Rookie Corner 045 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 045

Araucaria 94th birthday crossword by Penko

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

For Penko’s debut he has prepared a special puzzle to celebrate what would have been Araucaria’s 94th birthday.  Expect the clues to be a little more libertarian than is customary in these puzzles. 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 Proxlic follows.

Welcome to Penko with a themed Araucaria (8d 3d 1d) crossword to celebrate what would have been his 94th 5d.  Araucaria was a noted crossword setter whose puzzles frequently appeared in the 16d.  One of his well known clues in relation to Granchester and Lord Archer is alluded to in 21a “Poetical scene with surprisingly chaste Lord Archer vegetating (3, 3, 8, 12)”.

As befits a crossword celebrating this setter, the cluing style is of a freer style that you would find in the Times or some other newspapers.  I have indicated where some of the freer style of cluing occurs.  In practice, there were very few of these.

The whole crossword was put together very well even if there were probably 18 too many exclamation marks.


9 Ramshackle and dilapidated, RD Laing treated such patients. (3,4)
RUN DOWN – The two letters R and D are expanded from the abbreviated form.  RD Laing was a Scottish psychologist who wrote about and treated patients with mental health issues though whether describing them as ramshackle and dilapidated is fair, I leave to the reader.  It is usual practice to omit full stops at the end of the clue.

10 Pressecho with gold ingot mineral. (4,3)
IRON ORE – Split pressecho into press and echo.  Take a synonym for press and the letter represented by echo and insert (in – got) one of the abbreviations for gold.  This clue contains a number of constructions that highlight the differences in setting between the strict Ximenan and freer style of clueing:

  • Pressecho is a made up word.  Even with the freer style of cluing setters should try to avoid making up words to fit the wordplay.
  • The form of lift and separate where you take a word like pressecho and have to split is without indication is not favoured by all editors.
  • Another lift and separate of having to split ingot to in-got and use this as an insertion indicator would also not be looked upon kindly by some editors. 

11 For crying out loud- in church! (7)
HOSANNA – A simple cryptic definition of a shout of praise used in church literally meaning “Lord save us.”

12 Football operated machine altered? (7)
TREADLE – … something operated by the ball of the foot.  An anagram (machine) of ALTERED.

13 Film Danes frolicking near Sherwood Forest! (9)
MANSFIELD – An anagram (frolicking) of FILM DANES.

15 Banker has endless sex – that’s wrong! (5)
FALSE – The name of a river in the South West of England followed by the first two letters (endless) of sex.

16 Stylish appearance?- good for Dorothy! (7)
GLAMOUR – The abbreviation for good followed by the surname of an actress first name Dorothy.  As others have pointed out, the “for” is not universally approved of as a wordplay indicator as a connector or replacement of the first name with the surname.

19 1880 ——- Kelly died and longed for! (7)
YEARNED – 1880 is the year in which Ned Kelly died.  Put the year and Ned together.

20 Area of London home to Dr Strangelove? On the contrary! (5)
ANGEL – The answer is hidden in STRANGELOVE.  The on the contrary tells us that Strangelove is the home to the answer contrary to what is written in the clue.

21 Can “Tab” locate leading Crossbowers and Archers’ village ? (9)
CAMBRIDGE – The first letter (leading) of crossbowers followed by the name of the village where the Archers is set.  The definition here is “Cantab”, the Latin designation of the university.  Again, splitting the definition into two unrelated words would not find favour with all editors.

25 Condescends to accept second plans. (7)
DESIGNS – A word meaning condescends goes around (to accept) the abbreviation for second.

26 Make good resistance to stereo malfunction (7)
RESTORE – The abbreviation for electrical resistance followed by an anagram (malfunction) of STEREO.

28 Living on water, heavy drinkers (with 50p perhaps) have the odd twitch! (7)
AQUATIC – The abbreviation for a teetotallers’ organisation includes (with – this would usually be a charade indicator rather than an insertion indicator) half of quid (50p is half a quid!) followed by the odd letters of TwItCh

29 Hero of July’s sesame seed harvest! (7)
ULYSSES – The answer is hidden in (of) JULY’S SESAME.  The word “seed harvest” are padding for the surface reading.  Again, not all editors would accept the use of padding words in this way.


1 See 3

2 “The Hun is on the attack and it is essential to be of one mind” (6)
UNISON – The answer is hidden in (is essential to) HUN IS ONAgain the “on the attack and” are padding that would not find favour with all editors.

