NTSPP – 292 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 292

NTSPP – 292

A Puzzle by Chalicea

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Chalicea makes a welcome return with a gentle puzzle – this time with no gimmicks.

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows:

It is always a pleasure to welcome Chalicea to the NTSPP slot.  As others have pointed out, this was a gentle but genial crossword.  It was slightly high on the anagram count but we have seen more anagrams in the Daily Telegraph though rarely six in a row!  It did not detract from the crossword.


1 Singular fellows consuming separate drops of negus and port, strong alcoholic drink (8)
SCHNAPPS – The abbreviation for singular and another word for fellows include in separate places the initial letters (drops of) of negus and port.

5 Fruit of mother with child (6)
DAMSON – A three letter word for a mother followed by a word for a male child.

10 Lover from Italy’s capital (old) (5)
ROMEO – The capital of Italy followed by the abbreviation for old.

11 Inordinately posh chain; no place for bullish behaviour (5,4)
CHINA SHOP – An anagram (inordinately) of POSH CHAIN.

12 Sorted out main trail for postal delivery service (4-5)
MAIL TRAIN – An anagram (sorted out) of MAIN TRAIL.

13 Gold coin put into circulation (5)
ORBIT – The heraldic abbreviation for gold followed by another word for a coin.

14 Ancient silver and base metal with surface removed (3-3)
AGE-OLD – The chemical symbol for silver followed by the base for natural logarithms and a precious metal with the initial letter (surface) removed.

15 A co-host broadcast in this sort of collusion (7)
CAHOOTS – An anagram (broadcast) of A COHOST.

18 Naughtily stirs up over-fastidious moralists (7)
PURISTS – An anagram (naughtily) of STIRS UP.

20 Cats do run wild in sizeable groups (6)
OCTADS – An anagram (run wild) of CATS DO.

22 Fluttering almost boring little creature in trouble if north wind blows (5)
ROBIN – An anagram (fluttering) of BORING without the G (almost).  The allusion is to the nursery rhyme – The North Wind doth blow, And we shall have snow, And what shall the poor robin do then? Poor thing!

24 Rat breeds cunningly getting little songster (9)
REDBREAST – An anagram (cunningly) of RAT BREEDS

25 Sailor running amok nail up his hat (9)
TARPAULIN – A three letter word for a sailor followed by an anagram (running amok) of NAIL UP.  Six clues with anagrams in a row!

26 Some intricate roleplay to provide entertainment (5)
CATER – The answer in hidden in (some) INTRICATE ROLEPLAY.

27 Afros like, say, regularly traditional in style (6)
FOLKSY – The regular letters in AFROSLIKESAY

28 Knowing and clever to spread this insecticide (3,5)
FLY SPRAY – A word meaning knowing and clever followed by a word meaning to spread.


1 One-time supermodel losing weight becomes very puny person (6)
SHRIMP – Remove the TON (losing weight) from the name of a 1960’s supermodel.

2 Lawless hired gun pocketing millions; outstanding example of his kind (9)
HUMDINGER – An anagram (lawless) of HIRED GUN includes (pocketing) the abbreviation for millions.

3 Many of thousands wandering for a long time (1,5,2,7)
A MONTH OF SUNDAYS – An anagram (wandering) of MANY OF THOUSANDS.

4 Leafy vegetable supporting Italian river duck (7)
POCHARD – The name of an Italian river (famously relocated to China by another blogger) over a leafy vegetable.

6 Moggie with scorched feet is in an agitated state (1,3,2,3,6)
A CAT ON HOT BRICKS – A possible description of a metaphorical phrase.

7 From time to time boxing has turned up man considered refined and cultivated (5)
SAHIB – The first and fourth letters (from time to time indicating a regular selection) of boxing and the HAS from the clue all reversed (turned up).

8 Top set up is welcomed by rising men, producing jobs for relatives (8)
NEPOTISM – Reverse (set up) the TOP from the clue and add the IS from the clue and put the resulting letters inside (welcomed by) a reversal (rising) of the MEN from the clue.

9 Endlessly select mostly satisfactory packed food for eating outdoors (6)
PICNIC – A word meaning select with the last letter removed (endlessly) followed by a word meaning satisfactory with the final letter removed (mostly).

16 Great artist‘s exotic star model (3,6)
OLD MASTER – An anagram (exotic) of STAR MODEL.

17 Drunken son with this alcoholic appetizer produces profanities (8)
APERITIF – A type of drink which when made into an anagram (drunk) with SON produces a PROFANITIES.

