Rookie Corner – 103

A Puzzle by Snape

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Today we have another puzzle fron Snape. 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.

I think we have another graduate here and that the Rookie Corner’s loss should be the NTSPP pages gain.


8 One, the other, possibly both, managed someone from principality (8)
ANDORRAN – An expression (3,2) meaning one, the other or possibly both followed by a word meaning managed.

9 Volcanic dust’s a source of metal on dry land (6)
ASHORE – Another word for volcanic dust followed by another word for the rock from which metal is extracted.

10 Pull truck? (4,2)
PICK UP – A double definition meaning to pull (as in a date) and a type of truck.

11 Intrinsic description of the Bible? (8)
INHERENT – Split 2,4,2, this could mean that in this book you will find the New Testament.  I think that the clue works with the question mark to indicate that word play is on the fanciful side.

12 Time for Spanish to meet bank (8)
PORRIDGE – The Spanish word for “for” followed by another word for a bank (as a geographical feature).  With the exception for definite and indefinite articles, unless a word is a common French word, I am usually cautious about using foreign words that solvers may not know but I think that the Spanish for “for” is just about well known enough from expressions such as “??? favor” to be safely used.

13 Races up delta, terrified (6)
SCARED – An anagram (up) of RACES followed by the letter represented in the Nato phonetic alphabet by Delta.  I have no problem with “up” as an anagram indicator as it can mean, variously, “in an excited state” or “in revolt” which indicate a change in state of the letters.

14 Cameron milk tax a mess! (11,4)
EXCLAMATION MARK – … The punctuation symbol is an anagram (mess) of CAMERON MILK TAX A.

18 Diana’s singer in audition becomes TV presenter (6)
ANCHOR – A homophone of [Paul] Anka who had a hit with Diana.s

20 Laugh before cosmetic surgery as a treat for the kids (8)
LOLLIPOP – The initial used when texting for laugh out loud followed by a phrase 3,2 for a type of cosmetic surgery.

23 Cheers as handkerchief is in, out, shaken all about (5,3)
THANK YOU – A shortened form of handkerchief inside an anagram (shaken all about) of OUT.

24 One leaves fighter to form a strong bond (6)
SOLDER – Remove the letter I (one) from another word for a fighter in the armed forces.  From the number of times, I have had to redo these bonds on electrical / electronic equipment, I would not describe the bonds as particularly strong.

25 Go after union leader tucking into funds (6)
PURSUE – The first letter (leader) of Union inside (tucking into) another word for funds, sometime used for a pot of money available as a prize.

26 Lesbian, perhaps, I defame (8)
ISLANDER – … a person from the island of Lesbos.  The I from the clue and a word meaning to defame.


1 The neighbour of Violet Jones, the architect, embraces daughter (6)
INDIGO – The first name of the architect Jones around (embraces) the abbreviation for daughter.

2 Sheffield singer the Spanish heard in the morning (8)
COCKEREL – The surname of the singer Jarvis (who is apparently from Sheffield) followed by the Spanish for the.  I think that requiring the solver to know the birth place of a singer is a step too far.   Singer from Pulp the Spanish… would have given the solver a better chance rather than having to solve the clue backwards.

3 Drop LSD and take too much to obtain support (6)
TRIPOD – Another word meaning to take LSD followed by the abbreviation for overdose (take too much).

4 Worried clinicians muted background noise (10,5)

5 Stomach is mostly displayed for masculine pride (8)
MACHISMO – The answer is hidden in (displayed) in STOMACH IS MOSTLY.   I think that displayed is fine as a hidden word indicator but here would be better in the present tense – these words display this definition but it would be difficult to rework the surface reading to display this.

6 That girl is above par, prepared to become skilled mountaineer (6)
SHERPA – A three letter word meaning that girl before (above) an anagram (prepared) of PAR.

7 Elderly relative regretted being raised in splendour (8)
GRANDEUR – A diminutive form of grandmother followed by a reversal (raised) of a word meaning regretted.

15 Saxon hut sprayed yellow (8)
XANTHOUS – An anagram (sprayed) of SAXON HUT.

16 Some doddery tramps from the south killed for the cause (8)
MARTYRED – The answer is hidden and reversed (some… from the south) in DODDERY TRAMPS.

17 Mum queuing to take drug intravenously (8)
MAINLINE – Split 2,2,4, this would indicate mother in a queue.

19 Trustworthy brothel? (6)
HONEST – Split 2,4, this would indicate a place where hoes or prostitutes could be found.

21 Firstly, listen attentively, secondly, talk loudly, yell finally (6)
LASTLY – The initial letters (firstly) of the second to seventh words of the clue.

