Rookie Corner 530 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Rookie Corner 530

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.

A review by Prolixic follows:

Welcome back to Rahmat Ali.  Other than a few minor points that crept in towards the end of the down clues maybe suggesting attention was flagging towards the end of the crossword setting process, this was an excellent crossword.  The commentometer reads as 2/32 or 6.3%.


1a  Casino’s gambling area including that French card game? (6)
PIQUET: A three-letter word for a casino’s gambling area includes the three-letter French word meaning that.

4a  Warrior, they say, is a veteran actor (7)
TROUPER: A homophone (they say) of trooper (warrior).

9a  Hairdresser abandoned office employment (9)
COIFFEUSE: An anagram (abandoned) of OFFICE followed by a three-letter word meaning employment.

10a  Djado, as I see, features fertile spot (5)
OASIS: The answer is hidden (features) in the first four words of the clue.

11a  Question wizard stashing name suspiciously (7)
ASKANCE: A three-letter word meaning question followed by a three-letter word meaning wizard or fantastic that includes (stashing) the abbreviation for name.

12a  Bishop permitted that woman to talk garrulous nonsense (7)
BLETHER: The single-letter abbreviation for bishop followed by a three-letter word meaning permitted and a three-letter word meaning that woman.

13a  Doctor in time certain to get an opening (9)
EMBRASURE: A two-letter abbreviation for a doctor inside a three-letter word for a period of time followed by a four-letter word meaning certain.

16a  Children’s magazine, e.g. (5)
ISSUE: Double definition.

17a  Greek god held back in forestry taskwork (5)
SATYR: The answer is hidden and reversed (held back) in the final two words of the clue.

18a  Other ranks entering a welcome treaty (9)
AGREEMENT: A three-letter word for soldiers (other ranks) inside the A from the clue and five-letter word meaning to welcome.

21a  Surrender to be embraced by the German (7)
DELIVER: A four-letter word meaning to be inside (embraced by) the German word for the.

22a  Oddly, we’re arranging paper for covering (7)
WRAPPER: The odd letters in we’re followed by an anagram (arranging) of PAPER.

25a  Distinctive character of some banquet hosts (5)
ETHOS: The answer is hidden (some) in the final two words of the clue.

26a  Engineer and detectives sneak into open feast that’s illusory (9)
BARMECIDE: The abbreviation for mining/mechanical engineer and a three-letter abbreviation for a police department inside (sneak into) a four-letter word meaning open or nude.

27a  Agitation of English politician during trial (7)
TEMPEST: The abbreviations for English and member of parliament (politician) inside (during) a four-letter word for a trial.

28a  Tetras swimming or dead? (2,4)
AT REST: An anagram (swimming) of TETRAS.


1d  Choose to scrap tool (7)
PICKAXE: A four-letter word meaning choose followed by a three-letter word meaning to scrap.

2d  Peculiarity of Irish king coming under queen (5)
QUIRK: The IVR code for Ireland and the chess abbreviation for king underneath a two-letter abbreviation for queen.

3d  The Spanish female, trendy and petite (5)
ELFIN: The Spanish for the followed by the abbreviation for female and a two-letter word meaning trendy.

4d  Shudder at maiden hugging soprano! On the contrary (7)
TREMBLE: The abbreviation for maiden inside a six-letter word for a boy soprano.

5d  Bad onion seed that’s set apart from others (2,3,4)
ON ONE SIDE: An anagram (bad) of ONION SEED.

6d  Mail rush with all possible speed (9)
POSTHASTE: A four-letter word meaning mail followed by a five-letter word meaning rush.

7d  Book a substitute in match (7)
RESERVE: Double definition.

8d  State capital offering gold after sixth month (6)
JUNEAU: The chemical symbol for gold after the name of the sixth month of the year.

14d  Stay and somehow helm the three wise men reaching here (9)
BETHLEHEM: A two-letter word meaning stay followed by an anagram (somehow) of HELM THE.

15d  Come around first to meet social climber (9)
ARRIVISTE: A six-letter word meaning come around the three-letter representation for first.  I am not sure about to meet as a link word.

17d  American theologian unexpectedly sets out to be most blue (7)
SADDEST: The abbreviation for American and for a doctor of divinity (theologian) with an anagram (unexpectedly) of SETS around them (out).  Out does not work as a containment indicator.

18d  Carrot eaten regularly by ace rap performer? (7)
ACROBAT: The odd letters (regularly) of carrot inside (eaten) the abbreviation for ace and a three-letter word meaning rap or hit.

19d  Honour going to retired painter (6)
REWARD: A reversal (retired) of a six-letter word for a painter.  Going to does not work as a link for solution going to definition.

20d  Ordeal of old jolly in canopy? (7)
TORMENT: The abbreviation for old and the abbreviation for Royal Marine (jolly) inside a four-letter word for a canopy.  Try to avoid repeating in/into as containment indicators.

23d  A small department that’s dazzlingly skilled (5)
ADEPT: The A from the clue followed by the abbreviation (small) for department.

