Rookie Corner – 100 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner – 100

A Puzzle by Metman

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

This week we have third puzzle from Metman. 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 follows.

Welcome back to Metman who set a crossword that was a little more tricky than the previous one.  It was an enjoyable crossword to solve but there were some areas where a little more polish and attention to the definitions and the surface readings would have improved it.


1 American girl with valuable rocks in abundance (6)
GALORE – An American word for a girl followed by the type of rocks from which valuable metals or minerals can be extracted.

4 Sit following work to object (6)
OPPOSE – A word meaning to sit goes after (following) a two letter abbreviation for work.

9 A creature of 25 pounds (4)
PONY – A double definition, the second being a slang East End term for the amount of money in question.

10 Just ring encyclopaedia to find in close detail (10)
STRINGENCY – The answer is hidden in JUST RING ENCYLOPEDIA.  I am not convinced by “to find” as a hidden word indicator.  The surface reading also suffers from being strained to fit the wordplay of a hidden word. 

11 Mark little Edward as being jumpy (6)
SCARED – A mark on the skin from a wound followed by a diminutive form of Edward.

12 Service area that makes a killing (8)
MASSACRE – A religious service followed by an area of land.

13 Two act together at liberal meeting (9)
BILATERAL – An anagram (meeting) of AT LIBERAL.  I cannot see that meeting is an anagram indicator as it does not indicate any form of movement or rearrangement of the letters.  Also, as the answer is an adjective, the definition would need to be in adjectival form.

15 Unhitch like a dumper (4)
JILT – An elliptical definition meaning to dump a significant other.

16 Associates who do not relate (4)
KITH – Not related by flesh or marriage, rather ones friends and acquaintances.  Now only used in the phrase – “____ and kin” as in friends and family.

17 Service fellowship (9)
COMMUNION – A single definition (almost) – a religious service so named for the fellowship it implies.

21 Extended tree care could be to grow another (8)
RECREATE – An anagram (extended) of TREE CARE.  Another anagram indicator that really is not up to muster.

22 I leave silver for a maritime saviour (6)
SALVER – Replace the I in Silver with an A.  I am not sure that the answer is a maritime saviour as such.  Also, with the letter I care has to be taken as some editors would not permit “I leave” where you would not allow “B leave” silver.  Here, “One leaves silver…” would overcome the problem.

24 Get rid of broken stones found in yards (5,5)
SCRAP METAL – A word meaning rid of and a term meaning broken stones (used in making paths and roads).  I am not a fan of very loose definitions such as “found in yards” to indicate a specific item as the list of possibilities is too great to make it a fair device.

25 Heard you cut the grass in a particular manner (4)
MODE – A homophone (heard) of mowed (you cut the grass).

26 Edgar makes an attempt at this? (6)
POETRY – The name of the author Edgar Allen … followed by a word meaning an attempt.  Presumably this is a semi-all in one clue as otherwise there is no definition of the answer other than the answer is something that he would have tried.

27 Name in good time – not quite (6)
NEARLY – The abbreviation for name followed by a word meaning in good time.


1 Food parcels for Romans (7)
GNOCCHI – A cryptic definition that misses the mark, as the answer is a form of dumpling, not parcels of food (which implies being wrapped up like Ravioli).

2 Bird stratum (5)
LAYER – A double definition, the first being a cryptic reference to a bird.

3 Die sure but uncertain what is left (7)
RESIDUE – An anagram (but uncertain) of DIE SURE.

5 International Organisation vessel ordered to exact retribution (6)
PUNISH – An anagram (ordered) of UN (international organisation) SHIP (vessel).  A cardinal sin to include an indirect anagram of this nature where the letters to be arranged (SHIP) are not given in the clue but have to be guessed from vessel.

6 You may have to take a cut in this type of action (9)
OPERATION – A double definition but again the meaning are very similar.

