NTSPP – 306

NTSPP – 306

Rowdy Dogs by Windsurfer

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.

Windsurfer has included the names of seven setters of the Telegraph Toughie in the solutions as well as Telegraph and Toughie.  The themed entries are shown with an asterisk.


*9 Large relative keeping bit for gradual assimilation (7)
OSMOSIS – The abbreviation for oversized (large) and an informal way of saying sister (relative) includes (keeping) a word for a short period of time (bit).

10 University man is neat, Fleming catches on (7)
OXONIAN – A type of cattle (neat) followed by the first name of the author Fleming includes (catches) the ON from the clue.

11 Before church, Cliff’s loose bottom produces horrible sound (7)
SCREECH – The name for the loose stones at the bottom of a cliff followed by an abbreviation for church.

*12 In spite of everything first husband is lost; that’s a difficult situation (7)
TOUGHIE – Another word for in spite of everything has the first H (husband) removed and this is followed by the abbreviation for that is.

*13 Daily is great help when organised (9)
TELEGRAPH – An anagram (when organised) of GREAT HELP.

*15 Composer of the Spanish newspaper reactionary (5)
ELGAR – The Spanish for the followed by a reversal (reactionary) of a three letter word for a downmarket paper.

16 Sailor (retired journalist) removed from a reminder accidentally (7)
MARINER – An anagram (accidentally) of A REMINDER after removing the reversed (retired) abbreviation for a newspaper editor (journalist).

19 No longer active, old wife can cohabit without being stuffed (7)
EXTINCT – A two letter word for an old or former wife followed by another word for a can and the outer letters (without being stuffed) of cohabit.

20 Engineers excluded from rally insurance (5)
COVER – Remove (excluded) the abbreviation for Royal Engineers from another word meaning rally or get better.

*21 Sword‘s former quality, say (9)
EXCALIBUR – An two letter word for former followed by a homophone (say) of calibre (quality).

*25 Singer‘s unseemly brawl in front of English rabbi (7)
WARBLER – An anagram (unseemly) of BRAWL followed by the abbreviations for English and Rabbi.

26 The end result of a punctilious mathematician? (4,3)
TIDY SUM – A cryptic definition of figures neatly presented.  Although the cryptic definition defines the subsidiary parts of the answer, I am not wholly convinced it is a cryptic definition of the whole.

28 Holding liqueur as I abandon continental land (7)
EURASIA – The answer is hidden (holding) in LIQUEUR AS I ABANDON.

29 Unappealing air of mature Conservative (3,4)
OLD FART – A double definition.


1 Sounds like key group is restricted by this (6)
CORSET – A homophone of core (sound like key) followed by another word for a group.

2 In the morning exam is unethical (6)
AMORAL – The abbreviation for the morning hours followed by a type of spoken exam.

3 Some quarrel; Sicilian retreating to Sardinia, for example (4)
ISLE – The answer is hidden (some) and reversed (retreating) in QUARREL SICILIAN.

4 A good man, king, with a disorder (6)
ASTHMA – The A from the clue followed by the abbreviation for saint (good man) and the abbreviation for His Majesty (king) and the final A from the clue.

5 Shuffle perhaps as hose tangled with feet inside (4-4)
SOFT-SHOE – A type of dancing also referred to as shuffle from another word meaning as and an anagram (tangled) of HOSE with  the abbreviation for feet inside.

6 Big day, the second of Euclidean arithmetic? (10)
MONUMENTAL – The abbreviation for Monday followed by the second letter of Euclidian and a type of arithmetic.

7 Russian fighter, a neutral German I imprisoned for state (8)
MICHIGAN – The name of a Russian jet fighter, the A from the clue and the abbreviation for neutral includes (imprisoned) the German word for I.

8 Performing, screen it without an audience (2,6)
IN SECRET – An anagram (performing) of SCREEN IT.

14 Commander looks at pronouncement to make a broad statement (10)
GENERALISE – A rank of an army commander followed by a homophone (pronouncement) of eyes (looks at).

