Rookie Corner 007 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 007

A Puzzle by Mitz

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

The latest in the new Rookie Corner series introduces Mitz.  Last October he thrust a puzzle into my hand at Elgar’s Birthday celebration in Sheffield.  This is his latest puzzle.  As usual, the setter will be delighted to receive feedback from you, the solvers. I do ask that you remember that for most setters this is a new experience, so please only offer constructive criticism.

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.

Congratulations to Mitz for a challenging and enjoyable debut crossword in the Rookie Corner.  There was some wonderful stuff here with only a few minor niggles in the wordplay.  A couple of the surface readings could have been polished a bit but this did not detract from some excellent clues like 3d and 18d.  There is a mini-theme in the crossword – look at the answers to 16a / 17a and 9d / 19d.  Many of the other answers describe the potential effects of these, for example 1d / 2d, 24a, 7a or 18d.


7 Even sticky stuff left out twice when I enter weary (7)
FATIGUE – A word meaning even or level and a word for sticky stuff each have the L removed from them and an I is inserted.

8 1 at questionable holiday taken (7)
ATROPHY – Another word meaning the same as the answer to 1d.  The AT from the clue is followed by a word meaning questionable with an H for holiday included.  I don’t think that H for holiday is a recognised abbreviation.

10 Turn out a tent? (10)
ATTENDANCE – A reverse anagram clue.  The first five letters of the answer followed by an anagram indicator would give the result A TENT.

11 Change every last friend’s dying seconds (4)
VARY – The second letters of eVery lAst fRiend’s dYing.

12 Highbrow partners get to the heart of phobia (4)
SNOB – Bridge partners followed by the middle letters (heart of) phOBia.

14 Permanence of talent for childish mocking of stupidity? (10)
DURABILITY – Split (3, 7) this might indicate the a childish talent for mocking people.

16 Sweet creamy yoghurt starters (5)
CANDY – Spell out the initial letters of Creamy and Yoghurt.

17 Vineyard should hope, initially, to do this to its produce (5)
CRUSH – A three letter word for a vineyard followed by the initial letters of Should and Hope

21 New City duo turned out across the region (10)
COUNTYWIDE – An anagram (turned out) of NEW CITY DUO.

22 ‘Ounds are slippery customers (4)
EELS –  Remove the H from another word meaning hounds.

23 Caress, taking away the dread (4)
FEAR – Another word meaning caress removing the THE from the word.  I think that the synonym for caress is a bit of a stretch and is not supported by Chambers as a primary meaning of the word.

24 Augment with lies, losing head about impulses (10)
ADDICTIONS – A three letter word meaning augment followed by a word meaning lies with the initial letter removed (losing head).  I am not wild about “about” as the link word.  Wordplay about Definition does not work well for me.

26 Thought through loads of great ideas, choosing a lulu initially (7)
LOGICAL – The initial letters of Loads Of Great Ideas Choosing A Lulu.

27 Flirt outrageously with guests, losing nerve over minutiae (7)
TRIFILES – An anagram (outrageously) of FLIRT followed by an ES (guests without guts – losing nerve!)


1 Coleen or Victoria, say, with returning infestation spending unwisely (7)
WASTING – The abbreviation for wives and girlfriends of footballers (Coleen or Victoria, say) inside which you include a reversed (returning) of an infection of the hair.  I think “with” is a weak containment indicator here.

2 Interval with them I took part, in retrospect (4)
TIME – The answer is hidden and reversed (part, in retrospect) in THEM I TOOK.

3 Stick-in-the-mud finds Aussie bog amusing with a cold? (5-5)
FUDDY-DUDDY – How someone with a cold might say FUNNY DUNNY (amusing Australian bog).

4 Abscess leads to time being put into evacuation of monarch from island (4)
STYE – Remove the K (monarch) from the name of a Scottish island and replace it with the abbreviation for time.

5 Interfere with novel access point away from attempt to recover (10)
CONVALESCE – An anagram (interfere with) NOVEL ACCESS without the final S (point away).

6 Dry one-and-a-half score seconds in (7)
THIRSTY – The abbreviation for seconds goes inside a number equal to one-and-half score (where score is 20).

