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Rookie Corner 010



All in One Rhythm by Mitz

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Mitz is making a rapid return to Rookie Corner – when you have solved the puzzle you should understand why!  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.

This June is purgatory.  I am as fond of football as King Herod was of children.  Not only do we have the World Cup on the TV at all hours of the day both the games but also it seems every advert.  Now we have a themed crossword.  I shall write the review and go and hide under a rock for the next few weeks.

The theme points to the World Cup with the “All in One Rhythm” title. With 19 answers being partly un-clued, it was clear that with this being the 20th world cup, the 19 previous winners would appear in the grid.  The full list of winners is below (thank you Wikipedia).

This was difficult and not helped by my loathing of the theme and an unfriendly grid in places.   For technical achievement to get the 19 country codes for the previous winners in the grid, top marks.


7 Sent away for heraldic silvers (7)
ARGENTS – Argentina followed by an anagram (away) of SENT.

8 He’ll break his word about any sound (7)
RENEGER – A two letter word meaning about, two letters that sound like any followed by Germany.

9 First goal of respected teacher (4)
GURU – The first letter of goal followed by Uruguay.  Depending on how purest you are, first goal does not indicate the first letter of the word.  Also, whilst most editors will accept definition of wordplay, wordplay of definition is usually not accepted.

10 Regular urgency, bolder and possible to deliver (9)
RECITABLE – The regular letters of uRgEnCyBoLdEr go around Italy.

12 Instrument Ravi Shankar initially backed (5)
SITAR the first letters (initially) of Ravi Shankar are reversed and go around Italy.

13 Tendency to change competence of student (8)
LABILITY – Split 1, 7 this might indicate the competence of a student.

15 Party absolving last player claiming seconds (4)
BALL – The second letters of aBsolving lAst pLayer cLaiming.

16 Animal found on the outskirts of the area (5)
ZEBRA – The outer letters of ZonE (the area) followed by Brazil.

17 Honour with a selection from the buffet – exceptional (4)
FETE – The answer is hidden in BUFFET EXCEPTIONAL.

18 Said typo was wrong in 1984, for example (8)
DYSTOPIA – An anagram (was wrong) of SAID TYPO.

20 I, Nietzsche – primary thinker (5)
BRAIN Brazil followed by I and the initial letter (primary) of Nietzsche.  Primarily would indicate the first letter – primary is stretching it!

21 Odd army to employ soldiers on time for fun (9)
The odd letters of ArMy followed by a word meaning to employ, another word for soldiers and the abbreviation for time.

22 Crow of little weight (4)
BRAG – Brazil followed by the abbreviation for gram (little weight).

24 Detail: missing in action; scramble unit to infiltrate (7)
MINUTIA – An anagram (scramble) of UNIT inside the abbreviation for Missing In Action.

25 Lose flipping snake – what a pill! (7)
LOZENGE – Reverse (flipping) the S (snake) in LOSE so it looks like a Z around England.


1 Woman in uniform (4)
FRAU – France followed by the abbreviation for uniform.

2 Hear about ruin with unusual surroundings and return (8)
REQUITAL – A homophone of wreck (REQ) followed by the first and last letters (surroundings) of unusual inside which add Italy.  Personal preference (as setters do this), where there is a homophone, I much prefer that the resulting letters are themselves a word.

3 Rubbernecker has more obvious potassium deficiency (6)
STARER – Remove the K (potassium deficiency) from STARKER.

4 Use backbone to rev up? Time I’m gone (8)
VERTEBRA – Reverse (up) the REV from the clue followed by the letters of TimE with the I’m removed followed by Brazil.

5 Bail out a rodent (6)
GERBIL – Germany followed by bail with the A removed (out).

6 Richard, actor from the East (4)
GERE – Germany followed by the abbreviation for East.

11 Balance cleat I fixed (9)
CALIBRATE – An anagram (fixed) of CLEAT I around Brazil.

12 Kooky? Crazy to leave right state (5)
SPACY – Spain followed by the outer letters of CrazY (R AZ (state – Arizona) having been removed).

14 Central vastness of giant (5)
TITANThe central letters of vasTNess around Italy.

16 Marx doesn’t finish trip up river by aircraft (8)
ZEPPELIN – The name of Zeppo with the final letter removed followed by a reversal (trip up) of NILE.

17 With spirit on fire, give sustenance to innocent within (8)
FLAMBEED – A word for an innocent inside a word meaning give sustenance to.

19 Sat up at sign of spring (6)
TAURUS – Reverse SAT and put the letters around Uruguay.  There are a number of uses of up to indicate reversing the letters.

20 Touch on the bottom? No let up for driver, twice! (6)
BUTTON – Two sets of wordplay for Jensen Button – Touch (butt) followed by ON or Bottom (butt) followed by a reversal of NO.

21 Hinge on a 6 returning, or else as 11 comes in (4)
AXIS – Another double wordplay clue.  A followed by a reversal of six or AS with the Roman numerals for 11 inside.

