Rookie Corner 467 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 467

A Puzzle by Dharma

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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.

Dharma continue to impress with his crosswords.  Other than a faux pax with the name of Mr Starmer and repeating “start/starters/starter” as an initial word indicator, there was very little to pick up on in the comments.  The commentometer is a respectable 2.5/29 or 8.6%


1a  King getting into scrap leads to acrimonious divorce? (6)
BREXIT: A three-letter Latin word for a king inside (getting into) a three-letter word for a scrap or piece.

4a  Sweet or rotten embrace according to Spooner (6)
HUMBUG: A Spoonerism of Bum (rotten) Hug (embrace).

8a  State two answers to get around start of local prohibition  … essentially lie! (7)
ALBANIA: The abbreviation for answer repeated (two answers) around the first letter (start) of local, a three-letter word for a prohibition and the middle letter (essentially) of lie.

9a  After glass of beer gently rock from side to side, scratching head in the middle (7)
HALFWAY: A four-letter word for a small glass of beer followed by a four-letter word meaning gently rock from side to side without its initial letter (scratching head).

11a  I see how hut’s turned into large abode (5,5)
WHITE HOUSE: An anagram (turned) of I SEE HOW HUT.

12a  Likelihood of Desperate Dan scoffing all starters (4)
ODDS: The initial letters (all starters) of the second to fourth words of the clue.  Try to avoid repetition of wordplay forms.  We had start in 8a and starters in this clue.

13a  Suggested sex after drunken act (5)
TACIT: A two-letter euphemism for sex after an anagram (drunken) of ACT.

14a  Hunt, half cut largely it’s said in a sympathetic way (8)
HUMANELY: The first two letters (half cut) of hunt followed by a homophone (it’s said) of mainly (largely).

16a  Surprisingly warm, open staff (8)
MANPOWER: An anagram (surprisingly) of WARM OPEN.

18a  Secretion emanating from some hollowed out cheeks (5)
SEBUM: The outer letters (hollowed out) of some followed by a three-letter word for the backside (cheeks).

20a  Entitled elite’s clothes shop (4)
DELI: The answer is hidden (clothes) in the first two words of the clue.

21a  Wind resulted in stoppages (10)
INTERLUDES: An anagram (wind) of RESULTED IN.

23a  Queen’s entrance? (7)
CATFLAP: Cryptic definition of where domestic pet (queen) may enter.

24a  House hosting parties? (7)
COMMONS: Cryptic definition of one of the houses of parliament.

25a  Students embraced by Starmer get Covid perhaps (6)
KILLER: The abbreviation for student twice inside (embraced by) the first name of the Labour Party leader.  Oh Keiry me.  I before E except after K.  The cryptic grammar does not work either.  The clue resolved to wordplay get definition.  Using “getting” would overcome this.

26a  Benefits of dogs with no lead (6)
ASSETS: A seven-letter word for a breed of dogs without (no lead) the first letter.


1d  Cheat’s wife leaving for bishop causing big hiccup (5)
BELCH: A five-letter word meaning cheat with the initial W (wife) leaving and replace by B (bishop).

2d  Supple cat lies here there and everywhere (7)
ELASTIC: An anagram (here, there and everywhere) of CAT LIES.

3d  After cycling, PM supported by rising Tory moderates gets hearty meal (5,4)
IRISH STEW: The name of the current PM with the letters cycled followed (supported) by a reversal (rising) of a four-letter derogatory term used for Tory moderates.

5d  Posh to talk up Becks’ second operation (5)
USAGE: The single letter for posh followed by a reversal (up) of a three-letter word meaning to talk and the second letter of Beck.

6d  Idiot …. or expert shortly to lose a bit of savvy (7)
BUFFOON: A four-letter word for an expert followed by a four-letter word meaning shortly without the S (to lose a bit of savvy).

7d  Macron’s big hit, a notable achievement? (5,4)
GRAND SLAM: The French (Macron’s) for big followed by a four-letter word meaning hit.  Unfortunately, the clue also works with coup as the second word of the solution.

10d  Expert‘s consent (9)
AUTHORITY: Double definition.

