NTSPP – 311 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 311

NTSPP – 311

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

I’ve had lots of problems solving Radler crosswords  over the last four years or so, but, this one was (for a Radler) a straightforward puzzle solved all in one session and in a lot less time than a “Radler” usually takes me.    If we gave star ratings for NTSPPs, I’d have awarded at least 4* for enjoyment.

My favourite clue has to be the sneakily brilliant 1a – a d’oh moment in waiting if ever there was one.


1a           Periodic table element (9)
ALUMINIUM   The ‘periodic’ letters of tAbLe give you the chemical symbol for the required element.

6a           It’s telling who has made pointless fuss (3-2)
HOO-HA   A homophone (it’s telling) of WHO followed by HA (has made ‘pointless’ or without the compass point at the end)

9a           Entertainer’s behind sweet female tweaking figure (5,6)
FUDGE FACTOR An entertainer goes after (behind) a soft sweet made from butter, cream and sugar, and the abbreviation for Female. The wordplay was very helpful as I hadn’t heard of this ‘tweaking figure’ which an investigoogle revealed is apparently “any variable component added to an experiment, plan, or the like that can be manipulated to allow leeway for error” so now you know too.

10a         Savings when one cutback (3)
ISA A reversal of a conjunction meaning when and the letter that looks like a number one.


11a         Brief nursery rhyme (7)
CURSORY   A word that rhymes with nursery.

12a         Retiring in 60 minutes, family’s new start (7)
REBIRTH   Insert another word for family into the abbreviation for the period of time that takes 60 minutes and then reverse (retiring).

13a         Praise Julie initially rejected, goes for review (8)
EULOGISE   Remove the J from JULIE (initially rejected) and then make an anagram (for review) of the remaining letters and GOES.

15a         Became dizzy, was confused, got married (4)
SWAM   An anagram (confused) of WAS followed by the abbreviation for Married.

19a         Bloody disaster area overwhelms (4)
RARE   Overwhelms indicates that a description usually applied to a hardly-cooked steak is hidden in disasteR AREa

20a         This crew leader‘s steer, succeeded getting a win perhaps (8)
COXSWAIN   The ‘leader’ of Crew, an animal known as a steer, the abbreviation for Succeeded, and an anagram (perhaps) of A WIN.


23a         It identifies related non-independent country (7)
SURNAME     There are two ways to spell this South American country, here you need the one with the E on the end.   All you then have to do is remove the I (non-Independent).

25a         Mexican state acrobats run away after tumble (7)
TABASCO   An anagram (after tumble) of ACROBATS, once you have removed the R (Run ‘away’)


26a         Direct motorway? (3)
AIM   Split your solution 2,1 and you get a designation given to five separate sections of a major North-South Road (motorway?)

27a         Consenting adult getting caught, hurriedly quit scene (11)
ACQUIESCENT   The abbreviations for Adult and Caught and an anagram (hurriedly) of QUIT SCENE.

28a         Medical specimens from elite soldiers with black stripes (5)
SWABS   Insert separately (as indicated by the stripes) the abbreviations for With and Black into the way we refer to the Army’s elite special forces unit.

29a         It’s used to whip exhausted driver outside (9)
EGGBEATER Insert an informal term for exhausted into someone who encourages (driver).



1d           Put on for move (6)
AFFECT Double definition time.

2d           Shivering nude bottom without winter pants? (9)
UNDERWEAR   An anagram (shivering) of NUDE and another word for bottom, into which is inserted an abbreviation for Winter that isn’t in any dictionary/reference book, which is a shame because the surface reading is so good.


3d           Drug money used for food. Stick with it! (3,5)
ICE LOLLY Not entirely sure that this counts as a food!  A slang term for a drug and an informal term for money.

ice lolly

4d           Rift valleys every so often forming land (5)
ITALY   This European land is found by taking the even letters (every so often) from rIfT vAlLeYs.

5d           Second before crashing, it sorts auto-pilots (9)
MOTORISTS Auto-pilots is such a lovely misleading  definition.   An abbreviation for a short period of time (such as a second) goes before an anagram (crashing) of IT SORTS.

6d           By this unconventional belief, bishop excommunicates saint (6)
HEREBY B for Bishop replaces (excommunicates) S for Saint in an unconventional belief.

