Rookie Corner – 131

A Puzzle by Dill

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Today Dill becomes the latest to put her head above the parapet. I hope you enjoy her puzzle.  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.

Apologies for the late review.  The trains were running tonight so Dill gets my full attention.  I have to say that I enjoyed this a lot more when reviewing it that when solving it for the first time on Sunday evening (I peeked at what was coming up).  Although it was not too difficult, there were one or two clues where the wordplay was a little too off beam for my liking but, in perspective, they overly coloured my initial reaction to the crossword.

There was a good food theme running through the clues.  Some of surface readings could be polished but overall there was a good standard of cluing and devices used.


1 Maybe ginger led females who sang? No (5,5)
SPICE GIRLS – The type of food of which ginger is an example (maybe) before (led) another word for females.  

7 Bearing 4 needs 6 directions (4)
VINE – What bears the answer to 4d comes from the Roman numerals for six followed by two points of the compass (directions).

9 Old man keeps notebooks in the banana family (8)
PLANTAIN – A two letter word for old man includes keeps a musical note and an abbreviation for books of the bible and all of this is followed by the IN from the clue.  Views will differ over the device of splitting one word into two to give separate wordplay elements without indication.  I don’t think that the definition defines the whole of the banana family but a member of it.  You would have to have the “in” doing double duty as part of answer and part of the definition to make the definition work.

10 Enjoy a gentleman’s condiment (6)
RELISH – Double definition time.

11 Threaten people with a perfect serving (6)
MENACE – A three letter word for people followed by another word for a perfect service in tennis.

12 Politically aloof, they accost Chinese speaking members (8)
MUGWUMPS – A three letter word meaning accost followed by a two letter word for a set of Chinese dialects and the abbreviation for members of Parliament.

13 Obscure tree fished from the Danube? (6)
FOGASH – A three letter word meaning to obscure followed by a three letter word for a type of tree.

16 Urge to get both hands round Earl who talks rot (8)
DRIVELER – A word meaning to urge followed by the abbreviation for both hands around the abbreviation for Earl.

17 Hare pâté blended with an underground pod (5,3)
EARTH PEA – An abbreviation (blended) of HARE PATE.

20 Person acting inappropriately makes king miss the end of the show (6)
GROPER – The abbreviation for King George followed by a type of musical show with the final letter missing.  I think that the construction of “miss the end of the show” for taking a word meaning a show with the final letter removed is slightly clumsy.

22 American preference to UK’s Deep Purple (8)
EGGPLANT – Double definition of the vegetable / colour in America that in England is a vegetable of a deep purple colour.

23 Say Cheshire when it’s time to snap (6)
CHEESE – Cheshire is an example of the word said when your picture is about to be taken.

25 St Nicolas holds the first of Christmas holy places (6)
SANCTA – The first letter of Christmas in the familiar way of referring to the character represented by St. Nicholas.

26 Crashed a crashed party game (m a) (8)
CHARADES – An anagram (crashed) of A CRASHED.  The (m a) in the clue is a mistake.

27 Massive almonds contain a source of protein (4)
VEAL – The answer is hidden in MASSIVE ALMONDS.

28 Hair ropes cause fear on the canal (10)
DREADLOCKS – A five letter word meaning fear followed by something found on a canal.  Prepositional indicators such as in country, on canal, by the way are sometimes seen but personally are one of my least favourite ways of defining something.


2 Beat up rising financial school (5)
PULSE – Reverse (rising) the UP from the clue and follow with the abbreviation for the London School of Economics.

3 John says thanks twice for this musical composition (7)
CANTATA – A three letter word for a toilet or John followed by a two letter word repeated (twice) for says thanks.

4 One closely related to us hasn’t to consume fruit (5)
GRAPE – The name of one of the animals closely related to us without (hasn’t) a word meaning to consume.

