Rookie Corner – 341 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner – 341

A Puzzle by Acnestis

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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 Acnestis with a second crossword that builds on the very good first crossword and, shows a lot of improvements.  There are very few issues with the clues technically though a few of the surface readings could be worked on to make them more natural and smooth.  The only one that really jarred was 14a.  I appreciated a lot of the wordplay with some excellent ideas in clue like 1a and 5d among others.  The commentometer reads as 1.5 / 28 or 5.4%.


1 Detached? (5-6)
CLEAN-SHAVEN – Split the clue to de-tached and find a phrase that means without a moustache.

9 National PM’s 16ac (7)
ISRAELI – Split the answer to 16ac 1, 2, 7 and apply this as an instruction to remove a letter from the name of an old UK prime minister.

10 Georgia nearly went off the wire (7)
GAROTTE – The US State code for Georgia followed by a six-letter word means went off with the final letter removed (nearly).

11 South American music director’s with a retired banker in Stratford (5,4)
BOSSA NOVA – A four-letter word for a director or leader followed by the A from the clue and a reversal (retired) of the river (banker) that flows through Stratford.

12 Overall, an entertaining expert (5)
APRON – The AN from the clue includes (entertaining) a three-letter word meaning expert.  The solution and the definition are not synonymous.

13 Mum married in style (4)
DUMB – The abbreviation for married in a three-letter word meaning style or name.

14 It gets rid of unwanted growths, like welder getting sacked (10)
WEEDKILLER – An anagram (getting sacked) of LIKE WELDER.  One point to watch is that surface readings must make some sort of sense.  This does not.

16 Vicious circles woman in government is brushing off (10)
DISMISSING – Reverse (circles) the first name of the Sex Pistols singer and follow by a four-letter word for a woman, the IN from the clue and the abbreviation for government.

19 Crazy about opera singer (4)
DIVA – Reverse (about) a four-letter word meaning crazy.  

21 Essential prohibitio — no, that’s not a typo (5)
BASIC – A three-letter word meaning a prohibition without the last letter (indicated by the spelling in the clue) followed by a three-letter word inserted to indicated that something is a typed and not a mistake.

22 Pictures of people turned on their sides I race to put in order? (6,3)
EROTIC ART – An anagram (put in order) of TH (the sides of their) I RACE TO.  Not sure about the definition here.  Surely the solution is something that turns on the viewer, which is not what the definition says.

24 Milliner pursues small fragment (7)
SHATTER – A six-letter word for a milliner after (pursues) the abbreviation for small.

25 He doesn’t indulge in things like vinegar, some say (7)
ASCETIC – A homophone (possibly for some as they may pronounce it) of a word that describes vinegar.

26 Organ transplant lady and I emulate (5,6)
DAILY MIRROR – An anagram (transplant) of LADY I followed by a six-letter word meaning emulate.


1 Territory I unhesitatingly sling mud at after the present time (9,6)
CHRISTMAS ISLAND – The I from the clue followed by a seven-letter word meaning sling mud or disparage without the final two letters that are used to express a hesitation all after the time when you receive presents.

2 Spaces with a means of evacuation (5)
ENEMA – Two printing spaces followed by the A from the clue.

3 Offensive to play with dominoes when 16ac (7)
NOISOME – An anagram (to play with) of DOMINOES after removing the letter indicated by the solution to 16a.

4 Catching a horse is difficult for writer of adventure stories (7)
HAGGARD – The A from the clue and the two letter childish way of saying a horse inside (catching) a four-letter word meaning difficult.

5 Very bad time to lose foundations? Exactly (8)
VERBATIM – The first three words of the clue without the final letters (to lose foundations).

6 Restaurant’s laid out dangerous event (7,8)

7 It’s not good (not good?!) to be a sailor (6)
SINBAD – A three-letter word meaning something that’s not good followed by a three letter word meaning the same thing.

8 Snake’s 16ac? That’s not so nice (6)
MEANER – A seven-letter word meaning to snake or wind without the letter indicated bu the answer to 16a.

15 Treats Gael during the first part (8)
BISCOTTI – A four-letter word for a Gael or Celt inside (during) a phrase 3,1 meaning the first part.

16 Extricating climber from debacle, Matisse is humble (6)
DEBASE – Remove the name of a climbing plant from the forth and fifth words of the clue.

