Rookie Corner – 104 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner – 104

A Puzzle by Drummond

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Our second year of Rookie Corner draws to a close with a puzzle by Drummond, our 36th new 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.

A stunning debut crossword from Drummond with some very cleverly hidden wordplay and good attention to the surface readings.  In a couple of places, there were clues that became a little too convoluted.


1 When inebriated he lacks restraint (7)
SHACKLE – An anagram (when inebriated) of HE LACKS

5 Agreed with time out after date flirted (7)
DALLIED – A word meaning agreed without the initial T (time out) follows (after) the abbreviation for date.

9 Patriarch and wise man, each taking sides (5)
ISAAC – The inner letters (taking sides) of [w]IS[e] [m]A[n] [e]AC[h]

10 Embracing European fascist party’s past in Germany (9)
ENFOLDING – The abbreviations for European and National Front (fascist party) followed by a word meaning past, the IN from the clue and the abbreviation for Germany.

11 Occupant of a tin bath in difficulties (10)
INHABITANT – An anagram (in difficulties) of A TIN BATH.  I think that in difficulties works as well as in difficulty would.

12 A feeling that is overwhelming starting to rise (3)
IRE – The abbreviation for that is goes around (overwhelming) the first letter (starting to) of rise.  A minor point but I don’t think starting to quite works as an initial word indicator.

14 On trial, professional gangster admits detonating mine (12)
EXPERIMENTAL – Another word for a professional and the first name of Mr Capone (gangster) includes (admits) and anagram (detonating) of mine.

18 Horror movie as indexed in Fantasy and Science Fiction, perhaps? (6,6)
STRING THEORY – … a scientific explanation of sub-atomic particles that may or may not be correct.  The name of a 2002 horror movie as it would appear in an index with the definite article following the main entry goes inside another word for fantasy or a made up tale.  I think that referring to a horror film with the additional wordplay as indexed adds a level of complexity that is a bit too much.  The clue would have been more approachable if the horror film could have been clued as something like Wagnerian work.

21 Turned red after suppressing rage (3)
FAD – The answer is reversed (turned) and hidden (suppressed) in RED AFTER.

22 Sickness? Try sailing manoeuvres (10)
LARYNGITIS – An anagram (manoeuvers) of TRY SAILING.

25 Order to infiltrate left wing with renewed energy (9)
RECHARGED – Another word for an order or command goes inside (to infiltrate) the colour associated with the left wing.

26 In Laos, does bet as debt is cancelled for free? (5)
LOOSE – Remove the letters (is cancelled) in AS DEBT from LAOS DOES BET.

27 Burnt affected parts with uranium, absorbing roentgens (7)
TORCHED – Another word meaning affected has the U removed (parts with Uranium) and replaced (absorbing) with the abbreviation for Roentgens.

28 Problem with stockingsthey can let you down (7)
LADDERS – Double definition, a snag on a pair of stockings and a set of steps.


1 Secretively take a drink (6)
SPIRIT – Double definition

2 Yank centre of washing lines sharply (6)
APACHE – The middle letter (centre of) of washing goes inside (lines) a word meaning sharply (in the sense of quickly).  I am not sure it is fair to describe the Native American as a Yank.

3 Give up one sport for another (10)
KICKBOXING – Another word meaning to give up (as in a bad habit) followed by the sport governed by the Queensbury rules) to give another sport.

4 What happens if Planet America escapes alien blockades? (5)
EVENT – The quintessential alien goes around (blockades) the name of one of the planets in our solar system without the US (America escapes).

5 Fed up with wondering if leader’s been deleted, as Guardian is? (9)
DEFENSIVE – Reverse (up) the fed from the clue and follow it with a word meaning wondering or thoughtful without the first letter (leader’s been deleted).

6 It may help to relax while holding your breath (4)
LILO – A blow up bed (which therefore holds your breath).

7 ‘Start working with computers?’ I scoffed (8)
INITIATE – A phrase 2,2 meaning working with computers followed by the I from the clue and word meaning scoffed.

8 Oddly upset about egg contaminated with grit (8)
DOGGEDLY – An anagram (upset) of ODDLY around an anagram (contaminated) of EGG (or it could be read as a reversal (about) of egg inside (contaminated) an anagram (upset) of ODDLY.

13 Get towed around lake, getting wet and dirty (10)
BEDRAGGLED – A phrase (2, 7) meaning get towed goes around the abbreviation for lake.

