Rookie Corner – 112

Easy by JollySwagman

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Just what does JollySwagman mean by “Easy” – solve the puzzle to find out. 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

An impressionistic painting from Jolly Swagman where the overall picture is better than the individual components.  Some of the best paintings were by the impressionists so this is not a criticism.


6 Dean and I drink together (7)
MARTINI – The surname of the actor Dean followed by the I from the clue.  Opinions will differ on whether a definition by example such as Dean need to be indicated.  However, here the potential list of Dean’s limited so the lack of an indicator is not a great loss.  Unusually the definition is not at the beginning or end of the clue.

7/20 Easy as reducing a mathematical function (7,3,1,3)
FALLING OFF A LOG – Another expression (7,3) for reducing followed by the A from the clue and a mathematical function.

9/25/28 Easy equals Zen with mopy eyes blurred (5,5,7)

10 They reduce travel between home and work (9)
COMMUTERS – A double definition of those who might reduce or substitute one sentence for another or reduce a debt and those who travel between home and work.  The “They” must qualify both the “reduce” and the “travel between home and work” otherwise the second half of the definition would lead to a verb rather than a noun.

11 Compensation for Yap’s absence! (4,3)
SICK PAY – A reverse anagram clue where the answer (read as an anagram clue) would provide YAP as the solution.  The whole clue provides an extended definition.  I am not sure that the reverse anagram element is indicated strongly enough.

14 Maybe easy to annoy Sir after tea (6)
CHAIRS – Another word for tea (as in the drink) followed by an anagram (to annoy) SIR.

16 Sam‘s easy – according to Lionel! (6,7)
SUNDAY MORNING – Lift and separate Sam to S am and expand the parts for the Lionel Richie song.  Not all editors would allow a lift and separate of this nature.

I don’t usually provide pictures or videos for the Rookie view but since someone asked:

19 Walpole Society’s going in for a bit of glory with you leading parade. Keep that under your hat (4,2)
HUSH UP – The first name of Walpole and replace the G (bit of glory) with the abbreviation for society.  Follow this with the text speak for you and the first letter (leading) of parade.  Some editors might not like leading as an initial letter indicator.  Alberich is particularly trenchant in his dismissal of this indicator on his website but other editors are happy with its use.

20 See 7

23 It might be easy to cut a record in German using English notation principally (9)
LISTENING – The first letter (principally) of English Notation go inside (to cut) another term for a record or table, the N from the clue and the abbreviation for German.

25 See 9

27 That’s nothing. Take it easy. Not even I’d get cross about rust (7)
OXIDISE – An anagram (about) of O (nothing) ISE (the odd letters – not even) of IT EASY, the ID from the clue and X the letter for a cross.

28 See 9


1 You are to go on stage left, pursued by a bear! (4)
URSA – The text speak for you are followed by the leftmost letter of state and the A from the clue.  As you = U has already been used, ideally a different indicator should be used.

2 De-clutter your den first – it needs it! (4,2)
TIDY UP – The initial letters (first) of your den and the IT from the clue are reversed, the reversal being alluded to by the needs it.  Another impressionistic clue where the whole gives you a vague sense of what the setter requires you to do.

3 Diana’s 100. That might be a record (4)
DISC – The abbreviated form of Diana with the ‘s followed by the Roman numeral for 100.

4 Great! Bear up and keep going (6,2)
PLOUGH ON – Another name for the Great Bear followed by a word meaning up.  The punctuation, following the usual convention, should be ignored but some might object to the insertion of the exclamation mark to split up the the “Great” and “Bear” as a step to far in the use of punctuation to mislead.

5 I’m stealing makeup for Pip (4,6)
TIME SIGNAL – An anagram (makeup – both Chambers and Collins give this as make-up) for IM STEALING.

6 Second pub is opening but it’s out of spirits (6)
MOPISH – The IS from the clue goes inside (opening) a two letter word for second and the abbreviation for a public house.

7 Celebrity means nothing to me (4)
FAME – A two letter abbreviation (for Fanny Adams) meaning nothing followed by the ME from the clue.

8 No airs! (5)
GASES – Another lift and separate clue – Split the N and O and their chemical elements give the answer for what forms airs.

