NTSPP – 355 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 355

NTSPP – 355

A Puzzle by Radler

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Mentioning no names but there are setters where you need the dictionary to check that the word you’ve conjured up from the wordplay actually exists, and then there’s Radler,  who I think holds the title for the number of times per crossword (this one is a particularly good example) where you have to check the words  in the dictionary to make sure you are explaining the solution/wordplay correctly.


1a           Charlie Charlie Oscar Mike? (7)
COCAINE The definition is the first Charlie, a slang word for a drug, the consumption of which, I was much amused to read in a letter to the paper today (Saturday), is one of the things Britain leads the world in!!   The second Charlie and Oscar are members of the NATO Phonetic Alphabet and the letters they represent should be followed by the surname of an actor I’ve never actually heard referred to as Mike as he is definitely more a Michael!

5a           Turns seeing opening second team scores (6)
SCREWS Scores is a containment indicator telling us to put a team (especially one found on a boat) between the ‘opening’ of Seeing and the abbreviation for Second


10a         In revolutionary society, I run riots etc (15)
INSURRECTIONIST  IN (from the clue) followed by an anagram (revolutionary) of S (Society)  I RUN RIOTS ETC

12a         Number   one meter reading (6)
GASMAN  If you took note of where Radler was when he wrote this clue, you’ll realise that he overheard the medical staff using this  informal term for an anaesthetist (number), which we’d more commonly think  of as someone  who reads a particular type of domestic meter


13a         Leaves South, being redundant (8)
NEEDLESS Leaves such as those found on a tree that will be in most people’s sitting rooms very shortly followed by the abbreviation for South

15a         Ash scattered over quartet symbolised by Roman god (5)
SHIVA A Hindu god is obtained by inserting the Roman numeral for four (quartet symbolised by Roman) into an anagram (scattered) of ASH

17a         Misguided actions by refusal to listen (9)
OBSTINACY An anagram (misguided) of ACTIONS BY

19a         Old head, toe, knee and trumpet sounds (4,5)
TONY BLAIR The name of a former Prime Minister(head) who has been in the news again this week can be obtained from homophones (sounds) of TOE and KNEE, followed by the harsh loud sound of a trumpet


20a         German town awarded contract after tip off (5)
ESSEN Remove the tip or first letter of a verb meaning to contract or get smaller

22a         Actually   a celebrity (2,6)
IN PERSON Actually present or someone who is currently a celebrity

24a         Take and return (take back to scrap) (6)
BORROW Although in my experience, when a teenage son uses this word in respect to money, the return very rarely happens.   Reverse (back) a verb meaning to steal (take) and follow with a scrap or argument

27a         I’ve cash – many oddly unprepared banks close dispensers (7,8)
VENDING MACHINES An anagram (unprepared) of IVE CASH and the odd letters of MaNy goes round (banks) a conclusion (close)


28a         Fraught with risk, £1000 invested poorly (6)
DICKEY An adverb meaning poorly is obtained by investing or putting the letter that represents a 1,000 inside an informal adjective meaning fraught with risk

29a         Stewart departed as planned (7)
STUDIED An informal name for someone called Stewart followed by a verb meaning departed


2d           Turned bend but not with bender thing (9)
OBSESSION A reversal (turned) of a verb meaning to bend, but without the W at the end (not With) followed by a period of time spent in serious drinking (bender)

3d           Facility to carry oxygen on type of bodily fluid (5)
AORTA A facility or skill ‘carries’ the chemical symbol for Oxygen and is then followed by one of the letters used to denote a particular type of bodily fluid –  the whole solution being something that helps that body fluid to carry oxygen round the body.


4d           Poet’s very relieved – not in a million years (4)
NEVER A word you’d use to emphasise that something wouldn’t happen (not in a million years).  If a poet was using the word, he’d probably remove the V (very relieved)

6d           Former space traveller once, and third in relaunch (9)
CHRONDITES The most common form of meteor falling to earth is obtained from an anagram (relaunch) of ONCE and THIRD


7d           Slur words and fit as food thrown up, black out (5)
ELIDE A reversal (thrown up) of an adjective meaning able to be eaten (fit as food) without the B (black out)

8d           Meet at end of week – is Friday clear? (7)
SATISFY The abbreviation for the day at the end of the week, IS (from the clue) and the outside (clear [out the middle of]) letters of FridaY

9d           Fuel used up some years ago, I believe (6)
BIOGAS Hidden and reversed (used up) in yearS AGO I Believe

11d         Now and again, starlet has jury remove tops to reveal chest (8)
TREASURY Despite the cheeky surface reading, this chest is a store of valuable items.   The even letters (now and again) of sTaRlEt and hAS and jURY with their ‘tops’ removed

14d         Free online introductions, so called round on the cheap (3,1,4)
FOR A SONG Sold for a trifling sum – the ‘introductions’ of Free and Online, a way of saying telephoned (called round) into which is inserted SO (from the clue)

16d         Public House featuring cover of Ian Gillan s Deep Purple (9)
AUBERGINE A type of public house, originally and mainly found in France, into which is inserted (featuring) the cover of Ian gillaN, the lead singer and lyricist of Deep Purple

18d         Flying saucers – an indication that inspires confidence (9)
ASSURANCE An anagram (flying) of SAUCERS AN

19d         Did Nick or Troy race mother into sheltered accommodation? (7
THIEVED The abbreviation for Troy (weight), and the first lady on earth (race mother), the latter inserted into a verb meaning sheltered