3/1 On Radio, Lou Grant is 60% a bad actor in “Mr Monkey Puzzle“! (4,6)
JOHN GRAHAM – Another word for toilet (on the radio Lou gives Loo) followed by 60% of the word grant and a word for a bad actor.

4 “I hear your friend from the pub is a jailbird!” (6)
INMATE – A homophone (I hear) of INN MATE – your friend from the pub.

5 There’s no money in brandy but instead a third fermenting gives a cause for celebration!” (8)
BIRTHDAY – Take the currency of South African out of Brandy and include in their place (but instead) an anagram (fermenting) of A THIRD.

6 15 next business 16 3-7 (4,6)
LOVE AFFAIR – In tennis, the score before 15 followed by another word for business.  The definition is the 3rd to 7th letters of the answer to 16a.

7 Bland boy blowin’ – in the wind! (3,5)
BOB DYLAN – An anagram (blowin’) of BLAND BOY.

8 Forever, endlessly, eternally, always a place for a preacher! (8)
REVEREND – The answer is hidden (a place for) in forever endlessly and the rest is padding.

14 Review ways to get out of the country and also to get back in (10)
FOOTLIGHTS – A way to get out of the country by plane includes a reversal of a word meaning also (also to beg back in).  As others have pointed out “Footlights” was a revue and “review” is not supported by Chambers.  There is a reference in Mrs Bradford’s book but this is the only reference to review being used in place of “revue” that I have found.

16 Scott’s trusted minder! (8)
GUARDIAN – A cryptic definition to the owner of the newspaper.

17 In the summer holidays, we founded the Roman Empire! (8)
AUGUSTUS – The summer month followed by US (we – when us and we are used interchangeably we will mourn the death of grammar!)  Apparently he founded the Roman empire. 

18 Fight fire with – old bag! (8)
RUCKSACK – A word for a fight followed by a word meaning to fire or dismiss someone.  I would dispute the fact that the bag is an old one.

22 Two identical gifts heard to speak quietly! (6)
MURMUR – A homophone (heard) of MYRRH MYRRH.

23 Malaise leading to butterfingers? (6)
DROPSY – A cryptic definition of someone who drops things.

24 Nevertheless, the night before the partners met with love (4,2)
EVEN SO – A word for the night before followed by bridge partners (the THE is misleading as they are not the partners to the exclusion of any others.) followed by the abbreviation for love.

27 Island programme “Pothead on holiday!” (4)
SKYE – Remove the P (pothead – A construction some editors would frown) from SKYPE.  A minor point but programme is used for TV or radio and program is always used for computer software.

To download Penko’s notes, click here.

60 comments on “Rookie Corner 045

  1. Yes Penko, as promised last week, we are the first to comment. Really enjoyed it, A fitting tribute to Aracauria. We agree with the comment from BD about some of the clues being not quite Ximinean but that is totally appropriate in this case and all are certainly solvable. Even we, who have a very limited knowledge of UK geographical things coped with 13a, 15a, 20a and 21a. We’re having great problems picking a favourite so will just say ‘All of them”. Good fun.
    Thanks Penko.

    1. Many, many thanks Two Kiwis ! I’m really glad you enjoyed it and thank you for being the first as promised.

  2. I’m sure this puzzle will prove to be very clever, but for the first time ever with the Rookie corner, I read through this (more than once I might add) and concluded that this is not for me.

    1. Dear Expat Chris – I’m sorry this was not to your liking but thank you all the same for letting me know.

  3. Took me a while to get going and there are a couple where I am still trying to work out the ‘why’ but a fine tribute, thank you Penko.

    1. Thank you Cryptic Sue much appreciated. I hope you work out the “why” of those remaining clues – though am happy to enter discussions re specifics as this will help to improve my clueing and thus hopefully remove uncertainties.

  4. Very enjoyable – thanks Penko. Like CS I’m still trying to understand the total wordplay on a couple of clues. My favourite was 14d (although I wonder whether the first word is spelt correctly?).

    1. We tend to agree with you but we did note that in Mrs B under ‘review’ the answer is among the listed words. Interesting. Perhaps we could ask Gwizz to adjudicate.

    2. Thank you Gazza. Please see comment above on Cryptic Sue which applies equally with your general comment. In terms of 14d I’ve just been on the website and the answer is definitely one word. I’m really pleased with this clue and was surprised when it popped into my head – I hope I have not subconsciously purloined it! Is there a Central Registry of Crossword Clues where one can check!

      1. Thanks, Penko.
        I thought the wordplay for 14d was excellent. I wasn’t suggesting that the answer should be two words but that the first word of the clue should be revue rather than review.