12 They say the people who work here deliver the goods while the customers just laze around (6,4)
CRUISE SHIP – A homophone of crews (the people who work here) and a word meaning to deliver the goods.  Another clue where the definition is so impressionistic that all you can do is solve and then work out after the event how the clue works.

13 Ma‘s toy-boy. O you should see him! (2-2)
YO-YO – Hidden in TOY-BOY O YOU is the name of the violinist whose surname is Ma.  Unlike the Dean clue, this one might have benefited from a definition by example indicator as the number of possible Ma definition is much wider.

15 In here parent is like a teacher. Crazy! (4)
LOCO – Double definition where the first is an elliptical reference to the phase “In **** parentis”

17 It’s easy to go with this diet – you are cutting lunch and carbohydrates initially (8)
DIURETIC – The text speak for you are (the third use of you and second of are as text speak should not have happened) inside the DIET from the clue followed by the time for lunch (1.00) and the first letter (initially) of carbohydrates.

18 Cagney’s in trouble with the FBI? (6)
AGENCY – An anagram (in trouble) of CAGNEY.

19 Lionel’s single? You’re kidding! (5)
HELLO – A cryptic reference to another easy listening record from Lionel and a word meaning you’re kidding.

21 Plug is needed – that’s motor racing’s drawback (4,2)
FILL UP – The abbreviation for Formula One (motor racing) and a reversal (back) of a word meaning draw. 

22 Female setter’s possibly getting high on this in America (4)
FIVE – The abbreviation for female followed by a word meaning the setter has.

24 Flaubert does not ‘ave wind (4)
GUST – The first name of Flaubert with the AVE removed.  I am not convinced that “does not” on its own constitutes a deletion indicator.

26 Suitable present (4)
MEET – A double definition, the first with an allusion to the Book of Common prayer’s Eucharistic Prayer – “Lift up your hearts.  It is **** and right so to do.”


  1. 2Kiwis
    Posted May 30, 2016 at 1:38 am | Permalink | Reply

    We very soon discovered that ‘EASY’ describes the theme and certainly is not a measure of difficulty level. We eventually gave up with just one letter missing in 22d and are still not sure how it is meant to work. A few allusions that had us head scratching and googling, Lionel and Walpole for example. Almost a pangram unless we have got something wrong somewhere. It certainly had us working very hard.
    Thanks Jolly Swagman.

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted May 30, 2016 at 5:04 am | Permalink | Reply

      We’ve now sorted out 22d but we did reveal a letter to get the answer.

  2. silvanus
    Posted May 30, 2016 at 9:20 am | Permalink | Reply

    I found this a puzzle of two distinct halves. The right-hand side was reasonably straightforward, but the left, especially the SW corner, took considerably longer to yield and, even with a complete grid, a couple still seem to defy adequate parsing. The level of difficulty differed enormously from shoo-ins like 7d and 24d on the right, to more Toughie standard clues on the other side.

    As well as the “Easy” main theme which certainly helped with some clues, there also seemed to be “Lionel” and “Bear” mini-themes, or perhaps that was just coincidental? I wondered if an additional “Easy” could have been added with 26d in the form of a homophone of the answer?

    I ticked 4d, 15d, 19d and 22d as being excellent, but the cream of the crop for me was 16a – a real penny-drop moment when I got it! Unfortunately, I didn’t care for the repeated use of “you” to signify the 21st letter in three clues (19a, 1d and 17d), the latter two occasions also using “are” to signify the 18th letter if I’ve parsed those correctly. “Cut”/”cutting” was repeated as an insertion indicator in 23a and 17d. I think “together” ought to have been at the start of 1a, not at the end. The only “Yap” I could find as a proper noun is a Micronesian island, so perhaps 11a is somewhat contrived?

    Many thanks for an interesting challenge as ever, JS, I’ll be intrigued to read others’ views.

    • silvanus
      Posted May 30, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink | Reply

      Sorry, I meant 6a not 1a regarding the positioning of “together”!

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted May 30, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

      What else can I say but that I agree with Silvanus? The SW corner was definitely Toughie plus level for me. I too thought that many of the clues were excellent but a number did seem a bit contrived, particularly 11a.

