NTSPP – 302 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

NTSPP – 302

NTSPP – 302

What Goes Up by Chalicea

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A Prolixic of this crossword by review follows.

Chalicea delights once again with another themed crossword.  In today’s puzzle all of the down answers are either palindromes (words that read the same if read upwards as well as downwards) semordnilaps (words that make another word if read upwards).


9 To beg for space, time and right to consume (7)
ENTREAT – A two letter word for a printer’s space followed by the abbreviations for time and right and a word meaning to consume.

10 Exhilarate and fill with optimism about English sign of victory (7)
ELEVATE – A word meaning to fill with optimism about the abbreviation for English and a sign used by Churchill to signify victory.

11 Peculiar barcode for heavy silk patterned fabric (7)
BROCADE – An anagram (peculiar) of BARCODE.

13 Miser‘s ludicrous valuables (but mostly lost!) (4-3)
SAVE-ALL –An anagram (ludicrous) of VALUABLES after removing the B and U (but mostly lost).

14 Leading performer casually trashes romantic notions (9)
STARDUSTS – Another word for the leading performer in a production followed by an informal (casually) word for trashes.

15 Swindles men (5)
ROOKS – A double definition, the second being men on a chess board.

16 Made request for new rope ladders pals deviously removed (7)
ORDERED – An anagram (new) of ROPE LADDERS after removing the letters in PALS.  The deviously is a subsidiary anagram indicator telling us that the letters in PALS are not in the same order when removed from the main letters.

18 Regularly delivers on order lots of full, wide skirts (7)
DIRNDLS – The regular letters (in this case not every other letter) in DELIVERS ON ORDER LOTS.

21 Swarm around inferior tenor (5)
TROOP – Reverse (around) a word meaning inferior and follow it with the abbreviation for tenor.

23 Roughly vetted, Sir, in trial run (4,5)
TEST DRIVE – An anagram (roughly) of VETTED SIR.

24 Publicity for film involved artier bit of licence (7)
TRAILER – An anagram (involved) of ARTIER followed by the first letter (bit of) of licence.

25 One time partner, rather bulky in form; warning to others! (7)
EXAMPLE – A two letter word for a former partner followed by a word meaning bulky in form.

28 Paula with top bits stripped off, naked in Siberia’s old Verkhneudinsk (4-3)
ULAN-UDE – Remove the first two letters (top bits) removed followed by a word meaning naked.

29 Thrills of Italy’s capital recollected in starts now and then (7)
TREMORS – Reverse (recollected) the capital city of Italy and include this in the even letters (now and then) of STARTS. 


1 Originally become easily everyone’s best Auntie (4)
BEEB – The initial letters (originally) of the second to fifth letters in the clue.

2 Sent back too much old essential oil (4)
OTTO – The abbreviation for over the top (too much) and the abbreviation of old all reversed (sent back).

3 One who gives in recognition of services concerning jailor (8)
REWARDER – A two letter word meaning concerning followed by another for a jailor.

4 Suffering emotional pain throwing up chocolate mousses, for example (8)
STRESSED – Reverse (throwing up) the course of a meal of which chocolate mousses are an example.

5 With Assistant Secretary gone, calculates value of obsolete taxes (6)
SESSES – A word meaning calculates the value of with the abbreviation for Assistant Secretary removed from the beginning.

6 English Bible translation for fellow with foot on accelerator (6)
REVVER – The abbreviation for Revised English Version (one of the English translations of the bible) followed by an abbreviation for version (translation).

7 American uncle with plant having shape of winged seed (8)
SAMAROID – The American uncle personified as a symbol of the country followed by the name given to any plant of the lily family.

8 Reportedly trades in old seats (6)
SELLES – A homophone (reportedly) of sells (trades in).

12 Nonsense supported by other ranks in revolving bar (5)
ROTOR – A three letter for nonsense over (support by) the abbreviation for other ranks.

17 Plays involving one of  Zeus’s lovers; picture series representing continuous scenes (8)
DIORAMAS – A six letter word for plays includes (involving) a two letter name of one of Zeus’s lovers.

18 Stressed about sweets (8)
DESSERTS – Reverse (about) the stressed from the clue.

19 One who makes second draft engineers boxlike piece of furniture (8)
REDRAWER – The abbreviation for Royal Engineers followed by a box like piece of furniture in which things are stored.

20 Smooth out low-lying area (in Somerset maybe) (5)
LEVEL – A double definition, the send usually being used in the plural for the areas that often flood.

21 Egyptian boy king repeated expression of disapproval (3-3)
TUT-TUT – Repeat the diminutive name for the boy-king of Egypt.

22 Halt physical exercise, raising self to overhead beam (4,2)
PULL UP – Double definition, the second being defined by all but the first letter of the clue.

