The Stickler Weekly 177 Solution

Recently a friend contacted me wishing to reconnect with cryptic crosswords. He’s in his 40s and has dabbled with cryptics for extensive periods during parts of his life, but a stint overseas took him away from those he used to enjoy solving with. A renewed focus led him to me, as he searched the internet for help on Australian cryptics.
We met for coffee and discussed some recent Stickler Weeklys after going back to basics about clue structure the importance of identifying the definition by spotting likely wordplay elements. During our discussion I said something about setting that I don’t think I had realised before: “A setter generally looks for the simplest construction when making a clue, that is, the most obvious construction to the solver is probably the right one”. There are numerous ways to make clues hard, but intentionally making clues convoluted is not usually an option a setter takes. A solver’s first instinct on how a clue works is probably the right one, and if that doesn’t pan out, the second one is almost always going to get the job done. An experienced solver is one that has learnt the most likely way to work out a clue.
Inexperienced solvers tend to overthink things as the average clue can contain a multitude of solving possibilities, but, as the setter tends to follow the easiest construction path, they can be sure the most likely construction is probably the right one. A setter can exploit this, of course, but in subtle ways, not in ways that make a clue unnecessarily difficult.

Across Answers and Clues Explanations
1 ADMIRED
Appreciated problematical situation clarified in supplement (7) MIRE inside ADD
5 SPAT OUT
Solicitor employed by health resort should be discharged? (4,3) SPA + TOUT
9 BARGAIN BASEMENT
Barmen keeping profit low before opening of terrific discounter (7,8) BARMEN outside (GAIN + BASE) + (T)ERRIFIC
10 TALLOW
Fat, big, round and wide (6) TALL + O + W
11 FIREARMS
They were made to shoot auditor engaged by businesses (8) EAR inside FIRMS
13 HARVESTING
Have con punched by leader of rough gathering (10) (HAVE + STING) outside (R)OUGH
15 BALD
Blunt types with verbal diarrhoea (4) verBAL Diarrhoea
18 PIMP
Pressure applied to little devil to live off immoral earnings (4) P + IMP
19 FABRICATES
Wonderful crate is especially designed for coins (10) FAB + anagram of CRATE IS
21 CONFETTI
Bits of paper often misplaced in court by one (8) Anagram of OFTEN inside CT + I
22 CURARE
Copper added to especially good muscle relaxant (6) CU + RARE
25 PITHECANTHROPUS
Support chain twisted around the old man (15) Anagram of SUPPORT CHAIN outside THE
26 SPRAY-ON
Special silk material applied with an aerosol (5-2) SP + RAYON
27 BED-ROLL
Say something funny in sleeping bag (3-4) BE DROLL
 Down  Answers and Clues Explanations
1 ABBOTSHIP
Bishop received by bishop at new head monk’s office (9) B inside anagram of BISHOP AT
2 MORAL
Mass not written down right (5) M + ORAL
3 REASONED
A child in a rush thought logically (8) (A + SON) inside REED
4 DANK
Unpleasantly moist and awfully close to black (4) Anagram of AND + BLAC(K)
5 STATIONARY
Fixed on-air broadcast after time in suspension (10) [(Anagram of ONAIR) after T] inside STAY
6 APEXES
Primate raised sex’s high points (6) APE + (SEX reversed)
7 OVERREACT
Panic unsettled participants of race in public (9) Anagram of RACE inside OVERT
8 TITUS
Religious book titles – used – both 50% off (5) (TIT)les + (US)ed
12 STEAM TRAIN
Working animal group assembled in stock transporter (5,5) TEAM inside STRAIN
14 RUMINATOR
Reflective thinker, led by spirit, is ordered to Iran (9) RUM + anagram of TO IRAN
16 DISPERSAL
Press involved in ring’s break-up (9) Anagram of PRESS inside DIAL
17 ACQUIRED
Bought a number of sheets used in music collection (8) A + (QUIRE inside CD)
20 HERESY
Present, say, heartless opinion opposed to conventional belief? (6) HERE + S(a)Y
21 COPES
Manages law enforcers consuming drugs (5) COPS outside E
23 ASPRO
Australian painkiller was provided in some measure (5) wAS PROvided
24 STAB
Run through items ultimately on bill (4) ITEM(S) + TAB

 

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One Response to The Stickler Weekly 177 Solution

  1. Richard Sternes says:

    Last word on 25a – so simple & probably for me at least
    classic case of over-thinking (as above) – “steam train” was another.
    Will bear this weeks tutorial in mind for the future – David….

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