9 Hulk director on the line, like the subject matter! (5)
ANGRY – The first name of Mr Lee (director of the film Hulk) followed by an abbreviation for a railway line gives the demeanour of the Incredible Hulk.

13 Bob’s first and David’s last to lead precipitation of intellectual loss (5,5)
BRAIN DRAIN – The first letter of Bob and the last letter of David are each followed by a word meaning precipitation.

15 With the Spanish going up, just about firm: empty reason for short measure (10)
BARLEYCORN – A word meaning just or hardly has the EL (the Spanish) reversed inside followed by the abbreviation for company (firm) and the outer letters (empty) of ReasoN.  I think that the “about” in the clue is misleading here as it suggests that a word meaning just goes around the reversal of E where you actually need to reverse two of the letters in the word meaning just.

18 Fill fat man’s chest up with raw indifference (7)
BOREDOM – A word meaning raw goes inside a reversal (up) of a slang for a fat man (a contraction of man boobs).

19 Rook offers out others like him (5)
BIRDS – A word meaning offers goes outside the abbreviation in chess for the rook.

20 Live with something missing inside, Romeo – it keeps you looking forward (7)
BLINKER – A two letter word for live includes a word for something that may be missing (in terms of evolutionary progress) followed by the abbreviation for Romeo.

24 A bird not known to change for heroes of Amsterdam (4)
AJAX – The A from the clue followed by a bird of the crow family with the Y changed to an X.

25 Providing empty fealty is questionable (4)
IFFY – A two letter word meaning providing followed by the outer letters (empty) of FealtYA minor point but empty was used as the same indicator in 15d.

26 comments on “Rookie Corner 007

  1. WOW that was haaard. Several had us chuckling but the one that took a long time to work out and then had us laughing out loud was 3d. A couple where we are not sure of the wordplay yet (will keep working at them), so look forward to the review tomorrow.
    Thanks Mitz.

    1. After a walk along the beach have managed to parse the last one. 18d. The wordplay uses a word that has not yet made it into the BRB, but did induce a snigger when we twigged it.

  2. Great puzzle Mitz! Some really neat constructions. 14 and 18 made me chuckle.

  3. Thanks to Mitz for an excellent debut with some very inventive wordplay. As with 2Kiwis my favourite was the LOL 3d. A few of the surface readings (e.g. 7a and 15d) are not great but otherwise I thought the whole puzzle was very enjoyable.

  4. BD, could you, please, remind me of the definition of “Rookie”.

    This puzzle would sit easily in the Thursday / Friday Toughie slot IMHO.

    Still a few to solve and a few more to comprehend … looking forward to tomorrow’s review.

    Thanks to Mitz for a very enjoyable debut!

    Favourites: 3d & 16a … but most of the others were also very clever!

    1. The terms are laid out on the Rookie Corner page. Nowhere does it say the puzzles are going to be easy. As they are not edited before publication, some constructs may not follow perceived opinions of what is and is not allowable. In this puzzle, for instance, the setter has used the unsupported abbreviation H for Holiday.

  5. A good puzzle – thank you Mitz – I did like the theme and your (implied) thoughts thereon.

    Agree with others about the laugh out loudness of 3d and also with Gazza about the surface readings of some clues but all in all an entertaining solve.

  6. I’m finding this one really difficult – BD’s comment about the H might help a bit – I’ll keep trying.

  7. Thanks all for your comments (and of course especially to Big Dave for the airing). I’m glad most have been entertained – that’s the main point of it all, isn’t it? Regarding difficulty: I hardly ever set out to make a puzzle hard, easy or in between – it just is what it is – but I do hope that anyone having a crack at solving any of my puzzles enjoys the tussle.

    Fair cop regarding H for holiday. Husband (for example) would have been better.

    1. Welcome to the blog Mitz

      You could perhaps have used “start of holiday”, and “included” might have been better than “taken”, but then the surface reading would have to have been rejigged.

