Rookie Corner 505 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 505

Early by Tyjer

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

As usual, the setter will be delighted to receive feedback from you, the solvers. We do ask that you remember that for most setters this is a new experience, so please only offer constructive criticism.

A review by Prolixic follows:

Welcome back to Tyjer.  Whilst there was a lot to admire in this crossword (I particularly liked 1a), there was (as acknowledged) a major issue with 6d.  I a handful of clues I did not think that the cryptic grammar worked as intended and there were a number of repeated wordplay elements that could have been avoided.  The commentometer reads as 7/31 or 22.6%.


1a  Both parts of boombox (4)
SPAR: Split (both parts) boombox to give boom and box and you have a double definition clue.

4a  Manage seven Latin lovers (10)
VALENTINES: An anagram (manage) of SEVEN LATIN.

9a  Outre morgue packs a thrill (6)
TREMOR: The answer is hidden (packs) in the first two words of the clue.

10a  Beaten athlete exchanged sides (8)
BATTERED: A six-letter definition for an athlete followed by the outer letter (sides) of exchanged.  I think that the synonym for athlete would perhaps be better clued by baseball player / cricketer.

11a  Work around up-ramp frequently causes commotion (7)
TURMOIL: A four-letter word meaning work or labour around the odd letters (frequently) of up-ramp.  I don’t think that frequently indicates ever other letter.

12a  Fighting was dull before right cross exchange (6)
BOXING: A six-letter word meaning dull with the abbreviation for right replaced by an X (cross exchange).

15a  Initial entry status (5)
BIRTH: Cryptic definition.

16a  Half of Manhattan set in a panic over a team (4,4)
EAST SIDE: An anagram (in a panic) of SET around (over) the A from the clue followed by a four-letter word for a team.

17a  Inappropriate term for skinflint keeping back more than half of payment (8)
MISNOMER: A five-letter word for a skinflint includes a reversal (keeping back) just over half of the word money (payment).

20a  Odd duo trains group of molluscs (5)
DORIS: The odd letters in the second and third words of the clue.  I think you need oddly to indicate the alternate letters.

22a  Small shrub provides cover (6)
SHEATH: The abbreviation for small followed by a five-letter word for shrub.

23a  Members of convent ingloriously letting off steam (7)
VENTING: The answer is hidden (members of) I the third and fourth words of the clue.

25a  Simplest bustle not arranged without essential hooks (8)
BLUNTEST: An anagram (arranged) of BUSTLE NOT without the middle letter (essential) of hooks.  For the cryptic reading to indicate the middle letter, you need hooks essentially.  I kind of see the connection between the definition and the solution but I think it relies on you making the connection A = B and B = C so therefore A = C, which, in this case, is a tenuous assumption.

27a  Work on radio set with chisel (6)
LABOUR: A homophone (on radio of lay (set) burr (chisel).  Perhaps on the radio would have been better.

28a  Sweet thing comes from fight with fancy guns in saloon (5,5)
BROWN SUGAR: A three-letter word for a fight or argument and an anagram (fancy) of GUNS inside a three-letter word for a saloon or pub.

29a  Carefully move wealth (4)
EASE: Double definition.


2d  Disturb quiet creature returning across river (7)
PERTURB: The abbreviation for quiet followed by a reversal of a five-letter word for an animal around (across) the abbreviation for river.

3d  Mermen tangle with crab: sore tail for souvenir (11)
REMEMBRANCE: An anagram (tangle) of MERMAN CRAB followed by the last letter (tail) of sore.

4d  Gloss over contents of baths in Ravenna (7)
VARNISH: The answer is hidden and reversed (over contents) in the final three words on the clue.  I am not particularly keen on the imperative instruction over contents to indicate a reversal.

5d  27 seconds without our dogs (4)
LABS: The answer for 27a and the abbreviation for seconds without the OUR from the clue.

6d  Dangerous Sioux on manoeuvres (7)
NOTIONS: This clue does not work.  It’s a clue for the solution NOXIOUS not the solution required to complete the crossword.

7d  Kill rodents without any mercy (3)
ICE: a four-letter word for rodents without the first letter (any) of mercy.  Two issues with this clue.  Without has already been used as a deletion indicator.  Also, I don’t think you can use any to indicate the first letter word the word.

8d  Combined support for leader of Ethiopia became clear (7)
EMERGED: A six-letter word meaning combined underneath support the first letter (leader) of Ethiopia.  The cryptic grammar of this clue does not work.  You need A supports B or A supporting B for the first part of the clue.

13d  Mysterious blue stain smeared around outside of car (11)
INSCRUTABLE: An anagram (smeared) of BLUE STAIN around the outer letters (outside) of car.  Around has been used already as a containment indicator in 11a.

14d  Votes for keeping rule for 2024 and 2025? (5)
YEARS: A four-letter word for affirmative votes around the abbreviation for rule.

18d  Poor conductor forgetting the orchestra, initially standing alone (7)
INSULAR: A nine-letter word for a poor conductor of electricity without (forgetting) the initial letters of the and orchestra.

19d  Most flustered around her superiors (7)
MOTHERS: An anagram (flustered) of MOST around the HER from the clue.  Another repetition of around and a containment indicator.

20d  Resident brood we’ll eradicate selectively (7)
DWELLER: The answer is hidden (selectively) in the second to fourth words of clue.  Four hidden word clue in a crossword is too many.

21d  Settle in vacant seats for satirical shows (4-3)
SEND-UPS: A phrase (3-2) meaning settle in the outer letters (vacant) of seats.

24d  Browser finally loads game (4)
STAG: The last letter (finally) of loads followed by a three-letter name of a children’s game.

