NTSPP – 240 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 240

NTSPP – 240

A Puzzle by Hieroglyph

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by crypticsue follows.

There was a lot of heated discussion earlier this week in Rookie Corner with regard to quotations being obtained by solving a very long anagram.   The following is an edited extract from  my comments to Hieroglyph when I first met this week’s NTSPP crossword back in January.

 ….. the trouble with this particular long quotation is that I could only remember the first ten words and there is no way even with checking letters of dredging the rest of it from the depths of my brain and so I had to go to the Dictionary of Quotations to fill in the last few bits.    I did have 2d without looking that bit up!!  …… There is also the problem that because it is an extra long anagram, there aren’t many words left in the grid to provide you with enough checking letters to get the ‘crossing words’ – well that’s the impression I had anyway.

I drafted this review yesterday (Saturday) and thinking about it overnight, I do think it is very clever to make the anagram fodder exactly fit the theme of the poem, but the trouble is that with a seventy-eight letter anagram, no-one is actually going to bother to work it out, but just write it in if they know it like KiwiCarol, or look it up – in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations if you are, like me, of an age when reference books are always the starting point – or by investigoogling.


9a           Lucerne‘s a lake flower, note (7)
ALFALFA   A (from the clue) the abbreviation for Lake, a Cornish river and a musical note.

10a         Tool worker proverb (7)
HANDSAW   A worker, especially in a factory, and a proverb or saying.


11a         Orations given of late? (9)
EULOGIUMS   A word I’d never heard of for funeral orations.

12a         A quick turn on the dance floor with Henry, one requiring both hands (5)
WHIRL   The abbreviations for With and Henry, I (one) and the initials used to represent Right and Left hands.


13a         Seasonably, uncouth learner consumed legumes (4,5)
SOYA BEANS   Remove the L (Learner ‘consumed’) from SEASONABLY and make an anagram (uncouth) of the remaining letters.

15a         A politician surrounded by volunteers in US city (5)
TAMPA Insert A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for a Member of Parliament (politician) into the abbreviation for old name for  the British army’s volunteers.

16a         Dropping off a satchel full of money (7)
ABATING   A (from the clue) and a receptacle of which a satchel is an example, with a slang word for money inserted.

19a         Lists of courses to begin with sound yucky – lobster, langoustine and bream included (7)
SYLLABI –   The letters at the beginning of Sound Yucky Lobster Langoustine Bream and Included.

20a         Took on board educated boy first (5)
LADED     Another word for boy followed by the abbreviation for educated.

21a         See 8 Down

Where our poet wanted to be!

24a         Extremist characters with boiling hot mercury (5)
AZOTH   The letters at either end of the alphabet (extremist characters) followed by an anagram (boiling) of HOT.

25a         Heavenly being‘s way out from Northern Line stations (9)
ARCHANGEL   Two tube stations on the Northern Line, the first one having the WAY removed (way out) from its name before following it with the second.


28a         Ceramic pigment, pressed right in (4-3)
IRON-RED   Insert R (right) into a word meaning pressed (usually used with clothing).


29a         See 8 Down


1d           See 8

2d           See 8

3d           Good word for swallow ascending (4)
PLUG   A piece of favourable publicity (good word for) is a reversal of a verb meaning to swallow quickly with effort.

4d           City copper initially needed a break (6)
LACUNA   A break or hiatus –   the abbreviation for an American West Coast city, the chemical symbol for copper, the initial letter of Needed and (once again) A from the clue.

5d           Various types of monkey chap’s involved in tricks (8)
RHESUSES Insert the first person pronoun, not forgetting the S (chap’s) into tricks or stratagems.

Rhesus monkeys

6d           See 8

7d           A ‘Top Gear’ presenter: “When reversing, aim for problem in the mirror” (8)
ASTIGMIA   A defect in an eye, lens or mirror by which rays from a single point are focused as two short focal lines at right angles to each other and at different distances.   A (from the clue), the mystery driver on Top Gear, and a reversal (when reversing)of AIM (from the clue).

