Rookie Corner 419 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 419

A Puzzle by Jeemz

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Apologies for the late appearance of this puzzle,which is now available.

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.  Warning, like the reviewer, the review may be full of bugs.

Welcome back to Jeemz.  As others have said, there were a few “not quite” clues but overall, the improvement shown in the previous crossword has been maintained.  The commentometer reads as 3.5/32 or 10.9%


1 Proposal to torpedo the Belgrano for instance (10)
SUBMISSION – Split 3-7 this might describe an attack by an underwater craft on a boat such as the Belgrano.

6 Dwell on theatre having odd cancellations at start of pandemic (4)
HARP – The even letters (having odd cancellations) of theatre followed by the initial letter (start) of pandemic.  On its own, the solution does not mean to dwell on.  It requires the addition of “on” to give it that meaning.

10 Puts one in mind of scary crow’s nest? (5)
EYRIE – A homophone (puts on in mind of) eerie (scary).

11 Flee untidy desk and join the French (9)
SKEDADDLE – An anagram (untidy) of DESK followed by a three-letter word meaning going and the French masculine singular form of the.

12 A thousand fish catch brings sailors’ historic punishment (8)
KEELHAUL – The abbreviation for kilo (a thousand) followed by a three-letter word for a slippery fish and a four-letter word for a catch.

13 Joint head of primate protection (5)
MITRE – Double definition of a woodworking joint and the type of hat worn by a bishop.

15 A cuckoo covets wading birds! (7)
AVOCETS – The A from the clue followed by an anagram (cuckoo) of COVETS.

17 Time for you to act and shoot with this? (4,3)
YOUR CUE – Double definition of the prompt for your lines when acting and what you would use to play a game of snooker or billiards.  I think you should avoid phrases which, whilst may be used in conversation, do not have an independent meaning.  You would not find the solution in the dictionary.

19 Carefully approach native American dog (5,2)
CREEP UP – The four-letter name of a Native American group and a three-letter word for a young dog.

21 Fees cover house – for Ant & Dec? (2-5)
CO-HOSTS – A five-letter word for fees around (cover) the two-letter abbreviation for house.

22 Faced losing face and went bananas (5)
RAVED – A six-letter word meaning faced with courage without the initial letter (losing face).

24 Unlimited Liverpudlian stew repeatedly served in African dish (8)
COUSCOUS – A six-letter word for a Liverpudlian stew without the initial and final letters (unlimited) that is used twice to create the solution.

27 Unduly analyse wasted kilos (9)
OVERTHINK – A phrase (4,4) meaning wasted or emaciated followed by the abbreviation for kilos.

28 Rich insiders in Garter decoration procedure (5)
ICING – The inner letters (insiders) of rich followed by the IN from the clue and the abbreviation for garter.  Whilst G for garter is used in longer abbreviations, the rule is that you should not use the individual letters of a longer abbreviation unless they stand as an abbreviation in their own right.

29 Besides being pegged back by leagues’ leaders… (4)
ELSE – The answer is hidden and reversed (pegged back in) the final two words of the clue.

30 … provided warnings and reasons for whys (10)
WHEREFORES – A five-letter word meaning provided followed by a five-letter word for warning given on a golf course.  The solution completes the phrase “whys and ….”


1 Opponents being put outside left East highly amused (4)
SLEW – A pair of opposing bridge players around the abbreviations for left and east.  I think that this clue is fine.  You can have a clue that resolves to A around both B and C.

2 Wouldn’t let it touch – so shove off with it! (9)
BARGEPOLE – Double definition that complete a phrase “I wouldn’t touch it with a …” and something a boatman might use.

3 Best served in roadside alehouse (5)
IDEAL – The answer is hidden (served) in the final two words of the clue.

4 Butcher has say on origin of sausages and minces (7)
SASHAYS – An anagram (butcher) of HAS SAY followed by the initial letter (origin) of sausages.

5 Too protective of a carpet? (7)
OVERLAY – A six-letter word meaning too around (protective of) the A from the clue.

7 Applause has no place in accounts examination (5)
AUDIT – A seven-letter word for applause without the two-letter abbreviation for place.  The dictionary says that the synonym for applause is usually used in the plural which would naturally lead to a plural solution where the definition is in the singular.

8 Engineer deer escape and slip away before others (10)
PREDECEASE – An anagram (engineer) of DEER ESCAPE.

9 Diss duff delta perhaps (8)
BADMOUTH – A three-letter word meaning bad followed by a geographical feature that may be described as a delta.

