NTSPP – 167 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

NTSPP – 167

NTSPP – 167

1899 by Alchemi

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

NTSPP - 167

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle  follows .

A very enjoyable themed puzzle from Alchemi –  1899 was obviously a very good year for producing babies who would go on to be famous, or in the case of one of them, infamous!


1a           Tidal floods overwhelm good writer (6)
{BORGES}  The surname of an Argentinean short story writer is obtained by inserting G (good) into tidal floods that rush up river estuaries , the most well-known of which  happens  on the River Severn.

5a           Regular drug user instructing boss to exercise? (8)
{DOPEHEAD}  Split an informal way of referring to a regular user of illegal drugs 2, 2, 4 and it would look like an instruction to a manager to take some exercise.

9a           Plans showing rear-facing spoke holding weight (8)
{DIAGRAMS}   Reverse the past participle of a verb meaning to speak or utter and then insert a metric unit of mass.

10a         The beginnings of urban nihilist modern art, demeaning even Tracey Emin’s bed? (6)
{UNMADE}  The name of one of Tracy Emin’s works, once was shortlisted for the Turner Prize is obtained from the initial letters  of Urban Nihilist Modern Art  Demeaning Even.

Tracy Emin's bed

11a         Poor housing added to note on iniquities by English writer (5,5)
{NEVIL SHUTE} Follow the single letter abbreviation for Note witha word meaning  iniquities or wickedness, a small crudely-built house (poor housing) and E (English).

Nevil Shute

13a         Arrests northern sailors (4)
{NABS}   An informal way of saying arrests – N (northern) followed by one of the ways sailors are referred to, particularly in crosswords!

14a         Wife finally upset husband before reaching capital (8)
{DUSHANBEAt the time of testing this puzzle, I was taken to task by our setter as I didn’t know the capital of Tajikistan!  I don’t think parts of the USSR were separated out in geography lessons in my day!   However, I won’t now forget that it is an anagram (upset) of HUSBAND followed by the final letter of wifE.

17a         Fighting stops sham writer (6)
{COWARD}  Insert  a state of conflict (fighting) into an adjective meaning sham or mock.

18a         Learned rugby is to be dropped before date is changed (6)
{EDITED}  Remove the abbreviation for Rugby Union from an adjective meaning learned and finish with the abbreviation for Date.

20a         Program is not telling the truth when trying to enter (8)
{APPLYING}  One of those helpful  programs you can download onto a smart phone followed by another way of saying ‘not telling the truth’.

23a         Shrewd selection of star-charts (4)
{ARCH}  An adjective meaning shrewd or cunning is hidden in (a selection of) stAR-CHarts.

24a         Not all there, or not there at all until 2pm (3,2,5)
{OUT TO LUNCH)   An expression meaning that your place of work would be untended until 2 pm can also be used to infer that someone was slightly crazy or in a world of his or her own.

Out to Lunch

27a         Rackets man to stick around the post office (6)
{CAPONE}   An American gangster famous for his fraudulent activities (rackets) is obtained by inserting the abbreviation for the Post Office into a type of stick.

28a         Sick, heartless piece about assassin’s weapons? (3-5)
{ICE-PICKS} An anagram (about) of SICK and PI[e]CE (heartless tells you to remove the middle E).

29a         Cackle mischievously after one drops ring getting another piece of jewellery (8)
{NECKLACE}   Remove the O from oNE (drops ‘ring’) and follow with an anagram (mischievously) of CACKLE.

30a         Actor showing pictures on the walls in the gents? (6)
{BOGART}  Split 3, 3 this actor’s name could well describe  pictures in a lavatory.


2d           Fruit all dead? (5)
{OLIVE}   Split this small stoned fruit used to make oil 1, 4 and it may well appear that none are alive.


3d           Terrible film of concert on the outskirts of Llanelli (5)
{GIGLI}   The title of a film cited as one of the worst films ever  made is obtained from a charade of  a performance by a band, usually  for one performance  only,  followed by the outer letters of LlanellI.

4d           Small, pale child became a film star (7)
{SWANSON}  This silent film actress is found by following S (small) with a synonym for pale and a male child.

5d           Argue over detective’s place at end of course (7)
{DISPUTE}   The abbreviation for Detective Inspector’S, a verb meaning to place, and the final letter (end) of coursE.

6d           Composer to swoop almost over the centre of Smolensk (7)
{POULENC}   Insert the middle letters (centre) of SmoLEnsk into almost all of a verb meaning to swoop or seize upon.

