A Puzzle by Jeemz
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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.
Since last summer the wait time for publication of Rookie Corner puzzles has been at least a few months, which might be discouraging for new setters trying to hone their setting skills in response to the feedback provided here. The queue is now significantly shorter, and so we encourage new or existing rookie compilers who wish to take advantage of this opportunity for faster publication to send their puzzles to bdSubmissions@outlook.com.
Jeemz continues to impress and has made steady progress since his first crossword where the commentometer was an eye-watering 31.5%. Today, with only a couple of minor comments, the scores on the doors are 1.5/28 or 5.4%. Whilst I know that the queue in the Rookie Corner is light, after a run of crosswords with only a few minor points, I think it is time to move Jeemz upstairs.
1a Cringed when Commanding Officer gambled, losing a grand (7)
COWERED: The abbreviation for Commanding Officer followed by a seven-letter word meaning gambled with the A from the clue and the abbreviation for grand.
5a High-schooler’s tagging Unionist member a lot (7)
UMPTEEN: A four-letter word for a person over the age of 12 and under 20 after (tagging) the abbreviation for Unionist and the abbreviation for member of parliament.
9a Crazily dive with us – and in the dark! (9)
UNADVISED: An anagram (crazily) of DIVE US AND.
10a Sibling’s issue exposed in Brownie ceremony (5)
NIECE: The answer is hidden (exposed) in the final two words of the clue.
11a Old company receives tax kickback for book format (6)
OCTAVO: The abbreviations for old and company include (receives) a reversal (kickback) of a tax on goods and services.
12a Presentation on stronghold of French discounted (7)
RECITAL: The two-letter abbreviation for on followed by a seven-letter word for a stronghold without (discounted) the French word meaning of.
14a Special constable joining an investigation… (4)
SCAN: The abbreviation for special constable followed by the AN from the clue.
15a … reports on those who are late (10)
OBITUARIES: Cryptic definition.
17a Provoke cut back on dubious race bet (10)
EXACERBATE: A three-letter word meaning cut is reversed (back) and followed by an anagram (dubious) of RACE BET.
18a Shelf for the birds unfinished… (4)
SILL: A five-letter word meaning for the birds or daft had the final letter removed (unfinished).
20a …now involved in kerfuffle to get tool (7)
BRADAWL: The abbreviation for Anno Domini (now) inside (involved in) a five-letter word for a kerfuffle or fight.
21a Countless ordinands regularly follow Holy Moly (6)
MYRIAD: The even letters (regularly) of ordinands after (follow) a two-letter word meaning holy moly. I don’t think that the clue would work as holy meaning remove the middle letters from moly. You would need holey and there is no homophone indicator in the clue. The follow leads to definition A follow B, which would be better as A following B.
23a Key loophole detected (5)
ISLET: A homophone (detected) of eyelet (loophole).
24a Often fancies sporadically cutting off residency rights (9)
TENANCIES: The first two words of the clue without (cutting) the letters in off. As the letter have to be removed from two separate words, I think that the sporadically is required here. If they were in the same word (whether together or split), I would be less concerned about the absence of an indicator that the letters are not removed as a block.
25a Stitched up special uniforms taking time with scarlet fringing (7)
SUTURED: The abbreviation for special and the abbreviation for uniform repeated include the abbreviation for time followed by a three-letter word for scarlet.
26a Rejects supporters (7)
SECONDS: Double definition (the rejects being those goods that are sold at a lower price as they have a defect.
1d Vintage Times puzzle (4)
CRUX: A three-letter word for vintage wine followed by the letter meaning times.
2d Audibly witness a parrot under the influence producing something unmemorable (15)
WHATCHAMACALLIT: A homophone (audibly) of WATCH (witness) A MACAW (parrot) LIT (under the influence).
3d Spill the beans on meat (6)
REVEAL: A two-letter word meaning on followed by a four-letter word for a type of meat. Avoid repeating wordplay indicators.
4d Confounded record album booted out (15)
DISCOMBOBULATED: A four-letter word for a musical record followed by an anagram (out) of ALBUM BOOTED.
5d Distortions covered up by financial reports (15)
UNDERSTATEMENTS: A five-letter word meaning covered up followed by a ten-letter word for financial reports.
6d Reviews set about top-notch American nostrums (8)
PANACEAS: A four-letter word meaning reviews around (set about) a three-letter word meaning top-notch and the abbreviation for American. I think that the clue needs some indication that the solution required critical reviews. Critical reviews about… would be much better.
7d Effect of getting charged with ecstasy? (15)
ELECTRIFICATION: Double definition.
8d Down-and-out, having accepted take away, left for no reason (10)
NEEDLESSLY: A five-letter word meaning down-and-out or impoverished includes (having accepted) a four letter word meaning take away or deduct and the abbreviation for left. The clue would have worked better with takeaway but, as this would involved an unindicated lift and separate, perhaps you could have had Down-and-out consuming portions of takeaway literally left for no reason.
13d Unorthodox mass belies conventions (10)
ASSEMBLIES: An anagram (unorthodox) of MASS BELIES.
16d Leading light Democrat’s age means some constituents are fed up (8)
MEGASTAR: The answer is hidden (some constituents) and reversed (are fed up) in the third to fifth words of the clue.
19d Mocking press gains heart from criticisms (6)
IRONIC: A four-letter word meaning press followed by the central two letters (heart) of criticism.
22d Invites a King’s son to catch start of shoot (4)
ASKS: The A from the clue and the abbreviations for king and son include (to catch) the initial letter (start) of shoot.