NTSPP – 163 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 163

NTSPP – 163

A Puzzle by Radler

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NTSPP - 163

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle follows

Radler has given us a fine crossword to savour on a cold and miserable WINT-ING or SPRIN-TER day! There is a mini-theme in the clues based around two TV series. The first in the answer to 20 18a and the second is the Prisoner. Both used the village in 14a for location filming and there is some debate as to whether or not Prisoner Number 6 is the agent 26a from the series 20 18a. The theme is maintained in the answer to 1a.

I thought that 13a and 14a were particularly fine clues – 13a for the whole clue summing up the answer and 14a for the way that the surface reading is maintained whilst pointing to a completely different answer.

Do leave comments below and let us know how you got on.


1 Doctor’s wee question from prisoner (3,2,6,3)
{WHO IS NUMBER ONE} – … in the cult TV show filmed in 14a. The Time Lord Doctor followed by the expansion of ‘s and another way of referring to wee or pee.

10 Sign of Lotto temptation (5)
{TOTEM} – Hidden inside (of) LOTTO TEMPTATION.

11 Delight in chasing city speed as a beautiful woman (9)
{NYMPHLIKE} – A word meaning delight in follows (chasing) the initials of an American city and an abbreviation for speed.

12 Broody bird’s strain to the ears (7)
{PENSIVE} – The name of a female swan (bird) followed by a homophone (to the ears) of a verb meaning strain (as you might flour when baking a cake).

13 Lieutenant in light brown overcoat, initially exhibiting hesitation (7)
{COLUMBO} – … the police lieutenant played by Peter Falk. An abbreviation for an office (lieutenant) followed by the initial letters of light brown overcoat inside which (exhibiting) you include a two letter word for a hesitation in speech.

14 Village People, entertaining Indian chief’s non-stop debauchery on sailor’s left (11)
{PORTMEIRION} – … where the Prisoner was filmed (and indeed some of the scenes in the first series of 20 18a). The first letter (chief) of Indian and a word for debauchery or mayhem without its final letter (non-stop) go inside a three letter word for people. All of this comes after (on) the word used by sailors to describe the left hand side of the ship.

17 Telegraph leader omitted, causing indignation (3)
{IRE} – Another word for a telegraph or telegram with the first letter removed (leader omitted).

18 Pieceworker (3)
{MAN} – A double definition. Split the clue into PIECE (as on a chessboard) and WORKER.

19 Relieved to get us bedridden with the shakes (11)
{DISBURDENED} – An anagram (with the shakes) of US BEDRIDDEN.

21 Drew close, but was first following retreat (7)
{NESTLED} – … as in cuddled up to. Another word for a retreat or cosy place is followed by a word meaning was first.

24 Ring made of mostly green, quality metal (7)
{ENVIRON} – as in an area or habitat around something. A four letter word for jealousy (green quality) with the final letter removed (mostly) followed by a type of common metal.

26 Perhaps Francis can before 20 18a (4,5)
{JOHN DRAKE} – … the name of the hero in the series 20 18a. The surname of the bowls playing sea captain has another name for a can or toilet before it.

27 Abba’s request for 18a, excused easy hit (5)
{GIMME} – Triple definition. This 18a was wanted after midnight in the song by Abba. The same word also means excused and an easy hit.

28 Combine two varieties making terrific losses (5-9)
{CROSS-FERTILISE} – An anagram (making) of TERRIFIC LOSSES.


2 Militant in turn, had led to striker’s early withdrawal (3-3-3)
{HIT-AND-RUN} – … when the driver does not stop at the scene of an accident. An anagram (militant) of IN TURN HAD.

3 How one might admit sexual proclivity for feet (5)
{IAMBI} – … feet in the metrical stresses in poetry. Split 1, 2, 3 the answer might be an admission of sexual preferences.

4 Female houses nine short nurses after a struggle (9)
{NUNNERIES} – An anagram of NIN NURSES (nine in the clue has its final letter omitted – short).

5 Caught setter’s double about to take off (5)
{MIMIC} – … as in imitate. Reverse (about) the abbreviation for caught and another way of referring to setter’s repeated.

6 Made impression circling without a partner, but losing time in formation (9)
{ECHELONED} – Another word for made and impression (used as an form of art) loses the T (for time) and goes around (circling) a word meaning without a partner.

7 Remove top on stage, resulting in disgrace (5)
{ODIUM} – Another word for a stage or rostrum has the first letter removed.

8 Sight and sound Radler understood (7)
{EYESORE} – … an ugly one at that. A homophone (sound) of how the setter would refer to himself and a word meaning understood.

9 Don’t retire or pack things in (4,2)
{STOP UP} – Double definition of not going to bed and cramming things into something.

15 Mass movements following bank failures, showing insult doesn’t stick? (9)
{MUDSLIDES} – What might occur following the failure of river banks. A three letter word for an insult is followed by a word meaning doesn’t stick.