8/17/29/21/26/13D/14/2/6/1 In London, W.B. Yeats, dreaming of a bee-loud glade in Ireland, associated calm with rainfall; wants relocation (1,4,5,3,2,3,3,2,2,9,3,1,5,5,5,5,2,4,3,7,4)
I WILL ARISE  AND GO NOW, AND GO TO INNISFREE, AND A SMALL CABIN BUILD THERE, OF CLAY AND WATTLES MADE     Being the tester and blogger of this puzzle means that I have actually made sure that all seventy-eight of the letters in the clue – not including relocation which is both anagram indicator and definition – actually do rearrange to make the first line of a poem by WB Yeats, written in London when he was twenty-three .

ARVE Error: need id and provider

18d         Depressing budget supermarket clown (8)
GRIMALDI   The surname of a famous, actor, comedian and clown is obtained by following a word meaning depressing or unappealing with the name of a budget supermarket.


22d         Sweet stuff sailor found by Birmingham landmark (6)
NECTAR   The abbreviation for the Birmingham exhibition centre (landmark) followed by one of the words used for sailor.

23d         Royal Engineers soldier on land (6)
REGION   The abbreviation for Royal Engineers, an American soldier and ON (from the clue).

26d         See 8

27d         Can Penny twist? (4)
LOOP   Can and the first three letters of the solution are slang words for the lavatory – the slang word required here should be followed by the abbreviation for Penny.


Thanks to Hieroglyph for the crossword.   I particularly liked 19a and 18d.    Hope we see you again here soon, but perhaps without quite such a long anagram next time!

25 comments on “NTSPP – 240

  1. Obviously a feat of setting, but I’m not going to try to parse the long one. The AcrossLite version couldn’t cope with the long one on my computer – I had to check on the .pdf for the whole clue and enumeration.

    A crossword editor once told me that long phrases in a puzzle annoyed solvers – either they knew the quotation in which case it would be a write-in or else they didn’t, which caused frustration. I didn’t, so just got Mrs Google to provide the answer which then was a write-in. Once that was in, there was not much left of the puzzle to complete. So, although I applaud the artistry I didn’t much enjoy this as a solve.

    I thought 24 must include Hg, the symbol for mercury but no I was a bit fooled by that one.

    1. “Obviously a feat of setting, but I’m not going to try to parse the long one.”

      I dread getting a comment like that on one of my puzzles.

      I didn’t even read the long clue, so I’ve no idea what it said. I saw a large block of text and a long list of numbers and assumed it was a million-letter anagram. Once I’d got _W_L_A.. after solving three clues, I googled to get the exact wording of the second couplet of the by now obvious answer.

      Anyone who’s familiar with my style would realise that I’m heavily influenced by Araucaria, but there are three aspects of his clueing I dislike a lot and won’t use myself. One is his using “for” as a charade connector – because I think that “for” has to have the definition on one side; the second is his use of boy/girl/man/woman to mean “random string of letters which is conceivably a person’s name”, which I think is unfair; and the third is his penchant for &lit 30-plus letter anagrams because the only practical way of solving them is to ignore the clue, get some crossers and then spot what the answer must be from the enumeration, which isn’t how I like to solve clues. (I’ve actually done two 20-something letter anagrams, but they had definitions which firmly tied them to the theme of the puzzle and I expected the solvers to get them from those. It didn’t bother me that people were unlikely to use the anagram because there was enough else in the clue to have given them some form of amusement.)

  2. I’m stuck! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    Apart from the great big la-la-la-la-la, which I can’t do and can’t even work out what I’m looking for either I’ve only got three left.
    Going back up the garden to see if that provides any inspiration but I fear it may not.
    Will probably have to wait for the review tomorrow but, in the meantime, thanks to Hieroglyph.

    1. I had heard of the great big you-know-what – have a read of the clue again – the hint you need is in there!

      1. OK and thanks – I’ll have another read of the clue, although I’ve already read it so many times that I think I could recite it!
        Just because you have heard of it doesn’t mean that I have though.

  3. FINALLY, after much googling, I sorted out the long one. Managed the rest except for 4D which has me absolutely stumped. I don’t understand 25A but presume it has something to do with the Underground. Too much slog to say I enjoyed it, I’m afraid. Sorry, Hieroglyph.