19 Excessively strident US con man’s side kick trapping shopper ultimately (6)
SHRILL – Another word for a US con-man’s sidekick includes (trapping) the final letter (ultimately) of shopper.

20 Partly record in a list indicating arrangement of sequence (7)
ORDINAL – The answer is hidden inside (partly) RECORD IN A LIST.

21 Judicious finally to linger for Vincent’s night (6)
STARRY – The final letter of judicious followed by a word meaning to linger.  The reference is to the painting by Vincent Van Gogh.

23 Pale greenish part of shrubbery leaves (5)
BERYL – The answer is hidden inside (part of) SHRUBBERY LEAVES.

33 comments on “NTSPP – 292

  1. Very gentle puzzle, as BD says, with some good clues (though possibly a few too many anagrams for my liking). Thanks to Chalicea for the entertainment. My favourite was 11a.

  2. Thanks Chalicea for an entertaining puzzle. I didn’t know the groups or the con-man’s accomplice but they were fairly clued.

    1d takes me back….to a pleasant picture. I agree that 11a was nice.

  3. Very nice, many thanks. I didn’t know the side-kick. I really liked 17d (drunken son), very clever, 11a (posh chain). 14a, ha, this also appeared in the Times today where i caused myself no end of difficulty by swapping the two words. 12a is sort-of a reverse spoonerism. Fun words, like 2d,15a,21d,27a

    my last one in and favourite was the long 3d, i didn’t see the parsing until i had all the checkers.
    Many thanks Chalicea.

  4. Very enjoyable – I never mind too many anagrams :-)

    I’m joining the consensus in liking 11a.

    Many thanks, Chalicea.

  5. Delightful brain reader while waiting for lunch to conflagrate. Loved 15a just because I love the sound of the word, look forward to explanations tomorrow as am a bit at sea with several of the answers I have put in. Thanks to Chalicea.

  6. It might have taken no time at all to solve but it was enjoyable. I did know the sidekick. I don’t mind anagrams but I do feel this might have tipped over the edge into the ‘too many’ bracket. The wordplay was so helpful too so that, in many cases, I didn’t have to think what the letters were going to rearrange themselves into, just check that they were all there.

    Thanks to Chalicea for the perfect ‘I must have a crossword fix’ in the middle of tomato chutney Saturday. Thanks in advance to Prolixic too

  7. Most of the answers came readily enough from the clues but there were certainly some that I needed to check for definition.
    Things I didn’t know (or had forgotten!) – the 20a groups, the ‘hat’ reference at 25a, the US side kick and the name of 23d.
    Oh yes – I also had to check out Vincent!
    A couple of real ‘smile’ words at 15a & 2d but I’ll go with the majority verdict and give 11a the ‘favourite’ slot. I did wonder whether you could have added ‘store’ to the clue for a better surface read, but Prolixic will doubtless tell me otherwise!

    Good for you, Chalicea – an enjoyable NTSPP. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    1. Forgot to say – I liked the 22/24a combo. Could have been good if the cluing had included a reference to same?

  8. As far as I’m concerned there’s just no such thing as too many anagrams although I do agree that there were quite a few.
    27a and 17d were my last two answers and I’d got myself into the position of not being able to do one until I’d done the other – oh dear!
    I don’t think I knew that 25a could be a hat – only knew the sheet.
    Can’t spell 1a.
    I don’t quite get my 14a – I see the silver but not the the rest.
    Can’t see why 7d is what it has to be – ‘has’ turned up but why the last two letters. I know that I’m being dim with 14a and 7d.
    I liked 27 and 28a and I think my favourite was probably 21d.
    With thanks and a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif to Chalicea.

    1. H Kath,
      I think that the extra letters in 7d are taken ‘from time to time’ out of ‘boxing’ and then reversed along with ‘has’.
      As for 14a – try splitting your answer 2/1/3 and then using each of the three pieces to answer parts of the clue. I struggled with the middle bit but Mr.Google tells me it’s mathematical – which puts it into the same realms as cricket etc. for me!

      1. Thanks for trying – I told you that I was being dim – I’m still being dim – I still don’t understand 14a. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
        I’m sure you’re right with 7d though so thanks. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

        1. OK – I’ll try again –
          Start with ‘ag’ for silver, then add ‘e’ (the mathematical constant which is the BASE of the natural logarithm) and finish off with (G)old – metal from which the surface has been removed.

