NTSPP – 338 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 338

NTSPP – 338

A Puzzle by Radler

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.


Radler’s been busy with other things and so hasn’t provided a puzzle for testing for quite a while.   His recent email informed me that he didn’t think he’d mellowed in the interim, so I was delighted to tell him that not only had he mellowed but he’d produced a very enjoyable puzzle too.  The mellowing where a Radler is concerned is, of course, all relative, but I thought this one much more user-friendly that some that have yet to appear here!!

There’s a theme in this one, some of the references are in the clues and others in the solutions.   There’s also a clever Nina to be found in the solved grid which you can find at the end of this review.


 1a           Supply food consumed throughout Costa Rica (5)
CATER A verb meaning consumed inserted into (throughout) the IVR code for Costa Rica.

4a           Tone of Red Kings buffet after drug’s advanced (6-3)
PILLAR-BOX  A (advanced), the Latin abbreviation for king and a method of fighting with the fists (one of the meanings of buffet) go after a form of medicine (drug’s advanced)


10a         Position in order preceding pouring of tea (8)
PRIORATE  A rank or office in a monastic order is obtained by placing an adjective meaning preceding before an anagram (pouring) of TEA

11a         He offered tea as rabbit refused starter (6)
HATTER  Remove the ‘starter’ from a verb meaning to talk idly (rabbit)

Mad hatter

12a         Heart of Hearts fast making one more pretentious (6)
ARTIER The ‘heart’ of heARts followed by a word describing someone who was fastening something

13a         Sunday dinner sees Dinah active primarily feeding Parrot (5,3)
LORD’S DAY Feeding parrot is the instruction to insert the ‘primary’ letters of Dinner Sees Dinah and Active into a particular type of parrot.

14a         What separates the girls from boys originally narrowed by fashion (9)
WONDERBRA I laughed out loud at this definition, whether I should have done so is the question I asked myself later!   An anagram (by fashion) of NARROWED into which is inserted the ‘originally’ letter of Boys.



16a         Received shock, run quickly (4)
HARE A homophone (received) of a shaggy mass of growth on the head

17a         Will Carroll libel hosts? Au contraire! (4)
BILL A reversal (au contraire) of an alternative boy’s name for Will can be found hosted by CarroLL LIBel

19a         Country where Nazi laws applied (Germany) (9)
SWAZILAND An anagram (applied) of NAZI LAWS followed by the IVR code for Germany

21a         Mark crashes party to wake up sleepyhead (8)  
DORMOUSE The abbreviation for Mark crashes or goes inside another word for party and a verb meaning to wake up

24a         Exactly like Dodo – nothing new (4,2)
DEAD ON   The way one usually describes a dodo followed by the letter that represents nothing and the abbreviation for new

25a         Bottle of booze (6)
SPIRIT  Double definitions, the first a description of courage or resolve the second some alcoholic drink

26a         Place briefly taken by Duchess (8)  
CHESHIRE  The abbreviation for an English county has been taken by duCHESs, you just need to write the full name here.


27a         Solitary TV presenter meets unmarried couple (9)
ANCHORITE having spent a while trying to fit Ant (a ‘solitary’ TV presenter) into the first part of this word, I finally realised that solitary in the sense of a person who has withdrawn from the world could be obtained by following a TV presenter with a couple without the M (unmarried)

28a         Conduct of penniless drug supplier (5)
USHER   Here conduct is a verb and all you need to do is remove the abbreviation for penny (penny less) from a drug supplier


2d           They serve up caviar regularly at noisy railway station (7)
AIRCREW The regular letters of cAvIaR followed by a homophone (noisy) of a famous railway station


3d           Moving on to email associates (9)
EMOTIONAL  Rearrange ON TO EMAIL as instructed by ‘associates’ and you get a word meaning moving.   Sneaky really as ‘moving’ is the more obvious anagram indicator in this clue and I’m not entirely convinced that associates works in this way.

5d           Drug shrinks literary heroine by 40% (3)
ICE  ‘shrink’ or remove 40% of the letters in the name of this puzzle’s literary heroine and you’ll be left with a slang term for an illicit drug.


6d           Landslide at Herculaneum, ashes and rocks initiated (5)
LAHAR A lava mud flow is obtained from the initial letters of Landslide At Herculaneum Ashes and Rocks.   If you ever get the chance to visit Pompeii, I highly recommend you visit nearby Herculaneum too

 7d           Tax on business   classes (5)
RATES   Some taxes on business or part of a verb meaning classes.

8d           Not in public make public (4,3)
OPEN AIR  An adjective meaning generally accessible (public) followed by a verb meaning to make public

9d           Mop applications after his lager gets spilt (4,4)
HAIR GELS An anagram (gets spilt) of HIS LAGER

hair gels

13d         Little Abigail passed on embracing Rosemary for one (7)
LABIATE  Rosemary is an example of a plant belonging to a family with lipped flowers, four-cornered stems, and opposite branches (thank you the BRB) – another way of saying deceased (passed on) embracing an abbreviation (little) for Abigail

15d         Cutting diamonds, I confess they add colour (4,4) 
ACID DYES  A word meaning sharp (cutting ) followed by the abbreviation for Diamonds in a game of cards, and a word of affirmation (I confess)

acid dyes

16d         Alternative arrangement in case he had problems (9)
HEADACHES  An anagram (alternative arrangement) of CASE HE HAD

18d         Ones and zeros given power in quantum value (7)
ISOSPIN  Another one to be checked in the BRB.   The explanation takes too long to type up here so you’ll have to look for yourselves!   The wordplay is much simpler – take the letter that looks like a 1, add an S (one’s), the letter that looks like a zero, and again add an S, then the abbreviation for Power and  IN (from the clue).

