Rookie Corner – 101

Hushed up by JollySwagman

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Today we have another interesting puzzle from our Aussie setter. 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:

This was an enjoyable challenge.  No major issues but some small points on the clue that could polish them a bit.  It did not detract from some of the inventive wordplay.


1/1D Mr Pinko’s called anon unfortunately according to 13a 14d 28a (2,5,2,4-5)
NO NAMES NO PACK-DRILL – An anagram (unfortunately) of MR PINKS CALLED ANON

6 Unfortunately that’s just like the French to intervene (4)
ALAS – The French feminine singular form of the inside (to intervene) a word meaning like.

10 Norm is in love with Helen – well he was (5)
PARIS – A three letter word meaning norm or average followed by the IS from the clue.

11 How do you do a Shakespearian play when one of the books is missing (5)
HELLO – Remove OT (books) from the name of a Shakespeare play.  Not sure that “one of the books” helps the solver here as apart from the Old Testament books there are no other books that could be removed.

12 Arrest sailor after name given (3)
NAB – The abbreviation for name followed by the abbreviation for able seaman.

13/14/28 Whoa! Forget about who. Essentially keep schtum. Hush. Not even orally right. That’s the arrangement (7,5,5)
CHATHAM HOUSE RULES – An anagram (the arrangement) of A (whoa without the who) EE (the central letters – essentially – of keep) SCHTUM HUSH OAL (the odd letters – not even – of orally) R (right).

15 Philistine who got catapulted to fame? (7)
GOLIATH – Cryptic definition of the giant of biblical fame who was killed by David.

17 Panel posing with our cook after the event (10,5)
DISCUSSION GROUP – An anagram (cook) of POSING OUR after a field event in athletics.  As the event is one of many, perhaps an event would have fairer than the event but the surface reading would have suffered.

19 Rearrange the furniture around new twinset from Ikea ASAP (2,3,4,6)
IN THE NEAR FUTURE – An anagram (rearrange) of FURNITURE around N EA (pair of letters or twinset) from Ikea.

24 Set fire to Royal barge (7)
LIGHTER – A word meaning set fire to followed by the abbreviation for the current queen.

26 Oranges but no dates – that’s one requirement gone west (7)
SATSUMA – A two letter abbreviation meaning sine anno (without date) followed by a reversal (gone west) of A MUST (one requirement).  The definition would require a plural answer but the required answer is in the singular.

27 Where the players and I find exercise entertaining (3)
PIT – A semi-all in one clue.  An abbreviation for exercise includes (entertaining) the I from the clue.

28 See 13

29 La source de notre vie (5)
TREVI – La source is the French for a fountain and one is hidden in (de – of in French) in NOTRE VIE.

30 Without Tyneside we’ve got nothing (4)
NONE – A two letter word meaning without (I am not sure that the two are exactly interchangeable) followed by the geographical region of Tyneside.

31 Why there was insurrection in Yorkshire (7)
TREASON – The shortened form of the used in Yorkshire followed by a word for motive.


1 See 1 Across

2 The invaders will come from the south. Wisdom a posteriori? On the contrary (7)
NORMANS – The first name of the comedian Mr Wisdom before the abbreviation from south.

3 Even impress the Dutch (3)
MRS – The even letters of iMpReSs.  Some editors may require evenly rather than even.

4 In Scotland they gang aft agley. Try Schama’s England – an Introduction for a change (7)
SCHEMES  – From the Burns’ poem “To a Mouse”.   An anagram (change) of SCHAMA with the E (first letter of England) replacing the As.

5 Al Gore bats, putting on 50 – and at quite a fast scoring rate (7)
ALLEGRO – An anagram (bats) of AL GORE including the Roman numeral for 50.

7 Look! No joke’s going to be incisive from that far back in time (4-3)
LONG AGO – A two letter word meaning look followed by the NO from the clue including (to be incisive) a word for a joke.

8 Cry for help. Leading seaman has fallen off front of boat (3)
SOB – The Morse code for help with the final S (leading seaman) with the first letter of boat.  I don’t think that definition for wordplay works as well as the reverse wordplay for definition.

9 Aim to get Al Gore’s tailenders out first (4)
GOAL – The AL from the clue preceded (first) by GORE with the final two letters (tailenders) removed (out).

14 See 13 Across

16 What 1d has that 2d doesn’t (11)
HYPENATION – A literal clue with no cryptic wordplay.

18 Great aunt’s hoovering up cream tea with a pig-like sound (5)
GRUNT – take away (hoovering up) an anagram (cream of tea) and an A from great aunt.

