Rookie Corner 506 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 506

A Puzzle by Hopping Rhino

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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.

Many thanks to Hopping Rhino for the crossword.  In the spirit of Christmas, the review follows but I shall forego further comment as it is a busy time of the year for me.

A very merry Christmas to one and all and, in particular) to the Rookie setters who have been brave enough to put their crosswords forward for publication.


1a  Newlyweds thrilled to have sex (5,6)
HAPPY COUPLE: A five-letter word meaning thrilled followed by a six-letter word meaning to have sex.

7a  One-in-a-million dream (3)
AIM: The letter representing one inside the A from the clue and the abbreviation for million.

9a  Pocketed scarf (5)
STOLE: Double-definition.  The first meaning to pinch something and the second a type of clerical scarf, a rather nice gold one I get to wear at Christmas and Easter.

10a  Ocean fish Escoffier filleted and used to make fish and chips (4,5)
DEEP FRYER: A four-letter word meaning ocean followed by a three-letter word for a small fish and the outer letters (filleted) of Escoffier.

11a  Back-to-front ‘u’ is this? (6-3)
INSIDE-OUT: If the solution is read as a cryptic indicator for the middle letter of a word, this would give U.

12a  Train or part thereof (5)
COACH: Double definition, the first meaning to teach and the second, what would be attached to a locomotive.

13a  Stood to stop union leader and communist (7)
ENDURED: A three-letter word meaning stop followed by the first letter (leader) of union and a three-letter word for a communist.

15a  Duck eats river weed (4)
DRIP: A three-letter word meaning duck or dunk includes (eats) the abbreviation for river.

18a  Look both ways? (4)
PEEP: This word meaning look is a palindrome (both ways).

20a  Expert heads of museum’s art exhibits seek the rarest objets (7)
MAESTRO: The first letters (heads) of the last seven words of the clue.

23a  Appropriate to keep revolutionary artist away (5)
APART: A three-letter word meaning appropriate includes (to keep) the abbreviation for an artist reversed (revolutionary).

24a  Confirmation abandoning Democrats and swapping sides leads to changes (9)
VARIATION: A ten-letter word meaning confirmation without the letter D (abandoning Democrats) and the L changed to an R (swapping sides).

26a  Casually mentions a state (9)
MINNESOTA: A anagram (casually) of MENTIONS A.

27a  Coast of Georgia has incomplete bathing area (5)
GLIDE: The outer letters (coast) of Georgia includes (has) a four-letter word for a bathing area without the final letter (incomplete).

28a  In high spirits aboard mega yacht (3)
GAY: The answer is hidden (aboard) in the final two words of the clue.

29a  Performance anxiety ruined the first gag (5,6)
STAGE FRIGHT: An anagram (ruined) of THE FIRST GAG.


1d  Enemies stole his mobile (8)
HOSTILES: An anagram (mobile) of STOLE HIS.

2d  Turn up to camp next to the water (8)
POOLSIDE: A reversal (up) of a four-letter word meaning turn followed by four-letter word for a camp, party or faction.

3d  Surrender pay (5)
YIELD: Double definition.

4d  Olive double-dated, embracing socialising at last (3,4)
OLD GOLD: A three-letter word meaning dated or ancient is repeated (double) and includes the final letter (at last) of socialising.

5d  Folded note hidden in petition (7)
PLEATED: A two-letter musical note is included (hidden) inside a five-letter word meaning petition or beg.

6d  Powerful current (9)
EFFECTIVE: Double definition.

7d  Several dance topless just the same (6)
ANYWAY: A four-letter word meaning several and a four-letter word meaning dance or rock from side to side each without their first letter (topless).

8d  Wet girl takes on heartless sociopath (6)
MARSHY: A four-letter girl’s name includes (takes on) the outer letters (heartless) of sociopath.

14d  Sloppy dental surgeon skipping dual measures for radiation (9)
ROENTGENS: An anagram (sloppy) of DENTAL SURGEON after removing (skipping) the letters in dual.

16d  Marked out (8)
STRIKING: Double definition.

17d  Hopping Rhino is Latin and most amorous (8)
HORNIEST: An anagram (hopping) of RHINO followed by the Latin verb meaning is.

19d  Owner of slobbery dogs covering a dessert (7)
PAVLOVA: The name of the person known for his discovery of classical conditioning through his experiments with dogs before (covering) the A from the clue.

