Rookie Corner 037 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 037

Merry Christmas by Beet

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Today we have the first of three seasonal puzzles, this one from Beet.  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 for the seasonal cheer that Beet has provided for us.  As others have commented, a nice crossword but with arguably too many initial letter clues but otherwise not many problems with the wordplay.  I particularly liked 2d the linking of 7d and 24d/20a.


1 On the contrary, it’s a must as a stocking filler (7)
SATSUMA – A reversed hidden word (on the contrary) in IT’S A MUST AS.  Although on the contrary indicates the reversal, there is no hidden word indicator.

5 Here in France it’s freezing – minus two (3)
ICI – Remove the final two letters from a word (as a verb) meaning freezing.

7 Something dangerous hidden in Christmas pudding (3)
ASP – The answer is hidden in CHRISTMAS PUDDING.

9 Debauched man bed a short young lady – Carol (4,3,8)
ADAM LAY Y’BOUNDEN – An anagram (debauched) of MAN BED A YOUN LADY.  Short young tells us to remove the final letter of young .

10 Ending of quite awful wisecrack: “it looks like reindeer” (3)
ELK – The final letters of quitE awfuL wisecracKStrictly, this should be endings of… for the cryptic grammar to work.  As Mrs Claus said when Santa asked what the weather was like, “It looks like reindeer.”

11 Disentangle first two couples from underneath mistletoe – kiss! (5)
UNMIX – The first two letters (couples) of UNderneath MIstletoe followed by the letter representing a kiss.

12 Measure of snowfall: six inches? or 4? (5)
DEPTH – Another word for 4d could also represent the amount of snow that has fallen.

13 Good man full of love, middle of abdomen is what gets stuck in chimney (4)
SOOT – Two Os (love and middle letter of abdomen) go inside the abbreviation for saint (good man).

14 Ogle South Londoner’s mince pies (4)
EYES – Word meaning ogle followed by the abbreviation for south.

16 Sounds like Christmas dinner is tongue (5)
TURKI – A homophone (sounds like) of Turkey.

18 Sparkling silver loveliness of winter entrances (5)
AGLOW – The chemical symbol for silver followed by the initial letters (entrances) of Loveliness Of Winter.

19 It appears in the forecasts nowadays (4)
SNOW – The answer is hidden in (appears in) FORECASTS NOWADAYS.

20 See 24 Down

22 Last of advocaat consumed by midday, that’s unacceptable (3,2)
NOT ON – The final letter of advocaat goes inside another word for midday.

23 Initially Santa tried assigning individual reindeer for each part of flight (5)
STAIR – The initial letters of Santa Tried Assigning Individual Reindeer.

25 A single Christmas ornament is on display from 1st to 3rd of the month (3)
DEC – I assume that this is the first to third letters of December.  There is no authority in Chambers for a dec being an abbreviated form of decoration.

27 Feature in Father Christmas’ local paper (3,5,7)
THE POLAR EXPRESS – … a feature film might fancifully be the name of the newspaper that Santa Reads.  A question mark to indicate that the wordplay is fanciful would have been appropriate here.

28 Starts to dread office staff parties (3)
DOS – The initial letters of Dread Office Staff.

29 Beginning to get in the spirit (3)
GIN – The initial letter (beginning) of Get followed by the IN from the clue.

30 Mopes about Christmas trees (7)
REPINES – A two letter word meaning about followed by a type of tree used for Christmas trees.


1 A sled crashed and was responsible for Merry Xmas Everybody (5)
SLADE – An anagram (crashed) of a sled.

2 A, H, K, N, O, T, U and Y (5,3,7)
THANK YOU LETTERS – What you may write on receipt of a Christmas present are collective represented by the characters in the clue.

3 Key ingredient of Glühwein that’s dotty (6)
UMLAUT – The name of the two dots above the U in GlÜhwein.

4 Baby’s motherland somewhere in Gulf? Just the opposite (5)
ABYSM – The answer is hidden inside BABYS MOTHERLAND – The gulf is in there somewhere!

5 Mail arrives here, like Christmas presents (2-5)
IN-BOXES – Where e-mails arrive could also be where you find your Christmas presents.

6 Half of us in pub on 25th December, say, and it’s overrun (8)
INUNDATE – The first letter (half of) US goes inside another word for a pub and this is followed by a word for something that 25 December is an example of.

7 Dad, rare painting is bizarre and (with 24 and 20) impractical present (3,1,9,2)
AND A PARTRIDGE IN – an anagram (is bizarre) of DAD RARE PAINTING.