15 Alienated fly-half takes risk, switching sides (9)
ESTRANGED – The name of a disease bringing fly in Africa with the second half removed followed by a word meaning risk with both words having their first and last letters swapped (switching sides).  I don’t think that switching sides works in a down clue as well as in an across clue.  Also, given the complexity of the wordplay an indication that the sides have to be switched in both words might have been fairer for the solver.

16 Provoke a fellow to risk disaster (3,3,2)
ASK FOR IT – An anagram (disaster) of A F (fellow) TO RISK.

17 He comes up with jab and upper cut, ending round in front (8)
PRODUCER – A four letter word meaning jab followed by the initial letters (in front) of the seventh to tenth words of the clue.

19 Butt gets kicked around middle of room (6)
STOOGE – An anagram (kicked) of GETS around the central letters (middle) of room.

20 Judge Jenny, perhaps? (6)
ASSESS – A double definition, the second slightly fanciful for a female donkey.

23 Where even my word starts to echo like song (5)
YODEL – The even letters of MY WORD followed by the initial letters (starts to) of echo like.

24 Hit back hard, or walk (4)
PATH – A word meaning to hit lightly is reversed (back) and followed by the abbreviation for hard.

74 comments on “Rookie Corner – 104

  1. I thought this was absolutely superb, particularly for a first puzzle. The surfaces were top notch, and entertaining. Quite difficult enough for me, but the answers were slowly teased out.

    Several clues I have failed to parse (eg 2d, 18a, but there are several more) , but the rest are so good I am undoubtedly missing something.

    I would have preferred the singular difficulty to difficulties as a nounal anagram indicator in 11a (in is part of the fodder, so can’t be part of the indicator). Even better would have been an intransitive verb pretending to be a noun. I did think ‘trouble’, but looking in Chambers, only the transitive meaning seems to indicate movement. However, I thought the nounal anagram indicator in 16d worked really well. Not quite sure that ‘In wordplay for definition’ quite works for 26a, perhaps the for can be a comma instead. This was perhaps the only slightly weak surface in the puzzle, too.

    27a was wonderful, beautiful disguise. I did wonder if Roentgens was fine for single r? We say 3 A is 3 Amps, for example, so possibly. However, the dictionary abbreviation is only singular, so I’m not sure. The comment about ‘beautifully disguised’applies to the whole puzzle. 21a is a great example. Only the post parse revealed what a good clue it was. 10a, 7d, 8d, 1a, 3d, 13d, 28a, 19d were also on my list. I expect there are more to be added when the parsing is explained. I’ve just got 20d! :-)
    Many congratulations, the definitions are superbly woven into the surfaces, this was an outstanding debut. More soon, please.

  2. A very tricky start to Monday morning and there are two l can’t parse. I did feel a couple of clues suffered from the ‘I’m writing a cryptic crossword clue, I’ve got to be really complicated’ syndrome. My favourite clue was 6d.

    2d Not sure I’d define the word you need here as ‘sharply’. In 15d if I have the right fly-half, what tells me the letters are in the wrong order as ‘alienated’ can’t do so as that is the definition.

    Thanks to Drummond and, in advance, to Prolixic.

    1. I assumed that the fly in 15d was a forest fly rather than the one that requires changing the order of the letters.

    2. both the half-fly and the second word have their first and last letter swapped (changing sides)

  3. I thoroughly concur with Snape’s assessment, this was about as excellent a debut puzzle in Rookie Corner as I’ve seen, certainly in the fifteen months since I have been regularly solving them. Yes, it was tricky in places (especially the SW corner) and it wasn’t without the occasional rough edge, but it was outstandingly well-crafted for sure. I’m with Snape and CS in not being able to parse everything.

    What stood out particularly for me was not just the quality of the surfaces (first rate), but also the superb choice of indicator words, which were cleverly used to misdirect the solver on a number of occasions.

    I’ve ticked a number of clues I especially liked, namely 9a, 10a, 21a, 27a, 2d, 8d, 19d and 20d, but I’ll give my favourite vote to 28a for the superb surface.

    I tend to share Snape’s reservation about 11a and 26a had the ugly “does bet” which I didn’t care for, but it was clearly essential to the wordplay. I agree with CS about the lack of a reversal indicator for the first part of 15d. The repetition of “starting”/”starts to” in 12a and 23d could easily have been avoided by varying one or the other.

