Rookie Corner – 300 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner – 300

A Puzzle by Drummond

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Drummond was ome of five setters to respond to last week’s plea for puzzles – the others were (in alphabetical order) Bardwig, Rex Bassett, Sundance and Umber and their puzzles will be appearing over the next few weeks. Thanks to all five.

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.

After his second puzzle (141) Drummond graduated to the NTSPP.  However, it is good to have another crossword from him in the Rookie Corner.  Only a very small number of comments again.  The commentometer reads as 1.5/30 or 5%.


1 Not nice, her playing hard to get? (10)
INCOHERENT – An anagram (playing) of NOT NICE HER.

6 Sketch of Saint Christopher (4)
SKIT – The single letter abbreviation for saint followed by a diminutive form of the name Christopher.

10 Spooner’s dog pooped in lady’s case (7)
COMPACT – A Spoonerism of POM (dog) CACKED (POOPED).

11 Bad back starts to lock up – given doctor a try? (7)
LUMBAGO – The initial letter of the fifth and sixth words of the clue followed by a two letter abbreviation for a doctor and a two letter word meaning a try.

12 Gladstone at Hawarden, hiding place in Wales (5)
NEATH – The answer is hidden (hiding) in the first three words of the clue.

13 Muddling around; sign of UN in disarray (9)
CONFUSING – The single letter abbreviation for around followed by an anagram (in disarray) of SIGN OF UN.

14 Standing close, arguing in centre circle (8)
ENDURING – A three letter word meaning close or finish followed by the middle letter (in centre) of arguing and a four letter word for a circle.

15 What’s got into top order? (6)
BEHEST – A two letter word interjection meaning what inside a four letter word meaning top. 

18 Backing group of Shakira or Pussy Riot (6)
UPROAR – The answer is reversed (backing) and hidden (group of) in the final three words of the clue.

20 Cleansing ritual works better when undressed (8)
TOILETTE – A four letter word meaning works followed by the inner letters (undressed) of better.  I think here that works needs to be in the singular for the clue to work but this would break the surface reading.

23 Recently acquired players, wingers from Lausanne City ( (9)
NEWCASTLE – A three letter word meaning recently acquired followed by a for letter word for a group of players or actors and the outside letters (wingers from) of Lausanne.

25 Places fair bet & pays, regardless of the odds (5)
AREAS – The even letters (regardless of the odds) in the words fair bet plays.

26 Fix faulty lamp? It’s on, so not required (7)
IMPLANT – An anagram (faulty) of LAMP ITS ON after removing (not required) the letters in so.

27 Victim of thumping perhaps filled with new spirit (7)
BANSHEE – A word that might describe someone bashed (victim of thumping) includes the abbreviation for new.

28 Mess about in old boat on lake (4)
LARK – The name of Noah’s boat after (on) the abbreviation for lake.

29 Doctor ran test involving pee holes (10)
PENETRATES – An anagram (doctor) of RAN TEST PEE.  I don’t think that involving works well as an instruction to add the letters to be mixed.  It suggests an insertion of the letters instead.


1 Minor cast acts in Lion Queen (15)

2 Perhaps monarch butterfly’s half lavender (9)
COMMANDER – A five letter word for a butterfly followed by the final half of the word lavender.

3 They pay others, but no tips for her (7)
HEATHER – The inner letters (but no tips) of the first three words of the clue.

4 Quiet time – it’s beginning to get late outside (8)
RETICENT – The abbreviation for time and the first letter (beginning) of it with a six letter word meaning late around them.

5 Partners admit cavorting only in underwear (6)
NYLONS – A pair of bridge partners include (admiit) an anagram (cavorting) of ONLY.

7 Leaves dim people covered in it (5)
KHAKI – Cryptic definition of the type of material that has the colour of dull or dim foliage worn by soldiers.

8 A symptom of the rash? (15)
THOUGHTLESSNESS – Cryptic definition of those who make rash decisions.

9 Dirty ladder up mildewed climbing frames (6)
IMPURE – The answer is reversed (climbing) and hidden (frames) in the second to fourth words of the clue.

16 Catheter clobbered with base of bedpan elicits theatrical jump (9)
ENTRECHAT – An anagram (clobbered) of CATHETER N (the final letter -base – of bedpan)

17 Worker‘s pet grievance unresolved (5,3)
HONEY BEE – Another term of endearment like pet followed by a four letter word for a complaint without the final letter (unresolved).

19 Biblical mount near Warsaw – hot news! Who should go? (6)
ARARAT – Remove the letters in NEWS WHO from the third to fifth words of the clue.

21 Trainee in large, profitable enterprise (7)
LEARNER – The abbreviation for large followed by another word for a profitable enterprise.

22 Sculpture standing where river runs (6)
STATUE – A seven letter word meaning standing without the R (river runs).

24 Why is petrol escaping rapidly in front part of car? (5)
WIPER – The initial letters (in front) of the first five letters of the clue.

