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An entry in Fortnightly Topic Challenge #43: Variety Crossword Grids


The answers to ten cryptic clues need to be entered in the grid below. Words start in their numbered rectangles, and proceed down through adjacent rectangles, one per level, terminating in the bottom row. Words may change direction; indeed there are exactly 13 direction changes amongst the ten words. No letter appears more than once per row, and all cells are filled. I hope you enjoy!

Grid

  1. You gaped about all the red-heads making play for Nigel (7)
  2. Beginning of life is not elegant, perhaps? (7)
  3. Micro-prefix is assuming data rounded up to old length (7)
  4. Put up two pints and wine, liquor dregs (7)
  5. Without Henry, Chad, Earl suffered from depression (7)
  6. Thief's gang about to get ready (7)
  7. Life in one cell is for artistic, big-hearted? (7)
  8. I am in Arizona? Utah? without a bearing (7)
  9. Barking pinscher overtakes drug lord (7)
  10. The most efficient choose one virtual terminal supporting multimedia shell (7)
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The completed grid looks like this:

enter image description here

Clue explanations:

1. You gaped about all the red-heads making [play for Nigel] (7) THEATRE = THEE ("you") around A(ll) T(he) R(ed) (UK spelling since 'Nigel' is stereotypically a British name)

2. [Beginning of life] is [not elegant, perhaps]? (7) INFANCY = ddef (INFANCY and IN-FANCY)

3. Micro-prefix is assuming data rounded up to [old length] (7) STADIUM = (MU + IS containing DAT(a))<

4. [Put up] two pints and wine, liquor dregs (7) QUARTER (in the 'lodging' sense of the word) = QUART ("two pints") + (win)E + (liquo)R

5. Without Henry, Chad, Earl suffered from [depression] (7) CALDERA = C(h)ADEARL*

6. [Thief]'s gang about to get ready (7) BRIGAND = RIG ("get ready") in BAND ("gang")

7. [Life in one cell] is for artistic, big-hearted? (7) PROTIST = PRO ("for") + (ar)TIST(ic)

8. I am in Arizona? Utah? without a [bearing] (7) AZIMUTH = AZ (Arizona short code) + IM ("I'm") + UT(a)H

9. Barking pinscher overtakes [drug lord] (7) KINGPIN = _KING PIN_

10. [The most efficient] choose one virtual terminal supporting multimedia shell (7) OPTIMAL = OPT ("choose") + I ("one") + M(ultimedi)A + (virtua)L

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  • $\begingroup$ Crushed it! Nice work Stiv! $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Dover Nov 21 at 14:20
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @JeremyDover - surprisingly tricky! Solved a few clues that were not adjacent and had to stick at it until I had letters from other clues to resolve which ways they needed to bend. Frustratingly, #1 was my last one, so I had to work my way in just from the right-hand end rather than have a two-pronged approach! Good fun, thanks :) $\endgroup$ – Stiv Nov 21 at 14:25

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