20 Clamp down on merry men when leader absconds (7)
TIGHTEN – A word meaning drunk or merry followed by the men from the clue with the first letter (leader) removed.

21 Jazz up Elgar – use this if it’s too loud (7)
EARPLUG – An anagram (jazz) of UP ELGAR.

22 Takes the plunge, slowly accepting a clumsy kiss (5,2)
RISKS IT – The musical indication for slowly includes (accepting) an anagram (clumsy) of KISS.

23 As well as you and me the Queen’s an old City supporter – so are some bankers (7)
USURERS – A word meaning you and me followed by the abbreviation for the queen (preserving the s) under (supporting) an old biblical city.

25 The weight of the unladen vehicles in the transit area (4)
TARE – The answer is hidden in TRANSIT AREA.

27 Your flipping number’s up by the sound of it (3)
PUN – Reverse flipping the abbreviation for number and the UP from the clue.  I cannot see the definition here or the meaning of by the sound of it unless the pun is on the your you’re mistake with your being split into you r.  It does not work for me.  Your mileage may vary!

29 Member of the digital community is into e-commerce (3)
TOE – The answer is hidden in INTO E-COMMERCE.  The into has to be split here as in to e-commerce, a construction that not all editors would accept.


  1. 2Kiwis
    Posted March 14, 2016 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    That was good clever fun and it all went along smoothly but not quickly until we just had 27a and 27d refusing to yield. We gave up on these and revealed the missing letters. Still not sure we understand how they are meant to work. Really enjoyed the long composite clues the most, very satisfying when the pennies dropped.
    Thanks JollySwagman.

  2. Beet
    Posted March 14, 2016 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Some I don’t understand – looking forward to the review- but lots I enjoyed including 11a, 15a, and 31a.

  3. crypticsue
    Posted March 14, 2016 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    It didn’t take that long to solve (relatively speaking). I have a * by 11 a.
    There are a number of clues where I either don’t quite understand the wordplay or I think the clues could do with a bit of a tweak to make them more user-friendly.
    Surely in 26a we only have one orange singular?

    Thanks to JS and to Prolixic in advance for the explanations of the clues I can’t ‘see’ at the moment. Now let’s see if this will post. I wonder if there is a fingers crossed emoticon??

  4. Gazza
    Posted March 14, 2016 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    There’s some very inventive clueing in this enjoyable puzzle – thanks JollySwagman. I particularly liked 29a, 3d, 7d and 8d. I’m not a great fan of long anagrams and I did what I usually do with those here which is to come up with the likely answers from the enumeration and checkers and then confirm that those answers can be made from the fodder.
    I can’t see what the definition is in 27d.

  5. Maize
    Posted March 14, 2016 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    In stark contrast to Saturday’s NTSPP, the gateway clue here was virtually my last one in – but I did appreciate the swashbuckling throwing together of those anagram components. Without that, 1/1d was also hard to crack (a new phrase for me and solved only just beforehand) so my experience was one of picking off the low hanging fruit elsewhere and working my way backwards until I had enough crossers.
    Lots to enjoy away from the long anagrams (sorry, I know many solvers love ’em, but not this one!) with my favourites being 11a, 17a, 24a, 31a, 16d, 20d, 22d, 25d and 29d. Of those, 11a was a real beauty – great surface, and proof positive for me that a 14-word clue can still be succinct.
    Couple of discussion points: 29a is in Rome, not Paris (as I’m sure you’re aware) but does that matter? 4d – Burns’ poem has ‘PLANS gang aft agley’; does THAT matter?
    Thanks a lot JollySwagman excellent entertainment!

    • Maize
      Posted March 14, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Oops. Another boo-boo by me in the comments. It’s not PLANS at all – although Mr Google auto-fills plans when you type in ‘The best laid…’, which is the best I can do by way of an excuse. Sorry JS.

      • silvanus
        Posted March 14, 2016 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        I’m in exactly the same camp, very sorry JS! I’m shocked as I always thought the poem contained the word “plans”.

  6. silvanus
    Posted March 14, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Interestingly I ticked the same three clues as Beet (11a, 15a and 31a) and there are still a few I can’t parse, but it seems as though I’m in good company there.

    Although fond of anagrams in general, I’m not a huge fan of seventeen or eighteen letter ones either, and several other clues seemed to err on over-verbosity too, even if by now I recognise that is the setter’s preferred style. I do wish the pruning shears could have been used a little however. As an example, I don’t really see the point of “the” as the fourth word of 25d. It adds nothing to the clue. I also have question marks about the two raised by Maize, i.e. 29a and 4d.

