Rookie Corner – 274 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner – 274

A Puzzle by Brunel

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

This is the puzzle that was scheduled for last Monday.  There will be another Rookie Corner puzzle tomorrow.

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.

Brunel returns with a much improved crossword.  The commentometer reads as 1.5/30 or 5%


1 Wagnerian theme encapsulates Deutschland Uber Alles, say (6)
ANTHEM – The answer is hidden in (encapsulates) the first two words of the clue.

5 Note biting satire used amiss in serious composition (8)
TREATISE – A two letter musical note inside (biting) an anagram (used amiss) of SATIRE.

9 Partridge, maybe, ensnared by a heartless tourist, a legendary huntress (8)
ATALANTA – The first name of the comedian Mr Partridge inside (ensnared by) the A and the outer letters (heartless) of tourist followed by the final A of the clue.

10 Admitting blunder, after securing victory over Norman leader (6)
OWNING – The abbreviation for a self-inflicted footballing blunder includes (securing) a three letter  word for a victory around (over) the first letter (leader) of Norman.

11 European court dissolves upon experts identifying man after conviction (10)
PROSECUTOR – An anagram (dissolves) of E (European) COURT after (upon) a three letter word for an expert.

13 Rounds of drinks (4)
LAPS – Double definition for rounds on a racetrack and drinks (as a dog might).

14 Escape from landslide (4)
SLIP – Double definition.  The first often used in the compound form to give someone the slip?

15 Lying beside nude, one maddeningly stubborn (10)
UNYIELDING – An anagram (maddeningly) of LYING NUDE I (one).

18 Mesmerised by python, dies in convulsions (10)
HYPNOTISED – An anagram (in convulsions) of PYTHON DIES.

20 Mail enclosure to be returned? Yes, no problem (4)
EASY – A reversal (to be returned) of the abbreviation for self-addressed envelope followed by the abbreviation for yes.  An oddity of the standard dictionaries used by compilers is that Y for Yes is not a listed abbreviation.  It is one of those blurred areas where it is used so much on forms and on-line that denying its use seems unfair.

21 Instrument‘s strange accompaniment to sad ending (4)
DRUM – A three letter word meaning strange after (accompaniment to) the final letter (ending) of sad.

23 Yon dreamy Echo modulates to liquid notes, perchance (5,5)
READY MONEY – An anagram (modulates) of YON DREAMY E (Echo in the NATO phonetic alphabet).

25 Athenians lacking heart and spirit to overcome city state (6)
ALASKA – The outer letters (lacking heart) of Athenians and a two letter word for spirit around (to overcome) the abbreviation for Los Angeles (city).

26 Gee, this might define when the day ends! (8)
MIDNIGHT – The letter G (Gee) is defined by the word for 12am.

28 Gang finally lost trail – it could be waning (8)
CRESCENT – A four letter word for a gang or sailors on a boat followed by a five letter word for a trail.

29 So little time (6)
MINUTE – Double definition, the second being a period of 60 seconds.


2 Bug reported in hearing first removed, of course (9)
NATURALLY – A homophone (reported) of GNAT (bug) followed by a word meaning in hearing with the first letter removed.

3 Keep getting direction wrong, causing delays (5,2)
HOLDS UP – A four letter word meaning keep followed by a compass direction and a two letter word meaning wrong, as is something was ??.

4 Repair cut pieces (3)
MEN – A four letter word meaning repair with the final letter removed (cut).

5 When in drink, a round of this is for warming up (5)
TOAST – A two letter word meaning when inside a three letter word for a small alcoholic drink.

6 Find celery, nothing being added, crunchy and green (11)
ECOFRIENDLY – An anagram (crunchy) of FIND CELERY with an O (nothing) being included.

7 Rang up delegate in connection with contract (7)
TINKLED – A reversal of a three letter abbreviation for a delegate and a four letter word meaning contract.

8 Oriental enlightenment? (5)
SUNUP – When the big bright light appears in the east.

12 Move table over part of window – it’s warmer at night (11)
COUNTERPANE – A seven letter word meaning a table for commerce and a four letter word for a glazed part of a window.  I am not sure why the “move” is in the clue as table on its own is sufficient.

16 Y-fronts for you, extremely smelly (3)
YES – The initial letter (fronts for) of the final three words of the clue.  As we have already had Y for Yes, a different indicator should be used.  Many editors will not allow the definition to be elided with the wordplay using a hyphen.

17 Bending north thus, sine curve features structurally here (6,3)
NISSAN HUT – An anagram (bending) of N (north) THUS SINE.

19 Opponents bungle, taking on single unbeatable opponent (7)
NEMESIS – A pair of bridge opponents followed by a four letter word for a bungle around an I (single).

20 Test satellite in space, engendering fear, perhaps (7)
EMOTION – A three letter word for a car text and the name of a moon of Jupiter inside a two letter printers space.

