Rookie Corner – 334 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner – 334

A Puzzle by Rags

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

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.

Welcome back to Rags.  As others have commented this was a crossword that would not be out of place in the NTSPP slot, and space permitting, one hopes his next puzzle will feature there.  Apart from the unfortunate repetition of one as a wordplay indicator, nothing to comment on from me (perhaps the three letter starting with the second letter of 6d and the third letter of 26d were prophetic.  The puzzle starts with a hi-ya and ends with a ta-ta.  There is a little Nina, reading clockwise from the second letter of 6d, we have dishes as well as tripe and onion with tartar (sauce).

The commentometer is 1/31 or 3.2%


1 Greeting in a voice that’s raised (6)
HIGHER – A homophone (in a voice) of “hi ya” (greeting)

4 Outlaws turned in during parties (8)
BANISHES  Reverse (turned)the IN from the clue and include (during) in a six-letter word for parties.

10 Practically gifted  part performing with magic (9)
PRAGMATIC  – An anagram (performing) of PART MAGIC.

11 Superior, having fewer additives and calories? (5)
ELITE  -The single letter indicating a type of food additive and a four-letter word meaning fewer calories.

12 A mummy’s boy (4)
ADAM – The A from the clue followed by a three-letter word for a mummy.

13 One who takes on stiff challenges? (10)
UNDERTAKER – Cryptic definition of a person who arranges funerals.

15 Best spend a penny inside! (7)
OUTPLAY – The abbreviation for a penny inside a six-letter word meaning to spend.

16 Riddler is returning by foot here, naked (6)
SIFTER – Reverse (returning) the IS from the clue and followed by the abbreviation for foot and the inner letters (naked) of here.

19 Purveyor of silent recording rejected (6)
GROCER  – Remove the DIN (silent meaning no noise) from RECORDING and reverse the remaining letters (rejected).

21 Maybe hang nice flower first? (7)
EXECUTE – A three-letter word word a river (flower) before (first) a four-letter word meaning nice.

23 Infinitely large border in the garden, perhaps (5,5)
OUTER SPACE – Double definition – the first indicating the universe and the second being the external part of a house.

25 Honest writer’s problem (4)
OPEN – Split 1,3 this would indicate the absence of a writing implement.

27 Vegetable one chops running about (5)
ONION – The letter indicated by one inside (chops) a two-letter word meaning running or working and a two-letter word meaning about.

28 Impede free movement after International hesitation (9)
INTERFERE – An anagram (movement) of FREE after a three-letter abbreviation for international and a two-letter word indicating hesitation.

29 Shuffled the decks and drew (8)
SKETCHED – An anagram (shuffled) of THE DECKS.

30 Start arranging housing deposit (6)
TARTAR – The answer is hidden (housing) in the first two words of the clue.


1 Hot record label on form (8)
HEPTAGON – The abbreviation for hot followed by a two-letter word for a record, a three-letter word for a label and the ON from the clue.

2 Surprisingly arrogant when entertaining posh backer (9)
GUARANTOR – An anagram (surprisingly) of ARROGANT includes the abbreviation for posh.

3 Lifting the lid off quandary for literary matchmaker (4)
EMMA – Reverse the (lifting) the LID from the clue and remove (off) a seven-letter word for a quandary.

5 They aim to avoid cock-ups when taking a bow (7)
ARCHERS – Cryptic definition of those who shoot arrows where the cock-feather should point down.

6 Named condition one caught in current depressed state (10)
IDENTIFIED – A two-letter word meaning a condition and the letter represented by one inside the abbreviation for current and a six-letter word meaning having dents (in a depressed state).  A minor repetition of one for I.

7 One packing wine for Yank (5)
HOICK – The letter representing one (for the third time) inside a four-letter word for a German white wine.

8 Sheepish, admitting mistake getting tipple (6)
SHERRY – A three-letter word meaning sweeping included (admitting) a three-letter word meaning mistake.

9 Mean and waspish? (6)
STINGY – Double definition for being meaning with money and a description for wasps.

14/17 Stated what’s required to run this gadgetry (10,9)
ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT – A homophone (stated) of WHAT’s gives the unit of power required to run the solution.

18 Grazing animals control rising grass (8)
REINDEER – A  four-letter word meaning control followed by a reversal (rising) of a four-letter word for grass.

20 Despicable person crushed perlite (7)
REPTILE – An anagram (crushed) of PERLITE.

21 Turn on old flame with quote (6)
EXCITE – A two-letter word for a former lover and a four-letter word meaning to quote.

22 Cheeky displays? That’s about right for imbeciles! (6)
MORONS – A five-letter word meaning bares one buttocks around (about) the abbreviation for right.

24 Leader quits band, resulting in drivel (5)
TRIPE – Remove the first letter (leader quits) from a six-letter word for a band.

26 Boat for a patchy persona (4)
PROA – Two wordplays are possible here – A three-letter word meaning for followed by the A from the clue or the odd letters (patchy) in the final word of the clue.

32 comments on “Rookie Corner – 334

  1. A top quality puzzle that had us working hard
    Still uncertain about how the wordplay works for 19a so we’ll keep cogitating on that one.
    Plenty of smiles and chuckles and ticks all over the place.
    Thanks Rags.

