Rookie Corner – 125

A Puzzle by Jeroboam

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Jeroboam has been a regular entrant in our Monthly Prize Puzzle competition and has decided to have a go at setting one of his own.  I hope you enjoy it.  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 by Prolixic follows.

A super start from Jeroboam.  It takes some bottle to put out your first crossword and this was a magnum opus.  There was a good variety of clues.  Some of them might have been a little smoother.  There are a few minor points that have mostly been picked up in the comments.


1 Beastly operations omit 66 cuts. (8)
SECTIONS – Remove two VIs (6) from a word for scientific experiments performed on animals.  A general point, but the convention is not to put full stops at the end of clues.

5 Football Association lies about improvement in cup form. (6)
FALSIE – The abbreviation for the football association followed by an anagram (about) of LIES.  I don’t see a problem with this in the singular.  Following an operation, someone may have only one fitted.

10 Respond to mixed race, first half of TT. (5)
REACT – An anagram (mixed) of RACE followed by the first of the Ts from TT.

11 Doctor the French order. Extra starter is good for you. (9)
WHOLESOME – The doctor who travels in a Tardis followed by the French plural for “the”, the abbreviation for Order of Merit and the first letter (starter) of extra.

12 Beset by grief, broken, we beg no-one to lose love. (9)
WOEBEGONE – An anagram (broken) of WE BEG NO-ONE without a letter O (for love).  Unfortunately, it is on of the Ns that has to be removed, not one of the Os.

13 McDonald’s choice to dine at home. (3,2)
EAT IN – A double definition of how you can choose to dine at McDonalds or to dine at home.

14 Rabbit, perhaps, takes measure to get shot. (6)
PELLET – A three letter word for a rabbit (or cat or do, etc) includes (takes) a measure of cloth.

15 Albeit time for cogitation. (7)
THOUGHT – A six letter word meaning albeit followed by the abbreviation for time.

18 Miss Loe prepared to be flexible. (7)
LISSOME – An anagram (prepared) of MISSLOE.

20 Working Cockney chap. Method not requiring reciprocation. (3,3)
ONE WAY – A two letter word for working followed by how a Cockney would say “he” and another word for method.

22 Scratch the previous clue. (5)
SCORE – Double definition, the second being the number of the previous clue.

24 Not closed, closed. It may never be. (4,5)
OPEN ENDED – A word meaning the opposite of closed and a word meaning finished or closed.  As others have pointed out, the answer is usually hyphenated to give 4-5.

25 Dull chase for a speedy dog. (9)
GREYHOUND – A word meaning dull (unless in variety of Fifty Shades – so I am told) and word meaning chase.  As the final five letters of the answer indicate that the dog is one that chases, perhaps a different synonym could be used.  Perhaps “Dull scoundrel’s speedy dog”.

26 Forces not satisfied. (5)
UNMET – The abbreviation for peacekeeping forces followed by the abbreviation for the London police force.  I am happy with the peacekeepers being a “force”.

27 Brown returns flower for Mother? (6)
NATURE – Reverse (returns) a three letter word for brown and follow it with the name of a  river.

28 Sailor backed vote for new church’s temporary shelving. (8)
ABEYANCE – The abbreviation for able seaman followed by the reversal (backed) of a vote for something, the abbreviation for new and the abbreviation for Church of England.


1 Spread betting on fight that hasn’t started. (6)
SPRAWL – The abbreviation for starting price (betting) followed by a word for a rough fight without its first letter (that hasn’t started).

2 Continuous energy absorbed by action in smaller quantity (9)
CEASELESS – Another word for a legal action includes (absorbed) the abbreviation for energy and this is followed by a word meaning in smaller quantity.

3 Healthier gent to swing with nothing on. (2,3,10)

4 Fresh hull or kiel for Welsh city (7)
NEWPORT – A three letter word meaning fresh followed by a word describing Hull or Kiel.  The convention is that you can capitalise a noun to mislead but you should not put a proper noun into lower case to mislead.

6 Get on prior to bombshell dropped cheekily into conversation with someone older. (3,6,6)
AGE BEFORE BEAUTY – A word meaning to get on or grow old followed by a word meaning prior to and another word for  bombshell or pretty man or woman.
7 Way off being strong (5)
STOUT – The abbreviation for street (way) followed by a word meaning off.