22 King, perhaps, or queen adhering to religious code (5)
RULER – A four letter word for a religious code followed by the abbreviation for queen.

24 Grant access! Need to get metre into passage (5)
ADMIT – The abbreviation for metre inside a four letter word for a mining passage.

27 Mother‘s Day needs a mother’s introduction (3)
DAM – The abbreviation for day followed by the A from the clue and the first letter (introduction) of mother.  A small point on the cryptic grammar.  The wordplay reads as “definition is day needs a first letter of mother.”  Changing needs to needing would solve this.

15 comments on “Rookie Corner – 274

  1. I enjoyed this – thanks Brunel. I needed my thinking cap for several clues.
    I particularly liked 25a and 20d.
    More puzzles like this would be very welcome.

  2. I enjoyed this, Brunel. I thought it was your best yet with a lot of creative ideas on show. I did find it quite a challenge but it all came together with a bit of persistence although I can’t fully parse one answer.

    If I have understood 10d correctly, what you are describing is not necessarily a blunder, so perhaps “… possible blunder” would be more accurate. I also think that “beside” in 15a is unnecessary padding. When I checked my BRB for 8d I was very surprised to find that it is not indicated as an Americanism and that it is not enumerated as (3-2).

    17d is clever, but the definition seems a bit obscure.

    I had quite a struggle to pick a favourite from so many good clues, but in the end I’ve settled for 11a thanks to its superb definition.

    Many thanks, Brunel, and in advance to Prolixic.

    1. 10a. That 2-letter abreviation is nearly always a “blunder”, and not always when used in reference to sport – it is used as such in any situation. Occasionally, it can be a complete accident but that doesn’t mean the belt-and-braces “possibly” is required here.

      1. Agree Jose – OG can’t be anything but a blunder. My issue is that the phrase requires -UP for the definition, surely?

    2. You make a couple of v interesting points.

      In 10d, I see what you’re getting at, in that the abbreviation you’re referring to, in its original sporting context, can apply to instances where no blunder has been committed. But the abbreviation (or, at least, the phrase in full) is now used more generally, and always to indicate a mistake, so I think not
      qualifying ‘blunder’ in the clue is fair enough.

      Looking at 15a again, I agree that the clue still makes complete sense without the ‘beside’. But I had a racy surface meaning in mind, and that would have been destroyed by removing ‘beside’.

      8d – even if a word is purely American, I’d have though it’s still perfectly OK to have it as an answer, as English is the language of America, so American words are English-language words. What’s more dodgy is using American spellings in the answer, or wordplay, I guess. (What I’m drawing on here is the TV show Countdown, where any English-language word is OK, but not spellings used only in the US, etc – I don’ know, however, if there’s a crossword convention covering this area.)

      17d – you’re possibly right, though a curve (or arch) is, I think, much the most noticeable feature of the structure in question.

      1. Thanks for popping in, Brunel. It’s always nice to be able to have a dialogue with the setter.

        10d – I didn’t think of the non-sport meaning and both definitions are indeed covered in the BRB. It’s interesting that, although the expression is derived from football, the more general meaning is subtly different.

        8d – I think that any uniquely foreign word (even American ones) needs indicating. The convention in Telegraph crosswords is to accept what the BRB says. Sunup does appear as an entry in Chambers without qualification, which makes it fine from your point of view as a setter. However, as I mentioned, it surprised me as I don’t think I have come across anyone but an American using it.

        Thanks again for a really enjoyable puzzle and please keep them coming.

  3. Tricky and enjoyable at the same time – I did struggle a bit in the NE corner

    Thanks to Brunel and, in advance, to Prolixic

  4. Definitely your best yet, Brunel, even if 17d did betray your continuing penchant for the obscure!
    A couple of points that I think Prolixic may comment on but an enjoyable solve. 20d particularly appealed.

    Well done, keep up the good work.

  5. A significant improvement, well done Brunel and thanks for an enjoyable puzzle

  6. Welcome back, Brunel.

    I agree very much with RD and Jane that this was your best puzzle so far, my only reservation was that a few surfaces seemed contrived rather than natural. “Y” for “yes” isn’t an abbreviation that is usually seen in the dailies (and was utilised twice!). My favourite clue was 6d.

    Congratulations on the progress you’ve made. Many thanks.

    1. I used the Y/yes device in my last puzzle too, in fact, Silvanus, and it was remarked then that Y and N aren’t given as abbrevs for Yes and No in either Chambers or Collins. I find it hard to believe, though, that using this device isn’t acceptable, as questionnaires/forms/online apps etc use Y/N all the time. Also, you’re right in pointing out that I used it twice here, but I thought I could just about get away with it, as in one clue Y in the clue stands for Yes in the answer, but it’s vice versa in the other clue.

  7. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, I’m sure that Brunel will be delighted with his ‘score’.

  8. Thanks to all for the feedback, and I was much heartened by the more positive overall reception this time. One or two interesting little crits that I need to take on board!

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