20d         Starter for Duck, Cook‘s stuffing cheese whatsit (7)
DOOBRIE  I’ve always spelt this alternative word for a whatsit or a thingummy with a Y but here you need the ‘starter’ for Duck, the ‘stuffing’ of cOOk and a French cheese.

22d         Hard stuff held up progress (5)
MARCH The abbreviation for Hard and a verb meaning to stuff are reversed (held up)

23d         Unqualified Mock Turtle left out (5)  
UTTER  An anagram (mock) of TURTLE without the L (left out)

26d         Flog one with pride? (3) 
CAT   To lash with a particular whip (flog) or a member of a family such as the ones that live with a pride.

If you didn’t spot the Nina, then


31 comments on “NTSPP – 338

  1. Many thanks Radler, most enjoyable

    Loved 14a, a nice surprise after trying to cram in wonderland. Also thought 19a was clever. Some new vocabulary (6d, 18d, 27a, 20d) to keep me on my toes.

    I wasn’t keen on the anagram indicator in 3d or the def in 23d, and I’m not sure I’ve got the full wordplay to 4a as yet.

    Last one in was 13a.

    Enjoyed the little Nina, very nice.

    Thanks again. Coincidentally, yesterday I watched my 11-yr old daughter being a caterpillar in her drama production.

  2. I’ve done about half of this which is more than I’ve ever done of a Radler crossword before.
    Now I’m stuck and my brain hurts.
    14a made me laugh as did 20d – not sure I’d have spelt it that way but I’ve never needed to write it down.
    Back later after a rest. :phew:

  3. Completely stuck on the 13s and there are a few others that I can’t parse.
    Will keep soldiering on!

    1. You’re way ahead of me. I have two in the bottom left corner that I can’t do and five(ish) up in the top right.
      13d, as Dutch has said, is ‘Rosemary for one’. The definition is an adjective that describes the kind of plant of which Rosemary is an example. You need a word meaning passed on or snuffed it which contains (embracing) the usual abbreviation (little) for the name Abigail. Hope that helps.
      Unluckily for me the only Abigail I know is one of elder Lamb’s best mates and she’s always shortened to ‘Abs’ so that held me up.

  4. Thanks Radler; nice use of theme.

    Had to use word searches to get a few where I didn’t know the words.

    13A was especially tricky. I liked 14 among others.

  5. Yes, ‘tricky’ would certainly describe it for us. We did pick the theme early on and that was certainly a help for some of them. Still a few where we need to sort out the wordplay, 4a for example but at least we have a filled grid. Really liked 14a, especially with Stan’s comment above.
    Thanks Radler.

  6. i am hoping people see the title nina which cryptically would be enumerated (5,2,10)

  7. Still not 100% sure of a couple of bits of parsing, but the grid is filled and the nina found.
    Thank you, Radler – loved the theme.

  8. Many thanks for the review, CS – the only thing I hadn’t eventually worked out was the ‘ITE’ part of 27a – silly me.
    Think there’s only one abb. for diamonds in 15d?
    A number of new words for me in this one – 10&27a,6&18d plus the spelling of 20d, so I wouldn’t say that Radler’s mellowed very much!

    Looking forward to Kath ‘kicking herself’ over the theme………

    By the way – there seems to be a problem with the ‘click here’ for the nina. The grid shows for an instant and then disappears to be replaced by ‘not found’. Maybe BD could have a word with it if he’s got time?

    Thanks again, Radler – might even get round to re-reading the books.

        1. Thanks, BD. Glad I got to see it properly – I’d forgotten all about Bill the Lizard!

  9. Thanks for the wonderful review CS

    thanks especially for explaining 4a box=buffet – but where does the A come from?

    in 13a dinner is also included in the first letters

    and thanks again for the very entertaining puzzle Radler

    1. Both the D and the A both have big red circles round them on my solved sheet so I’m not entirely sure how I missed them when I typed the review. :oops:

    2. ah – thanks Prolixic – i had stupidly read ‘after…advanced’ as the position indicator for the drug, doh

  10. That was a lot of fun. The more I stare at the grid the more I see. Well played, Radler.

  11. Thanks Radler and CS.
    I eventually admitted defeat with a few left – should have got most of them but . . .

  12. I finished it up this morning, except for 20D, a word I am not familiar with at all. I did try to squeeze doohicky in for a while! I picked up on the theme, but too late in the day for it to be any help. 14A was a smiler, though isn’t it unusual for a man to use ‘girls’ in that context? Enjoyable, and for me to get all but one of a Radler is an achievement, so thanks to him for going easier on us and thanks to CS for the review.

  13. My thanks to all of you for the appreciative comments, and in particular to crypticsue for the review, the test solve, and for reminding me that it was some time since I’d sent her a puzzle, thus prompting me to sit down and write this one.

    1. Good of you to pop in, Radler, and many thanks for the reminder of Alice. I actually did read it again this morning and am now halfway ‘through the looking-glass’!

    2. Thanks for dropping in Radler

      Anax, Starhorse, & I were thinking we should all have a local get together one night

  14. Needed a bit of help in the SE corner.
    Didn’t get the Cheshire cat (despite seeing the theme) and the acid dyes.
    Wrote the full name in 5d so that if I cut around the grid I only need a little pin to hang it on the wall as a memento.
    Thanks to Radler and to CS for the review. Great ad for the wonderbra.

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