The Stickler Weekly 49 Solution

I read with interest posts by solvers who proclaim clues as creative but slightly of the mark. To me, these two terms can’t co-exist in a cryptic clue sense. It’s no good if an architect’s elaborate design can’t be built: the architect’s design is in fact worthless no matter how good it looks. Likewise, a cryptic clue with an elaborate device that fails to deliver is simply a faulty clue. During the writing of almost 150,000 clues, I’ve lost count of the times a clue was “almost brilliant”. The simple fact is that if you obey common cryptic clueing guidelines some ideas just can’t be realised as they don’t work in a clue. One example may be a glorious anagram that just needs the right indicator to create a perfect surface reading. If there isn’t an appropriate indicator then a new approach is needed. Of course it’s possible to use an indicator that fits the clue but doesn’t quite do its job, or to use one that works but creates a nonsense clue. I’d consider these both bad clueing practices. Another example may be the use of an oblique synonym that creates a good surface but leaves very little chance of a clue being solved via the wordplay. The best setters are those who can be creative despite clueing restrictions AND still produce true sound cryptic clues.

Across Answers and Clues Explanations
1 RACE RELATIONS
Ecstasy taken by speed freaks in Ethnic Affairs (4,9) ELATION inside RACERS
9 WINDBAG
Gossip is awfully bad in one section of hospital (7) Anagram of BAD inside WING
10 RESTORE
Strengthen miner’s objective, perhaps, after time off (7) ORE after REST
11 RURAL
Country isn’t excluded from reorganised trial runs (5) (Anagram of TRIAL RUNS) minus ISNT
12 ARTHROPOD
Youth’s backside bitten by agitated trapdoor spider, for example (9) YOUT(H) inside anagram of TRAPDOOR
13 SPLENDID
Loan taken during downturns set back super (8) LEND inside (DIPS reversed)
15 RAPPER
One who knocks a modern musician (6) Double Definition
18 SMOOTH
Regular discussion taking place in quiet surroundings (6) MOOT inside SH
19 MARTINIS
Shop is stocking popular drinks (8) (MART + IS) outside IN
22 ANSWERING
A state syndicate, after judge’s final point, may be responding (9) A + NSW + [RING after JUDG(E)]
24 ATRIA
A test not covering large parts of a heart (5) A + TRIAL minus L
25 PLAY-ACT
Work on stage’s set specified in agreement (4-3) LAY inside PACT
26 TRIMMER
Crew member, one who makes an effort across miles and miles (7) TRIER outside (M + M)
27 INEXPERIENCED
Deviation of even price index, down five, is unqualified (13) (Anagram of EVEN PRICE INDEX) minus V
 Down  Answers and Clues Explanations
1 REWARDS
Artist mounted small prizes (7) DRAWER reversed + S
2 CONTRALTO
Fraud lifted art left to singer (9) CON + (ART reversed) + L + TO
3 REBEL
Revolutionary opening to book shown in film (5) (B)OOK inside REEL
4 LOG CABIN
Register when taxi returns home (3,5) LOG CAB IN
5 TURN TO
Address confused tot carrying container of hot water (4,2) Anagram of TOT outside URN
6 OBSERVANT
Nomadic braves not adhering to religious practices (9) Anagram of BRAVES NOT
7 SLOOP
Sailing vessel joins forces heading north (5) POOLS reversed
8 FEEDER
Charge up flushed electrical conductor (6) FEE + (RED reversed)
14 NOTRE DAME
Somebody sent around to set up wine attraction in Paris (5,4) NAME outside (TO reversed + RED)
16 PANORAMIC
A number crowd into picture not restricted (9) (A + NO + RAM) inside PIC
17 GANGSTER
Wise guy, Superman, ultimately depicted in comic (8) SUPERMA(N) inside GAGSTER
18 SCAMPI
Devil one seafood dish (6) SCAMP + I
20 STARRED
Organisation of traders featured prominently (7) Anagram of TRADERS
21 BIG TOP
Dance around one great entertainment centre (3,3) BOP outside (I + GT)
23 SWAMI
Religious master was disturbed by one after mass (5) Anagram of WAS + (I after M)
24 ARISE
Tower is crammed into one hundred square metres (5) IS inside ARE

 

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