Rookie Corner – 350 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner – 350

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.

Bravo Acnestis.  Apart from a point on one of the definitions which could be tighter, this was an excellent crossword.  The commentometer reads as 0.5/27 or 1.9%

A very happy Christmas to all the Rookies and bloggers.


1 Entering court, slim copper is respectable-looking (5-3)
CLEAN-CUT – A four-letter word meaning slim and the chemical symbol for copper inside (entering) the abbreviation for court.

6 Rover is mad to pursue power (6)
PIRATE – A five-letter word meaning mad or angry after (pursing) the abbreviation for power.

9 Apprehend adult is in love (4)
NAIL – The abbreviation for adult in a three letter word meaning zero or love.

10 Polite remark from countryman penning fifty lines (10)
PLEASANTRY – A seven-letter word meaning a countryman around the Roman numeral for fifty followed by the abbreviation for railway (lines).

11 Old lady starts to become agitated in city (6)
MUBAI – A three letter word for an old lady (many mothers would be up in arms at the description old) followed by the initial letters (starts to) of become agitated in.

12 Demand lawsuit against former lover (8)
EXACTION – A six-letter word for a lawsuit after (against) a two-letter word meaning a former lover.

14 A French right-winger harassed online without restraint (12)
UNCONTROLLED – The French masculine singular for one followed by the three-letter abbreviation for conservative (right-winger) and a seven-letter word meaning harassed on-line.

17 Best place to begin training pilot with no poise (4,8)
POLE POSITION – An anagram (training) of PILOT NO POISE.

19 After exercise, parent is desperate for eternal youth (5,3)
PETER PAN – A two-letter abbreviation for exercise followed by an anagram (is desperate) of PARENT.

21 By embracing holy figure, son achieves prospects (6)
VISTAS – A three-letter word meaning by around (embracing) the abbreviation for saint followed by the abbreviation for son.

22 Woman waiting on flight of stairs hopes somehow to lift piano (3,7)
AIR HOSTESS – An anagram (somehow) of STAIRS HOPES after removing the P (to lift piano).

24 Stare at long clue periodically (4)
OGLE – The even letters (periodically) of long clue.

25 Mark‘s sergeant-major meets topless magistrate (6)
SMUDGE – The abbreviation for sergeant major followed by six-letter word word a magistrate without the initial letter (topless).

26 Crossing stage, girl slips (8)
MISSTEPS – A four-letter word for a young girl around (crossing) a four-letter word for a stage or leg.


2 Alliance de Gaulle formed without Germany or Luxembourg (6)
LEAGUE – An anagram (formed) of DE GAULE without the IVR codes for Germany and Luxembourg.

3 Film A-level? (3,5,3)
ALL ABOUT EVE – Read A LEVEL as AL(EVE)L and describe the result.

4 Fantastic work by island county arresting corrupt and inept leaders (9)
CAPRICCIO – A five-letter island followed by the abbreviation for country around the initial letters (initial) of corrupt and inept.

5 Main ten theories about rule Sheffield United, say, breaks twice? (6,2,1,2,4)
THERE’S NO I IN TEAM – An anagram (about) of MAIN TEN THEORIES.

6 No more American food (5)
PASTA – A four-letter word meaning no more followed by the single letter abbreviation for American.

7 Weakling’s unfinished work (3)
RUN – A four letter word for a weakling without the final letter (unfinished).

8 Go beyond making profits (8)
TURNOVER – A four-letter word for a go followed by a four-letter word meaning beyond.  Turnover is not the same as profit.  The operating expenses for generating turnover (cash throughput) has to be deducted from turnover to calculate the profit.

13 Old coins depreciated essentially, revealed recruiting agent (6,5)
TALENT SCOUT – A seven-letter word for old coins used in one of Jesus’ parables followed by the central letter (essential) of depreciated and a three-letter word meaning revealed.

15 Seeks further profit from animated TV series about knight (9)
REINVEST – An anagram (animated) of TV SERIES around a single letter abbreviation for a knight on a chessboard.

