NTSPP – 258
Happy Birthday by Alchemi
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
This is not an early celebration of the blog’s birthday, but that of a number of people born on 18th January.
A review of this puzzle by crypticsue follows.
So you get the usual weekly(ish) batch of three crosswords to test from Alchemi and he says that this one has a theme as the people mentioned all share the same date of birth. You send him your comments and a week or so later you get an email saying that Alchemi 236 will be the NTSPP on 18 January. ‘That’s very specific’ I thought and then I realized which puzzle he meant!! Don’t think it matters that he was a day out with this enjoyable puzzle, the themed clues being clear enough for me to get all the birthday people without investigoogling.
1a Goes further away to hear plants again (7)
RECEDES The two letters that mean ‘again’ followed by a homophone of a word meaning plants.
5a Not being definite about erecting borders for the garden (7)
HEDGING Being evasive or shifty; erecting a close row of bushes serving as a fence.
9a Grand golf club by Delaware’s wine-growing region (7)
GIRONDE The abbreviation for grand, a type of golf club and the abbreviation for the State of Delaware.
10a Aviator‘s order to stay silent about work by comedian (7)
SOPWITH – b 1888 An interjection requesting silence is put about an abbreviation for work and a person endowed with humour.
11a Removing the head of a deer is child’s play (3)
TAG Remove the initial letter (head) from a male deer to get a childish chasing game.
12a Actor right to stop very short holiday being ruined (6,5)
OLIVER HARDY – b 1892 An anagram (ruined) of HOLIDAY and R (right) and then the first three letters (short) of VERY inserted into the result.
13a Retired footballer has to put up with detective by the side of the field (9)
BEARDSLEY – b 1961 A verb meaning to put up with, the abbreviation for Detective Sergeant and an alternative spelling for a type of meadow (field).
15a Asian myth still current (4)
YETI An adverb meaning still followed by the abbreviation for electrical current.
18a Dwellings which would be closed when back to front (4)
HUTS If you move the last letter of some simple dwellings to the end of the word, you’d get another meaning closed.
19a Bar bill incurred by general accepting victory drink (5,4)
TABLE WINE An informal term for a bar bill followed by a famous general with another word for victory inserted.
22a Emu question puzzled French philosopher (11)
MONTESQUIEU – b 1689 Never heard of this philosopher whose name is an anagram (puzzled) of EMU QUESTION.
24a Head of cricket increasing prize (3)
CUP The ‘head’ of cricket followed by an adverb meaning increasing .
26a Writer‘s fifth article about backing South American capital (1,1,5)
A A MILNE – b 1882 AN (article) E (fifth letter) put round a reversal (backing) of the capital of Peru.
27a Actor tore back to function (7)
COSTNER – b 1955 One of six trigonometrical functions followed by a reversal (back) of a word meaning tore.
28d Drugs passed a test held internally (7)
SEDATES Found ‘internally’ in pasSED A TESt.
29a Grammy winner from Britain – is she in Strasbourg? (7)
ESTELLE – b 1980 How a French person (who may or may not be in the city of Strasbourg) might ask ‘is she?’
1d Crossword solver’s friend runs over twig (5)
ROGET – b 1779 The gentleman who produced The Thesaurus of English Words, a useful friend for any solver – cricketing abbreviations for Runs and Over followed by a verb meaning to get or understand (twig).
2d Star roughly tracks relative time (4,5)
CARY GRANT – b 1904 The Latin abbreviation meaning roughly, about; the abbreviation for railway (tracks), a relative (I’m one ) and the abbreviation for time.
3d Jockey of the French north-west rings deserted deanery (8)
DUNWOODY – b 1964 A French word meaning ‘of the’ , the abbreviation for North West, two ‘rings’ and the outside letters (deserted) of DeanerY.
4d Small circuit being blocked by rocks in the northerly direction is unexpected (7)
SPECIAL The abbreviation for Small followed by a reversal of a circuit into which has been inserted a slang term for diamonds (rocks being another).
5d Military personnel get hot, mostly, before getting rid of old socks (7)
HOSIERY The first two letters (mostly) of HOT followed by a term for military personnel from which the OLD has been removed.
6d Department hides missing fish at the bottom of the sea (6)
DEPTHS The abbreviation for department followed by the word H
IDES once you have removed a particular type of fish from the middle.
7d Colder one that’s in credit (5)
ICIER I (one) followed by the abbreviation for credit with the Latin abbreviation meaning ‘that is’ inserted.
8d How a grey I trained could run amok (2,7)
GO HAYWIRE An anagram (trained) of HOW A GREY I.
13d Louche characters‘ loose circle banish me (9)
BOHEMIANS An anagram (loose) of O (circle) and BANISH ME.
14d Film Australian character (3)
ETA A Greek letter is obtained by following a two letter film about an alien with the abbreviation for Australia.
16d Could be a real nice American waterway (4,5)
ERIE CANAL An anagram (could be) of A REAL NICE.
17d Be discomfited as Pete’s gut rumbles (3, 5)
GET UPSET An anagram (rumbles) of PETES GUT.
19d Children receiving what Manuel said are Little Chef hats (7)
TOQUETS To get small versions of chefs hats, insert the word often said by Manuel in Fawlty Towers into some small children.
20d Port in ancient times starts to handle exotic food (7)
BRIOCHE A South American port inserted into the abbreviation meaning Before Christ (ancient times) followed by the ‘starts’ to Handle and Exotic.
21d Wearing fur, the French get shot (6)
PELLET A small shot used in air rifles – The French word for ‘the’ inserted into (wearing) an animal hide with the fur still on.
23d Called to withdraw all but the last ultimatum (5)
NAMED Reverse (withdraw) all but the last letter of an ultimatum or request.
25d Super smashing prize (5)
PURSE An anagram (smashing) of SUPER.