NTSPP – 087 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 087 (Review)

NTSPP – 087

A crossword by Alchemi

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We welcome Alchemi on board with a cracking debut puzzle full of inventive clues and a cracking anagram at 3/9d. Many thanks to him for the crossword and to Jetdoc for recommending him. Hopefully it will not be too long before he appears here again.


1a Clumsy egghead with tiny wrists – not an unknown but a close relation (4,6)
{TWIN SISTER} – This close relative is an anagram (clumsy) of E (egghead) and TINY WRISTS after removing the Y (not unknown).

6/25a The middle people carrier is very fine (8)
{HAIRLINE} – A word meaning very fine (as in a crack) comes from the middle letter of THE followed by a generic term for a people carrier of which BA and Pan Am are examples.

10a Odd bits dropping off mangy gorgon cause conflict (5)
{AGGRO} – A word for conflict comes from the even letters (odd bits dropping off) of mAnGy/GoRgOn

11a Its improving to decapitate and chop up dancing hen (9)
{ENHANCING} – A word meaning improving comes from an anagram (chop up) of DANCING HEN after removing the first letter (decapitated).

12a Crime agency gets first note about small textual additions (14)
{INTERPOLATIONS} – A word for textual additions comes from the name of an international crime agency followed by an expression for first NO 1 and a note TA reversed (about) followed by S for small.

14a Chiefs of Sussex Constabulary offically press for punishment (7)
{SCOURGE} – A word for punishment comes from the first letters (chiefs) of the words Sussex Constabulary Officially followed by a word meaning press (as in encourage or spur on).

15a Member of mugging gang will stare me out (7)
{STEAMER} – A member of a mugging gang comes fome an anagram (out) of STARE ME.

17a In radio interview, you say what this footballer’s personal problem is (7)
{EUSEBIO) – A homophone (in radio interview) of “you say BO” gives the name of a famous footballer.

19a Rabble-rouser ties basic teaching in a knot (7)
{STIRRER} – A word for a rabble-rouser comes from an anagram (in a knot) of the letters representing basic teaching (Reading wRiting and aRithmatic) and TIES.

20a Cannot get round Tory son and heir perhaps, not to be countenanced (14)
{UNCONSCIONABLE} – A word meaning not to be countenanced comes from a word meaning cannot around a three letter word for Tory and a word meaning son and heir.

23a Worsening gout foils alien hunter (9)
{UFOLOGIST} – This alien hunter who watches the skies comes from an anagram (worsening) of GOUT FOILS.

24a Almost last, therefore catch with rope (5)
{LASSO} – A word meaning catch with rope is a word sum of the first three letters (almost) of LAST followed by a word meaning therefore.

25a – see 6a.

26a – Give me those gaspers or I am hiding the holy water basins! (10)
{ASPERSORIA} – A word for holy water basins is hidden inside gASPERS OR I Am.


1d Race held in Wyatt Earp’s town (4)
{TEAR} – A word for race is hidden inside wyatT EARp’s. Strictly town at the end is padding for the clue (unless there is a town somewhere called this!).

2d Clever American soldier no use in melee (9)
{INGENIOUS} – A word meaning clever comes from an anagram (melee) of GI (American soldier) + NO USE IN.

3/9d Leonard Nimoy beckons his master, strangely responsible for 1d 22 21 (6,8,3,3,8)
{SMOKEY ROBINSON AND THE MIRACLES} – This group responsible for the hit single defined by 1d, 22, 21 is an anagram (strangely) of the first five words of the clue. Brilliant anagram and particularly appropriate as Leonard Nimoy has just made his final appearance at Star Trek conventions.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

4d Saturate the French church tower (7)
{STEEPLE} – A word for a church tower comes from a word meaning saturate followed by the French for the.

5d Former prince cleans out empties and breaths out (7)
{EXHALES} – A word meaning breaths out comes from a prefix meaning former, the diminutive for Henry (the Prince) and the outer letters of empties (cleans out).

7d I moan about essential acid (5)
{AMINO} – A word for an essential acid (essential for life) is an anagram (about) of I MOAN.

8d Doctor rigs arrest of doctors (10)
{REGISTRARS} – A word for doctors comes from an anagram (doctor) of RIGS ARREST.

9d – see 3d.

13d Finding nothing abnormal when reading about beginning of uprising (2,3,5)
{AS PER USUAL} – A word meaning finding nothing abnormal comes from a word meaning when followed by a word for reading around the letter U (beginning of uprising).

16d Memory returning, dotty earl is predisposed to lecture about behaviour (9)
{MORALISER} – A word for someone predisposed to lecture about behaviour comes from rerversing a kind of computer memory followed by an anagram (dotty) of EARL IS.

18d Sauron’s footsoldiers concealed inside flowers (7)
{ORCHIDS} – These exotic flowers comes from putting a word meaning concealed inside a word for Sauron’s footsoldiers in the Lord of the Rings.

19d Dog’s Glaswegian neckwear (7)
{SCOTTIE} – A type of dog comes from a generic word to describe a Glaswegian followed by a type of neckware.

22d Furniture typical of sporting body (4)
{SOFA} – A type of furniture comes from a word meaning typical of followed by a word for the footballer’s sporting body.

6 comments on “NTSPP – 087 (Review)

  1. I was sent some of Alchemi’s puzzles to try one week when I had already seen the NTSPP, (and prepared its review!) I do agree that he is a great addition to the list of setters for Saturdays and I look forward to seeing more from him soon.

    Thanks to Prolixic for the review too – just wondering how Gazza might have illustrated 1a or even 11a :D

  2. Never know where to post on these puzzles – puzzle or review?
    Anyway, a great puzzle which I enjoyed a lot, 3d being one of the best anagrams ever!
    Thanks to Prolixic for the review and please can we have more Alchemi.

  3. Many thanks to:

    1 Jetdoc for encouraging me to try my hand at setting, test-solving my efforts and recommending me to ….
    2 … Big Dave, for the signal honour he does me in judging my puzzles worthy of publication and for the superb emendation to the clue for 17a which turned a clunky effort into one which sings
    3 All the people who have expressed their enjoyment of the puzzle, especially Prolixic for this review, which reveals that there is more than one way to interpret 12a’s wordplay. What follows the crime agency was intended as “the first letter of the alphabet, a musical note, a word for about, [a common abbreviation for] small”, and I’m rather pleased that it works another way too.

    Big Dave has a couple more of my puzzles which he says he likes and will probably appear here in the fulness of time.

    This was my third attempt at setting a crossword (and the two others Dave has were 4 & 5). If you’d like to see what went before and a couple more that have since been through the test-solving cycle, you may find them at my page on crossword.info.

    And yes, my first name is Michael.

    1. Welcome to the blog Alchemi. I am looking forward to being bowled over by the next ones in the series :)

  4. Great puzzle. It made me approach it from a different angle in order to get on to Alchemi’s wavelength but once there I thoroughly enjoyed it. More of the same please.

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