NTSPP – 264 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 264

NTSPP – 264

Sing a Song of Sixpence by Radler

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by crypticsue follows.

I often wonder whether food-  or even drink-themed crosswords are created because either the setter had just had a nice lunch or was feeling particularly peckish.   On this occasion, Radler was obviously thinking of pastry as he created this entertaining Saturday afternoon diversion, which was definitely not as tricky as some of his crosswords can be.


1a           Background talk staged by 14 16d (7)
RHUBARB   The word muttered repeatedly to give the impression of background conversation in the theatre (talk staged) is also a vegetable (yes really) used as a filling for a sweet 14d.


5a           Cheshire East incorporating East Cheshire? (6)
CHEESE   Insert E (incorporating east) into the abbreviation for Cheshire, and follow with E (East) to get a dairy product, one type of which is produced in the county of Cheshire.  The vegetarian Mr CS would certainly have this as a 14/16d, especially with some 15a.

8a           14 16d get together on the phone (4)
MEAT   A homophone (on the phone) of a verb meaning to get together.

9a           Who are in positions with heads of management committees? (10)
CHAIRWOMEN   An anagram (positions) of the initial letters (heads) of Management Committees and WHO ARE IN.

10a         14 16d (with 8)    an awkward matter when hot (6)
POTATO` Add hot to this vegetable  and you get a slang term for a controversial issue or tricky problem.

11a         Outside of old bakery, “kneaded” means to enter (8)
KEYBOARD   The outside letters of OLD and an anagram (kneaded) of BAKERY.

keyboard12a         Suckers giving up drug for current leading light (8)
HEADLAMP     Remove a slang term for a particular illegal drug from those nasty sucking insects that make your scalp itch and replace with the abbreviation for a unit of electrical current.

15a         14 16d (with 5a) – it’s round, ring inside ring, a large number (5)
ONION A reversal (round) of a way of writing ring inside ring [O IN O] and a letter representing a large Number.

16a         Female arousing male lover (5)
FLAME   The abbreviation for Female followed by an anagram (arousing) of MALE.

17a         Just about to change late in the day (8)
EVENTIDE   A word meaning just or fair followed by the reversal (about) of a verb meaning to change.

19a         Told Alf to help getting signs ordered (8)
ALPHABET   A homophone (told) of ALF followed by a verb meaning to help (usually to commit an offence).


22a         Getting aroused with a man on board (6)
WAKING The abbreviation for with, A from the clue, and one of the pieces on a chess board (man).

24a         Return home on strike, irate militant (10)
REPATRIATE   The two letters used to mean on the subject of, a verb meaning to strike or hit gently, and an anagram (militant) of IRATE.

25a         First-class  14 16d (4)
PLUM   Something choice or special has the same name for a fruit often made into a 14d.

26a         Judge Jenny? (6)
ASSESS   Mr CS is fond of a 14d with chestnuts so I suppose it is fitting that we have the return an old friend with this  clue.   What might be a female ass (Jenny) is a verb meaning to judge.

27a         Squash    14 16d (7)
PUMPKIN   A type of squash the Americans put in a pie at Thanksgiving.



1d           Bring back memories again of everything originally in reverse (7)
REEVOKE   Put the ‘original’ letter of Everything into a verb meaning to reverse or recall.

2d           Immoderate shoulder strap she drops clumsily stripping off (5)
ULTRA     The letters of SHE DROPS can be found mixed up (clumsily) in SHOULDER STRAP.   Remove them (stripping off) and you are left with a prefix meaning immoderate.

3d           Alas town    imposed parking fee (9)
ANCHORAGE   With a capital A, this is an Alaskan town (add me to the list of people who didn’t know the abbreviation, which can be found in the BRB), with a small a, it is a duty imposed for ‘parking’ a vessel.


4d           Advocate drinking latte at first without milk (5)
BLACK   A verb meaning to advocate or support into which is inserted (drinking) the first letter of Latte.

5d           Groom Charlie, hairy but bald? (5)
CURRY   The letter represented by Charlie in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet followed by a word meaning hairy from which the first or top letter has been removed (but bald? indicating nothing on top).

6d           Environmental Society ousts Liberal in radicalised Milton Keynes? (9)
ECONOMIST   The three letter combining form indicating that something is good for the environment followed by an anagram (radicalised) of MILTON once you have changed the L for an S (Society ‘ousts’ Liberal).

7d           Prepare to testify I got framed by wrong answer (5,2)
SWEAR IN   I inserted into (framed by) an anagram (wrong) of ANSWER.

swear in

13d         Shuffling off data there? (5,4)
DEATH RATE   An anagram (shuffling off) of DATA THERE.

14/16d  4 and 20? (3,7)
PIE FILLERS   Very clever – the 4 and 20 of the solutions to 4d and 20d were indeed part of a dainty dish in the nursery rhyme used as the title of the crossword.

pie fillers

15d         Bury whoever rebelled miles uphill (9)
OVERWHELM   An anagram (rebelled) of WHOEVER followed by a reversal (uphill) of an abbreviation for miles.

16d         See 14

18d         Romeo and Juliet united on coming to grief (3,4)
DON JUAN   An anagram (coming to grief) of AND J (Juliet in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet) , U(united) and ON.

20d         Hitchcock’s subject more than one time? (5)
BIRDS   The subject of a Hitchcock horror film could also be the plural of a slang word for a prison sentence.

21d         Public transport, then quiet walk (5)
TRAMP   A form of public transport followed by the musical abbreviation telling you to play something quietly.

23d         Greek character old man abandoned to right stuffing (5)
KAPOK Not sure people still use this as stuffing any more but remove an informal word for father (old man) from the tenth letter of the Greek alphabet and replace with an informal adjective meaning that something is right or correct.


