Rookie Corner – 095

A Puzzle by Maize

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Today we have a third puzzle from Maize. If you were expecting to see the puzzle created at yesterday’s meeting, this has been postponed until next Monday.  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.

Prolixic has updated his document entitled “A brief guide to the construction of cryptic crossword clues” which can be downloaded, in pdf format, from the Rookie Corner index page or by clicking below.

Download asa Word file

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic.

The time has come to sack Maize as a Rookie and promote him to the NTSPP.  This was an accomplished crossword with some excellent surfaces and wordplay.


1 Piece of jive choreography which comes before foxtrot (4)
ECHO – The answer is hidden in (piece of) JIVE CHOREOGRAPHY.  It refers to the NATO phonetic alphabet.

3 I’m transported by bouquet of rainbow colours (10)
IRIDESCENT – A phrase (1,4) meaning I’m transported followed by another word for bouquet or smell.  Wordplay of definition is not allowed by some editors; with rainbow colours would have overcome this.

10 Good fortune and peace of mind interrupted by depression (11)
SERENDIPITY – A word meaning peace of mind includes (interrupted by) another word for a depression or hollow.

11 Tool for calculating circumference around end of French letter (3)
PHI – The constant used in the equation 2πr for calculating the circumference of a circle around the last letter (end of) French.  I am not sure that describing the constant as a tool is strictly accurate – perhaps “Something used for calculating…” may have been better.

12 This might give you a headache: 10 + 6 – 9 + 26 (7)
TENSION – The full spelling of 10 followed by the full spelling of 6 after removing the Roman numerals for 9 followed by the answer to 26 across.

13 Joint cover can keep getting renewed (7)
KNEECAP – An anagram (getting renewed) of CAN KEEP.

14 Interred in public at a combined burial site (8)
CATACOMB – The answer is hidden (interred in) PUBLIC AT A COMBINED.

17 Embrace of Cleopatra’s principal couple preceding her nemesis (5)
CLASP – The first two letters (principal couple) before the animal that is reputed to have killed her.

19 Employment of Generation We? (5)
USAGE – Split (2,3) this might be another way of saying Generation We.

20 Lacking leaders, put off integration for ages (8)
ETERNITY – Remove the first letters (lacking leaders) from words meaning to put off and integration.

22 Type of secret agents protecting the city (7)
SPECIES – Another word for secret agents around the post code for the City of London.

24 Remote control car’s heading towards gravy… as we hear! (7)
CLICKER – The first letter (heading) of car followed by a homophone of liquor (gravy as we hear).

26 Guillotine’s regular showing – it carries a small charge (3)
ION – Ever 3rd letter of the first word in the clue.  Regular does not have to mean odd or even letters.

27 Rudimentary tree – one inside a seed (11)
ABECEDARIAN – A type of tree associated with Lebanon and an I (one) go inside the A from the clue and another word for a seed or pulse.  This is one of those painted into a corner words that is a pig to clue and even worse to have to solve.  Well done for keeping the wordplay simple.

28 Incompetent politician finally gets pay cut and discharge (10)
NINCOMPOOP – The final letter of politician followed by another word for pay with the final letter removed and another word for a bodily discharge.

29 Web of half-lies between start and finish of Macbeth (4)
MESH – Half of the word lies inside the first and last letters of Macbeth.


1 Fake tears, perhaps, on last letter (6)
ERSATZ – An anagram (fake) of TEARS on the last letter of the alphabet.

2 It flies – as Leander’s heart to join her love (5)
HERON – The middle letter (heart) of Leander after the name of her lover in the legend of X and Leander.

4 Be in charge of the nation‘s weather report (5)
REIGN – A homophone (report) of a type of weather condition.

5 Doctor in Cambodia possessing skill appropriate for consumption (9)
DRINKABLE – An abbreviation for doctor followed by the IN from the clue and the IVR code for Cambodia followed by a word meaning possessing skill.

6 Means of communication initially pioneered in part of Scotland (5)
SKYPE – The first letter (initially) of pioneered inside the name of a Scottish island.

7 Looking forward to living around sports clubs (9)
EXPECTANT – Another word for living or existing around the abbreviations for sports and clubs.

