The Crossword Centre Clue-Writing Competition

CCCWC September competition voters’ comments
Clue no. 28: Graduate study that bags one a first?

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A clue to MAIDEN.
5 comments refer to this clue (from 4 competitors, 1 other)

Here is the text

Comments on the clue
1.Nice simple & convincing surface story
2.Good surface and wordplay
3.Can a maiden be a "first" as noun? And firsts are awarded for undergraduate not graduate study
4.Nice idea but maiden = first as an adjective, so a first doesn't quite work
5.I like this a lot, but worry whether the "study" is doing double work (Graduate study —> MA and study —> DEN).