22 Examination of uniform by head of operations (1,5)
O LEVEL – A word meaning uniform or even after the first letter (head) of operations.  As the answer when out with the Ark, perhaps old examination or former examination would have been a fairer definition.


  1. KiwiColin
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    Lovely stuff Snape. A level of difficulty that needed a bit of thinking about without causing real log-jams. The two long intersecting anagrams were fun, especially the horizontal one, and once they were in there were plenty of checkers to play with. 15d, although obscure and needing confirmation, was easy enough to find.
    Much appreciated and enjoyed.
    Thank you Snape.

  2. Encota
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable – thanks Snape! I’ll aim to follow up with more comment later. Last quadrant was the NW.

  3. silvanus
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    It’s always a joy to tackle a Snape puzzle – especially one that I hadn’t previously test-solved – and this was full of the usual humour and invention that characterise his creations.

    Like the previous commenters, I thought just about the right level of difficult was achieved and the two long anagrams were very well executed. The last quadrant for me was also in the NW.

    I’ve ticked a great number of clues, but 18a and 1d have gained double ticks!! Only very few niggles for this solver, I’m not sure that “description of the Bible” quite nails it for 11a, but Prolixic is far better qualified in every sense to adjudicate on that one! I haven’t seen “up” used as an anagram indicator before (13a) and it doesn’t appear amongst the hundreds of possibilities in the Chambers Crossword Dictionary. I also haven’t previously seen “prepared” used in the sense that it was in 6d, but the more I think about it, the cleverer it becomes. After all, if “discovered” can mean to remove the first and last letters of a word, why can’t “prepared”? “Elderly” in 7d is probably unnecessary and a tad subjective as it discriminates against a growing number of grandmothers up and down the country who are in their forties, or, in some cases, even their thirties!

    15d was a new word, but fairly clued so it never constituted a problem. Only 19d remains to parse…

    Many thanks indeed, Snape, it was great fun as always.

    • snape
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the comments so far, I will respond in full when I get chance later. Silvanus, it may be you have done this, and it still doesn’t nail it, but have you split 11 (2,4,2)?

      • silvanus
        Posted March 28, 2016 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        Hi Snape,

        Yes, I did that for 11a (a typical Snapeism if I may say so!). I just felt that “description” implied that the last two letters of the clue were synonymous with the Bible, which is not necessarily the case, but perhaps the question mark does the trick, I’m not sure! I’ll let wiser counsels prevail!

    • dutch
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      yes, I also I wondered if “truth for the bible” or something similar might be more accurate than description. Hasten to add the puzzle is outstandingly brilliant, brief comment below

  4. Expat Chris
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    I have plenty of ticks, too. Lots of humor here, which is always good. I’m not a fan of the surface reading of 12A because it didn’t make much sense to me, but that was the only one in the whole puzzle that bothered me. I didn’t know the home town of the person in 2D, but it was straightforward enough to work out. 15D was a new word, but again solvable from the clue. 18A took me back a few decades. I checked off 8A, 14A, 1D, 3D, 4D, 7D, 19D and 21D, but 19D made me laugh and is my top pick. Thanks Snape. This was great.

  5. Gazza
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Excellent puzzle – thanks Snape. As with others the NW quadrant was the last for me – I didn’t find “Sheffield singer” terribly helpful as I didn’t know where he was born. I thought that the lurkers at 5d and 16d were really well disguised (although ‘mostly’ in 5d seems to be doing double duty). The homophone at 18a doesn’t work for me but that didn’t cause a problem and I liked “Diana’s singer”.
    There are lots of clues vying for favouritism but I’ll pick out 8a, 20a, 23a and 1d.

    • dutch
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      hard with these things – but cocker is famously from sheffield and often so labelled

  6. baerchen
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Bravo Snape; a really enjoyable puzzle with some standout clues (14,18,20 all excellent, among others). If anything, the precise definitions made the puzzle quite easy to complete but that isn’t a complaint by any means.