8 US exhaust their athletes in London, putting in place extra starters (8)
TAILPIPE – The initial letters (starters) of the third to tenth words in clue.

9 In the middle of dating friend, becoming very close (8)
INTIMATE – The in from the clue followed by the middle letters of dating an a word meaning friend.

15 King Alfred’s introduction to cooking among men (9)
AGAMEMNON – The first letter (introduction) to Alfred inside an anagram (cooking) of AMONG MEN.

16 Go up, after frolicking lovers fail to surface (9)
OVERSLEEP – Reverse a word meaning to urinate or go after an anagram (frolicking) of lovers.

17 Cliquey group outside pub rejected antisocial eater? (8)
CANNIBAL – A word for a cliquey group goes around (outside) another word for a pub that has been reversed (rejected).

18 To be or not to be? (8)
QUESTION – A mildly cryptic reference the quotation from Hamlet.

21 In which bras come off the shoulders? (6)
FRENCH – The language in which the arms (which come of shoulders) are called bras.  Brilliant clue.

23 Adult movie’s opening in Iowa – be there! (5)
IMAGO – The first letter (opening) of movie in the two letter state code for Iowa followed by a word meaning “be there”.

24 Faith expressed in verse Roman Catholic sent to heaven (5)
CREDO – Reverse (sent to heaven) a word for verse and the abbreviation for Roman Catholic.

25 Tattoo reversal with iron blade (5)
KNIFE – A reversal for a colloquial term of a tattoo followed by the chemical symbol for Iron.


  1. KiwiColin
    Posted February 1, 2016 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    That was excellent fun. I was sailing along at quite a clip smiling all the way at all the cleverness until I came to the SE corner where there was rapid deceleration. Slowly, slowly they yielded their secrets until just 21d was left and a LOL moment as I got it. Goldilocks zone for difficulty and heaps and heaps of fun. I guess I won’t be the only one looking for the pangram that almost was.
    Many thanks and well done Maize

    • Encota
      Posted February 1, 2016 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      With 5d and the headache in12, I wondered if Maize is referring to ‘No Johnnie Walker’?
      [That’s quite enough drink-related comments from me!]

    • Maize
      Posted February 1, 2016 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

      Thanks KiwiColin, and also thanks for nudging me in a useful direction back with my first puzzle. You’re worth listening to! And yup, I almost tweaked the grid to make it a pangram, but it meant losing some nice words and didn’t quite seem worth it, somehow.

  2. JollySwagman
    Posted February 1, 2016 at 2:41 am | Permalink

    Great puzzle Maize.

    Quick – slow – quick – quick slow for me (is that a dance step) the final slow being the bottom right corner – but it yielded eventually.

    Much humour and much to enjoy in the variety of wordplays and crypticisms.

    I ticked 3a 4d 8d 16d, 17d, 18d, 21d, 23d.

    Could probably have ticked more but mid-flight I forget that I’m supposed to be ticking the good’uns – same as mid-shop I forget I have a list.

    No quibbles.

    Many thanks

  3. Expat Chris
    Posted February 1, 2016 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Just brilliant! I absolutely loved it. So much fun and such clever, smooth cluing. I was left with 27A and 21D when I went to bed last night, and then awake at stupid o’clock EST, I took another look over a way-too-early cup of tea. I had to look up 27A because it’s an unfamiliar word, and that left 21D. I stared and stared…and then the penny thudded to the ground. Wonderful! I have double ticks by too many clues to mention, so I’m going for 12A, 21D, and 23D as co-champions. Maize, you knocked this out of the ballpark!

  4. Gazza
    Posted February 1, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    An excellent puzzle producing lots of smiles – thanks Maize. 21d was my last answer accompanied by a big d’oh. If this one had turned up on the back page of the Telegraph we’d all be raving about it. My shortlist of top clues is 12a, 14a, 16d and 21d.

  5. Sprocker
    Posted February 1, 2016 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Wow, terrific stuff (again! ). Some brilliant inventiveness, great surfaces, and perfect difficulty (for me at least! ). Way too many great clues to make picking a favourite seem fair, but I’ll go with 21d for the penny drop moment.

