NTSPP – 270 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 270

NTSPP – 270

Benson & Hedges? by Alchemi

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Those of you who went to the Blog’s 6th Birthday bash a couple of months ago might already have seen this puzzle. as Alchemi brought a number of copies with him.  Specific knowledge of that occasion is not necessary in order to be able to solve the puzzle, but an acquaintance with general knowledge about London certainly helps.

A review of this puzzle by Big Dave follows:

This puzzle was set by Alchemi especially for the blog’s 6th birthday bash at the Bridge House in Little Venice. It shouldn’t have taken long to work out that B was for Bridge and H for House, even if you didn’t know the connection with the venue.  By the way, Benson & Hedges are a brand of cicarettes that are usually known as B&H.


1a Asian ready to come back to position B (6)
PUTNEY (Bridge): some Asian “ready” or currency reversed (to come back) preceded by a verb meaning to position

4a Country singer Cash often told lies about Neil Diamond’s origins (8)
SCOTLAND: the initial letters of eight words in the clue

9a Actor who’s just emerged from the London area (6)
NEWHAM: this borough in East London is derived from a not-very-good actor qualified by an adjective meaning just emerged – if you looked for an actor with the surname Newham you would have found it difficult to justify the phrase “who’s just emerged” in the clue

10a See storm devastating H (8)
SOMERSET (House): an anagram (devastating) of SEE STORM

12a Artist gets into temporary accommodation a month before festival (5,4)
MARDI GRAS: the usual two-letter artist inside some temporary accommodation, typically for students, all preceded by the three-letter short form of a month of the year

13a Sort of key I leave for a H (5)
MANOR (House): start with a musical key and replace the I with an A

14a Isolated sitting around king, say (10)
SEGREGATED: a word meaning sitting around the regnal cipher of several British kings, including the father of the current Queen, and the Latin abbreviation for say/for example

16a See 18 Across

18a/16a English pastime ruined by food (4,4)
MEAT PIES: an anagram (ruined) of E(nglish) PASTIME

19a Caught people waiting to get involved with geometry topic (5,5)
ACUTE ANGLE: sounds like (caught) some people who are waiting (1,5) followed by a verb meaning to get involved with

22a Tennis player from Canada loses (5)
NADAL: hidden (from) inside the clue

23a “Look at fruit” included in text for soldiers’ order (5,4)
SLOPE ARMS: a two-letter interjection meaning “look at” and a type of fruit inside the type of message frequently sent using a mobile phone

25a In Mumbai, some ricebowls are the same weight though of different shapes (8)
ISOMERIC: hidden (in) inside the clue

26a Maybe Santa gets last of cake as part of the contract (6)
CLAUSE: Santa’s “surname” followed by the final letter (last) of [cak]E

27a Identifiers for horses one came across inside (4,4)
NAME TAGS: a colloquial word for word for horses around with A (one) and a verb meaning “came across” inside

28a Working with academic on large B (6)
LONDON (Bridge): a two-letter word meaning working and a university academic preceded by (on in an across clue) L(arge)



1d Poorly review a mother’s hats (7)
PANAMAS: a verb meaning to provide a poor review followed by the A from the clue, an affectionate term for mother and the S from ‘S

2d Drag queen B (5)
TOWER (Bridge): a verb meaning to drag followed by the Queen’s regnal cipher

3d Cut up over digger one’s inspecting (8)
EXAMINER: the reversal (over) of a verb meaning to cut followed by someone who digs for a living

5d A representative sample angry over bad notices (5-7)
CROSS-SECTION: an adjective meaning angry followed by an anagram (bad) of NOTICES

6d Man in Turkey superficially miscalculates what’s used in gas bills (6)
THERMS: the male pronoun inside the IVR code for Turkey followed by the outer letters (superficially) of M[iscalculate]S

7d Nodding, perhaps, while musician holds a couple of notes (9)
ASSENTING: a two-letter word meaning while followed by a singer/songwriter (musician) around (holds) a couple of notes, the first being the third note of the diatonic scale of C major and the other the abbreviation for N(ote)

8d Old fools cheat sailors going round Land’s End (7)
DOTARDS: a two-letter verb meaning to cheat and some sailors around the final letter (end) of [lan]D

