Rookie Corner – 337 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner – 337

A Puzzle by MP

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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.

A warm welcome back to a blogger with multiple personalities who has, thankfully, retained his pseudonym for this crossword.  The crossword was a gentle one with the parsing of 27a requiring the only cogitation for parsing.  There are a few minor points on the cluing but offset by some excellent clues such as 4a and 8d.  The commentometer reads as 3/30 or 10%.


1 Fancy Artex may be a bonus (5)
EXTRA – An anagram (fancy) of ARTEX.

4 Design pen to hold creature say (8)
STRATEGY – A three-letter word for a animal pen includes a three-letter word for a rodent (creature) and the abbreviation for “for example” (say).

10 Brick used for foot support when rowing (9)
STRETCHER – Double definition of a type of brick and a foot support in a rowing boat.

11 Plant splintering internally (5)
INTER – The answer is hidden (internally) in the second word of the clue.  Slightly unfortunate that the answer is also the first five letters of the hidden word indicator!

12 Act strangely when suddenly striking (7)
WILDCAT – A reverse anagram clue.  An anagram indicator and the letters to be rearranged could be a clue to ACT.  Perhaps the strangely is not quite strong enough to indicate that this is a reverse anagram.  Perhaps “This could lead to act that’s suddenly striking”

13 Roll a die true and become knowledgable (7)
ERUDITE – An anagram (roll) of DIE TRUE.  The A in the clue should be omitted here as it looks like part of the letters to be rearranged.

14 Dylanish singing. Initially nice and soothing. Always laudable (5)
NASAL – The initial letters (initially) of the last five words of the clue.

15 Punish Dave’s partner with knotted ties (8)
CHASTISE – The four-letter name of the Cockney singing duo including Dave followed by an anagram (knotted) of TIES.

18 Reflected upon motorway, bishop, soldiers and a journalist (8)
MIRRORED – The two-letter name of a motorway followed by the two-letter abbreviation for a bishop, the abbreviation for other ranks (soldiers) and the abbreviation for an editor (journalist).

20 European Union Inn adapted for boredom (5)
ENNUI – An anagram (adapted) of EU (European) INN.

23 Flyers from Burscough Football club (7)
LINNETS – The name of the birds that is also the nickname of the said football club.  General knowledge of county league football clubs is perhaps a little unfair.

25 Modern city life is a desert challenge (3,4)
RAT RACE – A three-letter word for desert followed by a four-letter word for a competitive challenge.

26 Regularly scour rhino for furbelow (5)
CURIO – The even letters (regularly) of the second two words of the clue (ignoring the space between them).

27 Contrary rhymster holds joint hardware (9)
MACHINERY – The contrary girl in the nursery rhyme includes (holds) a five-letter word for the backbone.  Watch out for spelling in the clues. An e is missing.

28 Shelter others around one most cautious (8)
LEERIEST – A three-letter word for a shelter followed by a four-letter word for others around the letter representing one.

29 Full up? Partly after one’s ate dinner (5)
SATED – The answer is hidden (partly) in the final three words of the clue.  The “after” is padding.  Grammatically, one’s eaten dinner, not ate it.


1 Cruel blow for Poppins means of propulsion (4,4)
EAST WIND – Double definition for a cold meteorological condition, also the one that blew in Marry Poppins.

2 Arouses amusement (7)
THRILLS – Double definition.

3 Detail cut relating to a joint (9)
ARTICULAR – A ten-letter word meaning detail without the first letter (cut).

5 Jack, Queen and king scheme to find the lady (5,4,5)
THREE CARD TRICK – A general description (5,4) of Jack, Queen and King followed by a five-letter word for a scheme.

6 Pass away in American university. So long (5)
ADIEU – A three-letter word meaning pass away inside the abbreviations for American and University.

7 Brings about hospital department troubles (7)
ENTAILS – A three-letter abbreviation for a hospital department followed by a four-letter word for troubles.

8 O’Kerry bowled one of these (6)
YORKER – An anagram (bowled) of OKERRY

9 Smashing tea with Chris’s Ma. Not a winter treat (5,9)
WHITE CHRISTMAS – An anagram (smashing) of TEA WITH CHRISS MA without one of the As.

16 Histrionics shown in excessively dramatic behaviour (9).
THEATRICS – Two definitions of the same word.    The two meanings are the same.  It is better to have a degree of separation between double definitions.

17 Western fish seen agog (4,4)
WIDE EYED – The abbreviation for western followed by a three-letter word for a type of fish and a four-letter word for seen.

19 Popular bottle to supply nervous energy (7)
INNERVE – A two-letter word meaning popular followed by a five-letter word for bottle or courage.  Perhaps changing nervous energy to “stimulus” as nervous overlaps with the solution.

21 North East area remains closest (7)
NEAREST – The abbreviations for north-east and area followed b a four-letter word for remains.