16 He loses face supporting aristocrat? No! (8)
NOBELIUM – The name of gas whose chemical symbol is He after (supporting) a three-letter word for an aristocrat.

18 Hurry! Get to work! (6)
GALLOP – A four-letter word meaning get to or annoy followed by a two-letter abbreviation for work.

20 Revolutionary process a physician carries out (5)
PASSE – The answer is reversed (revolutionary) and hidden (carried) in the third to fifth words of the clue.

23 Tricked Henry and Bill (3)
HAD – The abbreviation for Henry followed by a two-letter abbreviation for a bill or advertisement.

23 comments on “Rookie Corner – 350

  1. Certainly not a pushover for us with lots of clever clues to untangle. Thought that 16d very clever indeed.
    Thanks and well done Acnestis.

  2. Quite straightforward except for 16d which I needed electronic assistance for – my Chemistry O-level from 50+ years ago didn’t really help.
    I did like 1a, 3d, and 4d – the latter two being very clever.
    A perfect end to my Sunday evening of cruciverbalism. Thanks Acnestis and thanks in advance to Prolixic.

  3. Some clever clues and a high quality puzzle, I thought. 16d caught me out – very good! Surfaces are generally very good and wordplay & definitions are accurate – I can’t ask for much more than that! Well done Acnestis and thank you for a fun start to Monday.
    Have a great Xmas and look after yourselves everyone :-) I don’t know about you but puzzles have really helped me get through the most bizarre nine months I can remember.

  4. I struggled with this but only in regard to not being able to find anything wrong with it! 👍

    Brilliant work, Acnestis. This was another step up from your previous Rookie offerings. It was nicely challenging with great clues, smooth surfaces, and ingenious disguises. What’s not to like?

    The “is” in 9a is very clever as the wordplay and surface would both still be fine without it, but its inclusion camouflages the specific meaning of “apprehend” needed for the definition, and the definition in 16d is exquisite.

    With ticks all over the place, my double ticked clues were awarded to 9a, 11a, 3d, 6d, & 23d with 16d my absolute favourite.

    Very well done, Acnestis. This was a lot of fun. Please keep them coming.

  5. I can do no better than echo RD’s remarks “It was nicely challenging with great clues, smooth surfaces, and ingenious disguises”.
    My ticks went to 1a, 22a, 6d and 16d (excellent but my lack of chemistry knowledge forced me to consult Google). My favourite was the brilliantly spotted 3d.
    Many thanks Acnestis – more like this please.

  6. 16d was my last one to yield in this very well constructed crossword and only got it by peeking at the blog.
    Very clever indeed.
    Other ticks went next to 3d and 15d.
    Congratulations to Acnestis for a super rookie.

  7. Like Jean-luc 16d was my last in & only got it because comments referenced chemistry – I’m not sure I fully understand it either.
    Can only add to the plaudits. Thought this the best Rookie Corner (among plenty of excellent ones) for quite some time. Superbly clued throughout & with so many great clues to choose from it’s difficult to pick a winner but 3&5d stood out for me. The latter reminded me of a particularly irritating senior manager who was fond of the cliche. He spouted it at a management conference & some wag muttered,just audibly enough for a few rows to hear, a riposte that involved a different vowel.
    Thanks Acnestis – very well done & more of the same please.

  8. I think RD’s ‘ingenious’ comment covers it nicely and this certainly wasn’t a walk in the park for me.
    Couple of surface reads that only just passed muster here and I think your shorter clues are often the best, but overall I thought it was an excellent puzzle.
    My leader board features 1&19a plus 3&6d.

    Many thanks, Acnestis, can’t have been easy fitting this one in around the exams! Hope that we see a lot more from you in the future.

  9. We started well but ended up having to reveal some letters to help us finish. We enjoyed 11a (went there last year), 22a, and 3d. Floored by 16d and 26a! This certainly helped to pass time pleasantly on a day far from pleasant, weather wise . Thank you Acnestis and Prolixic in advance and Merry Christmas to you all. Many thanks to Big Dave. Your sites are fantastic and give great pleasure as we work through previous puzzles.

