Rookie Corner 478 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 478

A Puzzle by Hopping Rhino

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A very enjoyable and well clued crossword from Hopping Rhino.  The commentometer reads as 1.5/28 or 5.4%.


7a  English mob half-hearted after drink, and can be beaten (9)
SUPERABLE: The abbreviation for English and a six-letter word for a mob with the double letter in the middle reduced to one letter (half-hearted) after a three-letter word meaning to drink.

8a  Partner has no right to be savage (5)
FIEND: A six-letter word for a partner without the abbreviation for right.  As a comment was made on the synonym for partner, the primary definition of the word used in the solution is “A person loving or attached to another” which could also be a partner in a relationship or marriage.

10a  Something very fast finds enthusiastic audience? (8)
CLAPPERS: Double definition, the first by reference to the simile “going like the …”

11a  Join assault, saving King Henry (6)
ATTACH: A six-letter word for an assault without (saving) the final K (King) followed by the abbreviation for Henty.

12a  Deadly mountain (4)
FELL: Double definition.  I think to describe the solution as a mountain is over stretching the synonym.

13a  Get ferret to settle in (4,4)
TAKE ROOT: A four-letter word meaning get followed by a four-letter word meaning to ferret.

15a  Baffle fellow fool (7)
FLUMMOX: The abbreviation for fellow followed by a six-letter word meaning a fool.

17a  A poet is agitated to get drugs (7)
OPIATES: An anagram (agitated) of A POET IT.

20a  Keep close to camp in serious storm (8)
DOWNPOUR: A three-letter word meaning to keep or possess and the final letter (close) to camp inside a four-letter word meaning serious.

22a  Love to chat about Roger (4)
OKAY: The letter representing love or nothing followed by a reversal (about) of a three-letter word meaning to chat.

25a  Two mothers start to lactate. This provides milk for the brood (6)
MAMMAL: A three-letter word for mother followed by a two-letter word for a mother (two mothers) followed by the first letter (start) to lactate.

26a  Occasionally we’ll help shear nuts animal (8)
ELEPHANT: The even letters (occasionally) of the second to fifth words of the clue.

27a  Capital worker embodies service (5)
BERNE: A worker in a hiver includes (embodies) the abbreviation for Royal Navy (service).

28a  I forecast bombing works (9)
FACTORIES: An anagram (bombing) of I FORECAST.


1d  Listen to the French horn (5)
BUGLE: A three-letter word meaning to listen by covert means followed by the French masculine singular form of the.

2d  Leaders of the eastern mystics, promoting Lamaism, endow shrine (6)
TEMPLE: The initial letters (leaders) of the third to eighth word of the clue.

3d  Eurovision winner delivers crushing defeat (8)
WATERLOO: Double definition, the first being the song by Abba that won the said contest.

4d  Friendly with Private Ocean (5,2)
CLOSE TO: A six-letter word meaning private followed by an abbreviation for ocean.  Whilst the abbreviation may be on-line, as it is not in the printed edition, it is not likely to be accepted in a published crossword.

5d  Albert’s mate in a state (8)
VICTORIA: Double definition, the Albert being the prince consort.

6d  Reports European Community’s replaced titanium in medicines (9)
ANECDOTES: The abbreviation for European Community replaces the chemical symbol for titanium in a nine-letter word for medicines that counteract the effect of a toxin.

9d  Bar Khmer leader under boycott (4)
BANK: The initial letter (leader) of Khmer under a three-letter word meaning to boycott.

14d  A pound found and set aside (9)
ALLOCATED: The A from the clue and the abbreviation for pounds sterling and a seven-letter word meaning found.

16d  Medic and soldiers set in stone as a memorial (8)
MONUMENT: The abbreviation for medical orderly followed by a three-letter for soldiers inside a three-letter word for the stone in fruit.

18d  Objects to unexpected rest stop (8)
PROTESTS: An anagram (unexpected) of REST STOP.

19d  Tracks artillerymen returning to magazine (7)
ARSENAL: A five-letter word for tracks and the abbreviation for royal artillery all reversed (returning).  Again, as there was a question about the synonym, the definition of track includes “a beaten path or road” so I think that the synonym is valid.

21d  Parliament’s members can be chickens when leaderless (4)
OWLS: A five-letter word meaning chickens without the first letter (leaderless).

23d  Guarantee proclaimed on land (6)
ASHORE: A homophone of assure (guarantee).  Try to avoid homophone indicators that split the wordplay and the definition as it is not clear which is the word to create the homophone from.

24d  Heavenly being in orange lingerie (5)
ANGEL: The answer is hidden in the final two words of the clue.

32 comments on “Rookie Corner 478
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  1. Thanks Hopping Rhino very enjoyable – probably your best yet.

    Smiles for 20a, 27a, 5d, 14d, and 21d.

    Thanks again and thanks in advance to Prolixic.

  2. Quite hard work but we did get there. A couple of abbreviations that we have doubts about though.
    Lots of ticks on our pages and we’ll go for 15a as our favourite.
    Thanks Hopping Rhino.

  3. A nice mix of the friendly and the difficult. Like the 2Ks, I have doubts about some abbreviations

    Thanks Hopping Rhino and in advance to Prolixic

  4. Thanks HR very enjoyable. Not sure about abbreviation in 4d. Favourites 8a, 11a, 20a, 1d & 6d. I count 7 (and a half?) themers? Thanks again!

