Rookie Corner 047 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 047

Ice by Viola

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Another new setter puts their head above the parapet. Viola’s puzzle is titled “Ice” – can you see why?  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 Viola with a virtuoso crossword that should rightly receive a frosty reception!  All of the clues or their answers contain the word ice – see the blue highlights.  There was very little wordplay where our new setter was on slippery ground.  To get the word into all of the clues or answers without straining the surface readings or producing obscure words was a fantastic achievement.


9 Mod’s enemy outside post office recalled a musical about Queen? (4,5)
ROCK OPERA – The name of the enemy of a mod goes around (outside) a reversal (recalled) of the abbreviation for Post Office and this is followed by the A from the clue.

10 Misbehave with a chalice whilst taking tea, say (3,2)
ACT UP – The A from the clue followed by another word for a chalice goes around a letter that sounds like (say) tea.

11 61001-0 to us – achieved with malice (7)
VICIOUS – The Roman numerals for 6 and 100 are followed by the IO and US from the clue.

12 Squirrelly rodent with no chin said to be in ice box (7)
CHILLER – Remove the CHIN from Chinchilla and make a homophone (said) of the remaining letters.

13 Must-have starters in new electric eel diner (4)
NEED – The first letters (starters in) of New Electric Eel Diner.

14 Overlook animal fur and nothing nice will start (4,4,2)
BEAR DOWN ON – A type of animal that could be Grizzly followed by the name of the furry feathers from a duck, the letter representing nothing and the first letter (will start) of nice.

16 Clingy animals allow us to have endemic elf (7)
LIMPETS – A shortened form of let us (allow us) includes (endemic) another word for an elf.

17 Creative paperwork leaving net emigration policed (7)
ORIGAMI – Remove (leaving) the letters of NET from EMIGRATION and make an anagram (policed) of what remains.  Some would say that as the letters in NET are not removed in order from the second word, you should have a subsidiary anagram indicators to show this.

19 Melon to slice up? Act alone (10)
CANTALOUPE – An anagram (to slice) UP ACT ALONE.

22 Computer accessories made from mega cold stuff (4)
MICE – The abbreviation for Mega followed by the name of frozen water.  The ice is in the answer.

24 Spice balls between legs (7)
NUTMEGS – A double definition.  For this to work, spice needs to be in the plural but this would then destroy the surface reading.

25 Host juiced and drank apple with bear (7)
STOMACH – An anagram (juiced) of HOST includes (drank – If possible try to use the present tense for wordplay indicators) the name of an Apple computer.

26 Former Brit coppiced better (5)
EXCEL – The two letter word for former followed by the name of an ancient Briton with the final letter removed (coppiced – cut back is one of the meanings in Chambers).

27 Wild rice with Pad Thai – 50% off! It doesn’t cost the earth. Or does it? (4,5)
DIRT CHEAP – An anagram (wild) of RICE PAD THAI after removing the AI (50% off).


1 Permits single civic nerd to travel (7,8)
DRIVING LICENCES – An anagram (to travel) of SINGLE CIVIC NERD.  The ice is in the answer.

2 Cold food makes me cry out loud (3,5)
ICE CREAM – A homophone (out loud) of I SCREAM.  The ice is in the answer.

3 Double negatives are examples of poor practice (2-3)
NO-NO’S – Two noes.

4 Think twice about giving last coins to bums (8)
REASSESS – A two letter word for about followed by a word meaning bums and the last letter of coins.  Not 100% happy about the word order in the cryptic grammar here.  Perhaps “Think twice about bums getting last of the coins” would have been better.

5 Flies in tea service? (6)
SAUCER – A cryptic definition of part of a tea service that may also be used of an unknowns flying object.

6 Stop admitting ice cap is, after extreme observations, causing bad breath (9)
HALITOSIS – Another word meaning stop goes around (admitting) the first letter (cap) of ice followed by the outer letters (extreme) of observations and the IS from the clue.

7 Cake heartlessly taken without price being paid (6)
STOLEN – Remove the central letter (heartlessly) from a type of German cake traditionally eaten at Christmas.

8 Parp rudely to tempt vessels and trade courses (15)
APPRENTICESHIPS – An anagram (rudely) of PARP followed by an word meaning to tempt and a word for sea-going vessels.  The ice is in the answer.

15 Stomach digests swallowed entrée of dormice with tardy timing (9)
BELATEDLY – Another word for the stomach includes (digests) a word meaning swallowed and the first letter (entrée) of dormice. As others have pointed out, entrée has a double ee at the end [Now corrected.  BD].

17 Rose’s pop collection drew voices of dissent (8)
OPPOSERS – An anagram (collection) of ROSES POP.

18 Annoyed with nosebag it ate diced innards from (8)
AGITATED – The answer is hidden in (innards from) NOSEBAG IT ATE DICED.