5 Expensive men changed and called again (7)
RENAMED – An anagram (changed) of another word for expensive and men DEARMEN.  Despite comments on the blog, this is the sort of clue that would not be permitted in daily papers.  There are very strict limits on when an indirect anagram is permitted and there must be absolutely no ambiguity for the solver.  With a clue of this type, if one word is indirect and one isn’t, then the solver has no way of knowing whether you need a five letter word for expensive and an abbreviation for men or another word for expensive and the men from the clue or another word for men, etc.

6 A redhead with a cardie on has no hesitation in showing indifference (9)
SHRUGGING – A six letter word for a redhead without the final ER (has no hesitation) with a five letter word above it for a cardigan.

7 French bike in front of Australian car to find a saucy mother (7)
VELOUTE – The French for a bike followed by another name for an Australian utility vehicle.

8 Could be Roman church welcomes tart to save face (9)
NOSEPIECE – A part of the body that could be described as Roman and the abbreviation for the Church of England includes another word for a pastry tart.  I think the definition here misses the mark.  Even as a descriptive indicator as nosepiece does not save the whole of the face.

14 Dutch help sounds juicy (9)
ORANGEADE – The colour associated with the Dutch Royal House followed by a homophone (sounds) of a word meaning to help.  I don’t think that juicy as an adjective can clue the noun.

15 Random chance has a risk (9)
HAPHAZARD – A three letter word meaning chance followed by a word meaning risk.  Perhaps the answer and the elements of the wordplay are too closely related. 

18 Being sultry has no right to be in the news (7)
TOPICAL – A word meaning sultry in terms of the weather without the letter R, has no right.

19 British lorry cut short the French thing (7)
ARTICLE – A five letter word meaning a lorry (the British is not necessary here) followed by the plural form of the in France with the last letter removed.

21 Mix 75% of 14 with nothing and put on a pizza (7)
OREGANO – Take the first 2/3 of the answer to 14 down and make an anagram (mix) of the letters with the letter O.  The 75% here is a mistake and the precise number of letters or their proportion should be used not an approximation.

23 Is this a misspelling of burnt veg? (5)
CHARD – A homophone (is this a misspelling) of charred.

24 A bit of German ham (5)
SPECK -Double definition time.


  1. 2Kiwis
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:19 am | Permalink | Reply

    We started off in fine style with the NW sector and then the pace slowed considerably. There were a few that needed BRB checking, 7d and 13a for example, but we did have answers from the wordplay that we were checking. One of the last and our favourite was 12a. We did have some thoughts as to who the setter might be but are not sure enough to commit ourselves yet. We solved 26a but are still puzzled about what the (m a) is all about. We were both challenged and amused, just what we like to find in a puzzle.
    Thanks Dill.

  2. Cyborg
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:19 am | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks, Dill, for an entertaining debut. The theme was fun, and it’s a nice way to introduce your pseudonym.

    My impression on the first pass was that this was tough. Looking back over the answers, I think one reason was the tendency to clue nouns using descriptive phrases rather than exact synonyms (7a, 9a, 12a, 8d, 14d). The broadsheets do that very sparingly, so it took me quite a while to catch on. I also needed a dictionary for some of the vocab.

    My favourite clue was 2d, which had a nice moment of surprise when I found the definition. Least favourite was 21d, for the dubious arithmetic!

    Thanks again, and I hope we see you back again soon.

  3. crypticsue
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:38 am | Permalink | Reply

    The ideal rookie puzzle should fit nicely into the time between finishing Rufus and the moment when I’m expected to do what I’m paid for and this Dill puzzle fitted the time nicely.

    Lots to enjoy – my top favourite is 23d, although I have others marked for the podium too. I have a couple of ?? and I did wonder whether 12a should indicate in some way that these people aren’t from the UK.

    Thanks to Dill (I wonder if you are who I think you are?) and in advance to Prolixic.

    Now on with the day job :(

  4. Gazza
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:44 am | Permalink | Reply

    Welcome Dill and thanks for an enjoyable puzzle. If this is your first composition then it’s impressive. As Cyborg says some of the definitions don’t quite match the answers grammatically (e.g. in 8d ‘to save face’ is a verbal phrase whereas the answer is a noun).
    5d seems to be an indirect anagram which is frowned upon. Like others I don’t understand the letters in brackets in 26a and the calculation in 21d.
    I liked 11a and 2d but my favourite clue is 4d.

