We've all been there, haven't we? (If you haven't, please do let me in on your secret.) And the words used by the magazine/publisher/agent remind me a bit of estate agent lingo. You have to read between the lines:
Outstanding opportunity for renovation = it's falling down
Wonderful views = there's a tree outside, and you can just see it if you lean out of the attic window
Within easy reach of shops and schools = do you like long walks?
Cosy = it's a dolls' house
Fitted ktichen = there's a sink
The garden is laid to lawn = it's completely overgrown
Extra bedroom/study = but only a bedroom for someone under 4' tall, lying crosways
So (I suspect) it is with written offerings:
Well-worn theme = we just don't like it
Guessable = ditto
Not quite right for us = ditto
No surprises = ditto
We wish you luck in placing this novel/story/poem/article = please go away and leave us alone
Okay, okay. I know you're trying to be nice, but please just tell me I've written a lousy book/story. I can take it. I've got writers' shoulders (ie broad ones).
(And in case any of the wonderful editors etc. I've had dealings with should happen to come across this, I do know that some of these reasons are genuine, and I do love you really. Plus, I've just had a nice acceptance, so I'm not sure why I'm rambling on about rejection...)