The Stickler Weekly 25 Solution

It’s normal for new setters to mimic elements of the crosswords they solve the most, especially those crosswords appearing in major newspapers. They assume this is an acceptable approach as major publications would have style guides, editors, checkers etc to ensure a high standard of work. It’s a fair place to start, but over time setters must come to their own conclusions about what should and should not be used, and not necessarily accept that “because it’s published it must be Ok”. It’s really easy to accept crosswordese (regularly-used crossword elements that outsiders would find hard to understand) as without it setters have less to work with, however, I think it’s important to think through everything you sign your name to as a setter.
Early on I was happy to use anagram indicators like “perhaps” and “possibly” without thinking: I’d seen them used 100s of times and come to accept their roles in clues. However, during cryptic crossword solving classes at my local community college, I was asked how “perhaps” could be seen as an anagram indicator. I had no answer except to say that a lot is implied and solvers knew what it meant when they saw it. Such things frighten new/learning solvers (“what other secret codes do I have to learn?”) as they can’t necessarily rely on a description of an anagram that says “any word or phrase that suggests a rearrangement (of letters)”. The upshot? While I have used them in extreme circumstances, I no longer have them on my anagram list. “out” is out for another reason: you can find a dictionary definition that could make it an anagram indicator, but the average person has trouble thinking of it that way.
Should I reinforce the exclusive nature of cryptic solving by using such devices, potentially locking out new blood? I say no.

Across Answers and Clues Explanations
1 PLUTOCRACY
Leader of party with clout manipulated filthy rich people in government (10) (P)ARTY + anagram of CLOUT + RACY
6 SPUR
Impulse items included in useless purchases (4) uselesS PURchases
10 ROAST
Baked food, as in tripe (5) AS inside ROT
11 PERMANENT
Unusual manner adopted by baby is not expected to change (9) Anagram of MANNER inside PET
12 OREGON
Timber and valuable rock gone almost completely (6) ORE + GON(E)
13 FAMILIAR
Loud friend beginning storyteller’s routine (8) F + AMI + LIAR
14 ENCORE
Men not opening centre with an extra performance (6) M(EN) + CORE
16 CLOBBERS
Hammers gear selected before second (8) CLOBBER + S
17 BAR CHART
Graph B: curve created with expertise (3,5) B + ARCH + ART
19 SWATCH
Sample of material was distributed to commercial hotels initially (6) Anagram of WAS + (T)O (C)OMMERCIAL (H)OTELS
21 NAUTICAL
A lunatic toyed with marine (8) Anagram of A LUNATIC
22 BRIGHT
Clear river entering a large bay (6) R inside BIGHT
25 SACRIFICE
Give up pouch, one found originally buried in grain (9) SAC + [I + (F)OUND] inside RICE
26 INANE
Empty section of train, an express (5) traIN AN Express
27 STEW
A chunk picked out of rotten waste food (4) Anagram of WASTE minus A
28 INGREDIENT
Component from cocktail of gin and wine that is not emptied out? (10) Anagram of GIN + RED + IE + (N)O(T)
 Down  Answers and Clues Explanations
1 PURPOSE
Shortened post used in construction of upright for goal (7) (POS)T inside PURE
2 USAGE
Country with lifetime employment (5) US + AGE
3 OSTEOARTHRITIS
Treatment of sore throat – is it something a specialist should handle? (14) Anagram of SORE THROAT IS IT
4 RIPS
Teacher upset about power cuts (4) SIR reversed outside P
5 CURTAIL
Dock two dogs? (7) CUR + TAIL
7 PRESIDENT
Identification carried by current authority figure (9) ID inside PRESENT
8 RETURNS
Throws made by cricketers on time affected runs (7) RE + T + anagram of RUNS
9 SATIN BOWERBIRD
Australian native animal is mauled! Is it brown bread? (5,9) Anagram of IS IT BROWN BREAD
15 CARBUNCLE
Boil crab prepared by one of the family (9) Anagram of CRAB + UNCLE
16 COT
Bed material lacking in weight (3) COTTON minus TON
17 BONUSES
Advantages connected with riding in people movers (7) ON inside BUSES
18 REALIGN
A laboratory primarily splitting control group on a new basis (7) [A (L)ABORATORY] inside REIGN
20 HOT SEAT
Those not good at a position of responsibility (3,4) (Anagram of THOSE) + AT
23 GLAZE
Finish loaf after last bit of pudding (5) LAZE after PUDDIN(G)
24 PEAR
Fruit and vegetable supplier’s closing (4) PEA + SUPPLIE(R)

 

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One Response to The Stickler Weekly 25 Solution

  1. Robert Balic says:

    I did like 5dn a lot. Being familiar with ‘cur’ being a common synonym for ‘dog’ made it fairly easy but I could easily see a beginner stewing on it for a week.

    As for anagram indicators, I think a worse crime is to make it too obvious. ‘Mixed up sore throat’ wouldn’t even get a chuckle from me.