20 Sign is unfrozen? (6)
NOTICE – Split 3,3 this would mean unfrozen.  The ice is in the answer.

21 Team supports boy who sacrificed top part in play (6)
ONSIDE – Another word for a team goes after (supports in a down clue) another word for a boy with the first letter removed (sacrificed top part).

23 Take nothing in exchange for second slice of summer fruit (5)
POACH – Replace the second letter in a summer fruit for the letter representing nothing.

37 comments on “Rookie Corner 047

  1. It all went together without too much of a fight. There are a couple where we think we have the right wordplay but are not 100% sure, 14a and 26a. The football expression in 24a has fooled us twice before but not this time. Favourite vote goes to 25a as we were initially fooled by both the animal and the fruit. Some clever clues and good fun.
    Thanks Viola.

    1. Hours later, having a look back at the puzzle and the significance and cleverness of the title has just hit us in the face. How on earth did we miss seeing that when we were solving. Well done Viola.

  2. I was on the look out for the reason behind the title because of BD’s and 2Kiwis’ comments, otherwise it would have gone right over my head. Well done on working within such a theme and still getting smooth surfaces. My favourite was 12 across.

  3. A really enjoyable puzzle – just right for solving before I have to start work :( Like Beet my favourite is 12a.

    Thank you Viola – I hope we see more of you soon.

  4. As well as the late change of alias, Viola has asked to change 7 Down and 21 Down in order to reduce the number of anagrams. These changes were implemented by 09:15 am.

  5. Found this a very enjoyable solve, about right for me on difficulty, and pleasingly free of obscurities – I was about halfway through when I twigged the theme (thanks to BDs comments putting me on the look out for it) – good skills in pulling that off, it can’t have been easy. Favourite for me was 1d.

    Great job Viola

  6. Congratulations Viola on a very competent and thoroughly entertaining first puzzle :-)

    Since the first clue I solved was 2d, and remembering BD’s introduction, the theme became apparent to me very quickly, and I believe you did a superb job in maintaining it throughout.

    Due to the theme, there were some extremely interesting anagram indicators (juiced, device, sacrifice, slice up), but I think that perhaps you misused “coppiced” in 26a, as I believe it means to cut down completely (to the ground), and not in the sense in which you meant it.

    24a was a great surface reading, but I think unfortunately you used a singular spice in the clue to indicate a plural answer ? I also didn’t quite understand why the clunky “squirrelly rodent thing” couldn’t merely have been “rodent”, but perhaps you were being too helpful to us solvers !

    There were a couple of other small quibbles (the supposed abbreviation for “mega” and the spelling of “entree”) but I don’t want to detract from what was great fun and a very high standard for a debut puzzle. Favourite clue for me was 17a.

    Looking forward to your next effort, Viola.

    1. I liked the ‘squirrelly rodent thing’ as that’s probably how I would refer to it.

      1. Where does the “thing” come from? The clue just says “squirrelly rodent”.

        1. Maybe it was another late edit ? When I solved it “thing” was the third word in the clue !

        2. In my puzzle, printed out yesterday evening EST, it says “squirrely rodent thing.”

  7. A very pleasant solve. I had to pull out the BRB to confirm that ‘parp’ is indeed a real word. One learns so much in crossword land! Like the 2kiwis, I’m not completely sure about 14A. 12A is my favorite, too, though I also liked 25A. Looking forward to the review which I’m sure will clarify my questions on two or three clues. Thanks, Viola. A super debut.

  8. I really enjoyed this. It wasn’t difficult but was good fun throughout.

    The first clue I looked at was 1d, and I immediately wrote in the answer but entered the wrong final three letters for the first word, which in turn made 13a impossible. That’s the last time I try to emulate Miffypops by attempting to solve a long anagram without writing down the letters!

    23d was my last one in, and 12a was my favourite. Brilliant puzzle, Viola, particularly for your first offering.

  9. That was good fun.
    I’m not sure that I’d have “noticed” the theme if it hadn’t been for the title of the crossword – it must have been very difficult to do.
    I didn’t know the footbally bit of 24a but the BRB did.
    I have an answer for 14a but think I may have got the wrong animal – might have another think about that one. I can’t do 5d either.
    I liked 25 and 27a and 23d. My favourite was 12a.
    With thanks and congratulations to Viola.

    1. Kath,

      In 14a, the fur is not the sort you’d find on the animal in the first part.

      5d is something that can fly rather than insects etc.