        1. I must admit that review did throw me but I bowed to better crossword heads than me and hoped for the best. The trusty thesaurus did not help which was a clue that all was not as I had hoped.

        2. Thank you Gazza – I understand now! I’ve looked again at Wikipedia and in different articles each format is used. Clearly, it works better with the form I have used. If the other was the only option I could have sued additional wording. Thank you for writing again – that was helpful to me.

  5. Hi Penko,

    Well done on including so many elements of the great man’s life in such an interesting puzzle.

    As others have already commented, I’m struggling with the wordplay on several clues (9a, 10a and 28a especially), but all were solvable which is the most important thing.

    It would have been a nice touch if 21a and 14d had been linked in some way, rare that it is for both to appear together in the same grid, but perhaps you considered that ? 21a, 23d and 7d (not sure though about the anagram indicator in that one !) were my favourite clues.

    Congratulations and look forward to your future efforts.

    1. Hi Silvanus,
      Thank you so much for your comments – I really appreciate your introductory comment. I’m not sure whether I’m allowed to comment here about individual clues but in the interests of transparency I’ll do so whilst graciously ceding to Big Dave’s possible veto if that has to wait a while.

      9A is a hyphenated answer which means ramshackle and dilapidated (the first part begins with r and the second d as does ramshackle and dilapidated). RD Laing is a renowned psychiatrist who treated such people – this is potentially weak but on Wikipedia the clients he specialised in could be appropriately described as this. Also the initials R and D are accepted crossword abbreviations for the two components of the hyphenated word which makes the answer.

      10A Pressecho is a completely made up word meant to sound like Prosecco the Italian wine! It is easier to work out as “press” and “echo” . Also gold ingot can be separated out as gold in got. So “press” “echo” with “gold” in – got “mineral” hopefully assists is getting the answer as well as a bit of how my mind works!

      28A You’ve got the answer and I’m assuming heavy drinkers. 50p perhaps is half a “quid” plus (an) odd T w I t C h

      Your comment on 21A and 14D is spot on and would definitely have been an improvement. Having more of a link between them and Araucaria was something I thought of after I had submitted the puzzle.

      Thank you re your favourites – in terms of the indicator – for authenticity I framed it just how Mr Zimmerman wrote it!

      Thank you Silvanus!

      1. The principal that we work to is that those who have not yet solved the puzzle read the comments at their own risk, although I’m sure that Prolixic will cover most, if not all, of the wordplay tomorrow.

      2. Thanks a lot for the added info, Penko.

        I’ll wait for our renowned Rookie reviewer Prolixic to give his detailed analysis, but I’m not sure that 9a and 28a are fair clues as they are asking the solver to make an additional leap in each case.

        As for 10a, I personally am not a fan of made up words (except possibly in the case of Lewis Carroll) and it may have been better to put it in inverted commas at the very least.

        I do admire the obvious amount of effort that went into the puzzle’s creation, and I think it is great that you are taking the trouble to answer each comment individually.

        Good luck with the next one !

  6. I’m another with a complete grid but an incomplete understanding. In particular I have a couple of clues with what appears to be an extraneous word hanging about. Hopefully the review will clear up my confusion. Knowing three-fifths of very little about Araucaria, I suspect many of the subtleties in this will have gone straight over my head but I did enjoy some inventive clues, especially 5 and 23d.
    Dislikes? It’s another of those grids which, with only two lead-in checkers per corner, produces four mini puzzles. My biggest gripe though is the over-use of exclamation marks. I counted 18 clues ending in a gasper; 17 of these filled no useful purpose and the jury is still out on the other one.
    Overall a fun and polished puzzle.

    1. On the subject of exclamation marks – here is an extract from Ximenes on the Art of the Crossword.

      ‘As to exclamation marks, I am grateful to a solver who once wrote (none too politely) saying, in so many words, that I sprinkled my clues with them with no other purpose than that of crying out “Aren’t I clever – isn’t that a good one? “. I was irritated, as one is apt to be, at first; but on further thought I had to admit that he had got something. Now I try to use much more restraint in this matter and to use them only when I really am exclaiming or for a technical purpose, to call the solver’s attention to the fact that I’m doing something particularly outrageous, perhaps by deliberately misunderstanding the meaning of a word.’