16 Getting used to countermine, less firm when subverted (9)
{INUREMENT} – An anagram (subverted) of COUNTERMINE with the abbreviation for company removed.

17 Donkey or amusing hybrid (9)
{IGNORAMUS} – as in a fool or idiot. An anagram (hybrid) of OR AMUSING.


18 Get leg over without love. When getting end away, Jack’s a beast (7)
{MUNTJAK} – Remove the O (without love) from a word meaning get leg over (as you might a horse) and follow this with the Jack from the clue without the final letter (getting end away).

20 Swinger left out risk (6)
{DANGER} – Remove the L (left) from a word meaning a swinger.

22 Leak from speech by flash jerk (5)
{SCHMO} – another word for an idiot. Take the PEE (leak) from SPEECH and follow this with a word meaning flash (as in “in a flash”).

23 DropGermany and blame Spain (5)
{DRAPE} – in the furnishing sense. The IVR abbreviation for Germany followed by a three letter word for blame and the IVR abbreviation for Spain.

25 Watch out! Living has no point (5)
{VIGIL} – An anagram (out) of LIVING without the N (has no point).

15 comments on “NTSPP – 163

  1. Thank you to Radler for a nice Saturday lunchtime diversion. A mix of the complicated and the not so complicated including one at least that Kath should get straight away!

  2. Thanks to Radler for a super puzzle with a theme that I just about remembered. Lots of top clues including 1a, 15d, 18d and 22d.

  3. Stretched by a few here but very enjoyable .Faves 1a,3d,15d and of course Kath’s pals!
    Thanks very much

  4. Thank you for the review, Prolixic – I would however dispute the illustration used for 17d – you are many things (!) but definitely not 17d :)

  5. Only the second time I have attempted this crossword and I found it very, very difficult. I managed only a few correct answers and I really needed the hints to understand the solutions. Even then, some still have me completely baffled. I did get 3D, though, which made me smile. I don’t know who to thank for the hints, so whoever you are (Crypticsue?) many, many thanks. Being a glutton for punishment, I’ll give it another shot next week. Is there usually some sort of theme?

    1. Not me – its Prolixic – he hasn’t changed the ‘posted by’ bit from Admin to his name.

      Radler puzzles take some getting used to – as I always say to him – the more complicated clues blind you to the really obvious ones.

      There are a number of setters who kindly provide puzzles for the NTSPP spot – sometimes they give us a theme but mostly not. They vary in difficulty – for me Radler isat the harder end of the spectrum – so do keep having a go. If you hvae a look at the Crosswords tab at the top of the page, and then scroll down to the NTSPPs, all the previous ones are listed there and you can have a go at them and see how you get on.

      1. Thanks! And thanks to Prolixic, too. I will try some of the previous ones. Always nice to have another crossword to work on over the weekend.

        1. I agree with CS that Radler’s puzzles are among the more difficult of the NTSPP’s. I don’t think that I’ve ever managed much more than half of any of them. The other NTSPP setter that I find really difficult is Alchemi. Thank goodness for the hints.

  6. (just one more thing, as 13a would say). Patrick McGoohan (the star of the theme programmes) was a great friend of Peter Falk and appeared in (and directed) several episodes of Columbo.

  7. Always a good start when a read through of the clues makes you smile.

    Hampered by my ignorance of the two TV series I ploughed in, nice anagrams, a couple of sitters, hidden word, then life got tough. Completed 2/3rds and had to resort to hints and in a couple of cases the straight answer.

    All in all an enjoyable romp, and my best Radler to date.

    Thanks Prolixic for the review. Please feel free to use my avatar in case 17d appears again, much better illustration.

    Radler thanks for brightening another miserable Saturday afternoon,

  8. As usually happens with Radler’s puzzles I got so far and then reached the point where I knew that I’d got as far as I was going to, so came running for help.
    I probably did a bit more than half but needed the hints to explain several of my answers. What I managed I really enjoyed but I don’t think there is any getting away from the fact that his crosswords are too difficult for me.
    I wasn’t helped by missing the theme but know nothing about either series so it wouldn’t have helped much anyway.
    I liked 27 and 28a and 3, 8, 15 and 18d.
    With thanks to Radler and Prolixic.

    1. Hi Kath, I feel exactly the same, hit a brick wall, in my case about 2/3rds of the way through, but I have fun trying, unlike some other difficult setters.

      My hit rate on Radler is improving though so it’s a wavelength issue as well.

      1. I had fun trying too and it’s kept me quiet and out the way for ages. CS called it a ‘Saturday lunchtime diversion’ – I can only wonder if she has really long relaxed lunchtimes at weekends but I fear not!! :smile: We’ll learn, and get better at these beasts!

  9. Had a look to see who’d written this week’s NTSPP and found it was one of mine!

    Many thanks for the feedback; it’s nice that setting isn’t just a one-sided dialogue. Particular gratitude, as ever, to Prolixic for his excellent review and hints.

    Finally, well done gazza for spotting the Columbo connection

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