    Thanks! :good:

  6. silvanus
    Posted February 1, 2016 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Hi Maize, as others have said already this was a fantastic effort and a very high-quality puzzle which I thoroughly enjoyed. It has to be up there with the best-ever crosswords to appear in Rookie Corner in my opinion.

    The surfaces were virtually flawless, the cluing was crisp and snappy, and the difficulty level was pitched at just the right level. Only two very small quibbles (and I mean tiny ones) – “city” in 22a should really be capitalised, and I didn’t care for “reversal” in 25d to indicate, er, a reversal, but these are but mere insignificances really. I did wonder if one or two double definitions, say, might have given a little more variety in the type of clues utilised, although that’s more of a personal preference.

    I have ticked so many clues that I liked (3a, 10a, 12a (very clever), 13a, 14a (I loved “interred” as a hidden indicator), 20a, 28a, 29a, 2d, 5d, 9d, 15d, 17d and 21d), but I shall give my favourite vote to 27a because a) it held me up for longer than any other and b) even though I didn’t know the word and it was solved by the fairness of the construction.

    You’ve definitely raised the Rookie bar by a few notches with this one Maize, so all credit to you and congratulations on a superb achievement. I’m sure that you are more than capable of maintaining and even surpassing this level going forward. Well done, indeed. :bye:

    • Maize
      Posted February 1, 2016 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Silvanus. Really nice feedback. I didn’t know about City needing capitalisation – cheers. I’m okay with ‘reversal’ for reversal though, because I don’t think non-setting solvers use that nomenclature – at least I didn’t use to! Double definitions – yes, you’re probably right, I’ll bear that in mind for the next one. :)

      • Kitty
        Posted February 1, 2016 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

        I rather like the hiding in plain sight aspect of reversal meaning – just that.

      • silvanus
        Posted February 1, 2016 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

        It would be great to compare notes some time, Maize – any chance that you could be lured up from Cornwall to one of the London social gatherings?

      • JollySwagman
        Posted February 1, 2016 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

        The City (meaning the financial district of London) is certainly normally capitalised but here “city” only needs to be capitalised to make the clue ximenean. In conventional setting solvers are expected to “see through” capitalisation, punctuation and spacing.

        Barnard would have been fine with it.

        As a non-ximenean but perfectly well-structured clue it works better as is. Capitalising “city” gives the game away immediately. As is the solver is left to ponder whether a particular city is required – and with its position at the end of the sentence maybe it’s the definition – a much more interesting clue.

        Araucaria – Guardian 24085 – 26a

        Silencers add lustre to city with heartless soldiers (13)


        which means the surgical removal of the tongue.

        • silvanus
          Posted February 2, 2016 at 12:12 am | Permalink

          Hi JS,

          Your point is well-made, but the difference here is that Maize has preceded “city” with the definite article, in which case it should definitely be capitalised I feel, since “the” doesn’t contribute separately to the wordplay. Prolixic hasn’t commented on it however!

          Had he just used “protecting city”, i.e. on its own without the definite article (like the Araucaria example), then capitalisation wouldn’t be necessary I agree.

          • JollySwagman
            Posted February 3, 2016 at 9:17 am | Permalink

            Hi S

            I’m not sure that we’re any closer.

            My position would be that (as far as English goes) city only means “financial district” (or specifically the one in London) if it is capitalised – ie written as City – eg: He works in the City.

            As a “synonym” I can only get EC from City. From city I get Paris, London, Manchester etc – not EC.

            As far as cluing goes, to be ximenean that would need to be preserved. Ximeneans somehow allow surface capitalisation to be ignored in the cryptic reading – but not the other way round.

            In a cluing idiom where capitalisation can be “seen through” (“used to deceive” as the ximenans would say) that capitalisation can be dispensed with, even though we know that what we mean semantically is the capitalised version.

            Of course Ximenes’s solution was to put the critical word at the begininning of the sentence. Eg we might have (best I can do in a brief moment):

            City is protected by secret agents of sorts (7)

            Having “the” or not in the original doesn’t affect the capitalisation issue for me.

