Vasi Sir, Shuchi, Ganesh and others - I am posting this comment from Nachiketa so that the discussion can continue (end of the day here!). Please chime in!
Couple of comments about the setter and his style.I am from his college.I think he borrows his idea of a 'themed crossword' from the very popular treasure hunts we used to conduct(I set a few of them) where in each clue cracked(usually based on word play) would finally be related by a final theme,which would be the final clue.
On the same theme,I find his crosswords to be much more 'crackable' as there are more prepositions indicating the relation between different parts of the clue.Again,coming from a treasure hunt background and being relatively new to crossword,I find it really hard to accept clues which don't give a complete meaning.I guess it has to do with the space constraint as in Treasure hunts,we are allowed to be more elaborate.It may also be because I am a newbie,but still it irritates me to no end.To be more specific,many times, in order to improve the surface reading the prepositions are altered giving a completely different meaning,I feel.For example,
22 Peter out to exchange the note for a discount
'for' would indicate to me that the answer will be a synonym for discount,which will be obtained from the rest of the clue.Also, 'to' indicates joining in crossword,I believe leading me to believe some form of 'Peter' has to join with some form of 'exchange'.
27 Pulls back to interrupt the erratic siren with the guides (9)
Again,the preposition 'with' seems to indicate erratic siren has to join with some synonym for guides. I understand how the clue is to be cracked,but all the while I was confused where the definition is 'pulls back'.I would use 'for' or 'giving' instead of 'with'.
13 Takes care of harbours (6)
8 Harbour hammock (5)
I believe these are double definition clues.What is the indicator to think it is that way?
4 Greek hunter loses the right to a new kitchen bulb (5) O(-R)(N)ION
I liked this clue very much.But to me,it doesn't seem clear why 'to a new' indicates that 'n' should be added.Wouldn't it have been better with something like 'adds/gains new..'?I would definitely not have the articles 'the' and 'a' in the clue.
25 Say salaam to the star officer
Why should officer be the meaning? Where is the indicator for that? Compare with 19d or 1d and the difference is obvious.
I am not trying to discredit the setter here,because I feel his crosswords are the best.But I am trying to address a more generic road block for me in trying to crack crosswords as almost always the clues are rife with misordered prepositions which completely change the meaning of the clue.The other problem,I feel crosswords have,is 'missing information'.