8 Revive yet inter forever. (8)
ETERNITY – An anagram (revive) of YET INTER.  I am happy with revive as an anagram indicator in the sense of reanimate or refresh.

9 Powerful Company man. (6)
COGENT – The abbreviation for company (not sure why this needs to be capitalised) followed by a word meaning a man.

16 One who defends man; drag us out. (9)
GUARDSMAN – An anagram (out) OF MAN DRAG US.

17 Shooter uses it to throw light on second weapon. (8)
FLASHGUN – A word meaning quick or second followed by a type of weapon.

19 Book former love from the French south. (6)
EXODUS – The abbreviation for former, the letter O (love), the French for from the and the abbreviation for south.  Having use love for O in 12a (albeit incorrectly) a different word could have been used here).

20 Add speech later, bud? (7)
OVERDUB – A reverse cryptic clue, the answer would be a way cryptically to represent bud.

21 Rhyme dry with eye without the old spy. (6)
ODETTE – Another word for a poem or rhyme followed by the abbreviation for teetotal (dry) and the “eye” from the clue without the Old English version of “the”.  As the answer is a spy, this does not have to be  indicated by a ? at the end of the clue.  If it were the reverse, where the definition was an example of the solution, it would need a ? or a maybe to indicate a definition by example.

23 Top secret patent. (5)
OVERT – Remove the first letter (top) from a word meaning secret.


  1. Gazza
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink | Reply

    I enjoyed that – thanks Jeroboam. If this is your first crossword then it’s very impressive. There are lots of clues to like – I’ll list 1a, 5a, 22a, 21d and 23d.
    I may be missing something but I can’t quite make the 12a anagram work. In 4d hull or kiel should be capitalised. A few of the surface readings, e.g. 20a and 8d, need a bit of polish.

    • Jeroboam
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 10:59 am | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Gazza for your feedback. This is indeed my first and as yet only crossword although I’ve been working at it off and on for several months (more off than on). When Big Dave sent out his SOS for new blood in Rookie Corner, I decided it was now or never and finished it off and sent it in. I’ve been a keen follower of Rookie Corner since it’s inception and I know I’ll get some excellent and constructive feedback which I aim to use to develop my setting skills over time.

      I’m very pleased that you found some clues to enjoy and have already started to learn some lessons. Most notably that I should check and double check my clues (you’re quite right that the anagram at 12a doesn’t work).

      I also didn’t know that Hull and Kiel should be capitalised (I think in my own mind I thought lower case may act as some sort of deception)

      I’m hoping that my surface readings will improve with experience as I can readily see myself that some of these are rather clunky.

      • Gazza
        Posted August 29, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink | Reply

        On capitalisation it’s ok to capitalise a word to mislead but not the other way round – to quote Prolixic’s magnum opus “Setters should not put a proper noun (that would normally have an initial capital) into lower case to mislead. The solution here is to try and write the clue with the relevant word at the beginning so that it naturally has a capital at the beginning of the sentence.”.

        • Jeroboam
          Posted August 29, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink | Reply

          Thanks for that Gazza, I clearly need to read Prolixic’s guide more thoroughly.

          • Posted August 29, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

            There’s an interesting piece here about capitals.

            • Jeroboam
              Posted August 29, 2016 at 2:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

              Thanks for that Kitty. Looks useful. I’ve added it to my homework pile.

  2. silvanus
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 10:48 am | Permalink | Reply

    I agree with Gazza, for a first attempt that was a very good effort.

    There were several excellent clues, I liked particularly 5a, 28a, 3d (great anagram), 6d, 7d and 23d. The anagram in 12a didn’t work for me either, although to be honest if eight of the nine letters in the answer appear in the same order as in the fodder, it isn’t the greatest of anagrams anyway! The ones in 18a and 16d were fairly weak too.

    The surfaces did vary considerably and I agree could have been improved in a number of cases.

    Congratulations, Jeroboam. A very promising debut!

    P.S. When I printed off my PDF copy of the puzzle, I did notice that there were few, if any, gaps between individual clue words, perhaps that was a formatting issue?

    • Jeroboam
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 11:12 am | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Silvanus for your feedback. As with Gazza I’m very happy you found some clues to enjoy. Strangely enough I find anagram clues quite a challenge. I think it’s partly due to the fact that I’m not a great fan of them when I’ve got my solving hat on. So perhaps the message I should be taking on board is not to do so many. ( This does not excuse the error in 12a, which as you say wouldn’t be much cop even if it was correctly clued).

