Rookie Corner 017 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 017

A Puzzle by Hasslethymi

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Today Hasslethymi returns with another fine 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.

Ashley Smith (Hasslthymi) has done himself proud with another excellent crossword.  There were many excellent clues and a good variety of wordplay, though perhaps a few too many hidden word clues.  I have highlighted a few technical points – particularly in relation to the need to indicate definitions by example where they were omitted in some of the clues – but overall this was a very good second crossword.


1 Sing about the banks very quietly going… (8)
STEPPING – The sing from the clue goes around the outer letters (banks) of THE and the musical abbreviation for very quietly.

5 …somewhat imperialist on everyone for fourteen pounds (5)
STONE – The answer is hidden (somewhat) in IMPERIALIST ON EVERYONE.

9 Tool is waxed but not the edges (3)
AXE – Remove the outer letters (but not the edges) from WAXED.

10 Privies revealing heated outpourings by Cameron and Osborne (10)
LAVATORIES – LAVA – heated outpourings followed by the political affiliation of Cameron and Osborne.  Strictly as they are a definition by example, this should have been indicated with a question mark or other indicator.  However, the image conjured up the clue more than made up for this!

11 Pickles, for example, added to piece that’s flipping hollow (8)
NUGATORY – Reverse (flipping) another word for a weapon (piece) and follow this by the political affiliation of Eric Pickles.  This time the definition by example indicator has been provided but it is slightly unfortunate that the wordplay A TORY closely mirrors the TORIES from the previous clue. 

12 South in the dark when the north is this (6)
SUNLIT – An S (south) followed by a word meaning in the dark.  If the north is lit then the south may be unlit except that the terminator between night and day means that it is the west that is in the dark when the east is lit and vice versa.  However, the long northern polar night may coincide with the long southern polar day so perhaps this is ok?

13 Flow restricted by the sound of it (4)
TIDE – A homophone (by the sound of it) of TIED (restricted).

15 Jack Daniel‘s yet to meet the Queen in self-assembled surroundings (10)
DISTILLERY – A five letter word meaning yet followed by the abbreviation for the reigning monarch goes inside DIY (self-assembled surroundings).  Again, this is an un-indicated definition by example.

18 Winning ranking after draw is announced (10)
SUCCEEDING – A homophone of SUCK (draw) and SEEDING (ranking).  A perfectly formed clue with an excellent surface reading to boot.

21 Mark brought back into psychological sample (4)
SPOT – The answer is hidden (sample) and reversed (brought back) inside INTO PSYCHOLOGICAL.

24 Fear brat’s latest wrongdoing (6)
TERROR – The final letter (latest) of brat followed by a word meaning wrongdoing.

25 Strange name for anarchic modernism that hasn’t died (8)
MISNOMER – An anagram (anarchic) of MODERNISM after removing the abbreviation for died.

26 One who records from communication device accepts sanction involving fine (10)
BOOKKEEPER – A communication device carried by doctors on call includes a word meaning sanction (in the sense of approve) around (involving) a word meaning fine (as in acceptable).  Lovely spot that the fine and sanction can be used to clue the same word in different senses and weaving this into the wordplay.

27 Priest is shackled by celibacy (3)
ELI – The answer is hidden in CELIBACY.

28 It helps to raise my final point (5)
YEAST – The final letter of MY followed by one of the points of the compass.

29 Miss Cole’s awkward faux pas (8)
SOLECISM – An anagram (awkward) of MISS COLE.


1 The Reverend’s horse tells lies still (9)
STAGNATES – A Spoonerism (The Reverend’s) of NAG STATES (horse tells).  I wonder whether the Reverend is slightly too loose to indicate a Spoonerism.  Maybe tongue tied cleric or something similar would have given a better indication? 

2 Around me rampant greed materialized (7)
EMERGED – An anagram (rampant) of GREED goes around the ME from the clue.

3 Civilized coppers taking time and not using clubs (6)
POLITE – Put a T for time inside and remove the C for clubs from another word for coppers or members of the constabulary.

