Rookie Corner 509 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 509

A Puzzle by Rahmat Ali

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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. We do ask that you remember that for most setters this is a new experience, so please only offer constructive criticism.

Welcome back to Ramat with his second appearance in the Rookie Corner.  This was much improved on his first crossword but there were still some repetitions in the wordplay that could have been avoided.  I agree that some of the clues could be made gender neutral.  Whilst 17a was verbose, there was nothing wrong technically with the clue.  The commentometer reads as 3/28 or 10.7%


7a  To be one in the same government, this Roman ruler needs two more (8)
TRIUMVIR: Cryptic definition of a form of Roman government led by three people.

9a  Cooler for ‘The Greatest’ describing what he does outside church (6)
ICEBOX: A phrase (1,3) describing what someone like Mohammed Ali (the Greatest) does around (outside) the abbreviation for Church of England.  I don’t think that the link word works with definition for wordplay.

10a  Herr’s better half a near cheat! (4)
FRAU: A five-letter word for cheat without the final letter (a near).

11a  Victors study question with mistakes; without writing? (10)
CONQUERORS: A three-letter word meaning study followed by a two-letter abbreviation for question and a six-letter word for mistakes with one of the letters R (writing in the 3 Rs) removed (without).

12a  Struck with horror, Turkish commander meets holy man (6)
AGHAST: A four-letter word for a Turkish commander followed by the abbreviation for saint (holy man).

14a  Child’s toy for one of Don Quixote’s enemies? (8)
WINDMILL: Double definition, the second being those against whom Don Quixote tilted.

15a  Some chairmen jointly issue an urgent and official order (6)
ENJOIN: The answer is hidden (some) in the second and third words of the clue.

17a  Leader of cut-throats, unknown, say, retreating, having captured north Thailand bird (6)
CYGNET: The first letter (leader) of cut-throats followed by a letter representing an unknown quantity in algebra, the two-letter abbreviation for say or for example reversed (retreating) and the IVT code for Thailand.

20a  Old school, old-fashioned lawyer meets editor — about time (8)
OUTDATED: A three-letter word meaning old-fashioned, the abbreviation for a District Attorney and the abbreviation for editor around (about) the abbreviation for time.  Having used meets as a charade indicator in 12a, a different indicator should be used here.

22a  Designed pen and showed others the way (6)
STYLED: A three-letter word for a pig pen and a three-letter word meaning showed others the way.

23a  Where police may sit with prisoners for a game of cards (5,5)
BLACK MARIA: Double definition of the police vehicle and a card game.

24a  Portuguese folk-song primarily for all doleful onlookers (4)
FADO: The initial letters (primarily) of the final four words of the clue.

25a  Sour maestro having brief moment (6)
ACETIC: A three-letter word for a maestro followed by a four-letter word for a moment with the final letter removed (brief).

26a  Giving up work and going to bed? (8)
RETIRING: Double definition.


1d  Suspend one who’s paid picaroon (8)
PROROGUE: A three-letter abbreviation for a professional (one who’s paid) followed by a five-letter word for a picaroon.

2d  South African tribesman coming from animal park can, as reported (4)
ZULU: A homophone (as reported) of zoo loo (animal park can).

3d  Covet a wandering wading bird (6)
AVOCET: An anagram (wandering) of COVET A.

4d  Queen getting into good taste ignoring the first bite? (8)
PIQUANCY: A two-letter abbreviation for queen in (getting into) a two-letter word meaning good and a five letter word meaning taste without the first letter (ignoring the first).

5d  Witchcraft may concern pervert (10)
NECROMANCY: An anagram (pervert) of MAY CONCERN.  I think that the anagram indicator here needs to come before the letters to be rearranged.  Where you are giving an imperative instruction or using a transitive verb in the present tense as the anagram indicator is should appear first.

6d  Some rambler roses’ climbing plant? (6)
SORREL: The answer is hidden (some) and reversed (climbing) in the second and third words of the clue.  Some has already been used as a hidden word indicator in 15a so a different indicator should be used here.

