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Puzzle by Pebble
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This is a lovely puzzle with a variety of clueing devices, perfect cryptic grammar and evocative surface readings. This is Pebble’s debut and I hope we will see more puzzles from her. Favourite clues: 13 across, 5 and 16 down. Sharp-eyed solvers may notice a ghost theme... (PDF version)


Flying from lair, eagle wheeled (6)
4 Work wearing that headgear (3,3)
9 Keen to see prima donna make a comeback (4)
10 Academic afraid of losing a submission (10)
11 Partially spend earnings to win (6)
12 Bandages around middle of wound causing constraints (8)
13 Playground mat is a symmetrical shape (9)
15 Short Roman outfit associated with old African state (4)
16 Criticise game play (4)
17 District officer confronting men initially crushed mutiny (9)
21 Game is favourite centrepiece of banquet (8)
22 Open a French company near the hub of market (6)
24 Raccoon, lemur or mongoose maybe followed after call (4-6)
25 Flat two, for example (4)
26 Large plant is rooted in empty sunlit lane (6)
27 Dirty – like a cave? (6)

Five in a conga, perhaps, move forward (7)
2 Losing the opening card game is a bluff (5)
3 Endless craving for painkiller (7)
5 Laced shoe is neat for start of dance (6)
6 Organ's heard, followed by another instrument – that will wake you up! (9)
7 Investor taken in by recalled books is cross (7)
8 Naughty boy coddled headless doll in an unfeeling way (4-9)
14 Sailor seizes gunners’ abandoned flag in battle (9)
16 Sort Eastern spices after grinding (7)
18 Former leader of mob more mature in conversation (7)
19 Restyle is arranged abruptly (7)
20 Old-fashioned place for the town hall maybe (6)
23 Short game of strategy on the top of toy box (5)