      I used the Crossword Compiler software and it seems I’ve got some work to do there as well. My printed copy also suffers from a lack of gaps, so clearly I’ve not formatted the puzzle correctly.

      Surface readings are an area which I hope to improve with experience. Looking at the printed version of my puzzle I can see that a number of the clues are rather basic and lack any sort of disguise.

      • silvanus
        Posted August 29, 2016 at 11:38 am | Permalink | Reply

        Hi Jeroboam,

        Interesting to hear what you say about anagram clues. I think one’s attitude to them as a solver can certainly influence how one approaches them as a setter. Perhaps you might have considered one or two lurkers (hiddens) as alternative options (18a lends itself to one, as does 10a), as I don’t recall any appearing in the puzzle?

        • Jeroboam
          Posted August 29, 2016 at 2:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Hi Silvanus. I probably should have tried to squeeze at least one lurker in. The hard part is to come up with one that’s not immediately obvious. I’ll definitely make a point of including one in my next attempt. Thanks for the suggestion.

  3. Jane
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 11:07 am | Permalink | Reply

    Surely not your first puzzle, Jeroboam! Some really good ideas in here that worked well. I had ticks for 1&22a plus 1,9,21&23d with several others not far behind.
    Like Gazza, I couldn’t make 12a work if it is indeed an anagram and I thought 16d needed a bit more work.

    Thank you for answering BD’s appeal for more contributions to Rookie Corner – I hope there’ll be more to come from you.

    • Jeroboam
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 11:19 am | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Jane for your kind comments. A good lesson learnt for me with 12a and I can see that on the whole my anagram clues could be much improved. I very much hope to submit further puzzles and hope they’ll show I’ve taken on board the lessons learnt from this one.

  4. crypticsue
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 11:10 am | Permalink | Reply

    My comments would be more or less what Gazza said, and I’d add what Silvanus said about the words all running together on the pdf version of the puzzle.

    Thanks Jeroboam – hope we see you again in Rookie Corner.

    • Jeroboam
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 11:23 am | Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for feedback Crypticsue. I’ve taken on board the comments from Gazza and Silvanus and will hopefully learn from them. I very much hope I’ll be back here in the future.

  5. Arepo
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks Jeroboam – an enjoyable puzzle and as others have said, one that shows a lot of promise.

    One thing to keep an eye on is that there are quite a few places here where you’re at least flirting with etymological crossover – i.e. part of the wordplay meaning the same as part of the solution. This is something to be very careful about because it tends to lead to unsatisfying clues. It can work (e.g. I think the ‘get on’ and ‘bombshell’ in 6d work well – the ‘prior to’ less so), but whenever you’re breaking up a compound word in the “obvious” way (think 25a and 17d) consider whether the wordplay and solution are substantially different.

    A few other notes:

    -Shame about 12a, as others have noted – the surface and idea are good and maybe it can be rejigged – perhaps one to play with.
    -The nerd in me is taking umbrage with 11a (“but that’s not actually his name!”) but whether most solvers and editors care about this is another matter…
    -Have to agree with Silvanus about the weakness of the anagrams in 18a and 16d
    -I think I need convincing that ‘revive’ works as an anagram indicator

    The measure in 14a was new to me, as were 28a and the betting in 1d, but the wordplay was all clear enough that none of them caused any issues.

    Don’t understand 26a – wait, perhaps I do – but is the first part really a ‘force’? Jury’s out. Or maybe I’m missing something still…

    Having said all that, there really was a lot to like here – particular respect for 9d, 27a, 7d, 1d, 20d, 5a, 21d and 23d (a brilliant and original approach to an age-old construction), but I think my favourite is probably 22a. Keep it up!

    • Arepo
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

      PS. Just a minor point – but full stops at the end of clues are really not necessary!

    • Starhorse
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 12:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I wondered about the first part of 26a, but I think it’s fine – they are more commonly referred to as “peacekeepers”, at least in crosswords, but I think the term “peacekeeping forces” is also used.

      What have I missed in 23d? It just looked like a straight double definition to me, but on reflection it can’t be.

      • Arepo
        Posted August 29, 2016 at 12:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Yes, I think you’re right and it’s probably fine – I’ll be interested to hear Prolixic’s ruling.

