The Stickler Weekly 136 Solution

It seems a natural thing in crossword circles to try and create something different for solvers to tackle, rather than have essentially the same kind of cryptic puzzle every time. Notable variations include the theme crossword (and its many forms), different grid types (as with The Listener), and the Alphabetical Jigsaw (AJ). The AJ traditionally has 26 answers (I have seen variations), each starting with a different letter of the alphabet, and no indication of where the answers should go (hence to “jigsaw” element of the puzzle). John Graham, or Araucaria, is credited with the invention of the AJ which reportedly first appeared in the 1970s. I love AJs as I think they are tests for the setter in construction AND the solver in construction, with advantages on both sides. A setter is obviously restricted in what they can use and the less common starting letters like Q, X, Y, Z and J make clue-writing quite a challenge. A setter, of course, can use more unusual words than they normally would and use a grid construction that wouldn’t be considered OK for everyday cryptics (with lots of missing initials). On the other hand, the solver knows what they are looking for and has the added bonus of a secondary puzzle, a jigsaw, although a number of clues need to be solved before grid filling can start.
The Australian Crossword Club’s magazine, CrOzworld, has had an AJ almost from the start, that’s 100s of AJs and variations – if you like them, download some published CrOzworlds. If I remember right, as the magazine was finding its feet, an AJ was published and the members enjoyed it so much they asked if there could be one every issue. I had a similiar experience doing the Australian Financial Review (AFR) crossword. I sent in an AJ as a one-off and the response was so positive that the editor asked if I could do one every week! I gracefully declined, saying how much extra effort was involved and the limited choices there were for appropriate words.
Some of my early cryptics were in fact AJs as I was one of the few setters with software that could help in devising them. I haven’t done a new one for a while (you can’t for obvious reasons do an online version) but this little spiel may inspire me.

Across Answers and Clues Explanations
1 UNIMPAIRED
Campus representative broadcasted all right (10) UNI + MP + AIRED
6 CHAP
Fellow with cheek (4) Double Definition
10 DINETTE
Catcher of fish, restricted by tide, prepared food outlet (7) NET inside anagram of TIDE
11 GROUNDS
Guard primarily patrols property around a house (7) (G)UARD + ROUNDS
12 READYING
Preparing lesson about conclusion of essay (8) READING outside ESSA(Y)
13 DRIVE
Push briskly right inside disreputable place (5) R inside DIVE
15 RIP-OFF
Pop mostly used in copied music scam (3-3) (PO)P inside RIFF
16 ADENOIDS
Glandular tissue and node given treatment in view of assistants (8) Anagram of NODE inside AIDS
18 TERRIBLE
Bad guy, left hanging in tree, moved around (8) (RIB + L) inside anagram of TREE
20 DROP IN
Visit private investigator punching doctor at work (4,2) PI inside (DR + ON)
22 SLING
Get rid of a sweet mixed drink (5) Double Definition
24 BRUTALLY
Famous backstabber killing American friend in cold blood (8) (BRUTUS minus US) + ALLY
26 RADIANT
Bright helper held back in tirade (7) AID reversed inside RANT
27 LIGNITE
Coal left to burn (7) L + IGNITE
28 MISO
Soy product is swallowed in quick time (4) IS inside MO
29 BRIDGEHEAD.
Raised ground the man spotted in poor fortified position in enemy territory (10) (RIDGE + HE) inside BAD.
 Down  Answers and Clues Explanations
1 URDU
Faction in Jaipur dumped official national language (4) jaipUR DUmped
2 INNKEEPER
Secret about spy upset publican (9) INNER outside (PEEK reversed)
3 PATE DE FOIE GRAS
Fat geese dip or a cooked appetiser, perhaps? (4,2,4,4) Anagram of FAT GEESE DIP OR A
4 IBERIA
Head away from region of Russia and European peninsula (6) S(IBERIA)
5 ENGAGED
Crack and ecstasy, carried by target, may be taken (7) (GAG + E) inside END
7 HANOI
Asian capital has cut off one following negative response (5) (HA)S + (I after NO)
8 POSSESSING
Having law enforcement groups tell all (10) POSSES + SING
9 GOLDEN TRIANGLE
Source of drugs, noted girl, messed up devious scheme (6,8) Anagram of NOTED GIRL + ANGLE
14 TRUTH SERUM
Repaired shutter with strange chemical that aids extraction (5,5) Anagram of SHUTTER + RUM
16 AGE
Get old, unbound contents of book? (3) P(AGE)S
17 IMPULSIVE
I am lifted up by extraordinary lives characterised by spontaneous actions (9) IM + (UP reversed) + anagram of LIVES
19 LOBSTER
Large sorbet excited berry producer (7) L + anagram of SORBET
21 CURLED
Twisted person of despicable character went ahead (6) CUR + LED
23 INDUS
Religious believers beheaded group of stars (5) H(INDUS)
25 FEUD.
Dispute raising of outstanding fine (4) (DUE + F) reversed.

 

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