NTSPP – 290 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 290

NTSPP – 290

A Puzzle by Radler

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Knowledge of the “ghost” theme is not necessary in order to solve the puzzle – can you spot it (it’s not too hard!)?

A review of this puzzle by crypticsue follows.

Not the trickiest Radler – perhaps the theme helped, although you might have to be a certain age (and as the 2Kiwis found, a resident of the UK) to remember the ones that hark back to the days of wobbly sets and dire scripts!

You don’t notice when solving, or even parsing, but once you start typing you realise there’s quite a lot of ‘remove a letter (or two)’ going on here.


1a           My people welcoming one’s inauguration ceremony (10)
CORONATION    An expression of surprise (my), the ‘inauguration’ or first letter of one and another word for people.

Coronation Street

6a           After Glenda drops him, life’s empty for Glen (4)
DALE   Remove GLEN (drops him) from GLENDA and then add the outside letters of LifE (empty being the instruction to take out the ‘middle’).

9a           Stand to provide view of flatter chest (7)
SOAPBOX   Flattery or soft words followed by a type of chest.

10a         Perverts disembowelled cat indoors? (7)
DOCTORS   Remove the middle letter (disembowelled) from CAT and then insert the CT  in  DOORS.


12a         Channel  15? (4)
SIDE   When there weren’t so many television channels, we would ask ‘which xxxx is the programme on?’.   This word can also be used to describe a team, 15? might be the number of players in the team.

13a         Critical point articulated by grumpy Cecil perhaps (10)
CROSSROADS     Another word for grumpy followed by a homophone (articulated by) of the surname of founder of a Southern African territory, Cecil being his Christian name.


15a         Not getting on in language, forgetting the French imperfect (8)
UNAGEING   An anagram (imperfect) of IN LANGUAGE once you have removed (forgetting) LA (French word for ‘the’).

16a         Setter’s gone wrong way (6)
STREET   An anagram (gone wrong) of SETTER.

20a         Cried, getting deeply involved (6)
YELPED   An anagram (involved) of DEEPLY.

21a         Shock to follow retreat (4,4)
TURN TAIL   Another word for a shock and a verb meaning to follow.

23a         Dead  excited (10)
BREATHLESS   Without signs of life or extremely excited.

25a         Square of five? (4)
FOUR  The Roman numerals representing a square number are hidden in fIVe.

27a         Everywhere’s removing carbon through diffusion (7)
OSMOSIS   Remove the C for carbon from a way of referring to the universe (everywhere) and follow with IS (as indicated by the ‘s at the end of everywhere’s)

28a         Firm’s minute agreement (7)
COMPACT An adjective meaning firm;  or  smallish (minute);  or a noun meaning agreement.  Interestingly the source of the picture describes this as  a  “cult Sixties drama” which is obviously how they thought of soap operas in those days.


29a         Plank ends traded to create edging (4)
KERB   Swap the two letters at the end of a slang work for a fool (plank).

30a         Cast set in Dirty Den’s era (10)
EASTENDERS   An anagram (cast) of SET DENS ERA.



1d           Researched example of macho man embodied by train driver (4,5)
CASE STUDY   A macho man inserted into (embodied by) the Christian name of the driver of the Cannonball Express (both Radler and I showing our ages here in remembering this one – I wonder if he sang the theme tune after he’d written the clue as I did while typing this!)

2d           Eldorado – essentially rubbish a hard lesson initially for writer (5,4)
ROALD DAHL   An anagram (rubbish) of the middle six letters of eLDORADo followed by A (from the clue) the abbreviation for hard, and the initial letter of Lesson.  The picture is of the short-lived soap rather than the author.


3d           Collars, cuffs, bandannas clothes making a comeback (4)
NABS   A slang term for arrests (collars) is hidden (clothes) and reversed (makes a comeback) in cuffS BANdannas

4d           Bank failed to open after levy on its administrator – wait here to be hired (4,4)
TAXI RANK   A levy followed by the initials of the organization that administers the levy  and then bANK (failed to open telling you to remove the first letter).

5d           Bowl occupants dismissing openers as somewhat passé (6)
OLDISH   Remove the first letters from each of the two words identifying the occupants of a water filled bowl.  I’d not realised until checking the BRB  that the ‘occupants’ are two words while the name of bowl where they live  is one word.

7d           A Bohemian’s subtle charm (5)
AROMA   A from the clue followed by a gypsy (Bohemian) gives a figurative noun meaning a subtle charm.

8d           Moderates stand by school’s head after pupil expelled (5)
EASES   A stand for art work has the L removed (L, learner, pupil expelled) and replaced by S (the head of school).

11d         Pigment tone altered, having charge across (8)
CAROTENE   A reddish-yellow pigment – an anagram (altered) of TONE inserted into a synonym for charge.

14d         Special support for incident during quiet intervals (8)
SEVENTHS   Insert an incident or happening into an interjection meaning hush (quiet) the result being supported by (or put before) the abbreviation for Special.

17d         Polish, English and American workers put away (9)
ELABORATE   The abbreviation for English, the American way of spelling workers and the past participle of a verb meaning to eat (put away).

