NTSPP – 349

NTSPP – 349

Childhood Friends by Chalicea

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle  by crypticsue follows


A timely visit from some childhood friends, given that it is the 90th birthday of the one who isn’t mentioned here this year




6a           Letter from Goethe tale (5)
THETA I don’t know much of the Greek alphabet but the letter lurking in GoeTHE TAle is one I do know, mainly because it appears so often in crosswords

7a           Velocity of a Perseid on the move (8)
AIRSPEED An anagram (on the move) of A PERSEID

10a         Farewell remark for an advantageous purchase, we hear (7)
GOODBYE A way of saying farewell sounds like (we hear) a real bargain

11a         Devious ragman initially dressed the old lady (7)
GRANDMA An anagram (devious) of RAGMAN plus the initial letter of Dressed

12a         Eric at first then two other boys expelled (7)
EVICTED The first letter of Eric and two other boys’ names

13a         Seagulls curiously lacking modicum of love for this marine gastropod (3,4)
SEA SLUG An anagram (curiously) of SEAGULLS once you have removed (lacking a modicum of) one of the instances of the first letter of Love

14a         Going back, sir, kill that woman pursuing church patron saint (11)
CHRISTOPHER A reversal (going back) of SIR (from the clue), followed by a slang word meaning to kill, and ‘that woman’ all follow the abbreviation for churchchristopher-robin19a         Top billing per se, regularly does what we are told nobility does (7)
OBLIGES The regular letters of tOp BiLlInG pEr Se

21a         Cost of dams in Somerset and Devon river (7)
EXPENSE Some dams inserted into the river that flows in Somerset and Devon

23a         Entrance of French artist (of violin fame) on scene to start with (7)
INGRESS   His name should be followed by the first (to start with) letter of sceneI didn’t know the reference to the violin in connection with this French artist, but apparently his well-known passion for playing the violin gave to the French language a saying, “violon d’Ingres“, meaning a second skill beyond the one by which a person is mainly known 

25a         Coleridge peculiarly losing ID. Spaniards called that artist ‘The Greek’ (2,5)
EL GRECO An anagram (peculiarly) of COLERIDGE without (losing) ID

26a         Ring about surprising luck; this ugly young thing might turn into a beauty! (8)
DUCKLING An anagram (surprising) of LUCK inserted into a verb meaning to ring


27A        Composition to test skill of newly formed English duet (5)
ETUDE An anagram (newly formed of E (English) and DUET


1d           Bizarre comedian; one acting as if possessed by an evil spirit (8)
DEMONIAC An anagram (bizarre) of COMEDIAN

2d           Jewish teacher with time for insignificant person (6)
RABBIT A Jewish teacher followed by the abbreviation for time.  Our friend Dave could never be described as this!


3d           Working sis cradles places to store data (10)
LASERDISCS An anagram (working) of SIS CRADLES

4d           Two-masted vessel‘s sample of cobweb rigging (4)
BRIG Lurking in a sample of cobweB RIGging

5d           Bloody strife between families almost all related to middle-ages social system (6)

FEUDAL Some bloody strife between families and almost all of All

6d           Tawny feline gaining bit of ground; one of 14,17s friends (6)
TIGGER A wild tawny coloured feline into which is inserted (gaining) a ‘bit’ of Ground


8d           Egyptian king’s old expression of disgust about a Sun God (7)
PHARAOH I had to check the archaic expression of disgust which goes about A (from the clue) and the Egyptian Sun God.

9d           Piece of East African cloth for 14,17s Aussie friend (5)
KANGA A piece of brightly decorated cloth worn round the body in East Africa or someone who came from Australia to be a friend of 14,17


13d         Megalithic monument‘s extraordinary parthenogenesis (frolicking pairs not needed!) (10)
STONEHENGE Remove the letters of PAIRS (not needed) – frolicking indicating that they are not in that order in PARTHENOGENESIS, and then rearrange the remaining letters to get a well-known megalithic monument

15d         Wreak havoc, including, e.g. period of student merrymaking and moneymaking (3,4)
RAG WEEK An anagram (havoc) of WREAK and (including) EG

16d         Racer in an excited state; one finishing second (6-2)
RUNNER-UP A racer followed by a way of saying ‘in an excited state’

17d         Fluttering mostly boring little creature in trouble if north wind blows (5)
ROBIN An anagram (fluttering) of most of the letters of BORINg

18d         Dreadful eyesore (not seen originally) for gloomy friend of 14,17 (6)
EEYORE He might be gloomy but he’s my favourite friend of 14,17.   An anagram (dreadful) of EYESORE without the S (not Seen ‘originally’)


20d         Look, disease causing pain and swelling! Exit system (3,3)
LOG OUT An archaic interjection meaning look! and a disease causing pain and swelling, the combination being split 3,3 instead of 2, 4

22d         Hog and frisky elt producing their offspring (6)
PIGLET Another word for a hog and an anagram (frisky) of ELT (a dialect word for a young sow) combine to produce their offspring


24d         Soloists, without alternatives, make a cut (4)
SLIT The odd (without alternatives) letters of SoLoIsTs

Thanks to Chalicea for an entertaining themed puzzle.   I for one wasn’t complaining about the lack of ‘difficulty’ – it is very hard to concentrate on crosswords, let alone blogging, at the moment, as we have our own small boy in wellies taking over the house.   The picture shows him helping Grandpa put ‘tree’ on the trailer ready to take down to the bonfire.



