Rookie Corner – 260 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner – 260

A Puzzle by Foxglove

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Foxglove returns with his second 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.

Another very well polished crossword from Foxglove with only very minor points to comment on.  The commentometer reads as 1.5/32 or 4.6%.


1 Gather old lags sing at the end of parole (11)
CONSTELLATE – A four letter word for prisoners (old lags) followed by a four letter word meaning to inform on or sing, the AT from the clue and the last letter (end of) from parole.

7 Wire defect (3)
BUG – Double definition, the first being an electronic eavesdropping device and the second being a defect in a computer programme.

9 Skin impedes infrared treatment (9)
EPIDERMIS – An anagram (treatment) of IMPEDES IR (Infrared).

10 Discriminatory practice in the US is stopping official yearly meeting (5)
AGISM – The IS from the clue inside (stopping) the abbreviation for annual general meeting.

11 Fond of little being introduced to street performing (5,2)
SWEET ON – A three letter word meaning little inside (being introduced to) the abbreviation for street followed by a two letter word meaning performing.

12 Hazard spinning towards the rear inside capsule (7)
PITFALL – A three letter word meaning towards the rear is reversed (spinning) inside a four letter word for a capsule.

13 Send back from Winnipeg a miniature painting (5)
IMAGE – The answer is hidden and reversed (sent back from) in WINNIPEG A MINIATURE.

15 Anthology in part written about how love begins and ends (9)
SELECTION – A seven letter word meaning a part around (written about) the first and last letters of love.

17 A shade perturbed: feel anger (4,5)
LEAF GREEN – An anagram (perturbed) of FEEL ANGER.

19 Cut divinity to visit someone’s home (5)
PARED – The abbreviation for Religious Education (Divinity) inside (two visit) a three letter word for someone’s home.

20 Retail price switch managed at the outset (7)
NARRATE – A three letter word meaning managed is reversed (switch) before (at the outset) a four letter word meaning price.

22 Traditionally made craft I scuppered when docked (7)
ARTISAN – A three letter word for a craft or skill followed by the I from the clue and a four letter word meaning scuppered with the final letter removed (when docked).

24 To some extent covers central Germany in scope (5)
AMBIT – A phrase (1,2) meaning to some extent around (covers) the central letter in Germany.

25 Nobility‘s joy, securing European victory (9)
ELEVATION – A seven letter word for joy around (secures) the abbreviations for European and Victory (given in Collins but not in Chambers).  I am not convinced by the definition here meaning the same as the solution.

27 Wax jacket of lightweight cotton originally having a lining (3)
LAC – The initial letter (originally) of lightweight and cotton include (… lining) the A from the clue.  I think that the “jacket of” could be omitted from the clue.

28 County billets troops after eliciting national leaders’ approval (11)
ENDORSEMENT – The initial letters (leaders) for eliciting and national followed by a six letter name of a county that includes (billets) a three letter name for troops.


1 Strike a ball in line, as the saying goes (3)
CUE – A homophone (as the saying goes) of queue (line).

2 Simple wheel hub one found inside (5)
NAÏVE – The letter representing one inside a four letter word for the hub or a wheel.

3 Venue‘s art nouveau embraced by you once (7)
THEATRE – An anagram (nouveau) of ART inside a four letter archaic word for you.

4 Workings discovered among a jumble of clues shed some light (9)
LUMINESCE – A four letter word for a pit or workings inside (discovered among) an anagram (jumble of) CLUES.

5 Put on airs with a rejected old storyteller (5)
AESOP – A four letter word meaning put on airs followed by the A from the clue all reversed (rejected).

6 Resilient coastline suffers no loss when pounded (7)
ELASTIC – Remove the letters of NO from COASTLINE and make an anagram (when pounded) of the letters that remain.

7 Colonel’s superior ship needs alteration at the bow (expensive, by the sound of it) (9)
BRIGADIER – A four letter word for a ship followed by the first letter (at the bow) of alteration and a homophone (by the sound of it) of dear (expensive).

