Rookie Corner 470 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 470

A Puzzle by Sirdakka

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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.

Not much to add to what has already been said.  Other that a minor niggle on 5d and a missing definition by example, there is nothing to comment upon.  The commentometer therefore reads as 1/29 or 3.4%.  I think promotion to the NTSPP beckons.


1a  One enigmatic interpretation of story’s conclusion? (7,8)
UNKNOWN QUANTITY: What the final letter (conclusion) of story represents in algebra.

9a  Soldier in French airport stopped by revolutionary communist (7)
ORDERLY: A four-letter name of a French airport includes a reversal (revolutionary) of a three-letter word meaning communist.

10a  Prime Minister‘s faithful? Made out with bunny girl, reportedly (7)
TRUDEAU: A homophone (made out) of TRUE (faithful) followed by a homophone (reportedly) of doe (bunny girl).

11a  Frenchman‘s month touring Spain (4)
JEAN: The abbreviation for the first month of the year around the IVR code for Spain.

12a  Have trouble following Northern European’s digital application (4,6)
NAIL POLISH: A three-letter word meaning have trouble after the abbreviation for Northern followed by a six-letter for someone from Poland (European).

13a  Experienced secretary intercepts message (7)
CAPABLE: The abbreviation for personal assistant (secretary) inside (intercepts) another word for a telegram (message).

15a  Shaving off milliseconds, Rich zooms around in foreign banger (7)
CHORIZO: An anagram (around) of RICH ZOOMS after removing (shaving off) the abbreviation for milliseconds.

17a  Valley flooded with a lot of water, I assume (3)
RIA: The answer is hidden (a lot of) in the final three words of the clue.

18a  Mark and Nick playing a bit of doubles tennis (7)
INDENTS: An anagram (playing) of D (a bit of doubles) TENNIS.

19a  Perhaps fitting Oscar into horse and trap (7)
BAYONET: The letter represented by Oscar in the NATO phonetic alphabet inside a three-letter word for a kind of horse and a three-letter word meaning trap.

20a  Diamonds snatched by somebody conspicuous (10)
NOTICEABLE: A three-letter word for diamonds inside (snatched by) a seven-letter word for somebody).

23a  Kept in for A-Level exam (4)
ORAL: The answer is hidden (kept in) the third and fourth words of the clue.

24a  Mexican robber baron with sex appeal needs love (7)
BANDITO: The abbreviation for baron followed by a three-letter word meaning with, a two-letter word meaning sex appeal and the letter represented by love.

25a  Occasionally went out of range heading west on the road (2,5)
EN ROUTE: The even letters (occasionally) of the second to fifth words of the clue reversed (heading west).

27a  Old wives appear after this sort of conversation! (8,2,5)
EXCHANGE OF VIEWS: A two-letter word meaning old followed by a reverse anagram where the remaining part of the solution would be an anagram clue leading to wives.


1d  Incompetent cops target one charged that’s innocent (15)
UNOBJECTIONABLE: A six-letter word meaning incompetent includes (cops) a six-letter word for a target and a three-letter word for a charged particle.

2d  A thousand documents dropped off to be taken away (9)
KIDNAPPED: The abbreviation for a thousand followed by a two-letter word for documents and six-letter word meaning dropped off or dozed.

3d  I might catch crabs round a river (3)
OAR: The letter that is round followed by the A from the clue and the abbreviation for river.

4d  Pessimists are those sounding naggy, so to speak? (3-6)
NAY-SAYERS: A homophone (so to speak) of NEIGH-SAYERS (sounding naggy or like a horse).

5d  Drunk Greek character’s thrown up before (5)
UNTIL: A three-letter word meaning drunk and a two-letter letter of the Greek alphabet all reversed (thrown up).  A minor point, lit is a rarer version of the more usual lit up meaning drunk.  Because of this, solvers might think that the clue is parsed as a reversal (up) of lit with a reversal (thrown up) of the Greek character before it and wrongly presume that the before is doing double duty as a wordplay indicator and the definition.  A clue that is technically correct but that can be validly interpreted as in technically incorrect clue is not the best clue.  A similar point could be made about 27a, as the clue works both with and without the old, so the old could appear to be padding.