    Congratulations on a fine achievement, Drummond, I hope you’ll return again soon.

  4. Thanks to Drummond for a well-constructed nd enjoyable puzzle – very tricky, I thought, and it came as a bit of a shock after the Rufus back-pager. I really struggled with the SW corner and although there can only be one answer that fits the letters I have for 18a I have no idea how to parse it. My favourite clue, for the well disguised definition, is 8d.

  5. Could be a while with this one. Printer’s packed up so I’m drawing out a grid on paper!

      1. Ah……… you have no concept of my lack of IT skills. If Hanni spots your comment I can guarantee there will be tears of laughter rolling down her cheeks!

        1. Tears of laughter…oh yes. The interactive online version….yeah right. Next you’ll be wanting cutting and pasting skills. Oh yes I burst out laughing at this one.

            1. Ha ha to this chain of comments…after winning the technology battle did you manage to complete the crossword?!

        2. When I come and stay with you, Jane, you will have all the free IT tuition you can eat. I will not leave until you can copy and paste – and embed things in your comments too … :)

    1. Wow. How do you manage to print them out, then?

      Here is my handy guide.

      1. Click on the crossword as if you were going to print the pdf.

      2. Don’t click on the pdf button. This will only cause confusion.

      3. Click on the first letter of the answer you wish to put in.

      4. If you need to change from across to down, click again.

      5. Type the answer in.

      6. Repeat steps 3 to 5.

      7. (Optional extra). Press save. If you leave the page, you won’t lose the answer.

      8. (Optional extra 2). Press check. If nothing happens, you’ve got everything right.

      I’ve put a real effort in to make it as long as eight steps. Give it a go ;-)

      1. Oh God…don’t mention printers either. Jane and IT just don’t mix….and God knows people have tried. Superb effort mind.

      2. Thank you, Snape – I braved it and I did get there eventually! Didn’t like it though – can’t put thick lines in to mark off multi-word answers, have to keep scrolling up and down through the clues etc.etc.
        On the plus side – you can just ‘bung in’ the odd letter and then check to see if it’s correct!

        1. The guardian online puzzle has thick lines between words, even hyphens. Maybe we can ask our self-congratulating-before-asking-for-user-feedback software developer to do the same for us.

          I was very pleased to see snape’s step (4). I hadn’t twigged this with disastrous consequences, and had resorted to clicking an unchecked light to guarantee the right grid entry. Take heart Jane.

          1. I set up most of the Rookie puzzles. I guess you are asking me to do a whole load of extra work for less than a handful of people. It isn’t going to happen!

            1. sorry dave – i was confusing this with the online telegraph puzzles – I didn’t mean you!

          2. The printout of the Guardian puzzle doesn’t have the lines in – neither do a lot of others.

            When I’m stuck trying to break in I like to draw them in in order to deceive myself into thinking that I’m at least making some sort of progress.

      3. I used to do things the same way as Snape, but since I like to make notes and give ticks to good clues and question marks etc to dubious ones, I always now print off a PDF copy (providing my printer doesn’t misbehave like Jane’s of course!). It also has the added benefit of meaning that you can keep a copy readily to hand for others’ comments and Prolixic’s review…

        1. I’m also a fan of printed copies – my kitchen (where I work) is littered with them

          1. This is true. I have never seen so many crosswords in one place as at Dutch’s house.

            1. i just forget to throw them away when i’m done.. but thank you for the corroboration

                  1. It’s comforting to read of other folks describing similar crossword-related behaviour. There are newspapers and printed PDFs everywhere here and I, like Dutch, forget to throw them away.

                    Without something to scribble on I’d never have parsed 27A – sometimes they are obvious when can see them on paper, innit!

  6. Brilliant Drummond – well into serious toughie time.

    I was completely dumbstruck by the quality of surface readings you managed to pull of. 14a, for example, has a brilliantly constructed surface. And there are many more, 1a, 1d (take a drink), 27a, 19, goes on and on.

    2d has a beautiful surface at the expense of accuracy, I think – CS commented on sharply, which I think is ok (you can do something sharply = quickly) but I can’t technically equate the answer with yank, though both are american.

