Rookie Corner 038 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 038

No time for Turkeys by JollySwagman

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Today we have the second of three seasonal puzzles, this one is a debut by JollySwagman.  I’m sure you will enjoy his somewhat quirky interpretation of a very seasonal theme.  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 to these shores for JollySwagman with an accomplished crossword with a seasonal theme. There were some excellent clues here with lots to enjoy. As befits his pedigree as a fan of the late great Araucaria, there are some constructions in the clues that would not be universally accepted by all editors. Opinions will differ on their acceptability and I have indicated them without bias. As I pointed out in my setting notes, there is no “right” and “wrong” system for setting clues and all setters will appear on a spectrum from following strict grammatically correct cryptic constructions to those who will take a more relaxed but still fair approach to setting clues.

The seasonal clues where the answer was not defined are highlighted in green.

9 Beggar me! It’s her from next door (9)
NEIGHBOUR – A double definition with the first part being a reference to the card game.

10 Answers easily without hesitation (5)
SWANS – Remove the ER (without hesitation) from ANSW[ER]S and make an anagram (easily – in a free manner) from the remaining letters.

11 Blimey – in America French art’s making a comeback (5)
GEESE – The American expression meaning blimey followed by a reversal (making a comeback) of the French verb to be that corresponds with the English thou art.

12 Former England captain fires up Cook with these balls (4,5)
LAMB FRIES – … another word for the testicles of a young sheep. The surname of a former English captain (Alan ????) followed by an anagram (up) of FIRES.

13 Starts again with synopses (7)
RESUMES – A double definition separated by the pronunciation of the word. The latter might also be referred to a CVs.

14 Alluring topless artwork (7)
ETCHING – Remove the first letter (topless) from word meaning alluring.  Topless as a first letter deletion indicator in an across clue but I feel it is better used with a down clue.

17 In Italy – where sex began (5)
DOVES – The Italian for “where” followed by the first letter (where *** began) of Sex. The use of foreign words has to be handled carefully. Common French and German words are often fairly well known but the use of Italian, Spanish, etc creates an added layer of complexity as these languages are not as well known in the English speaking world.

19 In America the stern of a ship (3)
ASS – The A from the clue followed by the abbreviation for steamship.

20 Look away son (5)
LORDS – A two letter word for look followed by an abbreviation for a road (a-way) and the abbreviation for son. This type of lift and separate clue would not be accepted by all editors as the clue gives no cryptic instruction mentally to split the word to create the required wordplay. Other editors will be more relaxed about this type of construction. Solvers are equally split about its acceptability.

21 No-balls delivered by England against international team leads to such confusion (7)
EUNUCHS – The abbreviation for England followed by the abbreviation for an international team or organisation and an anagram (confusion) of SUCH. Some editors will balk at the use of a noun (confusion) as an anagram indicator but most papers will feature nouns as anagram indicators.

22 Lady with a German beer-mug might sound vulgar (7)
PHYLLIS – The ladies name which when added before stein (German beer-mug) sounds like Philistine (vulgar).

24 In comic opera old drummer misses nothing (4,5)
GOLD RINGS – Inside GS (G & S or comic opera – opinions may differ over whether or not the & can simply be disregarded in creating the solution) add the OLD from the clue and the name of the Beatles drummer with the O removed (misses nothing).

26 I find I am content here (5)
INDIA – The answer is hidden inside (content here) FIND I AM.

28 I get enrolled in crazy society (5)
MAIDS – Put the I from the clue inside (get enrolled in) a word meaning mad and follow this with the abbreviation for society. Another point some editors be divided over is whether or not the use of the verbal form used with the personal pronoun is justified where the same construction would not work with any other letter. For example, is it right to use “I get enrolled in…” when with any other letter it would have to be “E gets enrolled in…”. Different papers will take different views on this.

29 Quality‘s pants – I’m going for lunch – can somebody help out (9)
SOUNDNESS – Another word for pants or underwear has the I removed (I am going – the same point as the previous clue applies where – with any other letter it would be “letter” goes) and replaced with an N (noon or lunch or lunchtime – to get from lunch to lunchtime to noon to N is probably a little too convoluted for solvers). The abbreviation SOS (can someone help) goes around the outside of these letters.


1 Problem with Swedish horse (4)
SNAG – The abbreviation S (Swedish) followed by the name for an out of condition horse. Strictly, S is the IVR code for Sweden and this does not justify S for Swedish.

2 Good for each partner (6)
PIPERS – A two letter word meaning good or holy followed by a word meaning for each or a head and a partner who plays bridge.

3 Something dotty to play in bed? (5,5)
SHEET MUSIC – A very fanciful cryptic definition of something that instrumentalists and vocalists follow.

4 EU people oddly confused on this point (6)
POULES – … French Hens! – An anagram (confused) of EU and the odd letters of PeOpLe followed by a point of the compass.

5 SM murder mystery (8)
DRUMMERS – An anagram (mystery) of SM MURDER.

6 Like a poem by Kipling about steadfastness primarily (2,2)
AS IF – The A from the clue followed by the famous poem by Kipling around the first letter (primarilty) of steadfastness.

7 Well known witch’s cat perhaps (8)
FAMILIAR – A double definition, the second being another name for a cat owned by a witch.

8 I’m in 19a just the same (2,2)
AS IS – Put the I from the clue inside the answer to 19a.

13 Cold place to go topless (5)
RIDGEThe answer with part removed – Remove the first letter (to go topless) of a domestic appliance used to cool things down.