14 Italians’ tuck cover over a horse, it’s rumoured at Aintree (10)
MASCARPONE – A homophone (it rumoured) of mask a pony (cover over a horse).  I agree that the apostrophe, whilst required for the definition, make the surface reading ungrammatical.  Given the different ways in which the solution is sounded, I think that the final “at Aintree” is probably more confusing than helpful.  I may have been tempted to use small horse as well.  Perhaps, “Tuck Italian style cover over a small horse we hear”

16 Facilitate rising trend in old exercise lessons (8)
EXPEDITE – A four-letter word for a trend reversed (rising) inside a two-letter prefix meaning old and the abbreviation for physical exercise.

18 Tom Cruise becomes a specialist outfitter (9)
COSTUMIER – An anagram (becomes) of TOM CRUISE.

20 Mischievous end to high jumping ski cup is put on (7)
PUCKISH – The last letter (end to) of high with an anagram (jumping) of SKI CUP before it (is put on).

21 Period of play reported for bowler delivering googlies say, wrongly (7)
CHUCKER – A homophone (reported) of chukka (a period of play in polo).

23 Gets a load of contest points (5)
VIEWS – A three-letter word meaning contest followed by two compass directions.

25 Capital that is held in Swiss francs (5)
CHIEF – The abbreviation for that is inside (held in) the IVR code for Switzerland and the abbreviation for francs.

26 Stage timeless metamorphosis for donkeys (4)
AGES – An anagram (metamorphosis) of STAGE without the T (timeless).  I don’t think that donkeys defines the solution.  The use of “donkey’s ears” for years predates any usage as Cockney rhyming slang.  Even if valid as cockney rhyming slang, where you can use the first part of the phrase for the whole, it would only define “years”.  

26 comments on “Rookie Corner 419

  1. I don’t have a link for this puzzle.
    So I cannot see it to do it.

    Also, World Pay wanted me to update my subscription, cancelled my account whilst doing so, and I have had to set up a new account.

    Good start to the week.

    1. Given the amount of his Easter Sunday BD must have spent ‘fixing’ the blog, I think a delay in the publishing of the Rookie Corner crossword is perfectly explainable and acceptable

  2. An enjoyable puzzle with some nifty clues – thanks Jeemz.
    There were a few clues that I didn’t think quite worked (e.g. 1d and 5d) and I don’t think that G is an abbreviation for garter.
    Amongst the clues I liked were 19a, 24a and 27a.

    1. I agree on G – it only ‘works’ when combined with K, or, apparently, L (for Ladies Companion of the Order).

    2. Thanks Gazza for your comments. Glad you enjoyed it.

      Yes I can see 1d should have read “left West highly amused”. I think it would have worked then. Clearly got my bearings wrong!

      As k is accepted as an abbreviation of Knight as in KG for example, I thought Garter for g would be ok – but perhaps it’s not!

      1. Jeemz, I assumed 1d as clued was meant to be SW (“opponents”) put outside LE (“left” and “East”) which seems to me to work equally as well as SE put outside L and followed by W (“West”).

        1. Thanks RD.

          Yes that’s how I clued it – assuming the “put outside” would refer to both of the next two words.

  3. Hello again, Jeemz.

    There were quite a few “nearly but not quite” annotations on my printed page, which suggests several of the clues were a tad ambitious. The worst offender was probably 14d, where the apostrophe added to “Italians”, necessary for the definition, makes the grammar in the clue a nonsense. I enjoyed the solve though, which is the most important aspect, and I thought that many of the constructions that did work were well put together. Room for improvement on certain of the surface readings, however!

    Many thanks, Jeemz.

    1. Siivanus thanks for your comments.
      Clearly creating smooth surfaces is key to creating effective crosswords. I’m keen to learn, so I’m wondering if you would be so kind as to point out which clues other than 14a you thought were “nearly but not quite”.

  4. Thanks Jeemz – enjoyably completed pre-caffeine.

    Smiles for 13a, 2d, 7d, and 14d.

    Thanks in advance to Prolixic.

  5. Like Silvanus, I had quite a few ‘nearly but not quite’ comments on my print-out but I do believe that a bit more care taken over the clue-writing would have made a huge difference – you obviously have some clever ideas.
    Keep up the good work, Jeemz, and don’t be reticent about ditching a clue if it doesn’t quite work.
    Hope to see more from you ‘ere long.