8 Details include walking day in a better place? (8,3)
GAMBLING DEN – A three letter word meaning details or information includes a seven letter word meaning walking and the abbreviation for day.

11 Poorly mitt, out of hospital, stop running around nevertheless (5,3,3)
STILL AND ALL – A five letter word meaning stop around a three letter word meaning poorly an a four letter word meaning mitt without the H (out of hospital).

14 ‘Life Without Oxygen‘ is a translation from neo- Arabic (9)
ANAEROBIC – An anagram (translation from) NEO-ARABIC.

16 Listen and learn with the front-runner in edutainment broadcast (4,2,3)
LEND AND EAR – An anagram (broadcast) of AND LEARN E (first letter – front-runner in – of edutainment).

18 Beneficiary‘s consent without a social worker being introduced (7)
GRANTEE – A five letter word meaning consent without the initial A includes a three letter insect that works in a colony.  We have had introduced as a containment indicator in 11a so a different indicator would have been better here.

19 Soup bowl label found on the back of recipe (7)
POTTAGE – A three letter word for a bowl followed by a three letter word for a label and the final letter (back of) of recipe.

21 Polish team regularly on target (5)
EMEND – The even letters (regularly) of team on a three letter word for a target or aim.

23 Criticise game bird shoot (5)
SNIPE – Triple definition.  Although a snipe is primarily a wading bird, it is according to some sources also a game bird being shot for its meat.

26 Ox sheds area that’s clear (3)
NET – Crossword land’s four letter word for an ox or other cattle without (sheds) the abbreviation for area.


18 comments on “Rookie Corner – 260

  1. We were very impressed with this quality puzzle and as a result have ticks all over the page. 11a was our last one to get sorted.
    Thanks Foxglove.

  2. I thought this was excellent. 2d was my last one in, and I don’t really understand the wordplay. Since I refuse to consult a dictionary that’s certainly my own fault. Thanks very much to Foxglove!

  3. This is a top quality crossword. Accurate clueing and great surfaces. I think my favourite was the longest clue of all (which I would almost never say) – 7d – for the beautiful story it conjured up.

    I wasn’t too certain about 27a’s definition but I may well be missing something. The meaning used in 2d’s wordplay is slightly obscure but the clueing is so fair that it works fine, as Atrica says above. Unlike Atrica I did double-check this one in Chambers (after I’d finished)! An 11d’s surface felt slightly forced. But these are second-order comments. A fine crossword – more please!


  4. I really enjoyed your first Rookie puzzle, Foxglove, and for me this was a step up from that. As mentioned by Encota, you’ve managed to combine accurate clueing with mostly very smooth surfaces, and a big tick from me for indicating the American spelling of the answer for 10a.

    Both the clue and the answer to 11d seemed strained; the use of the awful word “edutainment” in 16d (which I was slightly surprised to find in my BRB) was unnecessary when, for example, “educational” would have been fine; and “game” is surplus to requirements in 23d (an excellent triple definition, by the way).

    However, those are very minor points. There are some highly inventive definitions on show (e.g. 27a & 8d) and my page was littered with ticks. I awarded double ticks to 15a, 24a, 27a, 1d, 3d, 7d, 8d & 23d.

    Very well done, Foxglove, and please keep them coming.

  5. Add me to the list of people impressed by this crossword. Thank you Foxglove

    I have a couple of thoughts but I’ll leave them for Prolixic to point out in his review, for which thanks in advance to him

  6. Another fine puzzle, which I did not find easy. This degree of consistency from a Rookie (?) setter is impressive.

    A couple where I’m not 100% with you, but overall an excellent effort so well done and thank you Foxglove.

