NTSPP – 279 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 279

NTSPP – 279

A Puzzle by Alchemi

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by Big Dave follows:
(Sorry it’s a bit late but Sunday was spent recovering from my trip to Brum the previous day and on Monday I took advantage of the great weather to visit the National Memorial Arboretum.)


1a Zero seconds in place where drivers stay (6)
MOSTEL: S(econds) inside a place where drivers of cars can stay

4a Nice jet in trouble – good to be getting out quickly (8)
EJECTING: an anagram (in trouble) of NICE JET followed by G(ood) gives a verb meaning to be getting out quickly from a fighter aircraft that is in trouble

10a Returning stuff with you finally in control it will render ineffective (9)
NULLIFIER: a verb meaning to stuff or cram and the final letter of [yo]U inside a verb meaning to control, all reversed (returning)

11a One fighting Ebola starts to be conscious (5)
AWARE: A (one) followed by some fighting and the initial letter (starts) of E[bola]

12a Gives inside information on  rubbish places (4)
TIPS: two definitions

13a Around Tashkent University, an unknown number of shambolic beatniks (10)
UZBEKISTAN: U(niversity) followed by an unknown number in mathematics and an anagram (shambolic) of BEATNIKS

15a FBI operative follows British Queen Ingrid (7)
BERGMAN: an FBI operative (1-3) follows B(ritish) and the Queen’s regnal cipher

16a Space travellers initially have dry second flight (6)
STAIRS: the initial letters of the first two words in the clue followed by a verb meaning to dry and S(econd)

19a Orson goes round Luxembourg twice (6)
WELLES: a verb meaning goes (to the toilet) around two of the IVR codes for Luxembourg

21a Eli‘s Rolex perhaps losing time with everyone interrupting (7)
WALLACH: the type of timepiece of which a Rolex® is an example (perhaps) without (losing) the T(ime) and then around (interrupting) a three-letter word meaning everyone

23a Had knowledge of pleasingly strange journalist following account (10)
ACQUAINTED: an adjective meaning pleasingly strange and the usual journalist are preceded by AC(count)

25a Complain about Waterhouse’s Billy (4)
LIAR: the reversal of a verb meaning to complain gives the second name in the title of a famous book and play by Keith Waterhouse (born 1929, so not part of the theme) about a character whose real name was William Fisher

27a Mourning period knife assassin begins (5)
SHIVA: this little used word for a type of knife is followed by the initial letter (begins) of A[ssassin]

28a Frightened to make a mistake whenever drawn on the outside (9)
TERRIFIED: a verb meaning to make a mistake and a conjunction meaning whenever or “in the event of” with a word meaning drawn around the outside

29a Spanish article on leaders of crucial experiment which measures light intensity (8)
CANDELAS: the plural Spanish definite article preceded by a way of expressing the initial letters (leaders) of two words in the clue (1,3,1)

30a Harry beginning to mince liver? (6)
MORGAN: the initial letter (beginning to) of M[ince] followed by the type of body part of which the liver is an example (as indicated by the question mark)


1d Fool has Obama worried about part of Canada (8)
MANITOBA: a fool surrounded by (has … about) an anagram (worried) of OBAMA

2d Encourages Europe to accept the sort of thing which couldn’t be a sow’s ear (4,5)
SILK PURSE: a verb meaning encourages and E(urope) around a sort or kind gives something that proverbially can’t be made from a sow’s ear

3d Old computers are way out (4)
EXIT: a two-letter prefix meaning old followed by an abbreviation for computers or the department that looks after them

5d 9 members of panel, say, getting up on poles to see Curt (7)
JURGENS: three-quarters (9/12ths) of a four-letter panel or group of people sworn to reach a just verdict followed by the reversal of the Latin abbreviation of say or “for example” and a couple of the usual poles

6d What an expert barbecuer will do with a steak, being kind (10)
CHARITABLY: split as (4,2,4) this could be what an expert barbecuer will do with a steak

7d Sleep during sex not going down well (5)
INAPT: a short sleep inside a two-letter word that can be used for sex

8d Lorne has a piece of filigree netsuke (6)
GREENE: hidden (a piece of) inside the clue

9d Top musicians look around mast (6)
MIZZEN: what precedes Top in the name of an American rock band inside a look or appearance – placing it as the first word conceals the necessary, in this context, capitalisation of Top

14d Join together with priest climbing over barrier to embrace mother (10)
AMALGAMATE: the reversal (climbing) of a Buddhist priest followed by (climbing over in a down clue) a barrier which itself is around a two-letter word for mother

17d Seeing what choir does after genuine castrati are all but gone (9)
REALISING: what a choir does is preceded by an adjective meaning genuine and [castrat]I with nearly all (all but) its letters dropped (gone)

18d How woman managed to hide unconscious Ann (8)
SHERIDAN: The female pronoun followed by a verb meaning managed around, not an adjective meaning unconscious, but the unconscious or the deepest, inaccessible level of the psyche

