Rookie Corner – 366 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner – 366

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.

A superb crossword with that most rare of accolades – there are no comments on the clues!!!  The commentometer therefore reads a 0%.  Given this and previous crosswords, I think that the NTSPP beckons.


1 Careful of wanton mistress? Good luck with that! (4-4,6)
FOUR-LEAF CLOVER – An anagram (wanton) of CAREFUL OF followed by a five-letter word for a mistress.

8 Idiots brief judge (5)
ASSES – A six-letter word meaning to judge with the final letter removed (brief).

9 I hear Ms Pavlova had a snake (8)
ANACONDA – A homophone (I hear) of ANNA (Ms Pavlova) and CONNED (had) followed by the A from the clue.

11 Tom maybe runs around before I provide food (7)
CATERER – A three-letter word for the type of animal of which a tom is an example and the abbreviation for runs all around a three-letter word meaning before.

12 Enthusiast has a look for large beast (7)
BUFFALO – A four-letter word for an enthusiast followed by the A from the clue and a two-letter word meaning look.

13 Gain 20 points (5)
SCORE – Triple definition.

15 Reclaim ground outside city that used to be unstable (9)
MERCURIAL – An anagram (ground) of RECLAIM around the two letter word for an old biblical city.

17 Tried exposing matter with Mike Pence and Senator Cruz (9)
ATTEMPTED – The inner letters (exposing) of matter followed by the abbreviations for Mike and Pence and the first name of Senator Cruz.

20 You may eat till pub closes prematurely (3,2)
DIG IN – A three-letter word meaning to till or work the ground followed by a three-letter word for a pub with the final letter removed (closes prematurely).

21 Old impressionist and dumb performer, both uninitiated (3-4)
ONE TIME – A five-letter surname of an impressionist artist and a four-letter word for a dumb performer each with the first letter removed (uninitiated).

23 Grandma rings tax collectors once Victor reaches tranquil state (7)
NIRVANA – A four-letter word for a grandma around (rings) the old abbreviation for the UK tax collectors (now part of HMRC) and the letter represented by Victor in the NATO phonetic alphabet.

25 One with no faith in Indonesia’s top bowman (8)
PAGANINI – A five-letter word for someone with no faith followed by the IN from the clue and first letter (top) of Indonesia.

26 Window of opportunity’s opening by Cambodian capital (5)
ORIEL – The initial letter (opening) of opportunity followed by a four-letter word for the currency (capital) of Cambodia.

27 European treating cholera with pretty shocking cure (14)
ELECTROTHERAPY – The abbreviation for European followed by an anagram (treating) of CHOLERA PRETTY.


1 Philosopher is rasher to support dictator without basis (7,5)
FRANCIS BACON – The IS from the clue and a five-letter word for the meat that comes as rashers underneath (to support) the name of a Spanish dictator without the final letter (without basis).

2 Found cycling leads to trouble (5)
UPSET – Written in a circle (cycling) the word SETUP provides the answer reading from the letter U.

3 Ray‘s arms able to move freely, shackles gone finally (5,4)
LASER BEAM – An anagram (to move freely) of ARMS ABLE around (shackles) the final letter of gone.

4 What could be oppressing for pop singers? (7)
ANAGRAM – This wordplay device applied to oppressing could give pop-singers.

5 Church with yellow room (7)
CHAMBER – The abbreviation for church followed by a five-letter word for an orangey yellow colour.

6 Intermittent provision of face masks (2-3)
ON-OFF – The answer is hidden in (masks) the second to fourth words of the clue.

7 Bring Cockney’s trial to a close — charming! (9)
ENDEARING – How a Cockney would say end hearing (bring trial to a close).

10 Where you can get a spare container in kitchen (7,5)
BOWLING ALLEY – A four-letter word for a container followed by the IN from the clue and a six-letter word for a kitchen.

14 Directly apply varnish here? (2,3,4)
ON THE NAIL – Double definition.

16 Rare deer found in wild kicks out if agitated (9)
UNDERDONE – An anagram (wild) of DEER FOUND IN without an anagram (agitated) of IF.

18 Youth foundations to fundraise for about one more minute (7)
TEENIER – A four-letter word for a youth and the last letters (foundations) to “fundraise for” around the letter represented by one.

19 Make a bad impression on first person performing extractions? (7)
DENTIST– A four-letter word meaning to make a bad impression on a surface followed by the three-letter way of saying first.

22 Patriarch is about to tour America on vacation (5)
ISAAC – The IS from the clue and the single letter meaning about around the outer letters (on vacation) of America.

24 Soul musician I’m avoiding, not all there (5)
ANIMA – The answer is hidden in (not all there) the second to fourth words of the clue.

33 comments on “Rookie Corner – 366

  1. An absolute pleasure to solve.
    Lots of ticks on our pages and the biggest penny-drop moment was with 4d.
    Well done and many thanks Acnestis.

  2. That was fun! A very pleasant and enjoyable solve to finish my Sunday evening of solving.

    I really liked 9a, 26a, 4d, and 7d.

    Thanks Acnestis.

  3. Very well done and many thanks, Acnestis. This was light and great fun, and I loved your attention to detail, e.g.: “once” in 23a; the inclusion of the necessary second anagram indicator in 16d; and polished surfaces throughout.

    My page was littered with ticks, and this was pretty much a perfect Rookie Corner puzzle from my perspective.

    Please keep them coming like this!

  4. Thanks Acnestis, super.
    My faves amongst a whole host of good clues: 4d, 10d and 18d.
    Not quite sure on 16d – I think I get it, but can’t really see/justify what’s going on with the i’s (I have no i-deer!)
    Thanks again!