  7. Maize
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Most obligingly I fell for every one of your traps, Snape. So I tried to find Welsh people in 8a, homosexuals in 26a, Elton John in 18a, Violet Elizabeth’s neighbour in 1d, etc, etc. But each time I also got a penny drop moment as the puzzle led me a merry dance, and very merry it made me along the way, with 8a my last one in.
    No problems here with the two singers (Sheffield & Diana) as both pretty mainstream, and I didn’t mind any of Silvanus’s points at all, but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t constantly have a yen to point something out (I even did it with Toro’s immaculate puzzle a while back which was, on reflection, ridiculous of me) so I was wondering firstly where the final letter in 20a came from and secondly if maybe 6d could have had a question mark on the end, as not all of these people are mountaineers, just some of them. That’s all; otherwise flawless – unless of course Prolixic says otherwise!
    Now for what I liked – ooh where do I start? Well it was a cracking good puzzle, LOADS of ticks and six double ticks, so here are those first: 11a, 23a, 26a, 1d, 17d and 19d. Actually all the others got ticks apart from the two I’ve already mentioned – so, incredible! Brilliant puzzle – I think your mind must be a very nice place to be. :)

    • silvanus
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Hi Maize,

      For 20a, try splitting it 3,3,2 perhaps?

      • Maize
        Posted March 28, 2016 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        A-ha, thanks Silvanus; as you probably guessed I was going for a 4-letter abbreviation for a quite different bit of cosmetic surgery. Cheers.

  8. Encota
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Hi Snape and All,

    A few more comments as promised. I found it really hard to get my first answer when scanning through the clues – admittedly it was late and I’d been trying the ‘Termini’ Schadenfreude puzzle, very slowly, for hours beforehand. Nonetheless, FOI was 4d, so I was struggling to start with! However, the checking seemed to kindly help nudge me all the way through.

    This has a really good mix of clues and difficulty. My brief notes attached below.


    Too many great clues to list them all. A few surfaces were a little rough around the edges – but only a few (e.g. 12a, 20a).
    Should 22 have an ‘old’ or similar? [Or has Son_of_Gove successfully re-introduced them and I’ve missed it (I know there was a lot of talk about it)
    20a I am missing something for the last letter (P is for PICNIC, perhaps?)
    5d a very good example of its type (not wanting to spoil here!)
    Loved 2d and loved the multi-generational options for it (I wasn’t absolutely sure if you had both in mind, or if only one then which – my guess was the older, given 18? Perhaps you can put me out of my misery!)
    19d definitely needed the QM!
    14a seen similar before (once seen never forgotten!) but still love it
    12 it must have been late as I was struggling on basic Spanish – again checking came quickly to my rescue
    Perhaps a very minor quibble with the grid as the quadrants felt only very loosely connected to the rest (three connecting points) – though I am a novice when it comes to grid details, so I won’t be surprised to be told that you’ve actually used one of the Times standard 70-ish!

    • Riggles
      Posted April 5, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Encota – regarding 20A – the last two letters come from OP (surgery) though you may be aware of this by now seeing as I’m a week behind!

  9. Starhorse (from Pulham)
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Hi Snape.

    Lots of ticks for clever/amusing clues (as usual!), and as Maize says some nice traps that need to be avoided. I particularly marked 11a, 14a, 20a, 23a, 26a, 17d, 19d and also 8a and 1d, which I didn’t get without assistance (see below)

    Big issue for me was the grid. I completely failed on 1,2 and 3d and 8, 10 and 12a, I could not break into that corner at all until I had revealed a couple of them.

    All the corners are very isolated from each other with only 3 crossers to the rest of the grid, which all come from the two long words. In the NW corner not only were those crossers all final letters, none of the 6 words provides starting letters for one or more of the others e.g. even after revealing 2a I wasn’t really any better off. I think it could have done with, say, at least 1d overlapping into the SW corner which would then knock on to the rest of the grid.

    5d doesn’t technically work for me. I’ve only seen “mostly” used to lose a final letter or very occasionally the last 2 letters, but unless I’m parsing it wrong you are using it to take the second letter from “stomach”. I can not parse 18a.

    In 25a I don’t think “tucking into” quite works with funds (surface-wise I mean), “investing” or something like that would make more sense to me, and I was slightly unsure why a failed female golfer should suddenly become a skilled mountaineer in 6d. Apart from those two I thought your surface stories throughout were excellent.

    Good to meet you the other week, and thanks for putting this excellent puzzle up.

    • silvanus
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Hi Pulham,

      5d is actually a lurker, Snape was very devious with his use of “mostly”!

      For 18a you need to know who had a hit with “Diana”!

      • Starhorse (from Pulham)
        Posted March 28, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Ah, thanks Silvanaus. Brilliant bit of deception in 5d – the crossword equivalent of a Cruyff turn perhaps!

        No, although I can hear the song in my head I didn’t recall the singer without Googling – just before my time by the look of it.