        23d is using ‘top’ in the sense of ‘remove the top of’, with the definition being the final word.

      • Jane
        Posted August 29, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Hi Starhorse,
        In 23d try taking a 6 letter word for ‘secret’ and then remove the first letter (top it) to give a word for patent.

        • Starhorse
          Posted August 29, 2016 at 12:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Doh, of course, thanks Jane/Arepo. Another nice clue.

    • Jeroboam
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 2:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Arepo for your detailed feedback and kind comments. I’m not totally up to speed with the structure of the comments on this page so hopefully this reply pops into the right place.

      I was particularly interested in your advice regarding etymological crossover. I instinctively knew that 25a was rather weak and the others you mentioned could also be improved but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was wrong with them. Your explanation is a great help in clarifying this area to me. I guess finding the right level of disguise whilst maintaining a smooth surface reading is the key to the art of good clue writing.

      On your other points.

      -Had to stop kicking myself over 12a before I risked permanent physical damage
      -No problem with being a nerd if it means you’re actually right, which you are.
      -As I said to Silvanus in my reply, anagrams are a challenge because as a solver I don’t particularly like them.
      -I can see your point with regards to ‘revive’ but I liked it in the context of the clue so decided to risk it.

      Thanks for sparking the discussion re forces. I’ll wait for the review on that one.

      I take on board your advice on full stops.

  6. Starhorse
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I too think this is very accomplished for a first puzzle. It took me a while and I had to do a certain amount of revealing. There are one or two I can’t parse.

    3d was my way in and is a good anagram clue; agree with others that the other anagrams need a bit more work.

    I think 2d has a superfluous “in”, assuming I am reading it correctly i.e. Energy inside a word for action, followed by a word for smaller quantity; as written I think it implies the first part is also inside the word for smaller quantity.

    Online OED and Chambers only have 5a as a plural, Collins does have the singular, which seems fair enough to me. Not sure if 1 out of 3 is OK!

    24a is hyphenated in all three dictionaries, so the numeration needs to be 4-5. Lovely clue though.

    That along with 3d, 17d, 22a, 28a and 21d were the ones I particularly liked as I worked through.

    Agree about capitalisation in 4d, though you don’t need to capitalise Company in 9d if you don’t want to.
    One other convention by the way is that clues never have a full stop at the end; I’ve no idea why

    Thanks for this Jeroboam, nicely done – hope you’ll be cracking one open to celebrate. Look forward to your next.

    • Arepo
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 12:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think 2d works if you take “in smaller quantity” as the definition of the final four letters.

      • Starhorse
        Posted August 29, 2016 at 12:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Ah, OK, fair enough.

    • Jeroboam
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Starhorse thanks for your feedback. I’ll probably just have to make do with a pint in the local hostelry.

      As I’ve said to others here, anagrams are not my favourite when solving so I either need to cut back on them or learn to clue them in a better way.

      Arepo’s explanation of 2d is what I intended.

      Regarding the plural of 5a; the lesson I take from this is that I should have checked rather than just assuming the singular form existed. Meat Loaf would not have been happy with 1 out of 3 is OK.

      The comment about checking also applies to the hyphenation of 24a

  7. Posted August 29, 2016 at 12:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A very pleasant puzzle Jeroboam, and an impressive debut – thanks and well done.

    I don’t have much to add as it’s all been said. I particularly liked 1a (which took a while to parse – very clever) and 22a. The only one on my shortlist that isn’t on Gazza’s is 1d.

    • Jeroboam
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 2:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Kitty. Your comments are very much appreciated and thanks for the link re capitalisation you appended to Gazza’s earlier comments.

  8. Colin
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 12:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Enjoyed this puzzle a lot. More please.

    • Jeroboam
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Colin, that’s great to hear. I’ll do my best.

  9. Encota
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 12:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Jeroboam and Welcome!

    I liked that a lot and you should be really proud of that – especially if that really is your first!
    I’ve made a few notes as I went through – details appended below. All errors and omissions in these comments are my own!
    I’d offer only three small areas of improvement, I think all of which have been mentioned above:
    – beware ‘de-capitalising’ words that should be Capitalised;
    – double-check your anagrams to ensure chunks of them aren’t the same as the answer, and
    – take care if you are using an example as a synonym for the definition to indicate as such. In most cases you have done this but I think I spotted two where you hadn’t (see below).
    Loads of great clues: 5, 22 and 23 particularly appealed.


