Rookie Corner – 205 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner – 205

Capitalist Views? by Hippogryph

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Yet another new setter puts his head above the parapet, so please welcome Hippogryph. 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.

A review by Prolixic follows:

Congratulations to Hippogryph on a sterling debut crossword.  The theme of buildings and structures seen on the 19a give notable 20ds with 8a 25d, 16a, 29a, 1d 3d, and 5d 15d providing the themed solutions.  There was a lot of attention to detail in the clues with only a few minor comments.  The commentometer reads 4.5/32 or 14% which is very good for a debut crossword.


7 This provides energy to track containing high intensity rock dynamics initially (5,4)
THIRD RAIL – A five letter word meaning to track or follow includes (containing) the initial letters of the seventh to tenth words of the clue.

8 High structure built by the setter and others within rocky hill (5)
TOWER – The collective pronoun for “the setter and others” inside (within) a three letter word for a rocky hill.

9 “Young bodyguard to beat daughter!” – headlines may be seen here? (9)
NEWS STAND – A three letter word meaning young followed by the abbreviation for Hitler’s bodyguards, a three letter word meaning to beat and the abbreviation for daughter.

10 Bovine feeding apparatus provided by disorganised Dude Ranch primarily (5)
UDDER – An anagram (disorganised) of DUDE R (ranch primarily).

12 The setter, doctor and royal representative in Parliament? (6)
MEMBER – A two letter pronoun for the setter, the abbreviation for a Bachelor or Medicine and the abbreviation for the queen (royal).

13 Mention by name, eg Pierre, within a note. (8)
NOMINATE – The French word (eg Pierre) for a name followed by a two letter word meaning within, the A from the clue and a two letter word for a musical note.

16 This is among the tougher kind of vegetable (7)
GHERKIN – The answer is hidden in (among) TOUGHER KIND.  Some editors will not allow wordplay of definition.  The “this” in the clue could have been omitted with “Vegetable among the tougher kind”.

19 Media company cable delivers “Horizon” (7)
SKYLINE – A three letter media (satellite and cable) company followed by another word for a cable.

22 Gold thrown, we hear, in Tyneside to cause disgust (8)
NAUSEATE – The chemical symbol for gold followed by another word for a throne (thrown, we hear) inside the geographical region for Tyneside.  The two stage process of going from thrown, to throne to seat is a little on the harsh side.  Gold throne in Tyneside would have worked much better.

25 Anaesthetise young Mr Britten before removing 40% of thumb (6)
BENUMB – The diminutive form (young) of Benjamin (Mr Britten) followed by the word “thumb” with the first two letters (40%) removed.

27 Across clue is not appropriate for product from this animal? (5)
EIDER – The type of duck feathers usually followed by down in the name of a type of quilt.

28 Mild event surprisingly leads to frolicsome mischief (9)
DEVILMENT – An anagram (surprisingly) of MILD EVENT.

29 Fragment of first shatterproof tough product? (5)
SHARD – The initial letter (first) of shatterproof followed by a four letter word meaning tough.  Some editors would require “first of” rather than first on its own.

30 Enraged at being disturbed in this open air spot for relaxation (3,6)
TEA GARDEN – An anagram (being disturbed) of ENRAGED AT.  The this could have been omitted from the clue.


1/3 He gets career change to food shredder (6,6)
CHEESE GRATER – An anagram (change) of HE GETS CAREER.  Perhaps “changed” would have given a better cryptic reading of the clue.

2 Only part of goal is obtained by angry lawyers? (8)
CROSSBAR – A five letter word meaning angry followed by a collective word for a group of lawyers.  I would omit the “Only” as a goal has more than one part.

3 See 1

4 Best Western hotel in the capital of Germany? (7)
WINNING – The abbreviation for Western followed by a three letter word for a hotel or hostelry, the in from the clue and the first letter (capital) of Germany.

5 Capital airing the first two odd sounds from the King of Skiffle? (6)
LONDON – The first syllables from the name Lonnie Donegan (the King of Skiffle).  The first two odd sounds are indicate that the answer is from the first and third of the five syllables sounded when pronouncing his name. 

6 Regret locating holy book after just two short lessons (6)
REPENT – The abbreviations for the lessons for Religious Education and Physical Education followed by the abbreviation for the books in the New Testament.  The New Testament is a collection of books, not a book.