  5. JollySwagman
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:15 am | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks Dill and welcome on board.

    I got through most of the puzzle at a reasonable lick but slowed down considerably in the top right corner. I got in a bit of a pickle (sorry) with 20a, wanting it to be Gromit – after changing that it still took a while to get my last two, which were 12a and 8d – both brilliant.

    As a lifelong Araucaria solver (and admirer) I am well at home with your style and completely uninterested in ximenean nitpicking – although you’ll probaly get some. – it seems to appear even when a puzzle is manifestly not trying to be ximenean.

    Consequently I’m perfectly at home with non-verb phrases pointing to the answer – provided they do it convinvlingly and don’t often what Barnard (p137 for pedants) called his “rule of inflection”.

    5d – Even ximeneans (and other pedants) disagree on indirect anagrams. Ximenes, in his “slip” comments, only disallowed “unhelpful” ones. In his book (later plodathons based on it follow suit) he disallowed them completely – as most UK dailies seem to do, except for simple one letter feed-ins (eg new=N etc) – maybe some altogether, The Listener (high octane stuff) speaks of the need for them not to be “unobvious”. I think that in those realms where they are allowed at all your DEAR for “expensive” satisfies both the “not unhelpful” and “not unobvious” tests.

    In general I was fine with everything except a few that were a bit samebothsidesy – eg 1a (second word of the answer) 6d – one other I think but I’ve forgotten and not marked it.

    I hadn’t heard of 13a – I had to guess and google – but happily I was right.

    As well as those already mentioned (8d and 12a) I also ticked 9a, 12a, 3d, and 23d.

    Good to see the spirit of Araucaria being kept alive. I wonder – was that intentional?

    Many thanks for the fun.

    • JollySwagman
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink | Reply

      I have to re-read things ten times to see my own mistakes – otherwise I see what I *thought* I wrote.

      “don’t often what Barnard” should be “don’t offend what Barnard”

      “convinvlingly” should be “convincingly” – maybe that’s a bit more obvious.

      By way of explanation I can only confess that McGuigan Black Label Cabernet Merlot was “on special” here recently at $5:70 a bottle – so I bought up big – but long-term cellaring just isn’t in my nature.

    • JollySwagman
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:32 am | Permalink | Reply

      Actually – on reflection – I’ll withdraw that quibble re 1a. That would only apply if you deconstruct it into a wordplay clue – which it doesn’t fully need to be. Taking a step back – and including “No” in the thinking – it works best as a cryptic definition with a wordplay hint as a bonus. In fact the whole surface as a definition is more or less literal – but not so obvious as to be bland. Maybe there are elements of &lit/all-in-one-ness.

      Why do we have to classify everything? The answer pops out and it works from more than one angle. I’m happy.

      But I’m pretty sure there was another samebothsidsey one – just from memory. If I have time I’ll try to track it down later.

    • Jose
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink | Reply

      JS. 5d: I’m with you on this one. Some experts say that indirect anagrams are verboten, others that they are frowned upon and you seem to generally accept them as OK. I’ve enjoyed cryptic crosswords daily since 1970 (but I’m absolutely no technical expert) and I reckon that this clue is fine – it works, the surface is OK, it parses well (easily, in fact), it’s not at all obscure or “unobvious” and I see no reason why it should be deemed unsound. It matters not one iota to me that it is labelled a (partially) indirect anagram – I just take ’em as they come and solve them.

      • JollySwagman
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

        “you seem to generally accept them”

        You’re putting words into my mouth – that’s not my view. I agree with The Listener and with Ximenes in his slip comments – not in his book. There are stringent limitations.

        Single letter indirect feed-ins seem to be widely accepted.