  2. A very accomplished crossword thank you Rags

    Some nice sneaky d’oh moments – eg the ‘silent’ in 19a . I have one clue I’ll have to wait for Prolixic to parse so thanks in advance to him too

  3. Really enjoyed this & thought it excellent throughout. Smooth surfaces, clever wordplay & some humour – what’s not to like. Haven’t managed to finish mind you – just can’t see 26d & 30a despite reluctantly revealing the checker. Liked nearly all (even the homophone starter) but my favourites were 3d,13a,15a,19a,21a & 22d.
    Many thanks Rags

    1. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear :negative: RD is right.
      I’d more or less given up on what seemed to be my unequal (and rather lonely) struggle against plural favourites but I simply can’t let six go. Oh well – too bad. :smile:

    2. Penny has finally dropped on the last 2 – why can’t I spot lurkers.
      Never heard of the boat mind you & thought the patchy indicator very sly.

  4. Nice to see you back again, Rags, although you must feel a little frustrated at yet again not getting the promotion to the ‘other side’ that was promised some time ago.
    Plenty of ticks on my sheet and I had to laugh at the homophone. Particularly liked the surface read of 2d. I do have a couple of queries that await the judgement of Prolixic but many thanks for a very enjoyable solve.

    1. I do this for fun so no, I don’t feel frustrated at all – my puzzles will always be somewhat ‘ragged’, so I’m quite comfortable in Rookie Corner
      I am not trying to win any medals or acclaim, just want it to be fun to solve
      Should BD elect to put a puzzle into NTSPP, that’s his prerogative
      Pleased to hear you enjoyed it, thanks

  5. I think I’m right in saying that this is Rags’ first appearance in well over a year, I have good reason to remember his last one as I deputised for Prolixic in providing the review. Where have you been?

    This was another well-crafted and enjoyable puzzle with some very inventive constructions such as 19a and 25a. I was disappointed to see “one” used to clue “I” on three occasions though, including two instances in successive clues. 26d jarred as being “definition for wordplay” and I think better alternatives than “persona” could have been chosen to select the alternate letters. I’m unconvinced about the 1a homophone, but the good far outweighs the less than good. My ticks went to 11a, 30a, 2d and 9d.

    I’m very glad that Rags has reappeared and I hope we won’t have to wait quite so long for his next puzzle. Many thanks, Rags.

    1. It’s amazing what lockdown does to the brain! I would have guessed that your review of Rags’ previous Rookie puzzle was around six months ago, and I see it was actually in May 2019. :unsure:

    2. Hiya Silvanus
      I have still been setting, clue writing compos etc just haven’t sent much out
      Guilty as charged with ‘one’ – could easily have used ‘I’ for at least one of those clues
      26d ‘definition for wordplay would be a sin and alarm bells would ring; try splitting the clue 1/2/2 making a def + wp x2?
      Next one is in the pipeline and many thanks for your kind comment

      1. Hi Rags,

        Well that would get you off the hook for 26d, but it would also mean you had repeated “a” to clue “a” (having already used it in 12a) !! Much less of a sin, I grant you.

  6. Thanks for your feedback to all who have solved so far – I am out and about at the moment but will be back later when I am at my desk

  7. This was excellent, Rags. I doubt that Prolixic will have much to comment on beyond the accuracy of your cluing and nice surfaces on the whole.

    I’ve got two clues for which I can understand the idea behind the parsing without quite getting the Full Monty, and one for which I can’t see at all how the wordplay leads to the answer.

    My podium comprises 1a, 30a, 2d & 9d.

    Very well done, Rags, and thank you. Thanks too in advance to Prolixic.

  8. Super puzzle! Amongst many options I think my favourite is 27a. And some of the best surfaces I’ve seen at Rookie Corner – no mean feat. Well done Rags!

  9. I loved this and enjoyed it all very much – pretty tricky though.
    Still can’t see why, or even if, my 19a is OK – maybe it isn’t – don’t ‘get’ the silent or rejected bits which, presumably, are relevant.
    I could see the direction that 13a was going in but spent far too long thinking of pathologists etc.
    I appreciated almost all these clues, particularly 21 and 25a and 3, 9,21 and 22d. My favourite, my one favourite, is 13a.
    Thank you and congratulations to Rags for such a good crossword and thanks, in advance, to Prolixic.

  10. Lovely stuff , doesn’t read like a rookie’s puzzle.
    Tartar got me though !
    Thanks Rags.

  11. Good stuff from Rags overall. Comments absent reading others’:
    Particular likes 12,15,29,1d…
    Some cheek (I’m looking at you, 19).
    I don’t really understand 14,17.
    Thanks Rags.

  12. Just completed, struggled with 19a until the penny dropped and 6d took a long time and we still can’t work out where the third ‘i’ fits in the answer. Thoroughly enjoyed though. Thanks to Rags, Prolixic and BD.

  13. An enjoyable solve; my only complaint is that it was over too quickly. Lookking forward to your next one as NTSPP.

  14. Great fun, but shouldn’t have tried it late last night! I have a full grid now with only four that needed clarification.
    Rookie Corner or wherever just keep sending them in – thanks Rags

  15. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, it did give me a rather different ‘take’ on 27a and the 14/17 combo.
    Hope we don’t have to wait another year for the next one, Rags!

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