Rookie Corner 039 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 039

Happy New Year! by Beet

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Today we have the last of three seasonal puzzles, this one, like the first, is by 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.

Beet makes a welcome return to the Rookie fold with a well constructed and inventive New Year’s themed crossword.  Very little to comment on in terms of the wordplay other than that I enjoyed it.  Perhaps five hidden word clues was a little on the high side for the crossword and I am not entirely sure about the cluing of the ‘N in 2d but these were minor points indeed.  My favourite for the smile it induced was 32a/3d.


1 Nick has a whip-round for this flipping person (7)
ACROBAT – The A from the clue and another word for a whip go around a word meaning to nick or pinch something.

5 Someone who clears up rubbish left after New Year’s Day (7)
JANITOR – The shortened form of January 1 followed by a word meaning rubbish reversed (left).

9 Announce application for alimony (7)
EXCLAIM – Split 2-5, this would represent a demand made by a former spouse.

10 I like following creator of giant peach blossoms (7)
DAHLIAS – The surname of the author of James and the Giant Peach followed by the I from the clue and a two letter word meaning like.

11 Sound of Big Ben beginning to blast on midnight (4)
BONG – The first letter (beginning to) of blast followed by the ON from the clue and the middle letter of night (mid-night).

12 Hanging baskets? (4,5)
SLAM DUNKS – An elliptical reference to the means by which points can be scored by putting the ball through the hoop in basketball with a jumping shot referred to as hang time.

16 The closer one gets to one’s neighbours, the more likely things are to be tempestuous (6)
ISOBARS – A cryptic reference to the lines on a weather map which might, if close together, indicate stormy weather.

17 Overtone or under Dave, perhaps ;-) (8)
INNUENDO – You need a smutty mind to make Over tone or under Dave have sexual implications!  Sometimes, commentators leave nothing to the imagination.  In one snooker match, seeing Fred Davies difficulty in bridging to reach a ball, the commentator dryly remarked, “Fred Davies is getting too old to get his leg over so prefers to use his hand instead.”, etc.

21/29 Duly sang with elan when intoxicated (4,4,4)
AULD LANG SYNE – An all in one clue of what is sung when invariably drunk on New Year’s Eve – an anagram (intoxicated) of DULY SANG ELAN.

23 Knocked back the last of Champagne magnum (bubbly fizz) again because it aids digestion (6)
ENZYME – Reverse (knocked back) the final letters (last of) champagne magnum bubbly fizz again because.

24 Three quarters of audience is after something given out in New Year’s Honours List for doing as one’s told (9)
OBEDIENCE – The abbreviation for Order of the British Empire (something given out in the New Year’s honours list followed by ¾ of the word audience.

28 Tough guy with nothing to lose, changes sides and becomes sweetheart (4)
LAMB – Remove the O (with nothing to lose) from a tough guy from the movies played by Sylvester Stallone and change the initial letter from R to L (changes sides).

31 Whiskey (not whisky) and rye drunk on 31st December (4,3)
YEAR END – An anagram (drunk) of E (the remaining letter from Whiskey after the letters in whisky have been removed) AND RYE.

32/3 It sounds like my other half dropped the ball (6,1,4)
MISSED A BEAT – A homophone of Mister Beet – which assumes that the solver knows the setter is female!

33 “It offers respite from the din” – recommendation for The Listener (7)
EARPLUG – Split 3-4, a recommendation for the organ of the body, not the printed organ.

34 Paused around end of December and puckered (7)
CREASED – A word meaning paused or stopped goes around the final letter (end of) December.


1 Country where a zebra roams freely on New Year’s Day (10)
AZERBAIJAN – The A from the clue followed by an anagram (roams freely) of ZEBRA followed by a shortened form of 1 January (New Year’s Day).

2 Sex and drugs and….a fish sandwich? (4,1,4)
ROCK ‘N ROLL – The type of fish offered as a cod substitute in the fish and chip shop, an abbreviation of AND (implicit from the clue) and a type of sandwich.  I did wonder if the answer referred to the fish in the sandwich but cannot see a justification of N as IN.

3 See 32 Across

4 So-called tiger is tame, but having had tail pulled then wild at heart (5)
TAMIL – The first three letters of TAME (having its tail pulled) followed by the central letters (at heart) of wild.

5/7 Mmmmm…form of cinematic psychological control it is.. (4,4,5)
JEDI MIND TRICK – A straight definition of something from the Star Wars films written in the style of those, like Yoda, who perform it.

6 Layer up with sport’s jacket (5)
NEHRU – Reverse the name of a bird that lays eggs and add the abbreviation for Rugby Union (sport).

7 See 5

8 User error or 7 (4)
RUSE – An anagram (error) of USER.

13 Group of birds who are game for New Year’s Eve initially (3)
NYE – … the collective noun for a group of pheasants.  The initial letters of New Year’s Eve.