    1. Ah, never mind – I was being dense (I’d spent ages trying to use the ‘rare’ in the clue for another purpose and hadn’t got that out of my mind!)
      So… thanks again Acnestis, brilliant!

  5. An excellent puzzle pitched at just the right level – many thanks Acnestis.
    I ticked too many clues to list them all – I’ll just mention 9a, 20a, 4d, 6d and 10d.
    More like this please.

  6. Thanks so much for the comments thus far folks – I’m pleased everyone seems to have enjoyed the puzzle!

  7. Really enjoyed this puzzle, Acnestis, thank you. Favourites are 4d (superb), 7d, (great)1d, 10d (very clever). We still need to fully parse 18d. Really good fun on a very cold, (even snowflakes!) morning near Eastbourne. Many thanks. We look forward to your next one.

  8. A really good puzzle with LOTS of terrific clues.
    If I had to pick from good bunch, 9a, 26a 10d, 16d, 27d but several others get a tick too
    Don’t get 4d but clear from Senf that that is my shortcoming!

  9. Not disappointed to start the week with your offering Acnestis.
    That was just great.
    Loved the anagrams, the homophone in 9a and the charade in 10d.
    Didn’t know that 1d was also a philosopher.
    Thanks for the great fun and really look forward to seeing you in the Saturday slot very soon.

  10. Not an easy ride by any means but a very skilfully constructed puzzle – well done indeed, Acnestis. I still have a couple of bits of parsing to tease out but certainly plenty of ticks on my sheet.
    Too many goodies to mention but a special nod goes to 7d which really made me laugh.
    Hard to believe that our setter is so young – he sets more like an old pro!

  11. What a great puzzle! I thoroughly enjoyed solving this although I must admit to not seeing the parsing for 4d. No doubt I will kick myself when it is explained. I thought 1d was a painter and had no idea he was considered as a philosopher.

    Wonderful entertainment, Acnestis. Thank you very much.

    1. Assuming that you have an answer for 4d, for confirmation find (easily) two groups of letters in the clue to which it might apply.

    2. Steve, those are different 1Ds, who lived several centuries apart!

      A recent Only Connect quarter-final had a question which involved spotting pairs of people with the same name. So “‘Portrait of George Dyer Talking’ philosopher” referred to a work by the painter with the same name as 1D together with the description of 1D; and “‘Cloud Atlas‘ comedian” clued the two David Mitchells.

  12. An accomplished puzzle which was very enjoyable to solve
    Thank you and well done Acnestis :good:

  13. A crossword that surely wouldn’t be out of place in the DT back-pager.

    Great entertainment with polished surface readings … 10d being a prime example.

    Thanks, Acnestis.

    ps. I must admit that I had no clue about 4d until I read the comments above. How clever!

  14. I thought this was brilliant – not completely straightforward by any means (well, not for me anyway) but ‘doable’.
    I don’t ‘get’ 16d – maybe my answer’s wrong – I can’t do 21a at all and only have a guess at 18d but can’t see why.
    I’m not sure that I’d have got 27a if we hadn’t had it in another crossword quite recently.
    Lots and lots of good clues including 1, 9 and 20a and 4d. My favourite was 10d.
    Thank you very much for such a good crossword to Acnestis and thanks, in advance, to Prolixic for tomorrow’s review.

    1. 16d puzzled me too Kath. Rare – definition. Wild is the anagram indicator then take out the I & F.

      1. Thank you – I got the definition and the answer but just couldn’t sort out why – it turned out that I just couldn’t count! Oh dear, and dim!

  15. Fully agree with Jepi’s comment that this could easily have graced the DT’s back page. A real pleasure from start to finish & jam packed with excellent clues. 1,15,17&25a plus 1,4,7,10,16 & 22d were my picks. 24d was a new word to me but helpfully lurking & 21a is a bung in.
    Thanks Acnestis – you’re welcome any time soon.

  16. A couple unparsed and a couple of failures in the SW awaiting the review, but a classy puzzle and a real entertaining solve.
    Loved 10d.
    Was expecting a struggle after your last, but this was just right.
    You can move on to the dailies now and leave RC for us learners ;-)

  17. Very nice! I particularly liked your clue for 26ac – I wish I’d thought of that. See you on NTSPP before long?

  18. Thank you as always for the review, Prolixic. I’m certainly delighted, and indeed quite surprised, by my score.
    A huge thanks also to CrypticSue and Silvanus for all their invaluable help test solving, to Big Dave for affording me this opportunity in the first place, and to everyone who has commented on this or any of my other puzzles for the wonderful feedback and encouragement.
    Hope to see you all soon with another puzzle!


    1. Well done indeed, Acnestis, I can’t recall that the commentometer has ever been silenced before by a Rookie Corner setter!
      Hope to see you in the NTSPP slot very soon.

    2. Given the pedigree of your test solvers I am not surprised that the crossword passed with flying colours.

  19. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, what a brilliant and well-deserved score for Acnestis.

  20. Thanks to Prolixic for the review and congratulations again to Acnestis for the achievement.

  21. Please forgive this late comment, Acnestis. Wow! This was an exceptional Rookie puzzle. Warmest congratulations! I thoroughly enjoyed it and have lots of ticks, including 1a and 1d, 17a, 23a, 4d, 7d, 10d, 14d and 24d. My fave is 25a, the genius ‘bowman’.

    Very many thanks for the review Prolixic. I’m happy to say I was able to parse every clue of this polished puzzle correctly.

    Very many thanks Acnestis for what Prolixic has called ‘a superb crossword’. High praise indeed. I hope we shall see you again soon …

Comments are closed.