Rookie Corner 011 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 011

A Puzzle by Gepetto

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Gepetto is our latest recruit to Rookie Corner.   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.

Many thanks to our latest rookie for giving us an easier (compared to the last two weeks) crossword for our Monday supplement.  The crossword was a good first assay into the world of setting.  It is one of those crosswords where the solving was straightforward but the explanations revealed some minor niggles.  These are a matter of polish more than anything else and they did not detract from the enjoyment of solving or from the generally good standard of cluing in terms of wordplay with clues such as 9a, 15a, 29a, 4d and 5d.  My one suggestion for future crosswords would be to think more about the surface readings as some of them were clunky – for example 18a or 25a.


1 French perfumer wins right to store boneyard (7,5)
CHARNEL HOUSE – The abbreviation for right goes inside the name of a French perfumer and this is followed by a word meaning to store.

9 Vegetable evenly cut? (7)
PARSNIP – A three letter word meaning evenly followed by a four letter word meaning cut.

10 One of three will stumble with poor serving (7)
TRIPLET – A four letter word meaning stumble followed by a word for a poor serve in tennis.  Will is a little jarring as a link word “definition will wordplay” does not work for me.

11 Before first song, it ceases to provoke states of frenzy (9)
ECSTASIES – An anagram (to provoke) of IT CEASES before the first letter of song.  First to indicate the first letter of a word is frowned upon by some editors.

12 Group of nine a challenge for high-flyer? (5)
NONET – Split 2, 3 this might be a challenge for high-flyers such as trapeze artists.

13 A long journey to gather soy dyes (7)
ODYESSY – An anagram (to gather) of SOY DYES.

15 Flight attracted longing looks, we heard (6)
STAIRS – A homophone (we heard) of stares (longing looks).

18 Loudly rise before cow’s call against the tide (6)
UPFLOW – The abbreviation for loudly is preceded by a two letter word for a rise and followed by a word for the sound made by a cow.

20 Low fashion at port (7)
MOORAGE – A three letter word for the sound made by a cow followed by word meaning fashion.  The use of low as part of the wordplay here where it was part of the answer to the preceding clue was a little unfortunate.

24 150 grand about an article of resonance (5)
CLANG – The Roman numerals for 150 and the abbreviation for grand go around an article.  The article also appears in the clue!  Also, some editors will not allow wordplay “of” definition but will allow definition “of” wordplay.

25 The Simpsons lose seconds to a random troupe (9)
THESPIANS – An anagram (random) of THE SIMPSONS with the MOS (seconds) replaced by an A.  This was a slightly clunky clue.

27 Breastplate causes serious hesitation (7)
STERNUM – A five letter word meaning serious followed by a two letter word indicating a hesitation.  Causes is does not really work as a link word – Definition causes wordplay?

28 Man inside AMA has a super power! (7)
AMERICA – The name of a man (ERIC) goes inside the AMA from the clue.  America is a superpower not a super power so the definition here is faulty.  You need not say what you mean but you must mean exactly what you say.

29 Close the loop to get by? (4,4,4)
MAKE ENDS MEET – A lovely double definition.


1 Metal enforcer? (6)
COPPER – A type of ductile metal and another name for a policeman (enforcer).

2 Pirates’ exclaim about tapestry (5)
ARRAS – A type of tapestry might also be an exclamation made by pirates.  This clue does not quite word for me.  The pirates’ exclamations would be arr’s and I cannot account for the second A in the answer.  There may well be another explanation that I am missing.  The about also does not work as a link word and does not appear to be a wordplay indicator.

3 Not so fast! French rejection over some milks? (3-4)
NON-FATS –  An anagram (not so – not really an anagram indicator) of FAST preceded by (over) the French word for no (rejection).  I think that the definition here is a little tenuous.

4 Died messily after cuts sideways (8)
LOPSIDED – An anagram (messily) of DIED after a word meaning cuts.

5 Difficult to understand old boy’s time put into service (6)
OBTUSE – The abbreviation for old boy followed by the abbreviation for time and a word meaning put into service.  I really liked the misdirection here where the wordplay looks as though the T should be put into another word for service.

6 Instrument to turn score around? (7)
SPINNET – A word meaning to turn followed by a reversal of TEN (score).  Perfect score might have given an better indication that score here means a number.

7 Scheme to take ruler’s a dangerous undertaking (8)
PLANKING – A four letter word for a scheme followed by (to take) a word for a ruler.  To “take” is usually used as a containment indicator rather than a charade indicator.  I cannot find a meaning in Chambers that defines this as a dangerous undertaking.  Is this a reference to walking the plank?

8 Political supporter‘s lacking movement without a hundred on the way (7)
STATIST – A word meaning lacking movement without the final C (without a hundred) followed by the abbreviation for street.

