Rookie Corner 466 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View comments 

Rookie Corner 466

A Puzzle 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.

Welcome back to Madcap.  His excellent run of crosswords continues with only a couple of minor points worth commenting on.  As the commentometer reads as 1.5/30 or 5% and given the quality of the cluing, I think that Madcap should next appear in the NTSPP.


1a  Charge when getting on first is a lot of coppers (3,4)
OLD BILL: A four-letter word for a charge or invoice preceded by (first) a three-letter word meaning getting on in age.

5a  I am led by desire for 12 (7)
WILLIAM: The I AM from the clue preceded (led) by a four-letter word for desire or intent.

9a  Letters make these; these make letters (5)
WORDS: Cryptic definition, the first being letters of the alphabet and the second letters that may be sent.

10a  Butter advert – my latest and best ever (5,4)
BILLY GOAT: A four-letter word for an advert followed by the last letter (latest) of my and the abbreviation for greatest of all time.  As an abbreviation, the final four words have not yet made it into Chambers or Collins. However, I have seen them used in the Telegraph but only with the full “greatest of all time” set out in full.

11a  In such a state, Bill would be weak and without direction (10)
LEADERLESS: a reverse deletion clue that describes how Bill could become ill (weak).

12a  Disclose some awful lethargy is returning (4)
TELL: The answer is hidden (some) and reversed (is returning) in the second and third words of the clue.

14a  Tenor with this’s a worrying condition (11)
THROATINESS: An anagram (worrying) of TENOR THIS’S A.

18a  Urgently needing to go home to continue non-U books (11)
INCONTINENT: A two-letter word meaning home followed by the continue from the clue without the U (non-U) and the abbreviation for New Testament (books).  I think that the definition here is not accurate.  The solution is a lack of control, not an urgent need to do something.

21a  Famous 5 created by this banker (4)
AVON: A famous playwright whose first name if the answer to 5a would have been conceived (created) this river (banker).

22a  Breaking news: A half-hearted rabble is responsible (10)
ANSWERABLE: An anagram (breaking) of NEWSA followed by the rabble from the clue with one of the middle letters removed (half-hearted).

25a  Feature that is one in 9 (9)
CHARACTER: Double definition.

26a  Drink old can containing last drop of ale (5)
OCEAN: The abbreviation for old followed by the CAN from the clue containing the final letter (last drop) from ale.

27a  Adjusted cloth to cover middle of khakis (7)
TWEAKED: A type of cloth around (to cover) the middle two letters of Khakis.

28a  Loose woman – her lust is deviant (7)
HUSTLER: An anagram (is deviant) of HER LUST.


1d  Napoleon’s a swine, according to him – on the other hand I’m not sure (6)
ORWELL: A two-letter word meaning on the hand followed by a four-letter word meaning I’m not sure,

2d  Desperate man admits saying, “You are one stinker!” (6)
DURIAN: The comic character includes (admits) a homophone (saying) of “you are” and the letter representing one.

3d  Examining hip hurt trapped muscle (10)
INSPECTING: A two-letter word meaning hip or trendy followed by a five-letter word meaning to hurt around (trapped) a three-letter word for a type of muscle.

4d  Broadcast lie leads to lawyers and barristers (5)
LIBEL: An anagram (broadcast) of LIE L B (first letters (leads to) of lawyers and barristers).

5d  Gorge dodgy beans in toxic plant (9)
WOLFSBANE: A four-letter word meaning gorge followed by an anagram (dodgy) of BEANS.

6d  Unaccompanied by piano, performs songs (4)
LAYS: A five-letter word meaning performs without (unaccompanied by) the abbreviation for piano.

7d  Single female embraces soldiers with love in opera (8)
IDOMENEO: The letter representing one (single) followed by a three-letter word for a female rabbit around (embraces) a three-letter word for soldiers all followed by the letter representing love.

8d  With no match, it’s drawn, presumably (8)
MATELESS: Cryptic definition of a chess match where neither player can win.

13d  Cruel being over the hill for champion (10)
VICTORIOUS: A seven-letter word meaning cruel around (being over) a three-letter word for a hill.  I think that in a down clue, A over B should be limited to A being above or over B, not around it.

15d  Rekindled power sex with bleeding heart (9)
REIGNITED: A five-letter word meaning power followed by a two-letter euphemism for sex and the inner two letters (heart) of bleeding.  Some editors would not accept bleeding heart as being an indicator for the inner letters as the phase cannot be read as the heart of bleeding in the way that, for example, French leader could be read as the leader of the French.

