NTSPP – 344
Run Down by Phibs
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
This puzzle has a ghost theme, which is alluded to by the title.
But remember that lack of knowledge of a ghost theme does not affect the solving of the puzzle.
A review of this puzzle by crypticsue follows:
Phibs returns to the Saturday afternoon spot with a ghost-themed puzzle which appears to have gone down well with all the solvers who’ve commented so far.
It has been a long time since any crossword required me to do so much checking in the BRB. Some of the definitions and the surface readings aren’t the friendliest or most helpful either, but I hope I’ve now managed to sort it all out – I expect when I get back from my walk, my email inbox will be full of messages telling me where I’ve gone wrong, but I can’t devote any more time to this as ‘real life’ including the East Kent tomato mountain won’t wait any longer.
I did spot the theme, but If you haven’t spotted it yet, have a look under the Click Here at the bottom of the review.
1a Get belt from puritan running amok with spades I abandoned (7)
UNSTRAP An anagram (running amok) of PUR
ITAN with the abbreviation for Spades but without the I (I abandoned)
5a Perhaps I dream about capturing Theresa’s heart (7)
ADMIRER I did like the surface reading of this one, although two anagram indicators might be considered excessive! Perhaps and about tell you to rearrange I DREAM and R (the heart of TheResa.
9a Withdrawn obsessive hoarding French art, diamonds and German porcelain (7)
DRESDEN A reversal (withdrawn) of an obsessive person (often in matters computer-related) ‘hoards’ the French word meaning art (here the old-fashioned way of saying ‘[you] are’) and the abbreviation for Diamonds
10a Brief a Conservative, one infiltrating Liberal Clubs (7)
LACONIC The abbreviations for Liberal and Clubs are infiltrated by A (from the clue) the abbreviation for Conservative and the letter that looks like a number one.
11a Adjusted pistol brought back by an unruly adolescent (9)
REGULATED A reversal (brought back in an Across clue) of a type of pistol, followed by A (from the clue) and an unruly (1950’s) adolescent
13a Not having Ecstasy, supply crack (4)
QUIP Remove the E (not having Ecstasy) from a verb meaning to supply
14a Woman in garden constantly scratching rear (3)
EVE There are lots of women in gardens – Kath and me for a start, but here you require the original woman in a garden who can be obtained by scratching the rearmost letter from an adverb meaning constantly
16a Pedal dropped by irregular mechanic (7)
ARTISAN A mechanic or handcraftsman is obtained by removing the musical abbreviation for pedal from an irregular soldier
17a With steps alongside, fighter plane gets ready for take-off (7)
FLEDGES The second “is that really an abbreviation for …?” in a row. The abbreviation for a fighter plane (usually followed by a number to indicate the particular version of that plane), followed by (alongside) what Phibs calls steps but I’d call shelves.
19a Essentially, Marston’s beer is flat (5)
STALE The middle two letters (essentially) of MarSTons followed by another word for beer
20a Risks Mad Hatter’s tarts he dished out (7)
THREATS Now in 5a we had two anagram indicators, here we have two choices of anagram fodder – HATTERS and/or TARTS HE, both of which can be ‘dished out’ or rearranged to provide the solution
23a Declare how old someone is? That’s mean! (7)
AVERAGE A word meaning to declare followed by a way of saying how old someone is
26a Dash off to box in Swan (3)
PEN Triple definition time. A verb meaning to write (dash indicating a quick note rather than a well-thought out letter), a verb meaning to put in a small enclosure (box in) or a misleadingly capitalised female swan
27a One at rank holds ten? (4)
TAXI An anagram (rank) of I (one) AT holds the Roman numeral for ten, although if you take the surface reading literally, it would have to be quite a large vehicle.