        • Jose
          Posted October 11, 2016 at 12:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

          OK, that’s fair enough. But is there such a thing as a partially indirect anagram? To me, 5d is one of these because part of the anagram (men) is visible in the clue and the rest (dear) is hidden until the identification of an obvious synonym. I think these are OK. But I’ve seen other clues where none of the anagram fodder appears in the clue at all and these are much more arcane. Like I said, I’m no technical expert but am interested in theses nuances.

          • JollySwagman
            Posted October 13, 2016 at 5:58 am | Permalink | Reply

            The principle applies to any part of the anagram fodder. As stated just above Ximenes had a clear position which he expressed in his slip (competition write-up) comments – he modified that in his notorious (and unnecessary) book to disallowing them altogether. In practice you will rarely find them in the UK dailies, although Araucaria certainly used them, subject to the stated limitations, and the rules of The Listener (which refer to other forms of indrectness too) clearly allow them.

            Single-letter feed-ins seem to be allowed in many UK dailies – eg “new” for N – even though strictly that breaches the principle – because “new” could be lots of other things. Editors seem to give more leeway to established setters – especially the big hitters. By avoiding them completely novice setters can obviously play safe – but the principles of fair setting don’t require that.

            Here’s a clue form a farily recent Guardian puzzle:

            Kind to preside over slightly twisted board (10) for CHARITABLE

            The setter may argue that “slightly twisting” (ie swapping two letters only) is not quite the same as anagramming/jumbling but most people would stiull call it unfair indirectness.

            On the other hand we frequently start with a word – think of a “synonym” and then do something indicated with it, such as reverse it or strip off its outer letters. That’s equally indirect but we don’t seem to mind.

            Attempting to reduce clue-writing to a simple set of rules is fraught with difficulties.

            • Jose
              Posted October 13, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink | Reply

              JS. I’ve just belatedly spotted this reply – thank you very much for the explanations. Very interesting – I’m much the wiser now…

    • dutch
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Funnily enough, I couldn’t parse 5d until I read Gazza’s comment, since it didn’t even occur to me we might be looking at an indirect anagram. My view is they are best avoided, especially when learning

      • Jose
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 2:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Yes, I think that’s the point – indirect or partially indirect anagrams are rare in the DT (but I have seen quite a few elsewhere) and therefore may seem hard to parse because they’re so unexpected, but wouldn’t be if they were accepted and used often. To me, 5d was just about the most transparent clue of the lot – I suppose I must be a bit odd or something…

        • dutch
          Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

          hey – we’re all a bit odd, we need to embrace our oddness

  6. Maize
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 9:37 am | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks Dill for an entertaining puzzle, packed full of variation and invention. Very enjoyable and a very impressive debut.
    I really enjoyed the surface readings and the cleverness of the clues, with a few bits of interesting vocabulary and one, at 13a which was completely new to me.
    I suspect there will be a few points mentioned in the review (21d obviously!) but these were far outweighed by the good, and sometimes brilliant.
    As I’ve said before on these pages, it’s much easier to iron out any problems with cryptic grammar/ etymological crossover or loose definitions than it is to somehow become creative, so I am sure that you will go from strength to strength.
    I had about a dozen ticks by the clues (a high tally from me) and double ticks by 7a, 2d, 4d and 23d. Bravo Dill, and we look forward to the next!

  7. silvanus
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:38 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Dill,

    It seems I’m in the minority here unfortunately, but I didn’t really enjoy the solve that much. Like the 2Ks and JS, I found three quarters of the puzzle fairly plain sailing, and then ran aground completely in the NW corner. So becalmed was I that, had I not sought electronic aid, I don’t think I would have ever completed this. I think that the combination of your cluing style (as eloquently painted by Cyborg) and the mix of obscurities such as 12a, 13a and 7d made this more of a slog rather than something to 10a.

    I nearly fell of my chair when I read Maize’s comment regarding the surfaces, as for me they were one of the weakest aspects of the crossword. There were certainly some excellent ones, but too often I found myself trying (and usually failing) to imagine how they could make any sense. I’d include 9a, 23a, 28a, 2d,19d and 21d as especially lacking in that regard. I think that is something to work on in future.