      22d doesn’t need “America” as the gesture has (sadly) become commonplace on this side of the pond, and I can’t see why 13d includes “Ma’s”. 10a is a clever idea but one part of the wordplay leads to a present participle and the other to a plural noun. I can’t quite make 26d work, and I am still struggling to parse 19a, 27a, 2d, 6d & 17d fully. No doubt all will be revealed tomorrow.

      16a was my favourite too!

      Many thanks to JS for the challenge which I enjoyed.

      • Gazza
        Posted May 30, 2016 at 5:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

        13d Ma is the definition (and surname of the player).

        • Rabbit Dave
          Posted May 30, 2016 at 5:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Wow! Thanks very much, Gazza.

          I took “toy” as the definition with the answer being a lurker hidden in “boy o you”, although I did wonder why the last word in the clue was “him” and not “it”!

  3. baerchen
    Posted May 30, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink | Reply

    Arch Ximmies and fans of brevity and economy of clueing aren’t going to love this but since I’m neither I thought it was great fun and thoroughly enjoyed it, thanks Swaggie.
    7 and 17 are right up my Straße and 5 is a great clue. The cd in 12d doesn’t really, er, float my boat though..
    I think this is the most accessible of this setter’s puzzles I’ve seen, and it’s always a blast to have a go at his stuff.

    • beery hiker
      Posted June 1, 2016 at 11:09 am | Permalink | Reply

      Very late to this but thanks to baer for drawing my attention to this one – an entertaining puzzle. Thanks also to JS and Prolixic.

  4. Gazza
    Posted May 30, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks JollySwagman – it may be ‘easy’ but it was certainly no walk in the park. There’s some very clever and inventive clueing but possibly too much GK required (and certainly an excess of Lionel). I liked a lot of the clues including 7/20a, 5d, 12d, 15d and 21d but my favourite, for the laugh, is 17d (though I’m not convinced that I for lunch works).

    • baerchen
      Posted May 30, 2016 at 10:58 am | Permalink | Reply

      51-49 for Blair? (6)
      JS does have a bit of a soul thang going on; you’ll perhaps recall Gladys Knight and her Midnight Train to Georgia and Marvin’s Grapevine tidings in earlier works?

  5. Tedgar
    Posted May 30, 2016 at 9:39 am | Permalink | Reply

    Lot’s of fun to be had here and while some of the devices were pushing it for my limited solving ability, the surfaces kept me going. Favourites; 7D, 15D, 18D, 16A. Thanks for the entertainment JS

  6. Jane
    Posted May 30, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Definitely struggling, but not giving up yet. The SW corner is looking remarkably empty at present.
    If you’re looking in, Prolixic, a bit of Youtube for 16a, please?

    • JollySwagman
      Posted May 30, 2016 at 12:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Jane

      If you google: easy lionel lyrics

      you should get a useful hint.

      I had the answer staring at me in the first hit listed without even going into it.

      • Jane
        Posted May 30, 2016 at 1:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Don’t need a hint, JS – it was my first one in!
        Just putting in an advance request to Prolixic for a musical accompaniment to the review.

  7. Expat Chris
    Posted May 30, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Frustration in the Southwest corner led me to reveal a few letters. Overall, I liked 7/20, 5D and 17D the most (though with the same reservation as Gazza on 17D). I did not like all the “Lionel” clues, which for me involved too much Googling. And I hated the apparent inclusion of what I call text-speak. It would have been OK if 1D began with “Sounds like..” I have question marks beside a few more that no doubt will become clear during the review. Thanks JS, but this was not really my cup of tea.

  8. snape
    Posted May 30, 2016 at 3:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This was a bit tough for me – but I enjoyed the tussle, even though I needed lots of electronic help and a few reveal letters, and have plenty un- or half-parsed. Plenty of clever devices, a chuckle when I twigged what Sam had to do with 16a, and I liked the splitting in 4d, although I haven’t worked out how up=on. I’m less keen on some other non-Xim things when they only seem to make things more difficult.
    I didn’t find 7d a write in, only getting it once I had 7a, but I really liked it, but it is just beaten to favourite spot by 5d. That’s just from the 50% I could parse, though, so I will read Prolixic’s review with great interest
    Many thanks JS.