11 Brief reassuring message in a frenzy (4)
AMOK – Split 2,2, this would be a brief message of reassurance.

14 Alternative way of thinking about North American bird (3)
ANI – The abbreviation for artificial intelligence (alternative way of thinking) about the abbreviation for North.

15 This organ sounds ok (3)
EYE – A homophone (sounds) of aye (OK).  Another clue where the “this could have been omitted”.

16 Spirit of belonging? (3)
GIN – The answer is hidden in (of) BELONGING.

17 This has a bunch of feathers out of place when viewed down under? (3)
EMU – Remove the abbreviation for place from another word for a bunch of feathers and reverse the letters that remain (when viewed from down under).

18 Smart P.C. paid with one up-front? (4)
IPAD – Move the letter representing one up in the word paid.  The solution is not really a PC in the conventional sense of the word.

20 Noteworthy contribution from Luke firstly, when combined with fellow author (8)
LANDMARK – The initial letter (firstly) of Luke followed by a three letter conjunction (combined with) followed by the name of another gospel writer.

21 Twice break free and lose fellow judge (7)
REFEREE – An anagram (break) of FREE FREE without one of the Fs.  Perhaps lose second fellow would be better.

23 Land often shared by smokers (6)
ALIGHT – Split 1, 5, this would be something smokers share when only on of them has matches.

24 Wander away from the straight and narrow during quiet drink? (6)
SHERRY – A word meaning wander away from the straight and narrow inside (during) a three letter word meaning quiet.  The question mark is not needed here, as the definition is not questionable or a definition by example.

25 Down clue is not appropriate for description of this structure? (6)
BRIDGE – This structure goes across rivers, roads, etc. so would not be appropriate in a down clue.

26 Dance music is provided after terminus reconstruction, not Southern Region? (6)
MINUET – Remove the abbreviation for Southern Region from TERMINUS and make an anagram (reconstruction) of the letters that remain.  Some editors would require an indication that the letters are not removed in the order in which they are give in the clue.  The surface reading is not the best here and the construction “definition is provided after wordplay” is not wrong but clunky.

56 comments on “Rookie Corner – 205

  1. We knew enough of the themed answers to be of assistance while we were solving. Our BRB suggests that the enumeration for 9a should be (4,5).
    It took a while to work out the wordplay for 14d once we had found the definition in BRB.
    It all kept us happily amused during a nice level of difficulty solve.
    Thanks Hippogryph

    1. Interesting on 9a, my BRB (Revised 13th Edition) has (4-5), but definitely not a single word.

  2. Very enjoyable with plenty of head scratching that needed some electronic assistance to finish off.

    Clues I particularly liked – 7a, 12a, 27a, 2d, and 25d.

    You might get Silvanus’ repetition radar tripping on the use of setter in 8a and 12a.

    A nice way to end my very pleasant Sunday, thanks Hippogryph.

  3. Although this might be HIppogryph’s first appearance in Rookie Corner, I feel sure that this isn’t his first cryptic crossword as it is very good. Lots to enjoy but I particularly liked 27a.

    A couple of points from me – if you don’t know the bird, 14d is particularly tricky for a three letter word – perhaps crosswordland’s favourite boxer might have been more helpful. Also I think 21d needs the insertion of ‘one’ between lose and fellow as you keep the ‘other one’ in the anagram.

    Thanks to Hippogryph – I’m sure you’ll be back soon either here or on a Saturday afternoon – and in advance, to Prolixic

    1. Sue,

      I agree 14d was unnecessarily obscure. I worked it out from the (very clever) wordplay but didn’t find it in the old BRB. In 21d, fellow is in the singular, so “one” is implied and wouldn’t work in the surface (“fellow judge”).

    2. Actually, it does make (slightly different) sense with “one” in, but I still don’t find that’s necessary for the clue to work.

  4. Very enjoyable puzzle with a nice theme – thanks Hippogryph. I think you could make some of the clues a bit sharper by pruning some words, e.g. ‘this’ in several clues, ‘just’ in 6d, ‘the’ in 4d, ‘is’ in 27a, 2d and 25d. Also I’m a bit dubious about 22a where a 2-stage process is required to get the insertion.
    I have lots of ticks – I especially liked 13a, 5d and 11d.
    Do keep the puzzles coming.

  5. Welcome, Hippogryph.

    For a Rookie Corner debut, this one was very accomplished in many ways and, most importantly, fun to solve. Quite apart from the cleverness of incorporating the themed answers, I really liked the pair of “not appropriate” solutions in 27a and 25d, a very nice touch.