14 Globally held party (4)
BALL – The answer is hidden (held) in GLOBALLY.

15 Start to hope excessively for technology we’ve been led to expect in 2015 (10)
HOVERBOARD – … a reference to the technology expected in 2015 in Back the Future 2.  The first letter (start to) of hope followed by a word meaning excessively.

18 Up to one’s elbow in plentiful narcotics (4)
ULNA – … the bone that goes up to the elbow from the wrist.  The answer is hidden in PLENTIFUL NARCOTICS.

19 Party poopers weirdly stay in, giving it a miss on New Years (9)
NAYSAYERS – An anagram (weirdly) of STAY IN after removing the IT (giving it a miss) followed by an anagram (new) of YEARS.

20 Not the favourite place to tickle setter’s tummy (8)
UNDERDOG – A cryptic reference to the where the setter’s (animal) tummy is.

22 Add some colour to middle of coldest half of year (3)
DYE – The middle letter of coldest followed by the first two letters (half of) year.

25 Political leader overthrown in gladiatorial battle (5)
BLAIR – The answer is hidden and reversed (overthrown in) GLADATORIAL BATTLE.

26 Reside within the borders of Llandrindod Wells (5)
DWELL – The answer is hidden (within the boarders) of LLANDRINDOD WELLS.

27 For example, Russell Brand could be “The Dandy” (5)
COMIC – A double definition of a type of children’s magazine and a performer such as Russell Brand.

29 See 21 Across

30 Expression of appreciation found in concise edition (1,3)
I SEE – The answer is hidden in CONCISE EDITION.

46 comments on “Rookie Corner 039

  1. Rookie 039 started with some excellent clues, shame the latter ones didn’t match the grid.At least the floaters had disappeared, not like now. oddjob

  2. There seems to be an error in the enumeration for three of the down clues.
    The clue written for 25d applies to 27d.
    The clue written for 26d applies to 25d.
    The clue written for 27d applies to 26d.

    1. The puzzle was sent to me in Excel format and I had to transcribe it into Crossword Compiler. Obviously the option to “import clues” from a text file doesn’t always cope with multiple answers. I’ll have another go.

          1. I don’t actually know anyone in real life who does cryptic crosswords, so there’s nobody I can ask to proof for me. Perhaps one of my fellow rookies would volunteer to to a first check on any future efforts just to check for basic mistakes like this one before publication?

            1. I’d happily volunteer as a proof reader. I also have the same problem in not having anyone to check my efforts so would be more than happy to make a quid pro quo arrangement if you wanted.

              1. Hi Sprocker – Cryptic Sue has very kindly offered, but it would be great to have you as a proofing buddy as well. If you are on twitter you can direct message me @beetchawawa and we can exchange contact details.

  3. A most enjoyable puzzle that kept us happily amused for quite some time. Lots of clever original wordplays that we appreciated. We would go for the 5d 7d combination as our favourite but 32a 3d comes a close second.
    Thanks Beet.

  4. Having read the comments about the enumeration Issue I realise now why I got totally stumped in the sw corner, but otherwise thought this was excellent. Like the 2kiwis i also loved 32a / 3d and 5d / 7d, and for nostalgic reasons 10a. Great job Beet.

  5. Really enjoyable stuff – thanks Beet. There are too many great clues to list them all but I’ll pick out 16a and the laugh-inducing 32a/3d. Happy New Year, Beet – I look forward to your next puzzle.

  6. Many thanks to Beet for a most enjoyable crossword.

    Lots of jokes in there … some of which I will have to await the punchline in the review!

    [How does one type “;-)” without it appearing as ;-)]

      1. Another example of this was Brian Johnston’s remark “The bowler’s Holding; the batsman’s Willey”.

          1. Now back to the crossword … what a wonderfully witty and amusing set of clues!

            Looking forward to the next one … hopefully not just in Rookie Corner!

            Thanks, Beet!

  7. Like the 2Kiwis, I printed this out yesterday evening EST, soon after it was posted so I had the enumeration issues. I confess to being a bit irritated until I thought about it a bit more. I write for a living, and my experience is that one rarely catches one’s own errors. The eye just glides over them, seeing only what it expects to see. I always rely on a fresh pair of eyes to catch my goofs, so I agree that a checker would be a good thing.

    Lots to like here and some clever clueing. I found it rather tricky in places (15D is new to me and 28A took a while since I was fixated on macho). I have a couple of minor quibbles that can wait for the review, and a couple of answers that I just don’t understand (17A and 13D). I did like 32/3 and 5/7 particularly. Only one unresolved is 16A and I’m stuck fast, so would appreciate a nudge.

    Many thanks, Beet!

  8. A lovely crossword – really enjoyed it very much.
    Started off rather badly by putting the 5a answer in the 1a space – this was not helpful, for quite a long time!
    I’m now fed-up with myself as so many people have picked out 5/7d as a particularly good one and I can’t do it. Can’t do 12a either – if I could get one I might stand a hope in hell of getting the other. Damn – any help would be very much appreciated.
    I liked 11a (very much) 16 and 32/3 and 1d (once it stopped beginning with a ‘J’!) and 4 and 20d. My favourite was 28a.
    Thanks and Happy New Year to Beet.