14 Failed performance, indeed! (8)
DEFEATED – A word for a performance goes inside (in-) DEED.  The use of wordplay such as indeed meaning inside deed is fine for some and an anathema to others – chose your editor carefully before using this type of device.

16 Reject unpopular actors (7)
OUTCAST – Split 3,4 this might indicate a group of actors that are unpopular.

17 Prepare to sound alarm twice (8)
FOREWARN – A sort of all in one clue the golfing warning followed by WARN.

19 Instrument to reverse alphabetic material (7)
ORGANZA – A musical instrument followed by a reversal of AZ.

21 Restrain need to go to print again (7)
REPRESS- Split 2, 5 this may mean to go into print again.

22 Prevent eyesore taking note (6)
STYMIE – A musical note goes inside a word meaning an eyesore.

23 Angled like computer link on time (6)
ASLANT – A two letter word meaning like followed by an abbreviation for a local area network (computer link) and the abbreviation for time.

26 Cartoon setter in mean mangle! (5)
ANIME – An I (setter) in an anagram (mangle) of MEAN.

18 comments on “Rookie Corner 011

  1. A very pleasant puzzle to solve. Not as tricky as some we have had in this series but enough of a challenge to keep us interested and amused. A couple in the SE corner were the last to yield for us so will go for 17d as our favourite. We enjoyed working through it.
    Thanks Gepetto.

  2. Enjoyed that. Some clever wordplays had the corners of the mouth raised slightly. Look forward to more of the same. Molte grazie Gepetto.

  3. Harder on the right hand side for me. Needed help on 6d which is an obscure spelling of an already obscure word and I still don’t understand what ‘around’ is doing there? I’m also puzzled by 25a. Quite enjoyable with some nice clues – 17d also a favourite for me – but a couple of rather clumsy sounding plurals (3d and 11a for example) which always look to me like the only word the setter could find to fit!

    1. I couldn’t untangle 25a either but called in the B team – husband, a non-crossword solver but a very logical thinker – I/we think that it is an anagram of THE SIMPSONS and the A from the clue. The answer leaves you with MOS going spare which, although husband couldn’t cope with that bit, I think is an abbreviation for moments i.e. seconds. I’ll now wait for everyone to tell me that I’m way off.

      1. I think you’re right, Kath.
        ‘Lose seconds to A’ means replace the MOS with A, then make an anagram (random) of what you now have.

      2. Thanks gazza and Expat Chris – glad to know that the A team (with back-up from the B team) aren’t completely scatty.

    2. I interpreted the MOS as two words meaning second…mo and the usual abbreviation for second of S.

  4. I agree with 2Kiwis that this was less tricky than some other rookie offerings. Like Rick, I thought 11A was a bit forced, and I have a wordplay query by 6D. 26D was a new word for me that required a Google check to confirm. I enjoyed it on the whole, with 23D being my favorite. Good debut, Gepetto.

  5. I enjoyed this and I agree that it wasn’t as difficult as some we’ve had, especially the World Cup one last week.
    I’m now stuck on a couple in the bottom right corner and need explanations for another answer or two.
    Wish I could spell 13a but at least I know I can’t so always check it.
    I think my favourite might be 1a – even though I’ve never heard of it the clue was so clear that it was possible to get the answer and look it up.
    With thanks and congratulations to Gepetto – where did the name come from?

      1. OK and thank you – I didn’t know that. In which case the question now is why the choice of name?

  6. No, not as difficult as some puzzles we have had, but none the less enjoyable for that. Grisly as it is, I rather liked 1a! I also liked other clues such as 29a and 5d.

    I did have problems parsing three of the clues — 2d, 14d (which is beautifully clear now I see the explanation!), and 25a — despite having the answers. Can’t spell either! I spelt ‘stymie’ ‘stymee’ … Very pleased to say the rest of my attempts were all in order.

    Congratulations and thanks to Gepetto on this very enjoyable debut. Do hope we shall be seeing more of your crosswords.

    Thanks to Prolixic for the much-needed enlightenment and for the constructive review. These insights into setting are fascinating to read.

  7. 2d was my main problem – it still is really – just don’t get it but thanks to Prolixic for taking the time to do a helpful review.

  8. Hey, hey! Thank you everyone for the feedback. That was all really helpful and I pretty much agree with everyone’s feedback. Funny, but it took me a while to work through the website before finding yr comments; I didn’t think anyone had even seen, let alone attempted it! So thanks again… I threw quite a few simple ones in there, it’s true, but a lot of them were kinda gap-fillers and i didn’t have much heart for them. Now that I know there’s a good, intelligent audience out there, I can have a little fun raising the bar higher. :)

    t look forward to submitting more for you soon!

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