  10. A nicely challenging puzzle and very well put together – lots of original thinking which is great to see
    My only tiny queries would be the definition for 8d and the slightly unusual use of top in an across clue, 25a
    Congratulations on a very well crafted and entertaining puzzle Acnestis, well done

    1. Anyone in the bookmaking game would certainly attest to increased turnover does not necessarily equate to a bigger profit & sometimes the opposite.

  11. I was encouraged to give this puzzle a go by the glowing comments from the great and good above. I was not disappointed. I thought this was quite outstanding with plenty of original ideas.
    Ticks all over the place: Across 10, 14, 17, 19, 22, Down 3, 5, 6, 13, 16, 18.
    My favourite is 3d – brilliant!
    I did not know 16d, probably because I didn’t pay attention in my Chemistry lessons at school, but it is a really clever clue.
    I biffed “career” for 18d which held me up for a while.
    I am also unconvinced about the definition in 8d, but this is a minor quibble.
    Great stuff! Many thanks.
    Season’s greetings to all.

  12. I’ve had to refer to the blog & a few reveals but I enjoyed this nevertheless so thank you to Acnestis & to Prolixic in advance.
    Your pseudonym is intriguing as Acenestis is defined as ” The part of the body where one cannot reach to scratch.” Discuss.

    A Merry Christmas & A Prosperous New Year to One & All. Let’s hope we see some light at the end of the tunnel in the Spring.

    1. Hi spindrift, I’m very pleased you enjoyed it. I’m afraid I haven’t any good reason for my pseudonym. My initials are AC (or to be more precise, ABC, but I don’t know of any words starting like that), and the first four letters of acnestis can be taken as a jocular reference to my age. Besides that, it just seemed to me to be a fitting pseudonym for a crossword compiler, in an inexplicable sort of way.

  13. I liked this very much. Pithy and precise clueing. 3d simply brilliant.
    8d I took to be a very clever cryptic & lit on the basis answer is vanity whereas profit is sanity

  14. Really really innovative with some very fresh and imaginative cluing, and novel surfaces, I really enjoyed it. Clues that stood out for me 9,11&22a plus 18d but could have mentioned several more.
    Many thanks Acnestis for a very accomplished puzzle.

  15. Many thanks for the comments so far! I’m delighted everyone seems to have enjoyed my latest offering.
    I must also thank Silvanus, whose advice has been truly invaluable, CrypticSue for test solving, and of course Big Dave for publishing my puzzle.

    1. That explains the conspicuous absence of CS & Silvanus this week
      You have two of the very best on your team (full marks for thorough preparation), but that in no way detracts from your ingenuity as I know they would only ever offer guidance, not come up with ideas or write clues for you, so well done again

  16. Some absolutely cracking clues here – 3dn, 10ac and 16dn among them; I’m glad I made time to tackle this. On the other hand 5dn had me baffled and it was only by a bit of guesswork and googling that I found the name of the song, which I’d never heard of. And I can’t make head or tail of 20dn. (I haven’t looked at the other comments for possible enlightenment – I’ll wait for the review).
    But all in all a very satisfying solve. Thanks, Acnestis and in advance to Prolixic.

  17. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, and thanks again to all who have commented. I’ve learnt a lot about setting from the Rookie Corner this year, for which I am most grateful. Enjoy the festive season everyone!

  18. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, I’m sure Acnestis was delighted by his ‘score’.
    Very best of festive wishes to you both and hopefully a brighter new year for all of us.

  19. Acnestis – sorry for being so late in commenting – hopefully you see this – well done on this crossword which I really enjoyed. The film A-level clue in particular is very, very good – congratulations!

  20. I recently discovered Rookie Corner. Having now spent some lockdown hours on a few of these puzzles, I think the quality is generally very good, and if every so often a puzzle like this one comes along I will be sure to visit the Corner regularly. Acnestis – I hope we will be treated to more of your puzzles in future :yes:

    PS My broadest smile perhaps came from 5d.

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