Rookie Corner 031 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 031

A Puzzle by Beet

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Today we have a second puzzle from Beet.  I really enjoyed this one, and I hope you do too.  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.

If you have a puzzle you would like to see published here then why not write to me, Big Dave, using the contact page.  New or repeat entries are more than welcome.

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows:

Bravo to Beet with a cracking second crossword. There were some excellent clues here with 25a and 7a/11d and 25d being particularly noteworthy.  There is very little to comment on in terms of the clues themselves, which is always an encouraging sign.


1 Leave port (5)
SPLIT – A double definition, the second being a port in Croatia.

4 Trendy writer at top of shortlist impresses (9)
INSCRIBES – A two letter word meaning trendy followed by a word meaning a writer and the first letter (top) of shortlist. I always think that “top of” to indicate the first letter works best in a down clue.

10 Ring on digit? One could be engaged (9,6)
TELEPHONE NUMBER – A cryptic definition of what you may dial with your finger and get an engaged one if the person called is already on the phone.

11 See 7 Down

12 Beet verbalises expression of surprise (1,3)
I SAY – The single letter representing the setter followed by a word meaning verbalises. I think that verbalises would lead to says rather than say.

14 Spooner’s glitch in composition of crossword shows he took a chance (7,4)
BETTING SLIP – Exchange the initial letters in setting (composition of a crossword) blip (glitch).

16 Question Pythagoras knows contains the answer (3)
ASK – The answer is hidden inside (contains the answer) PYTAGORAS KNOWS.

19 Awful sickly losing weight following a brief illness (3)
FLU – Remove the A and W (weight following A) from AWFUL and make an anagram (sickly) of the remaining letters.

20 Second team club together to get a cocktail (11)
SCREWDRIVER – The abbreviation for second followed by a four letter word for team in a boat and a type of golf club.

22 Initially Gove criticised syllabus, ultimately futile examination (1,1,1,1)
GCSE – The initial letters of Gove, Criticised and Syllabus and the final letter (ultimately) of futile.

24 Savagely abuse Colin – that’s not very friendly (10)
UNSOCIABLE – An anagram (savagely) of ABUSE COLIN.

26 It aids boor Lance, which is out of order (8,7)
ANABOLIC STEROID – An anagram (which is out of order) of IT AIDS POOR LANCE with the whole clue providing an &Lit of the prohibited substance that the cyclist took. A wonderful clue.

27 Bad move, hearts of little ingenues are stolen (3-6)
ILL-GOTTEN – A three letter word meaning bad or poorly followed by a two letter word meaning move or depart and the central letters (hearts) of LITTLE AND INGENUES.  The only major point I could find is that wordplay ARE definition does not work grammatically.

28 Oh yeah, ignoring a setback – oh well! (3-2)
HEY HO – Reverse (SET BACK) the OH YEAH after removing (ignoring) the A.


2 Serving lunch, say, by degrees (9)
PIECEMEAL – A word meaning a serving or portion followed by a word describing what lunch is an example of.

3 Makeover – I dye and tint myself (8)
IDENTITY – An anagram (makeover) of I DYE TINT.

5 It’s for nine people, number ten is upset (5)
NONET – The abbreviation for number followed by a reversal (upset) of the TEN in the clue.

6 Convulsive tic and reaction suggest that drug was not advisable (14)
CONTRAINDICATION – An anagram (convulsive) of TIC AND REATION

7/11 “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”   The rhythmic pattern Shakespeare’s lines obey (6,10)
IAMBIC PENTAMETER – A deceptively simple clue where you think that it is a straight definition but the clue is, itself is written in the form of its solution.

8 Start of argument after cutting off person you don’t like, you’re told to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine (5)
ENEMA – A word for a foe (person you don’t like) with the final letter removed (cutting off) followed by the first letter (start of) argument.

9 Like 7 and 11 for example, pair on the end of sonnet (7,7)
RHYMING COUPLET – A definition of how the final two lines of a sonnet end and the form of a 7/11

13 Rabbit is a horny beast (3)
YAK – A double definition of a work meaning to talk incessantly and the second a Himalayan animal.

