Rookie Corner 411 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 411

A Puzzle by Meles

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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 a contented Prolixic follows.

To begin with an excellent first crossword is not unusual but to follow with an improved crossword is rarer.  This was another barnstorming Rookie performance from Meles.  One measure of the quality of a crossword is how long it takes to explain the clues.  Even with more difficult crosswords, a good one can be explained easily.  For Meles crossword, the explanations almost wrote themselves.  Only two minor comments mean that the commentometer reads as 1/30 or 3.3%.


7 End of night exodus unsettled DJs (7)
TUXEDOS – An anagram (unsettled) of T (last letter of night) EXODUS.

8 Like Putin, Iran’s angry with US involvement (7)
RUSSIAN – An anagram (angry) of IRANS includes (involvement) the US from the clue.

9 Sound games from both sides (4)
PEEP – The abbreviation for physical exercise twice with the second reversed (from both sides).

10 Local area promises harmony but it’s nowhere to be seen (9)
COMMUNITY – A seven-letter word meaning promises without the iTS (nowhere to be seen) followed by a five-letter word meaning harmony.

12 Wind second hands (5)
SCREW – The abbreviation for second followed by a four-letter word for the members of a ship’s staff (hands).

13 Like some pans, not made of wood? (3-5)
NON-STICK – The second part of the clue implies that the item is not wooden.

15 Object to hit dance (4)
BALL – Double definition for the object that is hit in a game of say, snooker, and another word for a dance.

16 Drive slowly, unprepared to break 150 (5)
CRAWL – A three-letter word meaning unprepared inside (to break) the Roman numerals for 150.

17 Pig circles then finally it falls down cold (4)
SNOW – A three-letter word for a pig around (circles) the final letter of then.

18 Very warm, it couldn’t be closer (4,4)
DEAD HEAT – A four letter meaning very as in very easy followed by a four-letter word meaning to warm.

20 Player going second in deficit after a small amount of betting (5)
BLACK – A four-letter word meaning a deficit after the initial letter (a small amount) of betting.

21 Loading screen slow initially, unexpected result of pressing all the keys? (9)
GLISSANDO – An anagram (unexpected) of LOADING S S (the initial letters of screen slow).  A minor point but for the anagram indicator to work following the letters to be rearranged it would have to be unexpectedly.  

22 Take the bait and broadcast some information (4)
BITE – A homophone (broadcast) of byte (some information).

24 I sped around next to son, in this perhaps (7)
SIDECAR – The I from the clue followed by a five-letter word meaning sped reversed (around) all after (next to) the abbreviation for son.

25 Lying back in Scilly, distinctly peaceful (7)
IDYLLIC – The answer is hidden and reversed (lying back) in the fourth and fifth words of the clue.


1 Naughty lemur not right to make animal cross (4)
MULE – An anagram (naughty) of LEMUR without the abbreviation for right.

2 Politician using speech to support case for tolerance – it’s about time! (8)
TEMPORAL – The abbreviation for a member of parliament and a four-letter word meaning using speech underneath (to support) the outer letters (case for) of tolerance.

3 Farah’s lower in this city (6)
MOSCOW – The first name of the Olympic runner Farah with the S from the ’s in the clue followed by the animal that lows.

4 Concerning fall in America as investment in Venezuelan mutual rising (8)
AUTUMNAL – The answer is hidden (investment in) and reversed (rising) in the eighth and ninth words of the clue.

5 Help 1’s father first… (6)
ASSIST – A three-letter word for the father of the animal at 1d followed by the letters that look like first when written in abbreviated form.

6 … 1’s mother endlessly praying from the heart, she’s a Saint (4)
MARY – A four-letter word for the mother of the animal at 1d without the final letter (endlessly) followed by the central letter (from the heart – it works for me) of praying.

11 Island that New Amsterdam originally transformed? (9)
MANHATTAN – A three-letter name of an island of the coast of Britain followed by an anagram (transformed) of THAN N (new) A (Amsterdam originally).

12 One’s legless from strong drink around noon (5)
SNAKE – A four-letter word for a strong Japanese rice wine around the abbreviation for noon.

14 Notice being hit in the head (5)
CLOCK – Double definition. Interesting – the usage seems valid but I would normally say hit on the head and hit in the face.

16 Board member shames vacant chairperson in motion (8)
CHESSMAN – An anagram (in motion) of SHAMES CN (the outer letters – vacant – of chairperson).

17 Safety feature of rear deck (4,4)
SEAT BELT – A four-letter word meaning the bottom or rear followed by a four-letter word meaning to hit or deck.  As pointed out in the comments, there is nothing objectionable about definition of (synonymous with from) wordplay.

19 Hamilton maybe determined making final run (6)
DRIVER – A eight-letter word meaning determined with the last letter changed from N to R (making final run).  As pointed out try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators such as final / finally.

20 Look into organisation that’s violent (6)
BLOODY – A two-letter word meaning look inside (into) a four-letter word for an organisation.

21 Bottom of ship almost turns over without the required gravity (4)
GLIB – A five-letter word for the area at the bottom of a shop without the final letter (almost) and reversed (turns over).

23 Pair regularly seen in town inn (4)
TWIN – The odd letter (regularly seen in) of the final two words of the clue.

21 comments on “Rookie Corner 411

  1. Super puzzle with loads of good clues.
    The first two acrosses were a great start, and my other two favourites were 2d (Politician using speech…) and 11d (Island that New Amsterdam…), the latter being exceptionally good.