11d Pitt perhaps ate nothing before giving parts to H (12)
BROADCASTING (House): the first name of actor Pitt (not the politician!) around O (nothing) and followed by a verb meaning to give parts to actors

15d Military cell united on a way to stop train (9)
GUARDROOM: U(nited), the A from the clue and the two-letter abbreviation for a way inside a verb meaning to train or prepare someone for a particular purpose

17d Keep facilities moist for B (8)
WATERLOO (Bridge): split as (5,3) this could mean to keep toilet facilities moist

18d H where naked insomniac tosses and turns (7)
MANSION (House): an anagram (tosses and turns) of[i]NSOMNIA[c] without its outer letters (naked)

20d Oriental flower going into space (7)
EASTERN: a flower inside one of the usual printer’s measures / spaces

21d A rising almost three times as much as B (6)
ALBERT (Bridge): the A from the clue followed by the reversal (rising) of most of an adjective meaning three times as much

24d Do run around H (5)
ROUND(house): an anagram (around ) of DO RUN

37 comments on “NTSPP – 270

  1. I solved this puzzle on the train on the way back from the birthday bash and really enjoyed it. Luckily that was sufficiently long ago that I’d forgotten all the clues so I was able to enjoy it all over again today. Thanks to Alchemi for the entertainment. Top clues for me were 19a, 11d and 17d.

  2. Thought I’d be up and running once I’d ‘clocked’ the B&H.
    I did and I’m not. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    This could be a very long haul. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

    1. I didn’t see this one in London in January and still haven’t sorted out what, who or where B & H are – oh dear! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  3. Thanks to Alchemi. Not too difficult for me – Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner?

    Solving time? Required only 3 cigarettes – not B&H though.

    Favourite has to be 17d.

    Parsing 4a is still proving to be problematical.

    1. Hi Franco,
      Guess you’re not falling foul of the ‘don’t state timings’ rule – depends how quickly you smoke and how long you wait between cigs. I’ve just opened a new packet. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
      Not a Londoner, so the odds are stacked – B’s aren’t too bad but H’s are driving me mad!

      BTW – my Elkamere wasn’t creased (for once) and I really enjoyed it!

  4. I’m plodding along, but I have a feeling this is going to be very challenging for those of us who live overseas.

    1. Don’t worry, Chris – it’s just as hard over here. I’m wondering whether I can claim that living across the Menai Strait is technically ‘overseas’. Has to be said that a lot of delivery companies charge as if it is!

  5. All done, and without any electronic help! I’ve surprised myself at my B & H recall. Loved 18A, 11D and 15D in particular. 18/16 was the last answer in, and made me smile. A couple still need to be fully parsed and I’ll come back to those later after I get some chores done. Lovely stuff, Alchemi!

  6. Wow – crossed the water several times and finally arrived at the secure H.
    Loved it, Alchemi – thank you very much.

    Favs.list includes 12,14&19a plus 11,15&17d.

    A pic. or vid. clip of 9a in the review (CS?) would be much appreciated – a couple of my favourite films involved but I won’t say which in case it spoils the fun for other solvers. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    1. I think you’d be disappointed with clips or vids of 9a. I suspect I know what you’ve put there, but it’s wrong.

      1. Oh – rats! I’m absolutely flummoxed now. Despite Jean-luc’s attempt to help, I can’t decide whether I’ve got the correct answer with the wrong inference or missed a word that neither I nor Mr. Google seem to be familiar with. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif
        Either way it looks as though I’ll be missing out on a clip of robbery with violence or a stinging retort. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

    2. It isn’t him – the last bit (I think) is a word for a bad actor. Anyway I much preferred Steve McQueen!

      1. How very disappointing – I guess I have heard of the correct answer but I much preferred mine!
        Sadly, his place of birth seems not to even remotely fall within Mr. Johnson’s jurisdiction – small issue of a ‘pond’.

