Rookie Corner 410 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 410

A Puzzle by Jeemz

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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.

When I looked back at Jeemz first crossword, I was worried that this one would follow a similar pattern.  I was delighted to find that many of the rough edges in the first one were not present in this crossword.  It was gentler without being a write-in and much more enjoyable as a result.  It is possibly the best improvement I have seen between the first and second crosswords in come time.  A good sign for the setter is when I am generally making only minor technical comments on some of the clues.  The commentometer reads as 2/28 or 7.14%.


1 Forecast no fowl flying in this avian group (5,2,7)
TOWER OF FALCONS – An anagram (flying) of FORECAST NO FOWL

9 Withdrew as eager bees ascend regularly (8)
EGRESSED – The odd letters (regularly) of the third to fifth words of the clue.

10 Without win after goal award (5)
ENDOW – The letter representing 0 and the abbreviation for win (without win) after a three-letter word for goal.

12 Things never free of charge in clubs that exclude Republicans (4)
IONS – A five-letter word for golf clubs without (that exclude) the abbreviation for Republicans.  The cryptic structure of A that exclude B does not read correctly.  “Clubs excluding Republicans” would main the surface reading and improve the cryptic grammar.

13 Shares buildings with squirrels (10)
STOCKPILES – A five-letter word for shares followed by a five-letter word used informally to describe big buildings.

15 Description of some Europeans being good at heart, unnerved lunatic (8)
GERMANIC – The abbreviation for good followed by the middle letter (at heart) of unnerved and a five-letter word meaning lunatic.

16 Commonly face person amorously smacking (6)
KISSER – Double definition of the slang word for face and somebody who touches lips amorously.  Perhaps the meanings are too similar on both sides of the definition, even if cluing a noun and a verb. 

18 Report raised by daughter at opening of enquiry (5)
UPDATE – A two-letter word meaning raised followed by the abbreviation for daughter, the AT from the clue and the first letter (opening) of enquiry.

20 Passionate minister enthrals house (8)
CHOLERIC – A six-letter word for a minster of religion around (enthrals) the abbreviation for house.

23 Declaring whether chromosome found in investigation (10)
TESTIFYING – A two-letter word meaning whether and one of the sex-determining chromosomes inside (found in) a seven-letter word meaning investigation.

24 Recess after physics schoolmaster electrocuted beginners (4)
APSE – The initial letter (beginners) of the second to fifth words of the clue.

26 Triumph from last month (5)
EXULT – A two-letter prefix meaning from followed by the abbreviation used in correspondence for the previous or last month.

27 A police department match assayer’s experiment (4,4)
ACID TEST – The A from the clue followed by a three-letter abbreviation for a police department and a four-letter word for a match.

28 Pitched battle site for eleventh century footmen and footballers (8,5)
STAMFORD BRIDGE – A football stadium and site of a battle.  One is named after the other.


2 Teamster died in combat (7)
WAGONER – A four-letter word meaning died inside a three-letter word for a conflict.  If you are defining an American term, then this should be indicated.  However, if you using an American term in the clue, it makes little sense to qualify it as an Americanism.  It may have been better to clue this as something like Carter dies in combat.

3 Wind-up the French Queen with this? (4)
REEL – The French masculine singular for the and the regnal cipher for the current queen all reversed up (wind-up).

4 Dress style swimmers follow (8)
FISHTAIL – A four-letter word for animals that swim followed by a four-letter word meaning follow.

5 Kidnap sailor on tube (6)
ABDUCT – The abbreviation for able seaman followed by a four-letter word for a tube.

6 Closely reported how to eat crumbly fare from Welsh town (10)
CAERPHILLY – A homophone (reported) of carefully.

7 Duels at sea below number of projections (7)
NODULES – An anagram (at sea) of DUELS after (below) a two-letter abbreviation for number.  Some editors will not permit the construction wordplay of definition.

8 In fear of newly fashioned necktie wars (3-8)
AWE STRICKEN – An anagram (newly fashioned) of NECKTIE WARS.

11 Ill-humoured, like pig with laryngitis possibly? (11)
DISGRUNTLED – How you might described a pig that cannot grunt.

14 Top cat main amazing fundraiser (7,3)
CAPTAIN TOM – An anagram (amazing) of TOP CAT MAIN.

17 Called when principals of White Horse pub sadly die (8)
WHINNIED – The first letter (principals) of White Horse followed by a three-letter word for a pub and an anagram (sadly) of die.

