Rookie Corner 058

A Puzzle by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

It’s always nice when one of our regulars puts his head above the parapet, and today Dutch does just that.   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.

Congratulations to Dutch who felt the urge to go… and write a crossword and a cracking one at that with a suitably toilet centric theme.  A few minor points on the clues but a well thought out crossword.

I hope to be at the Sloggers and Betters later today.  I shall be wearing a padded neck-brace in case any of the Rookies feel the need to come and warmly shake me by the throat!


1 Funny, silent brother is retired US talk show host (5)
HARPO – Reverse (retired) the first name of Ms Winfrey, the retired US talk show host.  This is one of those ambiguous clues (best avoided) where it could read A is retired to give the answer B or A, the answer, is a reversal of B.

4 Cook in a way with directions (4)
STEW – The abbreviation for street (way) followed by two of the points of the compass (directions)

7 Lawn sport seen in paper folded over (4)
TURF – Include the abbreviation for rugby union (sport) inside the abbreviation used for the Financial Times (paper) and reverse the letters (folded over).

10 It’s essential to cherish ourselves for a while (4)
HOUR – The answer is hidden in (essential to) CHERISH OURSELVES.

11 Sitting still, engaged in finer thoughts (5)
INERT – The answer is hidden in (engaged in) FINER THOUGHTS

12 Sailor visits alternative harbours (4)
SALT – The answer is hidden in (harbours) VISITS ALTERNATIVE.  Three hidden word answers in a row is a little over the top!

13 Remove absurd caveat (6)
VACATE – An anagram (absurd) of CAVEAT.

14 Incensed, for each had smoked (8)
PERFUMED – A three letter word means for each followed by a word meaning had smoked.

15 News of convenience? (6,5)
TOILET PAPER – A cryptic definition of something used in the lavatory.

17 Penny gets points for her spending (3)
PEE – … her being penny gives spending a penny.  The abbreviation for penny followed by a repeated compass direction (points).  One checking letter in three is not ideal but with a three letter word with fair clues, it should not prevent a problem for solvers.  The same point arises in relation to 19a.

19 Lower centre of float in back loo (3)
COW – Include the central letter of float inside a reversal (back) of a two letter abbreviation for a loo.

21 Becoming emotional from consuming too much in hotel? On the contrary (11)
OVERHEATING – The abbreviation for hotel goes inside a word meaning consuming too much.  The on the contrary tells us that the wordplay works in the opposite direction to that given in the main part of the clue.

24 Piquant – a short moment taking in Italian capital (8)
AROMATIC – The A from the clue and a word meaning a moment with the final letter removed (short) go around (taking) the way the Italians spell their capital city.

26 Undeveloped city has temporary accommodation (6)
LATENT – The abbreviation for a west coast American city followed by a type of temporary accommodation used by campers.

27 Small room for basic bit of biology (4)
CELL – A double definition.

28 Artist being rejected falls head over heels once more (5)
AGAIN – Remove (being rejected) the abbreviation for an artist from the name of the waterfall on the Canadian / American border and reverse the remaining letters (head over heels).

29 About fifty, female showing a bit of leg (4)
CALF – A two letter abbreviation for about followed by the number 50 in Roman numerals and the abbreviation for female.

30 Unlikely to take time off when turning fifty (4)
IFFY – An anagram (turning) of FIFTY after removing the T (to take time off).

31 Reservoir really reeked without a cover (4)
TANK – Remover the initial S (without a cover) from a word meaning really reeked.  I think without a cover would work better in a down clue than an across clue.

32 Loud drunk to go red in the face (5)
FLUSH – The abbreviation for loud followed by another word for a drunk.


2 A volume offered initially about party fixtures used to be this (7)
AVOCADO – The A from the clue, the abbreviation for volume, the initial letter of offered, a two letter word meaning about (already used in 29a) and another word or a party are added together.  I suspect some manufacturers still produce the said coloured fixtures.

3 Left fit and light of weight (8)
PORTABLE – The nautical description of left followed by a word meaning fit or healthy.

5 Secure advice about debut regularly (3,2)
TIE UP – A three letter word for advice or a hint go around the even letters (regularly) of dEbUT.

6 Tell partner – wee all over the place, it’s specially protected (5-9)
WATER-REPELLENT – An anagram (all over the place) of TELL PARTNER WEE.

7 Start to tickle with baby wipe (6)
TISSUE – The initial letter (start to) of tickle followed by a generic word describing a baby or any children of a person.

