NTSPP – 171

NTSPP – 171

Doggerel by Hieroglyph

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

NTSPP - 171

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.


8 To begin with, read Plato – irregular guard? (6)
{PATROL} – An anagram (irregular) of R (to begin with Read) and PLATO.

9 E-mail perhaps – a considerable distance (1,4,3)
{A MILE OFF} – The answer if read as an anagram type clue would result in E-MAIL.

10 Appeals for a flower to render delight (8)
{PLEASURE} – A word meaning appeals (as in asks or petitions) followed by the name of a river (flower).

11 Breakfast food’s nice, really – to an extent (6)
{CEREAL} – A hidden word (to an extent) in NICE REALLY.

12 With the Queen’s money for a job that needs doing (6)
{ERRAND} – The abbreviation for the current queen followed by the name of the currency in South Africa.

13 Pairs wine and fish – acts a role on the stage (8)
{PORTRAYS} – A type of fortified wine followed by the name of some fish.

14 Unknown in stores’ sorting – these fruits of the sea (7)
{OYSTERS} – A Y (unknown) inside an anagram (sorting) of STORES.

16 Politician in sleet-storm – where worshippers meet? (7)
{TEMPLES} – The abbreviation for member of parliament inside an anagram (storm) of SLEET.

20 City gent’s tea – whence Quixote did come? (2,6)
{LA MANCHA} – The name (abbreviated) of a West Coast city in America followed by another word for a gent and a word for tea.

23 Spirit for Mark and latterly, bounty (6)
{BRANDY} – A word meaning mark followed by the last letter (latterly) of bounty.

25 Force dreadful polemic – in which number one’s missed (6)
{COMPEL} – An anagram (dreadful) of POLEMIC with the I removed (number one’s missed).

26 21’s hotel – refurbished – had beasts two by two (4’1.3)
{NOAH’S ARK} – An anagram of the answer to 21s and H (hotel).

27 Making a mess? Manipulate rubber (8)
{MASSEUSE} – … who kneads your body.  An anagram (?) of A MESS followed by a word meaning manipulate.

28 Left and aroused, when Charlie’s decamped (6)
{EXITED} – A word meaning aroused with the C (Charlie) removed (decamped).


1 Rector eagerly stirs, for a flavoursome brew (4,4)
{EARL GREY} – An anagram (stirs) of R (rector) and EAGERLY.

2 Weapon advertisement on a nautical fleet (6)
{ARMADA} – A word for a weapon followed by the abbreviation for advertisement and the A from the clue.

3 Fish fighting – foul end, when faced with resistance (8)
{FLOUNDER} – An anagram (fighting) of FOUL END followed by (when faced) with the abbreviation for resistance.

4 Right, average highs – nights out for the clubber (4-3)
{RAVE-UPS} – The abbreviation for right followed by an abbreviation for average and a word meaning highs.

5 Crab-claw‘s made nicer – appears on the page (6)
{PINCER} – The abbreviation for page followed by an anagram (made) of NICER.  Not sure that A on B meaning B followed by A works in a down clue.

6 Sign of a cry – apt order revamped? (8)
{TEARDROP} – An anagram (revamped) of APT ORDER.

7 Not working, a learner’s unknown in a county (6)
{OFFALY} – … in Ireland.  A word meaning not working followed by the A in the clue, the abbreviation for a learner and a Y (unknown again – see 14a).

15 Gin on piano – it’s out for he who keeps mum (8)
{TRAPPIST} – Another word for a gin (used to capture animals) followed by the abbreviation for piano and an anagram (out) of its.

17 Hugs pairs who are placed with a reflection of me (8)
{EMBRACES} – Reverse (a reflection of) the ME in the clue and follow this by a word meaning pairs.

18 Backed red nose clowning – finally, hard (8)
{ENDORSED} – An anagram (clowning) of RED NOSED followed by the last letter (finally) of hard.