26d  Ignoring King was sure fresh! (3)
NEW: A four-letter word meaning was sure without (ignoring) the chess abbreviation for king.

21 comments on “Rookie Corner 505
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  1. Good morning, Tyjer. I haven’t got very far with this yet but I am stuck already in the NE corner. Unusually for me, I started there as I spotted the 4a anagram instantly. This was followed quite quickly by 5d, 6d, 7d & 8d giving me B-X-E-E- for 10a. This looks impossible and I am as sure as I can be that the crossing letters are 100% correct. Having revealed the missing letters for 10a, the third letter is shown as a T not an X. This doesn’t make sense at all as 6d looks like an anagram but the fodder doesn’t contain a T. Help please!

    1. 6d definitely seems to be causing the problem. I agree that the clue indicates an anagram. I suspect that the answer had to be changed to make 10a ‘work’ but the clue wasn’t updated or there has been a mix up in revisions of the puzzle.

    2. Everything would be fine if the 6d clues was: Dangerous, it’s noon on manoeuvres (7) :-)

      *Apart from the fact that the surface is poor!

    3. I definitely messed that up, sorry. Thankyou to Rabbit Dave and the others who pointed it out. Hopefully others will see your comments and not waste too much time. I think that 6d was ‘noxious’ originally and as Senf suggested, I must have changed it and missed updating the clue.

  2. Lots of good cues and an enjoyable solve for the most part.
    However we were totally defeated by 10a and on revealing letters find that we had got 6d wrong also. Now we cannot understand how the correct answers work for either of these clues.
    Thanks Tyjer.

  3. Welcome back to Rookie Corner, Tyjer. Apart from whatever has gone wrong with 10a/6d, and I suspect that Senf’s theory is probably right, I thought this was a well constructed and enjoyable puzzle. The clueing was brief and accurate on the whole. And an unobtrusive theme too – I counted 8 items.

    I have only a few specific comments:
    – 11a. I am not keen on “frequently” to specify every other letter, but I’ll defer to Prolixic on this.
    – 16a. For me, “half” is too precise. I would have preferred “part”.
    – 20a was a new word for me.
    – 25a. I am not convinced that the answer is a synonym of “simplest” even at a stretch.
    – 7d. The answer is US slang which should be indicated. Also, I’m not sure that “any mercy” means M.
    – Four lurkers is probably too many,

    My top picks were 1a, 12a, 17a, 5d, 18d & 21d.

    Well done and many thanks, Tyjer. I’m looking forward to your next one. Thanks too on advance to Prolixic.

    1. RD, 25a. I think simplest = b******t might (just about) be OK. Simple can mean plain, basic, unadorned, B***t can mean unpolished, plain-spoken. So, in the sense of language/manner of speaking you might hear/read: Her evidence was given in a b***t/simple manner. Could go either way in the review, I reckon …

  4. Thank you Tyjer. Such a shame about the 6d ‘problem’ as I enjoyed solving this crossword. I have a couple of clues where I’m not entirely sure how I get to the solution and will await Prolixic’s review (thanks in advance to him) with interest

  5. Apart from the problems in the NE corner I enjoyed the puzzle – thanks to Tyjer.
    As RD says there are perhaps a couple too many ‘hidden’ answers and like him the 20a answer was a new word for me (and I’m not sure that ‘odd’ rather than ‘oddly’ works for the wordplay).
    The clues I liked best 2d, 8d and 21d.

  6. Had an inordinate amount of trouble getting onto our setter’s wavelength even before I hit the issue with the 10a/6d crossover so don’t really feel qualified to add much to the comments already made other than to remark on the double use of ‘exchange’ in 10&12a.
    I shall be fascinated to read what Prolixic has to say about several of the clues – meantime, thanks to Tyger for his efforts.

  7. Welcome back, Tyjer.

    A mixed bag for me, I really warmed to some clues but I was disappointed by certain others. 8d was probably my overall favourite. It was a pity about the problem with 10a and I’d be intrigued to know how one can train molluscs.

    Many thanks, Tyjer.

  8. Thankyou so much to everyone who has commented. The feedback is really great, and much appreciated. The next time I send in a puzzle I will be sure to check it at least twice after I think it is done.

    1. Only twice ?????

      If it makes you feel any better, I checked my RC submissions probably ten times more than that – and still managed to include a certain helmsman of the USS Enterprise clued as an Eastern European playwright …

    2. Well done Tijer. This was a quite polished I thought. You have my sympathy for the 6d mix-up. I too managed to submit puzzles to RC with errors on more than one occasion! It’s really is tough to proof read your own work sometimes.
      There are a couple I can’t parse but much to enjoy. 12a, 28a and 8d stood out for me. I look forward to your next submission.

  9. We were troubled by 10a and left it empty until we read the comments above.otherwise an enjoyable puzzle, many thanks, Tyjer. Thank you also to Prolixic in advance as we need to be able to parse a couple of our answers.

  10. A very late comment from me.
    I had a bit of trouble picking up the right wavelength. I did, however, enjoy the puzzle overall.
    I forebore to read the comments or Prolixic’s analysis untiI I had completed the puzzle. I too had problems with 6d. The only possible answer to the clue was, as Prolixic has pointed out, ‘noxious’. I cannot for the life of me see how ‘notions’ fits!
    The clues I liked best were 12a, 17a, 28a, 14d, 18d and 21d.
    Many thanks Tyjer. Very well done! You will benefit greatly by taking on board Prolixic’s sage advice. I look forward to your next submission.
    Many appreciative thanks to Prolixic. Most interesting elucidation. I trust you had a most enjoyable church staff Christmas party! Much deserved by all, I should think.

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