  10. Jane
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Hi Snape – didn’t you do well in the Hot Seat!
    The only couple of queries I had were over 11a – part of the Bible, maybe? and the use of ‘up’ in 13a.
    Plenty of ticks on my paper – 10,20&23a plus 1d getting top scores. 14a’s by the side of 3,17&19d!

    Many thanks for the enjoyment.

    • silvanus
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jane,

      It seems as though we had similar thoughts about 11a and 13a!

      I’ve been meaning to ask you for ages (but forgetting to do so), how many signatures did you obtain in your book at the Birthday Bash in the end?

      • Jane
        Posted March 28, 2016 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        Hi Silvanus,

        Just did a count up – 31, soon to be 32 as I’m seeing Kath in June and will take the book along with me.
        Hopefully, there’ll be another ‘bash’ next January and I’ll be on the look out for any that I missed!

        • silvanus
          Posted March 28, 2016 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

          That’s really good going – well done!

          Kath has to be in there too, definitely!

  11. crypticsue
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Definitely a ‘start with the Downs’ but once I got a few of them in, the whole thing was finished off without too much difficulty.

    A few quibbles (mostly raised above) and several ‘clues I really liked’

    Thanks to Snape and, in advance to Prolixic.

  12. Kitty
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Hi Hot A ;) ,

    I really enjoyed this puzzle, thanks. I got going easily and thought it might be a quick one, but soon slowed right up and it proved to be a good level of challenge.

    8a left my brain too tangled and I cheated – I did like it after the fact though.
    11a I needed comments to understand, even though I saw the NT.
    Nice definition of 14a!
    23a was fun.
    26a is another like.
    Liked 2d!
    4d was lovely and smooth – like the answer, perhaps.
    17d was another one which impressed me with its smoothness.
    19d produced a genuine lol when the penny dropped.
    21d took me far to long to see.

    My favourite is 2d, but there were plenty vying for position.

    Many thanks again Snape – more, please :) .

    Thanks also in advance to Prolixic for the review.

  13. Una
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Lovely stuff, definitely smack in the middle of Goldilocks territory.Pretty much all great clues, although the description of the bible mystified me until Snape explained it.
    Most amusing was 26a, An island i visited long ago.The most memorable thing about that place were the enormous mosquito bites I suffered.
    I’ve picked out 14a, and 9a as excellent and I really liked the surface readings of 2d and 7d.
    I still don’t understand 19d.
    Thanks Snape and , of course , BD , for providing the platform.

    • Maize
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      19d splits 2,4 – arf!

      • Una
        Posted March 28, 2016 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        LOL , thanks !

    • Kitty
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Hi Una. Given that the mosquitos were inhabitants of that island, you could raise some eyebrows by telling people you have been bitten by Lesbians. […where’s the boggly-eyed emoti when you need it?]

      • Una
        Posted March 28, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        Yes , Kitty , the mind boggles, as Terry Wogan would have said.

    • Brian
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      19d is Ho’s nest where Ho is the dreadful Americanism for Whore

      • silvanus
        Posted March 28, 2016 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        That was the only one I couldn’t parse – thanks for explaining it.

        I have to confess I’ve never heard of that Americanism before, it must be the sheltered life I lead!

        • Expat Chris
          Posted March 28, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

          It’s ghetto slang and used by a particular sector of society. Definitely not used by Americans as a whole.

  14. spindrift
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    A most enjoyable canter through the groves of Cruciverbilia with 19d being the last one to go in and also my favourite. More soon please Snape

  15. Shropshirelad
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I don’t often have the time to give my full attention to the ‘Rookie Corner’ but I’m glad I did this morning. Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle and, if I’m honest, it gave me more satisfaction than today’s back pager – well done. A couple of small niggles that have been raised already so I will just say that my favourite was ‘the treat for kids’. We had a professional setter in yesterdays Times who had a clue with the answer as ‘LOLZ’, I can’t think what Peter Biddlecombe was thinking when he let that one be printed – your interpretation was much better.

    Very nice, thank you.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      I take it that your post was meant to appear in Una’s comment :)

      • snape
        Posted March 28, 2016 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

        You’ve been sold right up the river there, SL, by Brian moving the comment you’re referring to. ;-)

    • Hanni
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Do not get me started on ‘that’ clue from yesterday.

    • dutch
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      lolz is in brb – 100% fair

    • Hoskins
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      He was thinking ‘make the setter’s brilliant original clue easier for the poor old solvers’, SL. :)

    • Kitty
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 10:37 pm | Permalink


      • Hoskins
        Posted March 28, 2016 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

        I like what you did there, kittehz :)

        • Kitty
          Posted March 28, 2016 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

          :-) . Kitteh is not in the brb yet – must see about changing that.