    Some of the clues did contain overly wordy or clunky surfaces (7a and 26d were possibly the worst offenders) but experience will help to improve this aspect. One thing that my repetition radar did detect was the tendency to use “this” to accompany or identify the definition, and in several cases it could have been either comfortably omitted (e.g. 30a or 15d) or replaced by “it” (7a or 16a, although in the latter case the structure of the clue ought preferably to avoid “wordplay of definition”).

    My ticks went to 28a, 4d, 11d and 20d. I thought there was an excellent variety of clues throughout.

    Very well done, Hippogryph, many thanks and congratulations on your debut. I look forward to your next one.

  6. Welcome Hippogryph!

    A very enjoyable solve. As CrypticSue says above, I do suspect it isn’t your first?

    Grid makes it almost four mini-puzzles.

    You’ve done some great work on getting the surfaces right; in places this is slightly at the expense of the accuracy of the clue’s ‘cryptic grammar’.
    There are a couple where I eagerly await Prolixic’s explanation. Favourite clue: 22a. Last One In: 14d.

    I’ve made some notes on the clues as I solved, which I am more than happy to share but contain too many spoilers to post here. Ask Big Dave to put us in email contact of you are interested and I’ll buzz them across. [Alternatively, I won’t be offended if not!]


    Finally, if anyone here is going to the Listener dinner in Paris this Saturday then do let me know here and I’ll look out for you in the hotel bar!



  7. Hi Hippogryph
    Very good. Not too easy, but all very solvable with clear clues, and theme nicely managed.
    Lots of ticks, including in no particular order: 11d, 30a, 21d, 18d, 13a, 17d, 23d, 16a (for good disguise) and the down/across pair
    I agree about the odd clunky clue like 16a, but very little I’d pick up on otherwise (‘first shatterproof’ I noted)
    Guardian grid, I think – do you post on the Guardian crossword blog?

  8. Very impressive debut, and like CS I think this can’t be the setter’s first effort. I was a little slow to pick up on the theme despite getting 5D early on, and I’m not sure I have them all. It’s been decades since I’ve been any closer to the city than Heathrow. With the inclusion of 7A and a couple of others, it almost felt like there was another somewhat related theme going on. I have many ticks on my page, but my favorites are 7A, where ‘track’ does double duty, and 27A. 14D was my last one in and I had to reveal a letter and then Google. Apparently this species has only recently reached the US.

    Very well done indeed, Hippogryph. I look forward to seeing another puzzle before too long.

  9. I enjoyed that lots – a really fun debut.

    The idea for the grid fill was really well realised with 11 or 12 lights being themed, I think – even if it did necessitate 10 ‘negatively checked’ answers and some tricky three-letterers. I also loved the originality of the paired clues at 25d and 27a.
    Apart from those two, my favourites were 16a, 2d, 6d, 11d, 16d and 18d. There’s the germ of a brilliant clue in 5d too…

    Many thanks Hippogryph, looking forward to your next.

  10. Hello Hippogryph – well done. As usual the theme completely passed me by.

    First thing that struck me was 13 question marks after clues, together with some other repetitions (setter, this etc).
    Minor points; 2d definition ‘obtained’ wordplay (&16a), 13 fragment of something ‘shatterproof’ (?), and at first I thought there was double duty of ‘track’ for 7a because I’m not sure ‘source of energy’ is a sufficient definition, whereas ‘source of energy to track’ seems more accurate.

    Rare that I disagree with silvanus, but while 27a just about works for me, I’m not convinced it works so well for 25d.

    I thought 4d was very good indeed, (and although CS makes a point), I also really liked 21d & 28a

    Generally I liked the ideas throughout so well done and thank you.

  11. Thanks Hippogryph, I too thought this was pretty good. i liked the across/down pair, the down more so.

    Agree the clues could be shorter, e.g. 2d I don’t think you need ‘only’ and the clue and you could equally have a single-word link like “of”. 16a could be ‘A vegetable of the tougher kind’, etc. Though it’s a pickled vegetable. i guess that is still a vegetable.

    I didn’t know the bird. I so much wanted to enter RESENT for 6d but didn’t see the second lesson.

    7a is interesting where track could read as part of the definition but it isn’t.

    there were a few times when I wasn’t sure things were indicated quite right, e.g. I imagined ‘viewed from down under’ made more sense, 18d isn’t technically a pc, twice break free – one could say only the first is broken, wasn’t sure what ‘product’ was doing in 29a – but these are all pretty minor.