    I gave ticks to 1a (although it could be argued “females” is doing double duty), 22a, 27a. 3d and my favourite 18d.

    Well done indeed on sticking your head above the parapet, Dill, I only wish I could have warmed to the puzzle more than I did. I hope I can remedy that with your next one.

  8. Rabbit Dave
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink | Reply

    This was a very good first offering, Dill, with a lot of clever clues. Some of the surfaces were good but some were rather iffy. The wordplay was generally fair except for: the indirect anagram in 5a; and 21a, on which I wasted a lot of time trying to make an anagram from 75% of the word “fourteen” plus an O having ruled out the answer to 14a as it had the wrong number of letters.

    Without enough thought I wrote in Mandarins for 12a only to find there weren’t enough spaces for all the letters! :oops:

    I needed electronic help for the very obscure 13a, which was my last one in.

    Like others I remain bemused by the (m a) in 26a.

    Does the lorry in 19d need to be British?

    I haven’t yet been able to parse 6d, but I’ll keep trying..

    I very much liked 1a, 12a (when I finally got it right), 20a (very 18d regarding Mr. Trump!), 22a, and my favourite 3d.

    Many thanks Dill, and well done.

    • JollySwagman
      Posted October 11, 2016 at 10:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Re 19d. Artic is a purely British (also Irish) colloquialism for articulated lorry. Elsewhere they’re not called that. Here they’re normally called semis (from semi-trailer) elsewhere that or transport (sometimes used here), rig etc.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted October 11, 2016 at 10:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Tractor trailer here.

  9. Starhorse
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:31 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Dill

    Bravo on having a go. Had to do this in a bit of a rush as I’m out shortly for the rest of the day, so needed to cheat quite a bit. I found it quite tough with 9a,12a and 13a and 7d all unknowns, but that was more to my lack of intellect than your clueing. There are, as ever, some I can’t parse but will see how they work tomorrow.

    Favourites were 1a, 10a, 16a, 25a, 6d and 18d. Best of all 23a.

    Most of the surfaces work very nicely – a few, notably 9a, 11a, 26a, 28a and 2d don’t make much sense.

    I feel 11a needs either “perfect serving” or “a perfect serve” to define those 3 letters. But surface-wise “serve” is better – I don’t think you threaten people with a serving (unless it were something I’d cooked…)

    I like the idea of 26a but wondered if it could be worked so that “crashed a party” appears directly in the surface.

    Thanks for putting this up, and to Prolixic for tomorrow’s enlightenment. Look forward to your next one.

  10. Starhorse
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink | Reply

    Meant to add, I quite like the use of arithmetical devices such as 75% in 21d, but I do think they need to be as precise as including them implies. Unfortunately 7/9 is 77.7% recurring, which doesn’t read well. I’m more favourable to “most of”, which is sort of openly vague, particularly as the first 7 letters of the 9 form the anagram.

    • Jose
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

      It’s 6/9 (66.666%), plus the O.

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Exactly, Jose. :good:

        The clue could have been: “mix 2/3 of 14 with nothing to get something to put on a pizza”, which is arithmetically correct and in my opinion reads better.

        • Jose
          Posted October 10, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Yes, 10/10 for the revised clue – spot on! Although the answer is obvious, I still can’t parse 6d properly either and have no idea about the (m a) in 26d? You any the wiser yet?

          • Jose
            Posted October 10, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Latest news flash! I’ve sussed 6d now, having discovered from G what a shrug is.

            • Rabbit Dave
              Posted October 10, 2016 at 3:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

              Still none the wiser about (m a).

  11. Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I found plenty here to enjoy here but did stall on the last few (13 and some of the NE) which required cheating. I’ll admit to some hmms and question marks, but have faith that others will expound on those. The arithmetical mistake was unfortunate, because not even JS can find a reason to make that allowable!

    Thanks, Dill. I thought this a very promising start with some interesting approaches, like the novel homophone indicator in 23d. Thanks also in advance to Prolixic for the analysis.