  7. snape
    Posted February 1, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Well, I thought this was a terrible Rookie Corner puzzle – what chance do we have if you are going to produce puzzles as good as this?
    Reading the surfaces at first immediately brought so many smiles, and the thought that ‘I hope the clue lives up to the surface’, and they all did. They are pretty much all (metaphorically) ticked, genuinely, but I loved the elegant simplicity of 13a.
    I do have to admit I haven’t got 21d yet, and I haven’t twigged the 26 part of 12a, but I suspect I will groan in appreciation (Edit: Doh, Just have got the 26. And I have!)
    I was reading on DIY COW that the Times now accepts ‘our last’ for r, so the wonderful 8d must be fine too. I was confused by the ‘to’ in 15d, but if this is fine as a charade link I will start to use it. I’d never heard of 27a but it was lovely precise wordplay.
    Brilliant, everything a puzzle should be. Many thanks.

    • Maize
      Posted February 1, 2016 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      Cheers Snape – you made me laugh! Dac, sometimes called ‘the best pound for pound setter out there’ uses ‘to’ to link his charades all the time, so I should go ahead and use it – very useful!

  8. Rabbit Dave
    Posted February 1, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Silvanus and I are very often on the same wavelength, and he has written very much what I was going to write about this brilliant puzzle. I’ll just add that 21d was my favourite favourite and a real LOL moment.

    Many thanks Maize, and very well done!

  9. Encota
    Posted February 1, 2016 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Hi Snape,

    Fabulous surfaces – something to aspire to and really accurate clueing – excellent! I think this is a top-notch creation and could readily feature in one of the (more liberally-minded) nationals.

    My favourites (amongst many really good ones) are 12a, 14a, 27a and 18d.

    A few more f/b notes which I made as I went through attached below – feel free to read/ignore/delete/whatever!



    Notes on puzzle RC095 (largely in the order they went in):
    11a Wasn’t quite sure about ‘Tool’ in the def – I’m possibly missing something (as usual)?
    24d Nicely relevant up/down reversal
    2d I got a bit confused with the him/her in the surface but on re-checking ‘heart’ makes it fine – another very strong clue.
    8d well disguised – didn’t spot it at the first look – which is always a great test for these type of clue, I think
    24a gravy! Felt like a lunchtime Xmas table surface (which was presumably the intention – fantastic!)! Was it Sir Henry Rawlinson (who?) that used the most euphemisms for ‘the sauce’? A chill glass of Paraffino, a bottle of Entre Deux Legs; also Embalming Fluid (amongst many others) come to mind. “These are the only spirits I want tormenting my body etc.” Anyway, back to reality… As an aside ‘gravy’ isn’t in the two versions of Chambers I just checked but is in their crossword dictionary – strange??
    *14a nice +
    17d excellent deceptive def!
    19a like it
    *18d love it!
    7d ‘sports clubs’ got me for a moment – until working back from the answer let me parse it. Like it.
    *12a love it!
    28a so that’s why it’s called the ___ Deck at the Rear of the ship ;-) And as for 16d… :smile:
    3a I like your ‘by’ – neat
    *27a love it and LOI (a gap in my vocab now filled – thank you!)

    • snape
      Posted February 1, 2016 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Hello from me,
      Sadly it’s not one of mine, more’s the pity.
      I had the same thought about ‘tool’ in 11a.
      I had too many clues I loved to be able to list them.

      I did have the thought this morning that some of the Rookie Corner puzzles should be collected,revised in the light of the comments and published as a book. This puzzle would be the highlight. I’m ready to coordinate it all as I don’t have a job at the moment!

      What a wonderful day Saturday was. It was really good to meet you. Thanks especially to CS for the cake and J-L for the treats, and to BD for sorting it all. A bit of the pity the lurkers in the corner stayed lurking – next time come and say hello! :good:

      • silvanus
        Posted February 1, 2016 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        I’m glad that you managed to arrive before I had to leave on Saturday, but I’m sorry we didn’t have the chance to chat more than we did. I missed all the edible treats this time unfortunately, but I’m sure that they were as delicious as ever. Rookie Corner (past and present) was fairly well represented I thought, and it was nice to meet Encota for the first time. I think he’s just about forgiven me for not warming to his recent puzzle!

