Rookie Corner 013 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 013

A Puzzle by CW

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Today it’s CW’s turn to present a second puzzle.  I hope you enjoy this one as much as you did with his debut 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.

Welcome back to CW with a gentle Rookie crossword.  There were no real problems with the clues but some minor issues have been highlighted.  It was an enjoyable crossword.  The use of three unchecked letters in the grid is not usual practice – even though one of the Telegraph grids has a “triple unch”, I cannot recall when it was last used in practice.  However, as the clues were on the gentler side, it did not hold up solving the relevant clues.  They could have been avoided by adding two three letter words in the grid.  With Saturn, Neptune and Zeus as answers along with Ephesus, I wondered if there was going to be a classical theme somewhere but could not find anything else to link them.  The only other point to watch is the surface readings as some of them (for example 6d) tended to be less than convincing.


1 Arrive last heard funny humour (6)
COMEDY – A four letter word meaning arrive followed by the last letters of heard and funny.  Last to indicate the last letter of one word is sometimes accepted but where it is the last letters of two or more words, this should be indicated in the wordplay.

4 Detached iris sent dark (8)
SINISTER – A anagram (detached) of IRIS SENT.

8 A-Z of a Greek wager (8)
The Greek letter A followed by a word for a wager.

9 First part of play working activity (6)
ACTION – A phrase 3,1 indicating the first part of a play followed by a two letter word meaning working.

10 Members of 8 against young male insects (10)
CONSONANTS – … those that are not vowels in the answer to 8a.  A three letter word meaning against followed by a three letter word for a young male offspring followed by a four letter word for insects that live in colonies.

12 Second hand american press chief (4)
USED – A two letter word indicating American (which really should be capitalised in the clue) followed by the abbreviation for an editor (press chief).

13 Final charge back to god (4)
ZEUS – The final letter of the alphabet followed by a word meaning charge (as in bring legal proceedings) reversed (back).  The pedantic lawyer in me says that charge is used in relation to criminal proceedings whilst the answer uses the word for  civil proceedings.

14 Part of paper soldier with chart (9)
PARAGRAPH – A four letter word for a soldier who jumps from an aircraft followed by another word for a chart.

17 Feeling for part of hospital I’m sent around (9)
SENTIMENT – The SENT from the clue goes around the abbreviation for Ear Nose and Throat (hospital department) and the IM from the clue.

19 Student in a little shock (4)
JOLT – The abbreviation for learner (student) goes inside word meaning little.

20 Firm up stroke (4)
COUP – The two letter abbreviation for company followed by the UP from the clue.

22 Circular sailor banned merrygoround (10)
ROUNDABOUT- A five letter word meaning circular followed by an abbreviation for a sailor and a three letter word meaning banned.  Merry-go-round or merrygoround?

24 God took pot (6)
SATURN – A three letter word meaning took (as in an exam) followed by a type of pot.

25 Boffins encourage male promotions (8)
EGGHEADS – A three letter word meaning encourage, a two letter male pronoun and the abbreviation for advertisements (promotions).

26 Checked bill holding many directions (8)
ASSESSED – The abbreviation for an advertisement (sound familiar!  Using the same device twice in a puzzle let along in successive clues should be avoided) followed by a collection of the abbreviations for South and East (directions).

27 Got up no end before a line used for prayers (6)
ROSARY – A four letter word meaning got up with the final letter removed (no end) followed by the A from the clue and the abbreviation for railway (line).


2 Witnesses spectators (9)

ONLOOKERS – A double definition  The two meanings are so similar that is really is a single definition with two examples of the same word.

3 Record american he’s in old city (7)
EPHESUS – A two letter word for a record and an abbreviation for American (which again should be capitalised and the same device not used twice in the same crossword) contains the HES from the clue.

4 Devil back in retsina tasting (5)
SATAN – The answer is hidden and reversed in RETSINA TASTING.

5 Close up whisper man can’t make out from a long way off (11)
NEARSIGHTED – A four letter word meaning close up to or beside followed by a four letter word meaning a whisper and a three letter word being an abbreviation of Edward (man).

6 Rested on total – a citrus fruit (7)
SATSUMA – A three letter word meaning rested on followed by a three letter word meaning total and the A from the clue.

7 Run off with English stride (5)
ELOPE – The abbreviation for English followed by a word for a stride or type of gait.

11 Sleep family calls for something to hold cloth (6,5)
NAPKIN RINGS – A three letter word meaning a sleep, a three letter word for close family and a word meaning calls or telephones.

15 Start review of elegant eggs (3)
ROE – The initial letters start (see comment on 1a) of Review Of Elegant.

16 Drowned German and queen grasped before (4,5)

18 Writer backs air god (7)
NEPTUNE – Reverse (backs) a three letter word for a writing instrument and follow it with a word for an air or piece of music.

19 Redundant smaller book? (7)
JOBLESS – Split 3,4 this could mean a smaller book of the bible.

21 Jewelry has no friends (5)
OPALS – Split 1, 4, this could indicate you have no friends.  A spellcheck to spot Jewellery might have helped!