    Overall really strong accurate clueing.

    16d MAN perhaps a bit too obvious in the anagram?
    12a ONE perhaps a bit too obvious in the anagram?
    4d uncapitalised; definition_by_example indicator?
    1a 66: sneaky!
    23d good use of verb
    22a neat
    26a ‘Forces’ ++
    21d spy for one perhaps needs an example indicator e.g. ?
    5a clever def

    • Jeroboam
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 3:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Encata for your typically detailed feedback. I totally accept your suggested areas of improvement. To go through specific comments:

      16d – I think lack of disguise is one of the main issues for me. There are a number of clues where the wordplay is just too obvious.
      12a – The less said about this attempt at an anagram the better.
      4d – I was unaware of this rule but as Gazza pointed out earlier it is in Prolixic’s guide.
      23d – I was surprised that this clue seems to have sparked off a bit of a discussion because when I came up with it I thought it was a bit too obvious, although of course I did know the answer!
      22a – Thanks, not sure why, but I wasn’t sure if this sort of clue was completely within the rules.
      21d – Yes I agree
      5a – Thanks although there maybe some doubt about the singular.

      • Jose
        Posted August 30, 2016 at 11:57 am | Permalink | Reply

        J. 5a: I don’t think there’s any problem with the singular usage. Falsies are just bra pads and they are mostly used in pairs, but it is not uncommon for certain slightly lop-sided women to wear just one (not that I’m an expert on such things, you understand).

  10. JollySwagman
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 12:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Jeroboam

    Lots of nice work in there – a few tweaks needed though.

    I haven’t looked at the other (numerous) comments yet so I’ll just indicate what I observed and noted. Probably most has already been covered.

    Throughout: No need to show the full stops on the end of a clue – the convention (it used not to be so a long long time ago) is to omit them. Question marks and exclamations marks can remain.

    12a – wrong letters I think – if “love” were “heart” you could have had:
    anag(broken) of WE BEG NO O(n)E
    Maybe there’s another reading. I can’t see one.

    13a A bit same-both-sidesy
    20a – just a typo
    24a – Shouldn’t that be hyphenated?
    9d Why capitalise company? Mother in 27a I imagine was because Mother Nature is shown capitalised in dictionaries – that’s OK – even there it might be optional – superfluous capitals give the game away a bit – needed sometimes if you’re trying to be ximenean of course.

    Minor things really.

    Clues I ticked were:

    5a – nice giggle.
    11a – nifty charade
    26a nifty – ie the second force
    28a – nice wordplay
    21d – clever stuff

    Many thanks for the fun – be sure to try your hand at this again.

    • Jeroboam
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 3:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for your feedback JollySwagman.

      Very cross with myself for 12a. Just a silly mistake.
      13a – I left this clue in without ever being fully satisfied with it. So the lesson here is not to do that.
      20a – I thought I knew how to spell requiring (well spotted)
      24a – Yes, another lesson in proper checking
      9d – Capitalisation or lack of it is clearly an area I need to brush up on, as others have mentioned.

      I certainly aim to take everybody’s comments on board and come up with another one

  11. stanXYZ
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 2:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to Jeroboam for a very entertaining and “professional” puzzle – lots to enjoy in this grid.

    It’s difficult to believe that this is your first and only puzzle.

    I will leave the quibbles to your fellow Rookies – they know far better than me.

    20d – my favourite – I love a reverse anagram.

    Looking forward to your next one – but I appreciate that it might take some time.

    • Jeroboam
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 3:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks stanXYZ for your kind comments. This really is my only puzzle to date and because I have a tendency to be overly self critical, I’ve been genuinely surprised that everybody has found at least some clues to enjoy. I’ll definitely be looking to submit another one.

  12. Kath
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 5:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Having never even tried to set a crossword I can’t do criticism, constructive or otherwise, so I’ll just say I really enjoyed this one and leave it at that.
    I didn’t notice the slight problem with the 12a anagram.
    If my answer to 1a is right I don’t understand it and I don’t quite get 22a either.
    I liked 5a and 21d. The two that I liked best were 25a and 3d because they both made me laugh.
    Thank you and congratulations to Jeroboam – I think it must take a lot of guts to stick your head above the parapet like this. :smile:

    • Jane
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Kath,
      Assuming I’ve got it right:-
      1a – think of an operation that could be carried out on a ‘beast’ and it hopefully starts with two references to the Latin numerals for 6.
      22a – think of the number of the clue that immediately precedes it.