  8. Thank you for the puzzle, Mitz

    I managed to complete all but the far NE corner, but not without some electronic help. The cluing, although a little over-complex at times, was enjoyable. Surface meaning and some over-wordiness dropped my rating a little bit, but that will no doubt come with time. My fave clues were 16a for the WP, 3d for the humour, and 18d, because the ‘fat man’s chest’ synonym always makes me laugh.

    Look forward to you next one.


  9. I almost admit defeat but I’m not quite ready to yet. I stick to what I originally said which was that this was a very difficult one.
    I have eight answers left to go which feels a bit close to give up – nearly all my gaps are in the left hand side.
    If anyone is still out there I’d be really grateful for a hefty shove rather than a gentle hint for either 10 or 21a.
    Here is a little flower for anyone who can help!

  10. 10a – This is a “reverse” anagram clue. The answer is a word meaning “turn out” that split 5, 5 (with the final five letters being an anagram indicator) would give the A TENT in the clue.

    21a The answer means “across the region”. It is an anagram (turned out) of NEW CITY DUO.

    1. Thank you – I will try again later. I’ve been trying to make 21a an anagram of all the right letters all day.
      Please accept a flower and a heart Very much appreciated.

  11. I haven’t been very focused today, and during the time I did spend on this, didn’t get a whole lot done. Having picked it up again, I’m not sure how much more of the grid I can solve. I certainly can’t grumble at the setter, though. It’s my failing. Of those I did get, 3D stands out. I look forward to tomorrow’s review.

  12. Thanks Mitz certainly not one from the nursery slope for setters ,constructs were fine by me but have to agree with Gazza re the surface readings ,particularly 7a which is the opener and a few others which were the only negatives in an enjoyable puzzle .
    The punchier the better for me so favourite 16a
    Well done and look forward to the next .

  13. Thanks very much, Prolixic, for such a comprehensive review, and for your kind words.

    Just to respond to your various points:

    8a – You are of course right (as was BD who pointed out the same yesterday). Careless of me, but I do reckon that simply using “husband” instead would be fine.
    23a – I want to stand by “feather” = “caress”, partly because it leads to a nice surface, partly because it just seems to work in both the cricketing caught-behind-by-the-wicketkeeper sense and the intimate massage sense. Greater authorities than I must decide…
    24a – I agree. “Leading to” would have been better.
    1d – Again, I would agree that normally “with” on its own isn’t enough to indicate containment, but I hoped that the back up of talking about an infestation might be sufficient.
    15d – My intention was for “just about” to be synonymous for “barely”. On reflection, I agree with both your comment and the complaints above that the clue is too verbose. I think a minor tweak, however, might help fix it:
    With the Spanish going up, just, firm and outlying reason for short measure (10)
    25d – Very annoyed with myself for missing that, but with 15d edited this is no longer a problem!

    Thanks again,

  14. I enjoyed this but never did manage to finish it completely.
    I think this was the most difficult crossword yet from Rookie Corner – it certainly was for me anyway.
    My favourite was 3d.
    With thanks and congratulations to Mitz and thanks to Prolixic.

  15. This was difficult!

    Was it enjoyable? Yes, indeed it was. Best clues for me were 3d, 6d, and 16a.

    I managed to complete all but one. 24d was the Achilles heel. (I am being very obtuse and still don’t understand the answer. ‘A Jay’ — ‘y’ being the ‘not known’ is then changed for ‘heroes of Amsterdam’. Why are these last represented by the ‘X’? ) I needed the explanation for the first five words of 15d — I really should have seen that reversal in the answer! These problems aside, I managed to follow the word play correctly.

    Well done, Mitz, for an impressive debut. Many thanks for the mind-stretching and enjoyable crossword. Hope we shall be seeing more from you.

    Appreciative thanks to Prolixic for the invaluable review.

    1. Thanks Catnap!

      24d: Take A JAY and change the unknown – Y – for another – X – to make AJAX – the football team from Amsterdam who have won the European Cup / Champions League 4 times.

    2. What a battle I had to post this comment! Big apologies to all if I did something I should not have when trying to load it. Those security check letters are very difficult to read…

      1. The only reason why you might have to enter security check letters is if your comment is picked up by the spam filter. Please let me know if it happens again.

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