  12. dutch
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks Dill, this felt nice and fresh and I enjoyed the solve. Congratulations for managing tp put this together, and appealing to our gastronomic senses.

    I was doing ok but then got stuck in NE, where I didn’t see what was happening with the indirect anagram, and I still haven’t deciphered 6d, I think i’m missing something to do with cardie.

    My main concern is the noun answers that are not clued as such (7a, 23a, 8d, 21d, 14d – but thanks for the namecheck!). I wasn’t sure if family was accurate in 9a, and I’m not a big fan of the “who sang / who talks rot” construct but I don’t think it is wrong. Like other’s, I found it odd to see the 75% and (m a). I wasn’t completely sure why we needed a gentleman in in 10a or a mother in 7d

    22 felt slightly odd in that it refers to the colour, which I think americans (and others) might call aubergine – unlike the food – though perhaps someone can correct me.

    That may sound like a lot to criticise but actually I don’t think it is, this is pretty good for a first puzzle. Congratulations again, well done! Looking forward to the next one one

    • Gazza
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

      The first 5 characters of the 6d answer mean (thanks to the BRB which I had to consult for it) ‘woollen garment covering the arms, shoulders and top of the back’ which may correspond to a cardigan.

      • dutch
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

        ok, got it, thanks – indeed, i was missing the cardie

    • Expat Chris
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

      22A is the name Americans call the fruit that you call aubergine. I think the answer also refers to the color over here.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink | Reply


      a) “Gentleman’s 10a” is the name for a specific type of anchovy paste.
      b) 7d is one of the five so-called “Mother Sauces” of French cuisine.

      I am familiar with (a) and like it very much, but I had to look up (b) in Wikipedia.

      • dutch
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

        brilliant! – i had no idea, thanks

  13. Expat Chris
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I have no idea who the setter can be. Since it’s someone who, from the comments, seems to be known to us, I’m watching to see who doesn’t join in the conversation. I’m on the fence on the puzzle. Some clues I quite liked, several I can’t parse, and a number where I thought the surface reading was not very good. However, since I’d never risk putting my head above the parapet, I have to say well done to whoever she may be. Looking forward to the review.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Given the theme, perhaps the setter could be Mary Berry? :whacko:

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Whoops. I put an unwanted “h” in wacko. This is what I wanted to appear:

    • Posted October 10, 2016 at 1:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Both CS and 2Ks had guessed wrong – the lady in question is new to this site.

  14. metman
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 2:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I enjoyed most of this puzzle Dill but like some others I found some of the clueing a bit too obscure, 12a for example. I know what the answer is but could not understand how you arrived at it(apart from the first 3 letters). Not a fan of 1a so struggled with this one. 18d and 19d are my favourites. Never heard of 17a so we live and learn. Great start though and I look forward to your next.

    • Jose
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

      M. 12a: It’s a 3 letter word for accost, followed by a 2 letter word for a Chinese dialect, followed by 3 letter abbreviation for more than one politician.

      • metman
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 3:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Many thanks Jose. I clearly did not work hard enough at it!

  15. Jeroboam
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I rather enjoyed this. Others better qualified than me have gone through the technicalities that may need to be ironed out but I thought the overall ‘feel’ of the puzzle was excellent and showed individuality. I’d say, another fresher successfully inducted into Rookie Corner. Well done.

  16. Miffypops
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 6:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Well done Dill. A published puzzle is something to be proud of.

  17. Kath
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 7:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Well – first of all congratulations to Dill for her crossword – it must take a lot of work to set it and even more guts to stick it here for people to take apart.
    I enjoyed it – a couple of answers made me laugh which is, for me anyway, what makes a crossword.
    I don’t do the crossword ‘what’s OK and what isn’t’ – I leave that to others who know what they’re talking about.
    I spent ages trying to make 12a what it is – got there eventually – it’s what the Mamas and Papas were originally called, I think, although I don’t know why.
    I had trouble trying to sort out what the definition was in lots of clues.
    I still have a couple of gaps and a few answers that I don’t understand – whatever – all will be revealed tomorrow.
    I loved 1 and 28a and my favourite was 12a.
    With thanks to Dill and a big :good: to her for the crossword and, in advance, to Prolixic.