17 Trust foul-mouthed bishop to get seduced (5,2)
SWEAR BY – A six-letter word meaning foul-mouthed includes (to get seduced) the abbreviation for bishop.

18 Racist extremists restrained by Liberal in one (3-4)
NEO-NAZI – The first and last letters of the alphabet (extremists) (restrained by) an anagram (liberal) of IN ONE.

20 Resisting Lewis’s horseplay (6)
ANTICS – A four-letter word meaning resisting or against followed by the initials of the author whose surname is Lewis.  Given that there is only one major author whose initials are part of the solution, this is probably a case where a definition by example is not necessary as the two are so closely linked.  

23 Suffer briefly where Alexander Fleming made his name (5)
INCUR – A phrase indicating how Alexander Fleming made his name without the final letter (briefly).  Perhaps the phase is a little contrived and stilted.

23 comments on “Rookie Corner – 341

  1. This was interesting and entertaining, but I have a query or two
    With thanks to prolixic in advance

    1. Apologies, in my late night haste I forgot to congratulate you on a generally very good puzzle
      Thanks for the entertainment Acnestis

  2. We started off with 2d and 4d which we thought were both excellent clues and this set the tone for our appreciation of the puzzle. Probable a rule or two broken in places but all gettable and an enjoyable challenge.
    Thanks Acnestis.

  3. Similar thoughts to 2Kiwis. I particularly liked the inventiveness in 1a, 21, 18 and 20. This puzzle looked to me like it was going to be a bit ‘wild’ in its clueing to begin with … but, with a few minor exceptions, I was wrong. Some very classy clues and clever tricks in operation.

    I have a brief set of notes that I made whilst solving (but which contain spoilers) which I am more than happy to share with you. If you’d like that, do ask Big Dave to put us in email contact and I will send them across. No offence taken if not, though!

    For the minor areas to work on I am sure Prolixic will give some excellent feedback as ever tomorrow morning.

    Many thanks for this second puzzle – I enjoyed your first a few months back and this one did not disappoint :-)


  4. A warm welcome back to Rookie Corner, Acnestis.

    Like your first Rookie Corner puzzle a few months ago, this was entertaining and showed some interesting and inventive ideas. I don’t know if it was your intention but you appear to have upped the difficulty level which seems to have led to some strange surface readings, e.g.: 14a, 16a, 26a, 1d, 6d & 16d. I also had more scribbled comments this time round but on the plus side I had more ticks too.

    I’ll leave any detailed comments about my scribbles until after Prolixic’s review and simply list the clues concerned: 16a, 21a, 22a, 4d,15d & 20d.

    My ticks went to 1a, 11a, 12a, 13a, 24a, 2d, 5d & 17d; and the use of 16a as part of the wordplay for some other clues was a clever idea – well done on limiting this to only three clues.

    Please pay careful heed to Prolixic’s wise words and also aim to make the surfaces of all your clues read sensibly.

    Well done again, Acnestis, and please keep them coming.

  5. Very inventive and enjoyable – thanks Acnestis.
    It’s difficult to highlight individual clues from such an enjoyable collection but I’ll go for 1a, 11a, 5d and 7d.

  6. Welcome back, Acnestis, I was looking forward to this and it didn’t disappoint. As the 2Ks commented, there were possibly a few rules broken and I thought the occasional clue (eg 22a) was a ‘bit too clever for its own good’.
    My ticks went to 1,12,13&19a plus 5&20d.
    Well done – but please watch those surface reads!

  7. Great to see you again, Acnestis.

    I was very impressed indeed by your debut in June and today’s follow-up puzzle is stunningly good as well. From what I’ve seen so far, I really do think you have the potential to become a top setter.

    Technically I can find almost nothing to fault, but your Achilles’ Heel remains the surface readings. Most are excellent and none are that bad, but it is an area where there is room for improvement, in my opinion. For instance, the two elements of 14a don’t sit too well together, and I think a better definition could be found, maybe something like “Cause of suffering in plant,…”? 24a begged the question, “small fragment” of what?, I think it would have helped to change it round to something like “Fragment of silk originally pursued by milliner” perhaps. I’m not totally convinced by “unhesitatingly” in 1d (I’d much prefer “without hesitation”) and I can totally understand why you went for “the present time”, but something like “Territory Noel and I vilify without hesitation” could be smoother maybe. Just a few examples of where I believe a good puzzle could be made even better.