7d           Twig after one with stockings ditches husband (5)
OSIER   Twigs from a particular tree –   ‘ditch’ or remove the H (husband) from a dealer in, or maker of, stockings.


8d           Every article written on old lady’s curse (8)
ANATHEMA   Every  (English  grammatical) article goes before (written on) an informal term for a mother (old lady).

14d         Go and request a different way, that’s not natural (9)
GROTESQUE   An anagram (a different way) of GO and REQUEST.

16d         Dishevelled Penny stays in; curls not yet dry (9)
WINDSWEPT  a verb meaning curls and a adjective used to denote when something is not yet dry, the latter having the abbreviation for Penny inserted.


17d         Misbehaviour while away? Mademoiselle’s very above that (8)
TRESPASS The word a French Mademoiselle would use to say ‘very’ followed by another way of saying while away time.

18d         It’s dear, essentially wasted pound (8)
LAMBASTE an informal term for a dear followed by the ‘essential’ or middle letters of wASTEd.

21d         Arrogant women following lead of monarch, using first person plural (6)
MADAMS   The ‘leader’ of Monarch followed by the plural of the first person on Earth.

22d         Doctor Foster: to a greater extent, wet (6)
SOFTER   An anagram (doctor) of FOSTER.

24d         Cuban music drum beat – Ted’s up and away (5)
RUMBA   Remove (away) the letters of TED which are found reversed (up)  in DRUM BEAT and you’ll see the Cuban music.

25d         Gadget produced when combining wealth and ingenuity (5)
THING   Combine the last two letters of wealTH and the first three of INGenuity


35 comments on “NTSPP – 311

  1. Two things I’d like to say:

    Firstly if you are saying “I can’t solve Radler puzzles” – you should be able to do this one.

    Secondly, when you work out what the brilliant 1a is all about, please don’t say anything about how it works as you will spoil the splendid d’oh moment for everyone else.

    1. When I saw it was a Radler, what I actually said was ‘there goes the rest of the plans for the day’ !

  2. Lovely stuff, full of d’oh moments – thanks Radler. On the podium for me were 1a , 2d (though the abbreviation is not in Chambers) and 3d.

    1. Lots to look forward to when I finally get a foothold in the top half, then. It’s completely empty. The bottom half is definitely doable, though, as I’ve done it, and there are some definite podium contenders in there – 23a,26a and 22d (for the surface) for me. The top half will have to wait, though.

      1. Same here, Snape. Bottom half just about done – top half virtually empty.
        Doesn’t surprise me that Gazza’s winners are all up there – he always picks the most difficult ones!

      2. my first one in was 4d, which got me going in the top half, so just maybe that is a good place to start

  3. Thanks Radler; entertaining puzzle with lots of PDM. A bit of a struggle but my computer helped a bit.

    I agree with Gazza’s comments, including the podium. Some difficult parsing, like in 16. I’ve just realised I always spell the country in 23 differently but I gather there are alternatives.

  4. Lovely stuff Radler, I thoroughly enjoyed this. Loved 1a, and especially enjoyed female tweaking figure (9a), the brief nursery rhyme (11a), The consenting adult getting caught (27a), Shivering nude bottom without winter pants (2d), Auto-pilots (5d), as well as 6d, 17d, first person plural (21d) and Doctor Foster (22d) which took me surprisingly long.

    Many thanks

  5. Thank you Radler, it’s been a real treat doing battle with you this afternoon!
    Like Snape and Jane, the bottom half went in first, then NW and last was NE.
    Lots of terrific clues in there. Along with 1a (yes, CS, a real d’oh moment), 11a (I’ve not seen that idea before), 2d (ho, ho), 5d (great definition) and 25d (great surface) was my own favourite 8d – wonderful!

  6. Almost crying with frustration now! All done apart from the second word in 9a for which nothing seems to fit with the clue. Am I just being thick?

  7. It was new to me too, Jane. Forget the definition, just go for the word play. That second word splits 1, 5.

  8. Thank you, Dutch and Maize. I finally got it just after I posted the lament – only through the wordplay and then a Mr. G confirmation.
    Didn’t realise there was an actual name for such manipulations!

