NTSPP – 287 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 287

NTSPP – 287

A Puzzle by Beet

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A well-deserved promotion to the NTSPP slot for Beet.  Out-of-the-box thinking might help to parse one or two of the clues!

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.

Well done to Beet on joining the Saturday crew with an oriental themed crossword.  Lots to admire in the cluing and several clues to get you thinking – perhaps a little too elliptically in places?


1 Military man‘s weapon deployed heartlessly (6)
SHOGUN – Remove the central letter (deployed heartlessly) from a type of weapon – one that may be carried by a farmer.

5 Huge opponents heading off for sumo wrestling (8)
ENORMOUS – Two bridge opponents followed by an anagram (wrestling) of OR (for with the heading off) SUMO.

9 Early bird with nothing in schedule (7)
ROOSTER – Include the letter representing nothing inside another word for a schedule or rota.

10 Facet, or how one might make it turn to face (6)
DETAIL – To get face from facet, you need remove the final letter.  A cryptic way of describing this is another word for a facet.

11 A lesson with part that’s violent (1,4,2,3,5)
A SLAP ON THE WRIST – An anagram (that’s violent) of A LESSON WITH PART with the whole clue providing a definition.

13 It might be served in fancy sushi cafe (4,5)
FISH SAUCE – An anagram (fancy) of SUSHI CAFE.

15 Criticise rap – it’s attention-seeking noise (5)
KNOCK – A double definition.

18 The sound of one laugh//Is followed by one thousand//Then universal (5)
HAIKU – The whole clue is written in this verse form with the component parts of the answer being a two letter word for a laugh, the letters representing one and a thousand and then a letter representing universal.

19 Saw Oliver Twist on street where one can suit oneself? (6,3)
SAVILE ROW – An anagram (twist) of SAW OLIVER.

22 How a beast might attract a mate, especially a polar bear perhaps? (6,9)
ANIMAL MAGNETISM – What is the north pole famous for in terms of navigation.  Fancifully, polar bears may therefore may have more of this!

25 Mighty good man headed off evil (6)
STRONG – A two letter abbreviation for saint (good man) followed by a word for evil with the first letter removed (headed off).  As we have already had heading off, another initial letter removal device would have been better here.

27 A bit of a cold fish? (7)
SASHIMI – A very Rufus type of clue where a straight definition of the answer could be read in a completely different way.

28 Insisted upon a dessert cocktail (8)
ASSERTED – An anagram (cocktail) of A DESSERT.

29 Both sides of the Atlantic (East to West) host party for puzzling poor relation (6)
SUDOKU – Both sides of the Atlantic are the US and UK.  Reverse both (East to West) and include (host) a word for a party.


2 This bomb, this crash endlessly devastated this city (9)
HIROSHIMA – An anagram (devastated) of HI OM HI RAS (the words having their outer letters removed – endlessly.

3 Oddly, Gazza goes around greeting informally as “dumpling” (5)
GYOZA – A slang way of saying hello with the odd letters of GaZzA around it.

4 In a state having lost £1,000 at horserace (8)
NATIONAL – A famous race held at Aintree with the word for £1,000 removed.

5 Wild stray cat I rehabilitated (7)
ERRATIC – A word meaning stray followed by an anagram (rehabilitated) of CAT I.

6 Don and amen are two examples, but could be lots (6)
OODLESUdon and Ramen are two examples of Noodles.  Although clever, the clue does not really give the solver a fair chance to determine the answer or how the wordplay is derived.

7 Where a cat, or a mouse, might sit (3)
MAT – … the second being used under a computer mouse.

8 Institution that teaches Tesla and Siemens for example (5)
UNITS – An abbreviation for a university (institution that teaches) followed by the abbreviations for Tesla and Siemens.  This clue has the wordplay doing double duty with the definition so would not normally be allowed in a daily paper.

12 Weather in Seattle essentially wet (5)
RINSE – The answer is hidden (essentially) in WEATHER IN SEATTLE.

14 Confirm penetrating smell is bullshit (5)
HOKUM – A two letter word for a confirmation inside (penetrating) a word for a smell.

16 Karate move with weapon or implement (9)
CHOPSTICK – A type of downward hand movement in karate followed by a simple form of weapon.

17 A Nation’s capital is having terrible housing for key workers (8)
PIANISTS – The A from the clue, the first letter (capital) of Nation and the IS from the clue have a word meaning terrible around them (housing).

20 Assembled and beginning to abandon ship in the middle of a sea (7)
AMASSED – The first letter (beginning to) abandon and the abbreviation for a ship goes inside (in the middle) of the A from the clue and a well known sea in abbreviated form.

