NTSPP – 295

NTSPP – 295

A Puzzle by Radler

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by crypticsue follows.

Radler is one of a handful of setters where I have to work really hard  to get on their wavelength and this NTSPP  was no exception.   An interesting mixture of clues and there was something about the solved grid which explained the reason for some of the more unusual words in the solutions.


1a           Trimmed comb-over, male head providing ridicule (7)
MOCKING   Trim or remove the last letter from COMB and then reverse (over) and follow with a male head of a monarchy.

5a           Sentences not German without big words (5)
BIRDS   A slang term for prison sentences is obtained by removing the abbreviations for German and without from BIG WORDS.

8a           Time confusing one, being on the move (9)
TRAVELLER   Being in this clue is a noun rather than a verb.   The abbreviation for Time followed by someone who confuses.

9a           Gone off secretly to post a letter (5)
STALE Hidden in (secretly) in poST A LEtter


11a         Love hearts recalled taking advantage of shelters (7)
HOUSING The letter that represents nought (love) and the abbreviation for Hearts reversed (recalled) and followed by a verb meaning taking advantage of.

12a         Lands such as Delaware and New York? (7)
ESTATES   You know what Delaware and New York are examples of, but which side of the country are they on??

housing estate

13a         Go out more, leaving Mary finally without shame (9)
STAINLESS   If you go out more, you xxxx xx xxxx – remove the final letter of Mary from the first word and then join the words up.

15a         Nerve might be appropriate for gossip (5)
STEEL   A homophone (for gossip) of another word for appropriate or take without permission.

stainless steel

17a         Trainee pruned plant (5)
INTER   Plant in the sense of put into the ground – remove the last letter (pruned) from a trainee.

19a         Contour of alien morphing into shapes (9)
LINEATION An anagram (morphing) of ALIEN followed by another anagram (shapes) of INTO.

21a         On the trot? (7)
RUNNING   Two meanings here – on the trot in the sense of happening on consecutive occasions or literally trotting.

23a         Puzzled by, and also confused by Society (2,1,4)
AT A LOSS   A preposition denoting a precise position (by) , an anagram (confused) of ALSO and the abbreviation for Society.

25a         Virgin claims special prize (5)
PURSE   Another word for untouched (virgin) with the abbreviation for special inserted.

26a         Rudely taking things can make trouble (9)
SNATCHING   An anagram (make trouble) of THINGS CAN.

purse snatching

27a         Regret fat, somewhat round, posterior (5)
AFTER   Hidden and reversed (somewhat round) in regRET FAt

28a         That s wrong! After tan’s faded developing tumours (7)
GROWTHS   An anagram (developing) of THAT’S WRONG once the TAN has been removed (faded).

1d           A lighter suit (5)
MATCH   Double definition – something used to light a fire or a verb meaning to suit.


2d           Whereby a clot starts to gel until not a liquid (9)
COAGULANT An anagram (liquid) of A CLOT the ‘starts’ of Gel and Until and Not plus an  A.

3d           One experiencing cold winter misses South of Spain? (7)
IBERIAN   Remove the S (misses South) from someone from a country that definitely experiences cold winters.

4d           Sawn-off shooter gets convict in prison (5)
GULAG   A prison for political prisoners – remove the last letter (sawn off) from a ‘shooter’ and follow with a slang term for a convict.

5d           I provide drinks and cake for every male (3,6)
BAR PERSON   Another way of referring to a cake of soap, for example, a preposition meaning for every and a male child.

bar person

6d           Moves examinations after failing to grasp English (2-5)
RE-SITES   Examinations you might take after failing the first time ‘grasp’ or have inserted E (English).

7d           Mercedes motor vehicles reversing (5)
SMART   A small Mercedes car is obtained by reversing some other vehicles.


10d         E – a letter preceding Latin in use (7)
EPSILON   The letter at the start of the clue and the 23rd letter of the Greek alphabet precede or go before the abbreviation for Latin and a preposition meaning in use.

13d         Support for foot  bone (7)
STIRRUP   A support for a foot when you are riding a horse or a small bone in the inner ear.


14d         Rogue lies about someone rating highly (9)
EULOGISER   An anagram (about) of ROGUE LIES.

16d         I shorten time and I stop moving (9)
EPITOMIST An anagram (moving) of TIME I STOP.

18d         Rip clothes, design dress (7)
RAIMENT   Insert another word for design into a verb meaning to rip or tear.

20d         French town where Dutch footballers lost ten – to cricket club? (7)
AJACCIO   Take the Roman numeral for ten from a Dutch football team , add the abbreviation for Cricket Club and then put  ten, in the form of the letters that look like the number, at the end.

22d         Largely typical Italian Opera (5)
NORMA   Bellini’s opera is obtained by using almost all (largely) the letters of a word meaning typical.

23d         Indian town where professional anglers meet (5)
ALANG   A town I’d never heard of – apparently it is where a large proportion of the world’s ship-breaking takes place –  is helpfully hidden where professionAL ANGlers ‘meet’.

24d         They express longing – how long did they express? (5)
SIGHS   A homophone (did they express?) of what you want to know about something when you ask ‘how long’.


  1. Jane
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Just opened up the link for this one – that’ll be the rest of the day spoken for then!
    By the way -isn’t this site ‘upgrade’ working well. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  2. gazza
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I nearly gave up on this one – not the puzzle, just trying repeatedly to get to the stage of being able to print it. Once printed it proved to be very rewarding – thanks Radler. Clues on the podium for me were 13a, 27a and 20d.

