NTSPP – 185 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 185

NTSPP – 185

A Puzzle by Alchemi

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NTSPP - 185

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle follows.

Alchemi is fond of a themed puzzle – some of them are so obscure that you can solve a  whole puzzle without ever realising that there is one!   The theme of today’s puzzle is very clear which makes it an  ideal NTSPP.


1a   Estuary town to move very quickly towards Germany (8)
{DARTFORD}    A verb meaning to move suddenly or quickly plus a preposition meaning towards or in the direction of, and finally the IVR code for Germany.

5a   Language occasionally excused as friend loses papers to companion (6)
{FRENCH}   A language used in an informal expression meaning to excuse my bad language.   Remove the two letters used to refer to identity papers from FRiENd and add the abbreviation for a Companion of Honour.

10a   See 30

11a  Watch poet without resistance (5)
{VIGIL}   Watch, especially at night.   Remove R (without resistance) from a Roman poet.

12a   Jack and Queen begin eating at gracious club with small actor (6,5)
{JEREMY IRONS}   The actor who inspired today’s theme.   The abbreviation for  Jack in a pack of cards, the cipher of our current Queen, the first letter (beginning) of Eating, an interjection expressing surprise in the same way that gracious sometimes does, a golf club with a metal head, and, finally, the abbreviation for small.

Jeremy Irons

14a   See 23

15a   Self-satisfied, getting rid of second victim (3)
{MUG}   Remove S (second) from an adjective meaning self-satisfied.

16a   Wartime owner of café in prefecture near to Isigny (4,6)
{RENE ARTOIS}   As well as being a brilliantly hidden word – in prefectuRE NEAR TO ISigny, the fictional café owner’s surname is indeed a prefecture near to Isigny.

Rene Artois

18/6  In the beginning, Eleanor divided Barsetshire about series featuring 12 (10,9)
{BRIDESHEAD REVISITED}   An anagram (about seems such small indicator for such a big anagram!) of E (Eleanor in the beginning) and DIVIDED BARSETSHIRE.

21a  Freezing stuff I can’t explain initially (3)
{ICE}   from the clue followed by the  initial letters of  Can’t Explain.


23/14 One charged with returning slogan of campaign against BBC diction (6)
{PROTON}  A reversal of a slogan (2, 2, 2) campaigning against BBC diction, known as Received Pronunciation.

24a  Officers sent aunt potty after deception (11)
{LIEUTENANTS}   Follow a false statement (deception) with an anagram (potty) of SENT AUNT.

26a   Female was victorious over male ace (5)
{WOMAN}   Insert the abbreviations for Male and Ace into part of a verb meaning was victorious.

27a   I toured Northern Ireland haphazardly, getting a lot of knowledge (9)
{ERUDITION}   An anagram (haphazardly) of I TOURED and NI (Northern Ireland).

29a   Non-existent clause, according to Marx, can go back in, for example (6)
{SANITY}   Not Karl Marx but part of a dialogue between Groucho and Chico Marx in the film A Night at the Opera –  a reversal of a synonym for can inserted into an adverb meaning for example.

30/10 U-turn to change quiet bits to loud in well-timed film which earned 12 an Oscar (8,2,7)
{REVERSAL OF FORTUNE}  A U-turn  followed by an adjective meaning well-timed, convenient, in which the two letters meaning  very quiet in musical notation have been replaced with the two letters meaning  very loud.


1d   Carry out alternative to preserve black sidepiece (8)
{DOORJAMB}   Someone enquired the other day about what a crossword charade was – well this is one! – A two-letter word meaning to carry out or perform plus the usual way of indicating an alternative plus a verb meaning to preserve fruit plus the abbreviation for black.

door jamb


2/28  Engineer attacks and updates equipment (6)
{REFITS}   The abbreviation for a member of the Royal Engineers  followed by attacks (of an illness, especially epilepsy).

3a  Discussion of rising spirit (5)
{FORUM}   A reversal (rising) of OF followed by the spirit made from fermented sugar cane.

4a   Get-together on French island (7)
{REUNION}  A get-together after separation or the French island in the Indian Ocean,  east of Madagascar.

6 See 18

7d   Charge after 6 things somehow used to see in the dark (5,6)
{NIGHT VISION}   An anagram (somehow) of THINGS  and VI (the Roman numerals for six) followed by an electrically-charged particle.

night vision

8d   Lecturer working in endless hunt for chemicals (6)
{HALONS}  Chemicals considered detrimental to the ozone layer.   Insert L (lecturer) and the two-letter word used to indicate that something is working into a verb meaning to hunt which has its first and last letters (endless) removed.

9d   Clergyman gets uppity about a gentlemen’s residence (6)
{VERONA}   These gentlemen appear in the eponymous Shakespeare play.    A reversal  (gets uppity) of an abbreviated clergyman followed by a preposition meaning about, on the subject of, and finally A (from the clue).

Gentlemen of Verona

13d  Film director understood there’s no room in the toilet (5,6)
{ROGER CORMAN}   I hadn’t heard of this Academy Award winning American film director but the wordplay is clear enough.   His Christian name is the word used in radio communication to show that something is received and understood.   His surname is obtained by inserting into a slang term for a toilet, the letter which resembles a nought (no) and an abbreviation for room.

16d   Amazingly, nerd leapt to Mars (3,6)
{RED PLANET}   An anagram (amazingly) of NERD LEAPT.

Red Planet

17d  Aquatic mammal bearing one child, but only in the summer? (8)
{SEASONAL}   Insert a male child into an aquatic mammal.

19d   Special jug for one being sick (6)
{SPEWER}   The two-letter abbreviation for special followed by a large jug with a wide spout.

20d   To make a fan, electrical engineer hunts around inside (7)
{ENTHUSE}   Insert an anagram (around) of HUNTS into the abbreviation for Electrical Engineer.

22d   Begins reproduction of man on board ship (6)
{SPAWNS}  Produces a mass of eggs in water –  insert the smallest ‘man’ in a chess set between the two-letter abbreviation for ship.

25d  Sound of Northern French river (5)
{NOISE}   N (northern) plus the French river  that is a tributary of the River Seine.

28 See 2

7 comments on “NTSPP – 185

  1. Well, filled in all the white bits so Alchemi in gentle mode today.
    Nice puzzle needed to do some googling as the theme is one of my many areas of ignorance.

    Thanks to the reviewer in advance, will revisit to fill in some wordplay queries.

    Thanks to Alchemi for the diversion on a dreary wet day.

    1. If this is Alchemi being gentle, I wouldn’t fancy trying one of his difficult ones :-) I’ve only got three answers!

  2. Thanks CS, now I understand the the term charade, cos it was all that fitted but I really didn’t know why.

  3. Thanks to Alchemi and to CrypticSue for the review and hints. I needed 10 hints to finish. I didn’t enjoy this puzzle at all. I’m afraid I knew absolutely nothing about the theme. Didn’t like the split 6 letter words, and found the wordplay for the rest too complicated. Just not my cup of tea. Was 4*/1* for me.

  4. Once we sorted the theme with a little bit of help from Google, we were on our way. Some tricky little word plays. A good fun puzzle to go with our Sunday morning breakfast. Off for a beach walk now.
    Thanks Alchemi and CS.

  5. Thanks Alchemi ,themed puzzles are not generally to my liking and I did find this quite difficult but hats off for 16a which somehow I solved without realising it was before my very eyes ! (Thanks to CS too for the review)

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