        A Rookie bookie-wookie, eh, as the execrable Russell Brand might term it, that’s an interesting idea. The best one from each setter, perhaps, or merely the best overall?

        • snape
          Posted February 1, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          I probably ought to think about things more before I post. Perhaps at least one from everybody who wanted, suitably edited and refined? More than one from some.

      • Encota
        Posted February 1, 2016 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        Hi Snape

        A book sounds a great idea! I have my next ‘easier’ (but who am I to judge?) one almost ready for test-solving…

        I also keep meaning to create and file (at least for myself) revised copies of my submitted puzzles based on some of the feedback. Do some of you already do this? If yes, any tips? Do they ever see the light of day again?



        • Maize
          Posted February 1, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

          I keep print outs of the post-comments revised version in a folder on a shelf, plus a fairly well-organised (by my standards) collection of soft-copy folders on the computer. Lord only knows what I’ll ever do with them.
          One folder is of the botanically themed crosswords I put in the Eden project magazine where I work. They don’t pay me for doing them (of course!) but I have a vague idea that one day I could make a little book of those ones to sell in our gift shop – if I ever get to 100, that is!
          As for a Rookie Puzzles book? Why not!

        • snape
          Posted February 1, 2016 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

          I haven’t as yet rewritten ones that have appeared on here, I just try not to make the same mistakes for future clues.
          Maize, it would probably do well – and for a gift shop I don’t think you’d need 100? Perhaps it could be a picture book too, with related photographs, pad it out a bit. Or maybe I’ve just described the magazine!

          • dutch
            Posted February 1, 2016 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

            you don’t need 100, though it’s a nice number – pictures would be great (with editorial discretion)

      • Dutch
        Posted February 1, 2016 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        Snape, that is a brilliant idea – damn, I better write a few quickly if I want to get in the book

    • Encota
      Posted February 1, 2016 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      Sorry Maize, I got my names mixed up (not for the first time)! Snape – thanks for pointing out. Ho hum!

  10. Pulham (previously Starhorse)
    Posted February 1, 2016 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I thought this was a superb puzzle, with some very nicely crafted clues.

    Amongst the various French bras, dog poo, peeing uphill and adult movies that aren’t all they seem there’s some clever wordplay (12a, 20a for example) and brilliant surfaces – loved 10a, so smoothly done.

    14a is the best hidden that I’ve seen in a long while.

    Whilst most of it was not too difficult I did miss much of the SE corner, 27a/24a/25d/21d. I’m not convinced by ink = tattoo in 25d, can’t see that supported in the dictionary, or is it colloquial? I should have biffed it from the FE though, and might well have nailed most of the rest if I had.

    21d, once I’d seen it, took a while before it clicked; but a definite pdm when it did, brilliant.

    27a was unfamiliar and unfortunately my crossers were all vowels so trying to find a tree to insert (and make a plausible word) just proved impossible. I didn’t know the US term for exhaust, only got this from all the crossers and eventually spotting the wordplay.

    Thanks Maize, I don’t always get a chance to have a go at the Rookie puzzles, but of the ones I have tried I think this is the best combination of classy clueing without being mega difficult that I’ve seen.

    • Dutch
      Posted February 1, 2016 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      Ink = tattoo is pretty common usage amongst those who partake ( I have a daughter who likes being inked).

  11. stanXYZ
    Posted February 1, 2016 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    This was a sheer delight from start to finish … even though 12a gave me a headache.

    14a gets my vote as favourite – a classic of the genre!

    Many thanks to Maize!

  12. Maize
    Posted February 1, 2016 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Hello solvers and thank you for the lovely feedback. Sorry it wasn’t the puzzle everyone created at the weekend, but that’ll be something to look forward to next Monday…
    The story behind this puzzle is that I have a non-crosswording friend who, every time I see her, gives me a new word to clue – sometimes they’re real stinkers, like ‘mellifluous’, and sometimes a wordplay possibility springs instantly to mind – like ‘incan/descent’ for example. But the point is they’re always lovely words – no smegma or moist, just words like, well, several of the answers today, and lovely words should, in theory be nice to discover.
    And you’re quite right Pelham, since my first puzzle on these pages was thought to be competent, perhaps, but not that much fun, really, I have rather taken to putting in a bit of saucy innuendo – a transparent and probably slightly pathetic attempt at humour. Ho-hum. Never mind, did anybody spot the double use of ‘her love’ in 2d? That was my own favourite bit today.
    So that’s lovely, and it looks like my re-writing clues over and over again (a bit like the ‘multiple pots’ story Kitty told us about with Metman’s puzzle a few weeks back) is a perfectly good use of my time after all. All that remains now is for me to convince my wife that it’s more important than that bathroom redecoration I promised her last November!