6d  New phrase describing primitive field of medicine (9)
NEUROLOGY: A seven-letter word for a new phrase around a two-letter word meaning primitive.

7d  Old people‘s home accepting church involvement at first (5)
ICENI: A two-letter word meaning home includes (accepting) the abbreviation for Church of England all followed by the first letter of involvement.

8d  Hot lousy shelter built for these? (5,10)

14d  Good French and English tea passed round in this? (4,5)
BONE CHINA: The three-letter word in French meaning good followed by the abbreviation for English and a five-letter word a kind of tea.

15d  Spanish gent about to dance with topless star (9)
CABALLERO: A two-letter abbreviation meaning about followed by a four-letter word meaning a dance and a four-letter word for a star with the first letter removed (topless).

16d  Wind turbine harnessing nuclear energy? It should be blown up! (5,4)
INNER TUBE: An anagram (wind) of TURBINE includes (harnessing) the abbreviations for nuclear and energy.

21d  Do: (100 + 100) / 1 (5)
TONIC: A three-letter word meaning 100 and the Roman numeral for 100 includes (/) the letter represented by one.  Perhaps the Do is a definition by example that should be indicated.

22d  In the middle of playing golf against a master (5)
AMONG: A two-letter word meaning playing and the letter represented by golf after (against or in contact with) the A from the clue and the abbreviation for master.

26d  Vicar‘s extremely upset after being snubbed (3)
REV: A four-letter word meaning extremely is reversed (upset) after deleting the last letter (being snubbed).

26 comments on “Rookie Corner 470

  1. There are no enumerations provided, which will doubtless add to the challenge. I will leave it until breakfast time before attempting to solve it.

  2. I have added enumerations. Anyone who has already accessed the puzzle may need to clear their browser cache to see the new versions.

  3. Welcome back to Rookie Corner, Sirdakka. On this evidence, I don’t think you will be here long. Your debut RC puzzle was excellent and, in my opinion, this one was even better – great fun and quite simply superb!

    My only comment is that I think “a lot of” in 17a is inaccurate; “some” might have been better.

    From a long list of ticks, I have selected the following for my crowded podium: 1a, 10a :lol: , 27a, 6d, 15d & the very inventive 21d.

    Very well done and thank you, Sirdakka. More like this soon would be most welcome. Thanks too in advance to Prolixic.

  4. Last time Sirdakka appeared in Rookie Corner, I disagreed with Gazza and said that that puzzle ‘wasn’t a toughie’

    Today’s crossword was definitely a Toughie – my cereal and tea had long gone before I got to the end. The RH side was friendlier than the LH, but even that took quite a bit of work. My favourite clue was 27a

    Thanks to Sirdakka and, in advance, to Prolixic

  5. Excellent puzzle with clever clues and smooth surfaces throughout – many thanks to Sirdakka.
    I’m not sure why ‘old’ is present in 27a and I don’t think that ‘against’ quite works in a down clue (22d).
    I have ticks all over my printout including 1a, 10a, 12a, 19a, 5d, 14d, 21d and 26d.
    I look forward to your next puzzle and share RD’s view on where that may appear.

    1. Gazza, I think 27a is “ex” (“old”) followed by a “change of views” (anagram of “wives”).

    2. Hi Gazza. Does the old argument about holding something against the ceiling work for 22d?

  6. Super puzzle, sirdakka. Lots of your usual creativity and with plenty of laughs along the way.

    Favourites include 10a, 13a, 15a, 23a, 25a, 1d, 7d, 14d, 16d and 21d.

    Splendid stuff. Thanks for putting it up here. I look forward to the review.

