Rookie Corner – 320 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner – 320

A Puzzle by Laccaria

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

I have received a larger-than-usual number of puzzles from new setters – please be patient as I will work through them in the order they were received.

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.

Laccaria continues to make progress.  The only points on this crossword were minor ones and one or two mistakes in spelling or missing apostrophes.  The commentometer reads as 3/31 or 9.7%.  Looking at the theme we have RINGWORLD, FLAT EARTH (derived from the theme) PUPPETEER, TELEPORTS, HYPERSPACE, LOUIS, KNOWN SPACE and SPEAKER (to) ANIMALS.


1 Marked wrong date to receive goods? (6)
TAGGED – An anagram (wrong) of DATE includes GG (goods).

4 Can I wash damaged cutting appliance? (8)
CHAINSAW – An anagram (damaged) of CAN I WASH.

10 Former king left agreement in France (Paris, ultimately) (5)
LOUIS – The abbreviation for left followed by the French for yes (agreement) and the last letter (ultimately) in Paris.

11 He holds string to control little dog, safe, full of energy (9)
PUPPETEER – A three letter word for a little dog followed by a five letter slang word for a safe containing (full of) the abbreviation for energy.  Perhaps strings would be better as a single stringed puppet is unlikely.

12 Bite on this to put fire out? (5,4)
PETIT FOUR – An anagram (out) of TO PUT FIRE.

13 Where sheep’s blood may end up black? (5)
INKED – Split 2,3, this would be where the blood of a sheep would end up in a parasitic insect.

14 Place to be performing on horseback, without documents (4)
RING – A six letter word meaning on horseback without a two letter word for documents that prove your identity.

15 Soil on lowered pitch is crazy idea (4,5)
FLAT EARTH – A five letter word for soil after (on) a description of a musical note lowered by half a tone.

19 Journalist wearing riding tack caused trouble (7,2)
STIRRED UP – The abbreviation for editor (journalist) in (wearing) part of the horse’s tack in which the feet go.

21 A prisoner rejected for festival (4)
GALA – The A from the clue followed by a three letter word for a prisoner, all reversed (rejected).

24 It’s understood that two men are receiving present (5)
KNOWN – The abbreviations for King and Knight (two men on a chessboard) includes (are receiving) a three letter word for the present time.  I think that the “that” should be omitted.  Definition that wordplay does not work.

25 Shoppers help to tidy up spilt rice (5,4)
PRICE LIST – An anagram (to tidy up) of SPILT RICE.  It is unfortunate that the final word of the clue appear unaltered in the solution.  The definition requires an apostrophe to work.

26 Guard unversity official, securing the boundaries (9)
PROTECTOR – A seven letter word for a university official includes (securing) the out letter (boundaries) of the.  Watch for spelling mistakes.  The I is missing from university.

27 See 5 Down

28 Object about second half of latest movie (3,5)
THE STING – A five letter word for an object about the second half of the word latest.

29 Big problem as such overwhelms master on return (6)
CRISIS – The three letter Latin word for as such around (overwhelms) a three letter word for a teacher (master) all reversed (on return).


1 Beams, perhaps, left supporting stone monument with point at bottom (9)
TELEPORTS – The four letter nautical word for left after (supporting) a five letter word for a stone monument with the abbreviation for south (point) moved to the very bottom of the word.  I think that the wordplay would lead the solver to TELESPORT.

2 A lot to drink, but not one chip for greedy-guts! (7)
GLUTTON – A four letter word for a lot followed by a five letter word for a type of drink mixed with gin without the abbreviation for integrated circuit.  The one in the clue sticks out and makes it appear as though C is being used as an abbreviation for chip.

3 Faked hesitation before aural tests (6)
ERSATZ – A two letter word expressing a verbal hesitation followed by an homophone (aural) of STAS (tests).

5/27 Advertising wild capers as a way to go impossibly fast (10)
HYPERSPACE – A four letter word for advertising followed by an anagram (wild) of CAPERS.

6 Newspaper met side by arrangement, one-by-one (8)
ITEMISED – The single letter name of a newspaper followed by an anagram (by arrangement) of MET SIDE.

7 Nazi carrying un-numbered rifle is the one in charge (7)
SPEAKER – The surname of a close ally of Adolf Hitler includes (carrying) the name of a rifle without the number (un-numbered).

