The Stickler Weekly 142 Solution

A former member of the ACC, Gizmo, told me a story once of his attempt to be included on the roster of setters of a well-known newspaper group, or at least, to join the list of those waiting in the wings. His contact at the newspaper group passed a sample from Gizmo onto some incumbent setters who completed the puzzle and responded with comments. On the whole the feedback was positive but a number of negatives were pointed out. Among them, and apparently mentioned by all those who tried his puzzle, was the use of “definition‘s” at the start of a clue. Such devices interest me because I believe nothing gets into a cryptic clue/crossword without at least some form of acceptance at some level by someone. That is, someone considered it OK to use, so there must be explainable justification. And there is. The question, though, is how complicated is that explanation and how hard would it be for a setter to explain or a solver to deduce? Any difficulty, IMO, kills a device for me. Some such devices have become ingrained and accepted, others that are actually OK, like this one, get pooh-poohed due to lack of understanding. Here, the “‘s” isn’t possessive but an abbreviation for “is” or “has” (definition is/has), the latter I don’t like as a linker but still it can be interpreted that way. The “‘s” topic popped up on Derek Harrison’s Message Board but solely when used as “has” in wordplay to join components. You’ll notice its use this way was not universally accepted, but ultimately (after a bit of effort) an example was found to justify its use in this manner. (I don’t like it from a grammatical point-of-view, so I don’t use it). It’s the unobvious nature of this device when used in the wordplay part that makes it questionable for me – just imagine trying to explain it to a newbie. Of course, if you see it used often enough it becomes acceptable even if not fully understood, but that makes it deficient IMO. In the case of Gizmo, the setters who attempted his sample cryptic clearly hadn’t understood how “definition‘s” worked, and even though it’s perfectly acceptable as a substitute for “is” and “has” at the start of a clue, they flagged its use as faulty.

Across Answers and Clues Explanations
1 HEADDRESS
Crown, say, male before speech (9) HE + ADDRESS
6 SEMI
Transporter retrieved section of timesheet (4) tIMESheet reversed
10 RAGES
Parties for, ultimately, a long time (5) FO(R) + AGES
11 GLAMOROUS
Beautiful girl losing heart in love (9) G(ir)L + AMOROUS
12 INERRANT
True north needed in rocky terrain (8) N inside anagram of TERRAIN
13 SKIING
One wearing thin outer layer garment primarily for winter sport (6) I inside SKIN + (G)ARMENT
15 STYMIE
Animal enclosure that is behind medium-sized block (6) STY + (IE after M)
16 EXTRACT
Minor player joining act and sharing a passage (7) EXTR (A) CT
18 RIP
A potentially dangerous section of beach is opening (3) Double Definition
19 NOMINEE
Agent turned on source of coal and energy (7) ON reversed + MINE + E
21 ABATED
A temperature in a hospital unit decreased (6) (A + T) inside (A + BED)
24 ODDITY
They’d do it all wrong without input from the freak (6) Anagram of THEYD DO IT minus THE
25 STONE AGE
One travelling by Cobb & Co. a long time ago? (5,3) ONE inside STAGE
27 INSENSATE
Elected politicians finally entering legislative body may be unresponsive (9) IN + POLITICIAN(S) inside SENATE
28 HOIST
Lift is externally affected by burning (5) IS inside HOT
29 GLEE
Output from Google excited Joy (4) gooGLE Excited
30 DETERGENT
Put off fellow cleaner (9) DETER + GENT
 Down  Answers and Clues Explanations
1 HEROIC
Hot leader of Tudors leaving sexy noble (6) H + [EROTIC minus (T)UDORS]
2 AUGMENT
Grow a variety of nutmeg (7) A + anagram of NUTMEG
3 DISCRIMINATING
Particular record one minister included in classification (14) DISC + [(I + MIN) inside RATING]
4 ENGINEERED
Planned design probed by disgruntled greenie (10) END outside anagram of GREENIE
5 SEAL
Member of colony may be close (4) Double Definition
7 EXOTICA
Mixture of toxic elements in each group of foreign objects (7) Anagram of TOXIC inside EA
8 INSIGHTS
Lives impacted by things changing perceptive observations (8) Anagram of THINGS inside IS
9 ROCKET LAUNCHER
Shock damaged the nuclear weapon (6,8) ROCK + anagram of THE NUCLEAR
14 DEPARTMENT
Section tampered with Reformation books of religious significance (10) Anagram of TAMPERED + NT
17 SNOOPING
Access code pinched by hired thugs set back espionage (8) PIN inside (GOONS reversed)
20 MODISTE
Fashionable dressmaker and poet housed by the writer (7) ODIST inside ME
22 EXAMINE
Hacker uploaded explosive research (7) AXE reversed + MINE
23 SEPTET
Music group’s recording time taken during items played (6) (EP + T) inside SET
26 CARD
Joker, perhaps, in more ways than one (4) Double Definition

 

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One Response to The Stickler Weekly 142 Solution

  1. Richard Sternes says:

    & I’ve learned a different Device this morning David.
    IMO = In My Opinion? …………. never too old ………