13d  Seal deal with Zuckerberg? (9)
TRADEMARK: A five-letter word meaning deal followed by the first name of my Zukerberg.

15d  Fungus, beginning to sprout grows rapidly (9)
MUSHROOMS: An eight-letter word for a type of fungus followed by the first-letter (beginning to) of sprout.

17d  Tender 75% settled, entirely ignoring outsiders (7)
PAINFUL: The first three-letters (75%) of a four-letter word meaning settled followed by a phrase (2,4) meaning entirely without the outer letters (ignoring outsiders).

19d  Upper class males captivated by cheese from The Midlands? (7)
BRUMMIE: The single letter meaning upper-class and the abbreviation for male twice inside (captivated) by a four-letter name of a type of runny cheese.

21d  Out to lunch, forgoing starter of soup is foolish (5)
INANE: A six-letter word meaning mad (out to lunch) without (forgoing) the first letter (starter) of soup.  Another repletion of start / starters / start to indicate the initial letter.  The is as a link word does not really work as the cryptic definition resolved to wordplay is definition.

22d  Shot seen around middle of fairway … we want eagles! (5)
ERNES: An anagram (shot) of SEEN around the middle letter of fairway.

28 comments on “Rookie Corner 467

  1. Well done Dharma, probably your best so far, with one exception; if he is a follower of the blog, the Leader of His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition will probably want to have a conversation with you on how to spell his first name :smile: :wink:

    Smiles for 1a, 8a, 23a, and 19d.

    Thanks again and thanks in advance to Prolixic.

  2. Really enjoyable solve with lots of penny drop moments for us. Took some time to suss 23a so will give top prize there.
    Suspect that there might be a slight slip-up in 25a in regard to Mr Starmer.
    Thanks Dharma.

  3. As Senf says, Dharma, this was probably your best yet. It was good fun and the clueing seemed sound to me (and hopefully to Prolixic too!) apart from the spelling error in 25a and a couple of surreal surfaces.

    I did notice five occurrences of first letter indicators, including three which involved “start/starter”, and I would have said that “out to lunch” in 21d is an Americanism.

    23a was my favourite and my other top picks were 1a, 13a, 7d, & 10d.

    Many thanks, Stephen, and please keep them coming. Thanks too to Prolixic.

  4. pot on Dharma! Well clued with a good variety – even a Spoonerism I actually got! Yaaay! No issues of note that I could see (LOTO’s name aside) unless posh and upper-class being used to clue the same letter ruffles feathers. 13a, 14a and 3d for my podium.

  5. Hi Dharma and welcome back

    Lots to like in this. Some clues that earned a really big tick. Including 13a, 16a, 20a, 21a, 19d and 21d.

    One minor word of caution, though I doubt it will cause ruffles here: the synonym used in 1d is somewhat contentious. I have seen fairly heated debates when it’s cropped up in published puzzles. With regard to crossword construction, very little that bothered me – perhaps the two appearances of ‘expert’ plus a word appearing in both a clue and a solution.

    Thanks for the submission. And to Prolixic in advance.

    1. PM – with regard to 1d, i was uncertain of the synonymity, but ‘hiccup’ is in the answer’s entry in the Chambers Crossword Dictionary so it must(?) be acceptable.

      1. Hi Senf. I don’t know if I am contravening rules by naming names: welch was the word to which I was referring. Chambers notes the ‘ch’ spelling as an obsolete version of the ‘sh’ ending and the association of the folk of the principality with the practice of avoiding one’s debts is regrettable. Not Dharma’s fault at all but worth being aware of words that can be contentious

  6. Really enjoyable puzzle with the level of difficulty spot on – many thanks to Dharma.
    I hadn’t noticed the 25a boob until I read the comments above.
    My podium selections were 1a, 23a and 3d.

  7. Many thanks to those who have commented thus far, all much appreciated.
    Pleased you seem to have enjoyed it as I always try to include some humour in my puzzles even if that’s at the expense of the odd but of political correctness! Obviously I’m annoyed with myself over the spelling error though!
    To DD, I hope you meant “spot on” but if you didn’t I’m more likely to rip the cloth than pot a ball!!