  18. Encota
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 8:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Dill,

    Late in today [spent yesterday cheering Son #1 on in York marathon, plus 450 mile round trip]. An enjoyable puzzle which I found hard in places due to some subtle definitions. More notes made as I went through below.

    Thanks Dill – & advance thanks to Prolixic



    26a (m a) – I’m being slow here
    28a ‘on the canal’ – slightly loose definition though I see why you’ve done it
    3d could lose ‘says’
    5d though entirely solvable, I’m told the indirect anagram is frowned upon
    is ‘notebooks’ la+NT [ (in PA) by IN ]?
    11a Wordplay is accurate though it’s not totally clear what the surface meaning is trying to say
    4d works for me
    13a FOGASH – good use of river thru Hungary; hard word / at least not known to me
    12a haven’t parsed this yet. Ah, got it, I’d forgotten that meaning of Wu
    7a good clue
    7d mother?
    20 is ‘makes’ backwards? Ideally will be ‘Wordplay makes Definition’
    21 75%??? (What’s a twelfth between friends?) More seriously, am I missing something?
    24d speck – good second meaning

    • Maize
      Posted October 10, 2016 at 10:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Encota

      12a and 7d are nicely explained in the comments from Jose @14 and Rabbit Dave @12 respectively.
      The latter, which I hadn’t realised, will now send me scuttling off to Google for the other four…

      • Encota
        Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Maize, I’m slowly catching up!

  19. Miffypops
    Posted October 10, 2016 at 11:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hey Dill. You are welcome to comment, answer back, or just wallow in praise.

  20. Prolixic
    Posted October 11, 2016 at 6:40 am | Permalink | Reply

    Morning folks.

    A combination of no Drain and then delayed trains at Waterloo last night scuppered any chance of writing the review last night. I will try and post this evening.

    • Posted October 11, 2016 at 7:55 am | Permalink | Reply

      For those of you who are mystified by Prolixic’s reference to The Drain, it is how the the Waterloo & City line is affectionately known by Londoners.

  21. Dill
    Posted October 11, 2016 at 11:01 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hello All!

    A big thanks for your time and constructive comments which are very useful to me. As a crossword solver, my family have considered me certifiable for some time, but since I’ve started setting, I notice they have bookmarked StraightJackets ‘R’Us on the IPad. So your feedback encourages me to believe that I’m not completely out to lunch. (or maybe I am, but so are you…)

    I apologise for some silly mistakes ( the maths in 21d – doh!) and a typo in 26a ( m a have no reason to be here) and I’ll work on the other points you have raised.

    Thanks again and if Dave will have me, I’ll be back!

    • Posted October 11, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog Dill

      We all look forward to your next puzzle.

    • Gazza
      Posted October 11, 2016 at 11:25 am | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog, Dill and thanks for the entertaining puzzle.
      I’m glad to find out that the “(m a)” is just a typo – I can stop thinking about it now.
      Looking forward to your next puzzle.

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted October 11, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Yes, I thought I’d gone (m a d).

        • Maize
          Posted October 11, 2016 at 9:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

          One of the joys of Rookie Corner is that, being unedited, typos are bound to appear from time to time – spotting them adds another dimension!

    • Encota
      Posted October 12, 2016 at 8:32 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks again Dill and nice to hear from you – I look forward to your next puzzle!

  22. snape
    Posted October 11, 2016 at 11:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Welcome, Dill. I’m sure you’ll find all the comments useful. Apologies I’ve not had chance to do this – Mondays are suddenly my busiest day – but from reading the review it looks a very promising start. I would definitely stay clear of indirect anagrams though.
    Thanks to Dill and Prolixic.

  23. jean-luc cheval
    Posted October 11, 2016 at 11:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Had great fun solving your crossword Dill. Had to reveal a couple in the NE. Totally stuck.
    Thanks for the fun and thanks to Prolixic for the review although I don’t really thing that the Dutch House of Orange has anything to do with the colour.

