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. The cluing in this crossword was very tight and fair and the only comments are not on the technical details but on the fine polishing of the clues. The commentometer reads as 1.5 / 26 or 5.8%. I think we have another candidate for the NTSPP.
7a Slug caught in early stage of development (7)
DRAUGHT: A homophone (caught) of draft (in the early stages of development).
8a During speech, welcome, perhaps, Harlow’s sanitation (7)
HYGIENE: A homophone (during speech) of hi (welcome) Jean (perhaps Harlow).
10a Stretch point (6)
PERIOD: Double definition of a stretch of time and a punctuation mark.
11a Stupid admitting bad smell is “grim” (8)
INHUMANE: A five-letter word meaning stupid includes (admitting) a three-letter word for a bad smell.
12a Sell a blazer not entirely tailored for someone unpleasant (10)
SLEAZEBALL: An anagram (tailored) of SELL A BLAZER after removing the last letter (not entirely) of blazer.
14a The most important part about leaving ground (4)
PITH: The single letter representing circa (about) is removed from the middle of a five-letter word for part of a cricket or football ground.
15a Foil male heterosexual (8,3)
STRAIGHT MAN: Double definition, the first being the foil for a comedian.
19a Scuttles with shoes on, heading to the right (4)
HODS: A four-letter word meaning “with shoes on” with the first letter (heading) moved to right.
21a Dealing with expectation of opening batter heading for the middle? (10)
OVERCOMING: Split 4,6, this might be what an opening batsman expects with the first of six deliveries. I wonder whether the clue might be better without the “heading for the middle”, which not incorrect is perhaps over elaborating the clue?
22a Against American fighter making a comeback with rhetoric that’s ill-informed (8)
IGNORANT: A two-letter word meaning against and a two-letter word for an American soldier or fighter all reversed (making a comeback) and followed by a four-letter word for rhetoric. I might have chosen a closer synonym for the final four-letter word.
23a Even dropping hospital papers inside provides solutions (6)
FLUIDS: A five-letter word meaning even or level without (dropping) the abbreviation for hospital includes (inside) a two-letter word for papers.
24a Worked out prize is returned with virtually every draw at the outset (7)
EVOLVED: A four-letter word meaning to prize or admire is reversed (returned) and followed by the initial letters (at the outset) of the seventh to ninth words of of the clue.
25a It stings to let half of TV duo go (4,3)
FIRE ANT: Literally this would mean to sack Dec’s partner.
1d Tell vacuous lackey to get organised (7)
ORDERLY: A five-letter word meaning to tell or command followed by the outer letters (vacuously) of lackey.
2d Thoughtful pathologist’s findings when worker drowned in distilled molasses? (8)
RUMINANT: Split 3,2,3, this might described what a pathologist might find inside a worker insect that had drowned in the alcohol made from molasses.
3d Tesla should periodically crash (4)
THUD: The abbreviation for Tesla followed by the even-letters (periodically) of should.
4d Hic tipsily? It could be infectious (10)
SYPHILITIC: An anagram (it could be) of HIC TIPSILY.
5d Scrap plan to make digital image (6)
BITMAP: A three-letter word meaning a scrap followed by a three-letter word for a plan.
6d Frees a French king before the first signs of nationalist opposition turn sour (7)
UNKNOTS: The French masculine singular for a followed by the chess abbreviation for king and the initial letters (first signs of) the final four words of the clue. Perhaps having two clues with initial letters from a sequence of words is too much.
9d Live naked up giant tree, not normally dressing for dinner (11)
VINAIGRETTE: The inner letters (naked) of live are reversed (up) and followed by an anagram (not normally) of GIANT TREE.
13d Vanished with duty free, led by half of Geneva’s population initially (10)
EVAPORATED: A phrase (1,5) meaning duty free after (led by) the first half of the word Geneva and the initial letter of population.
16d Toughened up over eardrum bursting (8)
ARMOURED: An anagram (bursting) of O (over) EARDRUM.
17d Given no extraneous information to be enthralled by: make excuse! (7)
FORGIVE: Remove (no)a three-letter word for information from given and insert (to be enthralled by) the remaining letters into a five-letter word meaning to make something.
18d Annoyed about being dull (7)
ANODYNE: An anagram (about) of ANNOYED.
20d Defaces Spanish paintings (6)
SPOILS: The two-letter abbreviation for Spanish (given in Collins) followed by a four-letter word for paintings.
23d Decent payoff airline provides (4)
FAIR: The answer is hidden (provides) in the second and third words of the clue.