          • Hoskins
            Posted March 28, 2016 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

            That’s cuz u iz leaving the z off it when searching the BRB (Slavic version, obs) :)

            • Kitty
              Posted March 28, 2016 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

              I doesn’t has that version. Mine doesn’t even have an entry for lolcatz.

              • Hoskins
                Posted March 28, 2016 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

                No entry for lolcatz? What kind of a world is your dictionary living in, Kittehz? Next you’ll be saying it don’t recognize ‘I haz burgez’ in its phraziological sectionz! Which, I should add, is listed only a few entrez above ‘nom nom nom’, in mine.

                • Kitty
                  Posted March 28, 2016 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

                  A dictionary which needs a new edishun.

                  Iz cheezburger. Which is swiftly followed by om nom nom nom.

                  • Prolixic
                    Posted March 28, 2016 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

                    Have the lot of you been indulging in a spot of 3d?

                    • Kitty
                      Posted March 28, 2016 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

                      I’ve had nothing stronger than lemsip. Not sure whether that’s more or less worrying!

                  • Hoskins
                    Posted March 28, 2016 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

                    Lolz, now that iz adefz Chamberz could printz to rival éclair! Iz off for beerz now, nice chatting Kittehz and fankz for the gigglz. *waves cherrioz* (not the cereal, natch). :)

                    *waves to Prolixicz tooz*

                    • Kitty
                      Posted March 28, 2016 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

                      kthxbai :)

  16. Brian
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable except for 19d where the use of HO as in the Americanism was I thought unforgivable.
    Shame spoilt a very good offering.

  17. snape
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Cheers, all, so far for the comments, all much appreciated, and I always hope I can gain from the very nicely put criticisms so I can not make the same mistakes again.

    First of all, the grid. It hasn’t got many comments, but Starhorse (great to see that name back again!) is right, it is a stinker. I wrote it about a year ago, before i knew anything about grid choice, and while I’ve been able to improve the clues, I was stuck with this.

    Related to this is the difficulty. Two puzzles ago, I worked out better the line for obscurity. I was worried by the 3 little bits of general knowledge required, so bumped my last one ahead of it in the queue. That went down very well for difficulty, and I thought this one was more difficult – especially with the horrid grid – so changed a couple of clues to anagrams (they were rubbish before, anyway) and tried to make the definitions very tight. I might actually have gone too far, and I take baerchen’s point on board – I perhaps need to either loosen them up or – better still – hide them better a la Anax. I want everybody to be able to solve them so I would rather err on the side of easiness. I also tried to signal the general knowledge as much as I could, and that seems to have been OK.

    On specific points
    11a fair enough. Dutch (many thanks for test solving, although you might find it barely recognisable!) didn’t like this, but I foolishly left this one. It does need the mental insertion of a colon after here to make any sense, and I accept I didn’t get this right.

    6d probably should have a QM – I don’t know where I got the def from but looking again I can’t find it.

    5d Starhorse, you are parsing it wrong, but I’m not convinced about it technically. I was worried by it, not because I thought mostly was doing double duty, although that might be a consequence of flawed cryptic grammar, but because of the for. ‘Stomach is mostly displaying masculine pride’ is fine, I think (?), (fodder displaying definition) but I didn’t like the surface, and thought I might as well find out. (for it to work, you have to accept ‘fodder displayed’ is fine grammatically to get to a hidden word). I look forward to other opinions.

    2d Encota, I did have both in mind, but was assuming the older one would be the one thought of, as he was a solo artist (mainly) and the other was part of a band. No comments about two appearances of ‘Spanish’ which I cursed when I realised – fairly late on.

    13a Up. It would be easy to rewrite with around instead. Silvanus is right, I can’t find it in any lists. I think I have seen it used. I do have a memory of someone on 15squared, and I think it was Sil van den Hoek, how he was convinced by an explanation from Anax of why ‘up’ was fine as an anagram indicator, but I didn’t see the original, nor can I find that comment, so maybe I made it up.

    Starhorse, for me ‘tucking into’ meant sneakily helping him (or her)self to, and in 6d I was thinking of above par as better than average, rather than any golfing meaning, but it is easy to understand one’s own surfaces, and not realise when they don’t quite work. 12a is perhaps a little forced, I was thinking of the Spanish economic crisis when I wrote it.

    I hadn’t really considered ho as an Americanism, but Brian is right. If I had realised, I might have left it without an indicator anyway, just for the brevity, but I take the point. Good to see you on here, sorry it spoilt it for you.