        1. Yes I plead guilty to an overabundance of exclamation marks ! Sorry that has detracted for some from the overall enjoyment. You’ll not be surprised to learn that the explanation mark IS my favourite piece of punctuation. Thank you to Big Dave for the Ximenes quote a- that helps me to see where some of you are coming from. As you might imagine I’m coming from elsewhere! Thank you Rick for your final comment which I appreciate. Thank you.

          1. Penko, you may well be “coming from elsewhere”, but Ximenes’ advice on the overuse of exclamation marks is very valid. How else can you indicate that “something particularly outrageous” is going on?

          2. Penko,
            I come from a publishing background and therefore see the exclamation mark as something to be used sparingly. It’s not a Ximinean thing, even the most liberal of our current setters use them with care and for effect. Too many makes the writer look like a giggly schoolgirl (exclamation mark considered and declined).

  7. Enjoyed that with favourite clue being 19a – I actually smiled when I solved it which is not bad considering it’s Monday, it’s persisting down outside, the lights are on & the CH is belting out.

    I, like some others, await Prolixic’s (?) review to provide some elucidation to a few of my answers.

    1. Thank you Spindrift much appreciated again. You’ve mentioned different favourite which is different in style to most clues but again I thought worth including for diversity. I did submit my own notes to Big Dave along with the crossword – I’m happy for anyone to have a copy of those at Big Dave’s discretion.

  8. I must be mad but having time on my hands while OH is in kitchen making bread I printed this crossword off and took up my trusty pencil. Knowing nothing about Araucaria I Googled him which immediately helped. I plodded bravely on and wait with some trepidation to see the explanations tomorrow. One silly spelling mistake did not help but now corrected which gave last answer in. Perhaps there should be a warning for very junior apprentices attempting things like this.

    1. Dear Hilary,
      After I had submitted my crossword I noticed that most of the references on Big Dave’s site related to the Daily Telegraph and also to Ximenean crosswording. Even so I had thought that most cross-wording folk had some knowledge of Araucaria – my apologies for making that assumption. As you’ll know now Araucaria set puzzles for a variety of papers but to my knowledge most notably The Guardian. NB On Saturday 14th Feb the Guardian also carried a crossword in celebration/commemoration of Araucaria.

      I refer you to Big Dave’s own comment at the top of this page which is ” I do ask that you remember that for most setters this is a new experience, so please only offer constructive criticism” and wonder how you see that being consistent with what I have to say was a gratuitous and hurtful remark from you about me. I hope that your OH’s bread rose to the occasion even if in your estimation I clearly didn’t!

      1. I think that you have totally misconstrued my comment I loved the crossword but what I was trying to say was that having no background to Araucaria made it harder for me. I have only been seriously completing DT crosswords for a short time but my confidence has increased by the support I have received here that was why I joked about being a junior apprentice and I fail to see what you mean with your comment about being hurtful and gratuitous.

        1. Hilary,
          I imagine that Penko thought that your ‘very junior apprentices’ was referring to him, whereas those of us who regularly read your valuable comments realised that you were referring (too modestly) to yourself.

          1. Thank you Gazza, I must admit that I was completely pole-axed by his reaction and was heading for the cupboard under the stairs with my lovely new box of tissues.

            1. Hilary – cheer up!!! Note the exclamation marks. This was a serious case of crossed wires as gazza has put far better than I could.
              Come out from under the stairs and please save the whole lot of your lovely new box of tissues for me – terrible cold – might even be the dreaded man-flu . . .
              Onwards and upwards as a regular commenter says regularly!!!

              1. Poor you, you are welcome to the tissues. So grateful to Gazza as I felt terrible with Penko’s comment – I may be many things but I am not knowingly hurtful.

                1. Dear Hilary,
                  My apologies to you – I’m afraid I thought your comment was referring to me as a “junior apprentice attempting something like this” -hence my comment. I’m glad you “loved the crossword” but if you look at your original posting you didn’t make any comment along those lines which is where the misunderstanding occurred. So sorry and hope you feel better soon.


  9. Very nice. One quibble: I didn’t see any examples of boy/girl = (random string of letters which is purportedly a name), a device I detest but which Araucaria made copious use of. I was very pleased to see an incorrect use of “for”, which is the other thing he did all the time to my slight irritation.

    But otherwise, this could indeed be Araucaria on a bad day. Many congratulations.

    1. Thank you for your overall comment Alchemi! I try not to use gender indications where this is not necessary. Araucaria doesn’t seem to have been entirely to your taste. In that context to be congratulated for being him on a bad day seems a bit bizarre! On the other hand, being mentioned in the same sentence as Araucaria is an unexpected bonus which definitely merits an exclamation mark in my book!