23 Not down, complete tip over (5)
UPEND – The opposite (not) of down followed by a word meaning complete.

20 comments on “Rookie Corner 013

  1. A pleasant little romp with nothing to frighten the horses. Took us about Monday back-pager time. Kept us smiling.
    Thanks CW.

  2. Agree with 2Kiwis, a very pleasant puzzle with some nice clues.
    Not keen on 2d though. It’s a double definition but the two definitions are almost identical.

    Thanks CW – enjoyed it.

  3. Thanks CD for a very pleasant puzzle, I forgot to take notes and I can’t see the finished result.I wondered where the german was in “drowned”.I liked the “sleep family “clue best . Sorry that I haven’t got the clue numbers to hand.

    1. German is yet another thing that I can’t do but the clue said “German and” which, I think, is “und”. If I’m wrong I’m pretty sure someone will tell me!

  4. I agree with everyone – a very nice crossword. I thought it was at the easier end of the Rookie Corners but can’t now remember anything about CW’s previous one.
    My last answer was 13a.
    If my 24a is right, and it may not be, I don’t understand the first three letters.
    I liked 8 and 22a and 5d. My favourite was 20a.
    With thanks and congratulations to CW.

      1. Of course – thank you. How couldn’t I see took=sat? Stupid! the plus side I got the urn.

    1. You are right, on both counts (und und saturn).Why don’t you use the “check” button, I do for every clue.

      1. I don’t know what you mean by the check button. There are two possible reasons for that – the first one is that I do the crossword in the paper, or print it out – the second is the same one that stopped me seeing took=sat.

        1. When you do it on line ,as I do, you can check your answers, much as in the guardian puzzles, and get a letter hint or two , if necessary.

  5. Fairly gentle. Probably just as well with those double and triple unches. Two checking letters for a six letter word is a bit unsporting.
    A Latin and Greek scholar?

  6. I thought this was a good effort. For me, clues have to make sense as a sentence, and I felt that several of these didn’t (16A and 21A, for example). Having said that, I think that achieving the smoothness and great surface readings that the experienced pros exhibit must be a skill that grows over time. 24A made me smile, and smiles are a good thing.

  7. Certainly at the easy end for this spot, since I could do it…..thanks to compiler. I wonder how compilers choose the grid? I didn’t like this one, I don’t remember seeing 3 unchecked consecutive letters in a DT crossword…but then, what do I know, I like those 4-letter words that everyone else moans about!

    1. The Rookies here seem to design and fill the grids by hand, from what I gather. That is really hard (and the reason I haven’t submitted to RC – my grid has too many unchecked letters and would be ripped apart! So a complete re-design is needed, meaning I have to chuck out many of my clues I’ve given up for the present).

      Having said that, CW could have eliminated those in this puzzle fairly easily by adding a 3-letter word in the NW, and one in the SE, with a change of word at the current 27a. But no biggie, IMHO :).

  8. The first Rookie Corner that I’ve completed without a serious battle! Enjoyable solving, and no major issues with any clues (though agreeing with Pommers and Expat Chris re 2d and surface readings).

    Isn’t it a bit curious to complain of an unfriendly grid, when agreeing that the puzzle as a whole isn’t too taxing? Surely, that grid is well-complemented by gentler clues? (Yes, I get that it’s a crossword, and taking that idea to its extreme might allow a list of super-easy clues and no checkers at all ;). But, in balance, I think the proof is in the solving. Feel free to disagree!)

  9. Good to see you again, CW. This was a very pleasant puzzle with plenty to smile about. I, too, wondered if it had a theme. Also, as there was a ‘z’, out of interest I checked the letters used — four short of a pangram, if I’ve counted correctly.

    Like Pommers and others, I felt 2d was not quite what it could have been. My last in was 13a, for, although I was almost sure of the answer, I was unsure of ‘Z’ equating with ‘final’ (unless, of course, taken as the final letter of the alphabet). Otherwise I had no problems.

    Many thanks, CW, for this enjoyable puzzle. And many thanks, Prolixic, for the excellent review.

  10. I’ve just been to back numbers of Rookie Corner and realise that setters comment on the comments! As such I’d like to thank everyone for contributing.
    Catnap mentions pangram – and this is what it was when lying on the shelf (with a title of Alphabet Soup). When I had the call from BD for another crossword I started polishing it up based on comments from outing 1 in Rookie Corner. Some of the clues were not up to scratch and many of your comments point to the last minute changes. So apologies for all that – lesson learnt – so I’m staring to develop some polished, shiny crosswords in case BD ever makes the call again :-)
    Whilst 2dn didn’t work (I had hoped that ‘witnesses’ may have been read as ‘sees’ as well as the people who do the seeing), I am so happy that some smiles were raised – encouragement indeed to continue battling the Thesaurus!
    All comments really are appreciated so please keep them coming.

    1. Welcome to the blog CW

      I did see that you had titled the puzzle as “Alphabet Soup”, but as “alphabet” was one of the answers I decided it was better if solvers found out for themselves.

      1. Yes – I agree. As it didn’t turn out to be a pangram in the end maybe I’ll save the title for the future. Any crossword meet-ups in the offing? Would be good to meet up again.

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