    Congratulations on a fine puzzle, well done with the theme, and keep them coming please.

  12. Hi Hippogryph and welcome to Rookie Corner where you seem to have got off to a very good start.
    The theme was nicely woven into the grid – not an easy thing to achieve – and the touches of humour made this an enjoyable solve.

    As others have mentioned, some pruning would have improved several of the clues along with the occasional tweak to ensure smooth surfaces but all that should come with a little more experience. 14d was perhaps somewhat obscure and 10a decidedly clunky, particularly as the answer was obvious from the first three words, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that this was an impressive first outing.

    My ticks went to 16a plus 2,4&11d – 4d being my favourite.
    Many thanks – I hope we see more from you.

  13. Welcome Hippogryph.

    I was impressed by the gridfill (true it was a setter-friendly grid, but you compensated perfectly with a sensible difficulty level) and by your overall grasp of clue construction. Also really enjoyed the “not appropriate” clues, and was interested to see people’s thoughts on them. My first impressions had been less promising with the high word count and surfaces that didn’t pique my interest … but I found myself enjoying the solve more and more.

    My top three are (in clue order) 4d, 16d and 24d, and I also really liked 11d, 14d and 15d.

    Many thanks Hippogryph, and in advance to Prolixic for the analysis.

  14. Well done, Hippogryph, on a very good Rookie debut. As has been mentioned a lot of the clues were very wordy and could benefit from a bit more polish but, importantly, your clue constructions were generally good. My favourite was 4d, with 11d & 16d running it close.

    Two big coincidences today are that the (accidental?) Nina appears as an answer in the back-pager, and the King of Skiffle features in MP’s review.

    A few questions:
    – in 25a why does “young” mean “use the abbreviated form of his first name”?
    – I can’t see how the wordplay in 5d leads to the first syllables of the first name and surname of the King of Skiffle.
    – shouldn’t 6d say “books” rather than “book”?
    – in 26d shouldn’t it be indicated that the letters to be removed appear in a different order?

    Many thanks to Hippogryph and to Prolixic in advance.

    1. 5d First and third syllables (first two odd)? Presumably ‘airing’ is a homophone indicator.

      1. I took “reconstruction” simply to be an anagram indicator. Is it acceptable to shuffle up the letters to make a nonsensical anagram then remove the unnecessary letters at that stage? I’ll be interested to see Prolixic’s take on that tomorrow.

        1. One of the BRB definitions of ‘reconstruction’ is ‘remodel’ so it seemed fair enough to me to remove the initial letters of ‘Southern Region’ and then make an anagram from what remained.
          Am I missing something here? Quite happy to be corrected!

        2. The instruction is saying ‘make an anagram of this, not including R and S’. It’s not saying, make an anagram of this, then remove R & S..

 my humble and often (regarded by some, wrong) opinion – you got the answer, so it must be workoutable, if a bit of a nose-wrinkling clue.

          1. I agree with you, Roy, but somewhere at the back of my brain I have got an inkling that, unless the setter indicates otherwise, the accepted practice is to remove the letters in the order they appear in this case S & R not R & S. But I could be wrong – I often am. I’m sure Prolixic will put us wise.

            1. Oh I see, you may well be correct; I am a mere boy amongst men here.

              On reflection, I suppose the real issue is that R is not a recognized abbreviation for region as far as I can see – whichever way round. ‘Region, Southern’ would make no difference to the clue. River would have been equal to the task and more accurate.

              The surface/concept was already dodgy, with all due respect to setter.

              1. SR used to be the abbreviation for the Southern Region of British Rail, but that would have become obsolete over 20 years ago!.

    2. Dave,

      I thought 5d was a faulty homophone at first, but looking carefully, it refers to the “first odd sounds”, so you ignore the non-matching vowels in second position.

  15. A good crossword that I enjoyed very much.
    It sounds as if I found it trickier than most others did – nothing new there.
    14 and 17d took me for ever to see why the answers were what they had to be.
    As so often happens the favourite clue of so many people is the one answer that I can’t get, 27a – oh dear!
    Just off now to check on the themed answers – forgot at the time of solving.
    I particularly liked 5 and 6d. My favourite was 11d.
    Thanks and congratulations to Hippogryph for the crossword and thanks, in advance, to Prolixic for the review.