*16 Debtor making Stone’s craft brew (8)
MICAWBER – A type of silica stone followed by an anagram (craft) of BREW.

17 Ruthless at first, Queen’s always dividing worshippers (8)
REVERERS – The first letter of ruthless followed by  the abbreviation for the current Queen including the s (from Queen’s) inside which you include (dividing) another word meaning always.

18 Right upset? Be ready for food (3,5)
RYE BREAD – The abbreviation for right followed by an anagram (upset) of BE READY.

22 Fleece with too much filling fabric (6)
COTTON – A word meaning fleece or take for a ride includes the abbreviation for over the top (too much).

*23 He takes uniform holidays (6)
BUSMAN – A cryptic definition

24 Lou nearly adopted French word for “channel-hopper” (6)
REMOTE – The surname of the singer Lou with the final letter removed (nearly) include the French for word.

*27 Father’s repeated movement (4)
DADA – The two letter word for Father repeated.



  1. Gazza
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Super puzzle with a nice theme and very smooth surfaces (and a suitably cryptic title) – thanks Windsurfer. The most laugh-inducing clues for me and so the ones I liked best were 11a and 19a, but 16d is very clever because Google tells me that there is a Stone brewery which does make craft ales.

  2. pommers
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Splendid puzzle with a great theme, which actually helped with a couple of the answers (9a and 16d). All pretty good stuff and nothing to really frighten the horses. I agree with Gazza about 11a and 19a being favs but 29a also raised a smile as I wondered whether Windsurfer had a particular “mature Conservative” in mind?

    Many thanks for the pleasant diversion Windsurfer.

  3. Jane
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Very nice indeed, Windsurfer, even though you did leave out my favourite! Well done for your choice of title, which is apt but gives little away.
    I have 10 big ticks but will give the honours to 19a for its tongue-in-cheek surface read.
    Many thanks – most enjoyable.

  4. dutch
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks Windsurfer and well done, a lot of fun. I too enjoyed the theme and liked the title. I wasn’t sure I had the right answer for 29a but then remembered this was Wind-surfer.

    Nice and gentle though I did not help myself by bunging in “in camera” for 8d. 15a talked me out of that. I liked 13a and 23a for the good use of alternative meanings in a clean surface – but all the clues were nice.

    • Jane
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      Love your take on 29a, Dutch! I also nearly fell for ‘in camera’ but shied away from the thought of two across clues ending in ‘a’.

  5. Rabbit Dave
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Theme? What theme? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

    Still, not spotting that there was a theme didn’t stop me really enjoying completing this. Congratulations, Windsurfer, on composing a first rate puzzle with smooth surfaces and great cluing throughout. Like Jane, I have a lot of clues marked as potential favourites, and I am giving top marks to 29a.

    • Jane
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Not like you to miss a theme, RD. Look at 12&13a and then look at the title with breeds in mind.

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        D’oh! Thanks, Jane. I obviously don’t do 12a’s often enough. While I was solving, 25a got me thinking in that direction momentarily but I completely missed the relevance of all the other occurrences!

        …and I still can’t see any significance regarding “rowdy”.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

        • Jane
          Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:07 pm | Permalink


          • Rabbit Dave
            Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

            Mmm… I’m not sure about that, although clearly your interpretation must be right. In my book rowdy means rough, unruly, noisy, lawless, but not tough. (Except in the case of the wonderful Rowdy Yates!)

            • Jane
              Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

              If you look up ‘rowdy’ as a noun it’s certainly on the list. Oh yes – Rowdy Yates. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

              • Rabbit Dave
                Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

                I did look it up in my BRB and it isn’t there:

                n orig. a lawless American backwoodsman; a noisy, turbulent person. – adj orig. of the nature of, or belonging to a rowdy, lawless; noisy and disorderly.

                • Jane
                  Posted December 19, 2015 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

                  I just asked Mr. Google. Maybe that’s who Windsurfer consulted?