    I have ticks beside the vast majority of the clues, and double ticks alongside 1a, 11a, 12a, 13a and 17d. I thought incorporating the 16a device in other clues was exceptionally clever as was the wordplay in 16d. Well spotted! 20d probably needs a “perhaps” but I think definitions by example were something of a blind spot last time, too.

    All in all, another Acnestic puzzle of incredibly high quality which was a pleasure to solve. If I can be of help in polishing future surfaces before publication, I’m sure BD will give you my contact details if you ask him.

    Many thanks indeed, Acnestis.

  8. Very good, tricky puzzle. Comments absent reading others’ (there may be spoilers):
    Particularly liked 13,2,5.
    1ac Chutzpah.
    12 definition not quite imo.
    17 your inclusion indicator is a bit remote – nothing wrong with ‘taken in’.
    Thanks Acnestis.

  9. Currently 2 shy of a finish (15&20d) & flummoxed. Loved the 1a&d clues & thought the clues relating to 16a very clever indeed. Ok a couple of the surfaces were a tad clunky but I thought it a super crossword. Shame I can’t finish it.
    Many thanks Acnestis

  10. Thanks for the comments so far everyone! It’s very nice to be back in the firing line. The general consensus seems to be that my surfaces need work, so I’ll try to make that the focus of my next puzzle.
    Also a big thank you to BD for publishing me, to CS for test solving, and in advance to Prolixic.

  11. Another Monday with a bit of time to spare for Rookie Corner. I found this a very pleasant puzzle to solve; OK, one or two surfaces were a little bit iffy but I can’t say they spoiled the enjoyment. And I really liked the way 3, 8 and 9 tied in with 16ac, although it took me a while to figure out what was going on there. I thought 21 was good, too. Thanks, Acnestis.

  12. Thanks Acnestis for a smart crossword. Like others I really enjoyed the use of 16 across – it took a while for that penny to drop here, though it was very satisfying when it happened! My favourite clues are 11, 12, 1d, 2, 7, 16d (for the unusually cunning device), and 17.

    21 didn’t quite work for me. I’m not sure about the ‘extremists’ part of 18. And 23 feels a little unsatisfying, although I might be missing something there. I understand others’ comments about surfaces as well. For me though, these are quibbles that are outshone easily by the admiration felt elsewhere. Well done, Acnestis – you should be proud!

    1. I don’t get the missing letter. In cure is the only word I can think of that’s relevant but doesn’t make sense grammatically.

  13. Thank you very much for the review, Prolixic. I can’t argue with anything you’ve said, and will certainly take it all on board for next time.
    And thanks again to all who have commented – the feedback is invaluable!

  14. We definitely struggled but now we have all the answers ( with help!) we are very impressed with the cross referencing and clueing. Thank you Acnestis for making us analyse harder and Prolixic for the necessary nudges in the right direction.

  15. Very well-crafted puzzle from Acnestis, albeit with some surfaces gone awry as already mentioned. I was tickled by the cryptic allusions to 16a (once I twigged, that is!).

    Being pedantic for a moment, in reply to Prolixic’s comment on 20d, I can think of at least one other fairly well-known author with the same initials as Mr Lewis. That’s a certain Mr Forester, author of the Hornblower naval adventure series. But never mind!

  16. A fine puzzle indeed. Just a small observation about the review, 22a: I think the phrasal definition is meant to be waggish/tongue-in-cheek (hence the ?). People depicted in some erotic art might well be “turned on” (to say the least) themselves.

  17. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. How nice to see a ‘youngster’ not only taking an interest in crosswords but also making a good job of setting them.

  18. As others have remarked, this is a fine puzzle, Acnestis. I enjoyed it very much, both for the fun and for the head-scratching. Some clues certainly had me thinking outside the box. It took a while for the penny to drop re 16a, but having evenutally arrived at the answer, can’t understand why! Very clever use I thought.
    My list of best clues includes 1a, 11a, 12a, 4d, 5d, and I did like 7d.
    There was one clue that eluded me — 15d. My appreciative thanks to Prolixic for explaining this and for the excellent review.
    Thank you very much Acnestis, and very well done!

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