Rookie Corner 472 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 472

A Puzzle by Hex

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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 that that has been said in the comments, particularly in relation to the balance of clue types.  The commentometer reads as 3/28 or 10.7%

The hidden theme was worked into the grid well.  I counted 14 theme words highlighted in green.


8a  Happening to call forth (8)
OCCASION: Double definition.

9a  Nikes worn by flying geese (5)
SKEIN: An anagram (worn) of NIKES.  The definition can be given by the wordplay, but the wordplay is not given by the definition.

10a  King and fool bond (4)
KNIT: The chess notation for king followed by a three-letter word for a fool.

11a  Comedian keeps bold French king and duke in stitches (10)
EMBROIDERY: The five-letter surname of the comedian Dick ….. around (keeps) the abbreviation for bold, the French word for king and the abbreviation for dukeWhilst B for bold is used in computer commands, as it is not used in the main dictionaries, it would not be allowable.

12a  Islander‘s strange trance (6)
CRETAN: An anagram (strange) of TRANCE.

14a  A device kept at your fingertips (8)
OXIMETER: Cryptic definition of a device to measure blood oxygen levels.  The device is kept on or around your fingertip when used.  A good cryptic definition should elicit an “of course” when you see the solution.  Here, I don’t think that this happens.

15a  Four in workshop mend bridges (7)
FORGIVE: The Roman numeral for four inside a five-letter word for a blacksmith’s workshop.

17a  Grasses where children sit (7)
INFORMS: Split 2-4, this would indicate the rooms where school children sit.

20a  Some waitresses press ‘on’ to get coffee (8)
ESPRESSO: The answer is hidden (some) in the second to fourth words of the clue.

22a  Remove granny perhaps from drunk notary (6)
UNKNOT: The answer is hidden in the final two words of the clue.

23a  One has a fitting job (10)
DRESSMAKER: Cryptic definitionYou have to be careful with cryptic definition that have more than one solution.  A seamstress would also fit the definition.

24a  Eddy‘s park address (4)
PURL: The abbreviation for park followed by the three-letter indication of a web address. P is the abbreviation for parking, not park.

25a  Cord found in many longbows (5)
NYLON: The answer is hidden (found) in the last two words of the clue.

26a  Order head of cattle (8)
NEATNESS: Split 4, 4, the first word is an old word for cattle and the second is another word for a head.


1d  Score in a bizarre set-up (8)
SCENARIO: An anagram (bizarre) of SCORE IN A.

2d  River rush (4)
DART: Double definition.

3d  Bird in animal years (6)
PIGEON: A three-letter farm animal followed by a three-letter word for eon.

4d  It’s a test – failing to blink (7)
INKBLOT: An anagram (failing) of TO BLINK.

5d  Intones a foreign language (8)
ESTONIAN: An anagram (foreign) of INTONES A.

6d  Acupuncturist’s craft? (10)
NEEDLEWORK: Cryptic definition.

7d  Deceptive U turn, spun with energy (6)
UNTRUE: An anagram (spun) of UTURN E (energy).

13d  Wildly disorganised yet girlish (10)
TIGERISHLY: An anagram (disorganized) of YET GIRLISH.

16d  Funding less fashionable garment (8)
VESTMENT: A ten-letter word for funding without (less) the initial IN (fashionable).

18d  Romeo’s in improvised rock movement (8)
MOONRISE: An anagram (impoverished) of ROMEOS IN.  I don’t think that the definition here is at all helpful.

19d  Where Spooner dumps fish implements (7)
BODKINS: A Spoonerism of COD (fish) BINS (dumps).

21d  Maroon thread (6)
STRAND: Double definition.

22d  Under a comic that’s yet to be browsed (6)
UNREAD: An anagram (comix) of UNDER A.

24d  Cut flower (4)
PINK: Double definition.

18 comments on “Rookie Corner 472

  1. Thanks for the puzzle Hex, a satisfying solve. A little heavy on anagram clues but some of them were rather nice, and in general I liked your succinct clueing style. Of the clues, I particularly liked 10a, 20a and 19d.

  2. We struggled in the SE and suspect that the abbreviation used in 24a might not pass muster.
    Well done to get such short clues.
    Thought 26a very clever so will go with that for favourite.
    Thanks Hex.

  3. Thanks Hex. I enjoyed this one more than your first one. Like sirdakka, I thought that the puzzle was ‘anagram heavy’ although I haven’t counted them.

    If the 2Kiwis are referring to the single letter abbreviation in 24a – interestingly it is not in the BRB but it is in the Crossword Dictionary under the word to be abbreviated.

    Smiles for 26a, 2d. 6d. and 16d.

    Thanks again and thanks in advance to Prolixic.

  4. Hello again Hex and thanks for the puzzle. Nice to see a gentle theme running through the background and well done on fitting in quite a number: I make it about a dozen? And, as others have observed, nice succinct cluing on the whole. Perhaps an over-reliance on anagrams and hiddens but the clues were generally well constructed. I would normally expect def by WP rather than the other way round (9a) and I am not sure about the bold = B abbreviation in 11a (bowled = B is fine – but no use to you!). I can only think of the wordprocessing icons; does that mean it is now accepted? (I know abbreviations have been discussed here before: I am seeing a lot more ‘new’ abbreviations making it into puzzles these days – especially driven by e-messaging – but also boy/girl – B/G, white – W, days of the week, across/down – A/D (which we use in crosswords every day). None of them are supported by Chambers – and yet they are in regular use. It is a minefield)

    15a, 26a, 1d, 5d and 19d were my favourites.

