NTSPP – 326
A Puzzle by Lohengrin
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Some of you may have met Lohengrin in Macclesfield recently. He sets for the Independent (his most recent was last Monday, 2nd) and we are privileged to be able to offer one of his puzzles here in the NTSPP series.
A review of this puzzle by crypticsue follows:
Firstly, I should probably admit that Lohengrin is one of those setters whose crosswords, more often than not, end up as one of my ‘three goes and in the recycling bin’ experiences, so it was with some trepidation (knowing that I’d be the reviewer) that I sat down to solve this one.
The crossword would have fitted well in the Telegraph Toughie spot, rather than as a Saturday lunchtime diversion, which is how I always view the NTSPP. It took me a long time to solve, more than twice as long as the previous day’s Elkamere Toughie, with a fair amount of dictionary checking and a bit of investigoogling to make sure that if I had the right solution, it was for the right reasons. Quite a few of the clues fall into the [relatively] easier to solve than explain in simple terms category too.
I really liked the splendid clues that are 5a, 3d and 7d, plus a couple of others, so, I’m hoping that as Kath knows how difficult (she and) I found the crossword, she’ll let me get away with three favourites this time.
1a Talk about America and Ireland retrospectively (8)
CAUSERIE Idle chatter – the abbreviation used to mean about, an abbreviated way of referring to America and a reversal (retrospectively) of the Irish word for Ireland.
5a Proverbially more working class (6)
LESSON If you know your proverbs, you should have remembered that XXXX is more. Follow the XXXX with the adverb meaning working.
9a European grant backing game show (8)
TELEPLAY A drama specially written for a particular medium. A reversal (backing) of the abbreviation for European and a verb meaning to grant or allow, followed by a game (the BRB refers to this as Shakespearian)
10a Street with falling water pressure (6)
STRAIN The abbreviation for street and the water that falls from the sky.
12a Speak for a terrorist group (5)
ORATE This lurker is easier to spot when the clue is printed all on one line, and not over two when you print off the pdf. It is hidden in fOR A TErrorist
13a Proof of pilot visiting crew bars (9)
TESTAMENT A verb meaning to pilot, a preposition meaning an activity such as visiting, into which is inserted (bars) another word for crew.
14a Drum and Bass production? (12)
PISCICULTURE Thank goodness for checking letters and Mr CS who knew that the drum is indeed a fish, just like the bass, which enabled me complete this word meaning the rearing of fish by artificial means.
18a Revolting action taken with dimple or spot (7,5)
DECIMAL POINT An anagram (revolting) of ACTION taken with DIMPLE.
21a Real feather in cute hat (9)
AUTHENTIC I hadn’t seen feather as an anagram indicator before (presumably when it means to rotate in manner of an oar) , but it is what tells us to rearrange IN CUTE HAT.
23a Firm dropping book off (5)
STALE Remove the B (dropping book) from an adjective meaning standing firm.
24a Whole Navy draped with English flag (6)
ENTIRE The abbreviation for Navy is draped with, or goes between, the abbreviation for English and a verb meaning to become weary (flag)
25a Anonymous newspaper probing second home of minister (8)
VICARAGE A and an informal term for a newspaper put inside (probing) a preposition used to denote someone second in command of something.
26a Gear stick on limited edition vans (6)
TACKLE To stick (fasten in a loose, often temporary manner) followed by the ‘vans’ or leading letters of Limited and Edition.
27a Heartless star in Speed (8)
CELERITY Misleading capitals time – all you need to do is remove the ‘heart’ of a person for distinction or fame (star) to get another word for speed or quickness.
1d Prisoner smuggling outrageous material (6)
COTTON An informal term for a prison ‘smuggling’ the three letters used to mean outrageous.
2d YouTube video over weight? (6)
UPLOAD A adverb meaning above and a burden or weight.
3d It’s one or the other, for example (9)
EUPHEMISM “It” and “the other” are examples of milder terms used in place of something that might be deemed to be offensive.
4d Where trucker might be delayed around university is unclear (12)
INARTICULATE Something not uttered clearly could be described as this as, probably, could the following explanation. A trucker might be IN his easily-manoeuvrable lorry, this should be followed by a word meaning delayed, and the abbreviation for University placed between the two.
6d Theatre opening with artist in support of old actor (5)
EXTRA A prefix meaning former (old), the ‘opening’ of Theatre and the usual abbreviation for artist.
7d Small (possibly Chinese) watch (5-3)
STAKE-OUT The abbreviation for Small and what I think of the American expression for food cooked by a restaurant (possibly Chinese) and then eaten back at home.
8d 20-1 outsiders in Italian event ensure breaking news (8)
NINETEEN This really clever wordplay means that you don’t notice the definition until long after you should. The answer to the sum is obtained by taking the ‘outsiders’ of ItaliaN EvenT and EnsurE and putting them between (breaking) two lots of the abbreviation for News.
11d Film on classification of drugs like LSD (12)
PSYCHOACTIVE Another clue where the checking letters and some muttering finally did the trick. One of Mr Hitchcock’s films followed by another word for on in the sense of working.
15d Get cloak worn by Special Constable, perhaps (9)
LANDSCAPE The abbreviation for Special is worn by or put inside a verb meaning to get and a type of cloak.
16d Next to nothing cut during American depression (8)
ADJACENT Almost all of the first (non-offensive part) of a hyphenated American slang expression meaning nothing at all is put between (during) the abbreviation for American and a depression.
17d Sent base change of tactics (8)
ECSTATIC Sent into raptures – the letter representing the base in the natural system of logarithms (where would I be without the BRB?) followed by an anagram (change) of TACTICS.
19d Republican organisation notes climbing expedition (6)
SAFARI A reversal (climbing) of an Irish Republican organisation and some musical notes.
20d Within where systematic blasphemy is to be found (6)
HERESY Another lurker that’s easier to find when the clue is all on one line. This one is hidden within wHERE Systematic.
22d Myths offered up about national record (5)
ENROL To enter in a list (record) – a reversal (offered up in a Down clue) of traditional learning (myths) into which is inserted the abbreviation for National.
Waking early and deciding not to lie in bed mentally rewriting this review but to get up and publish it, I see, from the few comments posted, that I wasn’t alone in finding this a tough crossword. Thanks to Lohengrin for the challenge. I am now, literally, going back to lie down in a darkened room!