NTSPP – 225 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 225

NTSPP – 225

A Puzzle by Alchemi

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by Big Dave follows.


1a Least decorated army leader visits French port (6)
{BAREST} – the initial letter (leader) of A[rmy] inside a port in Brittany

What’s this got to do with the answer? It’s a cake in the shape of a wheel made to commemorate a bicycle race which goes from Paris to the French port and back!

4a Isolated two ways to cross short mountain range (8)
{STRANDED} – two different abbreviations for ways or thoroughfares around most of a mountain range in South America

10a Adult stuff posted about wedding? (9)
{SACRAMENT} – A(dult) and a verb meaning to stuff with a verb meaning posted around the outside gives a religious rite such as a wedding – I think I would have liked “for example” to be appended to clarify that wedding is a “definition by example”

11a Young Conservative introduced to Stalin wrote a book 100 years ago about the other people mentioned here? (5)
{JOYCE} – the abbreviation for Young Conservative inside Stalin’s first name gives the author of a book, published in 1914, about people from the same city as several of those in this puzzle

12a Express disapproval of arresting nuclear campaigner (4)
{BONO} – a verb meaning to express disapproval around (arresting) N(uclear) gives the musician and campaigner, real name Paul David Hewson, who is the first of our thematic answers

13a It’s enchanting as soldier wears a raincoat for a period (5,5)
{MAGIC SPELL} – a US soldier inside (wears) a three-letter word for a raincoat and followed by a period of time

15a Pairs of rubberneckers regularly irritate last dry playwright (7)
{BECKETT} – two pairs of regularly spaced letters in rubBErneCKers followed by the final letter of [irritat]E and an abbreviation meaning dry or abstinent

16a Actor to take a risk working for the French (6)
{GAMBON} – start with a verb meaning to take a risk and insert a two-letter word meaning working in place of the French definite article

19a American Marine allowed to have personal decoration (6)
{ARMLET} – A(merican) and a Royal Marine followed by a verb meaning allowed or permitted

21a Queen perhaps one to support swimmer (7)
{MANATEE} – a chess piece, such as (perhaps) the queen, followed by A (one) and a support for a golf ball


23a The body of Van Gogh’s journal is seriously scandalous (10)
{INCENDIARY} – the inner letters (body) of Van Gogh’s first name followed by a journal

25a Thus king gets ill (4)
{SICK} – the Latin for thus or so followed by K(ing)

27a Bird writer (5)
{SWIFT} – two definitions

28a One of each pair leaving vegetable lobby engagement (9)
{BETROTHAL} – start with an eight-letter vegetable and a four-letter lobby or vestibule and drop one of each pair of repeated letters

29a Gave in and advanced through grass (8)
{RELENTED} – a verb meaning advanced or loaned inside a type of grass

30a Local body rejecting agreement to get playwright (1’5)
{O’CASEY} – the inner letters (body) of [L]OCA[L] followed by the reversal (rejecting) of a word of agreement


1d Quiet British sailor in exchange involving money and African islander (8)
{BUSHBABY} – an exhortation to keep quiet followed by B(ritish) and the usual sailor all inside a verb meaning to purchase by using money gives a creature found mainly in Madagascar and some parts of continental Africa

2d Artist about to be given popular civilian honour has a right to get a Ferrari, say (6,3)
{RACING CAR} – a lengthy charade of the usual artist, the single-letter Latin abbreviation for about, a two-letter word meaning popular, a civilian honour for bravery, the A from the clue and R(ight)

3d Rick leaves hooded carriage for playwright (4)
{SHAW} – drop RICK from a small two-wheeled, hooded carriage

5d Nearly falling over, the Queen goes doing the same as Steptoe & Son (7)
{TOTTING} – start with a verb meaning nearly falling over and drop (goes) the Queen’s regnal cipher to get what rag-and-bone men like Steptoe & Son used to do

6d Bill only the people on time for a change (10)
{ADJUSTMENT} – a charade of a bill or placard, an adverb meaning only, some people and T(ime)

7d Handout includes unknown author (5)
{DOYLE} – a benefit that is handed out around a mathematical unknown

8d Lives healthily in empty dress (6)
{DWELLS} – an adverb meaning healthily iside the outer letters (empty) of D[res]S

9d The remainder take the old man for a meal (6)
{REPAST} – the remainder around a two-letter word for the old man or father

