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Puzzle by Soup
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This is Soup's debut here, but he's no stranger to setting: he has the distinction of having been the typesetter for Araucaria's custom puzzles, and continued as a setter in his own right, producing custom puzzles (see more here). This puzzle is a real challenge and will provide even experienced solvers with a demanding mental workout. Favourite clue: 15 down. (PDF version)


For all across clues, an anagram of the word indicated by the clue and definition should be entered in the grid.

Mark, ask about transport costs (7)
5 Moderate payment for donkey discussed (7)
10 Charlie Sheen's dishonesty (4)
11 Running down country, following deer (10)
12 Line of trees with gnu's head seen where its behind was before get back! (6)
13 Business with a swindle taking no effort to run (8)
14 Bomber's house (9)
16 Playing roulette at first even? Balls! (5)
17 Put foot in seconds, taken back for exchanges (5)
19 Sanctions plane display before matches (9)
23 Command to approach princess who's lost a jester (8)
24 Starts to panic "I should talk, or Lisa could be fired" (6)
26 Ring about note on caution (10)
27 Roughly use hammer (4)
28 Move aside: server engineer starts to find bug (7)
29 Clue for "R" in Holmes's league? (7)

2 Dawn's direction: butcher sea bird (7)
3 Pattern seen in cut hem edge (5)
4 Poor man plucked little heart from bird (7)
6 Woman takes in soldier with disease (6)
7 Old trail at first mistakenly seen (9)
8 Get rid of gossip, first it causes a lot of hot air (3,4)
9 Gain advantage over some charlatan, sneakily (5,1,5,2)
15 Firms distribute letters: some reply (9)
18 A component of DNA? (7)
20 Former lover modelled nude (7)
21 Bag lady found hiding 1,000 little carvings (7)
22 Contended with potholes (6)
25 Go for holiday (5)

Solution to Puzzle by Soup