NTSPP – 218

NTSPP – 218

A Puzzle by Alchemi

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Today I am launching my new site – Cryptic Crosswords from Big Dave.  There you will find all of the content that used to be under the “Cryptic Crosswords” tab in the menu, but in a clean, clutter-free environment.  Please note that older posts may still link to Big Dave’s Crossword Blog, but any new material will only be available on the new site.  The items and sub-items on the “Cryptic Crosswords” tab of the menu will link directly to the new site.

A review of this puzzle follows.

Alchemi returns to the Saturday afternoon spot  with  a  theme giving an opportunity  to sing an old favourite while you solve.


1a           See central Bavarian heavyweight box (6)
{CARTON}   Say the word ‘see’ out loud to get the first letter of the solution, then follow with the wo central letters of BavARian, and a heavy weight.

4 See 30

10a         Subdues dreams, lacking aspiration to embrace forward push (9)
{OPPRESSES}  Remove the H (lacking aspiration) from some dreams or aspirations and insert a forward pushing motion.

11a         Health centre about to be 3 (5)
{SPARE}   Another definition of the solution to 3d –   A health resort followed by the preposition meaning about, concerning.

12a         Back softies in a difficult situation (4)
{STEW}  An informal term for a troublesome situation is a reversal of some softies or ineffectual people.

13a         Judge story-teller not to have started with a little in reserve (10)
{ARBITRATOR}  Remove the first letter (not to have started) from a person telling a story and insert a little piece.

15a         Updated edition returned with 5 missing more difficult to ignore (7)
{NOISIER}    A reversal (returned) of an updated version of  something missing the  V (Roman numeral for five).

16a         Music papers have small white 27 (6)
{RAPIDS}  “Music” consisting of a monologue delivered over a musical background, the two –letter abbreviation for identity documents and S (small).

19a         Nearly die holding that woman’s little darling (6)
{CHERUB}   Insert the female possessive pronoun  into almost all of a solid body with six equal faces (die here being a noun and not a verb).


21a         Do not remove child’s hat (7)
{STETSON}   An instruction to printers   to leave something exactly as it is followed by a male child.


23a         Help repair broken computer equipment (10)
{PERIPHERAL}   Devices in a computer which are not controlled by the central processing unit are obtained from an anagram (broken)of HELP REPAIR.

25a         Expected length of conflict (4)
{DUEL}   Expected to happen followed by the abbreviation for Length.

27 See 30

28a         Melancholy setter possibly loses heart bringing back murder victim on the back of a bike (9)
{SADDLEBAG}   Melancholy or miserable, followed by a animal of which a setter is (possibly)  an example with its middle letter removed (loses heart) and replaced with a reversal of the name of the Bible’s  first murder victim.

saddle bag29a         Acted to secure survival ships encountering first of Vader’s force (4,4)
{DARK SIDE}  Insert some ships used for survival (the most notable one being that built  by Noah) into a verb meaning acted and finish with the first letter of Encountering.

30/3/4/27 When the game’s finished, perhaps Ewart will give us a song (6,4,8,5)
{BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER}   How you might say that a particular card game had finished followed by   an anagram indicator  and an anagram of EWART (perhaps being both an example of an anagram indicator and the instruction which tells you to rearrange Ewart)  .



1d           30 celebrate after magician is sawn in half and upended (8)
{CROSSING}   A reversal  (upended) of the first half  of an  eight-letter magician followed by a verb meaning to celebrate.

2d           Salesman’s defective line needing quiet top-up (9)
{REPLENISH}  An abbreviated term for a salesman, an anagram (defective)of LINE and a way of telling someone  to be quiet.

3d           See 30

5d           Starting round one, sportsman going downhill is less certain of success (7)
{RISKIER}   The initial (starting) letter of Round, the letter that looks like the number one, and a winter downhill sportsman.

6d           Departing from the prepared text, world body predicts disaster (10)
{UNSCRIPTED}   The two-letters by which a world body is known followed by an anagram (disaster)of PREDICTS.

7d           While being allowed to go outside as little as possible (5)
{LEAST}   Insert a conjunction meaning while into a verb meaning allowed to, permitted.

8d           Sense alcohol-free surroundings get dull (6)
{DREARY}  One of the senses surrounded by or inserted into  alcohol-free or forbidding the trade in liquor.

9d           Person of interest certain to be included in your text (6)
{USURER}   Someone who charges too much interest.    The two letter text-speak term for ‘your’ with another way of saying certain inserted.

