NTSPP – 244 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 244

NTSPP – 244

A Puzzle by Alchemi

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by crypticsue follows.

A nice fairly straightforward themed puzzle.


1a           Astound greatest living Englishman initially on the toilet (6)
BOGGLE   A slang word for a toilet followed by the initial letters of Greatest Living Englishman


4a           Herb (Republican) interrupts important American military leader (8)
MARJORAM     Insert the abbreviation for Republican into a word meaning important and then follow with the abbreviation for American and the ‘leader’ of Military.

10a         Colour reflected by dog soup (7)
CHOWDER A reversal (reflected) of a colour follows a breed of long-haired dog with a curly tail.

11a         Captain disembarks from boat with American letter game (7)
YAHTZEE   Remove the abbreviation for Captain from a type of sailing boat (which interestingly was the first name given to this game as it was played on such a boat)  and follow with the American way of pronouncing the letter we would call a ‘zed’.


12d         King and knight put back in jeopardy (4)
RISK A reversal of the abbreviation for King and the title by which a knight is known.



13a         Visual signal transmitter‘s reception very poor (5,5)
OPTIC NERVE This part of the eye is an anagram (poor) of RECEPTION and V (very).

15a         Tin garden tools show no resistance to deceivers (6)
SNAKES   The chemical symbol for tin followed by some garden tools, the first letter of which, an abbreviation for Resistance, is removed (show no resistance).

Snakes and Ladders

16a         Runs large 15s (7)
LADDERS   The abbreviation for large followed by some 15as.

20a         Very boring breaks outside (7)
TEDIOUS   An anagram (breaks) of OUTSIDE.

21a         Second exercise involving old policemen turned out well (6)
SPRUCE   The abbreviation for Second, and the two letters we use to refer to school ‘exercise’ into which is inserted the abbreviation for the Royal Ulster Constabulary (old policemen).

24a         Put money on having good morning at one-day game (10)
BACKGAMMON   A verb meaning to put money on, eg a horse, the abbreviation for Good , the two-letter abbreviation for the Latin term for morning and an abbreviated day of the week.


26a         Diamonds and more diamonds used in 1a, 3, 9, 11, 12, 15 & 16, 24, 25 & 31 and 30 (4)
DICE   The abbreviation for Diamonds in a card game followed by a slang term for diamonds give something needed to play all the themed solutions.


28a         One who failed to finish the course has sulky expression after doctor gets round (7)
DROPOUT   The abbreviation for doctor, O (a ‘round’ letter) and a sulky expression formed by protruding the lips.

29a         Country-lover to hit back at social unrest (7)
PATRIOT   A reversal (back) of a verb meaning to hit lightly followed by some unrest.

30a         Second ban on old-fashioned college gives sole control (8)
MONOPOLY   An abbreviation for a moment (second)   NO (ban) the abbreviation for old, and the informal way of referring to one of those colleges now called a ‘university’.


31a         Newsman shown a country losing its way, invaded by Switzerland (6)
ANCHOR   A from the clue followed by a Scandinavian country with its last three letters removed (losing its way) with the IVR code for Switzerland inserted (invaded by..).

1d           Spooner’s preference in torture devices which could be part of comfy chair (8)
BACK REST How the dreaded Reverend Spooner might say that a particular form of torture was better than another.

2d           It’s reasonably healthy to be utterly furious about lost dosh (4,5)
GOOD SHAPE   An anagram (lost) of DOSH inserted into a slang expression meaning to go crazy.

3d           Slut stripped before party game (4)
LUDO Remove the outside letters (stripped) from sLUt and follow with a party.


5d           The last of the family’s capital blown on rum (8)
ATYPICAL   Rum in the sense of odd, not usual.   An anagram (blown) of the final letter of familY and CAPITAL.

6d           Actor regularly whining in ecstasy as editor turns over pages (6,4)
JOHNNY DEPP   Insert the regular letters of wHiNiNg into a word mean ecstasy (3) to get this actor’s Christian name.   His surname is a reversal (turns over) of the useful abbreviation for editor followed by two abbreviations for page.

7d           Essentially crazy men get shaving equipment (5)
RAZOR   The middle letters (essentially) of rAZOr followed by the two letters by which other ranks of soldiers (men) are known.

8d           Humbler setter one making the most of very little (6)
MEEKER   How the setter would refer to himself followed by someone making the most of very little.

9d           Noxious gas blocked by the blame game (5)
CRAPS A nasty gas used to control rioters with a slang term for blame inserted.