    1. For 5/7, think Star Wars good guys to get you started. The second work is what psychologists are interested in, and if you’ve got 8D, that will lead you to the 7D word.

      1. Thanks for your help. 12a remains a complete mystery – will have to carry on mithering – I have five letters out of nine – how can I not get it – pathetic!

    2. Can’t help much with 12A because that’s one I have a quibble with. I can say that the answer is related to a specific action in a sport popular on my side of the pond.

      1. You need to put a comma between ‘hanging’ and ‘baskets’ and treat baskets as a verb.

        1. Oh, I have the answer. I just don’t think it’s fairly clued. I’m not a fan of clues requiring specialized sports knowledge to solve, anyway.

        2. Really don’t get this one. I have an answer but only learnt a completely different meaning quite recently – something that was pretty much a certainty, I thought. Oh dear, I give up.
          I have two kinds of hanging baskets in my head. The first kind are the ones that I fill with shade loving plants and put in the plum and apple trees in our garden. The second are the air balloons where people who have no care for life or limb go for a ride – are they crazy?

          1. Try thinking of very tall – often American – sportsmen and look up some of the jargon associated with the game they play.

          2. Sounds like you have the right answer if you go with the “pretty much a certainty” approach. As for air balloons, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! I did it in Mexico. Fabulous!!

          3. Poor Kath.
            I know that feeling of “the one clue missing from a complete grid”. It feels like being a slice short of a full loaf. But apart from giving you very explicit directions I can’t see how anybody can explain it.
            Think of basket as a sport.

  9. Great clues and not that easy to solve. But with a bit of patience and a lot of scratching I finally got there.
    Even the preamble is misleading as I was expecting more music refs rather than movies. And may I remind you that back to the future and star wars are over 30 years old by now.
    As for 21/29 do you mean that Scots are always drunk on new year? Actually you are probably right. I remember spending new year down in princes street Edinburgh. Pretty wild souvenirs.
    Thanks Beet.

  10. Some brilliant clues – at least seven vying for favourite. Also a couple I wouldn’t have got without the nudges – 12a (shouldn’t have missed that one!) and the 5/7 combo (never watched Star Wars). Still scratching my head over 15d and 28a, suspect I’m just being thick with regard to the latter.

    Many thanks, Beet – I’ve really enjoyed your festive puzzles and hope we see more from you this year.

  11. Terrific ! I have listed 8 clues that really stood out amoung a great collection of clues : 1, 9,10,12,16, 23a and 27d.Thanks Beet , I look forward to the next one.

  12. Thanks, Beet, for a most enjoyable puzzle. There were a few I revealed some letters for (I’m so behind on crosswords that I had to set myself a time limit), but of those only one really annoyed me: I never usually miss an 17a, but this one completely eluded me. Early on in the solve, I put in EMOTICON because it fit and there was an example sat there in the clue. I thought that CON would work for under Dave but gave up when I couldn’t figure out the rest, and had to erase it upon reaching 18d.

    I liked 21a/29d and 5d/7d, but am sure I wouldn’t have got it without having 8d and using that to get 7d (no 12a to help there: that wasn’t one I managed without cheating).

    I also liked 33a and 2d, despite ‘n = in not being recognised.

    Thanks too to Prolixic for the review.

  13. Managed to get the last two in before the review appeared. 15d was a bung-in (having already admitted to not having seen Star Wars, I now have to confess that I didn’t watch Back to the Future either!) and 28a was (as I’d suspected) just a ‘thick’ moment – should have got that one as soon as I noticed it was Kath’s favourite!

    Many thanks to Prolixic – not least of all for explaining the cinematic references!

  14. Thanks to Prolixic for the review and to everyone for the helpful feedback. And apologies for besmirching Dave’s good name for the purposes of innuendo.

    1. Hi Beet – I really do enjoy your puzzles and many of the clues in this one were SO good. Makes me realise just how old I’m getting when some of the references are way outside of my comfort zone, but maybe you struggled with the odd one in today’s Cryptic?

      Variety is the spice etc. and long may you continue to provide us with so much entertainment.

      1. I usually struggle with many more than the odd one! Thanks for your comments, and I highly recommend the films.

  15. Although I didn’t manage to complete this puzzle, I enjoyed it a good deal. My fave was 27d. We used to love comics as children, and, on the days they were due out, pestered the local newsagent to see if they had arrived. I also much liked 32a/3d.

    I felt that this was rather more difficult than previous Beet puzzles. Perhaps it is just me! There were several I simply couldn’t solve. I am most appreciative of Prolixic’s excellent review. I certainly needed enlightening as to 12a, 5d and 15d, none of which I have come across.

    Very big thanks to you both, Beet and Prolixic.

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