NTSPP – 217 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

NTSPP – 217

NTSPP – 217

Catastrophe! by Chalicea

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

I have met Chalicea a couple of time, most recently at last month’s Listener Dinner. She promised me a super new puzzle, and here it is. It may look a tad daunting at first, but read the instructions carefully and it should all fall into place.

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.

A warm welcome to Chalicea to the pages of the NTSPP with an entertaining diversion for a Saturday morning (I download early to get a head start on blogging!).  Thirteen of the clues omitted a three letter word in the wordplay.  I have starred the clues to indi*e where this occurred and included a completed grid with the word highlighted at the end.  Fortunately, I was able to *ch on to the theme quickly and avoided the *aclysm of being unable to blog the crossword and emerged from the process uns*hed.  Out setter has a clear vo*ion for setting crosswords and her puzzles have appeared in the Inquisitor series.  We look forward to her swift return to the NTSPP fold.


1 Highly ornamented bits of rose with edible tuber (6)
{ROCOCO} – The first two letters (bits of) rose followed by the name of an edible tuber (the taro or other edible araceous tuber according to Chambers).

4 Glibness about cause of happiness (8)
{BLESSING} – An anagram (about) of GLIBNESS.

*10 A medicine that invigorates schizophrenic affected by fits of rigidity (9)
{CATATONIC} – The three letter missing word followed by the A from the clue and a type of medicine that invigorates.

11 Oddly plod like a three step and hop dance (5)
{POLKA} – The odd letters of PLOD LIKE A.

12 One of blue blood or even blood-red (4)
{LORD} – The even letters of BLOOD RED.

13 Metric unit begins coding each new term if listed in the right encryption (10)
{CENTILITRE} – The initial letters (begins) of Coding Each New Term If Listed In The Right Encryption.

*15 Disperse cubic metre of timber without energy (7)
{SCATTER} – Another word for a cubic meter of wood without the final E inside which goes the three letter missing word.

*16 Old silver coins of the French dollar (6)
{DUCATS} – The two letter word meaning “of the” in French and the letter (without the two bars) that looks like a dollar sign, inside which you put the missing three letter word.

19 Pincer-like tools‘ disguised perils (6)
{PLIERS} – An anagram (disguised) of PERILS.

*21 Provided food for eastern revolutionary (7)
{CATERED} – The three letter missing word followed by the abbreviation for eastern and the colour associated with a revolutionary.

*23 Pronounce judgement on publicity with little Jewess (10)
{ADJUDICATE} – A two letter word for publicity followed by the diminutive form of a girls name of Jewish origin inside which goes the three letter missing word.

25 Serenity of feelings embraced by logical mind (4)
{CALM} – The answer is hidden in (embraced by) LOGICAL MIND.

27 Projection that holds together large number absorbing small number (5)
{TENON} – … a woodworking term for a projection that goes inside the mortise.  A two letter abbreviation for any number goes inside a large number (well greater than nine anyway!).

*28 Culture oddly ends unicorns (9)
{EDUCATION} – The three letter missing word goes inside the odd letters of END UNICORNS.

29 Trees’ age represented in display stands (8)
{ETAGERES} – An anagram (re-presented) of TREES AGE.

30 Intellectual activity producing strange noises (6)
{NOESIS} – An anagram (strange) of NOISES.


1 Rash wreck – lesson discovered! (8)
{RECKLESS} – The answer is hidden (discovered in) in WRECK LESSON.

*2 Hesitation then howl like newborn child! Yowl shrilly! (9)
{CATERWAUL} – The three letter missing word followed by a two letter word for a hesitation and word meaning to howl like a newborn child.

*3 Old coal and timber vessels in north-east Sweden (4)
{CATS} – The three letter missing word followed by the abbreviation for Sweden.

*5 Situated in particular spot Scots loved (7)
{LOCATED} – The three letter missing word goes inside a Scottish word meaning loved.

*6 Earnestly beg for amounts of food provided without end (10)
{SUPPLICATE} – Another word for the amounts of food that may be provided for an expedition with the final letter removed, inside which goes the three letter missing word.

7 Detached piece of territory Iceland granted to occupants (5)
{ISLET} – The two letter code for Iceland followed by a word meaning to granted a lease to occupants.

8 Shredding utensil sounds more significant (6)
{GRATER} – A homophone (sounds) of another word meaning more significant.