    1. Thanks Twmbarlwm. On 11d, I owe some gratitude to my test solver for stimulating a rewrite which resulted in a much clearer and more concise clue

  2. Thanks Meles – from what I remember of your first puzzle this was somewhat trickier especially, for me, in the SW.

    3d and 17d created smiles for me.

    Thanks again.

  3. Very well done, Meles, for maintaining the very high standard you set a few months ago with your debut RC puzzle. Your clueing is consistently excellent and your surfaces read well. Although I was able to solve the top half very quickly, the bottom half was significantly more difficult and overall I found this a tougher challenge than your previous offering.

    I have just one question – is “of” OK as the link word between definition and wordplay in 17d? I’ll be interested to learn Prolixic’s take on this.

    I had a lot of ticks with 7a, 3d & 16d making it onto my podium.

    Many thanks, Meles, for the fun and in advance to Prolixic for his review.

    1. Thanks RD. I think I’m on safe ground with “definition of wordplay” but looking forward to Prolixic’s view.

      1. I think you’re right Meles. Prolixic’s own “A brief guide to the construction of cryptic crossword clues” states that the traditional view is that Def of WP is fine but the reverse is not, although he admits that the latter is often seen. Likewise Def by WP but not WP by Def. But like you, I look forward to what he says.

  4. Really enjoyed this Meles. Some very elegant and witty clues in a very accessible puzzle. 24a was my COTD. Minor query about
    the definition for 12d, but it was really good fun.

  5. Thanks Meles, another cracking puzzle – I think I preferred this to your debut as it was that little bit trickier.
    Not sure about 6d’s “from the heart” – will look forward to Prolixic’s take on that (thanks in advance for review)
    Lots of really good surfaces – my favourites included 7a, 10a, 15a, 21a, 11d, 12d, 17d & 21d, with overall winner 2d.
    Thanks again!

  6. A very enjoyable puzzle with smooth surfaces throughout – thanks Meles.
    Winning clues for me, from a strong field, were 18a, 24a, 2d and 11d.

  7. Thanks for another good puzzle, Meles. There are maybe a few tweaks required in the wording of some clues – 8a & 13d spring to mind – but that’s minor nit-picking.
    Top two for me were 7a&2d.

    Hope to see you again ‘ere long.

  8. Welcome back, Meles.

    At the time of your debut puzzle I felt it would be a hard act to follow, but this second puzzle was even better in my opinion, many congratulations on what you’ve achieved.

    Almost flawless I would suggest, although it was slightly disappointing to see “final” and “finally” both used as last letter indicators and I would never recommend beginning a puzzle with two anagrams. I thought that the quality of the surface readings was as high as anything seen in Rookie Corner for quite some time.

    Choosing my podium candidates from such a good selection of clues is hard, but I’ll plump for 18a, 12d and 16d.

    Well done indeed, Meles, that was great fun to solve and I’m sure you’ll be delighted with the Commentometer mark Prolixic gives you.

    1. Thanks Silvanus. Agree on final / finally, I’m annoyed that I missed that when it would have been an easy fix to use last instead in 19d. From memory that clue was a late change so a good reminder to recheck wordplay elements. A good tip on the opening clues as well, will remember fire the future (or at least try to!).

  9. Very accomplished Meles, well done! I agree with others that there’s barely a niggle to mention but lots of very good clues. I particularly liked 7A, 21A, 2D, the 5D/6D combo and 12D.

  10. Very enjoyable Meles with a nice contemporary and fresh feel. I thought the North a fair bit more straightforward than the South but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment.
    Top clues for me were 8,13&18a plus 2&19d with top spot going to the excellent 24a.
    Many thanks, look forward to the next.

  11. Thanks, Meles. I thought this was an excellent puzzle. Two great surfaces to kick off with and it continued to be enjoyable throughout. Nice level of difficulty and no quibbles at all. Great work!

  12. Agree with Stephen that the south was a good deal harder than the north. Confess that I lost patience & resorted to a couple of letter reveals to finish. An excellent puzzle with some great surface reads. If you get an almost flawless from Silvanus then you know that you’re doing well.
    Thanks & well done Meles.

  13. Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment, I’m glad it seems to be an enjoyable puzzle! The detailed feedback is so useful and much appreciated.

    My test solver flagged up the difficulty (thank you to them!), hopefully the subsequent changes brought it the right side of the challenging / annoying line for most solvers.

    Thanks also to Prolixic in advance for the review.

  14. Agree that the SW was the hardest but my favourite is there in 24a.
    Lovely lurkers too with a great story in 4d.
    Thanks to Meles for the fun.

  15. I also have to back the general view this was a good puzzle and fun to solve. After getting quite a few answers quickly I began to think the only fault was it was a bit too easy, but that changed as I got further down the grid, making for an overall good balance of challenges.

    A lot of good surfaces – 8A was a favourite. I was about to say I didn’t get the parsing of 21D, but it’s just clicked! There are a couple of others I haven’t fully parsed, but that’s more likely to be down to my solving skills than the setting.

  16. Thank you Prolixic for the review and the comments about some of the points raised above, much appreciated.

Comments are closed.