    Back later!

    • Kitty
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Re 13a, I’m happy with “up” as an anagram indicator. What’s up?

      • Maize
        Posted March 28, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        I’m happy with ‘up’ too – but that’s because I’ve met it several times before… I wouldn’t be surprised though if it provoked a frown or two amongst those who hadn’t.

    • Jane
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Hi Snape,
      Good to see you popping in to explain the odd ones that raised questions.
      2d definitely has to be Joe! With any luck, Prolixic might be persuaded to put in a clip of his wonderful duet with Jennifer Warnes
      when he publishes the review………….

      • Kitty
        Posted March 28, 2016 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        Agreed – it’s great when setters engage in this kind of dialogue.

        Jarvis for me. How lovely to have a clue which works across generations like that.

        • Jane
          Posted March 28, 2016 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

          Yes it is – but even I cringed when I brought up a Youtube clip of ‘Diana’!

    • Starhorse (from Pulham)
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      “5d Starhorse, you are parsing it wrong, …. I was worried by it, not because I thought mostly was doing double duty, although that might be a consequence of flawed cryptic grammar, but because of the for. ‘Stomach is mostly displaying masculine pride’ is fine, I think (?), (fodder displaying definition) but I didn’t like the surface, and thought I might as well find out. (for it to work, you have to accept ‘fodder displayed’ is fine grammatically to get to a hidden word). I look forward to other opinions.”

      Hi yes, Silvanus put me right on the parsing (see above). I did wonder if it works grammatically for the reason you said, but decided it would be better to leave that to the expert.

      I’ve questioned “up” as an anagram indicator elsewhere and been firmly told that it’s kosher, more than once, so fair enough.

      “Starhorse (great to see that name back again!) ” – that’s down to you and Kitty in the pub!

      • Jane
        Posted March 28, 2016 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        Hi Starhorse,
        Well that’s put me firmly in my place. Have you forgotten that I asked you to please change your ‘name’ back when you made your last appearance on the BD site?

        • Starhorse (from Pulham)
          Posted March 28, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          Oops, so you did. If I could work out how to insert one of those embarrassed emoticon thingies I would!. Meanwhile I’d better retire disgracefully and adopt the “when in a hole stop digging principle” (if it isn’t too late).

  18. Rabbit Dave
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Great puzzle, Snape, except that I have to agree with Brian about 19d. I couldn’t parse it even though I twigged that the wordplay would probably be split (2,4). I had a feeling it was going to make me laugh once I had been able to understand it fully, but sadly it slightly took the gloss off an otherwise splendid offering.

    Lots of candidate favourites to choose from here, but the magnificent 14a gets my vote.

    18a provided me with a nice trip down memory lane – it was my first ever single which I persuaded my mum to buy for me when I was 10.

  19. stanXYZ
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Snape for a really enjoyable puzzle.

    My last one in was 18a “Diana’s singer” – the homophone works for me!

    How do other people [aka Gazza] pronounce it?

    • Gazza
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      I pronounce the R in the answer, but try as I might, I can’t find an R in the singer’s name. People will be saying that parse sounds identical to pass next. :D

  20. jean-luc cheval
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Only thought about Jarvis too for 2d but I must admit that I didn’t bother to check.
    Lots of smiles 😊 while solving. Especially 26a which was my last one in.
    Worked my way through each corner at a time and SE was last. 17d was new to me and was trying so hard to understand why 20a had to be that as I thought it had something to do with liposuction until the penny dropped.
    Thanks to Snape for the great fun.

  21. Hanni
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    I think most of it has already been said. LOI was 18a

    Plenty of smiles but 19d made me laugh but plenty of smiles with 8, 14 and 20a.

    Thanks Snape.

  22. snape
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Apologies to those offended by the 2-letter word in 19d, it is never an intention to offend. It isn’t a particularly nice word, but there aren’t many terms for prostitutes that are complimentary and glowing.
    Trying to mount a defence, I have just quickly searched on here and on fifteensquared for precedent. The first use I found was by Azed, and on here it was used in NTSPPs by Radler, Vigo, and Anax. All were unindicated (i.e. didn’t mention American) and all passed without comment. These are very respected compilers so, on balance, I think I would carry on using it if needed, but I will bear in mind that it might not be overly popular.

    • baerchen
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      We’ve certainly come a long way since AA Milne’s “sing Ho! for Piglet”

      • Expat Chris
        Posted March 28, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        Not to mention “Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to work we go!”