23 Master returning holds ring from dog’s collar (6)
TERRET – The answer is hidden in (holds) MASTER RETURNS.

26 Exhaust North American simpleton (4)
POOP – Double definition the second being an Americanism.

27 Actual existence within Angles’ settlement (4)
ESSE – The answer is hidden (within) in ANGLES SETTLEMENT.

38 comments on “NTSPP – 302

  1. Thanks Chalicea; nice setting to get in all the themed words. The problem is that one always ends up with obscurities, like 28, although that was easily clued.

    LOI was 14, which had two consecutive unchecked lights. 4 & 18 are old chestnuts but nice if you haven’t seen them before.

    I liked 16 & 18.

  2. Brilliant Chalicea, I’m very impressed with what you have achieved, great fun. I don’t want to give too much away, but the theme did help me with a quite a few answers!

    I thought you could probably get away with just the first 3 words in 22d

    Many thanks for the Saturday entertainment

  3. That was a real achievement – thanks Chalicea. The necessarily obscure words were all fairly clued and it all became easier once I realised what the title meant. Top clues for me were 18a and 6d.

  4. Very clever, Chalicea. As Dutch said, getting the theme certainly helped. I wouldn’t have known 7,8 &23d or 28a!
    Favourite is 18a – well remember having to make one out of thick navy blue serge in school ‘sewing lessons’. So heavy that I never did wear it!

      1. Of course I did too and they were horrible heavy things, not like that attractive illustration, but the voluminous pink knickers embroidered with butterflies were an even more horrendous sewing class obligatory creation.

        1. Good heavens – you must have attended a very forward thinking school, Chalicea! I’m convinced that our teachers believed that we spent our entire teenage years with our nether regions encased in school regulation navy blue knickers – complete with obligatory pocket for a handkerchief. The fact that we were expected to strip down to said knickers and complete cross-country runs through the local town clad in same plus a short T-shirt never seemed to strike them as being in any way immodest or potentially provocative. I should add that our route took us directly past the ‘boys’ school!

  5. How clever!! i am just amazed. Despite having the 4/18 pair in early, I was doing this the hard way until the penny thudded to the ground. Certainly helped with the last couple of answers..23D, 6D and 7D. Favorites are 13A and 6D. Many, many congratulations Chalicea on a fabulous puzzle loaded with fun.

    I hear there’s been some white stuff over there. Beautiful sunny day here. Avoiding leaf raking by going to Annapolis for lunch with good friends at one of our favorite pubs.

  6. Ha! Super idea, well worthy of the NTSP puzzle.
    Plenty of easier clues to get things going – for me the whole lower haf fell quickly – and then once the conceit became so blindingly obvious that even I twigged it, the rest were greatly helped by that theme and also by the ‘BRB’ as I’m learning to call it.
    Many thanks Chalicea, for coming up with, and for sharing, a terrific idea.

  7. I knew what I had to look for as soon as I read the title but this didn’t detract from the great entertainment.

    Thank you to Chalicea for the perfect Saturday afternoon crossword

  8. D’oh! Only realised the theme when I got to 18d and thought it was strange to see two similar clues in one crossword.
    It did help me get 5 and 6d though. And to think that it would have facilitated a few others restores my confidence.
    7/17d is quite an achievement. Bravo.
    The letter jump in 18a was brilliant too.
    I don’t know if the extra explanations in 19d, 20d and 22d were really needed but I like when clues tell a story.
    Thanks to Chalicea for the great fun.

      1. I think you’re correct, Dutch although the second def. is also listed as NA slang. The latter is doubtless a truncated version of the original British word.

      2. That would be my thinking, Dutch. The answer to the clue is a common North American word for exhaust. I am ****ed right now, after a long lunch and long drive home.

        The second definition is not North American slang for a simpleton, or at least one that I have ever heard. Jane, my BRB does not list that second definition as North American, either.

        1. I used an on-line dictionary, Chris, which listed it as a NA slang word derived from the old English rather longer word. I’ve never heard it used in the shortened form to describe a simpleton.

          1. Me either, hence my interest in the review. The BRB does list it as an abbreviated form (though not North American) of nincompoop, which may be where Chalicea got it.

              1. An intriguing discussion here; My clue actually cheated since the North American origin of the ‘exhaust’ sense of the word was obligatory. The intention was to use ‘Exhaust North American’ as part of the double definition and ‘simpleton’ as the other. Jane’s comment about an on-line definition of it as North American is new to me.

                1. All I can say is that, if you Google ‘poop – definition’, that is what comes up in the list! I’m sure it matters little at the end of the day and, in any event, the reminder of ‘nincompoop’ brought a smile to my face.

  9. I got to the stage where I thought “this is impossible” and then looked at the title again, and what answers I did have. Huge penny-drop moment and from there it was much more plain sailing and much enjoyed. Learnt a few new words along the way too.
    Thanks Chalicea.