                  • Jose
                    Posted December 21, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink

                    Jane. Collins Online Thesaurus. Synonyms listed for rowdy (noun): hooligan, tough, rough (informal). That any good?

  6. Expat Chris
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Catching on to the theme early helped with a couple of clues. I needed to reveal one letter before 24D and 29A surrendered. I don’t understand the Conservative part of 29A. Anyhoo, altogether lovely and lots of fun. 11A was leading a competitive field before 29A fell, but now I have them as co-favorites. Many thanks, Windsurfer!

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      Hi Chris,
      If my memory serves me right, you live in Maryland. Whether Baltimore or Ocean city, I couldn’t tell. Overlooking the bay or the sea maybe.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted December 19, 2015 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

        Further down in Southern Maryland, but not too far from the Chesapeake Bay.

  7. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Really good fun. We spotted the theme when we about a third of the way through and that helped for many of the rest. Got to the end and then went back to the title and had another laugh.
    Many thanks Windsurfer.

  8. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    I had such a great time solving this wonderful crossword.
    19a and 29a really made me laugh out loud.
    Nice misdirections in the NE. In 10a I thought of Etonian and that the clue was missing the instruction to take the odd letters of neat. Specially as I couldn’t work out the anagram in 5d where I wanted to include “as”.
    Does 23d still sets for the paper? His name rings a bell but I can’t remember where from.
    24d favourite.
    Thanks to Windsurfer . I’m looking forward to seeing you in London again.

  9. Una
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Very nice, I got four direct names from the Toughie stable . Did I miss any ?
    Thanks, Windsurfer.

    • Jane
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

      Hi Una,
      I found seven but maybe some of the longer serving commenters know of more.

    • Expat Chris
      Posted December 19, 2015 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

      I got seven too.

    • Una
      Posted December 20, 2015 at 1:04 am | Permalink

      Golly I suppose I don’t know them all.

      • Una
        Posted December 20, 2015 at 1:06 am | Permalink

        I found Osmosis ,Excalibur,Dada and somebody else , who were the other three ?

        • jean-luc cheval
          Posted December 20, 2015 at 9:48 am | Permalink

          Micawber, warbler and Elgar for sure. Not sure about Busman and the old fart could be Giovanni?

  10. Expat Chris
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Maybe ‘rowdy’ is an anagram indicator?

  11. Encota
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Great puzzle – many thanks!
    I wasn’t very good on spotting the theme though – think I managed about 6 or 7 eventually :-(

  12. Snape
    Posted December 19, 2015 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this, a great deal of fun, I found the NW and SE corners easier than the other two, and seemed to enjoy the clues here more too, particularly 1d, 11a and 21a.

    May I ask a question about 5d? In the latest DIYCOW competition, the judge, romanhead, was talking about definitions by example, saying ‘I ate a strawberry jelly, but jelly is not an example of strawberry’. Is the same thing happening in 5d – (shuffle isn’t an example of the answer), or is ‘perhaps’ not indicating dbe, but subtly different, or have I got the wrong end of the stick?

    Thanks again to Windsurfer

    • windsurfer23
      Posted December 20, 2015 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      Firstly, thanks very much everyone for your kind comments. I’ll add some more feedback after the blog is published. Snape poses a good question. It is true that ‘shuffle’ is not an example of the answer and therefore cannot legitimately be seen as a DBE. It is, however, part of a phrase, so maybe I can just about get away with this by using ‘shuffle, perhaps.’ This clue sort of slipped out of my consciousness and I’m not entirely sure if it is legitimate or not, or if it is too libertarian. Does anyone else have views on this? I’d be happy to hear the opinions of solvers for future reference.