4 Pay no attention to Edward eating rats (5,4)
NEVER MIND – Another word for rats (and other undesirable creatures) goes inside a diminutive name for Edward. Again as rats are an example of vermin this could have been indicated.  Definition by example rules apply to the wordplay as well as to the solution.

6 Forms altering movement strangely at first (9)
TRIANGLES – An anagram (movement) of ALTERING followed by the first letter of strangely.

7 Lead-free canister variant is worse (7)
NASTIER – An anagram of CANISTER after removing the first letter (lead free).

8 Some climb on said tree (6)
BONSAI – The answer is hidden inside (some) CLIMB ON SAID.  I think four hidden word answers (5 if you count 9a as a form of hidden word clue) is a little high.

14 Molluscs got stuck into wild caress (9)
ESCARGOTS – The GOT from the clue inside (stuck into) an anagram (wild) of CARESS.

16 Another neon strip for Nadal (6,3)
TENNIS PRO – An anagram (another) of NEON STRIP.  Another un-indicated definition by example.

17 Something on the table‘s delicious with bitter bananas inside (9)
YTTERBIUM – An anagram (bananas) of BITTER inside a word meaning delicious to give a member of the periodic table.  It did wonder whether the element is “part of” or “in” the table not “on the table” but you can have “Am I on the list of candidates?” to indicate inclusion so I think that this is OK. 

19 Fitting handle takes expert (7)
USEABLE – A word meaning handle or utilise followed by a word meaning expert or capable.

20 Listen, you stinker, I’ve found it! (6)
EUREKA – A homophone (listen) of YOU REEKER.  A smile out loud clue!

22 Ashes coverage spot combines ceremony and energy before two (7)
POMPEII – A four letter word meaning POMP followed by the abbreviation for energy and the Roman numeral for two.  Lovely definition here.

23 French article accurate but misleading (6)
UNTRUE – The French indefinite article followed by a word meaning accurate.

33 comments on “Rookie Corner 017

  1. We are very happy to give this one the thumbs up once again. Some interesting words like 17d and 11a but all are fairly and cleverly clued. Lots of smiles and chuckles with perhaps the biggest one for 10a. Clever wordplay in 26a too.
    Thanks Hasslethymi

  2. Absolutely lovely and very polished, I thought. 11A took a while (expat syndrome strikes again) and I was fixed on what even I would consider a horrible Americanism when the penny finally dropped. I’m reasonably sure of my answer for 1D but I still can’t work out the ‘why.’ I have three with double stars…4D, 20D and 22d! Really liked 10A and 15A, too. All terrific. Great fun and a lot of smiles. Two thumbs us to Hasslethymi once again.

        1. Were you in the bath when you “finally got it”? Oops, that’s 20d.

          Nice crossword from Hasslethymi today.

          Still don’t understand 11a and 26a – looking forward to the review tomorrow.

          The reviews of the Rookie Corner crosswords are always most educational and informative about the “rules”(?) of cryptics!

          1. That’s because they are published without being edited or test solved by one of the team. Glad you like the idea. I think it helps both setters and solvers, although it can occasionally require patience on behalf of the solvers.

          2. That’s why I really love this series. Great concept which cuts down just a little on the work required from BD et al. Being exposed to crosswords which are rough round the edges in this way is not just educational for setters and solvers alike, but I hope it helps us better appreciate the polished ones we get to tackle each day too :).

  3. I really enjoyed this. The surfaces work very well and I particularly enjoyed the homophones in this puzzle. A slightly odd grid had me hunting for Ninas but nothing springs to mind. Many thanks to the setter – I look forward to reading the review tomorrow.

      1. oh sorry about that BD……have reached the forgetful stage.
        I do like 1d in this puzzle; I think it’s the first time I’ve seen a cryptic indicator for this cryptic indicator and I wonder what the reviewer will make of it – it’s in a similar bucket to indirect anagrams, I suppose

  4. 17d is a bit like the word ‘Yggdrasil’ inasmuch that you rarely see it in a crossword but when you do it’s usually 2 or 3 times in quick succession.