7 A passage to go through (7)
EXCERPT – The type of passage you might read (go through).

8 Disturbed Matt murdered Joe, Ed missing, while she leads and twirls (4,9)
DRUM MAJORETTE – An anagram (disturbed) of MATT MURDERED JOE after removing the ED (missing).  I am not meet on the link word in wordplay while definition.

14 Not quite all bird consumed the other way (9)
ALTERNATE – The first two letters of all (not quite) followed by a type of bird and a word meaning consumed.  There is no surface reading of any substance here.  I am not sure that the definition has the same meaning as the answer.

16 Joint restriction as punishment (7)
KNEECAP – A leg joint followed by a type of financial restriction or limitation.

18 Sadly lose Mel to get a tipple (7)
MOSELLE – An anagram (sadly) of LOSE MEL.

19 Revamped pond? Aye, entrance now unrestricted (4,3)
OPEN DAY – An anagram (revamped) of POND AYE.

20 French sea supports conflict when the temperature is higher (6)
WARMER – The French word for the sea under (supports) a word for conflict.  Again wordplay when definition is not the best construction.

23 The French spirit backed this primate (5)
LEMUR – The French for the followed by a reversal of a type of alcohol (spirit).

51 comments on “Rookie Corner – 100

  1. We’re prepared to forgive the indirect anagram in 5a as it was such a good fun puzzle. The one that held us up the longest was 1d so will give it our vote for favourite but there were lots of others we enjoyed too.
    Thanks Metman.

      1. Many thanks to you. I had hoped this one would be more a lunchbreak solve rather than the coffee break jobs previously published.

  2. Welcome back, Metman.

    I think that there were considerably fewer rough edges in this one than in your previous puzzle, but still some areas to work on, especially with regard to accuracy of definitions and, once again, anagram indicators. It was a pity that the indirect anagram crept in to 5d, and that particular clue held me up for a while until I realised what was happening.

    The surfaces held up pretty well on the whole, although 14d was a notable exception unfortunately.

    The definitions which I thought didn’t work were “in close detail” in 10a, “maritime saviour” in 22a, and the second part of 24a (“broken stones”). The anagram indicators which jarred were “meeting” in 13a and “extended” in 21a. I found 6d and 7d a tad unconvincing too.

    I’ve ticked several clues that I thought you delivered very well, namely 1a, 25a, 27a, 1d and 16d with my overall favourite 12a receiving two ticks!

    Overall I enjoyed the solve a lot and I think the crossword had a better balance of clue types with the anagram content being reduced. Many thanks and congratulations, Metman.

    1. Every point taken on board Silvanus and much appreciated. Quite encouraging thanks, so I wont hang up my pencils just yet !

  3. BD. A while ago, I posted a reply to the 2Ks on DT28048 but it went permanently embedded without the usual 5 minute period to allow editing or deletion. This has never happened before – I’m not complaining, just reporting…

    1. That facility was one that I suspended when the webite was overloaded yesterday. I’m putting the add-ons back one by one until I find the rogue one.

      I have just re-activated this one.

  4. Well done Metman for putting together the grid and clueing everything, always an achievement. I found this harder than it should have been mainly because of some loose definitions, not always the right part of speech, etc, and some peculiar indications – often I was left being uncertain my answer was right. No doubt Prolixic will give you an excellent clue by clue review. Some great ideas, e.g. I really liked 10a but it is indicated in a Yoda-like way, you would expect “close detail found in …..”. I like 1d, but they’re not really parcels – that would be ravioli, etc. I am not sure I’ve fully understood 15a and 7d, though i wrote in answers – maybe wrong ones!

    I did find “broken stones” in brb, but the definition needs a tweak (eg something found in yards). Anyway, this is the best way to get good feedback, hope you will find the review very useful and keep at it – congratulations again.