  9. Encota
    Posted May 30, 2016 at 3:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi JS,

    A clever puzzle with lots of inventive devices – enjoyable! I had to reveal 22d then couldn’t see how I’d missed it.

    [Unfortunately, whilst solving I have been infected by two Lionel earworms featured.
    I may need to treat it with some Radiohead or Porcupine Tree, else it is unlikely to clear up before 2019 or so ;-) ]

    I very much liked your stage direction in 1d! 8 pushed the bounds a bit, I felt, in a good way. 24 – I couldn’t quite parse ‘does not’ – I’ll await Prolixic’s comments on this one. Also liked 10’s clean surface.


  10. Jane
    Posted May 30, 2016 at 5:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Well, I’ve filled in all the little boxes but really don’t know why, or even if, some of my answers are correct.
    Like Chris, I’m not a fan of text-speak – feels as though the setter’s using them as ‘get out of jail free’ cards. Much the same as the endless list of single letters that are used to represent ‘constant’ or ‘unknown’.
    Quite a few that I did enjoy however – 6&16a plus 3&4d get places on the podium.

    Thanks, Jolly Swagman – I shall await the review with much interest!

  11. Maize
    Posted May 30, 2016 at 5:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Lots of fun to be had on the first three quarters of this solve. My favourites were 7/20a, 1d, 5d, 18d and 21d.
    All my reservations were saved for the SW corner where the convoluted inticacies of 23a, 27a and 17d met with the general knowledge guesswork at 19a and 19d plus a couple of word counts going into the high teens – a little excessive even for me as a defender of longish clues!
    Overall though a super puzzle with an upbeat feel and a nice theme. Many thanks JS.
    Glad to have finished with only one quick dip into Collins to identify the right Mr Walpole, but I’m still failing to parse 15d…

    • Gazza
      Posted May 30, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

      For 15d start with the ‘In’ then put your answer in front of words 3 and 4 of the clue to get ‘like a teacher’.

      • Maize
        Posted May 30, 2016 at 7:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

        A-ha – blend words 3 & 4 together…Thanks Gazza – knew I could rely on you!

  12. jean-luc cheval
    Posted May 30, 2016 at 6:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Almost done.
    Still have 22d and 26d to go.
    4 letter words are often the most difficult to get for some strange reason.
    7d made me laugh. We never see that in the DT although I have seen it in other newspapers.
    For 15d, I had the Latin bit for here but forgot about the phrase. Thanks to Gazza for the hint.
    Funny how the first clues I got where missing proper indicators 6a (dean), 11a (compensation), 2d (de clutter) and 8d (no airs). 14a (maybe easy) could also do with a plural indicator.
    Really good penny drop moment in 17d and agree with Gazza that lunch is not necessarily at this time.
    Congratulations on the anagram in 9/25/28, not the easiest set of letters and it reminded me of Elgar for some reason.
    19d (Lionel’s single) added a new line to the song. I’m now singing: What’s this, you’re kidding, is it me you’re looking for?
    All in all I found the challenge a real pleasure.
    Thanks to JS.

  13. Kath
    Posted May 30, 2016 at 6:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Oh dear – I’m a bit stuck – quite a big bit stuck.
    I’ll come back to it later on this evening or maybe tomorrow.
    I know this is my problem and absolutely nothing to do with the setter but I’m finding some of the clues very long winded and, having the attention span of a gnat, I’ve forgotten the beginning before I’ve got to the end.
    I’m also not terribly good at clues where the answer is spread around – again, my problem I know.
    Back later or tomorrow but, in the meantime, thanks to JollySwagman (not sure you know what ‘easy’ means) and to whoever does the review – looks like I’m going to need it.

  14. Prolixic
    Posted May 31, 2016 at 6:27 am | Permalink | Reply

    Morning all. A quick post to say that the review will be up on Tuesday evening when I get back from work.