  8. Welcome back, Dharma/Stephen.

    This was another fine puzzle, full of humour and some very pleasing surface reads, I thoroughly enjoyed solving it!

    Aside from the spelling flaw in 25a, the construction reads as “wordplay get definition”, so the verb should really be “getting” to overcome this. Like RD, I also spotted the multiple instances of “starter”/”start” as a first letter indicator, something to watch for future submissions I’d suggest. Otherwise very little to fault I would say and much to praise, I thought the anagrams in 11a, 16a and 21a were particularly good, but my podium consists of 1a, 20a and 23a.

    Congratulations and many thanks, Dharma. I certainly am looking forward to your next one!

    1. Thanks for that Silvanus, I’m very pleased you both enjoyed it and found little to fault, that’s very encouraging for me.
      I’ll try to take on board your (and other’s) points for the next one.

  9. Welcome back, Dharma, with an enjoyable puzzle despite some rather odd surface reads and the boob in 25a. I can’t imagine that Prolixic will find much to criticise.
    Top clues for me were 13&23a.

    Many thanks for bringing this one to the Corner.

  10. While waiting for my rather old HP laptop to wake itself up I’ve had 2 penny drop moments for 14a & 18d although I can’t parse fully the answer for 17d.
    Thank you Dharma & to the reviewr in advance.

    1. 17d is settled (a bill say) without its last quarter followed by completely (2,4) without the outside letters.

  11. Really enjoyed it Stephen. A golf & snooker clue plus some politics ticks my boxes. Thought you had me beat at 23a but the penny did eventually drop albeit some time after I’d finished the rest of it so it’s got to be my pick. Loved 1a&3d – particularly apt with today’s news that JD’s mob will vote against the Stormont brake. Other particular likes were 12,13&21a plus 7,10,13&22d. Pleased to see it’s got the thumbs up from those that know their onions.
    Thanks & look forward to your next.
    Ps I didn’t notice the Starmer ricket either.

    1. Thanks Huntsman, that’s really kind of you to say, much appreciated. Pleased you liked it, politics and sport are two of my interests too so they are always like to feature in my crosswords (though I’m struggling to find a snooker clue in this one!)

      1. That’s because it was in Zandio’s yesterday(solved today) & somehow your response to DD got it all muddled up in my head – it doesn’t take much 🙂

  12. Thanks Dharma, a fun puzzle with some humerous surfaces. Overall I found this pretty accomplished and bar some minor quibbles would not look out of place on the back page. I completed in roughly Thursday/Friday sort of time so a good difficulty level for me.

    I noticed at least 6 clues around modern politics, which bordered on a theme in my book! I really liked 11a, 23a, 24a, 26a, 5d, 13d and 19d, the double entendres in 13a, 18a made me smile but my COTD was 3d, which I thought was top drawer. The only one I couldn’t parse was 1a. I also wondered if 15d had an extra ‘s’ given ‘grows’ was pluralised – ‘beginning to sprout’ therefore seemed unnecessary to me?

    Thanks to Dharma and Prolixic in advance

  13. Thanks Wiggler, much appreciated. I’m pleased you enjoyed it, particularly that some of it made you smile, which for me is always a plus. I’m also pleased you liked the modern politics as I’m a fan of contemporary references in a puzzle.
    In 15d you have the fungus plus the first letter (beginning to) of sprout with “grows rapidly” as the definition so it looks fine to me.
    *This was meant to be a reply to Wiggler above @12

    1. Ah yes, my mistake (it usually is!). I was treating it like a DD, in which case fungus would need to be pluralised too

  14. Many thanks for the review and wise words Prolixic (“oh Keiry me” lol) and once again to everyone who took the time to comment, all much appreciated.

  15. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, not much to bother the commentometer this time it would seem.

  16. Late commenting, but just wanted to thank Prolixic for making me chuckle with “I before E except after K”. I’m not sure how I would’ve spelt K Starmer’s forename previously, but I’ll definitely get it right now.

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