19 Artist and playwright – with a supplement (7)
{PAINTER} – The letter A goes inside (supplement) the surname of the playwright Harold …

21 Nerd who’s not great over kangaroo stewing (6)
{ANORAK} – An anagram (stewing) of KANGAROO after removing the G (not great) and one of the O’s (over).  Although G is used as an abbreviation of Great in GB (Great Britain), Chambers Dictionary does not give G for great on its own.

22 Chartered accountant to haul back and enlist (4-2)
{CALL-UP} – The abbreviation for a chartered accountant followed by the reversal (back) of a word meaning haul.

24 Doctor is able – drop on line from a height? (6)
{ABSEIL} – An anagram (doctor) of IS ABLE.

To produce a series of clues as a succession of rhyming couplets is a notable achievement.  However, I think that the variety of clues suffered as a result.  15 clues out of 28 containing anagrams is too much and the majority of the remaining clues were charades.  Despite the achievement of the rhyming couplets, for me this was not one of Hieroglyph’s better crosswords.


  1. Only fools
    Posted May 18, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    My least favourite drink and one of my favourites in the answers !
    Ashamed to admit the county had me struggling for a while .
    Faves 15d and 27a.
    Thanks very much and congrats again .

  2. Hieroglyph
    Posted May 18, 2013 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the review Prolixic. Promise to take my poetaster’s hat off next time :-)

  3. Alchemi
    Posted May 18, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never even attempted to set a puzzle like this, and I can’t see myself trying any time soon because this shows just how difficult it is. I’m very sorry to say I don’t think it really works. Which isn’t overly surprising: I doubt I’ve seen more than half a dozen puzzles in which the setter has managed to fit the clues into a highly-restricted mould without ending up with a look-at-how-clever-I-am thing. Off the top of my head, the only setter I can think of who can carry something like this off in a 15×15 blocked puzzle is Monk.

    • tilsit
      Posted May 18, 2013 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      Araucaria will feel his alphabetical jigsaws have been a waste over the years,then and as far as I am aware young Monk hasn’t attempted this sort of thing, but I will check with him.

      I am all for people who are prepared to push the envelope, and I applaud Hieroglyph for having the courage to try something different that was always going to be pleasing to some and not to everyone’s taste..

      As usual, he’ll have worked his way through the helpful advice offered by his vetters and having taken note of comments, felt it was suitable to try it.

      Keep up the good work!

      • Alchemi
        Posted May 18, 2013 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

        I certainly applaud Hieroglyph’s bravery in trying this puzzle. As I said, I wouldn’t even try because I have no confidence that I could come up with anything that would satisfy me, but that’s no reason why anyone else shouldn’t. And if Hieroglyph wants to try doing it again, more power to his elbow.

        Monk came to mind because I remember enjoying a puzzle of his in which all the across clues began with the same letter and all the downs with a different one. Whereas Donk’s May day puzzle, in which all the acrosses began “I may”, didn’t really work for me either. (Alphabetical jigsaws don’t involve trying to push the clues into a particular form, so I have no idea why you bring those up.) My basic difficulty is that I don’t particularly like having to take more notice of how the clue fits the other clues than how it guides me towards the solution (or busily attempts to point me in another direction a la Richard Rogan). Once I have to take more notice of how clever the setter has been than of how clever I am for spotting the answer despite the trickery, I begin to find myself yawning.

        I’ve seen puzzles done in rhyming couplets before, but they’ve been Listeners or Inquisitors, so I have no idea whether they worked because they were too hard or seemed too pointless so I gave up after about ten minutes. At least I could actually solve Hieroglyph’s, and I didn’t give up on it, so it scores millions of points compared to those.

        Look, this is just a matter of personal taste. I tend to find puzzles like this unsatisfying in the same way as I find most albums by weepy singer-songwriters pretty tedious, while fans of weepy singer-songwriters may have considerably less regard than I do for the works of Captain Beefheart or Echo and the Bunnymen. Pleasing me with one of these is as hard as pleasing me with a drum solo, and I’ve wandered out to the bar during drum solos by everyone from John Bonham to Carl Palmer.

