A hastily-made festive gift for PSE, and a test to see whether it is ever possible to make a puzzle faster than it takes someone here to solve it! :P

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1A One of us in gold-coated regret
4A Mixing up dictionary with basic directions is more mature?
5A Stop, particularly, watery spirit

1D Naturally produced zombie sound
2D Aussie rockband toured Germany but lost direction, order
3D Mixing up flora isn't beating around the bush!

  • $\begingroup$ Does 1D have two legitimate answers that does not affect the rest of the answers on the grid since one letter is different or am I mistaken? $\endgroup$ Dec 26, 2020 at 8:27

1 Answer 1


The solved grid:

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Clue explanations:

1A GUILT = U(-s) in GILT (here, 'one of us' clues one letter of US)
4A OLDER = (OED + L + R)* (here, 'L' and 'R' are 'basic directions', i.e. left and right)

1D GROWN = ddef of sorts (GROWN vs the soundalike GROAN), although ‘sound’ in the clue is doing double duty here...
2D INDEX = INX(-s) around DE (the 'lost direction' here is the removal of 'S' for 'South'; DE is the abbreviation for Germany)

  • $\begingroup$ Nice one, I was not sure whether it was groan or grown. $\endgroup$ Dec 26, 2020 at 10:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Smartest1here I've gone with GROWN because I think the OP wants it to sound like the 'zombie sound' (GROAN). However, this requires using 'sound' in two different ways at once, which isn't standard in a cryptic clue. So it's a bit of a coin flip on that one I guess! :) $\endgroup$
    – Stiv
    Dec 26, 2020 at 10:26
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It might be worth saying that rot13("vaqverpg nantenzf") as in 4A and 3D are generally frowned upon in cryptic crosswords. Though for a throwaway 5x5 a certain amount of latitude should be given :-). $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Dec 26, 2020 at 15:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I wouldn't give that sort of latitude - I think those, as well as 1D, are unfair. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Dec 26, 2020 at 21:27
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The perils of 15min. Agreed that the double answer if 1D is a big flaw, and I have never really been sure about the fairness/unfairness of using the other trick. I see it done quite often and tbh I didn’t think it would take you all too long to undo it. >.> I can only offer apologies and accept the regift of helpful instruction :) $\endgroup$
    – Graylocke
    Dec 27, 2020 at 0:57

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