    • dutch
      Posted October 12, 2016 at 9:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

      It may not have done originally, though my impression was that nowadays people fly an orange banner together with the dutch flag in honour of the royal family name – The queens birthday (oops kings birthday) celebrations see Amsterdam absolutely (to use our government’s favourite adverb) covered in orange, and there is the football team…

      I don’t equate the adjectives dutch and orange however

      And you won’t believe the arguments I’ve had concerning the beer Oranjeboom. Oranje means orange (the colour) and boom means tree, but Oranjeboom does not mean orange-tree since the dutch word for the fruit is sinaasappel. It just means an orange-coloured tree, which my contestants say is rubbish because the logo shows some suspicious-looking fruit.

      Sorry, I hope that was remotely interesting to some.

  24. Jane
    Posted October 11, 2016 at 11:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Many thanks for the review, Prolixic – always good to get your ‘take’ on the various elements of Rookie puzzles. I often pick up on something that just doesn’t ‘feel’ right, but you are so good at pinpointing exactly why!

    Thanks again to Dill – hope you come back with more for us to tackle.

  25. Jose
    Posted October 12, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink | Reply

    Prolixic. Thank you for the explanation about 5d being an unacceptable clue – very interesting to know these things from an expert. But just incidentally, although it may be unsound for publication proper, this clue does have “absolutely no ambiguity” to me – otherwise I wouldn’t have solved it before I’d finished reading it and looking at it again I can’t see how the answer could be anything other than what it is. But I suspect that is because I’ve spent too much time in the past 46 years solving low-quality cryptics in low-quality papers and magazines from everywhere and anywhere, where these type of clues were/are quite common (especially in the 70s). The DT back-pager has been my favourite right from the start and since reading this blog I’m beginning to discover just why!

    • JollySwagman
      Posted October 13, 2016 at 6:07 am | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Jose.

      Re this – I just replied to your reply to me further up.

      You are right, they are often found in puzzles in local papers and the like, but also in top-level puzzles – but there subject to clear limitiations.

      • Jose
        Posted October 13, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink | Reply

        JS. Yes, absolutely, and thank you. I guess it is best for the DT to stick strictly to the rules, otherwise all sorts of anarchy would prevail. But it is good to get these subjects out and give them a good public airing every now and then…

        • JollySwagman
          Posted October 14, 2016 at 3:34 am | Permalink | Reply

          There is no such thing as “the rules” – the *big ximenean lie* is that there is only one and (surprisingly enough) it’s their version thereof.

          The reality is that there are numerous different versions.

          None of the all time greats of the past were ximenean.

  26. Dill
    Posted October 13, 2016 at 9:24 am | Permalink | Reply

    Many thanks to Prolixic for his thorough review.

    I’ve found the exchanges about indirect anagrams interesting as I hope you have, although I never intended to cause a fuss.

    As a solver, I judge the wordplay in a clue to be correct if I understand the instructions to lead me to the answer, so my 5d would have been OK for me.

    That said, I’m here to learn and not to challenge the rules, so the first lesson I’ve taken home is to avoid indirect anagrams!

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted October 13, 2016 at 10:22 am | Permalink | Reply

      And the second, more important, lesson is please provide us with another high quality puzzle as soon as possible!

    • Miffypops
      Posted October 13, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

      The puzzle should be called Rookie Corner and the comments should be called Nitpickers Corner. I never new hidden words were not allowed to be naked on one side until I set a puzzle. I agree that if the answer can be squeezed from the clue then the clue is sound. Rule one. There are no rules. Rule 2. If in doubt see rule one

      • Maize
        Posted October 13, 2016 at 10:21 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Personally I like to have my puzzles nit-picked – because I’ve been compiling for fun for 3 years or so now, so am keen to hone my skills as much as possible.
        Nit-picking a first time Rookie is quite another matter.

        • Expat Chris
          Posted October 13, 2016 at 10:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Hard not to notice that most of those who take the puzzle apart bit by bit are other current or former rookie setters.

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