    I also winced at the plural nounal anagrind in 11a, and i think brb has different enumeration for 3d. I have to admit there were quite a few times when I thought – can you do that? and on reflection I decided you could – a sign that your cluing is on the forefront of inventiveness. For example, I was impressed that the letter order works perfectly for 26, no need for any other indicator. I wondered if you could use “starting to” as first letter indicator, but yes, starting is also a noun – excellent! 23a some might prefer “evenly” though. 28a I thought was a bit of a personification, unless the device is somehow automated – but I’m sure you’ll get away with that.

    I am really very impressed – congratulations!

    My last to parse was 18a, I had not heard of the movie or the tv series, so had to find those – and I really like “as indexed”.

    Many thanks Drummond

  7. Last one to parse was also 18a as I couldn’t understand why the title would be in that order but a little check on Google explained it.
    Loved the construction in 26a as I first thought it was missing an anagram indicator but no need for one. Bravo.
    Loved the surface in 14a ( on trial) and 19d (butt gets kicked) 16d (provoke a fellow) and 8d (oddly upset).
    9a had an interesting construction too. Very Virgilius.
    Wasn’t easy but good morning workout.
    Thanks Drummond.

  8. Just a quick note to thank everyone for taking the time and trouble to give it a go, and for your highly illuminating comments.

    I’ll put together some more detailed replies later.

  9. Brilliant debut, Drummond. Ticks for so many – 14a plus 3,4,6,8,19&20d and doubtless several others if I ever manage to sort out the full parsing of them! As others have said, most of the problems lay in the SW corner although I have also still to justify 2d.

    Really looking forward both to reading the review and seeing your next puzzle.

  10. Thanks, Drummond, for a fantastic puzzle. I agree with Silvanus: that’s the best debut crossword that I’ve seen, and the neat surfaces work wonders. The only one I couldn’t parse was 15d – looking at the comments above, I think it was perhaps a little too indirect. My favourites were 20d and 21a. Keep ’em coming, I’d quite happily sit and solve these all day!

  11. I made a start ( just seven hard-fought-for answers penciled in ) and once again work has interfered with play so you will all be tucked up in dreamland by the time I get back to it. I’m happy to see others found it tricky, because I had quite a struggle getting as far as I have. I was impressed with quality of the ones I’ve solved so far though.

  12. Brilliant debut. Surely you must have put puzzles out somewhere else, Drummond, though I can’t see you on Alberich’s site and am not sure where else to look…
    Superbly ingenious clueing throughout and great surfaces.
    There was a range of difficulty, I thought, from some write-ins (well, not many!) through a Goldilocks zone and lastly to some I’m not even sure about now – in particular 6d and 15d, the latter of which I have by definition but cannot parse.
    I was okay with 2d – I parsed it as the h from washing ‘lining’ (i.e. inside) a 5-letter synonym for sharply with the whole thing defined as ‘Yank’… well, one particular North American type we don’t normally think of as a Yankee, exactly, but a US citizen nowadays, so it seems okay to me.
    18a was also hard with its reversal of the 2002 Naomi Watts film – I’ve never seen that idea before!
    So overall just brilliant – I think your audience on these pages (including me!) might appreciate a shade more help here and there next time e.g. the definition in 17d was quite vague and in combination with tricksy wordplay I found it very hard… maybe there’s an issue of balance there to consider – particularly in the midst of what was a difficult SW corner.
    As for my favourites, I have many, but I’d like to mention 5a, 9a, 10a, 14a, 18a, 27a, 8d, 19d and 20d.
    VERY much looking forward to your next offering and welcome to this happy corner of Crosswordland!

    1. Thank you Dutch – just read your parsing of 15d – yikes, that’s intricate! Please could I have some help with 6d anyone?

      1. 6d! a real forehead slapper when I eventually got it. I had the two checking L’s. So, something you might relax on, in a pool for example, but this needs preparation before use involving air from your lungs. Hope that helps!

        1. That sounds very complicated. I had the answer as a synonym for a pause and also apnea.

          1. Thanks Dutch – I briefly considered that but now I get it – it does indeed ‘hold’ your breath while you indeed do relax on it. Another cracker!

          2. I went the pause way first – didn’t think of apnea! – but a different word (two vowels) gives the more satisfying answer…

  13. Phew, found this to be very tricky, and I’m left with a fair few that I can’t parse. The ones I do understand though are excellent, and the whole puzzle features a huge number of excellent surfaces.

    I’ll pick 28a as my favourite but there were plenty to choose from.

    A fantastic debut!