  10. I thought this was brilliantly entertaining. Fortunately I twigged the theme after my first two answers in, 1d & 2d, which made matters much easier. As others have commented there are several obscurities which are inevitable in a themed puzzle like this, but all were readily solvable and so did not detract at all from the enjoyment. Well done and many congratulations to Chalicea. How anyone can even begin to compose something like this defies belief.

    My only question relates to 13a. I thought there was a convention that if letters are needed to be removed from a word they should appear in the same order unless specifically indicated in some way. But I suppose in a puzzle like this a few liberties are inescapable.

    Many thanks too to Prolixic. I never realised quite how attractive 18a could be.

    1. Yes, indeed, Rabbit Dave. Editors require us to honour that convention in a subtractive anagram and Don Manley, in his Crossword Manual, is clear about it. In this case, I felt that I could get away with the subtraction of just the two letters BU, even though they appeared as UB, since a second anagram indicator (‘chaotically’ for example) would give a truly clunky clue.

  11. We loved this – what a great theme. We did notice that each semordnilap pair was placed symmetrically, so yet more respect for Chalicea.

  12. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic and also for the Ziggy Stardust clip. That was the one and only production of his that made me actually fancy David Bowie for a while – he really had got great legs at the time!
    I did wonder whether 14a could actually be pluralised and hesitated as to the veracity of 6d although I did subsequently discover that it is an accepted word. As others have commented, there were several new words to be found here but they were all ‘doable’ and obviously very necessary to the theme. I did have a slight panic as to quite how far said theme was going to extend and, somewhere around 15a, wondered whether I was looking for a word that could be reversed and used elsewhere on the left hand side of the puzzle!
    Could I just add that the 18a we were required to make in school sewing lessons was appreciably longer than those shown in your pic. Maybe we would have been more inclined to actually wear them in that version!

    Hopefully, Chalicea will pop in to take a bow – I did enjoy this offering.

    1. Forgot to ask, Prolixic – which definition of 26d are you stating to be an Americanism? My research has led me to believe that both definitions of the word in that form emanate from that part of the world, although Chris thinks otherwise.

  13. Many thanks Prolixic. I’d forgotten the word semordnilaps (=palindromes backwards)

    in 26a, the discussion above tends to favour the first definition being an americanism.

    As RD points out, interesting discrepancy between 13a and 16a in terms of the need for a secondary anagram indicator for the subtracted letters. I always thought you needed this when there was something separating the two bits of anagram fodder, but neither clue has this. As is, the single anagram indicator could be applied to everything if you do the subtraction first.

    I continue to be impressed that Chalicea did this for EVERY down clue. Many thanks again.

  14. Don manley (Giovanni) has won this months AZED clue writing competition with an all-in-one subtractive anagram: (I’m not suggesting this should define the convention!)

    Prof RD’s an atheist – and has this designation possibly? ( the competition was to clue ESPRIT FORT)

    The ” – and has” ( minus and has?) is the subtracted bit, and the RD refers to Richard Dawkins. The bit at the end must be the anagram indicator….

    1. Good grief! I already have the greatest of respect for you as a crossword solver, Dutch, but feel compelled to ask – would you have been able to work that one out without foreknowledge of the answer?

      1. Good grief indeed, Jane, we couldn’t have solved it, but I can understand why it won as it is a single anagram [Prof RD’s an atheist] redefined as ‘and has ESPRIT FORTE’ – and undeniably brilliant.
        That’s the sort of clue we all hope to write one day!

        1. Ah, that’s a better explanation, thanks Chalicea.

          And thank you for dropping in and for the puzzle!

  15. I have really appreciated your comments and am so happy to have provided an enjoyable Saturday afternoon solve. Indeed the device led to the inclusion of obscurities like ULAN-UDE, for example, and the clue would have been tough on anyone without the Internet but obviously any aficionado of Big Dave’s site has the Internet so I risked it. As I have said before, the real joy for a setter is the lovely, well-informed input from the group of regular solvers and the fabulous review. Many thanks.

    1. The pleasure was all ours, Chalicea, and many thanks for providing same.
      Please don’t aspire to produce too many clues of the type conjured up for the Don’s AZED competition entry!

    2. Ulan-Ude (which sounded likely cos it’s a bit like Ulan Batar) was confirmed for me in Collins dictionary. Preferred your clues to that one by the Don!
      Where’s the Rookie this morning, I wonder?

  16. I really liked this. Spotting the theme certainly helped, and I was thus able to get most of it before turning to electronic help to finish.

    Immensely clever, and very enjoyable. Thanks Chalicea, and thanks also to Prolixic for the review.

  17. Really enjoyed this one and felt really stupid – even after completion – for not having spotted the theme until reading the above comments. When I’d seen 4d and 18d were the reverse of each other I initially thought it a minor weakness – doh!
    Especially liked the three obscurer words (for me at least) at 5d, 8d and 23d.

    That’s enough honesty for now. Thanks Chalicea.

    – ACTEON –

Comments are closed.