  5. Very enjoyable thank you Hasslethymi. Slight hold up in the SW corner as I had forgotten that I needed 2 Ks to make 26a work.

    I liked 10a the best followed by 22a.

  6. Thanks, all, for the lovely comments. Glad you seem to like 10A as much as I enjoyed writing it. (Originally wrote the clue with ‘May and Gove’ instead of ‘Cameron and Osborne’, but that little episode seems to have been all but forgotten…)

  7. I’ve managed to escape for a bit and am glad I’m spending the time on this enjoyable offering – thanks Hasslethymi :). Still have 11a, 1d and 19d to do, and haven’t quite fully parsed 26a. Unless one of these turns out to be my favourite, that crown will go to 17d. Also particularly like 10a, 15a, 3d, 4d, 8d, 20d and 22d Thanks in advance to whoever writes the review.

  8. Loved it but I’m completely stuck on three all in the top left corner – 1 and 11a and 1d – I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve got something wrong but don’t think I have.
    10 and 24a and 20d all made me laugh as did 4d once I got over being horrified at the thought of anyone eating rats!
    With thanks and congratulations again to Hasslethymi, and thanks in advance to whoever does the review, not to mention anyone who can get me out of trouble with my remaining three problems.

    1. For 1a, the definition is “going,” and “the banks” could be “the case.” I hope that’s the right amount of hintage :). As for the others, I wait with you to see if anyone wants to provide extra enlightenment, or else I’ll start to reveal letters :).

    1. Ooooh – who’s a smarty pants – hadn’t noticed 1a and 5a until you pointed it out. How would a be instead of a this time!

      1. Aww, thanks! It may be the wine, but I’m absurdly pleased with that :). I’d give you a flower back, but I think that would look rather like I was just returning the same one!

  9. If 15a is a “definition by example”, perhaps there should be a perhaps somewhere in the clue?

    Perhaps I’m wrong..

  10. Thanks to setter for this. Favourite clue was 18 ac, 17d had me completely stumped, got it from the clue but totally unfamiliar! Small point, should 16d have a ? because it’s an example, if you see what I mean?
    Like these Rookie corners online as it gives me a chance to comment on the day. Thanks to all.

    1. Good point . I always forget about the subtle power of the question mark in these things!

  11. Thanks hasselthymi .excellent surface readings and good fun too ,my favourite 1d but would it work for everyone ?
    look forward to the next one .

  12. This was a super second offering from Hasslethymi/Ashley. Plenty of laughs. My fave is 20d followed by 10a and 22d.

    I needed the answer for 28a. I didn’t know that ‘the Reverend’ indicated a Spoonerism in 1d. I had the answer and was very puzzled as to how ‘the Reverend’ fitted in — now I know! Apart from these and being unsure what type of clue 12a was (I wondered if it was an all-in-one), I had no problems.

    Thanks Hasslethymi/Ashley for a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. And many thanks to Prolixic for the insightful and informative review.

    I always look forward to these Rookie Corners. Very big thanks to all!

  13. Huge thanks to Prolixic for such a thorough, thoughtful and informative review. Had been wondering about ways to deal with definitions by example, so thanks for the guidance. Glad you enjoyed the puzzle and look forward to creating more with my developing skills.


  14. Thanks, Hasslethymi. I liked 3d for its smooth and appropriate surface. 17d was a tough one, but nice clue. My favourite was 20d, a very slick homophone.
    Just a word of caution about homophone clues. The first syllable of ‘succeeding’ is unstressed and doesn’t contain the same vowel sound as ‘suck’. If one says the first syllable alone,ie without the following sounds in ‘ceeding’ the tendency is to stress the vowel and automatically change its sound, which might explain the mistake. When in doubt, the phonetic transcription can be checked on dictionary sites: /səkˈsiːd/ /sʌk/.
    I hope this doesn’t sound pedantic. Just trying to be helpful. I teach English to foreigners and tend to notice these things.
    Keep up the good work.

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