8 Queue for drink at party to get to the other side? (9)
PUNCHLINE – Split 5,4 this might be a queue to get to that alcoholic fruity flavoured drink in a bowl.  “To get to the other side” is an example of the answer.

13 Put on play including leading parts of Narrator, Aladdin and Twankey. Fresh and original? Oh no it isn’t! (9)
STAGNATE – The initial letters (leading parts of) Narrator, Aladdin and Twankey go inside a word meaning to put on a play.

15 We heard “Noël, Noël” in new arrangement, it goes on for ages (3)
EON – Remove an L (NO L as a homophone of the first Noel) from Noel and make an anagram (in new arrangement) of the remaining letters.

17 Final performance could be The Twelve Days of Christmas (4,4)
SWAN SONG – Well the song does have seven of these swimming. The link is tenuous.

19 Make alterations to Santa Suit; having taken a little off the bottom of each piece, keep going (7)
SUSTAIN – An anagram (make alterations to) SANT SUI with the final letters having being removed (a little of the bottom of each piece) from Santa suit.

21 Prepare presents or prepare oneself for winter weather (4,2)
WRAP UP – What you might do when covering presents with paper is also what you do when you put on a coat, scarf and gloves when going out.

24/20 A lively repartee is, along with 7, one of my true love’s many gifts (1,4,4)
A PEAR TREE – The A from the clue followed by an anagram (lively) of REPARTEE.

26 Leaders of carollers although sloshed keep singing, they can hold booze (5)
CASKS – The initial letters (leaders of) Carollers Although Sloshed Keep Singing.

26 comments on “Rookie Corner 037

  1. Having got 9a sorted (and looked up) it all fell into place quite smoothly. We’re not in the Bah Humbug school of solvers of Christmas themed puzzles and look forward to them each year. Good fun.
    Thanks and Merry Christmas Beet.

  2. Missed out on 8D and the first two words of 2D. No excuse for those, since the clues were good. Even if I had got them, that would have not been any help for 9A, which I finally revealed letters for since I was totally flummoxed. I’ve never heard of that carol. At the risk of sounding like The Grinch, I did think there were an awful lot of “starts to”, leaders of”, “Including leaders of”, “initially”, and the like. I don’t understand 25A. I thought 3D was clever, though, as was 2D even though it defeated me. Thanks, Beet.

  3. I agree that this was good fun and, although Christmas related, a welcome change from doing Christmas “stuff”.
    I’d never heard of the 9a carol but husband had – could see it was an anagram but needed the answer before I could work out the anagram letters.
    3d was my last answer.
    I think I might be barking up the wrong tree with the middle word of 27a.
    The thought of a 7a lurking in a Christmas pud made me laugh and so did 10a and 26d.
    I liked the ones I’ve just mentioned plus 2 and 19d.
    With thanks and Happy Christmas to Beet. Why are you called Beet? I always like knowing why people are called what they are.

    1. Beet is short for “beetchawawa” which is the noise a surprise Ewok makes. I adopted the name for a blog a few years ago (can’t really recall why now…) and although I don’t blog much any more the pseudonym has stuck. A more crosswordy pseudonym for me would be Unreal, which is an anagram of my real name (no prizes for guessing…) and I used to do a bit of break dancing and that was my B-Girl name. So maybe in due course I will change, but I’m fond of Beet even though it has no real logic to it.

      1. Thank you – need to look a few things up now!
        I love knowing why people call themselves what they do. A while back I asked everyone who was commenting that question. The best answer I had, and one which still makes me laugh, was from someone called “Nanaglugglug” – her answer, which I’m sure you’ve guessed, was “Because I am and I do!” Wonder where she went off to . . . ?
        The reason for some names is clear – BD being the most obvious one!

  4. Great puzzle . I loved most of the clues , including 1d, 2d, 3d, 7d, but 9a ????Never heard it or of it. A complete mystery.I am probably coming across all “Brian”.Seriously a marvelous puzzle, looking forward to the next one.

    1. Apologies I thought 9a was relatively well known but obviously not. And it’s such a weird phrase that it’s tough to work out if you don’t know it. And even if you do know it you probably have to think twice about how to spell it!

  5. An enjoyable puzzle thank you Beet. My favourite was 2d. If I was to have one quibble it would be the number of ‘take the first letter of’ clues.

    1. Guilty as charged with all the first letters. It’s not a problem with a regular crossword, but when I’ve got a theme it can be an easy way to try to shoe horn the theme into a clue. Prolixic even marked my card about it with my first effort, so it was naughty of me.