  9. I counted 12 anagrams and 3 hidden words; I wonder if Prolixic will say that’s too many. Their effect was to make this a very quick solve. Enjoyable none the less, though and definitely good stuff, so thank you Chalicea.
    In a clue like 17d, which I loved by the way, should it be ‘might produce’ rather than ‘produces’? That’s not a correction, it’s a genuine question, because I’m not sure of the rule!

    1. I agree with Prolixic that the 12 anagrams, though high at 40%, do no detract from the puzzle. There is no rule for the number of anagrams, it’s just that if there are too many of any single type of clue the puzzle can feel unbalanced and monotonous, but I would hardly describe this puzzle that way. Typically 6 to 8 anagrams leaves plenty of room for other clue types, and this is probably what you would see in a lot of puzzles, but there are only ever too many if it detracts from the enjoyment.

      Your second question is really good. I think (and I’m just one person!) that the “might produce” is most relevant for a reverse clue where the anagrind is part of the solution. For example, “This might produce gegs” where the answer is “scrambled eggs”. These clues work best when the answer is a well known phrase. In 17d, the anagram is in the clue, and when mixed with the answer it DOES produce profanities, this is not a reverse clue ( I think Don Manley calls it a composite anagram on p74 of his Chambers crossword manual), so in this case I think “produces” is appropriate. Hope that is useful

        1. by way of example for the first question, see also my preamble to last Friday’s toughie (which again is just 1 person’s opinion – other commenters didn’t seem to mind as much)

  10. A very pleasant Sunday morning romp for us. The US con-man in 19d needed BRB confirmation and we had to dig deeply into memory to find the hat definition for 25a, but it was there. It all went together smoothly with lots of smiles and chuckles along the way.
    Thanks Chalicea.

  11. Thanks Chalicea for an enjoyable puzzle, not too difficult as others have said, but excellent practice for those of us still reasonably new to cryptics. 20ac was a new word for me, I’ll try to fix it in what remains of my brain!

  12. As always many thanks for the review Prolixic.

    I certainly agree that the anagram count did not detract from the puzzle (see comment 9)

    Thanks again Chalicea

  13. I’ve just been wondering whether or not to admit my ignorance about 21d – think I will. I know nothing about art and thought it was referring to Don Maclean’s song! There – now you all know how dim I am. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif
    With thanks again to Chalicea and appreciation to Prolixic for the review.

    1. There is some saying about ask a question and feel a fool for a minute, don’t ask and feel a fool for a lifetime. I also thought immediately of Don Mcleans song “Vincent” and that’s how I solved it, I didn’t think further. A quick google reveals that there is a painting called “the starry night” (that’s it in the review), which is what the song, which is all about Vincent van Gogh, refers to. The song still gives me goosebumps, its a classic.

      1. I love this song too – thanks for putting it up Dutch. I did know the painting – but from the song (and an episode of Dr Who).

  14. Not dim at all, Kath. Indeed, it was Don Maclean’s song rather than Vincent’s painting that sprang to mind when that word ‘appeared’ as the best one to use in the grid. As always, I am delighted with the solvers’ response and love Prolixic’s review. Apologies for the large number of anagrams. Sometimes such a good anagram suggests itself that it seems a shame to use a different convoluted device (like the ‘posh chain’ for the CHINA SHOP that is no place for Prolixic’s bull – what a fabulous illustration!) I promise there will be fewer anagrams next time.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  15. I was another in the ‘starry, starry night’ brigade and had to look up the Vincent reference – just shows how much I know about art!
    Many thanks for the review, Prolixic and thanks again to Chalicea for the puzzle.

  16. Gentle but fun – thanks Chalicea.

    7d and 20a were new to me (or forgotten) as was that definition of 25a. It was all perfectly solvable though – I do like it when I can leave dictionary checking until the end (or indeed, be lazy and just wait for the review).

    I needed the review to unravel 14a. No excuse there – I really should have got that myself. Thanks to Prolixic.

  17. Thanks for this, just at my level, so I really enjoyed it. One point about the number of consecutive anagram clues – if the clues are non-directional, (so you haven’t written clues that can only be for a down answer, say) then flipping the grid (so the across clues become down clues and vice versa) means the clue order completely changes, so this will break things up a bit.

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