    1. Again, all points taken on board and appreciated. Many thanks for your time end encouraging remarks Dutch

  5. Bravo Metman; compared to your first two puzzles I thought this was a real leap forward. Clues this good don’t come about without a lot of work, re-drafting, waiting for inspiration and polishing up. But the end result is that you’ve created a really enjoyable puzzle… I’m really pleased you didn’t let yourself get put off by the ‘mixed’ fedback last time – you’ve come back fighting!
    You’ll have read by now how the indirect anagram in 5d is a no-no, but apart from that I found this to have generally sound clues, with not too many anagrams and quite a few challenges along the way stretch us.
    My favourites were 1a, 4a, 9a, 27a, 2d, 6d with my overall favourite, like Silvanus, being 12a – very nice!

    1. I’m so pleased you liked it Maize, your comments are very reassuring and encouraging. I really value all opinions and any criticisms are usually very constructive, but it’s nice to know it has been enjoyed. Thanks once again.

  6. That was a serious fight although looking at it again now I’m not quite sure why – something to do with wave-lengths I suspect as I got going much more quickly towards the end.
    I really enjoyed it and thought there were some good clues.
    I have a few answers that I don’t understand completely and one that I don’t understand at all – 1d – maybe it’s wrong.
    I did rather like 8d although the anagram fodder looked pretty unlikely to begin with.
    I also liked 1 and 12a and 2d. My favourite was 15a.
    With thanks and congratulations to Metman and thanks to whoever untangles everything tomorrow.

    1. Thanks kath, glad you enjoyed it(somewhat!) 1d is gnocchi, which I have always considered a potato parcel, although Dutch disagrees. I’m not sure at all now> Anyway thanks for the time and comments.

      1. I agree with Dutch. Ravioli is a parcel…filling inside a pasta ‘wrapper’. Gnocchi is a one-ingredient little “pillow” .

      2. Even if it’s OK to call gnocchi a ‘food parcel’ it was the ‘for Romans’ bit that caught me out as much as the rest. Oh for goodness sake, Kath, just how dim is it possible to be – oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! I’m really not fit to be let loose anywhere near a crossword. :roll: Apologies to Metman.

  7. As a rookie venturing out into Rookie land I felt slightly bemused by the time I had finished. Although I have answers to all the clues I am not certain that I have correctly interpreted them. Had to use BRB to help and I look forward to decode tomorrow, thanks to all concerned. :phew:

    1. Oh dear Hilary, what I hoped would be a comfortable lunchbreak solve seems to be rather obscure at times. Hope you see what I intended when the master gets at it.

  8. Seems like others have covered my questions and sticking points except for 22A. If I’m right on my answer, I don’t understand the saviour part. I’m still puzzling over the stones part of 22A though I have what I believe is the correct answer to the clue. I did note that there’s a bit of a hostilities thing going on, what with 12A, 16D, 5D and the first part of 20D! 12A is my favorite. Thanks Metman. I look forward to the review.

    1. The saviour refers to the term ‘salver’ someone who salvages a vessel in trouble. By taking away the ‘ I’ from silver and replacing it with ‘A’ one gets ‘salver’ Seems like you enjoyed anyway so thanks EP for the comments .Just noticed your earlier comment re the gnocchi. Chambers refers to them as ‘dumplings’ which as far as I’m concerned could be interpreted as a parcel. However, discussions like this can be enjoyable, don’t you think?

      1. I must confess to having initially written in ‘Ravioli’, after having the final ‘I’ provided by13a, but the answer soon became pretty clear once the crossers started going in, so I just put it down to my lack of Italian.
        For me though, a parcel is a parcel and a dumpling is a dumpling and never the twain shall meet! I can see how a dumpling could be IN a parcel, but the key thing about a parcel is that it contains something else, which it is wrapped around, so this was a bit of a foul IMO.

        1. Chambers defines ‘parcel’ as a package’ (one of many definitions) containing something. My something is spuds, and my wrapping is a dough made of semolina or flour. If I’m wrong it’s early to bed for a week for me, and no cocoa!

          1. Where is Jean-Luc when we need him?? But without getting into the finer points of gnocchi making (and I’ve done it a few times), it’s no cocoa for you, my lad! :smile:

  9. Hi Metman,
    Enjoyed the puzzle. My comments have pretty much been covered by others esp. those from Silvanus and Dutch. I know the indirect anagram in 5d is a Rule not to be broken but as it wasn’t too tough I enjoyed it anyway (there ‘s probably a ‘why not push the boat out’ pun hiding somewhere there)! A couple of anagram indicators were new to me too.
    Thanks again! (Now returning to the last two Listeners I need to catch up on!)