      1. Araucaria was entirely to my taste. Bunthorne was better, but no-one else was or is, with the possible exception of Richard Rogan. That he had a couple of stylistic quirks merely proves he was human and not a genius sent from another world. You are entirely correct to believe that putting you in the same sentence is a compliment of the highest order.

  10. I noticed quite a lot of explanation marks (!) and question marks (?) in this one … and also a few full stops.

    Like many others … I have failed to parse a few of them?!

    (My favourite was 23d – because of the (in)famous French goalkeeper)

  11. Last night I was put off by the idea of a themed puzzle focused around someone I’ve never heard of, and I made a rather churlish comment. This morning I would like to apologize to Penko for my bad manners. I’m having a go at this, and seeing how much I can do without resorting to Google to find out about him or reading the comments. I’m supposing by the name that he’s a setter, so I’m working on the “inspired guess” principle, otherwise known as “bung it in and see.”

    1. It is worth Googling him it will clarify a couple of answers, I did and it kick-started it for me by confirming them.

    2. Thank you Expat Chris – apology graciously given and gratefully accepted. Also thanks to Hilary for her suggestion to check on Google. My earlier comment to her is apposite re my assumption that Araucaria was widely known in Crossword circles. Again my apologies for that assumption.



  12. As others have already mentioned, I thought there were rather too many exclamation and question marks and would also add speech marks to the list.
    I can’t make comment on the authenticity of the style used as I’m not familiar with Araucaria’s puzzles, neither do I know anything about the man. However, I did manage to finish without resorting to Google which must prove that the cluing was pretty spot-on.
    Some of the surface reading was rather heavy going e.g. 12a but there were also some pearls – 11a & 7d were my personal favourites.
    Well done, Penko – I’m sorry my knowledge of Araucaria is somewhat lacking but I shall certainly look forward to tackling another of your puzzles in the future.

  13. Thank you for sticking with it Jane and also for your constructive comments. I agree with you re 12A – I could certainly have been a bit more imaginative with that. I wasn’t sure about 11A so glad you like that. Glad you also liked 7A. Thank you Jane.

  14. I really enjoyed this puzzle. I found it refreshingly different, and, even though I had never heard of Araucaria before, I was able to complete it with some judicious help from Google. I must congratulate Penko not only on constructing such an amusing crossword, but on the possibly harder task of forcing me to ignore my normally ingrained pedantry simply because I was mindful of BD’s initial advice and I was having such a good time in solving it.

    I only finished with three answers that I couldn’t fully parse: 10d (which has been explained in a prior comment) and 6d & 16d (for which I will wait for enlightenment when Prolixic’s review is published tomorrow).

    Well done and thank you, Penko.

    1. Sincere thanks Rabbit Dave – I am very much heartened by what you have had to say – especially your willingness to engage with another style. Hopefully, what I did was in keeping with Araucaria and I hope that some of you might now check out some of his grids. I am confident that given some of the above some of you if not most will not be familiar with some of the convention BUT that overall you will have a really positive experience. Grids are available at Guardian Crossword and there are 2 I think Araucaria books i.e. exclusively of his grids. There maybe some available in the Financial Times where he set crosswords as cinephile ( which is an anagram of Chile Pine which is another name for Araucaria or the monkey puzzle genus).

      6D is admittedly tricksy and a bit obtuse. It’s supposed to read like the agenda/minutes of a minute. 15 next is a tennis reference so 15 next means you currently have “love” business = “affair” 16 3-7 refers to the answer to 16 which is glamour – the third to seventh letters of which are = amour = love affair

      16D is again a reference to the fact that Araucaria was best known for his in the Guardian. I reiterate my now erroneous understanding that visitors to this site would be aware of that. So the Guardian is owned/managed by the Scott Trust (CP Scott was the Editor of the Guardian from 1872 to 1929 and its owner from 1907) So “Scott’s trusted minder” = Guardian

      Thank you again Rabbit Dave – much appreciated.

      “If we were all the same we wouldn’t be different!”


  15. I’m well and truly stuck now and I don’t mind who knows it!
    I’ve done the whole of the right hand side but don’t have many answers in the left side.
    10a had to be what it was and once I worked out why I realised that I was going to have to think differently – I know who Araucaria was but don’t think I ever tried one of his crosswords.
    Having skimmed through the previous comments I have to say that as an exclamation mark offender, if that’s what we are if we over use them, I don’t mind at all and hadn’t even noticed – everything I ever write is liberally spattered with them!!!! A long time ago someone commenting on this blog called them “shouty marks” and after that I tried to tone them down but, somehow, they’ve sneaked their way back in!!
    23d made me laugh – off now to see if I can beat the left hand side into submission!!!!!
    With thanks and congratulations to Penko.