18d         Stomachs turning, prepared live portion (9)
TOLERATES A reversal (turning) of a verb meaning prepared or ready, ARE (live) and an amount offered for sale (portion).

19d         One gentle quiet shameless woman removes top. About time! (8)
PUSSYCAT   The musical instruction for quiet, a shameless woman with the first letter removed (removes top), the Latin abbreviation meaning about and the abbreviation for Time.

22d         Drug withdrawn when a sample damaged blood component (6)
PLASMA   An anagram (damaged) of A SAMPLE once you have removed the E (drug, Ecstasy, withdrawn)

23d         Put up with  Gill (5)
BROOK   An archaic verb meaning to endure or a small stream (gill).


24d         Cereal originally eaten by Frenchman with his drink (5)
EMMER   The ‘original’ letter of eaten, the abbreviation for Monsieur (Frenchman) and the French (his) work for sea (drink).


26d         Sign from surfacing submarine captain (4)
OMEN   A reversal (surfacing) of a famous literary submarine captain.

The themed linked clues are 1a/16a, 24d/6a, 10a, 23d/12a, 13a, 28a, 30a and a further soap mentioned in the clue for 2d.

Radler emailed me yesterday to say that he would be off on holiday on Sunday (today) and, while thanking me in advance for the review, asked me also to thank all of you who commented on the crossword.

21 comments on “NTSPP – 290

  1. Very enjoyable – thanks Radler. It took me ages to see why 25a was what it had to be. I liked 10a and 19d a lot but my favourite has to be 5d.

  2. Why does it not surprise me that Gazza and Alchemi have nailed this one already!
    I’ve battled all afternoon and am still short of two – 15a&18d. I’ve got the ‘theme’ but it doesn’t seem to be helping with these two. Any hints would be much appreciated.
    By the way, Gazza, I smiled at your appreciation of 19d – one of our BD crowd (who shall remain nameless) uses precisely that word to describe your good self!

    1. Cracked it!
      Many thanks, Radler – you almost beat me this time.
      So many potential favourites – it was a great puzzle.

  3. Really nice, some beautiful clueing, and some fantastic surface readings (eg 6a, 15a, 4d, 30a, and more, too many to mention)

    Less taken with 12a, and if i have the right answer to 29a, the clue is based on rather offensive cockney slang

    1. Had no idea of the origin of 29a clue until your comment prompted me to ask Mr. Google about it.
      I can well remember my ‘middle-class’ parents and their friends using it casually in conversation to describe someone who was a little foolish – wish they were still here so that I could impart that little gem, of which I’m sure they were completely ignorant! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  4. We found this one very hard. The theme was, understandably, of very little help to us even though we guessed it relatively early on. Still a couple where we have not completely sussed the wordplay, 12a and 25a for example. We will cogitate on those during our Sunday morning beach walk.
    Thanks Radler.

  5. Many thanks for the review, CS – needless to say, I didn’t find this one as ‘un-tricky’ as you did!

    13a – thank goodness for the recent mention of Cecil, it could have taken a while to ‘click’ otherwise.
    25a – spent a long time wallowing in mathematical calculations, then tried for a connection to 5d and finally settled for a ‘square’ traditionally being in the middle (of a town or village). I was actually a bit disappointed with the correct parsing!
    18d – can’t find any reference to ‘et’ being a verb for prepared or ready, can you enlighten me?

    Sorry that Radler’s not around to take a bow – this was a really good challenge.

    1. Cancel that 18d comment, CS – just realised that the ‘s’ is missing from the answer in the review. ‘set’ makes far more sense! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

      1. That’s why I used the old inverted commas, OJ. Be grateful I didn’t try for trickyless. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cool.gif

    1. That one must have passed me by but, when I listened on You Tube, it was followed by the theme tune to Z Cars. Now my head is full of that ……..http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  6. Crikey. Thanks for the review, CS, I think I’ll bank this one as a learning opportunity! It seems so easy when you explain it….thanks to Radler as well of course.

  7. This was not for me. I had the theme early, because of 1A and 13A, two of the three old enough for me to have actually seen. I might have got 24D if I had cottoned on to the linked clues, but I didn’t. I had to google Dirty Den. Having read the review, I understand that one didn’t need to know the soaps, but I’m sure it helps if you do. As it was, I I found even the non-themed clues difficult and only completed half of the puzzle, so consequently I can’t say I enjoyed it. Appreciated the review, CS.

  8. Couldn’t get 14d at all.
    And just managed 24d thanks to the theme and 6a otherwise the SW corner would have remained pretty empty.
    Thanks to CS for the review and to Radler for the challenge.

  9. I didn’t do very well at all with this one – I always find Radler’s crosswords really difficult – maybe got a few more in this one than I usually do but I was still a very long way off finishing it.
    I missed the theme completely – yet another thing that I don’t know anything about.
    I liked 13 and 23a and 5 and 19d.
    One day I’ll be able to do these but I’d really hate anyone to hold their breath!
    With thanks to Radler and thanks (and admiration) to CS.

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