    1. It’s the usual American city in 4d. 25a are two London underground stations, one missing ‘way.’

    2. Thank you. I was reading the clue completely wrong. Ended up going to the grid and revealing a couple of letters. I have never heard of this word.

      1. Yes, you have – even I have – the 25a Gabriel. It took me a lot of googling underground stations to sort that one out – I knew the second but not the first.

      2. I was talking about 4D as the word I’ve never heard of, Kath. I guess I didn’t make that clear in my comment. I had the right answer for 25A from the checking letters, but as I’ve not been on the Underground in 50 years, I can be excused for not knowing the station names!

  4. I’ve finally finished this one. I’m very glad that I ‘perservated’ because it would have driven me potty otherwise but http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif
    I did enjoy it but I do find the long, let alone the very long anagrams, a bit frustrating – seem to spend too much time jumping around all over the grid which doesn’t help to get any kind of feeling for what you might be looking for.
    Having at last got the long one my last two answers were then possible – 4 and 24d.
    Yet again http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif but http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif to Hieroglyph.
    Off to have supper now.
    Thanks to all.

  5. I’ve just realised, at least I think I have, that the last word in the clue is not just the anagram indicator but the definition too.
    I keep counting the number of letters of the words in the clue and I keep adding up all the numbers in the enumeration of the answer and they keep being different – should learn to count!

  6. Clever KiwiCarol got the long quotation from only three checking letters so this made it a very easy puzzle for us. We did need to Google 24a as we had never heard of it. Even the tube stations in 25a did not evade us for long.
    Thanks Hieroglyph.

  7. First time I’ve tackled NTSPP and found it a really hard slog. 4d still not solved and can’t justify the answers for a couple of the others. Not a very enjoyable puzzle for me – maybe shouldn’t have let you talk me into it, Kath! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

      1. Thanks Sue, but I’m afraid I was never going to get there given that I’d got an ‘s’ in 11a – a word that did come up online!
        Like you, I hadn’t heard of the correct word before today. 4d would still have been just a ‘must be’ – not familiar with that one either.
        Visitors coming for the next few days so will treat the grey matter to some time off. Wonder whether that will make things better or worse!!!

        1. Now I feel bad for pointing you in this direction – I think that this was a much trickier than usual NTSPP, not counting the ones set by Radler which I really struggle with.
          They (the NTSPPS) are usually a bit more difficult than the back pagers but not as hard as a Toughie – well, that’s what I think anyway.
          I hope that the visitors are the wonderful kind and revive the grey matter – not that I think there’s much wrong with it!

  8. Super review, Crypticsue! I very much agree with what you say. I was looking through Yeats’ poems to find the quote. I then read the clue to Mr Catnap, who immediately recognised the ‘bee-loud glade’ and where it came from. So looked up the poem (in The Oxford Book of Twentieth Century Verse (1973)) for the exact quote. It’s a poem we’re both familiar with. And thank goodness for that. I worked out the anagram after I had finished, just for interest. It took me four efforts — and that’s with having the quote!

    Incidentally, if a setter uses a direct quote like ‘bee-loud glade’ from a source, why isn’t this indicated by inverted commas? Would that then make it too easy for us to solve!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

    Hieroglyph, that beautiful two lines of poetry seemed to me to have sapped the energy from the rest of the crossword. It seemed to lack your usual sparkle, and didn’t really lift my spirits. (Compare, for example, 27d with the 25d which appeared in last Thursday’s Cryptic (No: 27,592).) That said, 18d was my fave, which I really did enjoy. And I appreciate the time and expertise that must have gone into compiling just a huge anagram. So thank you very much.

    Thank you very much too, Crypticsue. I needed the answer to 4d, and I didn’t know how to parse 25a, despite having the answer.

    (I have just been caught in the Spam Trap again. Must be doing something to irritate the system, but am not sure what… )

    1. Hear, hear to everything that Catnap has just said.
      She has put it far better than I could ever have hoped to do http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif to her and a little http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  9. Sorry for the delayed response – I’m on holiday at the moment so have limited internet access. Thanks for your comments and to CrypticSue for the review :-)

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