  13. Dutch
    Posted February 1, 2016 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Hi maize – I’ve managed to crawl beyond the soothing Rufus to try your puzzle today, more than I thought I was going to manage today when I tried to wake up after our brilliant weekend.

    I’m a little worried about the puzzle we tried to contribute to on Saturday, since we were so well fueled, or I certainly was – it all seemed good fun and sensible at the time – I guess we wait and see how it looks, I’m hoping Tilsit may be tempted to do some serious editing.

    Anyway, you made my day, this was just was I needed ( though I’m glad I did the Rufus first). Last one in was the wonderful 21d – well done. I also admire 10a, 13a, 28a, 6d, 7d, 15d, 16d, 25d. And more. I liked “half-lies”

    No headache from 12a, but 27 did my head in, never heard of that and it was too big a word for me to handle today.

    An absolutely brilliant puzzle, many thanks

  14. Una
    Posted February 1, 2016 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Terrific , really enjoyable.I particularly liked 18d, 28a, 10a, 7d, and 25d.
    A dictionary provided the answer to 27a, as I have never seen that word before.
    I don’t like very obscure words , but perhaps everybody else knows it.
    Thanks Maize.

  15. Jane
    Posted February 1, 2016 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Hi Maize,
    Just checking in to let you know that I’ve printed off the puzzle and will be knuckling down to it this evening. Everything a bit out of sync after the hectic birthday weekend! :phew:

  16. Beet
    Posted February 1, 2016 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Maize this puzzle was a joy from start to finish. Maybe it was a wavelength thing – I raced through but I enjoyed every second.

    I didn’t know 27a but it’s a lovely word and I’m pleased to meet it.

    12a is just the sort of gimmicky clue that I love, so that’s my favourite, but even with no gimmick on the other clues you still managed to make them all special with lovely surface readings.

  17. Kitty
    Posted February 1, 2016 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Loved it, loved it, loved it! This was way better than most back-pagers (including today’s). I am in accord with the previous complimentary comments.

    I am so behind on Rookie puzzles that I really had to do today’s, but I’m certainly glad I did. Being totally frazzled, I will admit to some cheating but there was nothing that would be too hard on a normal day. Perhaps excepting 27a, which was a new one on me – but what a lovely word.

    Favourites include 10a, 19a, 16d and 21d, with 12a and 14a my favourite favourites.

    Many thanks to Maize for a wonderful crossword, and thanks in advance to Prolixic for the review.

  18. Jane
    Posted February 1, 2016 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    I simply love a good surface read so this puzzle was an absolute pleasure to solve – thank you so much, Maize.
    I have 19 big ticks without even looking back for any I may have missed counting and there is no way I could pick out any one ahead of the others.
    That’s a pretty amazing standard you’ve set for Rookie puzzles!

  19. snape
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    Many thanks for the review, Prolixic.
    I have one question – in 3a, wordplay of definition is frowned upon, but I was under the impression ‘with’ as a link was frowned upon too, especially that way round.
    With is defined as ‘by means of’ so should be acceptable the other way round, but is with fine generally?
    I think I remember reading a comment by Peter Biddlecombe that ‘of’ was now fine as a link either way round in ST puzzles and competitions, and he provided justification for this. I guess this must have been in the judging of the clue writing competition at some point.
    Congratulations on your promotion, Maize!

