Rookie Corner 033 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 033

Extreme Points by Hasslethymi

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Today it’s the turn of Hasslethymi to offer his third puzzle in 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.

Gentle genius from Ashley this week.  This was at the much easier end of the spectrum of cryptic crosswords (although it took me two minutes more than Virgilius in the Sunday Telegraph Cryptic yesterday).  Only a few minor points to note in relation to the clues.


6 Two hot drinks next to posh stately home (7)
CHATEAU – Two synonyms for a hot brewed drink followed by the one letter word indicating posh.

7 It could be tragic if ricochets occur near young heads (5)
IRONY – The initial letters (heads) of If Ricochets Occur Near Young.

9 Go with a hollow look (4)
WALK – The one letter abbreviation for with followed by the A from the clue and the outer letters (hollow) of look.

10 Responsible for new ale bars struggling (10)
ANSWERABLE – An anagram (struggling) of NEW ALE BARS.

11 They complain as rugby players run around hospital (8)
WHINGERS – A term for some rugby players around the abbreviation for hospital.

13 Draw in trendy hothead with beer (6)
INHALE – A two letter word meaning trendy followed by the first letter (head) of hot followed by a three letter word for ale.  Some editors will not allow constructions such as hothead to indicate the head (first letter) of hot.  A shame that the In from the definition is also the synonym for trendy.

15 Valley I located after packing (4)
WADI – The I from the clue goes after a word meaning packing – as in a block of material.

17 Suppose some colleague’s sick (5)
GUESS – The answer is hidden in (some) the words COLLEAGUES SICK.

18 Papa takes on mature servant (4)
PAGE – The letter in the NATO phonetic alphabet represented by Papa followed by a word meaning mature.

19 Thingamajig is initially what I would acquire (6)
WIDGET – The first letter (initially) of what followed by I’D GET (I would acquire).

20 Public relations against the Islamic State can lead to extremists becoming pure (8)
PRISITINE – A two letter word for public relations followed the first letters of Islamic State, another word for a can and the first letter (lead to) of extremists.  Although much in the news, IS is not a recognised abbreviation for Islamic State.

23 Religious liberally show lip fur (10)
WORSHIPFUL – An anagram (liberally) of SHOW LIP FUL.

26 Inmates of Belsen freed otherwise (4)
ELSE – The inner letters (inmates of …. Freed) of Belsen.

27 Struggling to get virtual monarch? (5)~
EKING – The letter the represents virtual or on-line followed by a word for a monarch.

28 Visualized utilitarian processing plant (7)
SAWMILL – A word meaning visualised followed by the name of a utilitarian philosopher.


1 Sleep with family circle’s tableware (6,4)
NAPKIN RING – A three letter word meaning to sleep followed by a word for family and a word for a circle.

2 Hippy movement recognised broadcast era (3,3)
NEW AGE – A homophone (broadcast) of knew (recognised) followed by another word for an era..

3 Shock comeback for madmen (4)
NUTS – Reverse (comeback) a word meaning shock.

4 Ulster met Tyneside with awkward spin. They’re bowled over! (8)
NINEPINS – The abbreviation for Ulster (which despite the valiant efforts of amateur and professional crossword setters is not exactly the same as Northern Ireland) followed by the part of the country where Tyneside is and an anagram (awkward) of SPIN.

5 Star making river flow backwards (4)
NOVA – Reverse (flow backward) the name of a river to get a type of star.

6 Fight for fifty in notes (5)
CLASH – The Roman numeral for 50 goes inside a word for notes or money.

8 For the audience you will record festive offering (4,3)
YULE LOG – A homophone (for the audience) of YOU WILL followed by another word for a log.

12 Run around wide expanse (5)
SWEEP – Another word meaning run or ooze goes around the abbreviation for wide.

14 Theory he posits all over the place is hopelessly vacuous to start with (10)
HYPOTHESIS – An anagram (all over the place) of HE POSTIS after the outer letters (vacuous) of hopelessly.

16 Swim with nothing on in rough sea, fatty! (7)
ADIPOSE – Another word for a swim and the letter representing nothing inside an anagram (rough) of SEA.