  6. Thanks to Beet for the latest offering to Rookie Corner.

    Never heard of the 9a – Carol

    Some very witty clues! Especially 8d. I also liked the “dotty” one – I like Glühwein, in fact, anything. alcoholic! Hic!

    However, I agree with Expat Chris – the same construct with initial letters etc did seem to appear far too often,

    A Merry Christmas to You!

  7. Started this when back from supermarket and I brain was left on one of the shelves with the baked beans. I really struggled and am looking forward to tomorrow to sort my sillies out. Thanks to Beet for a serious cerebral work out off to have lie-down. I did know the carol and my fave rave was 13d because it describes my brain perfectly.

  8. Really enjoyed my time in rookie corner.
    Last one in was 8d due to wrong endings on 9a and 16a. m and u respectively. I think I need some stronger glasses.
    And I mean that in every possible ways.
    If Beet’s name is Lauren, I think it’s very glamourous and nothing to be ashamed of.
    As you know, Iam very fond of true identities. I live in the land of Corbeaux. Enough said.
    Thanks to Beet for this refreshing crossword and my favourite is 3d. After looking for recipes for mulled wine, it suddenly dawned on me. Very clever indeed.

  9. Needed dictionary help for three – 16&30a plus 4d and – in common with others – hadn’t heard of 9a before. Doesn’t sound like a particularly jolly Christmas song!
    Thought perhaps the first word of 14a clue should have been ‘ogles’ and that the clue for 6d needed a little re-wording – as it stands I feel the answer should have a ‘d’ on the end which obviously wouldn’t fit the grid.

    Some lovely Christmas mentions and other smiles – particularly liked 1&22a plus 17d.

    Many thanks, Beet – have a lovely Christmas and see you again in the new year.

    1. OH Jane. 6d is one of those irregular verbs we have to learn by heart in France Run Ran Run. It is the present tense.

      1. Sorry – Jean-Luc, but I really don’t concur on this one! I still think the wording of the clue requires an ending of ‘-ated’ in the answer. But hey – it’s nearly Christmas and what’s an odd letter between friends?
        Hope you have a great time over the festive season.

        1. Only if it was overrun. But it is. I find that setters often write clues this way to define what we are looking for. You have to mark the pause in between. Sorry, I’m starting to sound like Professor Crossword. Should leave that kind of thing to the proprietor. No hard feeling whatsoever. Enjoy your Xmas too. And I’m sure we will exchange comments over that period.

            1. I’ve run out of vino. Had to make myself a herbal tea. Can you imagine? Have a good night.

  10. Thanks Beet, excellent seasonal fun! I particularly liked 3d for the penny drop moment, and 15d I thought was very clever

  11. Thanks to Prolixic for the review, and to everyone for their comments. I can’t believe Christmas decs haven’t made their way into Chambers. Merry Christmas everyone!

  12. I really enjoyed this puzzle, all of which I managed to complete apart from 9a (understandable) and 4d (grr). Without 4d, I also couldn’t quite work out the full explanation of 12a.

    Revealing 9d letter by letter was a perplexing experience! Your comments above to Una are spot on. I know it was a carol and that I was looking for an anagram but it still beat me. Or maybe that should be Beet me. Sorry!

    Of the acrosses, I particularly liked 11a, and also 28a and 29a – especially when taken as a pair. My pick of the downs are 2d and 8d: lovely stuff! I kept changing my mind about my favourite, so will just leave it at that.

    Thanks for Prolixic for the feedback, and to Beet for a very enjoyable crossword.

  13. Jean-luc sorted out the ending of 6d for me, Prolixic pointed out the extra ‘s’ in 14a – I count myself extremely fortunate to get so much help from others on this great site.

    A merry Christmas to all of you.

  14. A lot of witty and imaginative clues, which for me, together with the extensive theme throughout the puzzle more than justified the numbers of initial letters. My favourite, 2d

    Incidentally – in the review – 1a doesn’t need a hidden word indicator as it’s the complete phrase that is inverted for the solution

  15. My apologies for the lateness of this comment. I did enjoy this crossword a good deal when I did it.My fave was 2d. Thanks so much for the fun, Beet. I look forward to more puzzles from you.

    I needed the answers for 12a and 4d. (I just did not see the latter: it was most cunningly hidden.) I also needed the answer to 8d. I didn’t get the middle word of 27a either. I greatly enjoyed Prolixic’s review and enlightenment, for which many thanks.

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