Rookie Corner 441 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 441

Twists and Turns by Madcap

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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 welcome back to Madcap with another themed crossword.  As with previous crosswords, the cluing was good and made you think.  There were a few minor points to mention.  The commentometer reads as 2/26 or 7.7%.


7a  To a degree, Granny’s round the twist (7)
BANANAS: A two-letter abbreviation for an academic degree followed by a five-letter word meaning the same as granny’s.

8a & 1 Unexpected outcome is apparently an accomplishment! (5,2,4)
TWIST OF FATE: How four-letter word for an accomplishment could be clued as an anagram.  In the same way that an indirect anagram is frowned up, the same injunction should be applied to reverse anagram clues.  The solver is required to think of a word meaning accomplishment and then how it could be clued as an anagram type clue.

9a  Where Spooner’s twisted cheat records weekly payments? (4,4)
RENT BOOK: A Spoonerism of BENT (twisted) ROOK (cheat).

10a  Player cracks, “Don’t twist!” after Horace drops top card – sucker! (5,4)
HORSE TICK: A player in bridge inside (cracks) a term in pontoon meaning don’t twist all after the Horace from the clue after removing the name of the top card.

12a  City is manufacturing and structuring intersection (5)
TURIN: a five-letter name of an Italian city that can be found in both the third and fifth words of the clue.

13a  See 17A

15a  Twist twister, maybe (4)
WIND: Double definition.

16a  Thanks expressed as postscript to the letter (5)
THETA: A two-letter word meaning thanks after (as postscript to) the “the” from the clue.  Perhaps an indication that the letter is a foreign one would be better – for example “the Letter to the Philippians”

17a  & 13  Idiom for shape, it would seem! (4,2,6)
TURN OF PHRASE: A reverse anagram clue where an anagram indicator and the rest of the solution might produce the words “for shape”.

18a  Canal inspector has to scoop out end of pipe (8)
OTOSCOPE: An anagram (out) of TO SCOOP followed by the final letter (end) of pipe.

20a  Taking turn, glider goes west in competitions (5)
DUELS: A reversal (goes west) of a four-letter word for a vehicle that glides over snow includes (taking) a type of turn in plumbing or motoring.

21a  Condition from twisting your stomach left? It is (9)
SINUSITIS: A seven-letter word meaning twisting without (left) the central letters (stomach) of your followed by the IT IS from the clue.

22a  Turn around and ogle (4)
LEER: a reversal (around) of a four-letter word meaning to turn.

24a  Robust vessel lost in turning right (7)
FITTING: A three-letter meaning robust followed by the turning from the clue after removing (lost) a three-letter word for a vessel or vase.

25a  They start off proceedings in court action (7)
SERVERS: Cryptic definition of a person who begins proceedings in a court sport.


1d  See 8

2d  Following turn, journalist lost confidence (8)
FALTERED: The abbreviation for following followed by a five-letter word meaning turn or change and the abbreviation for editor (journalist).

3d  How primarily to break casino when losing nothing? (4,2)
CASH IN: The first letter (primarily) of how inside (to break) the word casino from the clue after removing (losing) nothing.  Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators (even if in slight different forms).  We had lost in 24a and losing in this clue as a deletion indicator.

4d  Flower or fragrant vegetable? (8)
SWEETPEA: A five-letter word meaning fragrant followed by a three-letter word for a vegetable.

5d  Relatively grey like yesterday in Paris (6)
ASHIER: A two-letter word meaning like followed by the French four-letter word for yesterday.

6d  See 9

11d  Hoover lost power when he cleaned up! (9)
ROOSEVELT: Cryptic definition of the US president who succeeded Herbert Hoover.

12d  Extremes of twist take one in and corrupt (5)
TAINT: The outer letters (extremes) of twist include (take) a single letter meaning one and the IN from the clue.

14d  Makes call for help without radio telegraphy briefly (5)
SORTS: The international distress call around (without) the abbreviation (briefly) for radio telegraphy.

16d  ‘Twist and Shout’ is a big number (8)
THOUSAND: An anagram (twist) of AND SHOUT.

17d  & 21D Turner’s work is essentially over – lathes dismantled – craft is at end (3,5,4)
THE SLAVE SHIP: – An anagram (dismantled) of VE (essentially – the middle letters of – over) followed by (at the end) of a four-letter word for a sea going vessel.

19d  Brown turned back, blocking witness in legislative chamber (6)
SENATE: A three-letter word meaning brown reversed (turned back) inside (blocking) a three-letter word meaning witness.