  14. I’m having an almighty battle with this one – could almost be called a war.
    I’ve been doing it on and off all afternoon in between dodging enormous rain drops in the garden and have now got about ten answers – think it’s time to abandon the garden and concentrate in this little beastie.
    Back later, if I survive!
    In the meantime thanks and well done to Drummond.

    1. PS – to quote someone over in the ‘other place’ this was much too tricky for me and way above my pay grade.
      I give in, not paricularly gracefully, but I give in having done about half of it.
      Well done to Drummond for setting it and to anyone/everyone who managed to finish it.

  15. Top-notch debut – thanks, Drummond.

    For time reasons I availed myself of a few letter hints (I solved it last night, and really needed some sleep), so I can’t judge difficulty other than to say that the SE corner was easiest.

    Like others, I had a question mark over the cryptic grammar of 11a.

    18a produced a double yay for me – first because I really liked “as indexed” and the way the two parts of the clue linked together… and secondly because for one time only I could parse something that Gazza couldn’t. Gazza, who can always help you out if you don’t understand something and who is always right. I think he was wrong once about something minor, a long time ago.

    That comes hot on its heels, but 14a was my favourite. Also on my “like” list were 21a, 28a, 6d and 13d, with 26a getting a mention for the clever construction, although the surface unfortunately earned a “meh.” Originally included in the likes but eventually outshone were 1d, 3d, 7d, 19d and 20d.

    Congratulations Drummond on a most impressive first puzzle. More please!

    1. Well done on parsing 18a, Kitty. My only excuse is that I’ve never heard of the horror movie. I’ve just read Dutch’s comment on 15d and it looks as though I may have got the parsing on that one wrong as well (though I still think my way works). At this rate I may be seeking your assistance on tomorrow’s back-pager.

      1. Aww, thanks, Gazza.

        15d I did not fully understand until I read Dutch’s comment.

        I think you needing my assistance with a back-pager would be a sign of the impending apocalypse!

      2. Gazza your parsing clearly works – though I would not have found it, being blissfully unaware (or I was, thank you) of a fly called Forest. Apparently, this a two-winged creature that frightens the horses.

  16. Blimey – again, thanks to everyone for your time and comments.

    I’ve posted three puzzles on Alberich’s website, under the name Euston. They’ve all been test solved by the wonderful Neil, and he’s had to put a few shifts in. This is the first puzzle I’ve posted untried.

    I was aiming for average difficulty, but clearly overshot – I find it difficult to gauge the clue when I already know the answer, and I need to work on that.

    The indicator in 11a was a late substitution, and could have done with a bit more polish. And 15d now looks a bit loose – the indicator is meant to apply to both bits but it should have been made clearer.

    I’m really pleased that so many people enjoyed it.

    1. A-ha! Euston re-born. I’ve done some of yours in your last life. What’s the story behind the name change, may I ask?

      1. Hi Maize, no particular reason, I just felt this was a new area of endeavour so I picked a new name to go with it!

        1. Hello Drummond,

          This is excellent indeed, I solved a few clues and said “Wow” at the same time, partly for the quality of the clue (which I’m slightly in awe of, much like Snape’s last week) and then for the happy surprise at actually cracking it!

          Alberich (Neil) is helping me with a puzzle at present, he sure is wonderful, and so willing to help those who take this splendid craft seriously.

  17. We are very late (for us) commenting on this one. We did tackle it at our usual time yesterday and found it really tricky and gave up without having sorted out 18a (which we still do not understand) and a few other bits and pieces. By that stage we had worked out what 2d had to be but the definition and wordplay both seemed to us to be unreasonably loose. It points to a problem we have with trickier puzzles on Rookies Corner that have not been through a test-solving or editorial process. How much effort are we prepared to put into a clue that might not ultimately have been fairly set? Afraid that this one crossed that line for us and detracted from our enjoyment.
    However there were lots of really clever elements in there that we did appreciate.
    Thanks Drummond, and apologies for putting a slightly negative slant on the feedback.

  18. 11a – I found myself “in difficulties” as to whether I should include the “in” as part of the anagram fodder or part of the anagram indicator? But it seems to be both!

    Occupant in a tin bath in difficulties might be better.

      1. Occupant of a tin bath in liquid?

        Just realised how difficult it is to set a clue – God alone knows how much effort is required to fill a grid and then produce all the clues. Very pleased to be a mere average solver!