18 comments on “Rookie Corner – 300

  1. Top quality puzzle which we really enjoyed working through. Haven’t sorted out the wordplay in 7d yet. Laughed out loud at the Spoonerism.
    Thanks Drummond.

  2. So that’s how it’s done!
    Thanks Drummond. I was going to say that a lot of work must’ve gone into that, but then I looked back and saw that you have form for producing beautifully accomplished puzzles, so maybe they just pour out of you naturally.
    I’m stuck on the wordplay for 7d too (can the first word really just be padding? No – I must be missing something), and I can’t work out why you’re missing something in 20a, or if I’ve overlooked something else, as I suspect.

  3. An excellent and elegant puzzle, many thanks for contributing this at short notice – don’t know how you do it. Top notch stuff with some original devices and great surfaces.
    Particular favourites are 1a, 10a, 18a, 1d, 3d, 5d, and plenty more.
    I’m also at a loss as to how 7d is parsed, and i was initially confused by the plural in 20a but I think it works!

  4. Thanks Drummond; wow, that was unexpected.
    I haven’t come across your puzzles before, but after solving this I did your second one which is similar in style and quality. I can’t believe you knocked this up in a hurry after a couple of years’ break so you must either have other outlets for your puzzles or a large stockpile. I hope you’ll spill the beans.

  5. Very impressive and enjoyable – thanks Drummond.
    I’m one of the ‘dim people’ who can’t parse 7d.
    Among lots of top clues I picked out 20a, 27a, 3d and 17d.

  6. My main question, Drummond, is what on earth are you doing in Rookie Corner? But, in any event, very well done and many thanks for helping BD fill the Rookie void.

    I thought this was an excellent puzzle with great cluing and nice smooth surfaces. I can’t quite convince myself that “works” works in 20a but that aside and ignoring the extra bracket in 23a, this would not be out of place on the back page of the Telegraph. My favourite was the Rufus-like 7d but it is perhaps unfair to single out just one clue from such a good selection.

  7. My principal recollection of Drummond’s previous puzzles is “tough, but very enjoyable”, and this one was definitely another of that ilk. Not a quick solve by any means, but always a satisfying challenge.

    There were so many excellent clues, but my favourite has to be 10a for the huge laugh it provoked. I can tell that the setter is very partial to constructions where elements are deleted, including subtractive anagrams, and I know our reviewer is also keen on those!

    Many thanks to Drummond for answering BD’s call, and congratulations to BD on publishing 300 puzzles in this invaluable slot.

  8. Looks as though I’m alone in not liking the Spoonerism – even had to look up the word involved. I’ve obviously led a sheltered life!
    My favourite today was the simple 28a.

    Many thanks for stepping into the breach, Drummond, such a long time since we’ve seen you.

  9. Totally trounced by the NW corner & I have several ?s against my answers for other clues so will await enlightenment from tomorrow’s review. Thanks Drummond for the 75% I completed (I think).

  10. Definitely a mature rookie here.
    Loved the constructions in 3d,15a and 19d.
    The Spooner made me laugh.
    Can’t parse 7d either. Not sure about my answer in 24d and 17d eludes me.
    Thanks to Drummond for the workout.

  11. Hi, thanks to everyone for your comments.

    I’ll leave it to Prolixic to explain 7d but I will say that I would never describe any group of people as ‘dim’ ;-)

    I put this puzzle together over a couple of weeks in November – it is one of a very small stockpile which I work on as and when time allows.

    This website and Rookie Corner in particular have been enormously helpful in developing my clue writing, so I’m delighted to be able to contribute something to help ensure its continuity.

    Thanks again and happy new year to all

    1. Hi Drummond. You’ve changed your email address since your last comment so this one needed moderation.

  12. I needed two sessions to crack this, but it was worth the effort. My only two reservations have already been addressed in others’ comments – 7dn which I couldn’t parse and the singular/plural dilemma in 20ac.
    Thanks, Drummond and Prolixic.

  13. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. I’m still not totally convinced by 7d but at least I now know that I didn’t miss anything with my parsing attempts!
    Thanks again to Drummond – hope it won’t be as long between puzzles this time.

  14. Hi Prolixic, many thanks for the review – I spent a long time mulling ‘works’ in 20a, and actually had a perfectly decent alternative which would have avoided it altogether – live and learn!

    1. Great puzzle, Drummond. I know what you mean about your 20a dilemma. I had the same problem with a clue in my latest. Oddly enough it’s a clue to one of your answers here. Part of my original clue was rightly questioned so I wrote a new clue that was more fun. Then I couldn’t justify the new definition so, as much as I liked wordplay, I changed the definition again so that I could use virtually the same wordplay and, if anything, ended up with a clue that’s more fun anyway.

      Nevertheless, I’m glad I’m not the one to follow you!

Comments are closed.