21 Struggle described at start of Leviticus and Exodus (6)
FLIGHT – Another word for a struggle goes around (described) the first letter (start of) Leviticus.

23 Letters A, B, C, D, E, F and G (5)
NOTES – The letters in capitals are musical examples of a word that also means letters.

24 Less than half her parts were written by A Bennett (5)
THIRD – Write the name of the actress Thora Hird in the same style as A Bennett (who incidentally wrote roles for her.

Farmer Giles woke one morning, only to see all his cows absolutely motionless in the field. 
He rushed out to find out what was the problem. Sure enough, every single cow was frozen solid. He fell to the ground in total despair, thinking of the looming disaster. He had let down everyone, his wife, his family, the bank manager, everyone. 
He was considering suicide, when suddenly this little old lady walked past him and slowly started to rub the nose of the nearest cow. She then rubbed further up its head and slowly it came awake and alive. The little old lady moved from cow to cow, resulting in the same miracle. 
Farmer Giles was ecstatic with disbelief. Old Bill, his oldest farmhand came along, totally unconcerned but fully understanding. 
Bill, asked Farmer Giles if he did not know the old lady? 
“No” says Farmer Giles. 
Bill says, “Why, its Thora Hird of course”.

26 Japanese character – it has singular meaning (3)
ONE – The answer is the English for the Japanese character “-“.  Needing to know Kanji character glyphs is a bit much!

37 comments on “NTSPP – 287

  1. An excellent (as is becoming customary) puzzle from Beet with a very nice theme and some cracking clues – I especially liked 10a, 29a, 2d and 17d.

  2. Superb, Beet, my print-out’s covered in big ‘ticks’! The theme was great and must have given you a few headaches. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif
    Some of the best for me were 10,18&29a plus 4,17&24d. Absolute winner was 22a.
    More, please. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  3. //Very nice crossword!//
    //Beats almost all earlier//
    //Saturday ones, Um?//

    Still struggling to parse quite a few.6d, 10a & 4d

    11a took me an age to unravel the anagram! Excellent!

  4. Hi Franco,
    10a – try a hyphen.
    4d – think of a word that might precede your answer and then ‘lose’ it.
    6d – I’m still thinking about that one myself!

    1. Just had a thought about 6d – may well not be correct of course!
      IF I’m right then ‘paint’ would be another example.

      1. I thought that both examples ending in N (No) gave us ‘no ends’. How does your ‘paint’ work?

          1. Thanks. I didn’t know the expanded words for the examples so I’d never have understood the wordplay without a prod in the right direction.

            1. gazza, it is most reassuring to know that even you need a gentle prod from time to time.


          2. Oh for goodness sake – that’s where I started out but couldn’t find a ?don. On checking again I realise that I hadn’t been sufficiently ‘country’ specific.
            Thanks, BD. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

        1. Oh dear, Gazza – you’re probably right as usual!
          I was simply looking at words which, if you remove one letter from them, still leaves ‘real’ words.
          The removal has already been done from what the 6d answer would have been if it followed the theme and still leaves you with a real word. Thinking about it, that should be ‘remove the first letter’ so ‘paint’ wouldn’t work – ‘that’ would do it.
          Now I write it that sounds really, really wrong. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  5. Well done Beet on your ‘promotion’.

    Interestingly, I got 6d quite early on and put a * by it as one of my ‘favourites’.

    1. No surprise there, CS! Did you actually know all the ? or did even you need to look them up? Please tell me you did!

      1. We have had them more than once so sorry. Please don’t cry. We have had a really lovely day and I don’t want anything to spoil it

  6. A great puzzle which we really enjoyed. Like others, we had not managed to parse 6d until we read the comments above. We laughed out loud when we twigged the wordplay for 22a.
    Many thanks Beet

  7. FINALLY managed to finish the southeast corner, but not without some investigoogling for 27A and 16D (which I still can’t parse). On the other hand, I did parse 6D correctly all by my own self. I’m sure I’ve seen 24D before somewhere, and not all that long ago. 2D is very timely. 17D was the last one in. The puzzle was lovely, and I enjoyed the challenge very much. And it took my mind off the Elgar toughie, which is still depressingly only a quarter done.

    29A is my favorite today. Puzzling poor relation indeed! Great stuff, Beet!

    1. Hi Chris,
      Made a hash of parsing 6d (see above!) but can manage 16d for you.
      Karate move + type of weapon = implement.