    • Maize
      Posted February 2, 2016 at 1:08 am | Permalink

      Just to say that the word ‘of’ wasn’t intended as a link word, but rather as part of the definition. So the definition in full was supposed to be ‘of rainbow colours’.
      Night-night and thank you for the review Prolixic – the ‘regularly’ in 26a came straight from your advice last time. :)

      • dutch
        Posted February 2, 2016 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        shouldn’t it indeed be ‘regularly’, the adverb? regularly showing? i guess showing can also have a nounal sense so it’s prob ok

  20. Encota
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    Thanks as ever Prolixic for your review – and it was great to see you (and many others here) on Saturday; I can now picture at least 80% of us.


  21. dutch
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Many thanks for a great review prolixic

  22. Jane
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, which (as is often the case) ironed out a couple of creases in my parsing. Maize certainly deserves that promotion.
    By the way – if you do pop back in – you will not be surprised to learn that I am completely foxed by your ‘birthday puzzle’! Will there be a review along at some stage?

    • Posted February 2, 2016 at 11:45 am | Permalink


      I’m hoping to be able to publish Prolixic’s Birthday Puzzle as this Saturday’s NTSPP..

      • Jane
        Posted February 2, 2016 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        That should cause some lively debate!
        At least I’ve got an extra week to work on it. :smile:

        • Jane
          Posted February 2, 2016 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

          OK – I’ve finally worked it out, but will enjoy keeping it to myself without giving anything away in advance of the official publication.
          PS I will put on my personal hit list all those of you clever devils who find this one to be no problem! :yes:

  23. Toro
    Posted February 2, 2016 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely outstanding! Extremely polished and professional, and above all a really satisfying solve. A fairly random selection of favourites were 3a, 10a, 12a, 14a, 16d, 17a, 21d, 24d, and 25d. The “towards” and “to” in 24a and 15d, and the “looking forward TO” in 7d were my only quibbles, and I mention them only because they jarred slightly in the context of such superbly smooth and precise clueing elsewhere. SE corner put up a fight, not least because I wrote “clannish” into 17d (INN reversed inside (the) CLASH, def. CLIQUEY) without reading to the end of the clue! Congratulations, Maize.

    • Maize
      Posted February 2, 2016 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Toro – not quite up to your level, but I’m glad you liked it!
      Interesting about the use of ‘to’ and towards – it’s really useful to have this sort of thing pointed out. In 15d I used ‘to’ as a juxtaposition indicator (I discussed with Snape above about how Dac uses it a lot in this way) but I think you’re probably right, and in future I will only use it as a last resort – it is very useful though! With 7d I’ve just checked BRB and Collins and they have ‘expect’ as ‘look forward to’ so I dare say ‘expectant’ could be ‘looking forward to’? As for ‘towards’ in 24a, yup, I was taking a risk with that one. Never seen it before and it’s probably highly irregular. I do try to be Ximinean – mostly!

      • JollySwagman
        Posted February 3, 2016 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        “to” and “towards” are both commonly used to indicated concatenation on the basis that they can both mean “near to”. If that’s not ximenean I would like to see a reference to Ximenes’s own condemnation of it.

        “expectant” would fail the “substitution test” – that’s where you try swapping the answer and the definition in a phrase or sentence and have them work the same – if one needs a preposition and the other doesn’t you’re not quite home.

        For “expectant ” here I can’t come up with an example to support that – which doesn’t mean it’s not possible to – that’s always the danger of that approach – find an example – the equivalence is good – fail to find one – you’re never quite sure whether there might be one of you try a bit harder.

        OTOH your argument in its favour is convincing for most people – *cryptically* (ie relying on your argument) its fine, whether ximenean – maybe not – but not absolutely sure – the slogan about “precise definition”, frequently misattributed to Ximenes – is actually not from X – it’s from Azed.

        • Maize
          Posted February 3, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

          Interestingly ‘expect’/’look forward to’ also seems to fail the substitution test so, unless I’ve missed something, either the dictionary or the test needs must give way!

  24. jean-luc cheval
    Posted February 3, 2016 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    So glad I found the time to solve your crossword Maize.
    As Gazza my last one in was 21d but the D’oh was followed by a session of head banging on the table.
    Fabulous clues.
    12a and 27a favourites.
    Thanks to Maize and to Prolixic.

    • Maize
      Posted February 3, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      That one was there for you, Jean-Luc!