23 Ship over? (4)
ARGO – Argentina followed by the abbreviation for over.

Year                Winner            Code

1930                Uruguay (URU)

1934                Italy (ITA)

1938                Italy (ITA)

1950                Uruguay (URU)

1954                West Germany (GER)

1958                Brazil (BRA)

1962                Brazil (BRA)

1966                England (ENG)

1970                Brazil (BRA)

1974                West Germany (GER)

1978                Argentina (ARG)

1982                Italy (ITA)

1986                Argentina (ARG)

1990                West Germany (GER)

1994                Brazil (BRA)

1998                France (FRA)

2002                Brazil (BRA)

2006                Italy (ITA)

2010                Spain (SPA)

44 comments on “Rookie Corner 010

  1. We found this one just too obscure and gave up with 3 unsolved. 12d, 15a and 8a. Still cannot parse 2d either. We picked the theme very quickly and looked up all the appropriate abbreviations but that was of limited assistance as there are so many repeats and so many possibilities.
    Thanks for the challenge Mitz.

  2. Thanks to Mitz for the topical puzzle. My favourite clue was 21d (I did wonder whether this was a hint to two of the repeated abbreviations).

  3. Thanks to Mitz for the puzzle,

    Grids with special instructions are not something I usually solve, so I found this extremely tough and couldn’t complete without lots of electronic help and reveal-lettering checking. I did enjoy what I solved, thought it was cleverly put together, and liked (even though I failed) the challenge.

    However, I felt you made a (for me) tough grid even tougher by having about half of the grid without a first letter checked and another 4 clues with less than 50% of their lights checked, too. I also wondered whether 19 part clues where a few too many to give us not so familiar with this sort of grid a real foothold. Finally, you had a few surfaces that, for me, didn’t quite make sense or were a bit too xwdy for my taste.

    Saying all that, I understand that this was not my usual thing, and that it was more of a pure logic puzzle and so surfaces prolly weren’t top of your list and, as I said, I did enjoy what I solved (and thought the linking theme for the abbreviations well timed) so I’ll be looking forward to your next grid.


      1. Hi, BD – I got the significance of the abbreviations, why they where used as many times as they where, and the why the 19 needed to be 19 and did think it clever and well done as I said.

        My point (which I should’ve made clearer) was that it is very tough for a solver like me who is not used to these sort of grids to get going without more of a foothold of normal clues in the grid. As such, I would’ve lowered the number of part clues from 19 and found another link that worked just as well for the them. After all, if the solver can’t get into the grid at all, then there’s not much chance to enjoy the cleverness of the setter.

        I’m sure those who do this sort of thing regularly will have enjoyed it thoroughly and had no trouble with it – but, as I enjoyed what I did solve, I just felt it a shame I wasn’t given a bit more of an easy in. But that’s just me, of course – you can’t please everyone all of the time and I’m aware that the problem is mine and not the setters.

  4. So far I’ve got two answers and a possible third one which I don’t understand. I have a feeling that I already know who is going to win this battle! I’ll carry on trying a bit later.

  5. Thanks for the comments so far. Only want to say a couple of things at this stage:

    1) This was meant to be a tough puzzle, hard to crack into but rewarding when the solver twigs what’s going on
    2) The number of partially clued lights (19) most certainly is significant
    3) Regarding the grid: I’ll whisper it around these parts, but it is from the standard Guardian library and is often used for themed crosswords of this sort…

  6. I don’t understand most of the comments, such what abbreviations ? what theme ? I found it very hard (well it is supposed to substitute for a toughie) and I resorted to letter hints etc. . Check helped enormously.For a great many clues when I finally got the answer , I couldn’t parse them. That is my problem , I suppose.Thanks anyway Mitz, and please go easier on us next time.

  7. I’ve nearly finished it … just 3 to complete (12d, 15a and 2d) … I realised the theme fairly quickly … very topical and very clever.

    But I am still somewhat distracted by the title: All in One Rhythm

    Not one for Rookie Solvers!

    Thanks to Mitz!

    1. Three solutions to go – it should be possible to work out which abbreviations are missing…

  8. Each to his or her own, but a specialized theme (which I did pick up on, except for the significance of 19) and parts of the answer not indicated in the wordplay is not my cuppa. If I have to google lists before I’ve even started, and fight for every answer, then the fun evaporates, along with my desire to persevere. I’m sure that the cleverness will become apparent when I read the review tomorrow, but I’m putting this away until then.

  9. You can all call me slow on the uptake if you like but I’ve finally twigged the theme – how could it possibly have been anything else?!
    I know nothing about it which will not surprise anyone and I can’t make the connection between it and 19 and Mr Google doesn’t want to play.
    I’ve now got to the point where I can’t leave it alone – driving husband mad!
    Because of all the “sticky-outy-bits” round the outside I’m thinking Nina but the top right hand corner is not very encouraging if my 5 and 6d are right.
    Onwards, but supper first . . .