36 comments on “NTSPP – 264

  1. Gorgeous stuff. Didn’t help myself by putting three incorrect letters at the end of 16d to start with, though.

    1. So did I. Then spent some time watching cartoons featuring Judge Jenny. She turned out to be an owl, not an ogress, so I had to think again.

  2. Well – I’m really very hungry now! Off to make some pastry just as soon as some kind soul (Gazza?) helps me out with the last one – 18d.

    1. 18d is an anagram of AND, the letter that Juliet stands for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet, U(nited) and ON.

      1. Thanks, Gazza. That was what I’d come up but couldn’t justify – easy when you know how! I owe you some of the pastry – which 14/16d would you like?

  3. I really enjoyed this and agree that Radler is in a fairly gentle mood because I can’t usually do his crosswords at all – I still found it difficult. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif
    If having an answer for every clue counts as having finished it then I have – on the other hand if I have to be able to justify them all then I haven’t, by quite a long way.
    I took ages to get 14/16d and didn’t get a single answer until I was all the way down to 26a.
    I liked 16 and 19a and 18d. My favourite was either 26a or 5d.
    Now I’ll have to wait until tomorrow for the review to sort out and explain all the ones that I can’t untangle for myself.
    With thanks to Radler.

  4. Loved it. Plenty of smiles, so many thanks to Radler. The last few took some teasing out. 26A and 6D are my favorites. Alas, I must quibble about 3D. That’s not an acceptable abbreviation.

    1. Don’t think it would appreciate being called a town either!

      If you really do like 27a as a 14/16d then I think you must have been away from home too long, Chris. Please come back immediately.

      1. Not the first time I’ve disagreed with the BRB on things American and probably won’t be the last.

  5. Nice concoction, thanks Radler.

    I did find Alas. on the web as an abbreviation. I was looking for some complicated parsing of that one but it’s obviously more straightforward.

    Agreed that 6d was a stand-out clue.

  6. We found this one decidedly tricky. Falling into the same trap as others with the last three letters of 16d was part of our problem. A good work-out and fun to solve.
    Thanks Radler.

  7. Sorry mate, but you’re not going to work in my restaurant.
    I can’t imagine what my customers will say when they ask me: So? What is in this dish? Oh just 8a I would answer.
    10a is more of a topping or you just add starch to starch.
    I see 1a more as a crumble somehow.
    I’m only joking.
    The clue that helped me get the thread was 16a. It is soooooo smooth. Congratulations. 4d was superb too along with the very very clever 2d.
    Hard to pick a favourite as 6d and 19a are also in my lead table.
    On a different subject but inkeeping with old money. I feel a bit sorry for France losing with a little help from our own Halfpenny.
    Thanks to you Radler. Really enjoyed it.

  8. Got there in the end but went astray for quite some time by pencilling in “Two Twelves” for 14/16. Oh Dear!

    Thanks to Radler for the entertainment.

  9. Many thanks for the review, CS – always enjoy finding out whether I used the correct way of arriving at answers, which I actually did for once!
    Apart from the already mentioned hesitation over the ending of 16d, I also spent a while trying to fit our old friends ‘leeches’ into the answer for 12a – lovely clue when I finally got there.
    Still feeling a little pedantic about 3d. Apart from the little known abb. I find it listed as both a municipality and a city, but not a town.
    15a – perfect description in ’round, ring inside ring’ – probably few of us needed to understand the wordplay to get the answer, although it is rather good!
    Favourite has to be 2d – clues like that make me appreciate just how clever setters like Radler truly are.

    1. Without being pedantic, is abb a correct abbreviation for abbreviation?

      Chambers says: abbr. or abbrev.

      ps. Many thanks to CS for the review – much appreciated!

  10. Thanks to CS for the review.
    I did find it a bit unfair as I had to learn the whole nursery rhyme only to find out that apart from 4 and 20d none of the answers referred to it. I then thought that 20d was another hint to look for other bird pies but not even a pigeon was to be found. The collection of fruit and veg left me a bit hungry for more.

    1. Hi again Jean-luc – just found another couple of references for you:-
      The oft forgotten 5th verse refers to Jenny Wren putting the maid’s nose back on again (26a).
      Lord Byron parodied the nursery rhyme in his narrative poem Don Juan (18d).

      Poor Radler – we’ve missed a lot of clues. Perhaps he’d care to add some more?

      1. Thanks,
        I only saw the end with the doctor sewing it back on.
        I see now that there are a lot of references in popular culture.
        It’s going to “back to the kindergarten” for me.

  11. Thank you all for the kind comments and feedback. I hope the two possibilities for 16d didn’t detract significantly from your enjoyment of the puzzle. A disadvantage of clues like 14/16d is that they lack the wordplay elements that can prevent ambiguity in standard cryptic clues, and the crossing letters are needed to confirm the answer. However, I felt this particular clue was worth using

    Jane – I agree “city” would have been better than “town”, though Chambers (under “City”) tells me that a city is a large town. And, despite its being little known, I’m afraid the abbreviation was just too convenient for me to ignore.

    A special Thank You to CrypticSue for the review and for her help test-solving the puzzle

    1. Didn’t spoil the enjoyment at all, Radler – I rather liked watching the cartoons about Judge Jenny anyway, even though she did turn out to be an owl (which I guess was to be expected!). http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    2. Our comment about 16d was not meant as a criticism. We saw it as a perfectly legitimate pitfall that we had fallen into. Only one alternative fitted the checkers and we see that as the yardstick.
      Thanks again and CS too.

  12. I have to confess that I had question marks beside lots of these. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    Thanks to CS for dealing with all my problem answers. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

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