8 Replace lever that is defective (7)
RELIEVE – An anagram (defective) of LEVER IE (THAT IS).  The use of that is as indicating ie as part of the anagram letters is seen but it probably at the border of what is acceptable before it becomes an indirect anagram.

9 Dinner course? (9,5)
DIGESTIVE TRACT – A cryptic definition of the course taken by food through the body.

16 This attitude supporting heroin is a bit of a shock (3)
AIR – Adding an H for heroin to the top (supporting) of the answer would give a word for a shock seen on the top of your head.

18 At a standstill, lacking first of numerical facts (8)
STATICAL – A word meaning standstill over (at) the A from the clue followed by the first letter of lacking.  Not all editors would accept first as an initial letter indicator.  I am struggling (despite Chambers indicating that standstill is used as an adjective where the primary meaning is a noun) to see where you would be able to substitute it for static as an adjective.  The closest I can get is a standstill // static moment in time.

20 On one’s own, royally sick of rules (7)
OURSELF – An anagram (sick) of OF RULES.

22 Put right puns on left to confuse (7)
NONPLUS – An anagram (put right) of PUNS ON L (left)

23 Hawk seen by naked eye, circling mile high (6)
SMELLY – A word meaning to hawk or retail something followed by the central letter (naked) of eye goes around (circling) the abbreviation for mile.

25 Feature covering a series of events (5)
CHAIN – A prominent facial feature goes around (covering) the A from the clue.  In a down clue, covering is better reserved for A over (covering) B rather that A around B.  Although, it works with the clue as written in across format, it does not survive the entry into the grid!



  1. silvanus
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 1:02 am | Permalink

    It was originally my intention to tackle this on Monday morning, as per usual, but then I thought it might be my only chance to take 2Kiwis’ pole position for one week only, so I thought I’d go for it!

    Congratulations on a very entertaining debut puzzle, Dutch. It was possibly a wee bit on the easy side, but I still felt a flush of success once I’d completed it.

    Plenty of smiles, my favourite clue was 6d, but there were many others that ran it close.

    An interesting grid, it’s not often that one sees 20 across clues!

    Look forward to your next one.

  2. Expat Chris
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    Well done, Dutch! a super debut. I loved 15A, 9D and 20D in particular. However, I have three that I can’t parse, one that I think is too vague…and 23D that I can’t solve. No doubt the review will set me straight.

    • crypticsue
      Posted May 18, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      To start you off with 23d, it helps when you realise ‘hawk’ is a verb.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted May 18, 2015 at 9:01 am | Permalink

        Yes! I sat down with my cup of tea not ten minutes ago, read Gazza’a comment that this was a favorite, looked down at my print-out, and the answer hit me between the eyes! Yesterday evening, I was, as you suspect, treating hawk as a noun.

  3. 2Kiwis
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    We might not be first today but we are here. We are still waking up stupidly early so did this one on our IPad before getting out of bed. Quite a challenge as not used to the technology and it kept leaping all over the place. Much prefer the old fashioned pen and paper. Some clues certainly had us head scratching but got them all eventually. Really good fun and much appreciated.
    Thanks Dutch, hope we can thank you in person tomorrow.

  4. Snape
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I didn’t find it too easy, but I did find it excellent, helped by my beginner’s Reveal Letter cheat from time to time, and I still don’t understand a few (16d?), but that is always the case for me. Great surfaces, and people seem to have different favourites, which has to be a good sign – mine was 1a, where the pleasing definition was cleverly disguised.
    3d was interesting, I thought you’d missed a containment indicator out (L in a word for fit), then realised it worked in a completely different way.
    I will be interested to read about some of the links; I am still trying to work out if ‘in’ is a suitable link, for example. ‘With’ seems to be frowned upon (as I found out), but I don’t see that ‘in’ has more meaning as a link.
    Perhaps it would be better to avoid grids where some answers have only one checked letter.
    I got 6d but am trying to decide if the definition fits the word.
    Many thanks! See you tomorrow, looks like lots of Rookies are there, I will be picking your brains.

    • silvanus
      Posted May 18, 2015 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Hope to bump in to you tomorrow Snape and to have a chat.

      • Snape
        Posted May 18, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        Yes, looking forward to it. Glad to see you, Sprocker, Beet and Dutch are all hopefully going as you are setting the RC standards I’m hoping to catch up to.
        Of course, I was talking nonsense about 3d, completely in the wrong direction! Pity about the indicator of 1a not being specific – I still liked it.
        Reading Don Manley’s chapter about link works has confused me even more – ‘in’ seems fine, but ‘to’ is not good. I assumed wordplay to definition was natural, as in ‘leads to’. Oh, well – more questions.