  10. Sorry to be late in, Metman – partly due to on going problems accessing the site but also to a late Mothers Day lunch out with No. 1 daughter.
    I really enjoyed this one and thought it by far your best offering to date. Unlike others, I had absolutely no problem with 5d – I think perhaps it sometimes pays off to be a solver who remains in blissful ignorance of the perceived ‘rules’ in setting!
    My tick list includes 1,15&27a plus 14d. As Kath is back to hand out detentions for having more than one favourite, I’ll give the laurel wreath to 14d.

    Many thanks – both for the puzzle and the new definition (to me at any rate) of 22a.

    1. And thank you Jane (Mothers day! Cost me 78 quid yesterday and it wasn’t even my mother) I too, like 5d types and just between you and I, I don’t think anagram indicators are always strictly necessary, but rules are rules. Anyway thanks very much for your feedback

      1. In case you’re still checking the posts, Metman – don’t feel too badly done by over your contribution to Mothers Day. I’m the Mum who got ‘taken out’ by her daughter but, somehow, I still ended up paying the bill! How does that work?

        1. As a compliment to your parenting skills: that you raised a daughter who is so good with money? :unsure:

          1. Nice try, Kitty, but she is absolutely useless with money. The only thing that’s changed as she’s got older is that she’s now happy to admit to it! :scratch:

        2. Modern kids I suppose, but I must admit my three daughters who were there fought me over the bill, but Dad’s of my generation…

  11. A very pleasant offering from Metman. 1d was my last in and favourite. 2d groan , in a nice way.Thanks for the entertainment.

  12. Hi Metman,
    Welcome back, and congratulations on providing the hundredth Rookie Corner.
    You obviously paid a great deal of attention to the comments about upping the difficulty, well done for judging that well. It was certainly a great deal tougher.
    I thought there were a few technical things (e.g. I is a letter, so I leaves would be more correct, but doesn’t work in the surface) but I will leave these to Prolixic. I did think a few surfaces struggled a bit (e.g. why would a French sea support a conflict?) and I thought it would probably be worth considering other clue constructions – insertion clues, for example, or alternate letters, acrostics etc. This would give you more options to find something where the wordplay can have a link with the definition in the surface. I think I read or was told that Anax sometimes had a list of several possible wordplays and a list of possible definitions, then found the best combination. If I have made that up, it still doesn’t seem a bad idea.
    So, warmer = war+ mer, but it could also be arm in wer. Wer canbe were without last letter perhaps? Twerk naked? Half answer? Can any of these make a surface that fits the definition?
    Or it is rme in war. rme looks tricky, but put the letters into crossword solver, and you can find it is the odd/regular letters in Romped and Rommel, plus several other less promising words. Both of these can probably be used in a war context, can it be used in a good surface with one of your definitions? Typing container and contents indicators into Google can give suggestions for indicators than might fit in with the surface, but of course it needs to be grammatically correct.
    I hope this helps, if you can just tweak a few of the surfaces and cut out the slips such as the indirect anagram, you’ll be well on your way :good:
    Many thanks for the enjoyable tussle, and thanks to Prolixic for the forthcoming review.
    Meant to add – 12a was my favourite

    1. Lots of good tips there Snape for which I thank you, but it will take a little time to digest. I can’t thank you all enough because if this puzzle was an improvement on the previous two it was entirely due to the invaluable feed back I have received both today and on the previous occasions. So, again my sincere thanks to all of you who have commented.