  19. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, which especially helped to decipher 18a and proved for me that too much was expected of the solver in that regard.

    Just one correction to your comment on 11a, as Snape and stanXYZ have mentioned particularly, the anagram fodder is “a tin bath in”, so that the anagrind is just “difficulties”, not “in difficulties”. “In” is effectively doing double duty therefore, and for that reason I don’t think it quite works.

  20. Thanks to Prolixic for the review.

    Popped in at this ungodly hour just to see the explanation for 18a …

    …. I’ve now read the explanation but alas I’m still non the wiser.

    18a is definitely NOT my favourite clue!

  21. Thanks, Prolixic ( I assume “Prolific” is autocorrect at work) A hard slog for me. I did need to reveal a couple of letters to kick start the SW corner and confirm a couple of others. Totally missed the reverse lurker in 21A and had no idea about 18A. Admittedly, some were “put in and then parse” answers, particularly 15D. I thought this was very polished and clever for the most part and a very impressive Rookie debut. 6D was a joy and big smiley moment and by far my favorite.

    And then there’s 2D. I did manage to solve and parse it correctly after a lot of hair pulling. All too often in crosswordland I see my adopted fellow countrymen lumped together as Yanks, which is simply wrong, but for that word to be applied to Native American Indians would be considered an unforgivable insult here. It took the sparkle off the puzzle for me.

  22. Many thanks Prolixic for the excellent review.

    Some minor comments, Silvanus has already pointed out in 11a that IN is part of the anagram fodder hence we only have “difficulties” as a plural nounal anagrind. I agree “in difficulties” might have worked.

    in 12a, chambers also lists “starting” as a noun, so in that sense I thought “starting to” could work as a first letter indicator

    18a. I would be surprised if Drummond is making a call on the scientific merits of string theory in a crossword. In my googling, I found a science fiction tv series (started 2002, I think it said) called (you guessed it) “String Theory” – some might know it, I didn’t – but I’m guessing that is the reference

    8d – for the clue to work with the right parts of speech, the definition has to be “with grit”, which I am sure was your intention.

    thanks again – it was a tricky crossword and I’m sure the review will be very popular!

    1. no edits today – (edit: oh, they’ve just come back)

      I forgot to add that one reason i enjoyed the review a lot is that it allowed me to savour all the remarkable surface readings once more – truly excellent, thanks again Drummond

    2. Changed my mind, 18a probably is not a reference to the TVs series. The “perhaps” fits better with prolixic’s explanation

  23. Many thanks, Prolixic, I certainly needed your excellent review for the parsing of 18a & 2d.
    A little like Dutch, I found a horror movie with the 18a title but didn’t look for any more complex definition. Once I noticed that Kitty had made the connection, I guessed that something desperately scientific was likely to be involved!
    Maybe 18a was a ‘bridge too far’ for most of us but this was certainly an exceptional Rookie from Drummond.

  24. Thanks to Prolixic for the review and analysis.
    I thought that the abbreviation for Germany was D and G for German. But again, I could be wrong.

    1. Thanks from me too.
      I do believe you are correct, JL! That sneaked past everyone. Perhaps ‘with German leader’ would work, slightly altering the surface meaning.
      I think a test solver would have rooted out the 3 or 4 ‘iffy’ clues that needed tweaking or changing, and they would have then been up to the standard of the rest, which is really, really high. Very impressed.

  25. Just popping back here to add my thanks to the prolific Prolixic for the review. Much appreciated.

  26. Thank you Prolixic – all points have been noted, although I’ll no doubt lumber into the same traps again in future clues.

    And thanks again to everyone who took the trouble to comment, it’s been an education!

  27. Late to the party so I won’t go into any detail. Did it when it first came up but since then had to set up new computer – using “express set-up” – if that’s express I’m glad I didn’t go for the other option.

    Anyway it was an enjoyable solve which went quite slowly for me – I don’t recall having any quibbles.

    OK – I do remember:
    18a I didn’t twig – not knowing the film mainly – also not thinking that string theory (an obvious posibility with all the crossers in) was any more speculative than many other such theories.
    6d was my last in – I nearly burnt a hole in the paper staring at that one – with only two letters to find.

    Many thanks for the fun.

  28. Very late to the party this week! Loved it, thanks Drummond. Quite difficult in places – esp the two that Prolixic marks as a bit convoluted; loved 6d, a superb clue!

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