  7. A very enjoyable puzzle – thanks to Foxglove. Best of a good bunch for me were 20a, 6d and 7d.

  8. Thanks Foxglove, very good puzzle as everyone seems to agree. 7d was my favourite clue too. I liked the couple of unfamiliar terms, and was amused and mildly disappointed that edutainment was a red herring.
    One thing that struck me was how many clues used containers. I probably noticed because I’m trying to keep a rein on it myself. It’s worth treating it like any other cluing device and counting how many you’ve got – nearly half the clues here. Downsides of overdoing it are that you can make more work for yourself trying to think up natural ways to do the same thing without repeating yourself, and the tone of the clues becomes a bit samey.

  9. Welcome back, Foxglove.

    Not an easy solve, but unlike last Monday’s puzzle every clue had fair wordplay leading to the answer. Like Mucky, I also noticed a large number of containment and insertion devices, so probably no surprise therefore that my repetition radar bleeped with the same construction used in both 11a and 18d. I agree that the surfaces were mostly very good, but I did feel that 11d left something to be desired.

    My ticks went to 1a, 11a, 17a, 22a, 4d and 23d. I have to say that I thought your previous puzzle was superior to this one, but it was still fun to solve and of a very high standard.

    Congratulations and thanks, Foxglove.

  10. Quite a few things I didn’t know such as the wheel hub, the required definition of 20a and the dreadful phrase at 11d, so this one took me quite a while to complete.

    I can certainly appreciate this setter’s talent and my particular picks were 15&28a.

    Thank you for the challenge, Foxglove. Out of interest and looking back at your previous comments – do you run a crossword related group at your local U3A? I haven’t seen anything like that mentioned in the various U3A journals.

    1. Hi Jane. I teach courses for beginners at U3As – 23 in total so far — mostly in the SW and also at the U3A national summer schools. As the subject adviser for crosswords I also help U3A members set up and run crossword groups. If you would like to find out more about setting up a U3A crossword group, there is information at the U3A website here – – including an enquiry form which will reach me via email.

  11. Good puzzle, fairly straightforward and also informative (‘edutainment’ was a new one on me!) . 14d’s answer is an adjective clued as a noun. In 15a, I thought ‘how love begins and ends’ is inaccurate phrasing – something like ‘start and end of love’ I’d think is better. Faves 12a, 18d, 21d, 23d (nice triple definition)

  12. Very good indeed. Just a couple of forced definitions in service to the surfaces, a satisfying solve still in all.

  13. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. Another very low score on the commentometer for Foxglove – didn’t he do well!

  14. Did this recently. Pretty good! as others have said. Congratulations Foxglove! Lots to like. I was very fond of “listen and learn”, but edutainment is just showing off, detracting from the smoothness of the clue (16d). I might have used educational perhaps.

    no-one commented on my two niggles, so I can still add them

    It feels like something is not quite right with “send back from” as a reverse hidden indicator (13a). I think it’s the imperative. “Taking back from” might get around that, though from vs in feels inelegant.

    “Life without oxygen” is nounal while the answer is an adjective (14d)

    well done, and thanks prolixic for an excellent review.

  15. Did this recently. Pretty good! as others have said. Congratulations Foxglove! Lots to like. I was very fond of “listen and learn”, but edutainment is just showing off, detracting from the smoothness of the clue (16d). I might have used educational perhaps.

    no-one commented on my two niggles, so I can still add them

    It feels like something is not quite right with “send back from” as a reverse hidden indicator (13a). I think it’s the imperative. “Taking back from” might get around that, though from vs in feels inelegant.

    “Life without oxygen” is nounal while the answer is an adjective (14d)

    well done, and thanks prolixic for an excellent review.

    1. Hi Dutch, Thanks for this. Brunel also commented on the answer definition for 14d. If the definition is taken to include the ‘is’ — ‘life without oxygen is’ — I believe this works.

  16. Thanks all for the encouragement and detailed comments, and to Prolixic for the review. Unlike the previous puzzle, this one was intended to be at the level of challenge of a Toughie or Times. I have posted a couple of other puzzles fairly recently – on Alberich’s site and on 1 Across.

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