    Overall I enjoyed the challenge, and definitely agree with Gazza about the inventiveness displayed in several of the clues.

    Many thanks, JS.

    • Gazza
      Posted March 14, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      I agree that 11a is good but I think that the surface needs a question mark.

  7. Encota
    Posted March 14, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Hi JollySwagman, thanks for a very entertaining puzzle! Took me a couple of re-visits during this morning to get most of it parsed (still not all!).
    Some more detailed comments (with minor spoilers so others feel free not to read) that I made for you as I went through are attached below, which hopefully may be useful.


    3d neat!
    29d hidden (just!)
    27a Is the def exactly right? not sure. It’s ok with me.
    5d. What with rit., is there a theme emerging? [Later note: no!]
    7d like it
    8d is this s+o+b? not sure? With sub=boat as a red herring? I’ll await the review.
    23d if bankers is the def then all sorts of possibilities come to mind (not all of them rude). Oh, I see it!
    18d So you met my great aunt? Amusing surface.
    13a Convoluted, surely not? ;-) -> Very clever!!! I think I reverse engineered my way there with a six-part charade and numerous other features used within that. Especially liked the misquoting cf. “There’s only one rule in Fight Club” (i.e. or was it eight)? Presumably the ‘not even orally right’ in the surface refers to the pluralised misnomer? As I say, very very clever! [How did you think that one up?!!]
    16d nice indirect clue
    26a don’t u/stand the SA/no dates yet (ah, Chambers to the rescue – didn’t know that one).
    2d I can’t believe it but I’d temporarily forgotten this ‘wisdom’!
    9d struggled on this for a bit though can’t see why now. Lots of options with the first&tailenders, perhaps.
    Similarly 11a was penultimate one in. No idea why.
    LOI 27d. PUN or PIN both look plausible-ish (was that the plan?). I opted for pun… I’ve clearly missed something and await the explanation with interest!
    Overall: great fun!

  8. Expat Chris
    Posted March 14, 2016 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I had a full grid with the exception of 27A and 27D. Like the 2Kiwis, I revealed letters to arrive at the answers, and I still cannot make head nor tail of either of the clues. I’m not a fan of long, involved anagrams, either. I guessed from checking letters…not my preferred solving method. I have question marks beside a couple of others that no doubt the review will explain. I rather liked 5D, because the first three words of the clue sums up my opinion of him. I also liked 11A. A mixed bag for me. then. Thanks Jolly Swagman, but this was not really my cup of tea.

  9. snape
    Posted March 14, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Add me to the list – 11a was a cracker (maybe a QM, and maybe it is a set of books,not one, but those are easy tweaks). Some great ideas, the themed answers were a bit of a mystery to me, and some I am still very much in the dark about. Other than 11a, I tend to prefer JS’s shorter clues – too many wordplay parts with lots of extremely libertarian clueing tend to make things very difficult, but those I understood seemed fair.
    Thanks to JS – when you try this much out you are never going to please all of the people for all of the clues, but experimentation is good. An entertaining and tough challenge, and I look forward to the review so I can get explanations for quite a few.

  10. Jane
    Posted March 14, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    OK – second attempt to post!

    I had a lot of fun with this one and it all slotted in quite readily apart from the time taken over the 27a/d combo and needing all the checkers for 13/14/28. I’d vaguely heard of the term but hadn’t a clue what it referred to!
    As others have said – I was slightly worried about the location of 29a and the pluralised ‘oranges’ in 26a, but perhaps I haven’t correctly parsed them.
    Leader board shows 10&11a plus 3d.

    Many thanks, JS – honestly can’t remember how I reacted to your last puzzle, but this one was very enjoyable. :good: :good:

  11. dirkybee
    Posted March 14, 2016 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Lots of fun, Swaggers, thank you. FOI – 11a – a great start. Other favourites include 17a, for the `event`, 3d, for audacity, the `source` for the surface, and 22d & 31a because they made me smile.
    Good to see you again.

  12. Kath
    Posted March 14, 2016 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was really difficult and now I’m completely stuck. :phew:
    I’ve never heard of 1a/1d so that took ages and involved lots of crossing out of letters until there were only a few possibilities left.
    I can’t do 19a, and some others too, and I don’t understand quite a few of my answers although I think they’re probably right.
    I loved 10 and 17a and 8d.
    With thanks to JollySwagman and I look forward to the unravelling tomorrow.

    • Kath
      Posted March 14, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      PS – also loved 3d. :yes:

  13. stanXYZ
    Posted March 14, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Strewth! JollySwagman!

    I always start from 1a – but I tend to lose interest when the first clue looks so difficult.