20d  Before crowd ruin seaside town (7)
MARGATE: Before a four-letter word for a crowd or number attending an event add a three-letter word meaning ruin.

21d  Spooner’s stir-crazy prisoner finds publication full of nudes (3,3)
LAD MAG: A Spoonerism of Mad (stir crazy) Lag (prisoner).

22d  Oddly needy after pub fight (6)
BARNEY: The odd letters of needy after a three-letter word for a pub.

25d  Rage, ridiculous rage, about Nationalist leader (5)
ANGER: An anagram (ridiculous) of RAGE around (about) the abbreviation for Nationalist).

17 comments on “Rookie Corner 506
Leave your own comment 

  1. And yes there will be a review but, with yuletide kindness, the commentometer will be on holiday (not that it would have been greatly taxed).

    Just back from Midnight Communion to wish everyone a peaceful and happy Christmas.

  2. Very enjoyable, thanks Hopping Rhino. A pleasant ‘time filler’ before I go to Midnight Communion.

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

    Thanks again and thanks in advance to Prolixic.

  3. Thanks to Hopping Rhino for a very enjoyable puzzle.
    I especially liked 1a, the very neat 29a anagram and 4d.
    A Happy Christmas to all.

  4. Many thanks, HR, this was ideal fare for Christmas morning while Mrs RD prepares herself for the family day ahead.

    I thought this was great fun with only a few minor issues:

    – 20a. I am not sure if “objets” is a typo or a French word needing an indicator. You can use “objets” in English but only if followed by “d’arts”.
    – 24a. I think the definition should be singular: “change”.
    – 26a. “Casually” for me is a bit of a stretch as an anagram indicator, but it may well appear on an anagram indicator list somewhere.
    – 14d. This needs a second anagram indicator as the letters to be removed from the fodder are in a different order.

    I had a lot of ticks with special mentions for 1a, 11a, 12a, 6d & 16d.

    Thanks again, HR, and thanks too to Prolixic. Merry Christmas everybody.

    1. Thanks RD. I did have objets in mind as short for objets d’art (which works with the surface of course). It’s in Collins (online) as a stand-alone word, but I do see it’s awkward.

      Re 14d, that’s very helpful. I didn’t know this rule.

  5. Festive thanks, HR, for this most welcome distraction that (slightly) softened the blow of having to peel 1,000 potatoes. 1a was, of course, a great crowd-pleaser but 4d gets my top vote. Double-dated – brilliant. Have a great day everybody, especially anyone else who still has to put bloomin’ crosses in an army of sprouts.

  6. Welcome back, Hopping Rhino.

    I thought this was an excellent puzzle with many great clues and only a handful of niggles – in 13a I’d want “union leader” to be “union’s leader” and unfortunately the same construction was used in 25a, where “Nationalist primarily” would avoid both the repetition and make a Ximenean setter like me happy! Some editors do not like “heartless” to indicate the removal of all inside letters, only the middle letter. I agree with RD about the need for a secondary anagram indicator in 14d, but it’s been interesting recently to see certain similar constructions in published puzzles without one. It seems that there is increasingly two schools of thought on this.

    My trio making the podium would be 29a, 1d and 16d.

    Many thanks, HR and thanks in advance to Prolixic for the review of this and all the previous 2023 Rookie Corner submissions.

  7. Merry Christmas to all. Thanks to Hopping Rhino for a very enjoyable puzzle. For some time, I was thinking of ‘covering’ as ‘having in’ instead of ‘having alongside’ in 19d. I liked 1a, 7a, 23a, 29a,17d and 21d. Thanks in advance to Prolixic. I would like to see his comment particularly on 14d.

  8. Thank you for bringing us another puzzle, Hopping Rhino. A couple of clues that didn’t quite work for me but overall I thought this was a very good effort. Rosettes handed out to 12&29a plus 1d.
    Given his comment, I think you could be in for a very decent report from Prolixic!

  9. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. I have now finally understood the wordplay of 4d.
    Enjoy wearing your gold 9a whilst the festive season lasts and go easy on the hair products ‘just in case’!

  10. Thank you so much for the review, Prolixic. Like jane, I have also now understood the wordplay of 4d, not 14d as mentioned earlier by me which was a typo.

  11. Very late to this but just popped in to say how much I enjoyed it HR. Last in was 4d & the colour was new to me. Many thanks

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