16d  Why Wembley match lasted 89 minutes in film version (5,3)
FINAL CUT: Cryptic definition and definition of the version of a film that makes its public release.

17d  Hotshot protects short shy boy giving pat on the back (8)
ACCOLADE: A three-letter word meaning hotshot or expert around (protects) a three-letter word meaning shy with the final letter removed (short) and a three-letter word for a boy.

19d  Shipmate on cruise told how to get down below (6)
ABSEIL: The abbreviation for able-seaman (shipmate) followed by (on) a homophone (told) of sail (cruise).

20d  Bill‘s meaning to be outspoken (6)
TENNER: A homophone (outspoken) of TENOR (meaning).

23d  Value‘s not as good according to 5’s Violet-Elizabeth (5)
WORTH: How the character Violet Elizabeth might pronounce worse (not as good).

24d  Sell one with bill up front (4)
HAWK: Double definition, the second being a reference to a bird.

11 comments on “Rookie Corner 466
Leave your own comment 

  1. Thanks Madcap – quite a head scratcher for me and I was completely defeated by two even with their checkers – 2d and 20d – and full reveals were required.

    For 2d, I was pleased that I identified The Dandy character as the ‘Desperate Man’ but I missed the homophone element and with all the information available the definition, to me, does not seem to be adequate for some obscure GK.

    For 20d – I missed the homophone (again).

    Smiles for 9a, 27a, 13d, and 17d.

    Thanks again for the challenge and thanks in advance to Prolixic.

  2. Welcome back to Rookie Corner, Madcap, with a challenging and enjoyable puzzle. It’s good to see your continuing improvement. In my opinion, this was by far your best offering yet, with a clever theme that fitted the bill :wink: but did not intrude.

    I’ve never heard of 7d and needed to Google “opera beginning with I” to find it. I think that the wordplay, although accurate, is too complex for such an obscure answer.

    I had a lot of ticks: 11a, 14a (a great anagram where the surface is completely relevant to the answer), 21a, 1d, 2d, 4d, 16d & 24d.

    Very well done and thank you, Madcap. I am looking forward to your next one. Thanks too in advance to Prolixic.

  3. A tricky crossword – my cereal and cup of tea were long gone before I had a full grid. I did spot the theme and really liked 9a, 21a, 16d and 24d

    Thank you to Madcap and, in advance, to Prolixic

  4. I can never remember a setter’s previous puzzles so I can’t compare this with Madcap’s old Rookies but I thought this one was excellent with a well-integrated theme. I enjoyed it a lot – thanks Madcap.
    I didn’t know the 2d stinker but the wordplay was clear.
    My ticks went to 1a, 10a, 1d, 16d and 17d with my favourite being the LOL 18a.

  5. Hi Madcap
    Thanks for this. Like Gazza, I had a chuckle at 18a, though I did wonder whether “urgently needing to go” should really be “embarrassingly went”!
    There were plenty of ticks but quite a few real headscratchers, for which I needed reveals, and a couple of parsings for which I will need Prolixic’s help. Ticks for 1d, 16d and 24d too

  6. Welcome back, Madcap, with what felt like a compilation where you’d upped the difficulty level. 7d made me smile and I wondered whether it was the result of a ‘what on earth will fit in there’ moment as I would think it unlikely to be an opera that many people will find familiar. I also smiled at the 5/12 combo as his overture was used at the secretarial college I attended as a beat counter for our early typing attempts – amazing how one can ‘go off’ a particular piece of music!

    Thank you for the puzzle and hope we see more from you ‘ere long.

  7. Hi Madcap.
    I enjoyed this. I am sure there will be some advice from Prolixic on the finer points but the constructions were entertaining, many of the surfaces were amusing, the theme was nicely incorporated.
    Particular favourites for me included: 10a, 14a, 22a (perhaps without the capitalised A), 26a, 28a (naughty but lol), 6d, 16d, 17d and 23d (lovely).
    Thanks for the puzzle.

  8. Welcome back, Madcap.

    I also thought this your best puzzle yet, the theme was nicely introduced with out it distorting the quality of the clues, as tended to happen with some of your early submissions. I have a large number of ticks on my print-out, I felt 22a, 1d and 16d were your best clues.

    Very little to fault technically I would suggest, although “bleeding heart” for “ED” did jar for me personally.

    I’m delighted to see the continuing progress you are making. Thank you for a very enjoyable puzzle.

  9. Many thanks for the review Prolixic, particularly for the assistance with parsing the second part of 10a – although I do think I’ve seen that device used somewhere before now.
    Congratulations on the promotion, Madcap.

Join the Conversation, Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.