A Puzzle by Azuna
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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. We 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.
Although easier than the previous two crosswords Azuna has produced, unfortunately the quality of the cluing has taken a leap backwards with the commentometer reading as 8.5/30 or 28.3%. Previous reviews have highlighted the need only to use abbreviations used in the major dictionaries so it was disappointing to find that the use of unrecognized abbreviations continues unabated. Also, there were too many clues where a word in the clue was simply transplanted into the solution.
9a Vertical line glued into randomly (9)
LONGITUDE: An anagram (randomly) of GLUED INTO.
10a Reaction from bovine heralded by red (5)
REDOX: A two-letter word for a bovine animal preceded (heralded) by the RED from the clue. Perhaps having a synonym for red would be better here. “Reaction from bovine heralded by Rosy” would work and improve the surface reading.
11a Quartz and others mostly a group of four (7)
QUARTET: Remove the final letters (mostly) from the Quartz from the clue and a three-letter abbreviation for “and others”. Another clue where the majority of the solution is found in the clue.
12a Dream of one magazine without extreme letters (7)
IMAGINE: The letter represented by one followed by the magazine from the clue without the AZ (extreme letters). The third clue in a row here most of the letters in the solution are given in the clue.
13a Make changes to current reflection (4)
EDIT: A reversal (reflection) of a four-letter word for a current.
14a Art master ensnared by unending trust to office (10)
DEPARTMENT: The ART from the clue and the abbreviation for master inside (ensnared) by a six letter word meaning trust and the to from the clue each with the final letter removed (unending).
16a Host for the time being (7)
PRESENT: Double definition.
17a Development Indian backed gets constructed (7)
DEVISED: A three-letter abbreviation for development followed by a reversal (backed) of four-letter meaning authentically Indian. The abbreviation for development is not given in the main dictionaries and should not, therefore, be used.
19a Some doctors caught in slight pause at heart hurrying for explanation (10)
COMMENTARY: The abbreviation for Ear, Nose and Throat (some doctors) inside (caught in) a five-letter word for a punctuation mark that is indicates a pause followed by the inner letters (at heart) of hurrying.
22a Women surrender to Conservatives in blow to union (4)
BLOC: Replace the abbreviation for women with the abbreviation for Conservatives in the word blow in the clue. Strictly, the abbreviation is for Conservative, not Conservatives. Also, for the cryptic reading of the clue to work, you need A surrenders to B, not A surrender to B.
25a Splitting task, replacing Mike with Yousef in the end (7)
FISSION: A seven-letter word meaning a task with the letter represented by Mike in the NATO phonetic alphabet replaced with the final letter (in the end) of Yousef. Getting the balance of clues right is difficult. I avoid two swap the letters clues in a row.
26a Fired that man smuggling uranium-producing metal (7)
LITHIUM: A three-letter word meaning fired or ignited followed by a three-letter word meaning that man that includes (smuggling) the chemical symbol for uranium.
27a Dipping from South Africa originally used chillis excessively (5)
SAUCE: The abbreviation for South Africa followed by the first letters (originally) of the final three words of the clue. Dipping is given in Chambers as a mixture into which food may be dipped.
28a It goes up and down, ignoring oddly all action during scare back at the start (9)
ESCALATOR: The even letters (ignoring oddly) in all action inside (during) the scare from the clue with the final letter moved to the front (back at the start).
1d Bacteria taking quality from top of gum (6)
PLAQUE: Cryptic definition of a type of bacteria found in the mouth.
2d Some species from India drip inside vase (8)
INVASIVE: The internet domain name for India followed by the abbreviation for intravenous drip inside the VASE from the clue. There are far too many clues in the crossword where you simply take a word from the clue and use it in the solution.
3d Registers to half-off Lisbon tours outside (5)
LISTS: Half of the word Lisbon followed by the outer letter of tours. Strictly for the cryptic grammar to work, you need tours’ outside. Also, you cannot have a cryptic reading of definition to wordplay.
4d Ratio not quite out of place (8)
QUOTIENT: An anagram (out of place) of NOT QUITE.
5d It helps you see concerning metal trade, essentially (6)
RETINA: A two-letter word meaning concerning followed by a three-letter type of metal and the inner letters (essentially) of trade.
6d Taking the initiative to demonstrate adopting uncovered tactic (9)
PROACTIVE: A five-letter word meaning to demonstrate or show around (adopting) the inner letters (uncovered) of tactic.
7d Respect man interrupting commercial with anger (6)
ADMIRE: The abbreviation for man inside a two-letter abbreviation for a commercial and a three-letter word for anger. M for man is another abbreviation not found in the dictionaries.
8d Stretch dislodged and cramped muscle as required (8)
EXPECTED: A six-letter word meaning stretch without the N (and) includes (cramped) a three-letter word for a type of muscle.
15d Gave new meaning to graceful containing heart of ordeal (9)
REDEFINED: A seven-letter word meaning graceful includes the middle letters (heart) of ordeal. Another clue where there is a repetition of a wordplay indicator (heart was used in 19a).
16d They prefer peace but mostly pack a punch (8)
PACIFIST: All but the last letter (mostly) of pack followed by a letter representing one (a) and a four-letter word for punch. Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators. Mostly to delete the final letter has already been used in 11a. The definition implies a plural solution. Perhaps “One prefers peace…”
17d Previously surrounded by dead weight after 26 abandoned (8)
DERELICT: A three-letter word meaning previously surrounded by the abbreviation for dead, the chemical symbol for the answer to 26a and the abbreviation for carat (weight).
18d Note provisional agreement on focus of music behind street performers (8)
SOLOISTS: A two-letter musical note followed by the abbreviation for letters of intent (provisional agreement) and the middle letter (focus) of music after the abbreviation for street. The abbreviation for letters of intent is not given in the main dictionaries and it should not therefore be used in a clue.
20d Parent embraces utilisation of public building (6)
MUSEUM: A three-letter word for a parent around (embraces) a three-letter word for utilisation. Some editors will not allow a construction wordplay of definition.
21d Mess around with bank to frame North Korea (6)
TINKER: A four-letter word for a bank around an abbreviation for North Korea. I am assuming that this is the internet domain name. As domain names are not given in dictionaries, they should not be used without some indication that it is a domain name that is required.
23d Snapper in America curiously lacking eye (6)
CAMERA: An anagram (curiously) of AMERICA without the letter pronounced as EYE. I think that a homophone indicator is required to get from eye to I.
24d Made out steps to identify technique (5)
STYLE: A homophone (made out) of stile (steps).