  13. I do like a setter who can be bothered to ‘pop in’ and comment so :good: and :rose: to Metman.

    1. I second that – it’s very nice the way you are answering all the comments, feels like a chat

  14. Couldn’t post before as I had a few friends for dinner.
    I suppose we can agree with Metman about the gnocchi being some kind of parcel as so many now have a filling like Mozzarella or other ingredients.
    However, very naughty to put in a three word indirect anagram.
    I did enjoy it tremendously though.
    Took me forever to spot the lurker in 10a.
    Learned a new term for metal in 24a.
    When I solved 25a I first thought of Maud and then in 9a I thought there was a connection with 25. A pony, a maud. that made sense for a while :wacko:
    Favourite 1a.
    Thanks to Metman for the fun.

  15. Nice puzzle Metman. On the easy side but not a complete pushover – shades of Rufus (who is not always all that easy – just different) I thought.

    A few *minor* quibbles or queries.

    21a “extended” as an anagram indicator I didn’t find all that convincing – for a tough clue it could simply have been omitted (“could be” suggests anagram to seasoned solvers) or something more jumblifying substituted.
    22a Why “maritime”?
    1d Is that just literal or did I miss something? Gnocchi is(/are) just sort of dumplings – not parcels in the manner of ravioli.
    5d Does SHIP for “vessel” satisfy Ximenes’s criterion for a fair indirect anagram component? Not sure – borderline – but you will rarely find one like that in any major publication these days.

    Did it hold me up? Of course it didn’t.
    16d A bit close to the bone – not a nice thought.

    None of which got in the way of my enjoyment of the solve – so many thanks.

  16. Many thanks Prolixic for the great review. Very best wishes for your next puzzle Metman

    1. Thanks Dutch,Jolly Swagman and Jean-luc. All points have been digested and are much appreciated. Every comment has taken a lot of thought and effort for which I am grateful. Thanks also to Prolixic for what I thought was a very fair assessment- especially re the parsing, to which I must give a lot more attention. A very enjoyable experience listening to the varied opinions. I’m amazed at the time taken to contribute. Off to sharpen my pencils. Bye all and thanks again.

      1. Forgot to say that I’m just off to have some Italian food parcels with my bacon!

        1. My wife has just explained to old thicko here what gnocchi is. I thought the potato was inside and separate from the outer casing. She says the spuds are incorporated into the pastry, so, a dumpling. My apologies and as I said, early to bed for a week and no cocoa for me!

          1. You are quite right JS, Salver, or salvor can apply anywhere, it was just that I have always associated it with the sea.

  17. Sorry I couldn’t tackle this yesterday – I will try it this evening. I see the comments have mostly involved an existential debate as to the nature of gnocchi.

    1. My culinary ignorence led me into a difference of opinion, but my dear wife has since kicked my shins and put me right – it’s a dumpling!

      1. Thanks Metman for the puzzle, my favourites were 1 and 12a. Which were your favourites that you were most pleased with ?

  18. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic – I’ve learnt a great deal about crossword setting from the comments you make to our Rookies.
    Must admit to having no issues with the anagram/hidden word indicators in this one – I thought it was rather refreshing to have something other than the ‘same old’. Likewise, I found the indirect anagram to be so easy-peasy as to be quite acceptable.
    I can understand that there need to be rules to prevent our Rookies (and others!) from straying into the realms of the ridiculous but is it perhaps time for some of the goal posts of crossword setting convention to be shifted a little?

    By no means a criticism of you, Prolixic, but, as a middle of the road level of solver, I tend to think that if I can ‘get it’ it’s probably fair enough!

    Thanks again to Metman. :good:

  19. Since others have been detailed in their analysis I don’t see a need for any further dissection by me. I enjoyed the solve and found it a nice level of difficulty. (That said, I had gathered a few answers from a scan of the comments, so I can’t claim to have finished without help.)

    My favourite clue was 12a.

    Thanks and well done to Metman – I’m looking forward to your next one. Thanks too of course to Prolixic for the expert review.

    1. Many thanks to Jane and Kitty, I certainly agree to some of the sentiments expressed by both of you, regarding ‘fixed’ rules, but their is no excuse for bad and careless parsing, which I have to hold up my hands to. Very glad you were both entertained.

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