  15. dutch
    Posted May 31, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink | Reply

    Well done JS – I was impressed with the elegance and abundance of shortish clues. 6a, 7a, 14a, 16a, 1d, 3d, 4d, 5d, 7d, 18d were all brilliant. Of these, 6a, 5d and 17d particularly rocked my boat – I love the simple elegance that goes AWOL in longer clues, though I realise you say there’s a place for those too.

    This took me a few sittings, but that was under deplorable conditions, having downloaded into across lite during a brief breakfast wifi window, then squirming on an uncomfortable beach recliner without any obliging clouds to allay the reflection from my iPad – it didn’t help that the Minorcan sun pushed my transformation glasses to max dark – and no opportunity to cheat – but I got there in the end though not sure I’ve parsed everything correctly, and I am keen to see if I am right when I go to breakfast shortly (oh, tomorrow then)

    I did have some quibbles that maybe others picked up, I thought we needed ‘NO’ airs for example, and ‘lunchtime’ in 17d. Though I’m not a lift and separate fan, I thought Sam was clever, justifying use of random names.

    Thank you, very enjoyable puzzle.

    And 6a reminded me of the snow goose

    • Posted May 31, 2016 at 10:34 am | Permalink | Reply

      I don’t think you’ll be getting much sympathy for those “deplorable conditions” somehow, Dutch!

  16. Rabbit Dave
    Posted May 31, 2016 at 9:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks very much Prolixic for clarifying most of my concerns. I am not keen on “they” doing double duty in 10a, nor on lunch being used for I in 17d. Also, is it acceptable in 2d for “first” to be used to mean the first letter of two preceding words?

  17. snape
    Posted May 31, 2016 at 9:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Many thanks Prolixic. Several questions answered, including some I hadn’t considered asking. I get the impression more and more that indication of names such as in 6a seems to just be a judgement call on fairness to the solver – just a case of how many options are there? I would actually have thought this was more in need of an indicator than 13a, as once you suspect Ma is a person (I didn’t!) there aren’t many choices (I don’t think).
    It would have been easy enough to put the definition at the end of 6a (Dean and I meet for drink), so I suspect this was just JS mischief.
    I tend to consider any punctuation fair game, but am not keen on ‘first place = p’ type devices, but I don’t know why I should dislike this more than other non-Ximenean devices.
    I still don’t see how up=on, so if anyone can help, please do.
    Thanks again to JS for a great tussle, and to Prolixic for winning it.

  18. Jane
    Posted May 31, 2016 at 10:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    You really are just the best, Prolixic! Many, many thanks for the music and also for stopping my brain from hurting over the parsing of some of this one.

    Unlike Snape, I had far more trouble sorting out Ma than Dean, that’s probably an age thing……
    11a had me fooled for ages. Yap looked so much like ‘back pay’ and that is indeed what I put in at first until I couldn’t find a ‘spirit’ to fit in with the resulting checkers in 6d. Does ‘sick’ as an indicator only ever mean ‘reverse the whole word’?

    Surprisingly, I did eventually put all the correct letters in the little boxes but there were at least six that I never fully parsed. Having looked at the review, I probably never would have worked them out.

    Thanks again, Jolly Swagman. Could we possibly have one with a little less text-speak next time?

    • Expat Chris
      Posted May 31, 2016 at 11:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

      A lot less text- speak. Preferably no text speak at all. It’s not that I’m older (which I am) and thus a generational thing. It’s more that with such a rich and diverse language to play with, why revert to such devices, especially in a word/language oriented cryptic crossword setting?

      • Maize
        Posted June 1, 2016 at 1:07 am | Permalink | Reply

        I’ve watched the use of ‘you’ for U slowly, slowly creep from ‘you, according to texters’ through ‘you text’ to ‘you?’ and now just ‘you’.
        But I shouldn’t worry too much Chris, Crosswordland seems to be a pretty conservative place to me with regard to textspeak – even if it is wildly experimental in other ways!

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted May 31, 2016 at 11:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think the “sick” is only an anagram indicator but it was rather unfortunate that yap is pay backwards.
      With the huge possibilities of anagrams of a three letter word, this kind of mishap is bound to happen.