  5. An enjoyable puzzle – thanks to Hopping Rhino.
    Like others I don’t recognise the abbreviation in 4d and having the homophone indicator in the middle of the 23d clue means that it could work either way.
    Thanks to Fez for pointing out the theme which I had missed completely.
    My podium choices were 11a, 15a and 20a.

    1. Thanks Gazza, the abbreviation in 4d is in Chambers Online, but having just looked I see its not the hard-copy Chambers Crossword Dictionary, so I’m not sure where that leaves its status!

      More generally, I feel like I’m blundering around a bit with abbreviations. Having been dinged for them in the past, I am trying to be quite rigorous in checking them, either in dictionaries or in past puzzles – but I’m not sure what counts as a definitive source/precedent.

      Very good point re 23d, which I’d not thought about at all.

      1. HR, regarding the abbreviation in 4d, as far as I can see it does not appear in the Chambers app which I have always taken to be a reflection of Chambers online. It is in Collins online but specifically as an American usage.

        1. In a sense, this underlines my puzzlement. ‘Chambers’ is a definitive source, but it turns out it matters which version of Chambers you’re looking at.

  6. As CS has said this was a mix of the friendly and fiendish. On the subject of friends, is “partner” really a synonym for “friend”? There were also what were for me a couple of very stretched definitions: in 12a, a fell is a hill not a mountain; and in 19d, a lane is part of a track not the whole track.

    I felt the surface/definition for 25a jarred slightly.

    However, those minor points aside, this was a very enjoyable challenge with a clever but unobtrusive theme to boot. 15a was my favourite; it’s a great clue and a lovely word.

    Well done, HR, and many thanks.

  7. Really enjoyed solving this one, Hopping Rhino. My slight niggles related to the synonyms already mentioned by RD and the abb. used in 4d. No doubt Prolixic will adjudicate!
    Tick list here includes 13,15&27a plus 16&21d.

    Thank you, HR, good to see you coming on so well with this compiling lark!

  8. Welcome back, Hopping Rhino.

    Rookie setters do have my sympathies when it comes to single letter abbreviations. I’m very happy that the Telegraph, like The Times, provides its compilers with a list of those that are acceptable, I’d much rather have it that way, to be honest.

    I really enjoyed this and, apart from those niggles already mentioned, I had very little else marked on my printout. I’ll opt for 20a as my overall favourite.

    Many thanks, HR.

    1. Thank you Silvanus, I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Are samizdat copies of the Telegraph list available on the Dark Web somewhere?

      1. Hi, Hopping Rhino — congratulations on your puzzle. Yes, you can download a copy of the Telegraph list of crossword abbreviations for a mere £3·99, no questions asked: you just to have to go to the Telegraph Books website and buy an ebook of Chris Lancaster’s book. I think they’re near the back, but I don’t have my copy to hand right now.

  9. Very enjoyable, thank you Hopping Rhino. Still puzzled over 4d and missed the theme until we read comments above – but still one short as we only count six and a half. Need to check a map! Favourites are 15a and 21d. We look forward to your next puzzle.

    1. Thanks Hilton – your stops are Down : 2,3,5,9,16,19,24, and a ‘half’ at 26a.

      I’m glad 15a is so popular – it’s an intriguing outcome, in that it is a very simple clue structure with no particular ingenuity (perhaps apart from some semi-alliteration). The credit probably goes to the two main words involved, which may bring a smile to the face all on their own. There’s a lesson for me there I think.

      1. Aha – the theme. Probably helps if you’re a user of the London Underground – it doesn’t reach as far as Anglesey!
        Did manage to find them online thanks to the list you gave above so curiosity is now satisfied.

        ‘simple’ clue structure – that sounds right up my street – and the answer to 15a is such a delightful word, guaranteed to bring a smile to the solver’s face.

      2. Thank you Hopping Rhino. We didn’t know 19d was a station, all the others were very familiar names.

  10. Super puzzle, HR, thank you so much. Like others I’d put a ? next to the abbreviation in 4d and wondered about partner/friend (also savage/fiend for that matter), but the only other thought I’d had was that maybe 7a would read slightly more smoothly were the ‘and’ not there? Otherwise what an exellent puzzle, with tight clueing, good surfaces, and enjoyment from first to last.

    COTD for me was 20a, with 6d and 10a the runners-up.

    Thanks again, and in advance to Prolixic

  11. Enjoyed it a lot HR. Not too difficult & very nicely clued throughout in my view. I never know what single letter abbreviations are acceptable so just assumed the one in 4d was ok. I’m a bit disappointed the theme completely escaped me (got them all once I read Fez’s comment) & had I twigged it in the solving last in 19d, Gillespie Rd that was, would have yielded quicker than it did & saved me entering the blind alley of periodicals. Particular likes were 15,20&27a along with 1,6&21d.
    Many thanks & look forward to your next guzzle.
    Ps remember having 25 cryptic clues for stations in a pub quiz. We shot through them all in double quick time bar ‘Make ‘em sick’ – Nobody got if memory serves

      1. Not sure it’s the answer, but some Googling did lead me to the excellently named ‘Oldham Mumps’ station, sadly no longer with us

          1. The irony was that it was a station I’d used many times. You’ll have to get into one of your puzzles

  12. Many thanks for your review, Prolixic, and in particular for the clarification of 19d. I hadn’t thought of lanes/tracks other than in the less obvious context of athletics.

  13. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, much appreciated as ever. Still not completely convinced by partner=friend but perhaps I just need to be rather more circumspect about who I refer to as being a friend!

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