  5. gazza
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    An enjoyable puzzle with a nice wee theme – thanks Dutch. I had to wait for a checker to work out which way round 1a works. It’s a bit unfortunate that the three hidden answers are in consecutive clues. The clues I liked best were 9d and 23d.

    • Expat Chris
      Posted May 18, 2015 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Gazza, that made me laugh! I hadn’t noticed the theme until your comment. Now I’m counting clues!

      • silvanus
        Posted May 18, 2015 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        It seems my inclusion of “wee” and “flushed” was far more subtle than Gazza then!

        • Expat Chris
          Posted May 18, 2015 at 10:02 am | Permalink

          A thousand apologies Silvanus! I read your comment late yesterday evening and the reference passed right over my head. And at that point I had not yet solved 23D!

    • pommers
      Posted May 18, 2015 at 10:13 am | Permalink


  6. crypticsue
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    An enjoyable debut thank you Dutch.

  7. pommers
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Nice one Dutch, well done.

    On the podium are 15a and 9d but it’s 23d on the top step.

    Thanks for the entertainment Dutch. Hope to see more.

  8. jean-luc cheval
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Thanks Dutch. That was really good fun.
    I don’t mind a bit of humour every now and then but if 10a is part of the theme, I personally don’t spend that much time there.
    Most of the clues had a lovely surface. I particularly liked 30 and 31a for that reason.
    Favourite is 18d.
    Congratulations on your first rookie.

  9. dutch
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for all the kind comments, and I’m aware the grid leaves much to be desired so apologies for that.

    I look forward to seeing all of you tomorrow.

  10. Expat Chris
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Having been made aware of the very amusing theme, I’m upgrading my ‘super’ comment to ‘fabulous!’

    Have a wonderful day, tomorrow, y’all! I will be quietly sulking because I can’t ever make these events. Can we have a Rookie group photo, please?

  11. Rabbit Dave
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    This was great fun and extremely enjoyable, with smooth surface readings throughout.

    Assuming I have parsed 8d correctly, my only question (which I am sure the review tomorrow will answer) is: is it OK to use the abbreviation for “that is” as part of the anagram fodder?

    23d was my favourite.

    Excellent, Dutch, well done!

  12. Kath
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant – I loved it and I didn’t find it too easy at all. Confidence now restored after NTSPP fiasco.
    I was stupidly slow to see why 28a was what it had to be.
    Spent far too long trying to make 6d a protected animal of some kind.
    Having spotted 10a the lurking bit of my brain managed the next two without any trouble – I need all the practice I can get!
    I liked so many of these clues that I’ll just go for it and write them all down – 11, 26, 30 and 31a and 7, 9 and 20d. My favourite was 23d.
    With thanks, congratulations and a to Dutch.

  13. Sprocker
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this, with several laugh out loud moments, and several ‘aha’s when I realised that I’d got totally the wrong end of the stick. Add to that there were no obscurities, and an excellent theme (which I didn’t spot until I read the comments), then all in all I’d say that’s a great effort. I was going to comment on 8d but I see that Rabbit Dave beat me to it.

    9d was my favourite, but with an honourable mention to 32a which I’ll be trying not to emulate tomorrow!

    Excellent stuff

  14. Dutch
    Posted May 18, 2015 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Thanks rabbit dave and Sprocker, yep, “that is” could be construed as a wee indirect anagram – I did have some discussion about this, you do see abbreviations in anagram fodder -but they need to be very common and ideally should preserve first letters, and I know some people don’t like them at all – I do try and avoid them if I can. I was hoping 8d reads simply enough to remain fair, and that “that is” is sufficiently common and obvious. Anyway, if that was my main sin, I am flattered. Thanks.

    • pommers
      Posted May 18, 2015 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      I obviously have no problem with 8d as I solved the clue and never even noticed the potential secondary anagram. Shouldn’t worry about it if I were you.

      • Dutch
        Posted May 18, 2015 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        Thanks – I’m hanging on to rabbit Dave’s “smooth surface” comment – that means the world to me.

        • pommers
          Posted May 18, 2015 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

          Surface readings are what often make or break a puzzle for me. Lots of “clunky” clues can sort of turn me off what might be a well crafted puzzle but a couple of really smooth ones and then I’m all yours . . . !