  1. silvanus
    Posted October 15, 2016 at 12:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A light and pleasant read and write puzzle for a Saturday lunchtime. The setter certainly does love her anagrams, I feel as though I’ve overdosed on them after that!

    Thanks, Chalicea.

  2. Expat Chris
    Posted October 15, 2016 at 1:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    With 17D the first one in and the title reference immediately obvious, this was not the Saturday challenge I was hoping for, but quite good fun. Thanks Chalicea.

  3. dutch
    Posted October 15, 2016 at 1:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Many thanks Chalicea

    This was delightful and a joy to solve. It was over extremely quickly, with some exceptionally helpful definitions, which sometimes made for long clues.

    i find it a mild pity when the anagram fodder ‘looks a lot like the answer’, though I do this myself (eg 13a, 18d)

    Many thanks for putting this together and sharing it, and looking forward to your next one

  4. Rabbit Dave
    Posted October 15, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A light delight for lunchtime although I struggled to find time to eat because I was writing in the answers so quickly.

    Many thanks for the fun, Chalicea, BUT … what can I say about 2d??! :negative:

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 15, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Our setter is using the BRB definition, I don’t think she can possibly be referring to you.

    • Kath
      Posted October 15, 2016 at 6:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

      You can’t say anything about 2d but don’t worry about it – we love you anyway. :smile:

    • Jane
      Posted October 15, 2016 at 8:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Rather thought that you might want a word about 2d!

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted October 16, 2016 at 11:00 am | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks very much for your review, CS, and your kind reassurance about 2d! :wink:
      Lovely pictures too, including your little “helper”.

  5. Jeroboam
    Posted October 15, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The straightforwardness of this weeks NTSPP disappointed me a little after recent editions. Definitely not Toughie level and although enjoyable enough this might comparitively be seen as child’s play. Despite this thanks to Chalicea.

  6. Maize
    Posted October 15, 2016 at 4:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Note to self. Next time it’s a Chalicea, don’t print off, but rather do interactively – which should ensure a challenge!
    First few read and write, then it was re… and write.
    Very much to be recommended for novices though, which was probably the intention.

    Thanks anyhow, Chalicea. Favourite clue 19a.

  7. Kath
    Posted October 15, 2016 at 6:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Well, you can all call me a novice if you like – I loved it – I do agree that it was straightforward but so what?
    The ‘Childhood Friends’ are my favourites and, yes, on this occasion I’m going to allow myself to have all of them, however many there are.
    I didn’t know the East African cloth in 9d but the nice Mr Google was, as always, very helpful.
    Because of a stupid mistake (my own) I couldn’t get 3d for ages but once the mistake was spotted (by husband) that was OK.
    I’ve spent the last few minutes wondering who is missing – Owl and Roo, not to mention the main character himself.
    With thanks to Chalicea for a very welcome break from the garden.

    • Merusa
      Posted October 15, 2016 at 8:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I agree with all you’ve said, Kath, good fun – what memories!

  8. jean-luc cheval
    Posted October 15, 2016 at 6:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I don’t care. Even if the prize is a Paint By Numbers Winnie the Pooh kit, I enjoyed the crossword.
    The very extensive definitions were extremely helpful.
    Thanks to Chalicea

  9. Orphan Annie
    Posted October 15, 2016 at 7:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    It’s all very well for you lot but us junior apprentices occasionally need a NTSPP that we can do and as soon as I saw the compilers name I decided to have a go and what a joy. Loved the theme and coincidentally I have recently read the book, we are down sizing which entails going through the shelves and seeing what we can rid of. Very slow process as I keep stopping to read the books.

  10. Jane
    Posted October 15, 2016 at 8:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Oh I loved it – so many good memories from both my own childhood and that of my girls.
    Last one to go in was 3d – I get computer blindness as well as sport blindness!
    No one particular favourite – as Kath said, I’ll go for all of the characters.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Chalicea, more of similar would be very much appreciated.

  11. Posted October 15, 2016 at 8:59 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I got to this very late after a hard afternoon’s climbing and clambering about. As such it was perfect for me and I very much enjoyed it. I thought the clues were well put together and it’s always nice to relax with friends.

    Thanks to Chalicea and thanks also in advance to whoever does the review.

  12. Kath
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for the review, CS – just for once I didn’t need any hints or answers but lovely pics, especially young Alfie.

  13. spindrift
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 1:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Enjoyable from start to finish although some may carp about the number of anagrams.
    Thanks to Chalicea & to CS.

    And now back to the campaign to get the York Minster bell ringers re-instated after their summary dismissal by the Dean.

  14. Chalicea
    Posted October 16, 2016 at 11:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thank you so much Cryptic Sue for that lovely blog with those illustrations of our old friends. Indeed Eeyore is our favourite too. Our three-year old grandson looks very much like your little helper and will not be parted from his ‘Ya Ya’. After his first day at nursery school in California he came home with a note: ‘Mommy please send my donkey with me tomorrow as I missed him today’ – so Eeyore is allowed to go to school with him now.
    Yes, apologies, I overdo the anagrams and my crosswords are generally on the easy side but I will make the next one just a little bit tougher. Many thanks for all the other appreciative comments. We setters always welcome input from solvers.

  15. Jane
    Posted October 17, 2016 at 12:27 am | Permalink | Reply

    Lovely review, CS – thank you so much for that. Your little ‘helper’ looks very determined if nothing else!

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