Rookie Corner 465 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 465

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.

Welcome back to Jeemz.  Our setter has been making slow but steady progress, both in terms of the difficulty and complexity of the clues and the accuracy of the clues themselves.  This crossword continues that progress with only few rough edges.  The commentometer reads as 1.5/30 or 5%.


1a  Teenage daughter’s attached to second-rate parasite. What a wimp! (3,5,6)
BIG GIRLS BLOUSE: A phrase (3,5) meaning teenage daughter’s (compared to her infant size) followed by the letter representing second-rate and a five-letter word for a parasite.

9a  Sweet and sour cocktail – it goes to one’s head (3’6)
SOU’WESTER: An anagram (cocktail) of SWEET SOUR.

10a  Stand where fish is packed in whilst the wrong way round (5)
EASEL: As two-letter word meaning whilst inside (packed in) and reversed (the wrong way around) a three-letter type of slippery fish.

11a  Chancellor of the Exchequer’s keeping margins from accelerating pound (4)
CAGE: The abbreviation for Chancellor of the Exchequer includes (keeping) the outer letters (margins) of accelerating.

12a  Man of straw say, haplessly intent on confronting unknown (9)
NONENTITY: An anagram (haplessly) of INTENT ON before (confronting) a letter representing an unknown algebraic quantity.

14a  Republican gains insight about leaders in Senate elections comeback (8)
RESPONSE: The abbreviation for republican followed by (gain) the abbreviation for extra-sensory perception (insight), a two-letter word meaning about and the initial letters (leaders) of Senate elections.

15a  How Springboks typically are featured by Bugle editor… (6)
HORNED: A four-letter word for the type of instrument of which a bugle is an example and the abbreviation for editor.

17a  …seeing article by newspaper sullied principally with plagiarisms? (6)
THEFTS: The three-letter definite article followed by the abbreviation for Financial Times (newspaper) and the first letter (principally) of sullied.

19a  Greenland for example declared spinster’s no maiden Queen (8)
MISNOMER: A homophone (declared) of MISS (spinster) followed by the NO from the clue, the abbreviation for maiden and the regnal cipher for Queen Elizabeth.

22a  Yankee John’s put into smallest room a school’s keeping for lazybones (9)
SLOWCOACH: A two-letter word for a toilet (Yankee John) inside another three-letter word for a toilet (smallest room) followed by the A from the clue all inside (keeping) a three-letter abbreviation for a school.  Try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators.   Keeping was used in 11a.  Less obvious is the use of “packed in”, “buried in” and “put into” that are all closely related though the last one is arguable as being distinct.

23a  Risky poem for youngsters’ debuts (4)
IFFY: A two-letter Rudyard Kipling poem followed by the initial letters (debuts) of for youngsters.

25a  Interrogate King ineptly (5)
GRILL: The regnal cipher for King George followed by a three-letter word meaning ineptly.

26a  After dark retire with new negligee (9)
NIGHTGOWN: A five-letter word for dark with a two-letter word meaning leave or retire and the abbreviations for with and new.

28a  Going West perhaps, to horizon? (9,5)
VANISHING POINT: A nine-letter word meaning going or disappearing followed by a five-letter word for something of which west is an example.


1d  Greyhound’s one system of communication! (3)
BUS: Double definition of a means of transport of which Greyhound is an American example and a part of a computer responsible for the passage of data.

2d  Resents having endless fish buried in scrambled eggs (7)
GRUDGES: A four-letter word for a type of fish with the last letter removed (endless) inside (packed in) an anagram (scrambled) of EGGS.

3d  Much of media backing is the same (4)
IDEM: A reversal (backing) of the first four letter (much) of media.

4d  Head’s after fifty put down for detention (8)
LATENESS: A four-letter word or a headland after the Roman numeral for fifty and a three-letter word meaning consumed or put down.

5d  Piercing smell over arena (6)
BORING: The abbreviation for body odour (smell) above (over) a four-letter word for an arena.

6d  Go canoeing at sea? (5-5)
OCEAN-GOING: An all-in-one anagram clue (at sea) of GO CANOEING.

7d  Sitting tenants ultimately overwhelmed by rising sounds (7)
SESSION: The final letter (ultimately) of tenants inside (overwhelmed by) a reversal (rising) of a six-letter word for sounds.

8d  Takes on grubby cheats (5,5)
PLAYS DIRTY: A five-letter word meaning takes on followed by a five-letter word meaning grubby.

