The Stickler Weekly 111 Solution

The concept of “double duty” is an easy one to understand: part or parts of a cryptic clue have more than one role, that is, to be truely technically correct the double duty element(s) would have to be repeated for the clue to be sound. Obviously, that’s not possible in most cases as the clue wouldn’t make any sense, so double duty is employed. The solver must consider one part of the clue as overlapping with another part. For instance,
Strikingly unconventional at four (3-3)
must be read as [Strikingly {unconventional] at four}, so the overlapping {unconventional] performs double duty, one as a (necessary) part of the definition and the other as an anagram indicator (anagram of AT FOUR = FAR-OUT).
It wouldn’t surprise you to find out that I don’t like this. The reason is simple: a clue that employs double duty is incomplete despite the necessary components being available if the clue is read/considered in a special way. Add some kind of indicator to instruct the solver, and I’d be happy. In my mind the use of double duty is lazy setting.
Here’s another one:
Roll at base of picnic basket (5)
Here the setter uses “(at) base of” to position and to extract a letter. It’s also an across clue which adds more confusion as “base” can be “bottom” but not “end”. It doesn’t strictly conform to the overlapping style of “normal” double duty clues, and in fact it doesn’t seem right no matter how you think of it yet the answer, “C + REEL”, is clearly the right one.
Some would argue that double duty is alright if used in an easy clue. Remembering that double duty means there is missing information, would it follow that an anagram clue without an appropriate anagram indicator is acceptable as long as it’s obviously an anagram? Not on my watch!
Double duty may also be employed in a semi-&lit clue where the wordplay stands alone but requires something extra in order to convey a proper definition. For example: Brit vicar’s clues excited them? (15).
In this case the entire wordplay may be considered as doing double duty but doesn’t quite provide a definition so “them” must be added. In some cases, the separate definition part may be seen as enough and the wordplay as just adding some clarification.

Across Answers and Clues Explanations
1 TICKS
Thickets must be cleared of the rotten parasites (5) THICKETS minus anagram of THE
4 NETWORKED
Connected couple runs back to bank in need (9) [TWO + R + BAN(K)] inside NEED
9 BRAVEST
Two items of underwear that could be most daring (7) BRA + VEST
10 PIT STOP
Break in trip – it’s to pause (3,4) triP ITS TO Pause
11 TELEVISION SET
The box distributed to teen is packed with jeans (10,3) Anagram of TO TEEN IS outside LEVIS
14 FLUX
Viral infection that spreads by mutation (4) FLU + X
15 COMANCHES
Business man reduced trunk for native Americans (9) CO + MAN + (CHES)T
18 EXTRACTOR
Part-time and full-time player sharing a removalist? (9) (EXTR(A)CTOR)
19 PLAN
One not part of simple design (4) PLAIN minus I
21 BARGAIN-HUNTER
Benefit accepted by crooked heartburn specialist? (7-6) GAIN inside anagram of HEARTBURN
24 RESPIRE
Take a breath on summit (7) RE + SPIRE
26 EARTHEN
Sensor in the past made of clay (7) EAR + THEN
27 HIMALAYAS
A large range that man, for instance, secured following a deposit (9) HIM + [AS after( A + LAY)]
28 DOPES
Drugs treat irritation mostly (5) DO + (PES)T
 Down  Answers and Clues Explanations
1 TUBA
Open container with a piece of brass (4) TUN + A
2 CHART BUSTER
Mastery present in arrangement of Schubert’s fast-moving song (5,6) ART inside anagram of SCHUBERT
3 SHELLS
Gets money for taking hard cases (6) SELLS outside H
4 NATIVE CAT
Quoll is brown-backed and unusually active? (6,3) TAN reversed + anagram of ACTIVE
5 TYPES
Sort of tapestry not associated with art classes (5) Anagram of TAPESTRY minus ART
6 OUTBOUND
Going away, no doubt upset about heading to university (8) Anagram of NO DOUBT outside (U)NIVERSITY
7 KIT
Common types of skirt and kilt in outfit (3) S(K)(I)R(T), (K)(I)L(T)
8 DEPUTISING
Standing in, confused guide isn’t handling pressure (10) Anagram of GUIDE ISNT outside P
12 SCHOLARSHIP
Knowledge of the sun filled in by last pair from research vessel (11) SOLAR outside RESEAR(CH) + SHIP
13 AFTERBIRTH
Resistance built into fibre that resolved issue related to delivery (10) R inside anagram of FIBRE THAT
16 MARAUDERS
They will steal gold the German discovered in ruins (9) (AU + DER) inside MARS
17 PALATIAL
A language largely adopted by associate is grandiose (8) [A + (LATI)N] inside PAL
20 STARED
Leading reporter looked hard (6) STAR + ED
22 NEEDY
Writer’s fifth edition, released in New York, is poor (5) [WRIT(E)R + ED] inside NY
23 ANUS
A star turned up for opening (4) A + (SUN reversed)
25 SUM
Expression of a little problem at school (3) Sounds like SOME

 

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