NTSPP – 230 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 230

NTSPP – 230

Alphabetical Doggerel  by Hieroglyph

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by crypticsue follows.

This clever crossword with its rhyming clues represents, amongst other things, another attempt by Hieroglyph to persuade me to become a fan of alphabetical crosswords.   According to the notes I made last September when I first ‘met’ this crossword, I found it ‘very enjoyable’ so whatever he’s doing, it seems to be working.

I have put the completed grid at the bottom of the page so that anyone only needing a hint doesn’t see the whole solution before they are ready. Clues and hints are listed in alphabetical order of the solutions.

Play when the solver’s a fan of King’s book (2,3,4,2)
{AS YOU LIKE IT}  A conjunction meaning when, how Hieroglyph might address the solver, and what you do if you are a fan of something, and finally the title of one of Stephen King’s more scary books.

Tab for the ticker needs black beer to cook (4,7)
{BETA BLOCKER} An anagram (cook) of BLACK BEER TO.

Copper beasts gutted small members of pride (4)
{CUBS} The chemical symbol for copper followed by the outside letters (gutted) of BEASTS.


More stupid pass right down under inside (6)
{DOZIER} Another word meaning come to an end (pass) with the slang name for Australia (down under) inserted (inside) and R (right).

City terrible; Celtic – wide ranging (8)
{ECLECTIC} The two letters indicating the area of London where the ‘city’ is located, followed by an anagram (terrible)of  CELTIC.

Ancient celts? Not in Sinn Féin a-changing (7)
{FENIANS}   Remove the IN (not in)from SINN FEIN A and then make an anagram (changing) of the remaining letters.

End with a thrill that may restart the game (4-4)
{GOAL-KICK}   The aim of a person’s ambition (end) followed by an informal term for a thrill.

A bone in your arm sounds funny in name (7)
{HUMERUS} A homophone of an adjective meaning funny or amusing.


One million growers can augment the chest (8)
{IMPLANTS} I (one) plus the abbreviation for Million and some things in the garden that grow

Black gang who travel above all the rest (3,3)
{JET SET} A rich black colour followed by a group of persons (gang).

Boilers make sweet-talk – weak odds’ omission (7)
{KETTLES}  Remove the odd letters of weak from SWEET-TALK and rearrange what you have left.


Insects seen off, one granted permission (8)
{LICENSEE} Parasitic insects followed by an anagram (off) of SEEN.



Burrower‘s agent – with sailor (retired) (4,3)
{MOLE RAT} An agent or spy that infiltrates an organisation followed by a reversal (retiring) of one of the ways of referring to a sailor.

New English newspaper bosses required (6)
{NEEDED} The abbreviations for New and English followed by two examples of (bosses plural) of the abbreviated way of referring to the head of a newspaper.

Marsupials‘ soup – so vile on paper (8)
{OPOSSUMS} An anagram (vile) of SOUP SO followed by the abbreviation for a manuscript (paper).


Noble to tinkle – finally, taper (4)
{PEER} The first three letters of the solution are (as is tinkle) an informal way of saying to urinate, and should be followed by the final letter of taper.

Queen and odd sister – inquisitive sorts (8)
{QUERISTS}  Inquirers. An abbreviation for Queen followed by an anagram (odd)of SISTER.

Oft concrete’s refined – or carbon distorts (10)
{REINFORCED} An anagram (distorts) of REFINED OR and C (the chemical symbol for carbon).

Stitched small note by river – dawning of day? (7)
{SUTURED} S (small) a two-letter syllable representing the first note of the scale (now usually referred to as doh), a North Yorkshire river and the ‘dawning’ or first letter of day.

Ear hairs stand up as a funny/sad play (5-5)
{TRAGI-COMIC} The plural Latin name for the hairs growing from an external fleshy part of the external ear followed by a type of performer performing amusing monologues (stand up as a funny).

Takes head protection from drunken lush men (7)
{UNHELMS} An anagram (drunken) of LUSH MEN.

Some novel crown sticks again and again? (6)
{VELCRO} Some sticky stuff which can be used more than once (again and again) is hidden in noVEL CROwn.


Was mine therein, with the number one deer? (7)
{WAPITIS} Insert into WAS (from the clue) a mine and the letter that looks like a number one.

Ran off and rode east – two times engineer (7)
{XEROXED} An anagram (engineer) of RODE E(east) and two lots of the symbol used in a multiplication sum to mean ‘times’.

Hankers for twelve months with mid-morning sun (6)
{YEARNS} Twelve months followed by the middle letter of morning and the abbreviation for Sun.