11d  Idiomatically only somewhat appetizing – for clerical sustenance? (7,3)
CURATES EGG: Cryptic definition.

13d  Twist belt and coil it to make painter (10)
BOTTICELLI: An anagram (twist) of BELT COIL IT.

16d  “Terminal” essentially denotes state of Newmarket in Kentucky for instance (8)
MICHIGAN: The state of America whose abbreviation is the middle letters (essentially) of terminal and an obscure reference to the American name of the card game Newmarket.  It is probably unfair to expect solvers to know the American names of UK card games.  I think if the clue had simply being “Essential terminal state”, this would have been sufficient.

18d  Former partner given old proclaimed Indian cuisine curiosities (7)
EXOTICA: A two-letter word meaning former partner followed by the abbreviation for old and a homophone (proclaimed) of Tikka (Indian cuisine).

20d  Gangsters here?  If so I am off! (7)
MAFIOSI: An anagram (off) of IF SO I AM.

21d  Old magazine’s trapping a prominent corporation (6)
PAUNCH: The five-letter name of a former humerous magazine includes (trapping) the A from the clue.

24d  Put an end to boatloads turning up (4)
STOP: A reversal (turning up) of a four-letter word meaning boatloads.

27d  Mutt‘s anxiety is regularly showing (3)
NIT: The even letters (is regularly showing) of the second word of the clue.

27 comments on “Rookie Corner 465
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  1. Thanks Jeemz – for me, probably your best yet, very enjoyable. A couple of headscratchers which I had to confirm with reveals before I had the PDMs.

    Smiles for 9a (especially the enumeration!), 11a, 23a, 8d, and 21d.

    Thanks again and thanks in advance to Prolixic.

  2. Very well done, Jeemz, on producing a challenging and really enjoyable puzzle. I think it is your best to date.

    A few of your surfaces could do with a bit of polish; and for me the definition for 22a is inaccurate – being slow doesn’t necessarily mean being lazy.

    My only real qualm is with 16d, which seems to me to be a bit of a dog’s breakfast. It is complex, over-engineered, reads strangely, requires an obscure bit of American GK, and I don’t think that “of” works as part of the cryptic grammar.

    I had plenty of ticks with 1a, 9a, 17a, 23a & 11d the pick of the bunch.

    Many thanks for the fun, Jeemz. Thanks too in advance to Prolixic.

    1. Many thanks RD for the feedback. Sorry you didn’t like 16d. I’d hoped that as the wordplay led to a pretty clear definition of the solution, that the GK, if not known, would only need to be checked for affirmation.

  3. Like RD & Senf, I thought this an improvement over your previous offerings with good, accurate clueing. I had to use some reveals and await parsing on a couple (thanks Prolixic!) although TBF that’s not uncommon as I am not the best solver. But overall I have to say I found it just a tad ‘stodgy’, perhaps because I felt some clues, to pinch RD’s term, are a little over-engineered (something i know I can be guilty of too) and some surfaces are a bit impenetrable. So it’s not surprising that briefer clues like 9a, 26a, 21d were my favourites. But well done on the undoubted progress and I look forward to your next!

  4. Thanks to Jeemz for an enjoyable puzzle.
    I got 16d from the first two words but I can’t parse the rest of the clue.
    My ticks went to 1a, 7d and 8d.
    More like this would be welcome.

      1. Thanks for the parse there, Jeemz – that one had me stumped. Googling yielded “New Market” in Kentucky, but I can only find “Newmarket” itself in New Hampshire, so that may have been a better place to use as US indicator? It seems the game is not *quite* the same as Newmarket, although it derives from it, but I guess close enough. The definition seems a little awry grammatically (needing “… *this* state” or similar?) Oh, and thanks for the fun puzzle – everything else parsed, favourites 9a, 19a, 8d (though first word arguably a little same-sidey?) & 21d … a few minor quibbles (e.g. 6d’s “at sea” doing double duty) but will leave details to Prolixic (thanks in advance!)

  5. Welcome back, Jeemz.

    I really enjoyed solving this one, I thought it was well put together and, whilst challenging in places, it was thankfully nowhere near as formidable as your early Rookie Corner submissions. I think this is your seventh appearance now and there has been a distinct improvement evident in recent puzzles.