7d           Writer sees them sing away, though heads are dropping (9)
{HEMINGWAY}   Remove the initial letters (heads … dropping) from tHEM sING aWAY.

8d           Sugar-coated bread kneaded by a star (9)
{ALDEBRAN}  Sugar here isn’t  a sweetener but the surname of the businessman turned television star.   Insert into his Christian name an anagram (kneaded) of BREAD to get the brightest star in the constellation Taurus.

12/22d  Seeing about following very current agreement in Italy (6)
{VISION}  The abbreviation for Very, the single letter used to refer to electrical current, the Italian word for yes (agreement in Italy) and finally a preposition meaning about (following tells you that this has to go at the end of the charade).

15d Promise to not steal enough? (9)
{UNDERTAKE}  A verb meaning to pledge or promise to do something split 5, 4 might mean that you hadn’t stolen as much as you could have done.

16d         Director of Spooner’s “Sentimental Wine” (9)
{HITCHCOCK}   If the Reverend Spooner were pronouncing the name of the director of all those scary films, it might sound like KITSCH (sentimental) HOCK (wine).

19d         Showing some guts, two-man team study what starts abuse (7)
{DUODENA}  The plural of the first portions of the small intestine –   a two-man team such as a pair of musicians, another word for study and the first letter (what starts) of Abuse.

20d          Dancer has a flight to England (7)
{ASTAIRE}  Ginger’s dancing partner is simply obtained from A (in the clue)  a series of steps (flight) and the abbreviation for England.


21 You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, possibly, but the family pet went inside his personal best (7)
{PROVERB}   The first part of the clue is an example (possibly)of a short familiar saying.   Insert a name you might give the family dog between the two-letter abbreviation for Personal Best.

You can't teach an old dog...

22 See 12

25 Employing openings in underground garage to conceal vice (5)
{USING}   A vice or bad habit is inserted between the initial letters (openings) of Underground Garage.

26 Director of Central Records goes all round the country (5)
{CUKOR}  Did you hear the penny drop when I worked out that  to get the surname of the American film director, I had to insert the abbreviation for  the United Kingdom (country into the middle (central) part of reCORds?!

Thanks once again to Alchemi – given the number of crosswords you produce each week, I am sure it won’t be long before we see you back in the Saturday afternoon slot.


8 comments on “NTSPP – 167

  1. Thanks to Alchemi for the interesting puzzle. Who’d have thought that so many famous people were born in one year? Favourite clue has to be the laugh-inducing 30a.

  2. Enjoyable lighthearted puzzle helped by the theme .Faves 30a,15d and 21d
    Last one in 8d .
    Thanks very much .

  3. Nice one Alchemi – most enjoyable so ta muchly :smile:

    Thought 14a a tad obscure – not sure I’d heard of the country let alone its capital! Fav was 20d for it’s simplicity, followed by 21d, which raised a smile :grin:

  4. Thanks Sue for the blog, and to others for the kind remarks.

    My personal favourite clue is 10a, because I’m a sucker for a clever acrostic. By the way, the title of the work in question was actually “My Bed”. The definition was simply a hint to consider a description of it.

    As to Dushanbe, when I saw I had to find something for .U.H.N.., it leapt out at me. I knew it was a capital, and it had an E on the end which was bound to make finding a word for 5d easier. When I came to clue it, I looked it up to find where it was, and was a mite surprised, because I’d vaguely thought it was probably in Africa. There is actually very little which will fit into that pattern (although it would have been nice if there were a famous Buchanan who had been born in 1899!), and nothing else at all will fit into D.S.A.B., which all leads me to the conclusion that my awareness of the word was acquired the same way you just have – by finding it as the answer in a puzzle.

    On the subject of lots of famous people being born in one year, 1899 is actually not all that special. As I may as well demonstrate with my next NTSPP puzzle, since I can’t now submit the one I’d intended because its theme has suddenly become a bit inappropriate. Once you get to the late 1880s, you reach the generations which started to supply famous performers – singers and actors who had their performances recorded, and sport becoming organised and professional. So I think I’ll do a puzzle of centenaries. On a quick look, I can probably do one with just Brits.

  5. We must admit that when we saw the title of the crossword we went straight to Google and browsed through a list or two of people who might fit the bill. Then we sat down with the puzzle. It gave us a lot of fun on a rather wet Sunday morning. We had heard of 14a but also thought it was somewhere in Africa. Loved the Spooner clue and 30a.
    Thanks Alchemi and CS.

Comments are closed.