15 Shockingly bold lyrics (10)
COLLYBIRDS – An anagram (shockingly) of BOLD LYRICS.

16 Eg 19a might be noble (5)
GASES – An anagram of EG and the answer to 19A.

18 It’s in the ice-cream van – I’ll ingest some (8)
VANILLIN – The chemical compound giving plain ice-cream its flavour is hidden inside VAN ILL INGEST.

19 He lights fire so trains can get moving (8)
ARSONIST – An anagram (can get moving) of SO TRAINS.

22 Let go with a second party (4,2)
PASS UP – Another word for the type of party that some people could not organise in a brewery has its second letter changed to A.

23 Corrupted ideals (6)
LADIES – An anagram (corrupted) of IDEALS.

24 Courageous at bridge perhaps (4)
GAME – A double definition with bride being something that is played.

25 Mounted one with attractive hips (4)
ROSE – A double definition with the latter being the type of plant that produces hips.

27 Instrumental solo in the middle section too? (4)
ALSO – The answer is hidden inside (in the middle section) INSTRUMENTAL SOLO.

16 comments on “Rookie Corner 038

  1. Well that was quite a challenge that kept us out of mischief for a considerable time. It would have been very hard indeed without the theme to give a few helpful hints. We are still unsure of one of the letters in 29a. We can see the justification for the letter to remove but a bit lost on justifying its replacement. Lots of laughs, probably the biggest one came when one of us asked out loud, “who the hell is ******* ***** anyway”, and the penny dropped.
    Thanks JollySwagman, we assume that you are, or have been, a 9a of ours.

  2. Thanks to JollySwagman for a very enjoyable puzzle full of invention, providing lots of d’oh moments and not a few laughs. I particularly enjoyed 21a and 22d but my favourite is 22a.

    1. Am I right in thinking it’s the short name for Philomena and playword for philistine? If so 22d sounds quite rude and 29a will be just a bung in with the checking letters. A bit lost on these three.

  3. An enjoyable challenge indeed, thank you Jolly Swagman. Lots of lovely d’oh moments, the favourite being the ‘one fully imported in its original condition’.

    Hope we see more of your puzzles again soon.

  4. Great puzzle indeed.
    A lot of “add this” and you’ll see what I mean.
    Agree with you Gazza 21 and 22 clues were really fun. Good thing I had a neighbour once called Philomena.
    Thanks to JollySwagman .

    1. Same here, I thought my first comment didn’t get through which would have been better in hindsight.

  5. I have been stuck in bed with a hideous cold for a few days so a nice challenging puzzle was just what the doctor ordered. Once it became clear that we weren’t going to get the whole thing for the first in the series of thematic answers,I convinced myself that it was represented by 24 down and this made it more difficult than it ought to have been. I don’t quite understand how to parse 22 d nor 29a so I will check back with the review for explanations

    1. My reading of 22d is that we have to start with a colloquial phrase for a party with plenty of booze, then replace the second letter with A.
      29a is another word for pants or briefs (with the I replaced by N) inside a Mayday call. I’m not sure how ‘lunch’ produces the N – presumably N is the abbreviation for Noon but it’s a bit of a leap from there to Lunch (?).

      1. We also wondered what was the definition and what the wordplay for 22d and settled for party as the definition. Going back to the grid just now and revealing a letter shows that your interpretation is the setter’s choice. Cheers.

  6. I stared at this for quite a while and had only a couple of answers, then I got 10A and the penny dropped as to the theme. From then on, what fun this was! So much to like…13D. 15D, 19D and 22A, but my favorite has to be 21A.

    I don’t understand 9A. I worked out 12A but I’ve never heard of this dish (and have no wish to try it), and I’m stuck on 22D and 29A, so nudge would be appreciated. Great job, JollySwagman!

  7. Was the theme “let a lot of clues have no definition” ?I think at least 9 fell into this catagory.Towards the end I just bunged in what ever word the chequers seemed to suggest and that worked well. I had to use some letter reveals.
    I thought 21a was very clever, and one of the last ones in.I also thought 14 brilliant.
    I would have thought American blimey was spelled with a “j”.( But spelling is not my forte , let’s say).
    Thanks JollySwagman, please take it easier on us next time.

  8. Very nice swaggers, a few still to decipher but a full grid, thanks to the overly obvious thematics, a well worked grid fill.

  9. Well out of my comfort zone with several of the clues and have to confess to not completing this one. 10a gave me the theme, which helped out for a few ‘bung-ins’ but I was still struggling to get much beyond the two-thirds mark. Having said that, I really liked 14,22&24a and now know at least one word of Italian!

    Thanks to JollySwagman and also to Prolixic for the whys and wherefores.

  10. Many thanks for the comments and especially to Prolixic for the review.

    I agree with those who raised it – lunch for N is a bit of a stretch – two jumps really – I think I’d seen that shortly before somewhere but I can’t recall where. BD queried that earlier – “a bit of nosh” or “lunch at the centre” would have done but needless to say those didn’t occur to me at the time.

    I managed to squeeze in a few non-ximeneanisms of the I’m-in variety – no offence intended to redheads by not mentioning them – I’ll try to give them a run next time around.

    @Una – I think you might have missed the preamble, which appears just below the grid in the online version – making it maybe a postamble. It’s more obvious on the pdf version.

    @2Kiwis – yes – I live just next door – on Big Island.

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