A Puzzle by Dr Diva
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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:
Welcome back to Dr Diva. Whilst the clues were simpler than your previous crossword, in places the cryptic grammar was looser meaning that the commentometer is slightly higher at 3/30 or 10%.
7a Additional extract from “Nero: Murderous Revolutionary” (4)
MORE: The answer is hidden (extract from) and reversed (revolutionary) in the fourth and fifth words of the clue.
8a Time spent in suitably entertaining Mum or Dad, it seems (10)
APPARENTLY: A five-letter word meaning suitably excludes (spent) the abbreviation for time and includes a six-letter word meaning a mum or dad.
10a Lays out latest information objectives (6)
SPENDS: The abbreviation for starting price (latest information) followed by a four-letter word meaning objectives.
11a In the US most smart elite fighters sleep endlessly (8)
SASSIEST: The abbreviation for the Special Air Service (elite fighters) followed by a six-letter word for an afternoon sleep with the final letter removed (endlessly).
12a Celeb‘s actually present?!! (2,6)
IN PERSON: The solution might fancifully describe a celebrity that is the latest rage.
14a Substitute picked up East End girl’s tests (6)
ERSATZ: A homophone of ER (East End girl) SATS (tests).
16a At the outset students have zero responsibility (4)
ONUS: The letter representing zero before (at the outset) followed by the abbreviation for the National Union of Students. The cryptic grammar does not quite work both with the positional indicator and the have would need to be having to work correctly. Perhaps students initially having zero responsibility.
17a Seaman overwhelmed by smack addiction (5)
HABIT: The abbreviation for Able Seaman inside (overwhelmed by) a three-letter word meaning to smack.
18a Bring Frenchman’s chopper back to test (4)
EXAM: A reversal (bring … back) of the abbreviation for monsieur (Frenchman) and a three-letter word for an axe. Whilst I think that the wordplay of bring A + B back works, the cryptic reading of “bring A has B back dos not. “Frenchman’s chopper brought back for test” as suggested by Silvanus would work.
19a Insist on something that’s bound to be successful in audition (6)
ASSERT: A homophone (in audition) of a cert (something that’s bound to be successful).
21a Resolve impasse with constant distraction (8)
ESCAPISM: An anagram (resolve) of IMPASSE C (constant).
23a Prevent others having shower (8)
RESTRAIN: A four-letter word meaning others followed by a four-letter word for a shower.
26a Brutal campaign ultimately wiped out plant (6)
VIOLET: A seven-letter word for brutal with the final letter (ultimately) of campaign removed (wiped out).
27a Basically, current ambassador let lady remove notice (10)
INHERENTLY: The abbreviation for electrical current followed by the abbreviation for an ambassador, a four-letter word meaning to let or lease property and the lady from the clue without (remove) the abbreviation for advertisement (notice). The cryptic grammar here jars slightly as it resolves to A + B + C remove D where it should be removing D. Perhaps “Basically, current ambassador split with lady without notice”.
28a Where Dawn can be seen in gorge topless (4)
EAST: A five-letter word meaning to gorge or eat abundantly without the first letter (topless).
1d Half-hearted remarks about leaders in Peugot ordering Nissan parts (10)
COMPONENTS: An eight-letter word for remarks with the central MM reduced to a single M (half-hearted) around the initial letters (leaders in) of the sixth to eighth words of the clue. The car manufacturer is Peugeot.
2d Randomly renamed son’s snakes (8)
MEANDERS: An anagram (randomly) of RENAMED S (son).
3d Start off modifying Seats in Detroit for lots of people (6)
MASSES: The initial letter (start off) of modifying followed by an American word (in Detroit) for bottoms or seats.
4d Look for potential (8)
PROSPECT: Double definition.
5d Essentially band’s vices debased pieces of Heavy Metal (6)
ANVILS: The central letters (essentially) of band followed by a five-letter word for vices or ills without the initial E (de-based).
6d Unfortunately almost every piece of salad gets used up (4)
ALAS: A reversal (used up) for the salad from the clue without the final letter (almost every piece).
9d Discharge some users upon returning (3)
PUS: The answer is hidden (some) and reversed (returning) in the third and fourth words of the clue.
13d Impressive turning barge around, changing direction from West to North (5)
NOBLE: A reversal (turning … around) of a five-letter word meaning barge with the W in the word (West) changed to an N (north).
15d Lying over identity-altering poetry? (10)
TRANSVERSE: Split 5,5 this may indicate poetry written by a person who identifies with a gender that is not their gender assigned at birth.
17d Dilemma of someone who doesn’t like taking over the weeding primarily (3,5)
HOT WATER: A five-letter for someone who does not like people or things includes (taking) the initial letters (primarily) of eight to tenth word of the clue.
18d Look after European politician’s young, energetic dog initially in work (8)
EMPLOYED: A two-letter word meaning look after the abbreviation for a European member of followed by the initial letters of the fifth to seventh words of the clue. Successive clues with initial letter wordplay in a row could have been avoided.
20d Admire focus of UNESCO bringing Assembly back (6)
ESTEEM: The middle letter (focus) of UNESCO followed by a reversal (back) of a four-letter word for an assembly.
22d Transports no new flocks of birds (6)
COVEYS: A seven-letter word for transports without the abbreviation for new.
24d Nose put out of joint for ages (4)
EONS: An anagram (put out of joint) of NOSE.
25d Bollock colonel over the phone (3)
NUT: A homophone (over the phone) of colonel. All of the dictionaries give bollocks as a plural noun so this would preclude its use in the singular.