    • snape
      Posted June 1, 2016 at 6:59 am | Permalink | Reply

      Oh, I had far less trouble with Dean – I never did sort out Ma, just bunged the answer in and checked. I just meant that, in terms of famous people, there is probably only one possibility so maybe Ma can define Yo-yo just as Garfunkel could only really be Art, whereas Dean is an example of a Martin as there are quite a few. On the other hand, I may be talking nonsense.

      • Jane
        Posted June 1, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I see where you’re coming from Snape but it does also require an extra leap to realise that the ‘Ma’ in question is a famous person rather than somebody’s mother! Umm…. having said that, I suppose the ‘Dean’ could have been someone who’s the head of a college or chapter, so perhaps it’s just me?

  19. Expat Chris
    Posted May 31, 2016 at 11:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks, Prolixic, for your typically thorough and instructive review. You sorted out all of my questions.

    JS, as I said before, this wasn’t my cup of tea but I do commend you. I would not have the courage or the know-how to even try being a setter…or a reviewer, come to that.

  20. jean-luc cheval
    Posted May 31, 2016 at 11:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for explaining the NO airs! Didn’t get it at all.
    Thanks for the videos too.

  21. JollySwagman
    Posted June 1, 2016 at 3:11 am | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for all the comments and for trying the puzzle. It sounds like I kept a lot of you out of mischief for a good while – and maybe induced a few earworms and possibly one case of sunburn.

    A few notes – I’ve tried to address every point raised this time, so this may go on a bit.

    My attitude to DBE (definition by example) indicators is that they should not be thought of as compulsory but should be added where the setter wants to help the solver along a bit. I agree that the number of possible interpretations of a particular word is a good measure of how much help is needed but in the case of famous people I would rarely expect any help to be needed. Sinatra will obviously indicate Frank (or Nancy?) – Frank has more possibilities – how much help might also be influenced by how hard the other side of the clue is – or how tricky the setter wants the puzzle to be. Degree of fame is of course subjective; I doubt if there are still judges who haven’t heard of the Beatles (a guitar group popular with the young m’lud) but there may well be lovers of classical music for whom Yo-Yo Ma is a household name, but they haven’t heard of Lionel Richie.

    Capitalisation and punctuation (also word-splitting) I view the same as Barnard (one of the books listed in Prolixic’s cluing blurb) – not the other two (which deviously present themselves as having universal application but are actually just proselytisations of ximeneanism) – ie read through it. You can call it deception if you want (surely that’s what the whole game is about) but in the end you will derive an answer consisting of all capital letters with any punctuation stripped out.

    A number of commenters didn’t like txtspk. Sorry – you’ll be getting more and more of that now that dictionaries increasingly list the more common ones. Personally I wasn’t really relying on that. I’ve always regarded unindicated homophones for single letters (tea for T etc) as being fair game.

    In Tim Moorey’s book “How to Crack Cryptic Crosswords” he writes “A long-established extension of reverse homophones is that ‘you’ may be used as a proxy for ‘you say’ to give the letter U in part of the wordplay.” I’m not sure how that’s supposed to work but ‘you’ for U was certainly around (in some quarters) long before textspeak. By coincidence Monday’s Independent puzzle (recommended) by Daedalus had it (4d).

    Repetition – within reason I don’t really regard repetition as a fault.

    6a – position of def (Snape) – yes – I thought of making that substitution as a last-minute edit – but decided not to on the basis that having the first one like that would alert solvers of what to expect next.

    10a should be read as an &lit – ie read the whole clue through twice to get the two different sides of the clue – one side being people who travel – the other side being people who shorten things.

    11a is parabolic (reverse clue) – I was thinking of Uncle Yap, who used to blog for FifteenSquared – now, as Sayang, sets puzzles for the FT occasionally – (Jane) I hadn’t noticed that the anagram turned out to be an exact reversal – when that happens I don’t think it really matters.

    14a (JLC) plural? easy chairs – easy chair – not sure why it’s not equally applicable to either – and I even gave you a DBE indication – at no extra charge – there’s gratitude for you :-)

    16a for me the word-split is business as usual – such a short clue – such a short word – for a longish answer – surely something unusual is going on. Actually I thought S for Sunday was the cheeky bit there – that’s why I gave it an exclamation mark. Apologies – there’s a private joke in there too – Sam is my girlfriend’s name – or at least her preferred appellation (based on her initials).

