the whole clue backwards.
6d “Traitor!” read Gene Wilder (8)
RENEGADE: An anagram (wilder) of READ GENE.
7d Phone book, skipping first two entries, shows clerical residence (7)
RECTORY: A nine-letter word for a phone book with the first two letter removed (skipping first two entries).
10d Agitated leader ran up in total excitement (4,9)
PURE ADRENALIN: An anagram (agitated) of LEADER RAN UP IN.
16d Cancelled yearly large edition, losing top author (8)
ANNULLED: A seven-letter word meaning yearly and the abbreviations for large and edition from which you remove the first letter (top) of author. On its own, top, does not mean use the first letter. You would need top of…
18d Researchers coming from bottomless pit surrounded by traces of conflict (8)
SCHOLARS: Remove the last letter (bottomless) from a four-letter word for a pit and surround it with the marks that remain from a conflict if you are injured.
19d Bits of metal folded in sheets are essential supplies (7)
STAPLES: Double definition of paper fasteners and basic food stuffs. The link word here does not quite word as work as you have definition A are definition B that does not read grammatically.
20d Feeling confused as teens (7)
SENSATE: An anagram (confused) of AS TEENS.
22d Reason louse found in state (6)
SANITY: A three-letter word for a louse in a three-letter word meaning state.
24d ITunes remixed releases (6)
UNTIES: An anagram (remixed) of ITUNES.