NTSPP – 234 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

NTSPP – 234

NTSPP – 234

A Puzzle by Alchemi

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by crypticsue  follows.

Alchemi produces more cryptic crosswords in a month than any other setter I know; some are straightforward, some have hidden, never-to-be-spotted themes and some, like this one, have a theme which becomes obvious fairly early on in the solving process.


1a           Perhaps Morrison wins as food is distributed before a film of 6 (5,2,3,4)
SANDS OF IWO JIMA  An anagram (distributed) of WINS AS FOOD with the Christian name of the lead singer of The Doors (perhaps Morrison) inserted.

9a           Courtyards essential to expatriates (5)
ATRIA   Essential to usually indicates a hidden word and this time is no exception – some Roman courtyards are hidden in expATRIAtes.

10a         See 3 Down
11a/27a                6 originally what’s charged following damage (6)
MARION      The themed person’s name before he changed it –   Follow a verb meaning to damage with an electrically-charged particle.

12a         Carved sculpture’s sides in cool environment (9)
CHISELLED    The ‘sides’ of SculpturE inserted into a adjective relating to a cool environment.

13a         Whiskey healthy for a big swimmer (5)
WHALE    The letter that Whiskey represents in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet followed by another word for healthy.


14a         Horse at home with, for example, outside encouragement (6)
EGGING     The abbreviation meaning ‘for example’ goes outside the two letters representing the way a small child might refer to a horse, and the adverb meaning at home.

16a         American custom: men drink before visitors (4,4)
AWAY TEAM   The abbreviation for American, a custom or habitual course and then the drink the British consume a lot of  goes before an abbreviation for Men which isn’t in the BRB!

19a         Go away before Oliver dispenses with second film of 6 (8)
SHOOTIST   An exclamation used to scare something away and the surname of Dickens’ Oliver with its second letter removed (dispenses with second).

21a         Paradise bird’s head blown off by high explosive (6)
HEAVEN   The abbreviation for High Explosive followed by a bird (some of which live at the Tower of London) with its head blown off, or first letter removed.

24a         Cockatoo beginning to get in the way of finishing lunch (5)
GALAH    The beginning of Get, a preposition meaning in the manner of (in the way of) and the ‘finish’ of lunch.


25a         Film of 6’s cryptic return was in order to travel around (3,6)
RIO GRANDE   Insert into RIDE (travel) both OG (‘cryptic return’ indicating the reversal of GO)  and RAN (was in order)

27a See 11a
28a         Told fantastic stories about new sort of paper (5)
LINED    Insert the abbreviation for New into the past participle of a verb meaning to tell stories.

29a         Trousers made by Genet and Cocteau (5)
JEANS    Here you just have to known the Christian names of Messieurs Genet and Cocteau.


30a         Dishevelled grocer tours Bonn, missing the final part of 6 film (7,7)
ROOSTER COGBURN   An anagram (dishevelled) of GROCER TOURS BONN (as the clue says ‘missing the final part’.

1d           Burn singer’s film of 6 (9)
SEARCHERS   A verb meaning to burn or scorch followed by the singer who now appears more times in cryptic crosswords than she does in the hit parade!

2d           Caring for Carol after bowler’s approach? (7)
NURSING     A reversal of an approach up the pitch by a bowler before he releases the ball, followed by a verb meaning to carol or utter melodious sounds.

3d/10d  Film of 6’s drama teacher (10)
STAGECOACH   Split 5,5, this film becomes a trainer of performers in dramas.

4d           Account included in dossier is superficial (6)
FACILE  Insert the abbreviation for account into a dossier.

5d           Scribble a new word for “erode” (4,4)
WEAR DOWN   An anagram (scribble) of A NEW WORD.

6d           Can Road to Whitley Bay be a Hollywood smash? (4,5)
JOHN WAYNE      Today’s star – A slang term for a lavatory (as is can), a road or path and the abbreviation for that part of the country where Whitley Bay can be found.

John Wayne

7d           Ship’s officer follows master and male with breasts (7)
MAMMATE     Abbreviations for Master of Arts and Male are followed by a ship’s officer.

8d/24d  Time to regret general slowdown in film of 6 (4,4)
TRUE GRIT     The abbreviation for time, a verb meaning to regret, an abbreviation for General (another one that isn’t in the BRB) and the abbreviated musical term meaning with diminishing speed (slowdown).