9 Topless males regarded with affection please! (6)
{ENDEAR} – Another word for males with the first letter removed (topless) followed by another word meaning regarded with affection.

14 Presence at jig two hours before midnight? (10)
{ATTENDANCE} – Split (2,3,5) the answer might suggest the time a jig or ball starts.

17 Web-footed marine reptiles transpire in an unusual way (9)
{TERRAPINS} – An anagram (in an unusual way) of TRANSPIRE.

18 Strange fellows – disheartened teams; motley assortments! (8)
{ODDMENTS} – Another word for strange, another word for fellows and the outer letters (disheartened) of teams.

20 Generate from bodily fluids and place out of sight (7)
{SECRETE} – A double definition.

*21 Cord for tying little boat up (6)
{CATGUT} – The three letter missing word followed by a type of small boat reversed (up).

*22 Neat taking back young sow (6)
{CATTLE} – … like kine only found in crosswords!  The three letter missing word followed by a dialect word for a young sow reversed (taking back).

24 Military government‘s revolutionary jaunt (5)
{JUNTA} – An anagram (revolutionary) of JAUNT.

*26 Roman circle (4)
{CATO} – … the name of a famous Roman.  The three letter missing word followed by a circular letter.

And the grid with the missing word highlighted in the solutions


10 comments on “NTSPP – 217

  1. I decided to ignore the instructions and start solving the clues – a few solutions entered and it became obvious what the instructions were all about.

    Thanks to Chalicea for a nice lunchtime puzzle and to Prolixic in advance for the explanations.

  2. Nice setting Chalicea!

    Thanks Prolixic; STERE and LOE were new to me. The theme rather quickly revealed itself, which then helped with the solve – very enjoyable.

  3. Well, I completed the grid correrctly except for three..3D, 22D and 29A (no excuse for that). I twigged the three letter word early but that didn’t help me understand what the heck this was all about. I am still no clearer. I can’t say I enjoyed it, but I appreciate the setter’s skill. Thanks, Prolixic for the review ( and I am enjoying the MPP!)

    1. As far as I can see, it was about having 13 clues which ignored the same three letters in the wordplay. I assume Chalicea is the servant of one or more cats which have badgered her into doing a cat-themed crossword, because this is one of the very few ways in which to do it. Nobody actually knows the names of breeds of cat and there aren’t enough well-known fictional cats, so you’ve either got to have a cat in every clue, which gets boring, or you’ve got to put CAT in lots of answers and then do something about it. Such as this fine effort.

      1. I agree with you about this being a very fine effort and I loved it. I disagree about there being few well known fictional cats. Having said that I will now go off to think about the ones that I know . . . well, after supper and some wine!

  4. I thought this was really good but http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gifit was definitely at the top end of my crossword ability.
    My first answer was 10a so that, combined with the title of the crossword, made me pretty sure of the ‘same short word’.
    I have to confess that there were seven words that were new to me – whether or not I’ll remember them all for the next time I need them is doubtful.
    I needed the hints to explain about three of my answers.
    I liked 13a and 2 and 14d. My favourite was 21d.
    With thanks to Chalicea and Prolixic.
    I’m now seeing cats even where there aren’t any!

  5. What now seems like one of the simplest clues, 3d, was the last one in and gave us most grief. And wouldn’t you know it, it contained our nemesis, a ****** IVR code! We picked the theme word quite quickly which was a big help. A few new words to check up on and a lot of fun bringing it all together.
    Thanks Chalicea and Prolixic.

  6. Hi folks, the setter here but just to say that I am glad that this gave some pleasure and that I am dazzled by the quality of Prolixic’s blog. I have lurked here before Big Dave suggested I send a crossword but have never seen blogging of quite that beautiful graphic quality. I especially liked his topless male in 9d and the superb clarity of his tenon and mortise explanation in 27ac.

  7. Didn’t have an opportunity to finish this until last evening. I enjoyed it a lot, and managed to complete it.

    I didn’t really understand how to handle the clues where the short word was missing. In consequence, I needed no less than six explanations. There were also a few words new to me. (Time to start writing them down for future reference…)

    Fave clue was 10a. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif
    21d makes me very sad, even 2d! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif(Used for musical instruments as well…)

    Many appreciative thanks to Chalicea. Hope we shall see you here again.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    Many appreciative thanks to Prolixic for a super review.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

Comments are closed.