  6. Thanks Jeemz I’ve printed this off for later (currently awaiting the imminent arrival of grandchild No.5 so we’re on standby to collect her brothers ). Also special thanks to BD for giving up his Sunday to fix the site.

  7. Thanks Jeemz. Very much enjoyed the solve & despite one or two of the clues not being quite there I thought it a fine puzzle. The punishment was new to me & have now realised I can’t spell the Italian tuck (R in the wrong place) so 2 things learnt.

  8. Welcome back to Rookie Corner, Jeemz. I enjoyed the solve on the whole but I am in the “few nearly but not quite” camp, and whilst a lot of your surface readings were fine, I agree with Silvanus that some need improving.

    A few comments:
    6a – I’m not sure that the definition quite works as “dwell on” appears to be the definition and this is synonymous with “harp on” and not “harp”.
    17a – the “you” in the clue is a bit of a giveaway for the first word of the answer.
    28a – I agree with those who have said that G is not a valid abbreviation for Garter.
    29a – I can’t parse this one.
    5d – doesn’t work for me.
    14d – In addition to Silvanus’ comment about the apostrophe, I am not sure why “at Aintree” is necessary?

    Well done, Jeemz, and thank you. Thanks too in advance to Prolixic.

      1. :oops:
        I blame copious amounts of red wine into the early hours of this morning.
        Thanks, Gazza.

        1. Nice wine by the sounds of it…
          5d works as ‘too’ [protecting] ‘A’ with a def by example

    1. Many thanks RD for taking the time to give such a detailed review. I very much appreciate receiving the comments of those with advanced crosswording expertise such as yourself and the other commentators here.

      Yes 29a is a lurker.

      28a Since the first syllable of the solution is pronounced with a short “a” as in “have, ” the clue only works for the homophone using a short a – hence the reference to Aintree.
      I did ponder over the apostrophe. I was influenced by the advice to solvers in the Guardian article by Alan Connor “The short answer to the question “What should I make of the punctuation in a cryptic crossword clue?” is: ignore it. All of it.” So given that, solvers would do that, I decided to include the apostrophe to make it clear that it is a two part clue with with first phrase as the solution and “cover over a horse” as the homophone of it.

      5d “protective” is defined in BRB as “affording protection” so I thought it would work.

      Clearly, as a Rookie, I’m still learning the finer arts of cluing!

      1. Thanks for popping in, Jeemz.

        It seems that being a southerner who generally defaults to long As in the absence of any indication to the contrary, I have always mispronounced mascarpone with a long A. Hence the clue worked for me without the reference to Aintree! Now I know better! Well done on providing an indicator which fits perfectly with the surface.

        I believe that Alan Connor would have been referring to ignoring punctuation for the purposes of the wordplay. You shouldn’t ignore punctuation for the surface reading.

        Clearly as a Rookie, you are learning well, and here in RC is the best place to do that!

  9. Many thanks Jeemz – a fun solve. There were a fair few I thought didn’t quite work – most have already been mentioned, and I’ll leave the detail to Prolixic (thanks in advance) … but lots of good ideas and plenty to enjoy. One I did particularly like was 5d, which has also been mentioned but I can’t see any problem – it made my podium alongside 19a and 21a. Enjoyed the lurkers too. Thanks again!

  10. Thanks Jeemz, an enjoyable accompaniment to an early evening Easter Monday beer, albeit as others have said, with one or two near misses, where for me the surfaces didn’t smoothly lead to the definition, so “good ideas, not so good execution”
    Although I dislike the two protagonists at 21a I thought it an amusing clue, as was 15a, and also I liked 1,11,24&27a (very clever) plus 9d. Many thanks Jeemz, look forward to the next. Thanks in advance to Prolixic too.

    For some reason I can’t get this Beatles song out of my head now!

  11. Thank you Jeemz, we enjoyed the challenge once we could download the puzzle – many thanks to BD for sorting that. Favourites were 1a, 24a and 14d. Still can’t parse a couple so thanks in advance to Prolixic for explanations tomorrow. We look forward to your next one.

  12. That had us working quite hard but we did eventually manage to get it all sorted.
    Thanks Jeemz.

  13. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, I do hope the wretched Covid bugs soon leave you in peace.

  14. At this late stage there’s not really anything to add to Prolixic’s (and others’) comments. But I did like the Tom Cruise anagram; maybe it’s been used before but it’s the first time I’ve seen it.

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