14d         Perhaps News Corp journalist gets note about heartless violence being on the increase (5,5)
MEDIA GROUP   The journalist we met in 6d is inserted into a musical note, this should be followed by a slang term for aggressive behaviour from which has one of its letters removed (heartless). Finish with a word meaning on the increase and then split the result 5,5.

17d         Fairly normal ending as big defeat wipes force out (9)
ROUTINISH   A big defeat replaces the F at the beginning of a word meaning ending  (Force out).

18d         Surprised Aunt Meg with Leonardo’s first bronze (8)
GUNMETAL   An anagram (surprised) of AUNT MEG and L (Leonardo’s first).

19d         Army unit has rabbit carrying a rifle (8)
REPEATER   The Royal Engineers followed by a famous literary rabbit with A (carrying A) inserted.

22d         One to offer space there as well (6)
IBIDEM   The letter that looks like a one, an offer, and a printer’s term for a space the width of a letter M.

23d         Imprisons    supermarkets (5)
COOPS   Puts in narrow places such as prison cells or  an informal way of referring to one chain of supermarkets.

25d         Bird on new coin (5)
CROWN   A type of bird followed by (on) the abbreviation for New.


27d         Knock-out model appearing in paper (4)
STUN   The letter by which an old Ford car was known inserted into one of red-topped tabloids.

34 comments on “NTSPP – 244

  1. Was it my imagination or was this a lot more benign than Alchemi’s usual Fare? Enjoyed it muchly so thanks to Alchemi.

    Favourite and first in was 1a. Nice theme and for once spotting it didn’t make much difference.

    Thanks again Alchemi, now back to the GP qualiifying.

    1. There is very little intentional about the level of difficulty in one of my puzzles. Very occasionally I try for a real toughie (CS may care to note that 225 is one such), but otherwise it depends mostly on the words that have ended up in the grid (some words do *not* lend themselves to easy cluing) and what takes my fancy about them. What I care about most is making the solve entertaining – difficulty level is almost entirely a secondary consideration. I just try and avoid the trivially simple unless it’s *really* elegant.

      1. CS had already worked that out for herself! You will be getting my thoughts in due course.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

      2. Well, I certainly enjoyed this one and then Lewis got pole so a pretty good day so far. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

        I have to wonder how Paul might have clued 9d!

  2. I agree that this wasn’t quite as devious and tricky as Alchemi can be sometimes.
    I didn’t spot the theme until quite late – not until I got 26a – and there were several that I’d never heard of so thank you to Mr Google.
    Even though I had five of the nine letters in 17d and had decided that it had to end in ‘ish’ I couldn’t get it – stupid – husband looked and got it instantly without even reading the clue.
    I know that I’m in the minority in liking Spoonerisms but I loved 1d.
    Too many good clues to put them all down so just a few are 1 and 13a and 2 and 3d. My favourite was either 6 or 19d.
    With thanks for such a good crossword to Alchemi.

    As a bonus I’ve added a word (boustrophedon) to my vocabulary – just not sure how or when I may be able to slip it into a conversation.

    1. Well – I’ve got the theme simply because three out of the only four answers I’ve got in point to it. Beyond that, I’m in a complete wilderness. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

      1. I agree with pommers – get 26a, and 1 and 4a partly because they’re both ‘gettable’ but also because you’ve then got lots of useful starting letters. Shout if you want a hint . . .

  3. Well…… I got there eventually but have to admit that I didn’t really enjoy the experience. No need of help from 26a because 1a, 12a and 3d had given me the direction – it was the unrelated clues that gave me issues. I’ve definitely got one or two ‘circled’ clues awaiting expert parsing tomorrow!
    Many thanks, Pommers and Kath, for trying to help – if either of you has the time to explain a boustrophedon nina before I start to sob convulsively, I’d be very grateful.
    Also, thanks to you – Alchemi – this will teach me not to get so excited about a Giovanni ‘walk over’ in the future! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

    1. I’m glad that you got there. but sorry that you didn’t enjoy it.
      Please don’t cry – go back to Alchemi’s comment about the thing that none of us has ever heard of – it’s nothing to do with today’s crossword – at least I don’t think it is but you can never tell with Alchemi . . . .
      Well done anyway . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      1. Just looked on Google – bad mistake. It’s all to do with writing one line left to right, then the next one right to left. Fine, but then a mirror gets involved and that’s before you even think about including Nina. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif
        I have a horrible feeling that CS probably knows all about it………..http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

        1. Sleep well and don’t fret . . . it’s all far too clever for me. I think it might be something that it’s best not to clutter my brain with! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

  4. A lot of fun for our Sunday morning treat. Picked the theme quite quickly which was a big help. However when we came to look at the comments, find that there is a NINA which we just cannot spot, despite looking up what ‘boustrophedon’ means, and wondering how a 15 x 15 grid can have 2 middle columns. Perhaps a walk around the beach and estuary will help the thought process.
    Many thanks Alchemi.