  16. In 27a we are looking for an avian animal that produces what could be a companion word to ‘across’ in a puzzle.

    1. Ooh – thanks, K’s – curiouser and curiouser – will have to put my thinking cap on.

    2. Thinking cap didn’t work so I planted the crossword in front of Chris and he got it instantly. Dim or what? Me, I mean, not him.
      Thank you – not sure he would have got it if I hadn’t told him what you’d said.

  17. The four distinct corners made it a bit harder than expected.
    Noticed the theme once I solved the SW.
    The view I have from City Airport when flying back from London contains three of the theme answers (1/3, 16 and 29).
    Talking of architecture. My part of town is having a total refurb. It started in November and seems to be never ending. Can hardly go out of the house without having to learn a new way to get back in. Mind you the Architect is no other than Ruddy Ricciotti. A bit like having your street done up by Norman Foster. It’s going to be so classy. Best address in town.
    Back to the crossword.
    I really liked 7a and 21d.
    Thanks to Hippogryph.

  18. Good crossword. I couldn’t finish in the time I gave myself, but I don’t think I have any complaints about the clues, knowing the answers in fact I kicked myself on some after revealing (like GHERKIN). Really liked the across/down pair. It made me chuckle thinking of the number of times you see such “not appropriate” comments on clues here.

    I couldn’t spot any nina so I look forward to learning more about that tomorrow.

  19. I looked for and found the nina after reading the comments. Maybe it was just a coincidence, but it made me smile.

  20. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, particularly the comments about 26d from which I note that RD’s take on it was more accurate than my own. Doesn’t surprise me in the least!

    I’m sure that Hippogryph will be delighted with your feedback and I shall look forward to seeing his next puzzle.

  21. Highly entertaining puzzle on the whole. Very impressive and love the inclusion of a theme and the nina (whether intentional or not :) ).
    Some really unique clues in there, particularly enjoyed the 27a/25d combo. Introduced to a new bird at 14d too so very happy with that!
    I agree that some clues could be trimmed a little, but nevertheless a great crossword.

    Thank you to Prolixic for the review and to Hippogryph for the puzzle. I look forward to another in the future.

  22. Thanks to all of you for being so welcoming and supportive on my debut puzzle and to Prolixic for the detailed review and suggestions. I’m genuinely thrilled that you all enjoyed solving it and appreciated some of the humour. Its been really valuable for me to see which clues you most enjoyed – and not necessarily in line with what I was expecting so that’s really good. I’m also pleased that you liked the 27 across and 25 down pair of clues as I really wasn’t sure how they would go down (if you’ll excuse the pun..)

    I will definitely look to reduce the overall word count, the “this” count and the “?” count in my future offerings – thanks for the suggestions.

    Just a couple of specific response to the points made:

    1. Yes I agree 9 across should be (4-5) rather than 9 – apologies
    2. This is the second crossword I have completed (apart from a family-themed one for Christmas). I have been advised that a couple of the words/sub-words in the finished grid for my first one are not usually used by convention in published crosswords, even though crossword compiler software included them in the grid – all part of the learning process. I’ll do some rework on that one and look to publish it shortly
    3. No I’m not on the Guardian blog – I mainly do the Inquisitor at the weekend and The “i” cryptic crosswords so occasionally have a look at
    4. I have no idea what a “nina” is – can someone educate me please?

    Thanks again and I look forward to submitting another one in the near future

      1. Thanks BD and Whynot. So I included 5 and 20 down as a thematic Nina in my puzzle but the “painful” one in the unchecked boxes running across the middle of the grid was definitely accidental – although I was suffering from tennis elbow when composing the puzzle!

  23. Late to the party again, as I’ve been solving this in odd moments since Monday. I found it slow going at first but I warmed to it as I went on, apart from 14dn which defeated me. But I liked 1/3, 2 and 20dn in particular. A nice debut puzzle.

  24. Sorry to be so late in H – I did the puzzle when it first came up but got sidetracked (or side-tracked) and I’ve long since ditched my notes – which, if you could see all the finished (and partly so) puzzles lying round the place you may find hard to believe.

    I don’t recall having any quibbles aside from the letter count for 9a.

    I particularly liked the pair of clues 27a/25d – I think that’s them – the ones that referred to the acrossness and downness of clues – good to see some cluing beyond the standard set – particularly here. I only got the answers when I hooked them both together and twigged what was going on.

    Many thanks for the fun.

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