    Aside from the occasional 23a surface and some slight “over-engineering”, as has already been mentioned, by only other quibbles related to “keeping” being repeated as a containment indicator and “in”/”into” appearing more than once as an insertion device. Little things, but equally not something that should be ignored. My favourite clue was 7d, but full marks for including in 1a a phrase that no modern woke broadcaster would ever dare to utter these days, although I can’t think of a better term to describe Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes shamefully clutching his face yesterday when it was his chest that was touched by a Liverpool player!

    Many thanks, Jeemz, and congratulations on your continued progress.

  6. Many thanks Silvanus. That’s very encouraging feedback – much appreciated. I share your view about Fernandes!
    I’m mortified to see that I used “keeping” twice, having tried so hard to heed your advice from before about repetition. I’d thought “buried in” and “packed in” were sufficiently different not to constitute repetition but perhaps not!

    Thanks again. Looks like I still need to improve my proof reading.

  7. Far more accessible than previous puzzles from Jeemz have been and much more enjoyable as a result. Think it was just 16d that defied my attempts at parsing.
    Favourites here were 17&23a plus 21d – think we’ve seen the latter before today but it’s still very amusing.

    Thanks, Jeemz, hope you continue along similar lines with your next puzzle.

    1. Thank you Jane for the feedback. I know you’ve reviewed all my efforts to date and it’s much appreciated that you take the time to do so. Similar lines to this one with further improvements is the plan going forward!

  8. Really enjoyed this, Jeemz, thank you. Our favourites are 9a, 11a, 23a, 13d and 21d.
    We couldn’t parse 16d (but have now read above) and we had an s at the end of 18d which held us up for a while. We look forward to your next offering and Prolixic’s review.

    1. Very pleased to hear you enjoyed it Hilton. That means a lot to us Rookie setters! Many thanks for trying it and providing feedback.

  9. Great puzzle, Jeemz, largely very polished and good fun throughout. Not sure you needed ‘Yankee’ in 22a (though I’m fine with answer = lazybones), and by the time I got to 16d I already had enough checkers that only the first five words of the clue were necessary – even now (and having read your post above to understand the parsing of it) I’m not certain the other half of the clue is necessary other than to make the clue a DD.

    So many good clues, though, I’m quite spolied for choice. Picking a few, hon mentions to 9a, 17a, 26a, 2d, 8d, and my COTD, 21d.

    Thank you, Jeemz, and in advance my thanks also to Prolixic

  10. Thanks for you comments Mustafa G. I’d originally clued 22a without “Yankee” but was conscious of previous comments made here about signalling Americanisms and Chambers does note that the term is (inf, esp US), so I included it to be on the safe side.

    The GK needed for 16d does seem to have provided the most parsing problems. However, I’d thought it would be ok to use as the first part of the clue was designed to allow for a confident bung-in!

    Good to know you thought there were many good clues and for pointing out your hon mentions.

  11. Thoroughly enjoyed the solve & I thought the puzzle nicely clued throughout notwithstanding the points made by those above. The picks for me – 1,12&15a plus 6,7,20&21d though there were a number of others I liked also. Hats off to anyone who parsed 16d.
    Thanks Jeemz – look forward to your next.

  12. Nice to see you here again, Jeemz, and my apologies for the tardiness of my comment. I am hopeless at remembering individual’s previous puzzles so I cannot comment on how this compares with your last. But I solved it, I parsed it for the most part and I enjoyed the experience. What more can one ask.

    And there were some clues I really enjoyed. Highlights for me were 12a, 17a, 23a, 28a, 1d, 2d, 8d and 20d. And, for the extra laugh, 1a and 9a. (Apart from the totally unparsed 16d, the biggest technical challenge I actually faced was spotting whether I was looking at an apostrophe or a smudge on my screen in the enumeration for 9a. I have a feeling that might be the first time I’ve seen an apostrophe in enumeration – though surely it’s been used before …)

    Many thanks for the puzzle and to Prolixic in advance.

    1. Thanks for your comments Postmark. Yes 9a is pretty rare sort of word isn’t it. I did ponder over whether to include the apostrophe or parse it 3,6 or 9. As many seem to have liked the clue it seems using the apostrophe has met with approval!

      1. Having now used the search facility on this website, the only previous use of the word as a solution that I could find was by Elgar in Toughie no 2786 on 1st July 2022, who did enumerate it as having 9 letters. So I probably need to be corrected. I await Prolixic’s judgement!

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