17 They’re supposed to turn on parts of guitars, perhaps (1-7)
G-STRINGS – Double definition of an erotic item of clothing and  part of a guitar.

21 I replace lawns, not blood (2-4)
IN-LAWS – The I from the clue followed by an anagram (replace) of LAWNS.

22 Secretly reckon a salary’s on the nose (5)
NASAL – The answer is hidden in (secretly) RECKON A SALARY.  Not sure that on the nose means the answer and definition on wordplay does not work with ON as a link word.

24 Runners starting to sprain knees in stilettos (4)
SKIS – The first letters (starting to) Sprain Knees In Stilettos.  Starting to does not quite word as an initial letter indicator for a group of words.

25 Trouble coalesces when energy is sapped (4)
FUSS – Remove the E (energy is sapped) from fuses (coalesces).

17 comments on “Rookie Corner 033

  1. One of the gentler Rookie Corner puzzles that we have had. It all fell into place very smoothly. When I first started the puzzle and looked at 6a my thought was that I would have to go searching Google lists of stately homes. Pleasantly surprised when a checker or too showed that wasn’t necessary. Favourite would be 7a as I started off looking for complicated wordplay.
    Thanks Hasslethymi.

  2. Thanks Hasslethymi, it’s a nice idea and you managed to work within the constraints of the theme without having to resort to any obscure or awkward clues. My favourites were 1 and 8 down. I can’t parse the second bit of 20 across but I’m sure that will be explained in the review. I think you might get your knuckles rapped for 4 down as I’m sure I remember reading that ulster doesn’t mean what we all think it means.

    1. For 20A. the usual two letters for public relations, followed by (against) the initial letters of Islamic State, then the 3-letter British word for what I call a can, and the first letter (lead to) extremists. That’s how I parsed it.

      1. Thanks! The “can” slipped under my radar because it was such a smooth part of the surface, which I think is a big compliment to the clue.

  3. Good job, Hasslethymi! I can’t parse 7A, but otherwise no problems. It took a while to see how the theme works! Very clever!

  4. Yet another excuse to put off making a start on writing Christmas cards! Put me on the list of those who missed the parsing for 7a for an unforgiveable length of time and made heavy weather of the second part of 20a (thanks for the help, EC!).

    You weren’t alone on the Nina, Franco!!!

    Good fun – thank you Hasslethymi. Fav. was 1d, best giggle 17d.

    Now …………. about those cards.

  5. Slightly held up by putting 3d in backwards but otherwise no probs. I thought it was “comeback for madmen” to give the shock rather than “shock comeback” to give madmen. Not keen on clues like that where you really need a checker before filling in the answer.

    The province of Northern Ireland is only a part of Ulster but I’ve learned to live with the two being the same thing in crosswords so fair enough.

    Apart from those minor quibbles my favs were 9a and 27a and the whole thing was very pleasant. Thank you Hasslethymi.

    1. It’s very difficult to make that clue unambiguous. When I say “that clue”, I mean that those two words are a great temptation to a setter to do a reversal clue. I expect every setter who’s composed more than a handful of puzzles has tried it at least once. And I expect they’ve all found that making it unambiguous tends to make the clue rather contrived – I know I have.

      1. I agree it’s hard, and I don’t really mind at all. It’s just that today I didn’t see it could be either way, put in my first thought and then got legged up :sad: If i’d noticed it could be either way I would have left the light blank and had no problem, D’oh!

  6. This took me considerably less time than today’s Rufus, but maybe I just needed some warming up. I found it all very pleasant – thanks Hasslethymi.

    My faves were 7a, 19a and 28a, and I enjoyed teasing out the parsing of 20a. The only one I had trouble with was 15a – but then I spotted the Extreme Points :).

  7. Thank you all for the lovely comments and particularly to Dave for the publication. I’m glad that the puzzle has gone down well and the advice is very much appreciated.

    All the best,

    Ashley (Hasslethymi)

  8. 16d led to some disturbing imagery :) Liked 27a , one of those words I always spell incorrectly thinking it should start with ee. Clever constructed grid, no gripes from me. Thanks to Hasslethymi

  9. Thanks to Prolixic for the fantastic feedback. All of your advice is much appreciated and will help me considerably to continue developing my setting skills. Glad you liked the puzzle too!

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