8d  Fame Nero possibly won from outside (6)
RENOWN: An anagram (possibly) of NERO followed by the outer letters (from outside) of WON.  I am not convinced that “from outside” indicates the outer letters.

13d  Try Judie adopting Tom after notice (10)
ADJUDICATE: The Judie from the clue includes (adopting) a three-letter word for an animal that may be a tom all after a two-letter abbreviation for a notice or advert.

16d  Getting very close in main city building (8)
INTIMACY: An anagram (building) of MAIN CITY.  Rather like 5d, I think that the anagram indicator here would be better if used before the letters to be a rearranged.

18d  Sergeant, at last, perusing and taking steps (8)
TREADING: The final letter (at last) of sergeant followed by a seven-letter word meaning perusing.

19d  Zealous lover roared deliriously (6)
ADORER: An anagram (deliriously) of ROARED.

21d  Open University new learner mocks heartily (6)
UNLOCK: The abbreviation for university followed by the abbreviation for new and the inner letters (heartily) of mocks.

22d  Old city resort welcomes painter’s creation (6)
SPARTA: A three-letter word for a health resort includes (welcomes) a three-letter word describing something a painter produces.

24d  Card game of patriot making regular sacrifices (4)
FARO: The even letters (making regular sacrifices) of the third and fourth words of the clue.

22 comments on “Rookie Corner 509
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  1. We had to work quite hard but we did eventually get everything sorted and thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the puzzle.
    Yes we did note that it was a pangram too.
    Thanks Rahmat Ali and congratulations on a job well done.

    1. Thank you so much once again, 2Kiwis, for liking and thoroughly enjoying my puzzle. Thank you also for your congratulations.

  2. Thanks Rahmat, a really accomplished and enjoyable pangram. A lot of fine general knowledge (as expected from your last puzzle) and to be honest I’d have had no complaint if this had been a Saturday prize backpager! It all came together smoothly with plenty of ticks – 9a, 26a, 5d, 6d, 22d in particular. I couldn’t parse 4d so will await Prolixic’s review for that.

    Only minor points I’d note is that for me 17a was a tad convoluted, and although I enjoyed 7a it might be a little too obscure for an opening clue. Very tiny nitpickings though and nothing to detract from a superb effort. Well done 😁👍

    1. Thank you so much once again, AgentB, for liking my puzzle and terming it to be a really accomplished and enjoyable pangram. 17a is a learning for me. In future, I will try to avoid taking so many words in a clue for a just six-letter answer.

  3. Thanks Rahmat Ali for a second entertaining and enjoyable challenge. I saw the 2Kiwis comment before I started but I did not need to know that it was a pangram before solving; it just flowed smoothly.

    17a – a lot of words (11) for a six letter answer.

    Smiles for 7a, 22a, and 22d.

    Thanks again and thanks in advance to Prolixic.

    1. Thank you so much once again, Senf, for liking my puzzle and taking it as a second entertaining and enjoyable challenge. I agree with you that 17a had a lot of words for a six-letter answer which should have been avoided.

  4. Welcome back to Rookie Corner, Rahmat Ali, with another very enjoyable puzzle. I noticed before I had fully completed the top half that 25 different letters had appeared so it was no surprise that this turned out to be a pangram.

    This was good fun to solve and I expect that you can anticipate a lower commentometer score this time. I have a lot of ticks and only two minor comments:
    – 17a was rather convoluted.
    – I don’t think using “pervert” in 5d works as an anagram indicator when placed after the anagram fodder, but I will defer to Prolixic on this.

    Very well done and thank you, RA. Thanks too in advance to Prolixic.

    1. Thank you so much once again, Rabbit Dave, for liking my puzzle and finding it enjoyable. I agree with you that 17a had a lot of words for a six-letter answer which should have been avoided. I will wait to know what Prolixic has to say about pervert in 5d in his review tomorrow.