      • snape
        Posted March 28, 2016 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        And the inhabitants of a certain Devon resort might reconsider what they name themselves after.

        I also found

        Cover quiet prostitute in coat (9) for upholster

        by some bloke called Kairos. ;-)

    • Expat Chris
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think those folk were offended by the word itself, but by the fact that it’s (to some) one of those dreadful”Americanisms that have “no place in a British crossword.” I’m cool with it myself.

  23. dutch
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Snape, absolutely brilliant. A superb puzzle. I loved solving this – loads of humour (an enormous strength), clever wordplay, variety, innovative definitions, smooth and meaningful surfaces, the works. Beats the hell out of the average back pager. It’s wonderful how you packed so many sizzlers into the puzzle. I recognised some of this, but still had to solve it again, and much is changed – can’t tell you how impressed I am.

    Ok, I didn’t like “for” in 5a and “description of the bible”, these are little perfectionist bits, but “up” as an anagrind I think is fine and the ho clue, honestly, is just a brilliant clue.

    Congratulations mate – this is quality.

    • snape
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

      Cheers, and thanks for the help, it was the first one I sent you after meeting you at the London do last year.

      I’ve found out the answer to my question about 5a – and I should have listened for 11! Let’s see if I can be more sneaky with the definitions at times, without making the puzzles more difficult. I think I managed with 1d, but that was probably the only one.

  24. Molly
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Snape, I really enjoyed this puzzle, hard enough without being too daunted. My only grouse is the grid – lovely to have the two long anagrams, but it did feel too like 4 mini-puzzles which I personally dislike. But the ho clue literally made me Laugh Out Loud!

    • snape
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      Yep, the grid is awful, not only for the 4 sections it creates but also for the lack of first letter crossers. Grids like this have been banished (I’ve done about 25 since, and none are anything like this) and will only be looked at again if I want to put in a Nina or something similar.
      The ho clue did seem to be Marmite – I’m glad more people liked it than not.

  25. snape
    Posted March 29, 2016 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    Cheers for the review, Prolixic.

    Lolz at your solder comments.

    Apologies to Encota for not responding to his comment about the examination – as Prolixic mentions too, it needs some indication.

    Prolixic is obviously a Jarvis man, rather than a Joe fan.

  26. Jane
    Posted March 29, 2016 at 12:28 am | Permalink

    Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, but for once I beg to differ with you on a couple of things.

    Your alternative clue for 2d would have rendered it completely impossible for me without much recourse to Mr. Google. I’ve heard of Jarvis Cocker (just about) but know nothing about Pulp. On the other hand, I know for a fact that Joe Cocker was born in Sheffield.

    As for O levels – I can promise you they didn’t go out with the Ark. GCSEs only took their place in 1988.

    Interestingly, you didn’t query ‘Diana’ which was recorded by Paul Anka in 1957!

  27. JollySwagman
    Posted March 29, 2016 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Nice puzzle Snape – very enjoyable to solve – smiles galore. Sorry I don’t have my notes with me to give you any detail – not that I had any quibbles – none at all.

    I had ticks all over the place but I remember the biggies being particularly good, especially the across one. The were a couple of others which I suspected were pre-baked peaches. Is that a mixed mixed metaphor? Maybe not. I suppose you can bake peaches if you want to.

    Any chance you could reveal which ones were. When puzzles don’t have any particular theme it;s often intriguing to wonder what kicked it all off for the setter.

  28. snape
    Posted March 29, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Hi JS.

    When I started, I just got ideas for clues and put them in my collection. After I had a couple of hundred I started making some grids – at first I just got CC to do an Autofill with as many of my prewritten clues at possible, but later started manually selecting them to make sure there was a balanced selection etc. Over time, I realised that many of the good clues weren’t so good after all, and had to change them, but I keep topping up my list when I have a new idea, or perhaps when I end up discarding crosswords. This one was a very early one (hence the horrid grid) and I can’t remember precisely which ones were the seeds. I think it was probably 14a, 11a and 19d (!, Bible description and brothel) with most of the other ideas being discarded. For example, I remember mainline was originally ‘Take drugs intravenously? No, mate!’ with no, mate being ma in note=line but reading comments on here about that sort of clue realised it was unfair. I changed it about 9 months ago, and of course saw Bufo’s NTSPP a few weeks ago with very similar ‘queueing’ wordplay. Incidental music was originally something about ‘tunes played at police gigs’ but didn’t really nail it, so that was discarded too.