      • Jane
        Posted December 20, 2015 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        Hi Windsurfer,
        I’m far from being an expert solver but have to say that I had absolutely no problem with 5d. I realise that there are many conventions associated with the setting of crosswords and understand that these can be of great importance to maintain standards – however, I sometimes feel that in pursuit of this correctness one essential element can get forgotten, that is to say ‘can the solver be reasonably expected to arrive at an answer from the given clue’. I would doubt that anyone had a difficulty in this instance and it was certainly one of my choices for a ‘big tick’.
        If you do look in again, I wonder whether you would settle the debate about the title of the puzzle. Was it indeed ‘Tough Setters’?

    • dutch
      Posted December 20, 2015 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      interesting, I also had Romanhead’s comment in my mind for arithmetic (6d). Hard to disagree with romanhead (he gives such compelling counter-examples). Of course this puzzle would precede Romanhead’s shared wisdom.

      But indeed, if you made a list of shuffles, would not soft shoe be one of them, along with New York, etc? which would suggest the relationship is the other way around (soft shoe is an example of shuffle) and no strict need for a DBE (definition by example) indicator like “perhaps” (or similarly, the question mark in 6d – arithmetic is not an example of mental – unless, of course, the question mark has another purpose)

      apologies if that seems like high-level quibbling, basically I think Snape is right.

    • Snape
      Posted December 20, 2015 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      I see, thank you. So it’s perfectly fair, just not a definition by example. I would agree absolutely with Jane that the most important part is the enjoyment and being able to get the answer – I was a bit reluctant to ask, but it was a genuine question and not a quibble and I am trying to set, so I want to know the ‘rules’ even though it may not be terribly important whether they are abided by.

      Thank you again, and also to Prolixic for the review.

  13. windsurfer23
    Posted December 20, 2015 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to Big Dave and to Prolixic for a super blog. [I think sometimes people underestimate the amount of time spent on constructing the blog]

    Thanks also to all the contributors; I’m glad that this was an enjoyable solve. Firstly, to address Prolixic’s comment about the cd for TIDY SUM. Strangely, I can’t find the phrase in Collins, ODE or Chambers, although it is in Chambers Thesaurus (?). Relying on internet dictionaries, I found this: ‘Informal. A large sum of money’ , which I think could be covered by the whole clue.

    As some have pointed out, the ‘rowdy’ in the title is (in the wordplay) a noun, which means a tough or a toughie. Jane @3 if you give me the name of your favourite setter I’ll see if it could have been accommodated in a revised grid. The Conservative in 29 was a deliberate false capitalisation. An OLD FART is a boring conservative person.

    Thanks to Dutch for his WIND-surfer take on 29a, very funny, I hadn’t spotted that myself. And to his (and Snape’s) comments about DBEs. For monumental, the clue would be better as something like: ‘Big day, the second of Euclidean type of arithmetic.’ The QM was supposed to indicate something tricky was going on but it is probably unfair. Likewise, 5d could be improved by: ‘Partners shuffle as hose tangled with feet inside,’ which provides a better picture as well, I think. I’ve found one sometimes doesn’t see the wood for the trees after staring at your own clues, so it is very helpful to get constructive feedback.

    Seasons Greetings to all!

    • Jane
      Posted December 20, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, Windsurfer, I was obviously typing as your input arrived!
      My favourite Toughie setter? Mr. T as Beam. His absence didn’t detract from what I thought was a great puzzle – thank you again.

    • dutch
      Posted December 21, 2015 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Thank you again for the entertaining puzzle

  14. Jane
    Posted December 20, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks for yet another excellent review, Prolixic. I whole-heartedly endorse Windsurfer’s comments – I find that I get little pleasure these days from solving any puzzles for which I cannot look forward to a review from the BD team.
    The efforts you put in are much appreciated.

  15. Kath
    Posted December 20, 2015 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    A bit too late to join this party, I think, but just thought I’d say what a great crossword – lots of fun although I missed the significance of the title which was dim.
    It took me ages to start to suspect the theme which was also dim.
    I liked all the clues that have been picked out as particularly good and also 24d.
    With thanks to Windsurfer for the crossword and to Prolixic for the review.

  16. spindrift
    Posted December 21, 2015 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Quality. Respect to setter & reviewer. Nuff said.