Well, it seems to have been quite a few weeks since I last posted a new puzzle. I have a few “works in progress” but I’ve been busy and haven’t been able to put my mind to getting them into a fit state to be published. But here’s one I’ve managed to finish off, and I hope there’ll be more to follow soon.

There are a couple of really good clues in this one, even if I say so myself!



5 Responses to XWD009

  1. Eileen McKellican says:

    Thanks for this, Dave – very enjoyable. I’ve been looking forward to the next one and it didn’t disappoint.

    I’ve been trying to work out which are the two clues you’re most proud of. My favourites were 11, 23,ac and 5,[easy to solve but lovely surface]6, 8, 12, 15, 19 and 22dn [although isn’t the rule that ‘man’ needs a capital?] Perhaps I’ll go for 11ac and 12dn? [Or perhaps you meant ‘a couple’ to mean more than two ;-)]

    Now the doubts – and some of these you may feel are really nit-picking:
    Cuban = PANATELA? And is ‘roasted’ really better than the usual ‘cooked’? [We usually say ‘roast, anyway, don’t we?]
    20ac: I’d have preferred ‘seat / site of oracle’ for Delphi.
    25ac: ‘criticise’ seems a little mild for DENOUNCE.
    But that’s all! I really enjoyed this, so thanks again.

    [re 2dn: perhaps you know that ELAN appeared in yesterday’s FT as ‘an antelope’s short dash’. It’s amazing how often we see ELAN[D]!]

    Please keep at it!

  2. dave says:

    Thanks, Eileen – really appreciate the kind words. 5d and 8d are my own favourites – mainly for the smoothness of the surface readings, which I find is the hardest part of writing a cryptic crossword clue (I was pleased with 11a but don’t think it reads quite as well).

    You’re right about 22d, but I gave up trying to make it work in a way that would look right with a cap M.

    And you’re also right to query 9a – on reflection, Cuban isn’t really a valid definition. It needs to be “possibly Cuban” or something like that.

    I missed yesterday’s FT – thanks for the tip-off. That’s a really neat clue. I’m not surprised it’s a word that crops up so often – having four common letters means it must be a handy gap-filler.

  3. Eileen McKellican says:

    Hi again Dave

    I’m not at all surprised to know that 5 and 8dn are your favourites – and they’d go down well on Cryptica. The surfaces are brilliant and, as you see, they were among my top ones but – I did get them straightaway, through ‘scrambled’ and ‘revolutionary’. But then again, as you know, I’m among the first to defend Rufus’s ‘easy’ clues, so long as they’re elegant, which these certainly were. [‘Scrambled eggs’, of course, immediately brings to mind that episode of ‘Drop the dead donkey’.]

    The more I think about it, my top favourite has to be 12dn, which was much more of a challenge – so many diversions!
    I’m used to the ‘Sharpe novel’ device though I don’t always immediately recognise it! The last outing I remember was ‘Austen novel’, but I can’t recall where or when.
    Then there’s ‘soldier’, which is usually two letters only, like RE, RM, GI …
    … and ‘drops in’, which indicates an insertion into [Sharpe]*
    so I spend ages trying to come up with ‘some other way of putting’ the foregoing – until the penny drops and the surface becomes beautifully clear – it’s lovely!

  4. All perfectly solvable, and plenty of good clues. Not quite so impressed by 5D – a name like Steph says “I am anagram fodder” unless there’s a reason for it to be Steph rather than anyone else. Same at 26 where “Grey” is a bit sore-thumb. With Eileen on capitalisation and 9A’s def.

    Among clues not already mentioned, I liked 14, and the gross imagery of 3. I’d have liked 16 too, _if_ the police had lieutenants.

  5. dave says:

    Thanks for the comments, Pete. As one who is still a novice at this game, I consider “all perfectly solvable” quite a compliment, so thanks for that.

    Fair point about the mysterious Steph – that and the obvious anagram indicator make it much easier to solve than it might be, but as per previous comment, it was the smoothness of the surface that I was particularly pleased with. If I can keep that while making the clue more challenging (yet still fair, of course) that would be the ideal.

    Re 16: I’ve probably been watching The Wire too much recently – the Baltimore police do have Lieutenants. Shame there are no British police ranks beginning with L.

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