  9. OK Radler – I’m ready to say thank you now!
    Very clever as always and, like Maize, I hadn’t come across the 11a device used before.
    Top marks go to 11&28a plus 2,3&16d.

    You almost beat me every time but the battle is definitely worthwhile. :good:

  10. Really enjoyed this one. Not an easy solve for us that we made more difficult for ourselves by initially doing the substitution the wrong way around in 6d which made a mess of 12a. All sorted eventually. We will probably print off a copy for Kath when she arrives today.
    Thanks Radler.

    1. Hope you managed to get the weather to improve in time for welcoming your VIPs?
      Have a great time together and give Kath our love. :heart:

      1. Yes the weather is pretty good at the moment and should stay that way while they are here. There might be a bit of rain due about the time that they move on the the South Island but it should stay warm. :good:

  11. Hello from a very snowy Southern Maryland. Haven’t got far on the puzzle yet. Just dropped in to give you a weather update. We have about a foot of the white stuff on the ground at the moment. Hard to tell exactly because it’s a fine dry snow and blowing a lot. It stopped for a while earlier this afternoon, and has now started up again and it’s coming down heavily. We may see several more inches. I might venture out with a yardstick tomorrow morning when it’s all over. We are all tucked up warm, with plenty of the cup that cheers to see us through.

  12. Many thanks to Radler for a very enjoyable challenge, which was pretty tough and needed a modicum of electronic help to complete. There were many great clues with smooth and humorous wordplay. The only clue I can’t unravel fully is 18d where the first four letters remain a complete mystery to me.

    Rather than list all the clues I found outstanding I’ll just echo all those mentioned by Dutch.

    1. 18d starts with a 4 letter synonym for ‘dear’, which might be used in a similarly sentimental manner.

      1. Really? I thought of that but ruled it out as being too ridiculous! :unsure:

        Thanks very much anyway, Maize.

    2. In addition to what Maize said, If I tell you I thought of Kath’s daughters as I put in the first part of 18d, does that help? It is in the BRB too.

  13. Well,I needed a couple of reveal letters in the top right, and didn’t have a clue why 8d was what it was – until just now, and like Maize I have installed that as my favourite. Very inventive and entertaining clueing throughout, 11a, so simple but clever. 3d was excellent too. Still a couple not parsed…

    1a also reminded me that periodic can also refer to certain iodine compounds. One particularly useful reagent is known as Dess-Martin periodinane, which I consider Dess and Martin must have made during their inane period.

    Many thanks, Radler

  14. absolutely brilliant.
    Took a while but was really worth the effort.
    I loved the constructions in 28a (with black stripes), in 21d ( first person plural) in 8d (every article written) and in 20a ( crew leader’s steer).
    The anagrams in 13a and 27a had great surface.
    16d (dishevelled Penny) made me laugh.
    12a (retiring in 60 min) top favourite.
    Although I loved 2d and 3d too.
    Gosh! Do I really have to choose a favourite?
    Every clue was a treat.
    Thanks to Radler.

  15. Very much a case of “pick it up and put it down and pick it up again” for me, but I finally finished without any e-help, with 6D and 21D the last two in. I seem to have made heavy weather of what were perhaps the more straightforward clues like 1D, probably because I was expecting something more complicated, and there were many groans along the way as realization finally dawned. Still puzzling over the parsing of 18D. It’s hard to pick a favorite out of so many great clues, but I’ll settle for 1A, 11A, 28A, 3D, 5D and 17D. Many thanks to Radler.

    1. Looking at the news coverage, I think making ‘heavy weather’ of the crossword was your best option yesterday. The only one who seems to be enjoying Snowmageddon is the Giant Panda at the Smithsonian Zoo.

      Stay safe.

      1. We got off lightly with only about a foot. I have a friend in Winchester Virginia who had 40 inches! Right now, the angel who lives next door is digging us out.

  16. Thank you to everybody for the comments and CrypticSue for the review.

    In 2d, the very convenient online version of Chambers gives the abbreviation, but I then forgot to check whether it had also found its way into the book.

  17. Thanks for the review, CS – quite relieved to learn that 9a was new to you as well.
    Interesting pic. for 2d – must have been hard for those guys to keep their faces straight!

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