    1. If my 5 and 6 are right ? just press check.And what is the theme , please ?Obviously, I’m slower on the uptake.

      1. *Potential Spoilers*

        The theme is what may be disrupting your normal evening television schedule at the moment – the abbreviations are of things involved in what is disrupting your tv schedule at the moment and are used in the grid the same amount of times as they have had success in the thing that is disrupting your normal television schedule.

        Hmmm … I hope you have a TV or that might’nt have made any sense.

          1. :) :) well done Mitz, took me a while to get what was going on but very well done, my loathing of certain grids tempered by your comment. Thanks from me for stretching the addled brain

        1. With this, and BD’s earlier comment, I now understand the 19 part. I have to say, though, that normal network programming is not being interrupted in my part of the globe!

      2. Thought you’d put this one away until tomorrow . . . ! I think it’s really really really difficult but am not sure whether it really is or whether my lack of knowledge about the theme is what makes it so tricky.
        I’m going to carry on battling for a while because I’ve now got so far that I can’t not – if you see what I mean.

        1. Sorry – was on wrong comment to reply to – this was meant to go to Expat Chris.

        2. Comments on the post come into my e-mail, Kath. I’m not working on the puzzle, but I admire your stubbornness!

          1. I do wish that husband also admired my stubbornness . . . he’s now more than a little bit fed-up with it (and me!)

  10. Am I the only one who thinks that this is the trickiest Rookie Corner crossword that we’ve had so far? Or is it the subject matter and my lack of knowledge of it that makes me think that?
    Whatever – with thanks to Mitz for stopping me doing everything that I should have done today but didn’t want to do anyway – this has been far more fun.

    1. Kath, I found it extremely tricky … even though I understood exactly what the theme was about from the very beginning!

      The theme – not one of your favourite subjects! But if you wish to continue …

      (I wonder if Mitz has a version of the clues where the unclued bits are clued?)

        1. Interesting thought. I never intended to do it that way, but if I had an example could have been:

          9) First goal of respected teacher in 1930 (4)


          1) Woman in uniform in 1998 (4)

          Honestly, I think less is more in this case but it might have worked. Would certainly have made it a good deal easier for the solver – probably why I didn’t take that route…

          1. 1) The leaders of French Resistance are uprising, missus!

            My first and last attempt at setting a clue ,,, it must be very difficult when you have to do about 36 of them!

            Hats off to all the Compilers!

    2. We thought it was the trickiest Rookie so far too Kath. Our knowledge of “The Beautiful Game” was not sufficient for the subtlety of the theme to mean much to us. Do understand it now though.

      1. “The Beautiful Game?” Oh dear – I just don’t get it do I? Never mind – there’s more to life . . .
        . . . like getting up at 5.00am tomorrow to go to Heathrow to meet my oldest friend who I trained with and shared a house with in the early 70’s and who has lived in Oz since then. I’m just SO excited.

        1. Wonderful! Enjoy your time with her. I have a brother in Oz whom I see rarely and miss dearly.

          1. Thank you – we will have a really good time. It must be difficult having a brother so far away from you.

        2. We will spend the first hour crying, the second one hunting for my car (because I always forget to notice where I’ve parked it) the third one, plus a bit, on the M25/M40 and then the next few days being completely ridiculous as we always were so many years ago.

  11. Thanks Mitz ,goodness knows how long this must have taken you.Very clever and would not have solved the last handful without the theme .A satisfying solve .
    Thanks again ,look forward to the next one .

  12. Thanks very much, Prolixic, and sorry for compounding your misery with the subject matter.

    9) Respected teacher’s first goal (4)
    20) I, Nietzsche – primarily a thinker (5)

  13. Oh dear! I started this but didn’t persevere. I’m afraid I share Expat Chris’s sentiments about fun evaporating when one has to Google lists and ‘fight for every answer’ (see comment 8 above). Also, I am no fan of football, and although I picked up on the theme, had no idea as to the implication of ’19’.

    That said, having read Prolixic’s brilliant review, I can but congratulate Mitz on what is clearly a very clever puzzle.

    Thank you very much, Mitz. I’m sorry this wasn’t my cup of tea. I’m indebted to Prolixic for explaining it all so lucidly.

  14. Even with a lot of help I didn’t manage to finish this one by quite a long way so thanks very much to Prolixic for filling in all my gaps, especially as he doesn’t like the subject any more than I do.
    Thanks also to Mitz

  15. Thanks for the write up, Prolixic.

    I have a quick question about the use of ‘regular’ in 10a as this form of the indicator is something I’ve never been sure on. Usually I would use ‘regularly’ or ‘taken at regular intervals’ etc to indicate taking certain letters of the fodder, but have always wondered if ‘regular’ on its own was OK to properly indicate regular pieces of the fodder. Is it a case of it being fine when used before its fodder, but not after – or is it just fine wherever it is (I’m hoping the latter as it opens more doors cluewise).

    Cheers again to Mitz for the puzzle.

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