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    Hi everyone,
    I’m Void. Casual solver, newbie setter, juggler. I’ve put one previous puzzle up (elsewhere) for feedback, and got a bit of a slating, being told my surfaces were awful. Totally justified. So, here’s my first puzzle with attempted decent surface work. Hope you find something(s?) you like in it.

    – Grid: I noticed just before I was going to publish it (on my blog – is it okay to post a link?) that a few of the clues were over-crossed. In fact, 2 were totally. Sorry for that. Something for me to improve on.
    – One bit of fairly modern slang in there, but it’s quite common, so sorry if it annoys, but I don’t think the clue in question is too hard.
    – There’s an Anglo-Saxon profanity in one of the clues, which isn’t “poo”.
    – Answers are provided as a completed grid. I’ll reply with clue parsings if anyone wants them.

    Thanks in advance for anyone who has a bash, and for any feedback.



    Hi Void. Thanks for this puzzle. There were some very nice clues, and if you were hoping to sharpen up your surfaces I think you’ve generally done so; 15, 14, 31 are among very good surfaces here. I noted there were more double definitions than I’m used to, but that’s not necessarily a problem. I would say that in a few of the DDs – like 4 and 19 – I wondered whether a more interesting/exciting surface might have been possible if you’d used a different device.

    I’ll give a few notes below as I’ve found that helpful when other people have looked at my puzzles, but I’m a newbie to all this as well, so don’t take any of it as gospel.


    6 – A nice double definition. I think perhaps you’d want a ? next to “windows”, but if windows was anywhere else in the clue it’d need a capital which would then rather give the game away.
    9 – A bit of a tense slip here, I think.
    10 – This was another nice anagram, although I think the clue should maybe have started “Get into” as “Go” is involved in the previous clue.
    11 – A nice crptic def – more cryptic, perhaps, if you’d used “vault” to mean sky?
    15 – Probably my clue of the puzzle. A humorous image and smooth surface to boot
    20 – Another perfectly good DD that also made me laugh!
    21 – I like L as right angle – not sure I’ve seen that used very much before
    24 – A neat charade… It took me far too long to see “Intensely quiet” as SOP. I wasn’t familiar with the director.
    33 – I like what you’re trying to do with the verb “march” but I don’t think this quite works as a definition for APRIL
    36 – I was wondering if it was DUFFY… as in like the beer of The Simpsons. I’m guessing that the link here is that the Simpsons live in Springfield, but sadly I don’t think “from The Simpsons” really works as an indicator for that.

    1 – Personally I’m not keen on “In the middle of Germany” for M. I think it’s just because of the “in”. I can see that we’re supposed to read it as “[That which is] in the middle of Germany”, but for me the “in” by itself breaks the cryptic grammar.
    3 – A very neat surface, I thought
    4 – I think this is a surface that could benefit from a bit more work. I don’t really know what it’s supposed to mean as a surface, I’m afraid.
    6 – A nice surface
    7 – Probably my favourite of the double definitions… although I suppose this might be classed as a cryptic def?
    8 – I don’t really see how this is cryptic. I may be missing something!
    14 – Very good though slightly wordy surface. I was delayed for a while thinking Hamlet’s lines were going to be “TOBE” after “SOR”
    22 – I know “way” is such a chestnut for roads etc., but I wonder whether “Exit the French way” would be a neater surface, as it would seem to reference the idiom of a “French exit
    26 – I’m guessing this is the slang word you meant. It feels like a pretty common word to me at least, so I was glad to see it. Nice to see BURN as something other than a river for once!
    28 – I was confused for a quite while having put ARMED in here as I already had MED. I was thinking that there’s supposed to be some rule against carrying swords in the HoC or something isn’t there? I thought there was a wordplay thing going on with “member” in that case, but I prefer the actual answer/clue!
    30 – This was very satisfying to finally twig, especially with that misleading “words/”sword” anagram in the clue!
    31 – Another great clue and suitably dramatic clue, I thought.

    I enjoyed the global/species-wide outlook of 3 down and 18 down!

    Thanks again for the puzzle,



    Hi Chameleon,
    Thanks very much for the detailed feedback. It’s always tough to know how one’s own clues will come across, so I’m chuffed to hear you mostly liked it overall, and liked some things in particular. To answer some points…

    4/19. Yep, agree. I was reading an article by Alberich recently where he said (paraphrasing) “Not every clue can be a gem – don’t beat yourself up about it.” 19 was for me, an “it’ll do” clue. Looking again at 4, though, (which I quite liked at the time) yes, you’re right, the surface isn’t quite there, is it? Ah well..
    6. Yes, I tried a few variations, and this was the one I was least displeased with. 😉
    9. Hmmm, yes, I guess so.
    10. Oh, I didn’t spot that, damn. Good point.
    11. True, (nice!) but as it’s not one of the more famous constellations, I wasn’t sure how fair it would be to be more cryptic. I erred on the side of gentleness.
    15. Ah, cool. I was slightly doubtful about “having”, so glad you liked it.
    24. I went around the houses loads with this one before I was happy with it. The director’s maybe not the first name you’d think of these days, but is well-regarded with a bunch of classics to his credit, so I thought it was fair.
    33. Yep, Fair cop. I was being a touch cheeky in hoping to get away with this one. It’s meant to read as “[When] March [goes/is] away [, we get to____]”. Again, I tried to make it nicer, but… failed. I should chalk it up to “if in doubt, leave it out” experience.
    36. You’re right. Maybe “…who lives near The Simpsons” or similar would have been better.
    1. Yep, I guess so. I’m still finding my place on the Xim/Lib spectrum (slightly Lib?), and thought it might be okay.
    7. I was thinking “Trap” as definition, and “that takes a beating” as cryptic definition, but the whole thing can be a CD too.
    8. Nope, it just wasn’t very cryptic. Another “it’ll do” when I hadn’t come up with anything better.
    14. Four times, I added, then removed a comma after “lines”. I eventually decided that the quote in question wasn’t famous enough to warrant a sneaky misdirection towards the lines being Hamlet’s, rather than part of the wordplay. Looks like you went there anyway, so I’m glad you still got it. 🙂
    22. I used boulevard specifically as being quite close to avenue. I later realised an indicator like shortly might have been fairer. Wasn’t too hard though. But yes, your surface reads more nicely.
    26. Yes, that’s the slang I meant.
    28. Ah, hadn’t thought of ARMED. Good job the crossers ruled it out. Yes, I think you’re right about swords.
    30. Hah, I didn’t even spot the words/sword possibility! Errr… *cough*, I mean… um, yes, that’s exactly the misdirection I intended. 😉

    Once again, thanks very much for the comments!

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