14d         Gives the wrong info as theatre company men get into films (10)
{MISREPORTS}  Insert an abbreviated term for a theatre company and the abbreviation for ‘men’ or regular soldiers into fine water vapours (films).

17d         4 terrible brutes were enough outside (9)
{DISTURBED}   An anagram (terrible) of BRUTES inserted into the past participle of a verb meaning to accomplish or finish (were enough) gives a synonym for the solution of  4a.

18d         Fits new balloon evenly inside something similar (8)
{ANALOGUE}  Similar to something else –   N (new) and the  even letters of bAlLoOn inserted  into shivering fits.

20d         Actor somewhat smaller when retired (7)
{BLESSED}   He’d definitely be quieter – put an adjective meaning somewhat smaller into where you retire at night.

Brian Blessed

21d         Sculpture syllabus initially includes difficult pieces (6)
{SHARDS}   Insert  another word for difficult between the initial letters of Scriptures and Syllabus.


22d         Went quickly over points brought up (6)
{SPEWED}   Two compass points inserted  into a verb meaning went quickly

24d         This goes round from Rio de Janeiro to Recife (5)
{ROTOR}   This palindromic revolver is hidden, both backwards and forwards (goes round) in JaneiRO TO Recife.

26d         Obscure    group (4)
{BLUR}   A double definition – To obscure or make indistinct; or the name of a Britpop group.




  1. Windsurfer23
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Good one with some nice misleading tricks e.g. ‘brought up,’ ‘health centre,’ ‘retired’ etc.

    Hadn’t realised that see=C was kosher but it is in Chambers.

    I particularly liked 15.

  2. pommers
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Splendid puzzle, much enjoyed – thanks Alchemi.

    Loads of great stuff but I particularly liked the long one, 6d and 11a (last in).

  3. Kath
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    For me this was the usual combination of Alchemi’s crosswords – http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gifI can’t do this and then http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gifbrilliant!
    I loved it – it’s probably the crossword that I have enjoyed most for quite a while.
    I was slow to get the 30/3/4/27 which lots of others were linked in to – don’t know why – it’s one of my favourite tracks/albums – my favourite track on the album is the last one – very short – it’s called “Song for the Asking” – if you don’t know it then you should listen to it.
    Rather stupidly I needed the hint to explain why my answer for 11a was wrong!
    Far too many good clues to pick out any in particular.
    With thanks to Alchemi – what a star – and to CS for explaining why I couldn’t make sense of my answer to 11a.

  4. KiwiColin
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    The other half away doing Grandma duty so on my own for this one. Held up in the NW corner by first trying repressed and then depressed for 10a, both of which made 1d impossible (as well as being impossible to parse). Got there eventually and thoroughly enjoyed it all.
    Thanks Alchemi and CS.

  5. Alchemi
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the blog and comments.

    I thought of the clue for 30/3/4/27 and started to do a Jumbo with it as 1ac, but I got bored trying to compose a sensible grid and decided to do something else. One word in each corner and a related word in a different corner, and then see what eventuates, which turned out to be this.

    Apart from that one, my favourite is 6d.

  6. Expat Chris
    Posted April 12, 2014 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    I admit it. I wasn’t getting anywhere with this (blaming it on the tendonitis pain meds dulling my senses since it couldn’t possibly be me being dim!) . So I looked at the comments, but not the hints. Kath gave me the long clue…a favorite album of mine, too…and the rest followed, albeit slowly. Love 20D, both the clue and the actor, and 13A and 28A. Never hear of the group in 26D but google confirmed my answer. Many thanks to Alchemi and CS for the review.

  7. Milvus
    Posted April 14, 2014 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Alchemi, for an enjoyable puzzle.

    A minor point, Crypticsue, 1a requires the two central letters of Bavarian.

    • crypticsue
      Posted April 14, 2014 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      Thank you. Now corrected.

  8. Catnap
    Posted April 15, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Sorry about the lateness of this — am very behindhand.

    Alchemi’s puzzles are always very enjoyable. Faves were 28a, 9d and 21d.

    I needed answers to two — 11a and 12a. Brain not working! I had problems trying to parse 13a because I was trying to use a four-letter word for ‘story teller’ instead of the correct one.

    Thank you very much, Alchemi, for a super NTSPP. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    Thank you very much, Crypticsue. Your review is much appreciated — and I love your picture for 1a. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif