Rookie Corner 049 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 049

A Puzzle by Beet

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

This week’s puzzle comes 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.

Welcome back to Beet with an inventive and ingenious crossword.  Still not quite a 9d from the judges but getting very close.  There were some very clever clues here including 10a, 23a and 9d.


1 Spoil child and it engenders a love-hate relationship (7)
MARMITE – … the spread you either love or hate!  A three letter word for spoil followed by a four letter word for a tiny child or waif.

5 What a good dog should do about command – the result of having been given lots of treats (7)
OBESITY – The act of complying with something (what a good dog should do) around a command given to a dog.

10 Whereas: (a) the “Lease” (as amended) shall be pursuant to clause (b); (b) the lower limb (including but not limited to the thigh, knee and calf) (8)
LEGALESE – … the whole clue provides the definition!   An anagram (as amended) of LEASE goes after the part of the body comprising the thigh, knee and calf.  Beet is a lawyer and probably drafts things far more tortuous than this in her daily work!  Brilliant clue!

11 Chessman that is the one that starts out in Corner (6)
ROOKIE – … the corner for our setters who graduate to the NTSPP.  The informal name for the castle followed by the abbreviation for id est (that is).

12 Even rough non-posh guy encourages people to shout “oi!” (4)
OGGY – … you will need to remember the comedian Max Boyce to stand a chance of understanding this one.  The even letters of rOuGh followed by the GUY with the U removed (non-posh).

13 At first signs of insomnia, pop a dozen sleeping tablets (5)
IPADS – The initial letters (first signs of) of Insomnia Pop A Dozen Sleeping.

14 Alcoholic drink with creamy head could be Guinness (4)
ALEC – … the actor Mr Guinness.  Another word for beer (alcoholic drink) followed by the first letter (head) of creamy.

15 Business’s goal in marketing of computer equipment (6)
PROFIT – Another word for marketing or public relations followed by the OF from the clue and a two letter abbreviation for IT equipment.

17 Materials to overthrow big cheeses (8)
TAFFETAS – Reverse (to overthrow) a word for big or obese and follow this by a word for Greek cheeses.

18 Soup’s name should be a warning sign (5,3)
SHARK FIN – The warning in Jaws for a type of soup.

20 Inclined to the negative, so said no (6)
FORBAD – If your are in favour of something that is negative (3,3) you get a word meaning say no.

22 Undergarment shows bottom of ass cheek (4)
SLIP – The final letter (bottom of – this should really be confined to a down clue) followed by a three letter word for cheek.

23 Shrub clipped four times, each time its head is cut it grows back twice as much as before (5)
HYDRA – Remove the last four letters from the shrub hydrangea.  In response to the comments about this clue, I don’t have any problem with the wordplay here.

25 Bet you’ll find the solution at the bottom of a bottle (4)
PLUG – A double definition for a bet or wager and the dimple in the bottom of the wine bottle.

26 Jumped second before collision (6)
SPRANG – The abbreviation for second followed by a word meaning a collision.

27 Mishap or disaster? Or possibly it’s only a crossword (8)
APHORISM – An anagram (disaster) of MISHAP OR to give something that could be a cross word.  I don’t think that this one quite works for me as an aphorism is not really a cross word or a crossword!

28 Dave mistakenly bailed out bank. Mistakenly and corruptly perhaps? (7)
ADVERBS – An anagram (mistakenly) of DAVE followed by the abbreviation for Royal Bank of Scotland, the bank bailed out by the Government.

29 Bow Road Underground Station (7)
ARCHWAY – Another word for a bow followed by another word for a road.


2 For example the Hulk is a very green mutant (7)
AVENGER – An anagram (mutant) of A V(ery) GREEN.

3 Beet at the start of year is porky (5)
MEATY – A two letter word for the setter followed by the AT from the clue and the first letter (start of) year.

4 If you have a way with words, you’ll have got the answer (3,4,2,3,3)
THE GIFT OF THE GAB – A cryptic definition of the type of person who is able to charm and talk persuasively.

6 Hobby so fascinating initially, then across…down…they’re all the same (5,2,1,7)
BIRDS OF A FEATHER – The type of animal represented by a hobby (as a definition by example this should have been indicated) followed by the SO from the clue, the first letter (initially) of fascinating, the abbreviation for across and then the type of animal covering represented by down.