    However, I continued.- loved the Shakespearian play and the Philistine

  14. baerchen
    Posted March 14, 2016 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    this puzzle is enormously entertaining, with some great touches.
    There are a few extremely mazy guitar solos, however, which take us into a new genre, fusing experimental jazz with garage reggae.
    I solved the longer clues by a combination of lucky guess and hunch, and I haven’t back-parsed them. I have no idea how PUN works.
    Jolly Swagman a Rookie? Rookie Schmookie (for all you Oktoberfest fans out there)
    I’ll be lighting a candle for Prolixic!

  15. JollySwagman
    Posted March 14, 2016 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for all these comments. Hopefully the review will include explanations of the more devious parsings, so I’ll wait for that and pop back later to clear up any outstanding points.

    OK – one tiny thing.

    2d was suggested to be by an old anecdote (supposedly true) concerning an issue involving Normandy which had been raised in the European parliament. The MEP for that region preferred that it not be discussed there and told them all:”Ce problème sera résolu par la sagesse normande”.

    He was surprised to find the Anglophones present rolling around in laughter. The translation they heard in their headphones was: “This problem will be solved by Norman Wisdom”.

    Confession – just googling to make sure I had all the accents and genders etc right there, one of the early hits was from a site called Big Dave, where the same tale was related by a blogger by the name of Gazza – so this is its second outing here.

  16. dutch
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Hi JS, got round to this a bit later on but enjoyed it a lot – I didn’t have much knowledge around the theme but a little googling allowed me to appreciate the clues, very clever. I really like “how do you do”, and also like 5a, 23d,25d. I still don’t understand PUN, and I missed the Yorkshire ‘t alltogether.

    Congratulations, very impressive

  17. spindrift
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed that but could not finish without the hints and as Victor Meldrew said:

    I’m sorry. I don’t seem to be able to do the crossword today as I appear to be temporarily out of mind-bending drugs!

  18. jane
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. Happy to see that my parsing was OK – apart from the fact that I gave up on sorting out the anagram fodder for 13/14/28. Shame on me!
    Still think it’s rather a shame that the fountain was in the wrong country but that, plus the plural oranges, were minor gripes in an otherwise splendid puzzle.
    Thanks again, JS.

    • dutch
      Posted March 15, 2016 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      I’m happy it was a French clue, my Italian is limited to food and wine

  19. jean-luc cheval
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Prolixic for helping me finish.
    Needed a bit of Googling too. Got 13 by putting Clapham house rules in the search engine. Just couldn’t find the right anagram fodder.
    Didn’t get the philistine and the checkers in 16d were not enough for me to get the gist.
    No luck with the 27s either.
    Favourite 10a.
    Thanks to JollySwagman and to Prolixic.

  20. dutch
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Yes, thank you prolixic for the brilliant review

  21. dirkybee
    Posted March 15, 2016 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Note to self : ` sine anno` … thanks, Prolixic. (Good job!)

  22. JollySwagman
    Posted March 16, 2016 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Thanks all for the comments (esp Encota for all that detail) – I think most of the issues have been addressed one way or another.

    Just a few notes on what my intentions were with some of the less happy ones

    26a Fruit varieties can be treated as a mass noun (trust me – I grow cherries) – ie you can say eg “Gala are good eating apples” – hence SATSUMA (singular) for “oranges” plural.

    27d – PUN – I’ll pay on that one – although the broad definition (something that works “by the sound of it”) is there and you can (as per Prolixic’s comment) make a pun on the whole surface.

    Funny that a lot of people disliked that one but liked 31a – which, if you try to deconstruct it in the normal way, doesn’t work like a conventional clue – the nearest thing to a definition is “insurrection” – which is lost in the middle – yet with that one as soon as you have the right candidate for an answer you’re likely to be quite convinced it’s the one.

    If I had my time again I’d re-jig the top-right and bottom-left corners – they’re isolated – I like friendly grids (like Times ones) with generous cross-checking – not so much worried about unch-ratios but I don’t like grids to be divided up into loosely connected sub-grids.

    I probably fiddled with it and found that one change led to another etc so left it.

    29a The clue (in particular its surface) is in French – so what – surface being completely unrelated to the answer is the norm. Of course it would have been fun to have a French clue giving a French fountain – but surely not necessary.

    I think that wraps it up for me except to thank our tireless reviewer Prolixic for his comments – also BD for hosting not just this one, but for keeping everything ticking over during a fairly major system change.

    By all means give me a nudge if I’ve missed anything.

    • dutch
      Posted March 17, 2016 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Thanks again JS, impressive.