    1. The boustrophedon nina occurs in Alchemi 225, which CS currently has for a test solve (and will not appear here because it’s far too difficult).

      This puzzle is Alchemi 216, and the mathematically-minded will be able to see how that inspired today’s theme. It has no gimmicks beyond a lot of solutions with 26a in common.

          1. Try anything once, or actually twice just in case the first time was on a bad day. I like Alchemi’s puzzles a lot because they always make me laugh somewhere along the line but I’ve never tried one that he has purposely made hard, as it seems he has with this one. Might be interesting but probably beyond me.

            Re ” pictures of Nina” rings a bell! Oh no, it was Lily wasn’t it?

            I used to wake up in the morning
            I used to feel so bad
            I got so sick of having sleepless nights
            I went and told my dad

            He said, “Son now here’s some little something”
            And stuck them on my wall
            And now my nights ain’t quite so lonely
            In fact I, I don’t feel bad at all

            Pictures of Lily made my life so wonderful
            Pictures of Lily helped me sleep at night
            Pitcures of Lily solved my childhood problems
            Pictures of Lily helped me feel alright

              1. I thought about censors but just read the last half of the lyrics. It’s actually not worth censoring and a bit sad. Also probably only means anything to a teenage boy (which I was at the time). BTW, for me it was Brigitte Bardot http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

                Pictures of Lily
                Lily, oh Lily
                Lily, oh Lily
                Pictures of Lily

                And then one day things weren’t quite so fine
                I fell in love with Lily
                I asked my dad where Lily I could find
                He said, “Son, now don’t be silly”

                “She’s been dead since 1929”
                Oh, how I cried that night
                If only I’d been born in Lily’s time
                It would have been alright

                Pictures of Lily made my life so wonderful
                Pictures of Lily helped me sleep at night

                For me and Lily are together in my dreams
                And I ask you, “Hey mister, have you ever seen”
                “Pictures of Lily?”

      1. I enjoyed this week’s NTSPP offering from Alchemi very much!

        Alas, I spent many hours searching for the “boustrophedon nina”


  5. Finally (after a nap), 5d was sorted out. That one had me puzzled for far too long and was a big D’Oh moment. Many thanks to Alchemi for a lovely puzzle that was certainly no walk in the park for me. Now for the other park!

  6. I did finally work out all the parsing before the review was posted and have to admit that, in retrospect, it was a far more enjoyable puzzle than I’d thought last night – apologies to Alchemi. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif
    I have to ask you, CS, what is the picture that accompanies your review of 1a? Is it by any chance one of those ‘thingies’ that Kath tells me not to lose any sleep over?
    Speaking of which – I wonder whether Pommers’ brain is hurting by now. He didn’t seem to be off to a good start by confusing a Nina with a Lily! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    1. The picture for 1a is what you get when you ask Google Images for a image of the game that is the solution to 1a without actually putting a picture of the box for said game with the name on it!

      The other puzzle Alchemi referred to isn’t as tough as many of this and you don’t need to see the ‘lily’ to solve it either.

      1. That’s a relief – I was seriously considering printing off your 1a picture and holding it up to a mirror!

    2. 225 is pretty good and not as hard as billed. Well, it didn’t frighten the horses but they were a bit worried at times and I can’t spot the lily! It doesn’t help to be told it’s in the middle two columns. In a 15×15 grid how can you have two middle columns?

  7. Thanks, Sue. One little correction in 30a: it’s not “o” for “old” but “no” for “ban on”.

    1. That’s what is written on the original test solve but in such tiny writing I missed it in my hurry to get the review done as my crosswording time this weekend has, for a change, been limited by thelarge amount of non-crosswordy things I have to do.

  8. Thanks Alchemi, I really enjoyed this challenge and it took me just the right length of time. One gripe, in my copy of the BRB 17d does not appear. Thanks to CS for the excellent review as always.

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