7 Large nose will need to be remodelled to get a job in advertising (9)
SLOGANEER – An anagram (remodelled) of LARGE NOSE.

8 Scot’s last caber tossed around Little Italy or another New York neighbourhood (7)
TRIBECA – An anagram (tossed) of T (last letter of Scot) CABER around the IVR code for Italy.  As a general rule, providing anagrams for unusual words where you cannot tell from the cross-checking letters if the answer is TRIBECA or TRICEBA without looking up the word should be avoided as you cannot unambiguously arrive at the solution.

9 This woman’s a runner-up in legendary beauty contest (4)
HERA – A word meaning this woman’s followed by the A from the clue.

16 Sack-cloth draped around penitent’s head where ashes are found (9)
FIREPLACE – A word meaning sack or dismiss and a type of delicate cloth go around the first letter (head – head has already be used as an initial letter indicator in 14a) of penitent.

17 Fifth of twenty plus sixth of eighteen plus third of nine (3)
TEN – 4 (20/5) + 3 (18/6) + 3 (9/3) is also made up from the respective letters of the numbers twenTy + eightEen + niNe.  Another brilliant clue.

19 Adelphi is refurbished to make space for landing (7)
HELIPAD – An anagram (refurbished) of ADELPHI.

21 Inability to recall a name is awkward (7)
AMNESIA – An anagram (awkward) of A NAME IS.

24 Fed up about article lacking sense (4)
DEAF – Reverse the (up) the FED from the clue and put this around an A (article).

25 Fish caught by dapper chap (5)
PERCH – The answer is hidden (caught by) in DAPPER CHAP.

38 comments on “Rookie Corner 049

  1. We loved every second of it and laughed out loud. Last one in for us was 12 across. We worked out what it should be from the wordplay and then did a Google search as the BRB could not help us. We started searching for a favourite but there are just too many to choose from so we just gave up. Well done Beet.
    Many thanks.

  2. When I saw Beet’s name I changed my normal running order and promoted the Rookie above the Rufus. What an excellent puzzle – I have lots of ‘favourites’ – 13a, 14a, 28a, the clever 17d but best of all 1a.

  3. Since my collaboration with Beet began after she had submitted this puzzle, I’m delighted that it enables me to say how much I enjoyed it without fear of any accusations of bias coming my way !

    There were so many fun moments, especially 1a, 14a, 18a, 26a, and my personal favourite (for obvious reasons) 11a.

    17d was exceptionally clever, but I also thought 6d and 16d were superbly crafted too.

    The New York neighbourhood (or should that be neighborhood ?!) was a new one to me, but it was completely solvable from the clue.

    23a and 27a didn’t quite work for me, although I’m fully aware of what Beet intended from the clues,, but I’ll wait for higher powers to adjudicate on those.

    Brilliant work, Beet and great entertainment – I think your next one (which I have seen) is at least as good if not better though :-)

  4. Can I have 11 favorites? Maybe I’ll just list my favorite favorites…11A, 14A 4D, 22A, 21D, 28A…and tied for first place, 17D and the fabulous 1A. I loved this puzzle. So very clever and well-crafted. 8D was a ‘gimme’ for me, and I did know 12A (I admit to chanting it out loud when I saw the answer!). Just a couple that I have question marks against: 10A doesn’t entirely work for me, and although I have the right answer for 25A ( I did reveal a letter to check), I just don’t get the ‘bottom of the bottle’ part. Stellar job, Beet!

    1. 25a Do an online search with your solution and ‘bottom of bottle’ and all will be revealed in pretty pictures!

      1. Aha! I did not know that! Thanks so much. I’m adding 25A to my long list of faves because it’s not only clever but I’ve also learned something new.

        1. It was a new word to me as well Chris, as soon as I came across that meaning I immediately thought it had clue potential. Maybe I’m starting to think like a proper cruciverbalist!