22 Antifreeze in singly coloured container (6)
GLYCOL – The answer is hidden in…container the third and fourth words of the clue.  

24 Initially every man only just identifies digital icons (5)
EMOJI – The initial letters (initially) of the second to sixth words of the clue.  Try to avoid using duplicate wordplay indicators.  Initially was used in 14a.

17 comments on “Rookie Corner – 337

  1. 4a gets our biggest tick as favourite. A few bits of GK (eg 23a) that we needed to check but we had guessed correctly.
    Thanks MP.

  2. I too had to check the football club birds but apart from that I thought it was a very good Rookie crossword which I finished over breakfast – the clues certainly flowed nicely as there weren’t many I’d left for a second ‘reading’ as I worked my way down the Across clues and then the Downs. I did wonder whether ‘cut’ in 3d might work better with ‘topped’ or something like that as I was initially looking to cut something off the bottom of a word before the penny dropped

    Thanks to MP and, in advance, to Prolixic

  3. Good puzzle – not sure I fully understand 5d and 19d has most of the answer in the clue, which seems a little odd
    Very entertaining overall, thanks MP

  4. Enjoyable to solve but there were quite a few clues that could have been improved, I felt. “Initially” was repeated for each of the acrostics and it’s never a good idea to reveal at least half of the solution in the wordplay, as in 11a, when the answer is already hidden! The two elements in 16d were too similar I thought. 23a is very obscure GK, “rhymester” in 27a is misspelled and, strictly speaking, 29a is ungrammatical, as the past participle of eat is eaten not “ate”. Some of the surfaces were rather surreal as well. My ticks went to 4a and 7d.

    Many thanks, MP.

  5. Pleasant Monday morning fare. A few rough edges that will no doubt come out in the formal review but the puzzle did its job of entertaining me, which is what I find important. Favourites were 8d (as a cricket fan), 17d and 22d. Thanks MP.

    1. I definitely agree that entertainment is a large part of the crossword experience, rough edges or not

  6. Unless I’m mistaken (nothing unusual there some may say) but is MP our very own MiffyPops? I found this most enjoyable &, to echo other commentators, enjoyable. Thanks to MP & to Prolixic for his review.

  7. A pleasant puzzle although I had to look up the football club. Agree with the 2K’s that 4a is a good clue. I thought 8d was very neat and the anagram not immediately obvious because the indicator is well disguised.

    Most enjoyable. Thank you, MP.

  8. Completed over a longer lunch and will check our answers with Prolixic tomorrow. Very enjoyable and thanks to MP and in advance to Prolixic- and BD of course. Favourite clues 15a and 4a.

  9. Thanks MP for an interesting solve, the intention was clear in all cases, though there are rough edges involving in particular parts of speech and link words. Comments absent reading others’:
    Ticks against 4,15,6,9,17.
    12 doesn’t quite work for me, if it is meant to be a ‘reverse clue’ how about “What could make act of striking sudden”?
    23 Even web search didn’t throw up this bit of knowledge immediately.
    27 I might have got it from the clue rather than the crossers if ‘contrary gardener’ had been used instead. But maybe not ;)
    19 Works, but would be better some way without ‘bottle’ and ‘nervous energy’, both meaning more-or-less the same thing.
    Keep at it.

  10. On the whole I really enjoyed this. Lot’s to like, I thought 4a very smooth and 25a induced a smile as did 8d. I really liked 27a once I’d established the meaning of ‘chine’ too.
    Being picky, I thought in 11a & 19d the fodder and solution were too close, and the wordplay in 24a is grammatically incorrect so the surface was clunky. Maybe replace ‘ones’ with ‘Thomas’ ?

    Top effort MP, to paraphrase Genesis,…..’there’s a future for you in the crucivebalist trade”
    Thanks in advance to the reviewer too.

  11. good fun and it kept me amused when I couldn’t get to sleep. I knew the brick but not the footrest. The fish in 17d needed an investigoogle as did the football team although I had enough checkers to be fairly certain as to their nickname. the Dylan clue gave me major hints as to the setters identity, 4a and 13a my faves today.
    Thanks to MP and Prolixic

  12. My favourite was the singing in 14a.

    Quite a few words I didn’t know (including the foot-rest; I might have heard of the brick but having ‘tickles’ for 2d scuppered my getting that one anyway), but that’s largely a comment on my vocabulary rather than the crossword.

    In 9d, ‘Chris’s Ma’ has got so many letters of the second word in the right order that it rather gives it away. And it seems a little unfortunate to include a 2-letter word in the fodder only for 1 of those letters to be removed.

    I needed Prolixic’s hint for 12a, but I smiled when I did get it. Thank you.

    PS: I spent too long wondering what a pud race was, until I realised 25a didn’t say “dessert” …

  13. Enjoyed it very much though found the SW testing with a few words I was unfamiliar with. Needless to say the football nickname was a bung in.
    Thanks MP

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