15d         Spooner closed Miss Gwyn’s little cases (9)
NUTSHELLS   I am not a huge fan of Spoonerisms but this one did make me smile. The solution is possibly how the Reverend might have said saying belonging to Miss Gwyn and a verb meaning closed.


17d         Politician having power to support this person’s constituents with large subsidy initially (9)
MANDELSON   When I test solved this one, I see I wrote the word ‘complicated’ by my parsing of the clue.   The main parts of a pronoun meaning this person’s are M AND E which should be followed by the initial letters of Large and Subsidy and how one might describe something that has power or is working.

18d         Draw together when to call in note (8)
ASTRINGE     A verb meaning to draw together – another word for when and a verb meaning to call (on the telephone) the latter inserted into the seventh note of the scale.

20d         A pair of ducks hold hands with marmalade cat (7)
ORLANDO –   Two letters that represent nothing –  O AND O holding R and L  (right and left hands)


22d         Morrison perhaps engaged on splitting unionists in the country (7)
VANUATU     This country is a South Pacific archipelago. Another musical Morrison – this time the Northern Irish singer-songwriter, is followed by two lots of the abbreviation for Unionist with a preposition meaning engaged on.

23d         It’s from Scandinavia, where cars become useless on most frozen water (6)
NORDIC –   Cars become useless when there is no road –    NO followed by the abbreviation for road and almost all (most) of some frozen water.

24d         See 8d
26d         Make some adjustments and dance again (5)
REJIG –   Split 2, 3 this verb meaning to make some minor adjustments would mean to dance again.


22 comments on “NTSPP – 234

  1. Thanks to Alchemi for a very enjoyable puzzle. I surprised myself with the number of the themed answers that I remembered. Lots of very good clues but the ones I liked best were 16a and 17d.

  2. Thanks Alchemi; I didn’t know/had forgotten about 11/27.

    I can’t find much support for the abbreviation in 24d. Just got the penny drop moment about ‘this person’s constituents’ in 17, very nice! :)

    I especially liked 23 & 16.

        1. Looking at the BRB I can’t find the abbreviation for general either under the list of Gs!

            1. You can’t use a single letter like that out of context, otherwise, for example, you could use L to mean LOS because of LA or A to mean AIR because of RAF.

  3. I got 6D early, so with a couple of checking letters in place the themed answers were a write-in. I did not like 11/27. Splitting what is a one word answer does not float my boat. I got 17D (surprisingly) but don’t understand the wordplay so welcome enlightenment. Same for 21A. 22D was a new word but I was able to work it out. Liked the misleading Morrison there. Also liked 24A. Thanks to Alchemi.

    Having more trouble with the quickie than the cryptic or this,

    1. Hi Chris, for 17 look at the first five letters and try to break them up. For 21 the last four letters represent a bird when another letter (replaced by ‘high explosive’) is put on the front.

  4. The main problem with themed crosswords is that lots of clues are obvious when you know the subject but almost impossible if you know nothing about it at all!

    I know very little about 6d.

      1. Like Gazza, I was surprised to find that I knew more about the theme than I thought I did.

        1. I wasn’t surprised to find that I knew nothing about it – I knew that already, but have finished it now.
          As always with Alchemi puzzles I found it difficult but it was really worth the struggle.
          My best friend, Mr Google, has worked overtime (should that be two words, or even hyphenated?) today – think he deserves a lie in tomorrow and should be given the rest of the day off.

  5. Once we had worked out 6d and were able to call on Wikipedia for help, it all fell into place relatively smoothly. Enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks Alchemi.
    It is a wet and windy winter’s day here so will miss our usual Sunday morning walk but must report that yesterday we were lucky enough to come across a young seal happily frollicking in the surf on the ocean beach. Quite a rare sight here. It made our day.

  6. As has been said if you know the theme it makes the puzzle easier. It was 3d that gave the game away for me. ‘Drama teacher’ was fairly easy to solve and as I’m a fan of 6d it all became clear. Next stage was to hunt out all the themed clues and write in the answers so, with all those checkers, the rest fell into place pretty quickly. Never heard of the cockatoo though but will file it away – it’s bound to come up again!

    Very enjoyable puzzle and, saddo that I am, I’ve seen every one of those films at least twice. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    Happen I was to give a BD rating it would be **/****.

    Thanks to Alchemi and CS.

  7. Never done one of these before but this was great. 6d may have been before my time but I surprised myself with how much I knew – thanks all.

Comments are closed.