15 Woman that dropped aitch replaced by posh woman (3)
SUE – Replace the H is SHE with a U (posh).

17 Fell out tucking into kebab – it isn’t kosher (9)
SHELLFISH – An anagram (out) of FELL goes inside a type of kebab.

18 Girl’s dreadfully eager to argue (8)
DISAGREE – A diminutive form of Diana with the ‘s from the clue and an anagram (dreadfully) of EAGER following.

19 Back up file, you won’t give it if you’re careless (3)
FIG – Reverse the file extension used on computers for a GIF file.

21 Extremely troublesome, answer with back-chat, one will end up in hot water (3,3)
TEA BAG – The first and last letters (extremely) of troublesome followed by the abbreviation for answer and a reversal (back) of a word meaning to chat.

23 Anglican altar displays artificial flower (5)
CANAL – … flower being a watercourse. The answer is hidden inside ANGLICAN ALTAR.

25 Term of endearment in French capital (5)
SUCRE – The French word for sugar (a term of endearment) is also the constitutional capital of Bolivia.

I have not forgotten the guide to cryptic clues. I have put together the notes into a complete version which is with Big Dave for review before publication.

23 comments on “Rookie Corner 031

    1. Thanks so much, that clue in particular took me ages – I was trying to work something out with Arnie / Arnold for a long time before Lance suggested himself.

  1. Good fun from start to finish. The long clues fell without too much of a fight which gave plenty of checking letters to work with. Have to pick 24a as favourite as it is not often that this member of our team gets a mention in the clues.
    Thanks Beet.

    1. My boyfriend is also a Colin so possibly some unresolved anger issues are expressing themselves in my cluing!

  2. Lots of fun and lots to like. I loved 7/11, 14A and 26A in particular, with 20A, 8D and19D close behind. Thanks, beet!

    I have an answer for 1A that I’m not 100% sure of, and a thought for 25D that I can’t make work.

    1. 1a The port is in Croatia.
      25d You need to think of a term of endearment (similar to Honey) then translate it into French. The answer is also the judicial capital of Bolivia.

      1. Thanks so much. My answer for 1A was correct, but my reasoning was way off. I was tending towards a port being an aperture in a wall. I was also correct on 25D but couldn’t reconcile the capital. Need to brush up on my geography!

  3. Thanks to Beet for a very entertaining puzzle.

    I liked the Spoonerism. I think I understand the Shakespeare one … but I’m not sure.

    My favourite … the very smooth surface reading of 20a.

  4. Enjoyed my first ‘go’ at a Beet puzzle – many thanks.
    7/11d and 9d were the best for me – with a mention for 28a & 8d.
    Can someone help me with the parsing for 27a and the first part of 21d?

      1. So easy – when you know how! I think 27a just moved up to ‘first position’ as favourite.

        Many thanks BD – without your help there’d be so many times when I ‘got’ the words but not the music!

  5. Found this very entertaining – favourite has to be 26A, but plenty of others made me smile – great job, thanks Beet.

  6. Extremely enjoyable Beet. All the surface readings read well and I thought the three letter word clues very clever particularly the horny rabbit.

  7. 26a is very good, the 7/ 11 had a few peeps in the after work club counting on their fingers (cue strange looks) , and then Colin Savage (real name) walked in….Imho this was very good. Beet thank you, so much to enjoy here

  8. Thanks all for the lovely comments and to Prolixic for the detailed review. I thought there would be lots more mistakes in there. My clue about Spooner’s “betting slips” was my little joke about how many mistakes I thought there’d be.

    1. At last! A spoonerism that actually made the corners of my mouth rise vertically. Sterling effort Beet!

  9. I found this very enjoyable. I particularly liked 24a, 7/11 and 9d, 13d and 19d. Other clues were fun, too, such as 14a — a Spoonerism which I could do!

    Thanks Beet, and very well done!

    Thanks too, to Prolixic for a most interesting review. I didn’t know about Sucre in Bolivia. I, too, need to brush up on my geography. One small typo. Shouldn’t the answer to 6d be ‘contraindicate’ rather than ‘contraindication’?

    Excellent news about the guide to cryptic clues. I’m much looking forward to it. Special thanks and appreciation to Prolixic. And special thanks and appreciation to Big Dave who makes it all possible.

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