  5. My first attempt at a Beet crossword but I was so intrigued by 2Kiwis comment that I hopped out of bed and turned the printer and PC on so that I could get a copy. Took a while to get in and am defeated by one clue, will probably shoot myself tomorrow when I see the answer. I found it an interesting challenge getting to know a new setter, definltely laugh out loud moments – 1a in particular. Well done Beet and I look forward to your next one.

  6. Gun unloaded, last answer arrived in a flash of blinding light – keep taking the tablets Tee Hee.

  7. What a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle from Beet – lots of laughs and lots of innovative clueing!

    Never seen a clue like 10a (“Lease”) before … brilliant! … and very brave to include it!

    As others have said … far too many favourites to choose just one …

    Looking forward to the next one … possibly in the NTSPP.

    (Off for a pint of Guinness – Cheers, Beet.)

  8. su – bloody – perb! That’s a tmesis by the way – a new word I learned this weekend.

  9. I got more pleasure from just two clues than the whole of today’s DT puzzle. Splendid stuff Beet, very well done.

  10. Hi Beet – when I met you briefly at the February do I dutifully promised to look out for you. And I’m so glad I did – this was MAGNIFICENT. By the time I got to 11a (NE corner was my last) I was uttering superlatives out loud. So many great clues and such a distinctive style. I ticked 1a, 5a, the outrageous 10a, 11a, 13a, 17a, 29a, 9d, 16d, 17d, and 21d – good grief, how many is that? OK, 25a, 27a, 4d didn’t quite come off for me (and technically 6d, but who cares when it’s such a great clue) – but really, this was a sparkling puzzle and I envy whoever gets to review it!

  11. It’s all been said by others – best ones for me were 1,11 &14a plus 6,16 & 21d. Wasn’t too sure that 23a worked very well.
    Great job, Beet, – possibly time to work on getting the word count down a little?

    1. 23a – maybe Prolixic will have something to say about clipping a hydrangea four times?

      Don’t do gardening myself! That’s the gardener’s job!

  12. Thanks everyone for such lovely comments – I’m blushing!

    I had the invaluable assistance of both Sprocker and CrypticSue as test solvers on this one, so a huge thank you is due to them.

    1. Absolutely a pleasure! So glad to see that everyone thinks as highly of this puzzle as I did, and being in the privileged position of already having seen your next effort I know there is even better to come!

  13. Beet, what a wonderful crossword! Very inventive, original and funny. I wish crosswords like this would appear more often in the dailies. No point listing favourites, almost every clue was magic! So much fun! All so very clever. Highly entertaining.

    I wonder if people would object less to 27a if it had some quotation marks? It worked for me anyway. I wonder in 23a whether people would complain less if it had a link?

    I’m impressed, keep up the good work

    Many thanks

  14. I have no issues at all with 27A. in fact I thought it was rather clever. No problem with 23A either, though the wording of the clue could be tighter. Maybe “twofold” instead of “twice as much as before”

  15. Great fun Beet. Thank you very much.
    Was a bit lost in SE corner as I thought 25a was pony. As in diving bottle to the bottom of the sea perhaps and pony is also used in betting.
    Well, anyway, that’s how my tired brain works.
    Didn’t get 20a at all. Even with the checking letters. Had to reveal the answer for that one.
    For 10a, good thing you told us what lower limb to look for. Some of us could have been confused.
    For 26a, I was desperately trying to put Splash until I remembered BD’s picture of Harrison Ford’s unfortunate mishap.
    As NatWest was bought by the bank in 28a, I am now one of their customers and going to nominate it as my favourite.
    All that to say that I really enjoyed your puzzle.

  16. confused! if 25a is PLUG as shown above then the anagram at 21d does not work but if the answer is PUNT then it does…… or is it just me?

  17. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic – I bow to your superior judgement over 23a, although it still niggles a bit!
    Very grateful for the parsing of 12a – I’d bunged in ‘ugly’ and couldn’t make any sense out of it.
    The second definition of 17d had passed me by – just did the sum and left it at that. My apologies Beet – it was brilliant.

    Could I ask a question, Prolixic. I’ve always assumed that Rookie puzzles were to be ‘judged’ as though they were destined to appear as ‘back-pagers’ or similar. In many instances, word counts are so big (eg 10a in this puzzle) that the puzzle possibly wouldn’t fit into the space available in the newspaper – is that not considered to be important? Not a complaint – just a query!