24d  19d favouring, initially, prime ranker in zoology examination (5)
PRIZE: The initial letters in the final five words of the clue.  The favouring seems like padding and should be omitted.

19 comments on “Rookie Corner 530
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  1. A thoroughly enjoyable well constructed pangram. Needed to do a bit of investigating to sort out 26a and we did appreciate learning this new word so we’ll nominate it as our favourite.
    Thanks and well done Rahmat Ali.

    1. Thank you so much once again, 2Kiwis, for finding my pangrammatic puzzle thoroughly enjoyable and well-constructed. Thank you also for liking and nominating 26a as your favourite. There was a fascinating story of such a feast that I read in my literature book when I was in Class IV. I wanted very much to set a clue using that word and in this puzzle, it was my first choice in my attempt to fill the grid.

  2. Thanks Rahmat Ali for another enjoyable pangram.

    Like the 2Kiwis, 26a took some teasing out but I don’t think that I will try to remember it, although I am not sure that you can use a two letter abbreviation for ‘engineer’ while ignoring the ‘meaning’ of the first letter.

    Smiles for 12a, 1d, and 2d.

    Thanks again and thanks in advance to Prolixic.

    1. Thank you so much once again, Senf, for finding my puzzle enjoyable as before. I will wait to see the comment of Prolixic on the use of a two-letter abbreviation for ‘engineer’ of 26a.

  3. Congratulations, Rahmat Ali on another accomplished puzzle which was a real pleasure to solve.

    I failed on 26a, which I have never heard of and needed to enter the checking letters into a crossword solver. The answer seems totally out of character with the rest of the puzzle and I wondered if it was constrained in some way by your desire to produce another pangram?

    Apart from that one specific clue, I have just two very minor comments:
    – 7d. “Book substitute” would have been an even shorter way to clue this.
    – 24d. “Favouring” seems like padding to me.

    I had a lot of ticks, and my podium nominations are 12a, 27a, 1d, 3d & 18d.

    Many thanks, RA. More like this would be very welcome. Thanks too in advance to Prolixic.

    1. Thank you so much once again, Rabbit Dave, for finding my puzzle an accomplished one that was a real pleasure to solve. I agree with you on 7d on the removal of ‘a’ from the clue. I should have also used a more suitable word in place of ‘favouring’ for 24d.

  4. Welcome back, Rahmat Ali.

    Your puzzles are always enjoyable to solve and this one was no exception. I had a few quibbles though, principally the construction in 19d which is “definition (going) to wordplay”, which runs counter to convention and the repetitions of “in” and “into” as insertion indicators. I wasn’t convinced either by “out” in 17d being used to mean “outside”. Chambers gives the definition of 26a as those offering the illusory feast rather than the feast itself, but other dictionaries appear to differ on that. My favourite clue was 9a.

    Many thanks once again, Rahmat Ali.

    1. We didn’t think ‘out’ in 17d meant outside but was indicating the previous word as an anagram in the answer?

    2. Thank you so much once again, silvanus, for finding my puzzles always enjoyable. I agree with you on the repetitions of ‘in’ as seen in 13a, 17a and 20d and the use of ‘into’ in 26a which I should have avoided.

  5. Thank you, Rahmat Ali, we thoroughly enjoyed your pangram puzzle. 26a was new to us but thanks to Google we found the answer. More, please.

  6. Thank you for the puzzle Rahmat Ali, very enjoyable.

    A couple of new words for me (26a and 15d), but fairly clued and gettable from the wordplay.

  7. Many thanks for bringing us another puzzle, Rahmat, enjoyable but I’m not sure why you’re fixated by producing pangrams. I had the same doubts as Silvanus over the ‘feast’ in 26a and thought a couple of surface reads and definitions could have been improved but overall a sterling effort. My favoured clues were 9&12a.

    1. Thank you so much once again, jane, for finding my puzzle enjoyable and terming it as overall a sterling effort.

  8. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, and your pointers for Rahmat which I’m sure he’ll take on board.

  9. My sincere thanks to Prolixic for his excellent review. I am thrilled to see that, other than a few minor points, he has taken this to be an excellent crossword. I am also happy with the new commentometer reading and have noted the worthwhile pointers of the maestro. This time too, I did check thoroughly to minimise the repetitions, and though I was aware of using ‘in’ as containment indicators in three of the clues, I let them be while thinking that my very first puzzle to the Rookie Corner 500 had ‘in’ as wordplay A in B in far too many clues. Strange as it may seem, what to speak of repetition of ‘in’ in such a critical act, I now note that my next puzzle that I have already sent before this publication is not exhibiting even a single clue with ‘in’ containing that feature!

    Lastly, a big thank you once again to all those who have solved this puzzle and enjoyed it. All my puzzles have been pangrams. Initially, it was a desire; now it’s a habit. I take this as a creativity. While reiterating that the answer of 26a for any clue to be written for this puzzle was my first choice, I now add that the answer of 14d here was my second choice.

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