19 Put off exercising after girl’s game (7)
DISRUPT – A two-letter diminutive girls name followed by the abbreviation for rugby union (game) and a two-letter abbreviation for exercising.

21 Relaxed bride so perfectly exhibited in the mirror (7)
REPOSED – The answer is hidden and reversed (exhibited in the mirror) in the second to fourth words of the clue.

22 Generator worked on Monday (6)
DYNAMO – An anagram (worked on) of MONDAY.

25 Lock-up is essential for mobsters and conspirators (4)
STIR – The middle letters (essential) of the fifth and seventh words of the clue.  The cryptic grammar does not quire work as “essential for” does not indicate the central letters.

40 comments on “Rookie Corner 410

  1. A clever, well put together puzzle that was a real pleasure to solve. 1a was new to us but very solvable from the clue. 11d gave us our biggest chuckle but plenty of other tick-worthy clues too.
    Thanks Jeemz.
    The enumeration for 28a needs a slight tweak. It should read (8,6).

  2. Thanks Jeemz, a very enjoyable puzzle.
    The enumeration at 28a did hold me up for a while! 1a starts with a double-unch which isn’t ideal – but (even though it wasn’t a familiar phrase) a very fair clue so this didn’t cause any problems.
    I’m not sure the definiton at 16a is accurate?
    Lots of good humorous clues, 11d deserves a mention but from plenty of contenders I’ll go for 13a as my favourite.
    Thaks again Jeemz and in advance to Prolixic.

      1. That’s how I read it Jose. I thought is worked well, even if the second definition is a touch stretched.

      2. Yes, that’s how I read it – but I think the word is more specific than the first definition, meaning just one part of the whole ‘face’?

        1. The first def. does often refer to a specific part of the face, but I have heard it used as the whole face. I can’t find the answer with this meaning in the BRB, but Collins Online does list: a slang word [common in the clue] for mouth, face. The second def. is, I think, straightforward and OK.

    1. Thank you Fez for your appreciation and comments. Almost all dictionaries apart from BRB give face as one of the synonyms of the solution so I felt it was fair game.

  3. Welcome back to Rookie Corner, Jeemz, with a much more accessible and enjoyable puzzle than your debut.

    My comments this time are very minor. “Teamster” in 2d is the American word for “lorry driver”, so why not use the latter? Apart from the enumeration error in 28a already mentioned, there are two enumerations given for 18a. Finally from my point of view, it was a pity that you included a vague girl in 19d.

    1a is a very clever anagram and is joined on my podium by 13a, 26a & 28a.

    Many thanks for the fun, Jeemz, please keep them coming. Thanks too in advance to Prolixic.

  4. Very entertaining puzzle with some good laughs – thanks Jeemz.
    For my podium I’ll pick the clues which made me smile most – 13a, 16a and 11d.

  5. Hi Jeemz, I found this a thoroughly competent and entertaining offering with lots of clever clues and satisfying smiles. 2d held me up as I’ve never heard of teamster. I definitely think this needs a US indicator, but as RD says, the Americanism hardly seems necessary. Likewise 4d was not a definition I knew, but perfectly fair and, once I’d worked it out, it made my podium. I worked 20a out from the cross letters but am not sure of the parsing or definition. But these are minor quibbles in an otherwise excellent challenge. Very well done.

  6. Far more approachable than your previous offering, Jeemz, and more enjoyable as a result.
    8d is something of an old chestnut but none the worse for that and it’s just as well 1a was an anagram!
    Top three here were 5,11&17d.
    Keep up the progress and hope to see you again ‘ere long.

  7. Welcome back, Jeemz.

    I certainly echo those who have welcomed a far more accessible puzzle than your last one, not only was it more fun to solve but I detected fewer errors too. One or two of the synonyms used I wasn’t totally convinced about, and “excluding” rather than “that exclude” is needed for the cryptic grammar in 12a. I think “for” or something equally valid is also needed before the definition in 27a as “match” (as a verb) cannot really follow a singular subject. Perhaps occasional surfaces could be a little smoother, but most definitely passed muster.