      1. My answer must be wrong, then. From the checkers, I figured karate move was the definition.

        1. Maybe you’re just looking at your answer the wrong way?
          The Karate move is often used on an apparently unbreakable object.
          The weapon is used to beat something or someone.
          The implement is something I’ve never been very good with!

          1. Shoot!! In replying to Franco (and thinking it was a serious question) I completely missed his subtle little hint. Now I feel really, really stupid. For the record, I had cross kick.

          1. Yes we do. Chinese immigrants were instrumental in building the railroads and settled on the East and West coasts. Some big cities, New York for example, have large Chinese populations and whole areas are dedicated to ethnic Chinese shops and restaurants. Appropriately, those areas are known as China Towns. Regular American Chinese restaurants typically provide a fork as a matter of course, but you have to ask for a knife. I am rubbish with chopsticks.

              1. Whoops!

                With the theme … do you have any Japanese restaurants in the US?

                I still need a knife & fork!

                1. I am sure there are many, and we have one or two where I live, but I’m not a fan of Japanese food, particularly sushi, so I avoid them. Interestingly, Indian restaurants are very thin on the ground, though Thai is quite popular these days. Our main culinary influences are Italian and Hispanic. And you won’t find a real fish and chip shop for love nor money.

  8. Many thanks, Prolixic – especially for the 16d clip and the terrible joke! I wish they’d show the original Talking Heads series again on TV – Thora Hird was brilliant in those.

    I’d started out with the right idea for parsing 6d but couldn’t find udon in the list of noodles. After BD’s hint I went back to check and discovered that the list I had originally looked at covered just Chinese noodles – not Japanese.
    Yes, it did take quite a lot of research to parse 26d!

    Still a brilliant puzzle and, as Chris said, very timely.

  9. Thanks Beet and Prolixic.
    I managed just over half, (good for me), and what I managed I really enjoyed – the Thora Hird one was my favourite.

    I did notice the double duty thing about 8d, but for me I cannot really see why a clue like this (where the whole clue describes the wordplay and contains the definition) should be frowned upon, whereas a semi&lit (where the whole clue is the definition and contains the wordplay) is seen as a great achievement in clue-writing. It too has aspects doing double duty. Of course, in the all-in-one clue, everything is doing double duty.

    I do understand why elements doing double duty is normally wrong, and unfair, though.

  10. Thanks to Prolixic for making the review appear “automagically” just after midnight !

    Thanks to Beet for the puzzle!

    ありがとう – Sayonara !

  11. Thanks for the comments everyone and to Prolixic for the review. I am delighted with my promotion, although this one was written ages ago and if I had known it was going to be my NTSPP debut I would have deliberated over it even more than usual.

    I knew I was pushing it with 6d and 26d. I think the (n)oodles one has a slightly odd structure, but I think it would be fair but for the fact that udon and ramen are not familiar words to everyone (get thee to a Wagamama – you are missing out). 26d is also pushing it – someone needs to page Jean-Luc to this thread because I’m going to blame him for giving me the idea from a comment he made on another puzzle.

    jean-luc cheval
    Posted January 26, 2015 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Have the same problems with 25 and 27a. Although the anagram in 25a would work if it was criminal to drink tea or if the exclamation mark was the Chinese symbol for cha.

    Thanks to my test solvers Sprocker, Silvanus and Cryptic Sue. and thanks to Gazza for his useful letters in 3d.

  12. Thanks Beet,
    Always glad to be of some help.
    I really enjoyed your crossword as you managed to insert some very unusual and interesting words which were all clearly defined.
    10a and 15a were my last ones in.
    The anagram in 19a was great.
    My favourite is 29a although I really liked 6d also.
    Thanks also to Prolixic for the review.

  13. Really great stuff Beet. Congratulations on your well-deserved graduation to NTSPP.

    My favourite is 18a with 29a nipping hard on his heels. I also particularly liked 22a and too many more to list.

    Hadn’t heard of 3d or the Japanese part of 26d. I couldn’t parse 6d which was driving me nuts. Glad I was in good company there – thanks BD for putting us out of our misery.

    Thanks to Prolixic for the review and 6d of thanks to Beet.

  14. Far too late commenting now but didn’t have time to even look at this one, let alone do it, over the weekend – just thought that I’d ‘pop in’ to say well done and congratulations to Beet on the well deserved promotion and thanks to Prolixic for explaining the ones I didn’t get.
    Even though I’d never heard of 3d I did eventually get the answer – it made me laugh although the picture of it looks a bit gloopy and yucky.
    Thanks and well done again to Beet and thanks again to Prolixic.

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