    Thanks again. I look forward to the the review.

  5. Welcome back to RC, Hex. This was a very good second submission with concise clueing and smooth surfaces throughout, coupled with an unusual but unobtrusive theme. I had a lot of ticks, too many to mention.

    Doubtless it is in a list somewhere, but “worn” in 9a doesn’t convince me as an anagram indicator (although the surface is a hoot); 18d is exceptionally obscure (at least to me); and isn’t “where” in 19d unnecessary?

    Well done again, Hex and thank you. Please keep them coming. Thanks too in advance to Prolixic.

  6. An enjoyable puzzle, thanks, Hex. I particularly liked the spoonerism at 19d. Other favourites were 10a, 15a, 13d – I liked these for the neat, simple wordplay combined with convincingly plausible surfaces.

    Had to rack my brains to remember the comedian referenced in 11a – one for the teenagers…

  7. A nice theme in a tricky in places crossword – although there did seem to be too many anagrams. I had to check the relevant meaning of 24a

    Thanks Hex and, in advance, to Prolixic

  8. An enjoyable puzzle with a ‘dressy’ theme. Thanks to Hex.
    The anagram count was on the high side and perhaps there were too many hidden words.
    My ticks went to 26a, 16d and 19d.

  9. Well done Hex. A largely well composed and fun puzzle, though perhaps lacking balance as others have said. The odd strange surface (eg 9a) didn’t really detract from the satisfying brevity of your clueing, though I felt in some cases clues would have benefitted from more precise indications (eg just comedian for one who died some 30yrs ago, head of cattle for an archaic/dialectical word – it would have helped if I’d ever heard of it!). And in 14a I don’t think the answer is ‘kept’ in any meaningful sense. But these were minor quibbles. My clear favourites were 17a and 16d.

  10. Welcome back, Hex, with another enjoyable puzzle despite its possible over-reliance on anagrams. Not sure that the abb in 11a is accepted, thought the 14a device was kept ‘on’ one’s fingertips and there were a couple of synonyms that I wasn’t happy with – I’ll be very interested to read Prolixic’s take on those.
    Particularly liked 26a plus 6&16d.

    Thank you for bringing another compilation to the Corner.

  11. Welcome back, Hex.

    Although I enjoyed many of the clues very much indeed, I wasn’t over-enamoured by the number of anagrams (half of the Down clues are anagram constructions) or having three lurkers in the space of five Across clues. The distribution of clue types ought to have been planned a lot better. I’m afraid nonsensical surfaces like 9a are a big turn-off to me, some might charitably call them surreal, I’d just use “poor”. If I’m ever out and see a flock of geese wearing trainers I’ll happily retract my comment. Some of the abbreviations did raise my eyebrows, but I don’t have the patience or time to consult every available dictionary to see if they pass muster or not. All that said, I thought 23a, 16d and 24d were excellently constructed, so very well done on those in particular.

    Many thanks for an enjoyable puzzle, Hex, but do try to have a better balance of clues next time.

  12. I really enjoyed this lunchtime puzzle, thank you Hex. The theme was pleasant and unobtrusive, and while I agree there were too many anagrams and the lurkers were penned together like obedient ewes at a sheepdog trial, for me the concise clueing made up for a lot. My only real gripe was 14a – there was nothing cryptic, no word play, about this definition-only clue, and so if one has never heard of the device (I’m in that camp) there was no way of working out what the answer should be.

    My podium places went to 24a (no issue with P for Parking in my view, and the address element was innovative) & 24d, 26a and the excellent 16d. Many thanks again, Hex, and also in advance to Prolixic.

    1. Mustafa, although P = “parking” is fair game, I’m not convinced by P = “park”.

      1. Hi RD – I agree the BRB dictionary definitions for P would preclue park being used in the clue in this way, however it did not raise an issue for me simply because when I see a big sign with a P on it, whether in a rural or urban setting I am as likely to think car park as car parking.

        Postmark’s observations at (4) above are, I think, spot on: modern usage means there are many more single-letter abbreviations in use than are (or maybe can ever be) published in the ‘proper’ dictionaries. That’s not to say that every abbreviation should instantly be accepted, because time will tell whether they become established and commonly understood. However I had no concern about b for bold, and would similarly accept i and u for italics and underline simply because anyone who has used a word processing package in the last 30 years will be familiar with these abbreviations.

        Thank heavens I only use dictionaries and am not responsible for updating & editing them!

  13. I echo most of the comments above on this enjoyable solve.
    I still can’t get 24a.
    I didn’t know the “test” in 4d and needless to say, I didn’t spot the theme until I came here.
    Ticks for 26a, 6d, 16d and 19d. Spoonerisms can be Marmite, but 19d wins COD for me – very amusing!
    Thanks, Hex. Please keep them coming.

  14. Thanks Hex for an enjoyable crossword. Like others, I thought most of the clues were very accessible and the checkers helped with the tougher clues. I was unfamiliar with the synonym for 24a but having spotted the theme it had to be what it was. I like the way you avoided, for the most part, cluing any of the theme solutions with clues that pointed to the theme. A greater variety of clues would be welcome next time as 8 anagrams and 4 double definitions (although I thought 24d was a neat clue) made it perhaps a bit samey.
    My plaudits are for some of the other clues 11a 15a 17a and 16d. Thanks again.

  15. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. Slightly surprised that you were happy with cord = nylon but so be it!

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