      • Kath
        Posted August 29, 2016 at 7:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks and hmmm – 22a is just a :roll: for me, and an ‘oh dear’ and a how dim!
        Think my 1a just could be wrong although I can’t think of much else that would fit . . .

        • Jane
          Posted August 29, 2016 at 7:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Not 22a, Kath, the clue that precedes it!

          • Kath
            Posted August 29, 2016 at 7:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

            That’s what I meant about 22a – i.e. how on earth could I have been so mystified?

            • Jane
              Posted August 29, 2016 at 8:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

              Sorry, Kath – wires well and truly crossed!

      • Kath
        Posted August 29, 2016 at 7:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Rats!! Just got why my 1a IS right – thanks. Just don’t really want to think about it – whether I like it or not it’s a pretty smart clue.

    • Jeroboam
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 7:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Kath for your kind words. I’m glad I made you laugh as I don’t think crossword solving should be too serious a business. It’s quite easy to stick your head above the parapet in Rookie Corner when so many take the time to both attempt the puzzle and then comment so constructively and positively about it.

  13. KiwiColin
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    As we could not access this one at our usual solving time it became a late at night solo solve on our side of the world, The two long answers 3d and 6d went in quickly which gave plenty of checkers for a steady solve from then on. 4d needed a Wikipedia list for reassurance that I had it right. As is often the case it was the shorter words that were the last to yield. Plenty to enjoy and smile over.
    Thanks and well done Jeroboam

    • Jeroboam
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 7:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks KiwiColin for taking the time solve my puzzle at what sounds like a less than sociable hour. I’m glad you found something to enjoy amongst the clues and hope that in the future I will have the opportunity to test you again.

  14. Sprocker
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 9:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Jereboam,

    I thought this was very good, and particularly so for a debut puzzle. I’m a little late to the party here, and all my quibbles have been picked up above so no point in me restating them.

    There’s a lot of excellent clues, but I’ll pick 22a as my favourite.

    Well done!


    • Jeroboam
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 11:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Sprocker. Thanks for your positive feedback. It is very much appreciated.

  15. snape
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 9:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Jereboam,

    The points have all been said, pretty much. Well done, excellent debut, I had 5, 22 and 23 as my favourites.

    Regarding your points about not making the hidden words too obvious, the indicator has a lot do with this. ‘Some’ is often a signpost, so is something like ‘partially’. ‘In’, ‘of’or ‘from’ are not at all obvious as they are used so much for other things. And other phrases can disguise it very well too – so [fodder] boxes, [fodder] trousers are getting quite popular.
    The other way is to try not to have the pronunciation in the word the same as in the fodder, so ‘hall is so messy’ might be more devious than ‘Minneapolis something’ for 18. Then you have to get it into a sensible surface, of course.
    Many thanks.

    • Jeroboam
      Posted August 29, 2016 at 11:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Snape.

      Thanks for your kind comments. Your explanation of hidden words is most useful and just the sort of advice I’m looking for. The biggest challenge I face for future crosswords is to move from a fairly basic and obvious form of wordplay to a greater level of disguise, whilst maintaining a sensible surface reading. I shall definitely include a hidden word in my next puzzle and shall bear in mind everything you have mentioned. Thank you.

  16. Maize
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 9:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Jeroboam, and welcome to Rookie Corner.
    I thought this was a terrific debut. Although there are a few flaws, much more importantly the best clues are really brilliant – which implies to me that you have the potential to be a brilliant setter. :)
    My favourite was 21d with it’s superb surface; next came the similarly pleasing 24a and the cleverly worked 5a. I also have ticks by 11a, 22a (clever), 26a (isn’t the first component of the wordplay called a peacekeeping force? – seems fine to me!), 28a (done like an old hand at setting!) 2d (for maintaining the theme throughout the clue) 19d 20d and 23d (neat).

