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.
Dharma continue to impress with his crosswords. Other than a faux pax with the name of Mr Starmer and repeating “start/starters/starter” as an initial word indicator, there was very little to pick up on in the comments. The commentometer is a respectable 2.5/29 or 8.6%
1a King getting into scrap leads to acrimonious divorce? (6)
BREXIT: A three-letter Latin word for a king inside (getting into) a three-letter word for a scrap or piece.
4a Sweet or rotten embrace according to Spooner (6)
HUMBUG: A Spoonerism of Bum (rotten) Hug (embrace).
8a State two answers to get around start of local prohibition … essentially lie! (7)
ALBANIA: The abbreviation for answer repeated (two answers) around the first letter (start) of local, a three-letter word for a prohibition and the middle letter (essentially) of lie.
9a After glass of beer gently rock from side to side, scratching head in the middle (7)
HALFWAY: A four-letter word for a small glass of beer followed by a four-letter word meaning gently rock from side to side without its initial letter (scratching head).
11a I see how hut’s turned into large abode (5,5)
WHITE HOUSE: An anagram (turned) of I SEE HOW HUT.
12a Likelihood of Desperate Dan scoffing all starters (4)
ODDS: The initial letters (all starters) of the second to fourth words of the clue. Try to avoid repetition of wordplay forms. We had start in 8a and starters in this clue.
13a Suggested sex after drunken act (5)
TACIT: A two-letter euphemism for sex after an anagram (drunken) of ACT.
14a Hunt, half cut largely it’s said in a sympathetic way (8)
HUMANELY: The first two letters (half cut) of hunt followed by a homophone (it’s said) of mainly (largely).
16a Surprisingly warm, open staff (8)
MANPOWER: An anagram (surprisingly) of WARM OPEN.
18a Secretion emanating from some hollowed out cheeks (5)
SEBUM: The outer letters (hollowed out) of some followed by a three-letter word for the backside (cheeks).
20a Entitled elite’s clothes shop (4)
DELI: The answer is hidden (clothes) in the first two words of the clue.
21a Wind resulted in stoppages (10)
INTERLUDES: An anagram (wind) of RESULTED IN.
23a Queen’s entrance? (7)
CATFLAP: Cryptic definition of where domestic pet (queen) may enter.
24a House hosting parties? (7)
COMMONS: Cryptic definition of one of the houses of parliament.
25a Students embraced by Starmer get Covid perhaps (6)
KILLER: The abbreviation for student twice inside (embraced by) the first name of the Labour Party leader. Oh Keiry me. I before E except after K. The cryptic grammar does not work either. The clue resolved to wordplay get definition. Using “getting” would overcome this.
26a Benefits of dogs with no lead (6)
ASSETS: A seven-letter word for a breed of dogs without (no lead) the first letter.
1d Cheat’s wife leaving for bishop causing big hiccup (5)
BELCH: A five-letter word meaning cheat with the initial W (wife) leaving and replace by B (bishop).
2d Supple cat lies here there and everywhere (7)
ELASTIC: An anagram (here, there and everywhere) of CAT LIES.
3d After cycling, PM supported by rising Tory moderates gets hearty meal (5,4)
IRISH STEW: The name of the current PM with the letters cycled followed (supported) by a reversal (rising) of a four-letter derogatory term used for Tory moderates.
5d Posh to talk up Becks’ second operation (5)
USAGE: The single letter for posh followed by a reversal (up) of a three-letter word meaning to talk and the second letter of Beck.
6d Idiot …. or expert shortly to lose a bit of savvy (7)
BUFFOON: A four-letter word for an expert followed by a four-letter word meaning shortly without the S (to lose a bit of savvy).
7d Macron’s big hit, a notable achievement? (5,4)
GRAND SLAM: The French (Macron’s) for big followed by a four-letter word meaning hit. Unfortunately, the clue also works with coup as the second word of the solution.
10d Expert‘s consent (9)
AUTHORITY: Double definition.
13d Seal deal with Zuckerberg? (9)
TRADEMARK: A five-letter word meaning deal followed by the first name of my Zukerberg.
15d Fungus, beginning to sprout grows rapidly (9)
MUSHROOMS: An eight-letter word for a type of fungus followed by the first-letter (beginning to) of sprout.
17d Tender 75% settled, entirely ignoring outsiders (7)
PAINFUL: The first three-letters (75%) of a four-letter word meaning settled followed by a phrase (2,4) meaning entirely without the outer letters (ignoring outsiders).
19d Upper class males captivated by cheese from The Midlands? (7)
BRUMMIE: The single letter meaning upper-class and the abbreviation for male twice inside (captivated) by a four-letter name of a type of runny cheese.
21d Out to lunch, forgoing starter of soup is foolish (5)
INANE: A six-letter word meaning mad (out to lunch) without (forgoing) the first letter (starter) of soup. Another repletion of start / starters / start to indicate the initial letter. The is as a link word does not really work as the cryptic definition resolved to wordplay is definition.
22d Shot seen around middle of fairway … we want eagles! (5)
ERNES: An anagram (shot) of SEEN around the middle letter of fairway.