    1. Thank you Kath – good luck with the rest of the puzzle. I think you and I re probably on a similar wavelength re exclamation marks. Many thanks to you for your positive comments – very welcome.

  16. “Bung in a word that fits then try to rationalize it” worked for me in a number of places. I completed the grid without knowing anything about the subject person, and without Googling or reading the comments. I did then confirm the name of Araucaria on the internet and go through the comments. There are a number of clues that I cannot fully parse and a couple I can’t parse at all, so I am very much looking forward to enlightenment from Prolixic tomorrow.

    An interesting debut and an ambitious one, I think, but judging by the comments of those much more skilled than I am, it seems to have worked well.

  17. Fabulous Penko. 7d best anagram ! Other great clues 5d, 26a, 29a, 1/3d, but they were all good, though in my case lots of bunging in.

  18. Hi Penko,

    I’m with several of the other commenters in that although I’ve managed to fill out the grid, I am scratching my head in a few places as to why they answer is what it is. Doubtless Prolixic will provide enlightenment tomorrow. I did really like the different style of this, and aside from the over-abundance of !s I did find this very enjoyable.

    I think I’d name 12a as my favourite for the penny drop once I realised what you meant by Football!


    1. Hi Sprocker,
      Thank you for having the courage to have a go at something different – glad you enjoyed it! I’ve said earlier that I wasn’t that sure myself about 12D – thank you for being positive – I do think I could have done better with that but it helps that you got the foot ball as in ball of foot reference!

      OK I’m off now. Sorry again to Hilary for the misunderstanding – I hope that’s accepted by you and recognised by others. This has been an eventful day. Explanation marks – yes I do overuse them but I’m an emotional guy so I won’t be stopping them any time soon and certainly this side of my demise. Sorry too that I overestimated knowledge about Araucaria even though that is still surprising to me. I hope that those without previous knowledge will venture forth and have a go at a monkey puzzle or three! Finally, if you haven’t had a go at Paul’s crossword in the Guardian this past Saturday it’s really worth checking it out especially if you’ve never tried and alphabetical crossword before i.e. the clues aren’t numbered – rather the answers begin with different letters of the alphabet apart from C and F where there are 2 clues of each.

      best wishes


  19. I have enjoyed many Araucaria puzzles, but I’m not so familiar that I understood the references. I’m not sure whether comments about you emulating Araucaria’s style are tongue-in-cheek, but if you were attempting to emulate his style as well as get in all the references, then that is very impressive. Unfortunately due to lack of familiarity I couldn’t appreciate it on that many levels, but there were lots of clues I enjoyed, I thought “football operated” and “also to get back in” very clever.

    I look forward to seeing what you can do in your own style with your next puzzle.

  20. Thank you Penko.
    You reminded me how difficult Araucaria could be. It’s been so long. I was still living in U.K. at the time.
    I must say that I have a few clues left in the NE corner. But I am sure that Miffypops got 7d.
    I did start badly in the SW as I had Dorothy Lessing for 16a. Less In for the Stylish Appearance? And the G. And here’s your Dorothy.
    For 11a I thought of Aleluya until I got the Rev of 3/1.
    I’m still looking for that countryside passage gate thing in 14d. Or at least I think that it is what I should be looking for.
    I think you’re very kind to answer personally to everyone.
    I shall wait for the review now. Or maybe try a little bit more.

    1. And then, a couple of glasses of red later…. Got 14d I think. If it has anything to do with 21a of course. And the football operated of 12a. Only 6d and 15a to go. Youpi!

  21. Well Penko, I thoroughly enjoyed this. There is no way I would describe you as a rookie, except in the very literal first publication of a crossword. It took me most of yesterday off and on, and I needed the review/revue lightbulb moment to break into the SW corner. My favourite clue was 12a; I had “machine” working twice making the definition a noun and as the anagram indicator. I also liked Ulysses, which I harvested from the previous words, though “seed” is still extraneous.
    Brilliantly done. I look forward to your next one.

  22. It all seems so simple having read your review, Prolixic! The parsing of 10&28a + 27d was gratefully received and as for 6d – thank goodness I had enough checkers in to resort to a ‘bung-in’, I doubt I would ever have got that one from the wordplay.

    I have a feeling that Penko may turn into a Toughie setter in the fullness of time.

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