    On to the suggestions now and I would agree with Arepo in pointing out a bit of ‘etymological crossover’. This is certainly something that we see a lot of both on this site and in the dailies, and usually it’s not too significant, but in 1a and 17d ( and possibly 13a) I felt the wordplay is too similar to the definition. I expect there are others here who will say that to criticise a Rookie for it seems very unfair! Apart from that… well nothing that I noticed… oh yes, the full stops. Well, that’s been said already.
    So not really ‘a few’ flaws at all! Bravo!
    Like you I am very critical of my own clues. Generally, after I’ve ‘finished’ compiling, I’ll arrange them all in order of excellence and anything near the bottom will be re-written. Then I’ll repeat the process over and over for about a month (plenty of gaps in-between times seems to help) till I can’t squeeze another drop out of the puzzle and then I’ll send it off to Big Dave!

    • Jeroboam
      Posted August 30, 2016 at 12:11 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Maize.

      Thank you so much for your positive comments regarding my crossword. It seems I have managed to come up with a number of clues that have generally gone down well, although I am under no illusions as to how far I have to go to be considered a good setter. I could have easily have cut out some of the quibbles by double checking a few things and there are a number of clues, as you say, that have that crossover between wordplay and definition which require a deeper level of thinking to iron out.

      I like your method of ranking clues in order to weed out the less satisfactory ones, although I suspect it takes a bit of time and experience to actually recognise which are which!

      And of course I still have the review to come.

  17. Expat Chris
    Posted August 29, 2016 at 11:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I did enjoy this. Terrific debut, Jereboam. Since no-one else has commented on 21D, it must just be me being thick, but I can’t for the life of me sort it out!

    • Jeroboam
      Posted August 30, 2016 at 12:13 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Expat Chris, your positive feedback is very welcome. If it’s any help the definition in 21d is Spy.

    • JollySwagman
      Posted August 30, 2016 at 12:18 am | Permalink | Reply

      rhyme = ODE, dry = TT EYE without YE (the old) – Odette Hallowes was a spy – for our side.

      For the definition SPY indicating a particular spy is not a definition by example and does not need any further indication (eg question mark, maybe etc) – that’s required (by “some editors”) when it’s the other way round.

      • Encota
        Posted August 30, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink | Reply

        Well spotted and my mistake – thanks JS.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted August 30, 2016 at 12:18 am | Permalink | Reply

      21d – Rhyme = ODE / dry = TT and then an E … and then you’ll find a spy.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted August 30, 2016 at 12:43 am | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks all. I understand now, but knowing the answer the clue was, for me anyway, a bit what I would call loosie-goosie. I should have mentioned before that I thought 5A was splendid. As for 13A, it would be “No thanks” from me for either option! Again, great debut, Jereboam and thanks to Prolixic for the review. .

  18. Encota
    Posted August 30, 2016 at 11:00 am | Permalink | Reply

    Very useful review – thanks Prolixic, especially (for me) on the 21d clarification. Jeroboam, I really look forward to your next creation!

    • JollySwagman
      Posted August 30, 2016 at 11:06 am | Permalink | Reply

      When the blog first went up it too had it (21d) the wrong way round. It’s been changed since my comment at 12:18 appeared. Easy mistake to make.

  19. Jeroboam
    Posted August 30, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks Prolixic for taking the time to review my puzzle. I had to smile at your opening remarks and I was happy that your review didn’t find much more to worry about than had already been picked up by the wonderful contributors to this blog.

    I would just like to take the opportunity to thank everybody who made time to solve my puzzle and then pass on their comments. You’ve all given me plenty of pointers to help improve my setting skills. The generally positive reaction has genuinely been way beyond what I expected and has made my first appearance in Rookie Corner a thoroughly enjoyable one.

    So thanks again to all the commenters, Prolixic for his review and Big Dave for giving both me and other aspiring setters the platform to showcase their puzzles to a wider audience.

    The only downside is that having had a much better than expected reception for my puzzle, I now face the crossword equivalent of the difficult second album ! Hopefully I’ll be quicker than the Stone Roses who took 5 1/2 years to follow up their well received debut only to have it met with general critical opprobium.

  20. Jane
    Posted August 30, 2016 at 1:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. I’m sure your positive comments will encourage Jeroboam to bring another puzzle to Rookie corner – I certainly hope so.

  21. jean-luc cheval
    Posted August 30, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thought it was quite an achievement on a first outing.
    Delightful crossword even if I failed on 21d.
    Thanks to Jeroboam and to Prolixic for the analysis.

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