    I ticked many clues and I hope that your next one will carry on the good work and progress shown here and be even better. Congratulations and many thanks, Jeemz.

    1. Thanks Silvanus for your observations.

      Yes I can see those two changes would have made the clues grammatically correct and have provided smoother surfaces. Room for improvement!

  8. Some entertaining clues here, but also a few minor inaccuracies that tomorrow’s review may mention.
    The main problem for me with the teamster clue is that ‘died’ seems grammatically wrong – maybe it’s just me though, seeing as no one else has mentioned it!
    My favourite clue was probably 20a, although it possibly needs a slightly more specific definition.

    1. Doughnut, I justified it to myself when solving by equating “he has died” with “he has gone”.

      1. Thank you. I was thinking he’s gone would be he *is* gone, i.e. he is dead, and that gone should be defined as ‘dead’, but I see what you mean. Reminded me of that old McGuinness Flint song, When I’m Dead and Gone, anyway!
        PS I like the way my avatar seems to be looking at my username as if to say Oh God, not this idiot!

  9. Thanks everyone for you kind comments. I certainly learnt a lot from the comments and advice i received here following my first attempt. My test setters also helped me realise providing enjoyment for solvers should be a priority for compilers.
    For 2d I used the word teamster as the closest synonym I could find for the solution. I had considered haulier as a more internationally recognised word. Perhaps I should have stuck with that.

  10. Really enjoyed this Jeemz. My only slight quibble was that I thought 20a not particularly synonymous (or at the very least stretched) with the definition but since nobody else has queried it I’m sure it’s fine. Plenty of ticks from me – 13,15,16&28a along with 5,11,14&17d the standouts. Many thanks

    1. Thanks Huntsman for taking the time to comment. Glad you enjoyed it.
      BRB gives as its first definition of cleric as “belonging to the clergy” and its first definition of minister is “member of the clergy,” For choleric its second definition is “passionate” after “full of choler” So I thought they were reasonable synonyms to use.

      1. Fair enough. I’d always thought of choleric as more irritable/bad tempered but you live & learn.
        Look forward to your next puzzle

  11. Thanks Jeemz, I thought this was really good. Nothing to add to the minor niggles mentioned elsewhere. My favourite clues were 13A, 18A, 23A, 11D, 17D & 21D.

  12. I’ve been doing the rookie’s corner puzzles for a few weeks, but this is my first time commenting. For me this was at the sweet spot of reasonably challenging but doable – I think I was on your wavelength most of the time.

    I had a few queries, but they’ve all been covered by others above.

    I look forward to seeing more.

  13. As usual I’ve not read anyone else’s comments, and I’ll leave the detailed comments to Prolixic. But there were some good ideas here and I liked 12ac, 23ac and 25dn. But I’m not sure that the definition in 1ac is correct as the answer appears to be a place where the birds are found rather than the birds themselves; and in 17dn I think ‘called’ as the definition is a bit vague. Elsewhere a little attention to detail might not come amiss – 18ac has two enumerations (although it’s obvious which is correct) but the enumeration of 26 ac is incorrect (although it’s obvious what it should be.
    Overall, though, an enjoyable solve and I look forward to your next appearance.

    1. E, 1a. I think the clue definition and the answer (collective noun) are synonymous because they both mean a collection/group of birds.

      1. My compendium of collective nouns gives tower of falcons as the lead definition. Googling it also shows this is a valid collective noun although not the only one for falcons.

        1. Forgive me, but I’m not sure if you’re correcting/informing me or just emphasising/confirming what I’ve already said. Or should your comment be a direct reply to exit?

        2. Thanks for that. I obviously didn’t push my search on Google far enough as all I came up with was the local name for a rock somewhere where falcons gather. That’s a new one for me to remember; funnily enough, a clue in today’s FT had the word ‘exaltation’ and I immediately thought of larks – perhaps ‘tower’ will do the same for falcons in the future.

  14. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, and a pat on the back for Jeemz who should be rather pleased following today’s report!

  15. Just back from holiday and really enjoyed this crossword. Didn’t know 1a but once we had falcons the rest followed with a little help from Google. Thank you Jeemz – and Prolixic for a couple of explanations we needed.

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