        Yes Kath, I’m also a Steve fan but I did SO enjoy the couple of films I almost mentioned that I’d have been happy to give my answer to 9a the credit, if only to have another look! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  7. That was great fun.
    Got the B directly from 2d and the H from 10a.
    That really helped me to get the rest and none were too hard to unravel.
    I spent a lot of time on 23a and 15d until I managed to parse them both.
    Rushed a bit in 18d and wrote Masonic until I realised I got the wrong letters.
    1a is just great.
    Thanks to Alchemi

    1. 1a has just taken me hours to unravel – been wandering round the garden thinking, “Yes, but why?” Asian ready!! Dear, oh dear!

  8. When we first looked at this and read the preamble we decided it would be totally impossible for us. And so it proved to be until, after making very slow progress with the first two or three, we clicked what the B and H must be. From that point it all fell into place very smoothly and we had heard of all the Bs and Hs. Only stumbling block turned out to be the actor in 9a who was unknown to us. Really enjoyed it as it reminded us that we will be able to visit some of these places in person in just a few weeks time.
    Thanks Alchemi.

    1. Shouldn’t worry too much about the actor, 2K’s. Sadly, turns out to be a nobody – just a green amateur from a blitzed area of the ‘Big Smoke’. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      1. We see what you mean Chris, but actually the clue could be read either way and both work and give the same answer. That’s how we see anyway.

  9. What a clever and fun puzzle! It was very difficult to put down once started. I picked up quite quickly on ‘H’, but ‘B’ took a while longer. Pleased to say, although not a Londoner, I am familiar with all. I think I have the correct answer to 9a — I sincerely hope so because it’s one of my faves and raised a big chuckle! I also liked 12a, 17d, 21d, and 14d (which took me ages because I was thinking of the wrong Pitt!). I liked 19a, but I am not sure that I have parsed it correctly.

    I look forward with interest to the review.

    Thanks, Alchemi. This was really most enjoyable.

    1. Sorry, for 14d read 11d. I crossed through the 11 to mark it. Time I used reading specs!

  10. Thanks, BD – it was well worth waiting for, both pictorially and info-wise.

    The 21d ‘B’ started out in life as my answer for 1a – thought an ‘Asian ready’ would be likely to be ‘alert’ and then chucked a ‘B’ in! Really weak, I know, and it left me rather short of options for Ma’s hat. Getting 21d had me scuttling back for an alternative.

    9a – well, it could have been Paul Newman. ‘actor’ – yes, ‘just emerged’ – new man, ‘from the London area’ – Mr. Google assured me that there are all sorts of streets, roads, restaurants and pubs to fit the bill but I guess they’re not actually ‘areas’. Such a shame.

    25a was a new word for me and I don’t recall coming across ‘caught’ being used in the manner of 19a before.

    Did my famous ‘half-parsing’ on 6&7d and 27a.

    Actually, I guess it’s nothing short of a miracle that I got there in the end but I did – and thoroughly enjoyed doing so. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  11. I didn’t see that one in Bridge House but enjoyed it thoroughly.
    Remember when Somerset House was the Inland Revenue at the start of Waterloo Bridge as it happens.
    It was nice to see the Round House theatre just behind Charing Cross. Could have been the Round House in Camden. It would have pleased Paso Doble.
    Remember also when the Americans bought the old London Bridge and took all that masterpiece stone by stone.
    I used to go to Manor House quite often to see friends in the Harringey Ladder and walk back up the hill to Crouch End.
    Thanks for all the memories.
    I do miss London sometimes.
    Thanks to BD for the pics and to Alchemi for the great fun.

  12. I loved the whole thing – would never even have got off the ground if Jane hadn’t asked if I could remember where we all met up in January – seriously dim! Oh dear and thanks to her.
    Anyway once that little problem was sorted I still found it quite tricky but Alchemi’s crosswords always are.
    I never got 15d even with alternate letters in – husband got 23a but left it to me to sort out why it was right – he also got 6d but we left it to BD to explain why.
    Favourite has to be 11d – what a brilliant clue – closely followed by 17d and, if only because it produced so much discussion, 9a.
    Thanks and congratulations to Alchemi for yet another winner and to BD for doing overtime on a Sunday.
    A http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif for Alchemi and another http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif to BD.

    1. Hi Kath,
      You’d have got there anyway – just didn’t want you to be thinking of giving up too soon and missing out on a great puzzle. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

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