21d         Just arrived home after we moved in (6)
NEWEST WE (from the clue) moved into a cosy home


23d         Criticise if cat starts to have kittens (5)
PANIC An informal word meaning to review harshly (criticise) and the ‘starts’ of If and Cat

25d         “Bare boob!” he’d exclaimed with excitement (5)
OOHED Bare or uncover a bOOb and add HED (from the clue)

26d         Effin good-for-nothing drifter (4)
RAFT EFF IN tells us that an F goes in a good-for-nothing person.  Whilst searching for an illustration for this one, I was much amused by the number of images that one of my fellow bloggers would probably have used if he were reviewing this puzzle ;)


Thanks to Radler for the Saturday afternoon brain-stretching entertainment

22 comments on “NTSPP – 355

  1. Super stuff with Radler at his devious best (many thanks to him). It took me some time to get going, then I speeded up only to slow down again in the NE corner (mainly because I didn’t know the 6d word). Lots to like including 1a, 22a, 8d and 26d but I’ll nominate 19a as favourite for the d’oh moment.

  2. Unlike Gazza, it was 7d that I didn’t know in the NE and it’s the NW that’s giving me grief. Six to go, despite having the long 10a in place. Think it all hinges on waiting for the penny to drop over 1a.
    19a taking the honours thus far – and I never thought I’d say that!

  3. Currently on holiday in Germany, but wanted to drop by to thank BD for publishing the puzzle and CrypticSue in advance for the review.

    I wrote this puzzle early in the year while recovering in hospital from two general anaesthetics and being treated for an infection. There’s no theme – I wasn’t quite up to that – but I’m hoping that at least some of the clues make sense.

    1. Hi Radler,
      You’ve got me tearing my hair out as usual but I’ll get there in the end!
      Enjoy your holiday and hope to see you again at the next birthday ‘bash’.

      1. If I had hair, I’d be tearing it out too!

        After a big struggle I’m finally getting close but, in the words of Captain Oates, “… I may be some time”.

  4. :phew:
    All done … I think! This was tough, tough, tough, and took me a very long time but I found it exceptionally enjoyable. Amongst a lot of great clues, 1a, 11d, 16d & 19d got double ticks. The terrific 19a was a LOL moment and my favourite – even though I would never dream of applying that epithet to the answer in reality.

    I haven’t been able to parse 12a, 2d, 7d, & 26d fully, and I can’t quite get my mind round 5a where the wordplay seems to lead to one “s” too many.

    Prolixic’s view is that it is acceptable to use single letter abbreviations as part of anagram fodder as long as it the first letter of the word. However, I still don’t feel comfortable with that device and so, for me, 10a is a disappointing clue, although that is a very minor point compared with the very high overall quality of the puzzle.

    Many thanks to Radler for the superb and challenging entertainment.

    1. Many thanks to CS for a great review of a great puzzle, including decryption of the clues which I couldn’t fully unravel. I’ve never heard of that slang name for anaesthetist before, but it clearly makes sense

      Just one remaining question, why is scores a containment indicator? I can’t see anything in my BRB which would suggest that.

      1. Scores as in ‘recorded in’ or ‘like a goal in a net’. Well that was what I decided anyway.

  5. Very late getting on to this one and it has been a real challenge. Still got three to go so will come back to it later. Can’t decide between 1a and 19a as favourite. They were both great penny-drop moments.
    Thanks Radler.

    1. Ah, got the last three. I’ll now have to add 26d to the list of great penny-drop answers as i spent too long trying to find a word where I could substitute a G for an O.

  6. Knew I could get there if only 1a would fall – how fortuitous that I watched a recording of Little Voice late last night! It did, indeed, unlock the last handful of clues although I was far from certain about the parsing of 2d.
    19a remains as favourite although 12a, 16&26d also get a mention.

    The day looks so much brighter now that I’ve beaten you, Radler!

    Many thanks for the review, CS – spotted your deliberate mistake in the answer for 4d!

  7. Thanks Radler for a tough challenge and to CS for a cracking review.

    I only got about three or four on the first pass but then my computer and I filled in the rest eventually.

    I liked the dispensers.

  8. I confess to giving up on this one – to quote Brian it was way above my pay grade.
    I know that I can’t do Radler’s crosswords so I start off expecting trouble – a bit like I used to be with Toughies but I’m getting better about them.
    Anyway, thanks to Radler and to CS.

  9. I had five left, all at the top. With the hint for 1A, I was then able to polish off that corner. The hint for 5A gave me that one and that left 6D and 7D which I had to click on the answer for. Quite a battle, but worth the effort. 19A was definitely top of my pops. Thanks Radler and CS.

  10. My name is Michael Caine. Not alot of people know that obviously.
    Couldn’t finish as usual. Don’t think I ever finished a Radler.
    Enjoyed the clever clueing though.
    Thanks to Radler and to CS for the review.

  11. Just got around to this now having been away for a few days, but wanted to do it.

    Quite a bit of head scratching. Ended up with a full grid with just a few parsing question marks

    Many thanks CS for sorting those out – I was thinking GAS can be a number and didn’t get to thinking a GASMAN could be too. Former in 6d now clarified, as is race in 19d. I didn’t parse 26d at all, but guessed the drifter.

    Lots of clues to like, 1a, 7d, 8d were among my favourites. Thought STU for stewart vs stuart was cheeky – do people use Stew?

    Great entertainment, thanks again Radler and CS

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