Rookie Corner – 248 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner – 248

A Puzzle by Foxglove

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Our first Rookie puzzle of 2019 introduces Foxglove. 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.

A very creditable debut from Foxglove.  The only comment is that there were a couple of minor repetitions.  The commentometer is 1/28 or 3.5%.


1 Easy things to do head teachers don’t have time for (2-8)
NO-BRAINERS – Double definition, the second partly cryptic as it would describe empty-headed pupils and, too boot a three letter word for a head followed by another word for teachers without the letter T (don’t have time).

6 Competent mariner left furthermost tip of Kintyre (4)
ABLE – The abbreviation for able-seaman followed by the abbreviation for left and the final letter (furthermost tip) of Kintyre.

9 Income tax cover-up of a trailblazer in astronomy (5)
COMET – The answer is hidden in (cover-up) in Income tax.

10 Cad in favour of splitting money paid back (9)
REPROBATE – A three letter word meaning in favour of inside (splitting) a six letter word for money that may be paid back.

12 What needs to be done at the dentist‘s to assert authority (4,4,5)
SHOW ONE’S TEETH– Double definition, the first part cryptic being what you do when you open your mouth wide.

14 Men reportedly condescended to be frocked (8)
ORDAINED – The abbreviation for other ranks (men) followed by a homophone (reportedly) of deigned (condescended).

15 European from British school (6)
BRETON – The two letter abbreviation for British followed by the name of a public school.

17 Not unusual for a girl beginning to love (6)
NORMAL – A five letter girl’s name followed by the initial letter (beginning to) of love.

19 Miners with guidance finally value being competent at arithmetic (8)
NUMERATE – The abbreviation for National Union of Miners followed by the final letter of guidance and a four letter word meaning value.

21 The vibe at Paris Saint-Germain F.C. (6,2,5)
ESPRIT DE CORPS – The French for team spirit.

24 Ruined garden left in Soviet Union city (9)
LENINGRAD – An anagram (ruined) of GARDEN L (left) IN.  As left has already been used for L, another indicator should have been used.

25 Lament awful accommodation for group leader (5)
DIRGE – A four letter word for awful around (accommodation for) the first letter (leader) of group.

26 Coming back, Lawrence Durrell admits lacking propriety (4)
RUDE – The answer is hidden (admits) and reversed (coming back) in Lawrence Durrell.

27 Informer, traitor and one without a leg to stand on (5,5)
GRASS SNAKE – Another word for an informer followed by another word for a traitor.


1 A small cut (half-inch) (4)
NICK – Double definition, the second being another word meaning pinch (half-inch).

2 Puzzled? Ponder in bed (7)
BEMUSED – A four letter word meaning ponder in the BED from the clue.  Perhaps another word for bed could have been used.

3 Writer is supported by court proceedings, though lacking copyright approval (13)
AUTHORISATION – A six letter word for a writer followed by the IS from the clue and another word for court proceedings without the C (lacking copyright approval).

4 More slender dart used in north east rounds initially (8)
NARROWER – A five letter word for a dart inside the abbreviation for Northeast followed by the initial letter of rounds.

5 Regret accepting record back for foreign currency (5)
RUPEE – A three letter word meaning regret includes a reversal (back) of the abbreviation for an extended play record.  Back having being used a reversal indicator, another indicator should have been used.

7 Extremely daring underwear (7)
BRAVEST – A three letter word for a piece of underwear followed by a four letter word for piece of underwear.

8 Consistent, and given to be impartial (4-6)
EVEN-HANDED – A four letter word meaning consistent and a six letter word meaning given.

11 After changing route, he accompanies honeymooners in a remote location (5,8)
OUTER HEBRIDES – An anagram (after changing) of ROUTE followed by the HE from the clue and another word for honeymooners.

13 Heard elected member is a therapist (10)
COUNSELLOR – A homophone (heard) of councillor (elected member).

16 Is CID use unusual in these cases? (8)
SUICIDES – An anagram (unusual) of IS CID USE.

18 Matured red pine requires treatment (7)
RIPENED – An anagram (requires treatment) of RED PINE.

20 Old country song about ship? Unknown (7)
ASSYRIA – A four letter word for an operatic song around the abbreviation for steamship and a letter representing an unknown quantity.

22 Artist of French king and queen (5)
DURER – A two letter French word meaning of followed by the abbreviation for Tax (king) and the abbreviation for the current queen.

23 Simple pond (4)
MERE – Double definition.

28 comments on “Rookie Corner – 248

  1. A very pleasant puzzle to solve. We had to scratch our heads for a while over 21a and the biggest chuckle came from 7d.
    Thanks Foxglove.

  2. Very enjoyable with minimal head scratching. 21a was LOI requiring all the checkers and is my favourite.

    Thanks Foxglove.

  3. 27a was my last in, and favorite. Overall very pleasant and not too difficult. I have to admit to feeling a little taken aback by the answer to 16d. Thanks to Foxglove for an excellent debut!

  4. Apart from agreeing with Atrica about 16d, I enjoyed the rest of the crossword – I don’t think it can possibly be Foxglove’s ‘first’ cryptic No queries so I’ll just say thank you to Foxglove and, in advance, to Prolixic

  5. A very impressive debut puzzle – thanks Foxglove. The clues I liked best were 1a and 27a.
    I think 22d needs ‘of the’ rather than just ‘of’.

  6. Hope no-one will think this a slight, if I say this is a “xxxxxxxx” puzzle – for me at least. Most welcome all the same! Solvers don’t need a toughie every time!

