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A little less cryptic

· By BJ · Published 25 days ago

Constructor's Note: Sorry about the long blog, the start button is at the bottom!

Warning: Spoiler-ridden blog post; scroll down to start

Cryptic crosswords can be a bit harder to solve than American crosswords, especially if you're not really sure how they work.
I hope that this blog can be used both as a way to help people solve cryptics if they want a hint without just revealing answering, and also a way for aspiring setters to dig into my constructions / reasons / thoughts. Please try to give the crossword a go before looking at any of the hints, but you'd only be cheating yourself otherwise :)
Putting these into comments would limit it to people that've solved the crossword, and is gated by a 280 character limit. Sadly I can't put a markdown table in and include spoilers, but I hope this is a good compromise :)

Clue explanations

Clue: 1A
Definition: Premium Wordplay: Remove ‘p’ from Zipper (due to quietly), then anagram it (break it), to get prize. Comments: I don’t love the way I get the fodder to anagram, but like the definition

Clue: 5A
Definition: Judo expert Wordplay: Take the first letter of each of the fodder words 'Dueling anyone nearby' Comments: Here dan is a used to refer to someone that has achieved a dan (rank), which might throw people off; but is legit. I like this clue.

Clue: 6A
Definition: Rested Wordplay: Insertion of L (50) into sept Comments: I kinda hate this clue, but had writers block on how to make it good

Clue: 8A
Definition: Drink Wordplay: Hidden in wha(t ea)rly Comments: I love this clue. If you read ‘some’ as the hidden indicator; then it’s also a quasi-&lit with “Early” referring to Earl Grey tea.

Clue: 9A
Definition: Sunny Wordplay: This is a double definition Comments: This is fine, I don’t love the meanings; but the surface is nice and quite straightforward I feel

Clue: 1D
Definition: Poles Wordplay: Anagram of stops Comments: Not in love with this, as the surface is a bit ‘bleh’, but the clue does exactly what it needs to – so is fine.

Clue: 2D
Definition: Perfect Wordplay: Substitute ‘one’ to ‘i’ and ‘agreement’ to ‘deal’ Comments: I don’t love this. It’s quite a played out type of clue and my surface isn’t great. It works better if you think of agreement in a bridge sense (i.e. a conventional gadget), but it reads pretty poorly otherwise.

Clue: 3D
Definition: Shock Wordplay: First letter of (z)oo + (ap)e with last letter removed (clipped) Comments: I think this is close to being really good, but is just fine. The surface seems a little off.

Clue: 4D
Definition: Record Wordplay: Triple definition, key being the enter key on the keyboard Comments: I don’t love this, trying to make it a triple might have just confused things. Should have left it as a double (e.g. undertake record or w/e)

Clue: 7D
Definition: Sign Wordplay: ’o’ (Love) and el (The in Spanish) all written backwards (up). This gives Leo, which is a sign of the Zodiac. Comments: I like having ‘hidden’ instructions; like here sign up is quite easy to read as 1 idea; and needing to split it into two for the cryptic parsing is ‘nice’. I don’t love how I chose the letters, but still can’t see much better.
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  • BJ constructor · 25 days ago
    Thanks for trying this one! I'd always to happy to hear about clues that you thought worked well/badly, as how else am I to do better in future?
    • Mike D 🤓2:13 · 25 days ago
      Very nice! Only one I haven't figured out yet is PRIZE
      1A PRIZEPremium zipper not quiet, broken? (5)
      - can you explain how that works?
      Also more of a question - is the ! in LEO
      7D LEOSign up! Love, the Spanish (3)
      just ignored because it's not at the end? If it's in the middle it's not an &lit?
      • Jon 7:14 · 24 days ago
        Prize: beginnings pre + zi with mum (keeping quiet)
        • Jon 7:14 · 24 days ago
          Mike, I believe the exclamation point is there to indicate a command.
          • BJ constructor · 24 days ago
            1A PRIZEPremium zipper not quiet, broken? (5)
            was intended as removing a P (piano/quietly) from zipper & anagramming.
            My friend asserted that you can "always" just have !/? for the surface reading, and I thought this worked better with one. I believe ending !/? may be either, but if it reads well without it's 'cryptic'
            • Mike D 🤓2:13 · 24 days ago
              Thank you!
          • Jon 7:14 · 24 days ago
            • Caroline 3:32 · 24 days ago
              I'm starting to catch on to the conventions. But how does 4D
              4D ENTERUndertake key record (5)
              • BJ constructor · 24 days ago
                I wrote that one as a triple definition, to try and be funny.
                One of the 'standard' types of cryptic clues is a double-definition; triples are rather off-beat but 'acceptable' (to my understanding).
                • Caroline 3:32 · 23 days ago
                  Aha! Thanks
              • quatrevingtneuf 🤓2:26 · 24 days ago
                nitpick: afaik "dan" refers to the level, not the martial artist, and is always accompanied by a number (i.e. someone can be 9 dan, but not just dan). unless the judoka in question is named dan lol
                • BJ constructor · 23 days ago
                  I believe that you can use the word to refer to people with a dan# ranking such as "She is a dan". But that may be a sort of lazy phrasing that's common to Australasians and has grown into common vernacular. But thanks for the nitpick, as I'm certainly aware that I might be wrong
                • spikeydlux 2:51 · 16 days ago
                  I like the formatting of this, nice to be able to get hints without solving or revealing the whole puzzle. Thanks!
                  1APremium zipper not quiet, broken? (5)
                  1. 1A
                    Premium zipper not quiet, broken? (5)
                  2. 5A
                    Judo expert starts dueling anyone nearby (3)
                  3. 6A
                    Rested 50 in sept (5)
                  4. 8A
                    Somewhat early drink! (3)
                  5. 9A
                    Sunny chamber (5)
                  1. 1D
                    Stops breaking poles (5)
                  2. 2D
                    Perfect one agreement (5)
                  3. 3D
                    Shock top zoo with clipped ape (3)
                  4. 4D
                    Undertake key record (5)
                  5. 7D
                    Sign up! Love, the Spanish (3)