The Stickler Weekly 145 Solution

A few weeks ago I saw a themed cryptic (of sorts) that was quite unusual: it had the “theme” (a set of related items) hidden in the solution squares, yet the crossword itself had nothing to do with the theme. That is, the clues and the answers had no relationship with the hidden theme words, in fact, instructions were added to allow solvers to “play the game” with the completed grid. I guess you could claim that the puzzle was flexible in that it could be solved like normal and left, or it could be solved and enjoyed for those interested. In a normal theme puzzle, the theme itself (once discovered) should assist a solver by limiting what certain answers could be. Likewise, if a message or words are hidden in the letters in the grid, a solver may deduce what’s needed and this allows them to preload the grid with letters of answers that are not yet solved. I know some love themed crosswords, but in my experience they can be hit-or-miss as the theme may not be a strong area for a solver, or like me, constant cross-referencing (where used) serves as an intolerable distraction. Theme crosswords can also feel a little forced, as words get used that may not be chosen by a setter under normal circumstances due to the difficulty of clueing them. The result may be some ordinary clues all in the name of adding to the theme.

Across Answers and Clues Explanations
1 NUMERACY
Menu redefined with crude and basic competence in mathematics (8) Anagram of MENU + RACY
5 PLANES
People movers parking next to narrow roads (6) P + LANES
10 TROOP
Company not having much capital backing after short time (5) POOR reversed after T
11 OPERATIVE
Ring private involved with drug running (9) O + anagram of PRIVATE
12 WELL-DOCUMENTED
Supported by evidence, we will execute men in possession of precious diamonds (4-10) WE’LL + DO + (MEN inside CUTE) + D
14 RAGE
Fashion writer’s final season (4) WRITE(R) + AGE
15 ORDNANCE
Arms once injected with right genetic material (8) ONCE outside (R + DNA)
18 ARK
Animal transporter is heading off from nature-reserve (3) P(ARK)
19 HOTHOUSE
Delicate tube with core measuring one thousandth of an inch (8) THOU inside HOSE
20 ICON
Computer image, one linked to scam (4) I + CON
23 INFERIOR PLANET
One flyer, breaking through frontier, manoeuvred orbiter close to the sun (8,6) I + (PLANE inside anagram of FRONTIER)
26 IMPARTIAL
One joined with power bound by military objective (9) I + (P inside MARTIAL)
27 AGENT
Business manager is not contracted after a period of time (5) NT after AGE
28 MALADY
Illness youngster incubated in a period of days (6) LAD inside MAY
29 ACCEPTED
Did something about mushroom generally approved (8) ACTED outside CEP
 Down  Answers and Clues Explanations
1 NOTEWORTHY
Striking, not strange theory, based around tungsten (10) NOT + anagram of THEORY outside W
2 MOONLIGHT
Way of working on delicate work at a secondary job (9) MO + ON + LIGHT
3 RAPIDS
Part of a flower that’s unsettled by attacks involving pests initially (6) RAIDS outside (P)ESTS
4 CROUCH
Lie close to the ground, right between blades of grass (6) R inside COUCH
6 LEARNING
Pupil ultimately receiving scholarship (8) PUPI(L) + EARNING
7 NAIVE
Innocent local not taking time (5) NATIVE minus T
8 SEEP
Goes to the toilet in retreat to leak (4) PEES reversed
9 DENMARK
European men worked in unenlightened state (7) Anagram of MEN inside DARK
13 REINSTATED
Control determined by agreement is brought back (10) REIN + STATED
15 ORE
Mineral deposits located in major excavation (3) majOR Excavation
16 NO CONTEST
Unfair competition upset prisoner on trial (2,7) CON reversed + ON + TEST
17 DOG-EARED
Work, adjusted, is shabby (3-5) DO + GEARED
18 ASPIRIN
Sufferer at the end, in pain, is treated with painkiller (7) SUFFERE(R) in anagram of PAIN IS
21 FROLIC
Close friend, badly missing out, needs to have fun (6) Anagram of CLOSE FRIEND minus NEEDS
22 PLEASE
Satisfy rental agreement after start of proceedings (6) LEASE after (P)ROCEEDINGS
24 NEPAL
Country residents of Constantine palace (5) constantiNE PALace
25 FIRM
Tree farm not securing very much business (4) FIR + (FARM minus FAR)

 

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