      1. “I will wait to know what Prolixic has to say about pervert in 5d in his review tomorrow.”

        Thank you for making my day, nearly spat out my drink 🤣🤣🤣

  5. Very enjoyable. I missed your other offering & was certainly impressed with this one. Not an unaided finish for me as I revealed the first letter for last in 7a.
    Many thanks Rahmat Ali.

  6. Welcome back, Rahmat Ali.

    This was enjoyable to solve and not too challenging, but I did find a few of the surfaces a little strained, especially 9a. “Meets” was duplicated as a link word in the wordplay of 12a and 20a, and “some” was repeated for the lurkers of 15a and 6d. I agree with RD, “pervert” after the anagram fodder in 5d doesn’t work for me, and I prefer “heartily” to refer to the middle one or two letters of a word rather than its entire contents (21d). In the same way that the gender-neutral “cleric” has now ousted “clergyman” in most puzzles, “holy man” in 12a would be better as “holy person”, methinks. My favourite clue was 22d.

    Despite these reservations, I thought the puzzle overall was extremely entertaining and I feel confident that there will be fewer niggles next time.

    Many thanks, Rahmat Ali.

    1. Thank you so much once again, silvanus, for liking my puzzle and finding it enjoyable to solve and not too challenging. You have so meticulously gone through the clues and found words such as ‘meets’ and ‘some’ being repeated. I will take care of this in my future puzzles. I agree I have taken more than two letters from ‘mocks’ using ‘heartily’, but I would also say that the word itself is not that big but consists of only five letters. Holy man in 12a would have really been better as ‘holy person’. I learn from your comment that ‘cleric’ has now ousted ‘clergyman’ in most puzzles and therefore thank you for the same.

  7. Welcome back, Rahmat Ali – sorry, I’m not sure with Indian names whether the forename is the first or last to be pronounced.
    Quite an accomplishment to construct a pangram so early in your setting career but please remember to keep an eye on your surface reads – far more important.
    Look forward to seeing what you have in store for us next time.

    1. Thank you so much once again, jane, for liking my puzzle and finding it quite an accomplishment to construct a pangram so early in my setting career. My name is Rahmat Ali and the forename is the first to be pronounced. People call me Rahmat. As advised, I will remember to keep an eye on my surface reads.

  8. I started this earlier this morning knowing that I had to go out later and, since my track record on most Rookie puzzles is poor, thought that I’d be admitting defeat quite quickly! However, I found myself on a delightful roll with good surface reads enabling me to complete more than half the puzzle before the clock beat me. Having come back to it, I was delighted to almost finish – just 7 & 24a defeated me.
    Thank you, Rahmat Ali, for a most enjoyable tussle and for providing a so much enjoyment and satisfaction. I look forward to your next offering.

    1. Thank you so much, Essar, for liking my puzzle that was much to your enjoyment and satisfaction. I will be sending another puzzle soon.

  9. We really enjoyed your puzzle, thank you Rahmat Ali. We did need to check a couple of answers with Google (7a, 24a and 24d) and we still can’t parse 4d but we shall check in with Prolixic tomorrow. Favourites are 9, 10, 12 and 22 across. Sad to say we missed the pangram, too busy concentrating on the answers. More like this, please.

  10. Most enjoyable. I did need to reveal a few letters but not many. I thought 2d was hilarious! I also missed the pangram but then I always do!
    Thank you Rahmat Ali for a very entertaining puzzle.

  11. After learning from AgentB about the commentometer in my first puzzle, I am now delighted to see the percentage coming down from 17 to 10. I have learnt much more from this review of Prolixic and my sincere thanks to him. For now on, I need to be careful regarding the proper placement of words. I must also avoid repetitions of words. Before sending my third puzzle, I had tried my best to get rid of repetitions. However, I am also realising that I should have asked for the Word macro that Phibs was willing to share with setters when he posted his comment in my first puzzle.

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