20d Frank‘s spectacular tan, I said, is in part a put-up job (7)
SINATRA: hidden (in part) and reversed (a put-up job) inside the clue

21d Boat changes direction in sack (6)
WHERRY: start with some sack or Spanish wine and change the direction of its initial letter

22d Make sense of Charlie’s extreme distance (6)
PARSEC: a verb meaning to make sense of, in the way that a crossword blogger would to a clue, is followed by the letter represented by Charlie in in radio communication

24d Most of drug I leave for Anthony (5)
QUINN: most of a drug with an I dropped from what’s left

26d Pastry feeling incredibly like oilcloth to start with (4)
FILO: the initial letters (to start with) of four words in the clue

Alchemi has ingeniously shoe-horned into the grid the surnames of ten people (highlighted above) who were born in 1915.

23 comments on “NTSPP – 279

  1. Enjoyable puzzle with a nice theme – thanks, Alchemi. My last one in, and my favourite for the d’oh moment, was 1a.

  2. Thanks Alchemi, enjoyable puzzle, although there were a couple I didn’t know. My FOI was 1a!

    I guess 27 must be crossword special words, both the knife and the mourning period. I particularly liked 20.

    1. SHIV has rather gone out of fashion, but you won’t find any Jews who think SHIVA is a crossword special word.

  3. I was left with 1A, and had to eventually resort to revealing letters to save my sanity. That is the only one of the themed people I’ve never heard of. Also 21D is a new word to me. Altogether lovely puzzle, though I still have some parsing to complete, speaking of which, I really liked 22D. Thanks, Alchemi!

  4. Almost finished.
    I can’t do 1 or 29a or 9d and have a few others that I don’t quite understand.
    I didn’t know all the themed people but just about worked them out and asked Mr Google.
    I liked 13a and 1, 2 and 7d.
    With thanks to Alchemi for brightening up a grey and very wet afternoon.
    Now what shall I do? Feeling a bit cooped up. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    1. PS Forget 1a – flash of inspiration – well, actually not quite that good but having read what Expat Chris said about it I guessed – definitely never heard of him and hadn’t got as far as registering that he was one of the themed ones.

    2. 9D is one of the clues where I think I have the right answer but can’t sort out. I think 29A is a rather obscure word unless you’re an engineer or scientist. I rarely ask Mr. Expat for help with crosswords but I did for this clue and he came up with a very similar word. With that in mind, I was able to parse the clue and arrive at the right answer.

  5. Thanks Alchemi, I really enjoyed this. The theme was fun and some really good clues. and lovely surfaces. I liked 4a (nice jet), 17d (castrati), 20d (Frank), 22d (make sense), but also some of the simpler ones I thought were particularly good, e.g. 12a (gives inside information) & 3d (old computers).

    some minor worries (6d, 11a, 29a) which may be explained tomorrow. Oh, and for some reason 13a (Tashkent University) really tickled me as well.

    LOI was 1a, was going to give up, but luckily Expat Chris dropped a hint. Well disguised!

    Thanks, brilliant stuff.

  6. Our penny drop moment was working out the wordplay for 9d. We had Google on hand but only had to use it for confirmation of birth dates. We ended up with 9 people that fitted the theme, don’t think we missed any, and we did also note that it is a PANGRAM. Very clever and a lot of fun. Right in the Goldilocks Zone for difficulty.
    Many thanks Alchemi.

      1. We had marked them all with a highlighter pen as we wrote them in but somehow forgot to use it on 21a. That sorted,http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif our count is now also 10.

  7. I thoroughly enjoyed this.
    Haven’t had time to read the blog but some clues were just perfect.
    Fell into the trap for 2 seconds in 1a but I knew him from Mel Brooks film.
    I had to check 25a if Billy Liar was created in 1915. But he wasn’t.
    13a was fantastic.
    Thanks to Alchemi.

  8. Nice one Alchemi. Couple of the themers I hadn’t heard of but a bit of “Guess ‘n Google” came to the rescue.
    Fav was 9d as I always wanted a boat with one of them.

    Thanks Alchemi

  9. Many thanks BD for the review.

    The three questions I had (see comment 5) were
    11a: how do you cryptically read “Ebola starts” to give 1 letter? changing starts to a verb doesn’t seem to help much
    29a: CANDELAS are light intensity measures. How does “measure light intensity” (with or without the which ) work as a definition?
    6d: for “charitably”, wouldn’t you need “kindly” in the clue?

    Not trying to nitpick, just wondering if I have missed something.

    Looking at the review again reminded me of what a great puzzle this is.

    Thanks again Alchemi & BD

    1. I was happy with “Ebola starts” as in “Ebola starts with “E” and “which measures light intensity”. I agonised over kind/kindly and in the end decided to await the reaction.

      1. I actually think the definition is “being kind”, as in “Being kind/Charitably, he’s not too sensible.”

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