  18. Thanks for the review, Prolixic. In 27A, I took “its only a crossword” to be the aphorism. To me, that met the definition of stating the obvious.

    1. That’s what I was going for, I’ve seen “it’s only a crossword” many times in the comments – I think it is the mantra of Kath and Pommers among others. I should have put in in quotation marks as per Dutch’s suggestion.

      Thanks to Prolixic and commenters for the corrections and comments – all gratefully received thank you! I have no idea who Max Boyce is but I know what to do if someone shouts “oggy oggy oggy” at me.

      Jane’s comment about the length of the clues is well made, even though my puzzles aren’t going in the papers I do think it is good discipline to make them more succinct. Believe it or not, I do make a conscious effort to cut down words but as you can see it is not my natural style! A work in progress… I do think I should be allowed an exception for 10a in this case though as that clue being verbose was intended as part of the joke. It would have been funnier if the rest of my clues were short and snappy though so that is something to work on.

      1. I was only wondering why people were complaining, i.e. what exactly was the objection? – maybe it has nothing to do with quotes, though they might help people recognise the aphorism (if that was the issue). I think the clue would look also quite interesting without the “or possibly”.

      2. Thanks for taking the comment in the spirit in which it was intended, Beet. I’ve noticed that, as setters progress through Rookie Corner and beyond, their clues get more concise – but I don’t doubt that it takes a great deal of discipline and experience. I suspect that you’re a naturally ‘bubbly’ person so that will make it even harder!
        It was a brilliant puzzle – all the plaudits are well deserved and I can certainly see that 10a wouldn’t work half as well without the verbosity.
        Still mad with myself for not getting the alternative reasoning behind 17d.

  19. I am in awe.

    This has easily been the crossword of the week so far – even if you include Sunday.

    Prolixic has addressed the minor technical points, leaving me free just to rave about how much fun this was. There is an originality to Beet crosswords that is so impressive. 10a is a case in point.

    3d made me laugh, but I’d never describe you as that, Beet!

    Didn’t know 8d, but guessed and googled. I don’t think that was unfair – not nearly as much as the clueing of obscurities can be in the DT. Only a couple of options to check, and the most plausible turned out to be true.

    9d nearly beat me and was my last in. The brain came through just as I was on the verge of giving up.

    I think even BD would forgive the Appleosity of 13a given such a great clue.

    Delightful anagram in 21d.

    Interesting point about the clueing of 22a – I think it’s funny that bottom is not allowed to indicate the final letter of a word in an across clue but would be in a down one, when the clue itself is always written across. I mean, in this example the ass would be horizontal even in a down clue where the undergarment was going down.

    I didn’t know 25a, but it was a delight – and definitely will not fall through the holes of my sieve-brain.

    My favourite though there are many contenders just has to be 17d – utterly brilliant.

    Aside from all this, I think the difficulty is pitched just right. Tricky in places but very do-able.

    Thanks Beet for such a delightful crossword, and thanks Prolixic for the illuminating expert’s eye. Much appreciated.

  20. I didn’t get around to this until last night.

    Brilliant Beet. Just brilliant. When I twigged to 10a, I guessed it was going to be a thing of joy. It didn’t disappoint.

    Thank you.

  21. Beet, you’ve made my evening. The plaudits you have been given are so well deserved, and I like the soup reference in 18a. Bravo

  22. Only just got around to this one and can’t think of anything to say that hasn’t already been said. Simply marvellous. Thanks Beet.

    By the way 17d was clear fav for me, apart from the legalese perhaps..

    1. Thanks Pommers and everyone else who has been so generous with their praise. Can I ask you Pommers about 27a and “it’s only a crossword” – I have ascribed it to you and Kath, is that correct? I can only imagine there was a heated argument over an anagram indicator at some stage.

  23. Finally got round to printing this out (I am hopeless doing crosswords online). I entirely agree with all the positive comments. I ended up marking 9 that I especially liked (1, 10, 13, 14, 15, and 28a and 6, 16, and 17d). This is about 7 more than average by the way.
    Many thanks to Beet, and very well done. Thanks to Prolixic.

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