28a What’s required for disco dancing etc one’s missing, lost or forgotten perhaps(9)
ADJECTIVE Discos usually require someone to play the records, so you need A xx followed by an anagram (dancing) of ETC and an informal way of saying I have (one has = one’s)
30a Almost inveigle criminal into putting mask on (7)
VEILING An anagram (criminal) of almost all of INVEIGL
31a Canine barking a lot – no water, maybe (7)
COOLANT The abbreviation a dentist would use for Canine followed by an anagram (barking) of A LOT NO
32a New Government prefer hugs to disdain (7)
NEGLECT A verb meaning to disdain, ignore of disregard is the solution to yet another clue that’s easier to solve than explain. N (new) followed by a verb meaning to choose as the best of the options (prefer) which hugs or goes round the abbreviation for Government
33a Following introduction to Simon Rattle I’m seen getting measure of conductor (7)
SIEMENS Following S (the introduction to Simon) you need to rattle (or make an anagram of) IM SEEN to get the SI Unit of Electrical Conductance
1d Deviant departs with nun’s knickers (10)
UNDERPANTS Another anagram (deviate) of DEPARTS and NUN. I did like this surface reading!
2d Cunning minor caught (7)
SLEIGHT Another word for cunning or trickery is a homophone (caught) of an adjective meaning minor or trifling
3d Gets annoyed about daughter repeating obscure questions (7)
RIDDLES Another way of saying gets annoyed goes about two lots (repeating) of the abbreviation for Daughter
4d Those who rue having entered Fastnet in epic capsizing (9)
PENITENTS A reversed (capsizing) lurker (or should I now call it a rekrul?) can be found in faSTNET IN EPic
5d TV chef making turnover was sick (5)
AILED A reversal (making turnover) of a TV chef who hasn’t been on our screens for a while but it still recognised by her Christian name alone.
6d Monkey about under raincoat (only after leaving uni) (7)
MACAQUE An abbreviated raincoat followed by A (about) and an adjective meaning sole or only from which the letters UNI (leaving uni) should be removed.
7d Class drank in gambling houses (7)
RANKING Another lurker – this one housed by dRANK IN Gambling
8d Nissan LEAF maybe parked up to charge (4)
RACE Charge in the sense of run at speed. The Nissan LEAF is an example of an eco-friendly vehicle so you need an abbreviated way of describing it and other vehicles of that type
12d Stop American tank bearing south (5)
AVAST A nautical interjection that always makes me think of Captain Pugwash! The abbreviation for American and a type of tank, the latter bearing or having inserted the abbreviation for South
15d Hospital stopping operation before I upset women in theatre (10)
USHERETTES The abbreviation for Hospital ‘stops’ or goes inside another word for operation or way of doing something, the result then going before a reversal (upset in a Down clue) of the role Phibs (I) is performing here
17d Female circuit judge wants no end of delightful cakes (9)
FLAPJACKS The abbreviation for Female, a circuit of a track, the abbreviation for Judge, and a verb meaning wants without its first letter, which just happens to be the letter to be found at the end of delightful
18d Left Eastern character facing Victoria Embankment (5)
LEVEE The abbreviations for Left and Eastern and how you’d spell out the ‘character facing’ or letter at the front of Victoria. Anyone else still singing American Pie since they solved this clue??
21d Travelling aimlessly round with Garmin out of order (7)
ROAMING An anagram (order) of GARMIN and the letter that is a shortened form of Of. Because the clue has the word ‘round’ in it, I did wonder whether I needed a round letter and the anagram indicator would then be ‘out of order’ but …..
22d Going after any one of seven, I nearly catch Dopey (7)
ASININE Dopey in the sense of idiotic. The seven here refers to the Seven Deadly “naughtinesses” so you need A (one) xxx followed by I (from the clue) and two of the three letters of a verb meaning to catch (eg a fish).
24d Bound to suffer defeat after surrender of lead to Iceland in Nice upset (7)
ENCLOSE To set bounds to, limit or restrain. A verb meaning to suffer defeat goes after a reversal (upset in a Down clue) of NICE, once you have ‘surrendered’ the ‘lead’ to Iceland.
25d Some idiot engaged in European campaign (7)
AGITATE To campaign by stirring up public feeling. A (some), a derogatory term for a fool, an informal way of saying engaged in, and the abbreviation for European
28d First signs of any new guests spreading towels produce terrible anxiety for Germans (5)
ANGST the first ‘signs’ of Any New Guests Spreading Towels
29d Flush not quite happening (4)
EVEN A word meaning flush or level with is obtained from almost all of a happening or occurrence
The ghost theme is a run of playing cards in sequence hidden in the Down solutions – as Phibs said there is quite a heavy hint to the theme in words included in the clues for 1a, 5a, 9a and 10a. If you still can’t find them then