Bigot‘s unknown note: a leftover ton (6)
{ZEALOT} One of the mathematical “unknowns”, a musical note, A (from the clue) and the abbreviations for Left , Over and Ton.



22 comments on “NTSPP – 230

  1. Oh misery and woe!!! Is it my computer playing up or is there a problem?

    I have tried to print off the .pdf of this puzzle twice. The grid prints perfectly, but the text is highly broken — just the occasional letter and many ””””’. Not even the heading or Hieroglyph’s name print correctly.

    1. Catnap, are you using Firefox? If so, try Chrome. I’ve had similar problems with pdfs in Firefox.

  2. Well, that was fun. Unlike a previous set of rhyming clues, these didn’t seem at all forced, and there was a greater variety of clue types. A fine effort indeed.

  3. Thank you all very much for your replies.

    Big Dave, I shall try downloading and printing your Word document, for which I am most grateful.

    Yes, Jon88. I am using Firefox — always do and have never had this problem before. Will install Chrome and see what happens. Thanks very much for the tip.

      1. Big Dave, you are a genius! How very kind of you to go to so much trouble. It is much appreciated. A huge thank-you.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  4. I thought this was all kinds of things – fun to do, quite tricky and very clever. I can only wonder how long it took to put it all together.
    I can’t untangle my answers for F and T but everything seems to have gone into appropriate places pretty well.
    My favourite clue was the one for I.
    With thanks and congratulations to Hieroglyph and, in advance, to whoever sorts it all out tomorrow.
    This is only the second, or might be third, alphabet puzzle I’ve ever done – I think they’re great. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  5. When I looked at this, my first thought was “Not my cuppa tea at all,” but once I got going I couldn’t stop. I don’t understand the first part of T, but was able to unravel all the rest of the clues. Many thanks to Hieroglyph. Looking forward to tomorrow’s review.

  6. Like EC thought this ain’t going to be fun but it sure was ,biggest smile was13a when I eventually twigged ! Thanks very much .

  7. Well that was huge fun. Late getting to it as we had visitors. Solved by working out the clues independently of the grid and then when we had most of them, worked out how they fitted into place. This gave us checkers for the last few problem words. What absolute cleverness. It must have taken ages to put it all together.
    Thanks Hieroglyph.

  8. Good setting and nice rhyming couplets.

    A professional setter told me that ‘there is a certain established convention regarding alphabeticals. There are usually 28 clues, with two clues for two of the letters, and the important thing is that the answers for these pairs of clues intersect at their first letters.’ Anyway, ignoring that it was a fun solve.

    ‘W’ was my last one in. I particularly liked the ‘B’ answer.

  9. Thanks to CS for sorting out my F and T – should have BRB’d the first bit of T! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif
    More thanks, too, to Hieroglyph.
    Not sure what Only fools means by 13a. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

  10. This was highly entertaining. Once started, it was almost impossible to put it down. What skill must have gone into its compilation! I really enjoyed the doggerel, too. Very clever indeed. My faves were I and M. Having said that, I thought all the clues were great.

    I solved this puzzle the same way as the 2Kiwis did. On going through Crypticsue’s excellent review, I note that while my answers were all correct, I didn’t parse K correctly and needed explanations for the first-half of T and for the two-letter syllable in S. Am pleased, though, as I managed to parse the rest correctly.

    Thank you very much, Hieroglyph, for a simply fab puzzle. I cannot recall ever having done one before. It was delightful.

    Thank you very much too, Crypticsue, for your lovely clear explanations. I always find reviews invaluable.

    Finally, an extra big thank you to Big Dave for having made this and all the other splendid puzzles possible.

  11. Such fun. Thank you so much Hieroglyph. And thank you Crypticsue for the few pointers I needed to complete. B was my favourite.

  12. Many thanks for you comments and to CrypticSue for the review. Hope to be back before long! :-)

  13. I luckily put one of the 11-letter solutions in the right place in the grid which made progress somewhat easier.

    Apologies to Hieroglyph for completely missing the “Doggerel.”

    Brilliant Crossword!

    (I don’t understand 13a either)

  14. One of the defs of doggerel is, of course, nonsense or drivel. I thought that this was going to be the case when I looked at the grid. Only 8 of the 26 clues with the first letter checked and no first letter crossovers. How the hell is this going to work for an alphabetical wotsit http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

    However, it started to come together eventually and wasn’t too bad but not really my cup of tea.

    Held up at the end for a while because we had the X and K clues the wrong way round – no pasa nada.

    Thanks to Hieroglyph and CS

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