        (And before you rip into me on 225 for my next Indy puzzle but one on a charge of hypocrisy, the use of the same phrase in a lot of clues a la Boatman is merely a thematic. I didn’t have to wrestle any clues to get the phrase in. Well, maybe one, but there needed to be an early clue which used it in the wordplay rather than as the definition, and all it does is make the surface slightly more bizarre than I like.)

  4. Expat Chris
    Posted May 18, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I was left with two unsolved (21D and 27A), so quite pleased with my effort. 21D is one of those peculiarly British words so this 30-year expat doesn’t feel too bad about not getting it. Many thanks to Hieroglyph for the work-out and to Prolixic for the excellent review.

  5. Kath
    Posted May 18, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    I’ve had a go – I haven’t yet read the hints or comments and don’t intend to until I’ve had another, and another, and, probably, another go. All I can say is that this must have been SUCH a difficult thing to do – if I owned a hat I would take it off to Hieroglyph.
    Started off really well and did about half on first read through – that’s not saying that I understand all my answers yet – but now seem to have ground to a bit of a halt – will carry on tomorrow.
    In the meantime my thanks to Hieroglyph and, in advance, to Prolixic for what I think will be the much needed hints (and probably some answers too).

  6. KiwiColin
    Posted May 18, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Finished and really enjoyed. Found that the secret was not to be distracted by the couplets and treat the clues as normal. This way I could save the pleasure of reading the doggerel as a finishing-off treat. Really liked 25a. A quick glance at the clue gave “force” and the anagram fodder for police. Wonderful misdirection. Needed Mrs B to confirm the Irish county but very unambiguous cluing helped.
    I have printed off an extra copy to give to a friend tomorrow.
    Many thanks Hieroglyph and Prolixic.

  7. Kath
    Posted May 18, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Triumphant – finished and, for once, didn’t need the hints even for an explanation – I always read them anyway so thanks Prolixic.
    I thought this was brilliant – it’s taken me a VERY long time but was so worth the effort.
    I’ve never heard of the 7d county but, having had the pleasure of meeting Hieroglyph twice, I should have guessed that it was an Irish one.
    Some of my last answers to go in were some of the less difficult clues – don’t know why – I suppose that it was very clever misdirection.
    Couldn’t possibly pick a favourite clue – too many to choose from.
    With thanks and congratulations for a real tour de force to Hieroglyph and to Prolixic for the hints.

  8. Expat Chris
    Posted May 19, 2013 at 4:12 am | Permalink

    Well, I don’t understand all this back and forth about rhyming couplets and whether they worked and so forth. And you know what? I really don’t care. I’m just a pedestrian yet enthusiastic solver who’s grareful for the work of all the compilers.

  9. spindrift
    Posted May 19, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    For all the pontification above please remember it’s a bloody crossword when all is said & done not the secret to the meaning of life or the solution to world hunger! Extract your craniums from your own fundaments & move on.

    I enjoyed it.

  10. Colmce
    Posted May 19, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this greatly and admire the skill that went into compiling it.

    Misread county for country top left which caused a bit of grief and overloaded my spell checker, but eventually completed correctly.

    Many thanks to Prolixic for the review, needed for a couple of wordplays.

    Thanks to Heiroglyph for the time and effort to compose the puzzle.

  11. stanXYZ
    Posted May 19, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    I took the same approach as KiwiColin – treat the clues as normal clues.

    Thanks to Hieroglyph for the puzzle.

    (I always thought that rhyming couplets should actually rhyme – But I know nothing!

    Obviously – way over my head! )

    • Posted May 19, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      They do – if you view the special pdf file that was provided.

      • stanXYZ
        Posted May 19, 2013 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        Thank You, BD! The pdf explains all!

        In future I will read the instructions in full!