      Hope that may help :-)

      1. Thank you. Of course – however didn’t I get 5d. Oh dear!
        Still not sure about my 14a animal – if he’s the right one I agree that he wouldn’t have that sort of fur but the whole thing means (to me, anyway) intimidate rather than overlook. I think I might just be having a rather dim day.

  10. I put aside the million things I should be doing in favour of this. Most enjoyable and impressive debut Viola, thanks. As did others I liked 12a, and many of your definitions (e.g. creative paperwork). Some nice misdirections in there too. 18d was well-hidden. I’m looking forward to the review to answer a couple of questions – thanks in advance to whoever does that.

    Great stuff, Viola – well done!

  11. A great way to start, Viola – well done indeed.

    As others have said, I’m not sure I’ve got the wordplay quite right for 26a and 14a troubles me a little. Came up with what I thought was a good definition for ‘overlook’ but that misses out the animal. Maybe I’m just not familiar with that particular use of the phrase.
    Did have to look up 24a – only managed to guess it due to having the first letter in place.

    12a is definitely a great candidate for favourite but I also rather liked 9&25a and the simplicity of 2&20d.

    Hope there’s more from you before too long.

  12. I found myself smiling all the way through this fabulous little teaser.Great clues.Thanks Viola.I hope that means you are female, as there appears to be so few women setters.

  13. Blimey! What an absolute corker! These rookie puzzles are a welcome boost to the brain cells on what was a miserably cold & windy Monday.

  14. Loved every minute of this. I solved it last night and smiled the entire time. I missed the hidden answer in 18d, laughed at 24a and and didn’t quite figure out 17a.

    Many thanks to Viola for an absolute joy of a puzzle and to Prolixic for a fine blog.

    I hope we see more of you Viola.

  15. Wow. I picked up on ‘ice’ in the answers and some clues, but not that it was in every single one or the other! That is quite an achievement, particularly for a debut puzzle. Fantastic job, Viola! I an now really looking forward to your next puzzle.

    Thanks for the review, Prolixic. I solved the puzzle before the change was made to the wording of 21D, which originally read “Sacrifice is done in play.” I solved this as ‘on side’, an anagram (sacrifice) of “is done”, the definition meaning “in play’ (rather than “part in play,” as highlighted in the review). That is to say being on side rather than off side in a football game, hence the ball is still in play .

  16. I’m another one who hadn’t realised that ‘ice’ was in EVERY answer or clue. As Chris said – that’s some achievement!
    Thanks for the explanation of 26a Prolixic – Celt had passed me by.
    I do hope Viola is delighted by the fact that our ‘Rookie’ examiner has found little to criticise in this debut puzzle.

  17. Thanks to Prolixic for the write-up, though I was hoping for some clarification of how ‘bear down on’ means overlook.

    1. Yes – me too. I think that it means something completely different. I don’t want to bang on about it but I thought I had the wrong animal.

    2. I can only surmise that Viola is using the 3rd def of OVERLOOK in Collins which is “to look at something from above” which could just about mean bear down on but it’s my least favourite (is that allowed Kath?) clue in the whole puzzle.

  18. Today was quite a solving marathon but out of the three, this one was definitely the best.
    The ice theme was respected all the way. Very clever.
    Really look forward to some more from you Viola.
    Thanks also to prolixic for the review.

  19. I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping that Viola will put in an appearance and take a bow! I’m excited about a lady setter. They are so few and far between. I’m hoping also that the name does indeed refer to a lady, rather than a musical instrument, otherwise I will regret putting ‘viola’ and ‘take a bow’ in the same sentence!

  20. Late on parade I know but it was worth waiting for. Twigged what was going on about halfway through but it didn’t really make any difference.

    Not keen on 14a as others have said but the rest was brill and the whole idea very cleverly executed. 12a was favourite.

    Thanks to Viola, hope to see you again soon, and to Prolixic.

  21. Hi everyone. Thanks for doing my crossword! Just checked in and I am very grateful for your comments and criticism.

    The ‘squirrelly rodent thing’ as a definition for 12a was a bit frivolous I admit. I just thought it was kind of funny.

    14a was also my least favourite clue, pommers. Sorry about that one. It was the last one I finished and I had to get the ‘ice’ in somehow.

    Silvanus, I had ‘cut back’ as a synonym for ‘coppice’ so I thought it was alright in 26a.

    For 24a I was going for an interlocking double definition (not sure if that’s allowed), i.e. spice balls / balls between legs.

    Thanks Prolixic for analysing it all and suggesting how it could have been better. This has been a valuable learning experience and I hope to have another one on here sometime.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Viola, and thanks for the excellent puzzle. I hope there’s another in the pipeline.

    2. Hi Viola,

      I totally echo Gazza’s comments. Maybe a warm theme next time to balance your “cold” starter ?!

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