20d  Dancer’s partner turned heads with intro to rumba (6)
DASHER: An anagram (turned) of HEADS followed by the first letter (intro to) of rumba.

21d  See 17D (4)

23d  Turn a profit from each service (4)
EARN: The abbreviation for each followed by the abbreviation for Royal Navy.

23 comments on “Rookie Corner 441

  1. Suspect that there is a typo in the third word of the clue for 24a.
    We found this a stiff challenge but did eventually get everything sorted (we think).
    Lots of well disguised definitions to keep us guessing.
    Thanks Madcap.

    1. I think 24a works as it is though I can see that changing the third word to ‘last’ would give an alternative parsing.

  2. I’d finished my cereal with three clues still to go and, having revealed a letter or two, two of those clues have question marks by them. I did like the 8/1 combo and the ‘double definition’ 25a which I thought was particularly clever

    Thanks to Madcap and, in advance, to Prolixic

  3. Thanks Madcap – a bit of a mixed bag, perhaps, but with more good stuff than not – and lots of fun Still have one to parse. Particular favourites include 17/13a, 24a, 5d, 11d, & 20d. A few rough edges that I’m sure Prolixic will pick up on (thanks in advance) but nothing to spoil the enjoyment, thanks again!

  4. Great, well done Madcap, some really good ideas here. There’s a couple I’m not quite seeing but that may be me.
    I liked the Spoonerism at 9a/6d (when I’d found it!) and thought 25a good too, along with 5d, which made me smile. My favourites were the reverse anagram at 17/13a, which was was excellent and 11d, a very good spot.
    Thanks and thanks in advance to Prolixic too.

  5. There are some really good ideas here – thanks Madcap.
    The enumeration is rather awry at times.
    I still have one clue where the parsing escapes me.
    The three top-rate clues I’ve chosen for my podium are 8/1, 17/13 and 24a.
    More like this please.

  6. Not sure what’s happened but if I click on ‘download pdf’ it brings up a totally different puzzle albeit with the same heading!

    1. Sorry, Madcap, can’t really comment as the pdf is a different puzzle. However, I really enjoyed the one I managed to print out – special mention for the 1/18 combo.

      Thank you.

      1. Same for me. I thought the puzzle which Jane, Senf and I did solve was your best yet – apart from the American spelling of “labor”! I see Senf’s comment has disappeared since this morning but, in answer to his question, the record label does still exist.

    2. I think there was a uncertainty about the correct crossword to publish and a late change was made to reflect the intended puzzle.

      1. Oh dear. Yes, I did at one point submit the wrong crossword – one I’m still working on! It would appear that somehow both crosswords are in the system. That’s very unfortunate. Apologies to those who have been working on what I regard as an unfinished crossword.

  7. One of those puzzles where I admired the cleverness of many of the clues more than experiencing pleasure in solving them. It was undoubtedly extremely well assembled though, so very well done to Madcap. Perhaps having two devices like 8d/1d and 17a/13a in a single puzzle was one too many.

    I have plenty of ticks on my printout, possibly 25a and 16d were my joint-favourites. I felt “to a” in 7a jarred and I would have preferred “comparatively” to “relatively” in 5d and “letter” preceded by “foreign” or something similar in 16a, but technically the crossword appeared to be very sound. I was a little surprised that, given the theme, “turn” wasn’t used in the wordplay for 12a.

    Great work, many thanks for another interesting puzzle, Madcap.

  8. As Silvanus says, one of those puzzles where one admires the cleverness of many of the clues more than experiencing pleasure in solving them. As it was, 10ac and 24ac defeated me and there were others that I got but couldn’t parse so thanks to Prolixic for the explanations.
    Nevertheless a super crossword – thanks, Madcap.

  9. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, I certainly needed your help with the parsing of 10,13 & 21a.
    I’ll be very interested to read the comments on Madcap’s ‘other’ puzzle which some of solved in error this time.

  10. Despite quite a few clues jumping around the grid like demented fleas I did enjoy this puzzle very much, thank you Madcap. I could have saved myself a lot of time in the S had I put the third part of 17d/21d in the 21d blanks rather than at 23d !

    I thought this a very polished puzzle and am unsurprised Prolixic’s comments were so few.

    Many thanks Madcap and I look forward to your next challenge; thank you also to Prolixic.

  11. Rather late to the party but a lovely puzzle, Madcap. Favourites were 8/1a, 24a and 9a – thanks!

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