    • Beet
      Posted March 29, 2016 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      Excellent puzzle Snape ! I’m glad you didn’t send this one to me for test solving as I would have felt guilty to have no amendments to suggest and therefore nothing to bring to the party. My favourites were the bible one, and the in / out / shake it all about one.

      • snape
        Posted March 29, 2016 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        You would if you’d seen the first version!

    • JollySwagman
      Posted March 30, 2016 at 2:15 am | Permalink

      Thanks Snape – that’s interesting.

  29. Kath
    Posted March 29, 2016 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    I know that I’m way too late to join the party – everyone’s been here, said it all, scoffed the cake and gone home hours ago but I just had to pop in to say what a great crossword.
    I only got round to doing it late this afternoon – I was half way through cutting the grass and it chucked it down so I came in.
    I’m absolutely no good at what’s OK and what isn’t when setting crosswords – I just go on how much I enjoyed it which really means how many made me laugh – there were lots.
    I thought that there were some pretty spectacularly good anagrams – 14a and 4 and 15d.
    Some of the clues that I really loved were 8 and 10a and 7 and 19d (didn’t know the tart so looked it up). My favourite was 20a.
    With thanks and congratulations for a fun crossword to Snape and thanks to Prolixic too – needed the hint to understand my answer to 23a.

    • snape
      Posted March 29, 2016 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

      Not too late at all, and you are my perfect target audience, so thanks.

  30. dutch
    Posted March 29, 2016 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks for the superb review Prolixic

    I’m not going to be able to see “up” as an anagrind ever again without thinking “in an excited state”

  31. dutch
    Posted March 29, 2016 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Snape, I love prolixic’s introductory comment.

    • snape
      Posted March 29, 2016 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I’m going to have to up my game if it comes to pass.

  32. Sprocker
    Posted March 30, 2016 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Stupidly late to the party on this one (it’s been a ridiculous month!), but couldn’t not comment on this one as I thought it was fantastic, and full of trademark ‘snape-isms’. Great work! :0)

    I’ll go with 11a as my favourite, but there’s a long list of great clues that I could have chosen.

  33. Riggles
    Posted April 5, 2016 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Apologies for being very, very late to the soiree, will try to do better… but like Sprocker I had to comment as it’s been a very enjoyable solve, it’s a great insight as I want to get on to Rookie Corner as a setter soon myself (look out for Wolfgang), and most of all, it’s thanks to kind words and advice from Snape himself at the BD birthday bash that I even know about Rookie Corner!

    Like others, I had a slow start to this one, and all the talk of the grid has been VERY interesting, a real point to note. 13A was FOI and I don’t recall seeing “up” as an anagram indicator before, so that’s also good to know! In the end I solved all but two clues in 30 mins.

    One major curiosity as a budding setter is 21A – is “firstly” always acceptable for describing the first letters of a string of words, rather than just a single word? I struggle with this when writing clues!

    I learnt something about my own brain on 2D; when I thought “Sheffield singer” was the definition I tried out Joe (and dismissed it for being too short of course), but when I realised ‘heard in the morning’ was the definition I immediately though of Jarvis being the “Sheffield singer” instead. Weird.

    Apart from my question on 21A above, the few suspect fragments of a handful of clues are all things that have been commented on elsewhere. I’d never heard of 15D and resorted to an anagram solver, and I failed to solve 3D which I’m kicking myself for, as I think it’s an excellent clue!

    There’s no mistaking that this crossword has been very enjoyable, I really love the surface readings of many clues (something I aspire to myself) and Snape’s work is an inspiration to this setter! Prolixic’s opening comment must have raised a smile from Snape too, I’m sure.

    • snape
      Posted April 5, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Hi Riggles, I only noticed this because of your comment on Drummond’s fine puzzle. I was wondering when you might make an appearance as a setter.
      As far as I can tell, firstly and initially are always fine for a string of words, as they are not specific to singular or plural. Start to… , Start of… Head of… etc can on only really be used for one word, but Starts to… is available for multiple words.
      Thank you for the very nice comments. I have just submitted another puzzle – we will see where it ends up. There will be quite a NTSPP queue, I imagine.

      • Riggles
        Posted April 5, 2016 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Hello Snape – many thanks for your thoughts on ‘Firstly’ etc.

        I’ve taken your advice on checking out the RC crosswords over the past few weeks. Haven’t done a great deal of writing (one a month at the moment!), though every time I come onto this site whether as a solver or a setter, I feel I learn a little bit more. I wonder if I should change my name on here to Wolfgang from now on, to avoid any confusion later on. I’ll get Dave’s thoughts on the matter!