          That was a great debut puzzle. If I could do half as well I might think about sticking the head above the parapet but as I can’t I won’t. No pasanada.

  15. beet
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    I have just noticed that Dutch has made his debut. Haven’t had time to do this yet, but I will do as soon as I can and judging from the comments it looks like I am in for a treat.

  16. dutch
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Thanks prolixic: 18d was intended as lacking “Ist” from statistical (=of numerical facts) to give statical – with the def being “at a standstill” – I’m aware it is one of the more challenging clues and statical =static=stationary is slightly obscure, though some said they liked it.

    • silvanus
      Posted May 19, 2015 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      That’s exactly how I read the clue – I can understand why Prolixic interpreted it the way he did however.

      • Kitty
        Posted May 20, 2015 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        I wasn’t sure about this one, and was about to complain that the definition given in the review didn’t fit the answer. The intended parsing is much better, but I’d be one of those to utter a “hmm” at statical = static. My only real quibble in the whole thing though, which is very impressive for a debut puzzle.

        • dutch
          Posted May 21, 2015 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

          Yes, one sounds like an adjective and one sounds almost like an adverb (though that would be statically, I guess). How do you see their difference? Chambers lists them as equivalents though: “static adj. (or statical)”. Anyway I think the def in the clue works ok (thoughts?) as long as you parse it as “at a standstill”. Statical seems to be an obscure variant (from comments), something I didn’t know when it was the last word to fit in the grid – it looked innocent enough! Something to watch out for..

  17. Beet
    Posted May 19, 2015 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Excellent debut Dutch, your bathroom fittings were polished to a high shine! I am sure you are so pleased with the result that you will be entertaining us with your second some time soon. My favourites included 6 d 7 d 16 d but you had very nice, well thought out surface readings in many more.

  18. JollySwagman
    Posted May 20, 2015 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable. Hard to believe it’s a debut.

    I ticked 14a, 21a, 2d, 6d, 23d and plenty of others generated a good chuckle. Found it fairly easy overall – to start with at least – enjoyed the trickiness of a few towards the end. That’s speaking as a sofa solver – “enthroned” solvers may have twigged some a bit quicker.

  19. Kitty
    Posted May 20, 2015 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Very well done on a most excellent first puzzle, Dutch! I look forward to the next one.

    Having cast a quick glance over the comments, I knew the theme so that made some things easier. It was by no means a walkover though, and the last few had me puzzling.

    The review has addressed most of the queries I had – thanks for that, Prolixic.

    8d may have been near the boundary of acceptability, but I feel it falls on the right side of that line. I think the setter has judged it accurately – see comment #14.

    In 13a, I’m can’t see that vacate = remove. Maybe I’m missing something.

    I needed the review to explain 18d – and then found that I needed Dutch’s comment #16.

    Lots of choice for favourites, but nobody else has picked 27a which I think deserves a mention.

    Thanks and congratulations, Dutch.

    • dutch
      Posted May 21, 2015 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Kitty, and to everyone else who commented

  20. Catnap
    Posted May 21, 2015 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    What an excellent debut, Dutch! I really enjoyed it. I liked plenty of the clues, especially 2d, 9d, 23d, followed by 14a and 30a. I thought 11a a very nicely hidden clue.

    I had no real problems with this puzzle. I parsed 18d all right, but it is a word I’ve not heard used. I found 1a ambiguous and had to wait for a checking letter. I made a stupid mistake in 15a and had ‘water’ for the second word. How I managed to equate ‘water’ with ‘news’ I have no idea!

    Prolixic’s excellent constructive review is much appreciated.

    Congratulations Dutch! And thank you very much indeed.

    Lastly, my apologies for the lateness of this comment. I completed this puzzle on Tuesday but haven’t had an opportunity to comment until now.

    • dutch
      Posted May 21, 2015 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

      thank you for your comment, much appreciated, there are no “lateness” rules

      • Catnap
        Posted May 22, 2015 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        Thanks, Dutch. Incidentally, by way of a my comment above, I parsed 18d the way you intended by removing the ‘ist’ from ‘statistical’, and I had no problem with that. Once again, very well done!

  21. Heno
    Posted May 24, 2015 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Dutch, great debut puzzle, some smooth surface readings. A nice level of difficulty. I was beaten by 9d&17a. Favourite was 15a, made me laugh out loud. Was 3*/3* for me.