    My only quibble concerns 21a – a different (French) 2-letter word also fits and that’s what I’d written in. I still got the “congratulations” message though – even though I had a letter wrong! Only after clicking CHECK did I realise. Could this be fixed?

    I’m sure Foxglove will advance rapidly! :)

    1. Not a slight as such – but on BD’s blog we don’t discuss solving times in minutes or hours or even days – you can say a one cup of tea, one pint of beer, etc just not how many minutes you took

      1. Don’t know whether this works in your implementation, but I’ve used the following:

        File/Web Export/Publish to the Web
        then click Applet Options, then Actions, then check “solution must be correct”.

        Hope this helps.

  7. Thanks Foxglove
    Ditto generally. 1a, 7a my picks. Not sure if I’m missing something in 21a.

  8. Welcome, Foxglove.

    As CS has said, I’d be surprised if this represented the setter’s first-ever attempt at setting a puzzle as it was put together extremely professionally. The surfaces were generally excellent and technically there seemed very few issues, if any, to keep Prolixic too busy this evening.

    My very minor quibbles concerned “left” being used twice to indicate “L” and the use of “bed” (rather than a synonym) in 2d when it also appears in the answer. I think 21a needs at least a question mark or a “perhaps” at the end (or both?), and the anagram in 18d is a fairly poor one, if just a single letter needs to move. As I said, all minor stuff though, and overall nothing that detracts from a well-constructed and enjoyable debut. My favourite clue was 1d, but my printed page contained plenty of ticks.

    Many thanks, Foxglove, and well done indeed on an impressive debut.

  9. An absolute pleasure to solve, and pitched just right for a rookie puzzle, I thought. Plenty of ticks to choose from but 27A had me laughing so that one gets my top spot. Thanks Foxglove!

  10. A pleasant outing, if not too taxing which is fine. I would agree with silvanus re 2d & 18d, I think I would have avoided 16d altogether and I’m not sure the grammar is quite right in 8d (be/being?). In addition to ‘left’, 26a & 5d both have ‘back’ as the reversal indicator.

    These are very minor points and did not detract from an enjoyable solve. Overall, pretty good I’d say – 1a favourite, though I suspect the subtlety may escape some, as it did me at first. (No? Just me then)

    Many thanks and well done Foxglove.

  11. Very good indeed, Foxglove, this was an excellent Rookie Corner debut.

    Apart from the points mentioned by Silvanus, my only quibble was with 17a where I always think that using terms like boy/girl/woman/man to refer to a name as part of an answer is a bit of a cop-out, and also the “a” should be omitted.

    I had plenty of ticks on my page and 7d gets my vote as favourite.

    Well done and thank you, Foxglove. I’m looking forward to your next one.

  12. Definitely can’t see this being the setter’s first cryptic compilation.
    7d made me laugh and gets my vote for favourite.

    Thanks, Foxglove – like your choice of name.

  13. A very nice puzzle; my only problems were of my own making – in 3dn I filled in a different word which fitted the crossing letters and in 18dn I put in a different anagram. Of course I couldn’t then parse my answers and it took me ages to see the correct answers.

    Apart from that only a few minor points:
    6ac – the answer is actually the first word of the term for which the first two letters are an abbreviation.
    14ac – ‘frocked’ is not a word in very common use and the answer as a meaning of it is not immediately obvious in the BRB.
    21ac – I would have put a question mark at the end of the clue.
    7dn – Maybe I’m being pedantic but I would say it should be ‘most’ instead of ‘extremely’.
    22dn – I agree with Gazza about ‘of the’.

    But I don’t think it’ll be long before we see your name on a NTSPP offering. Thanks, Foxglove.

  14. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. Looks as though Foxglove is off to a flying start. Hope he/she pops in to take a bow.

  15. Well done Foxglove. Only just got around to this.

    you have your review and comments already and there isn’t much to add. The thing i noticed most was commented on by exit: the wordplay and answer using the same root in 6a (AB=able-bodied seaman). The same sort of happens in 2d. the root of the answer synonym for puzzle is the synonym used for ponder in the wordplay (muse). So the suggestion would be to try to use wordplay that is unrelated to definition and answer for normal clues.

    Like others I liked 7d, winced at 16d, wasn’t sure about “be” in 8d, and not a fan of using girl to clue a girl’s name (17a)

    I agree with others this was a very good rookie debut. Looking forward to the next one.

  16. The Blog was down when I tried (several times) yesterday to download this puzzle. I look forward to the pleasure of doing this Rookie offering today instead. I have studiously avoided reading Prolixic’s review!

  17. An excellent debut, Foxglove, although, as others have mentioned above, I find it hard to believe that this is your first foray into compiling.

    Loved the definition in 27a and the fun in 7d.

    Congratulations on a fine puzzle!

  18. Many thanks to Prolixic and all who have posted comments for taking the trouble to provide some very useful feedback.

    1. Welcome to the blog

      We hope to see another puzzle from you in due course (I won’t say soon as I do have an idea of how long these things take to put together)

      1. Yes – as regards puzzles, I teach beginners how to solve cryptic crosswords. As well as teaching face to face courses, I am the author of a book and an app for learning how to solve cryptic puzzles, and I have a website – I am also a subject adviser for the U3A (University of the Third Age).

  19. I tried to comment last night, but both comments vanished into thin air! Third time lucky, perhaps…?

    The others have said it all! This was an excellent debut, Foxglove. Very well done!

    There was plenty to enjoy. I especially liked 1a, 21a, 27a, 7d and 11d.

    Big thanks to Foxglove for the entertainment and to Prolixic for his excellent review.

    1. It disappeared again a moment ago. For your interested, Big Dave, I’ve just had to clear the cache to get this comment to load.

Comments are closed.