The Stickler Weekly 18 Solution

I regularly get asked how to get started in the crossword business. My first response is to say that there’s no money in crosswords as an individual (puzzle magazine companies like the Lovatts still prosper), and that the best someone can hope for is a little extra cash on top of a real job.

Since I started 18 years ago, the number of outlets in Australia has more than halved and new opportunities are non-existent. In fact, the need to reduce costs in print media and the availability of low-cost syndicated crosswords means you couldn’t find enough work to sustain a crossword business even if you wrote the best crosswords in the world. Multiple crosswords used to be needed to service all the different areas of Australia – now one online puzzle does the job. Computer software that generates all kinds of crosswords and word puzzles also means non-professionals can easily produce puzzles. While I believe a specialist should be used when compiling all puzzles, only cryptic crosswords can’t be done by a rank amateur.

So, what do I tell a budding crossword setter? Don’t give up your day-job; start by joining the Australian Crossword Club where you can have your crosswords published and get valuable feedback; learn the fundamentals of crossword setting – don’t rely on your favourite crossword to teach you; and do it for the love of it.

Across Answers and Clues Explanations
1 FOREST
Two cut into rough pieces of soft wood? (6) RE (rhenium, 2’s answer) inside anagram of SOFT
4 SEDUCE
Sharp’s opening with deuce oddly to mislead (6) (S)harp + anagram of DEUCE
8 SURE-FIRE
Coastal burn-off reportedly is certain to succeed (4-4) Sounds like SHORE FIRE
9 RECOIL
Crocodile passing over fish prepared to withdraw (6) Anagram of (CROCODILE minus COD)
10 FRAISE
Lift up back of fine boring tool (6) RAISE behind F
11 MANDRAKE
Poisonous plant harvested by maiden and playboy (8) M(aiden) + AND + RAKE
12 SEMIFINAL
Competitive match provided in rudimentary surroundings (9) IF inside SEMINAL
14 MINT
Sweet packet (4) Double Definition
15 PEER
Noble, one visiting ladies, say? (4) Double Definition
17 REFURBISH
Clean up wild bushfire on banks of river (9) Anagram of BUSHFIRE outside R(iver)
20 STEADIER
Notice one in control stabilising device (8) (AD + I) inside STEER
21 MISUSE
Minute issue distorted exploitation (6) M(inute) + anagram of ISSUE
22 BURIED
Right that is claimed by American friend and tucked away (6) (R + IE) inside BUD
23 LATHERED
Youngster hanging around there may be flogged (8) LAD outside THERE
24 SEASON
Marine’s on time (6) SEA’S + ON
25 POSTER
Advertising time grabbed by model (6) T inside POSER
 Down  Answers and Clues Explanations
1 FLUORESCENT TUBE
Ill-conceived stunt of Bruce Lee resulting in a shiner (11,4) Anagram of STUNT OF BRUCE LEE
2 RHENIUM
Chemical layer, one immersed in spirit (7) (HEN + I) inside RUM
3 SHIVE
Plug supermarket’s primary honey supplier (5) (S)upermarket + HIVE
4 STRANGLER
Murderer left in the custody of person unknown (9) L inside STRANGER
5 DECORUM
Protocol is odd after revision of code (7) RUM after anagram of CODE
6 CHICKEN CHASSEUR
Excited user checks china dish containing meat (7,8) Anagram of USER CHECKS CHINA
7 GERMAN
Hamburger, perhaps, one carrying source of disease (6) AN underneath GERM
13 FORBIDDEN
Illicit drugs primarily found behind dilapidated fibro retreat (9) [(D)rugs behind anagram of FIBRO] + DEN
16 READIES
Bank notes are replaced by stamps (7) Anagram of ARE + DIES
18 FERULE
It may be used to hit iron with authority (6) FE + RULE
19 INSPECT
Closely look at popular splinter group seizing power (7) (IN + SECT) outside P
21 METHO
Process not ending with alcohol (5) METHO(D)

 

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9 Responses to The Stickler Weekly 18 Solution

  1. Robert Balic says:

    Gave up on a couple too early. I didn’t come across ‘fraise’ in the thesaurus and, you might find his hard to believe, I had never heard of it.

    I realised 1 across was forest but could not figure out where the RE came from despite getting 2 down. I spent a while working on it trying to find a word for layer but all I could think of for a chemical was rhenium (An element, by the way. Chemical is short for chemical compound. At least the answer wasn’t “ester”)

    • David Stickley says:

      Thanks Robert,

      Yes FRAISE is an unusual word which is why I tried to provide an easyish clue. Having the first letter missing would have added to the difficulty.

      All my references say the same thing about chemical:

      “a substance produced by or used in a chemical process” which I think qualifies the elements as chemicals in the right context.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      David

      • Robert Balic says:

        I was a chemist in a previous life so my mind doesn’t work that way. Even tried ‘rheology’ first (laminar flow).

        • David Stickley says:

          You are quite right, Robert. It’s not uncommon for real-world industry usage to differ from a dictionary’s strict definition. I used to write a medical crossword and found doctors didn’t always agree with the definitions I used even though I took them from regular and medical dictionaries.

          Best

          David

    • Greg Mansell says:

      I just got around to looking at the explanations for this one. For the RE in 1ac, I took it that “two” referred to the second element in the do-re-mi scale. Must remember this when numbers appear in future crosswords…

  2. Steve Ball says:

    I, too didn’t know FRAISE, nor SHIVE. I’d heard of MANDRAKE but didn’t know what it was; likewise FERULE. I had vague memories of the element RHENIUM, so got that one. I’d never heard of LATHERED meaning “flogged”. It’s in Chambers but not even the Complete Macquarie.

    I got less completed of this Stickler before looking for help than any of the many I’ve previously attempted. Tough by my reckoning.

    • David Stickley says:

      I’ll certainly go back over this one and assess my approach. I’ll never use a difficult word without believing I’ve supplied a relatively simple clue. Obviously I misjudged this second bit.

      My Macquarie includes this under LATHER:
      verb (t)
      5. to apply lather to; cover with lather.
      6. Colloquial to beat or flog.

      Thanks for the feedback. Will adjust.

      David

  3. Steve Ball says:

    My mistake. I looked up LATHERED, which isn’t in the Concise (other than as a form of LATHER) and in the Complete, it says simply: adjective Obsolete Colloquial drunk.

    I’d already looked up LATHER in the Concise and it just talks about froth, but the Complete has more definitions for LATHER, including “to beat or flog”, as you’ve quoted above.

    Steve = : ^ )