14d General successfully got smashed in pub (10)
{WELLINGTON} – a word meaning successfully followed by an anagram (smashed) of GOT inside a pub

17d The majority lose money – wealth is for the birds! (9)
{OSTRICHES} – a word meaning the majority without (lose) M(oney) followed by wealth

18d See about everyone beginning to support idiot philosopher (8)
{BERKELEY} – a three-letter see or diocese around the initial letter (beginning) of E[veryone] preceded by (to support in a down clue} an idiot

20d Sewer safety device left him bleeding as sides gave way (7)
{THIMBLE} – remove some of the outer letters (sides gave way) from [lef]T HIM BLE[eding]

21d Setter slowing down solver to begin with has some good points (6)
{MERITS} – the first person objective pronoun (the setter) followed by the abbreviated musical notation for slowing down or with diminishing speed and the initial letter (to begin with) S[olver]

22d Back heiress I know at heart to be one showing affection (6)
{KISSER} – hidden (at heart) and reversed (back) inside the clue

24d Cool character left twice (5)
{CHILL} – a letter (character) in the Greek alphabet followed by L(eft) L(eft)

26d Jewellery discussion on the radio (4)
{TORC} – sounds like (on the radio) a discussion


The book by James Joyce is The Dubliners and the highlighted people where all born or brought up in Dublin

The Dubliners

James Joyce


Samuel Becket

Michael Gambon

Jonathan Swift

Seán O’Casey

George Bernard Shaw

Roddy Doyle

Duke of Wellington

George Berkeley

11 comments on “NTSPP – 225

  1. Thanks for the puzzle and stepping into the breach, Alchemi. Lots to enjoy here – my fave was 17d. Cheers.

  2. A good puzzle that kept us working hard on a crisp clear Sunday morning. Lots of really good clues that we enjoyed. Off for a brisk walk now around the beach and estuary.
    Thanks Alchemi.

  3. Working through this, with half a dozen clues yet to solve. But I just worked out 16A and I think the neighbors must have heard me yell YES!!!
    What a great clue.

  4. Done, but not without a good deal of investigoogling and patient unraveling to work out the parsing. Still a couple that I can’t unravel so may be wrong. Great fun, though, and I look forward to tomorrow’s enlightenment.

  5. I’ve said before that I don’t particularly enjoy themed puzzles, but I have to say this is definitely the exception. It was a cracker! I did, in fact have my ‘unravelable’ answers correct but needed the review to understand why, so many thanks, BD. Thanks to Alchemi for a great puzzle.

    BD, I am sorry for the reason you had to bring this NTSPP forward, but I’m very glad you did!

  6. I really enjoyed the theme of this puzzle, and thought it very adroitly done. Plenty of super clues — among those I particularly liked were 11a, 23a, 28a, 17d and 21d, and, of course, the theme clues.

    I completed this without using the hints. Fortunately, 11a was one of my first in. Even so, I found part of the north-west tricky, but got there in the end.

    I find this review invaluable. Enjoyed reading about the cake in 1a as I had no idea of that. Although I knew the answer to 30a, I couldn’t work out the wordplay. In 21a, I overlooked the fact that the Queen is a chess piece; and in 18d, I needed the parsing for the last four letters. The wordplay of the remainder of the clues I followed correctly.

    Big thanks to Alchemi for this very cleverly themed NTSPP. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    Much appreciation to Big Dave for the super review and for giving us the pleasure of this NTSPP at such short notice.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  7. Thanks to all for the compliments and BD for the blog. I’d point out that the clue at 10 does finish with a question mark, so I don’t really see why you want the “for example”.

    This was what I think of as an “oh, really?” theme. Assuming you somehow spot that the people are all Dubliners, you probably discover a name or two you didn’t realise fitted the theme, so you learn something. Which, of course, you immediately forget, but you knew it for a few minutes anyway.

    1. Didn’t know Wellington was Irish. Was working on Washington and could not understand why. Quelle surprise.

      1. You’re leaving out the hyphen in your forename, which means that your comments have to be moderated (and edited).

  8. Great crossword. Thanks to alchemi. Haven’t finished yet but start to understand how his head works… Distracted by the double celebration of Toulon winning the H cup and the French top 14. Yes guys.. That’s where I live. Well in Hyeres which is 10 miles away and where some of the players live… Long life to Jonny Wilkinson… Have a happy retirement.. Anyway back to the brain teaser..
    PS I do like 17d .great birds. Miam miam.

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