8 Where we live, student is involved in writing software (5)
WORLD – The abbreviation fo student or learner inside the name of the Microsoft word-processing program.

9 Fooled, absorbing notes initially given out bit by bit (8)
SPOONFED – A seven letter word meaning fooled includes the first letter (initially) of notes.

16 Those who spread falsehoods, claiming right to support program (8)
APPLIERS – A four letter word for falsehoods includes (claiming) the abbreviation for right underneath (to support) a three letter word for a program on a mobile phone.  Try to avoid repeated wordplay elements such as support / supporting.

17 Start to go deaf in time? Quite the opposite, it’s cruel! (9)
HEARTLESS – The abbreviation for time inside a phrase 4,4 meaning to go deaf.

18 Designed patterns for part of church (8)
TRANSEPT – An anagram (designed) of PATTERNS.

20 International Standard raised European drug as tracer? (7)
ISOTOPE – The international film standard followed by a reversal (raised) of the abbreviation for European and a three letter name of a drug.

22 Boorish guys overturned plate with last of vegetables (7)
ANIMALS – Reverse (overturned) a six letter word for a plate and followed with the last letter of vegetables.  

23 Some Saracens ordered a Roman magistrate (6)
CENSOR – The answer is hidden in (some) the second and third words of the clue.

24 Article suggested “under a thousand dead” (5)
KAPUT – The indefinite article followed by a three letter word meaning suggested under the abbreviation for 1000.

25 Peg has broken point (5)
PITON – An anagram (broken) of POINT.

24 comments on “Rookie Corner – 320

  1. A clever, well put together puzzle that we thoroughly enjoyed. The NE corner gave us the biggest delay with 13a and 7d being the last two to fall.
    Thanks Laccaria

  2. Thank Laccaria, this kept me busy for a while with a few tricky parsings, all solid stuff. I really like spread falsehoods and I also really like 24a, though I think it would be better without “that”. In 3d faked works as an adjective, but fake is simpler hence nicer i think.

    I briefly worried about “unnumbered” opening up all manner of new stuff, unnumbered lubricant (wd), unnumbered cocktail (b), but so far I’ve only seen the rifle in chambers, to your credit, so maybe i don’t have to panic.

    Great fun many thanks

  3. This was a big step in the right direction, Laccaria. It was much more user-friendly than your previous Rookie puzzle (I only needed my BRB once! – for 13a), and your cluing is generally accurate. You have clearly paid attention to your surface readings since last time but there is still scope for some further improvement in this respect.

    Two minor comments: I can’t find anything to support C as an abbreviation for “chip” in 2d; and the definition in 25a requires an apostrophe but unfortunately this would kill the surface.

    24a was my favourite.

    Well done and thank you, Laccaria. This was good fun.

    1. In 2dn I think ‘chip’ refers ro the abbreviation for ‘Integrated Circuit’ and ‘one’ is necessary for the surface. Maybe ‘… without a chip’ would have been better

  4. Thanks to BD for publishing this one – and thanks for the comments so far. I’ve got quite of lot to do these next few days, so forgive me if I don’t answer everything promptly. Hope some of you, at least, recognise the theme!

    Have fun in these trying times!

      1. yes, that had me looking and some earthy worldy things too. 7d reminds me of the excellent Orson Scott Card “Ender’s Game” trilogy but i don’t think that is it!

            1. quite like the name of the spaceship. Is the setter offering some political commentary?

  5. Enjoyable stuff – thanks Laccaria (I’ve no idea about the theme).
    Like RD I only needed the BRB for 13a. I think ‘Nazi’ in 7d is rather vague for the chap who wasn’t that well known even in the war.
    The clues I liked best were 8d and 17d.

    There’s a typo in 26a.

  6. A good crossword, thank you Laccaria, even if a little wordy in some clues!

    Not sure what it says about me that I knew the Australian fly?!

    Thanks in advance to Prolixic

  7. Thanks Laccaria
    Very enjoyable, quite tricky in places.
    Clues seemed to have calmed down and there’s a welcome absence or reduction in !’s.
    There was a good number of easy clues; if this was done knowingly it was a sensible decision, as there’s still plenty to think about. Definitions were nicely disguised and surfaces were pretty good too. Two clues I liked among many were 4a & 24d.
    Very minor problems I had: don’t understand how 2d works, lack of apostrophe in 25a (could have been avoided by e.g. ‘help for shoppers to …’), and slightly woolly definition in 20d (there is association, but one is not the other – a bit like using timber to define table)

  8. Welcome back, Laccaria.

    Not an easy solve, a few of the constructions were reminiscent of earlier Laccaria puzzles, but they were fortunately balanced by much more solver-friendly ones, and the surfaces were probably your best yet. The apostrophe issue in 25a and the typo in 26a were unfortunate, and I noticed “support” used twice in the Down clues as a positional indicator.

    Overall, a very good puzzle indeed with little to quibble over. My ticks went to 19a, 28a, 29a and 8d.

    Many thanks, Laccaria.

  9. Thanks Laccaria, this was a pleasant solve, the right level of difficulty for me. Comments absent reading others’.
    Particular ticks against 4,13,25,6 and 24d.
    24ac I don’t think ‘that’ works as a link word, and the clue is fine without it.
    1d I needed all the crossers, what with the tricky wordplay and offbeat definition the hardest clue imo.
    2 Not sure if you are using ‘chip’ for C, or for IC (in which case why ‘one’?). That’s if the drink is ‘tonic’.
    7 Another where I needed all the crossers due to the wide-ranging definition and that Nazi not readily coming to mind.
    Liked the handling of the AK once I’d got it.
    Perhaps ‘one calling for order’ would have been fairer.
    Thanks again Laccaria

  10. One or two where I think the choice of device pushed you into some tricky wording but overall pretty good
    Well done and thanks Laccaria

  11. A most enjoyable solve which presented no problems, although a few clues required a bit of thought, such as 13ac – fortunately I knew of the sheep parasite having encountered it in crosswords elsewhere. 2dn went in easily enough but took a while to parse until I worked out what ‘chip’ represented (see my reply to comment 3).
    A few minor points which have been picked up in other comments, but I thought this was a well-constructed puzzle. I particularly liked 15ac.
    Thanks, Laccaria; I’ll look forward to your next puzzle.

  12. I enjoyed this, Laccaria but I could not see a theme. Initially, I thought it might be to do with films but it didn’t gel. There were some tricky clues and I liked that. I wasn’t too sure about the 5/27 combination. It gave the number of letters as 10 and I always expect split clues to be two or more words. So, that threw me for a while.

    Nevertheless, a most enjoyable solve. Thank you.

    1. I believe the convention is that a word can be split across multiple grid entries (‘lights’) as long as each is a valid word in its own right (as HYPER SPACE are).

      1. That’s how I see it, and have used the device myself. In this case I wasn’t quite sure if ‘hyper’ was a valid word (as distinct from a prefix), but I found it in the BRB as a derivative of ‘hype’ so no problem there.

      2. My feeling exactly. I assumed that ‘hyper’ as a stand-alone word, rather than a prefix, is slightly colloquial, but in common use. Similar to words like ‘anti’ and ‘semi’ – both of which have been seen in puzzles often enough!

        Indeed I wondered whether the word “hyperspace” would do – but it often crops up in conversation, and not only when discussing SF! For example if you’ve given up searching everywhere for a missing article…. “It must have gone into hyperspace…”

  13. Many thanks prolixic for the review.
    Neither my test solvers nor I spotted the missing ‘i’ in University – a typo – sorry! And the shopper’s help … I thought long and hard about this, but I shrank away from having an apparent ‘greengrocer’s apostrophe’ in the surface! And the fact that ‘rice’ is part of the solution was pointed out to me by the test solvers. Should have had another thought about that one.

    Another surface problem: I agree you’d certainly need more than one ‘string’ to control a marionette – but not a dog (unless it was exceptionally vicious)!

    Similarly with GLUTTON – I originally wanted to say “lots to drink but no chips…” but I wasn’t sure about ‘lots’ for ‘glut’ nor ‘chips’ for IC. That last would have been certainly wrong.

    Whatever. I can certainly see that this one has a lot of areas for improvement – and I’ll try to take more care with the next! Thanks all for the encouraging comments!

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