    2d is parabolic – the reversal is indicated by UP in the answer. “your den first” gives Y D – it (what you’ve got there) needs IT.

    12d read as &lit (or partial &lit) homophone (They say) of “the people who work here deliver the goods” CREW SHIPS
    read the whole clue again for CRUISE SHIPS.

    24a is just a joke – it doesn’t deconstruct, even for me, but surely the answer has to be what it is.

    26a Book of Common prayer. Common you say – my old mum wouldn’t have liked that one little bit. Actually I was thinking Matthew 15:26 “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” in which many confuse meet for meat.

    A couple more:

    @Dutch – OK – we’re all jealous. Actually – in summer here you dream of clouds; it’s winter now – so you dream of sunshine again – but less intensely than you would back home.

    Snape = up=on – they both can mean “working” – as in functioning, switched on.

    Anyway – thanks all – thanks to BD for hosting – and especial thanks to Prolixic for not only performing the exorcism but also for supplying the music links. That first one – the musicianship – it’s just him, voice and piano both – live – and that’s after he wrote the jolly song in the first place.

    • Expat Chris
      Posted June 1, 2016 at 3:22 am | Permalink | Reply

      Goodness me. Well that’s the lot of us put in our places.

    • dutch
      Posted June 1, 2016 at 9:15 am | Permalink | Reply

      Haha – I did get sunburnt!

    • Maize
      Posted June 1, 2016 at 10:37 am | Permalink | Reply

      I agree with all of that JS – but for me repetition ‘within reason’ means no repetition at all!
      Obviously individual words will be repeated – and often with comic effect – but surely there should be no repeats of either indicators or abbreviations within one puzzle – the reason being that variety is amusing and repetition is dull.
      Indeed, in my latest puzzle I’m slightly unhappy about having ‘four’ for IV in one place and ‘five’ for V in another, but will probabably fail to think of an alternative!

      • snape
        Posted June 1, 2016 at 11:45 am | Permalink | Reply

        Probabably being a fine example of letters being repeated for comic effect

        • Maize
          Posted June 1, 2016 at 6:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Wasn’t it Araucaria who came up with the following clue:
          Of of of of of of of of of of? (10)

          • Jane
            Posted June 1, 2016 at 7:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

            I rather like that one!

      • silvanus
        Posted June 1, 2016 at 5:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I totally concur with that first comment, Maize, in fact I’m probably beginning to bore others by now with the fact that it’s always on my personal radar!

        There are so many alternative options that are always available to a setter that it never ceases to surprise me when examples of repetition creep in to the most experienced compilers’ puzzles, recent Jay and Giovanni back-pagers springing to mind. JS will doubtless say what’s sauce for the goose etc, but, if I’m brutally honest, to me it usually smacks of either lazy cluing or poor editing, or both.

    • Jane
      Posted June 1, 2016 at 1:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi JS. Thank you for taking the time to go through and respond to so many of the comments. However, I think it fair to say that for most of us, once you get into jargon like ‘proselytisations of ximeneanism’ you’ve completely lost us!

      Is it also fair to assume that any of us have heard of Uncle Yap? Surely you must have noticed that ‘yap’ is an exact reversal of ‘pay’ and that solvers would latch onto that?

      I stand by what I said regarding text-speak and think Chris’s comment about the richness of the English language is very valid. Likewise, the use of single letters to represent an unspecified word. Sometimes it can work extremely well – ‘Sam’ for instance in this puzzle – but I think it’s easy to take the concept to extremes.

      Without wishing to appear rude, is it perhaps somewhat incumbent upon a setter to tailor his/her puzzles to the target audience? I think the BD commenters are fairly representative of the vast majority who tackle crosswords set by the national papers – is that not the market you are aiming to reach?

      I’d certainly give another of your puzzles a try, but with some trepidation!

      None of the above would stop me from trying another of your puzzles but it would

      • Jane
        Posted June 1, 2016 at 3:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Sorry about the last ‘half-sentence’. Don’t know how it got in there!

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