  7. Well, Sirdakka, I agree with CrypticSue that that was definitely a Toughie. Too tough for my limited solving skills so I had to resort to e-help, which isn’t a criticism, because, as ever, your clues are inventive, witty and beautifully constructed, so I feel sure a well-deserved promotion will beckon.
    19a, 27a (v clever), 7d make up my podium.

  8. Given my ignorance about all things IT, I had to solve this one without the enumerations which made life a little tricky in places!
    Came across a few definitions that didn’t quite work for me but also much that was enjoyable. Rosettes went to 10,19&27a plus 4d.
    Many thanks, Sirdakka, keep up the good work.

  9. Welcome back, Sirdakka.

    In some ways I think a setter’s second submission to Rookie Corner is more than important than their first, as sometimes all the good ideas are used up in their initial puzzle and the follow-up can represent something of a disappointment. Well, there was certainly no “second puzzle syndrome” here, this one surpassed your debut for quality, ingenuity and fun, in my opinion. Aesthetically, I’ve always had a soft spot for grids with no black squares at the edges, but I know from personal experience that often makes the setter’s job harder, so you have my utmost respect for your choice. I have plenty of ticks on my printed page, but I think I’ll plump for 10a as my favourite clue, as it made me laugh the most and I’m quite partial to double homophones. I’m not a fan of clues like 21d as they seem to be saying to the solver “look at this, aren’t I clever?”, but that was my only quibble of any consequence.

    I can already tell that you have enormous potential as a setter, and you seem to be quite prolific on MyCrossword, which is good to see.

    Many thanks indeed and I look forward greatly to your next one.

  10. Quite a challenge until we got into it but a very enjoyable one. The pleasure increased during solving. We still need to parse a couple even though we are sure we have all the correct answers and a pangram to boot, we think. Favourites are 1a, 10a, 12a, 15a and 21d. Thank you Sirdakka and in advance to Prolixic.

  11. Very enjoyable puzzle though a few definitions eluded me. Many smooth surfaces . Ticks go to 9A, 13A, 19A, 20A, 6D. I don’t know if 27A is fair with a reverse anagram as one part of the wordplay

    Looking forward to your next one

  12. A most heartfelt thanks for all of the delightful feedback, I’m glad everyone seems to be enjoying themselves with my puzzle, despite it being tougher than I had perhaps intended! Thanks in advance to anyone else dropping by to give this a go and Prolixic in anticipation of his insightful analysis. I have some ideas for my next puzzle and look forward to submitting again soon :)

  13. Slightly late to the party but congratulations on a super puzzle, sirdakka! All the usual fun and invention that those of us on MyCrossword have come to expect. Very pleased to see it so warmly received here. My particular favourites were 10A, 12A, 15A, 25A, 27A, 16D and 26D.

  14. We put this aside when there was no enumeration and came back to it much later.
    Found it very challenging but slowly and surely it all came together and we were able to admire the quality of the clue writing.
    A top grade puzzle and much appreciated.
    Thanks Sirdakka.

  15. The review will be up later today as we had a lovely day with the grandchildren yesterday that meant it was too late to post last night and work beckons this morning.

  16. Looks like congratulations are in order, sirdakka. And I don’t believe many have achieved it after just two puzzles. Well done. And thanks to Prolixic for the review.

  17. Many thanks to Prolixic for the review, and to everyone for the uplifting and insightful feedback. I’m so pleased that people seemed to enjoy themselves though I’m still working out how to set something easier than a toughie!

  18. Ace puzzle with many very good clues: I really liked 10a,12a, 19a, 20a, 23a, 25a, 3d, 6d, 7d, 26d…
    Congratulations on the promotion and thanks for an entertaining challenge.

  19. Very late on parade, but given the comments above, I had to give it a go. It was quite a tussle at times but thoroughly enjoyable.
    My ticks go to:
    Across 1, 10, 12, 15, 27
    Down 7, 8, 14, 16
    …and the winner is 10a.
    Very impressive indeed for only your second puzzle in RC. Congratulations.
    More of the same, please!

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