  3. Jane
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Left hand side’s fallen – right is putting up a fearsome fight. Even if I get to the end, I doubt that anything will beat 13a to the yellow jersey!

  4. dutch
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Phew, just finished – quite an effort. LOI was 5a (Sentences not German…). The left hand side went in first, then SE. All brilliant clues, in hindsight should have seen many of them much sooner. Lots of great wordplay. I wasn’t sure I’d fully parsed 20d (French town…) but I’ve seen it just now, funny how that happens.

    Plenty I like, the brilliant 2d (whereby a clot…) and 10d (E – a letter….) are my favourites. Also smiled at 24d (They express longing -…) nice surface, and 18a (rip clothes..) is nice as is 13a. Took a while for 7d to twig (Mercedes….), I had the answer for ages but refrained from filling it in.

    Lots of fun, and flawless and clever clueing as far as I can tell, with nice surfaces throughout.

    Many thanks Radler, and congratulations on a superb puzzle.

  5. dutch
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Almost forgot, and very cute Ninas – all exceptionally clever

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 3, 2015 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Bother. I’m going to have to rewrite the intro to the review now you’ve said that!

      • dutch
        Posted October 3, 2015 at 5:10 pm | Permalink


  6. Kath
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was really difficult and I haven’t even finished it yet.
    Left hand side is done but I’ve only got a few answers splattered around the right side.
    Not feeling too discouraged – I find Radler the the trickiest setter of all and I often don’t get anywhere with his crosswords.
    I liked 13a and, if I’ve interpreted it correctly, the thought of 17a being ‘plant’ made me laugh.
    I’m going to have a gap and see if brain can do a bit more on its own by the time I come back to it.
    In the meantime thanks to Radler and, in advance, to whoever is going to do the review tomorrow.

  7. Jane
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Trouble is, he’s such a devious fellow that it’s easy to forget to look for the obvious ones lurking in the clues!
    Spotting the 11/12 connection definitely helped but it still took a while to parse 5a.
    13a keeps its place at the top of the pile.

    What a triumph on the Nina front, Radler – I think you can be forgiven for needing to include the odd obscurity!
    Many thanks for a mind bending afternoon.

  8. 2Kiwis
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    That was a very taxing Sunday morning solve for us. Once we had read Dutch’s comment above we went back and found the cleverness that we had totally missed when we were solving. A couple of bits of geography in the SE that needed investigoogling and 7d had us stumped for a while. Excellent challenge, satisfying to solve.
    Thanks Radler.

  9. Maize
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Yes, that was an interesting journey from being highly dubious after my first two in – 19a and 20d (which I still can’t parse) through grudging respect, unexpected delight and ultimately loving the whole thing. Very satisfying indeed, plus a terrific Nina. Thank you Radler!

    • Maize
      Posted October 4, 2015 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Okay, got that bit of parsing now – cheeky!

  10. Expat Chris
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    The wee small hours of Sunday morning, and I’ve finally finished! After Friday’s Radler rout, I’m feeling really good about this. It took ages to spot the connection between the Across clues, even though I had 1/5A early on. Had I seen them sooner, I might have finished yesterday…or maybe not. Anyway, I can’t pick a standout, because there were so many, but if had to choose just one, I’d go for 10D. Or perhaps 20D ( I did know the Dutch team). Many thanks to Radler. A workout, but a satisfying one.

  11. Jane
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Many thanks for the review, CS – for once I had got to the bottom of all the parsing, but it certainly took some time!
    Eight Ninas in one puzzle, I wonder whether that’s some sort of record?

  12. dutch
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Many thanks CypticSue for an excellent review with a superb preamblehttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    I read the definition for 15a as “Nerve might be”, and I imagined 10d as an all-in-one, with the whole clue as the wordplay and as the definition, thinking the greek alphabet preceded the latin (didn’t it?)

    Thanks again Radler

    • Jane
      Posted October 4, 2015 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Hi Dutch,
      I used the same theory as you for 10d. Can’t quite get all the letters to fit in any other way, but maybe I’ve missed something?

    • Expat Chris
      Posted October 4, 2015 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      I got 10D from the checking letters first then parsed it the same as CS. I also parsed 15A the same way she did.

      • Jane
        Posted October 4, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        Thanks Chris – you made me look again. I keep intending to print out the Greek alphabet, obviously should have done so before now!

        • Expat Chris
          Posted October 4, 2015 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          I have a little stash of useful print-outs…List of elements, London underground Greek alphabet, geologic periods, and now a map of the countries of Africa! Just for verification, you understand. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  13. Radler
    Posted October 4, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    There were several times during the compilation of this puzzle when I got three quarters of the way through the grid-fill and then had to reverse and try alternatives words/phrases. Thank you all for your appreciative comments. I’m glad I persevered.

    Thank you too to CrypticSue and to Big Dave

    • Jane
      Posted October 4, 2015 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for popping in, Radler. May I ask – did you start out with the intention of including so many Ninas or did it just begin to evolve along the way?

      • Radler
        Posted October 4, 2015 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        I had the idea at the outset, but struggled for a long time with its implementation. (I think I compiled a couple of MPPs between starting and finally completing this particular grid-fill.)