NTSPP – 368 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

NTSPP – 368

NTSPP – 368

“For Dutch” by Chalicea

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Dutch commented on Chalicea’s last puzzle:

“I have adopted the the view that if a word is listed in an English dictionary and thus acceptable in English usage, no language indicator is needed (even though the reference might quite specifically be to a Spanish gentleman, or a Spanish dance, etc). That is not to suggest it would be wrong to add an indicator”.

Chalicea can’t resist a challenge, so you had better get your trusty Chambers off the shelf for this one, I [BD] certainly did.



I’ve always known a lot of somewhat obscure ‘stuff’, probably helped by my love of interesting words and their meanings, but I didn’t realise quite how much until I started to solve this challenging crossword, like others, really  determined not to use the BRB until I was desperate.  I had to use it to get 4d, not least because my knowledge of both chess term and antique silver coins is fairly limited but surprised myself by how many of the other ‘foreigners’ I knew. 


7a           Sadly bake last bit of lamb skewer (5)
KEBAB An anagram (sadly) of BAKE and the ‘last bit’ of lamB

8a           Russian grannies; 24s with hot inherent spirits (9)
BABUSHKAS The solution to 24d, the abbreviation for Hot and ancient Egyptian spirits or souls within a person

10a         Female adult in Indian dress in group on the lookout for animals (6)
SAFARI The abbreviations for Female and Adult in an Indian dress

11a         Go round a zone with agitated chap for spicy cold soup (8)
GAZPACHO GO (from the clue) round A (from the clue), the abbreviation for Zone and an anagram (agitated) of CHAP

12a         Cooked old crust on cubes of fried bread (8)
CROUTONS An anagram (cooked) of O (old) CRUST ON

13a         Ancient Germanic letter in section of reggae’s contents (4)
AESC  The first two letters of this rune for the letter a should really be a diphthong – the solution is lurking in a section of of reggAES Contents 

15a         Sample of clarets in a Greek wine (7)
RETSINA Another lurker, this time a sample of claRETS IN A

17a         Brazilian waterway‘s one good parapet trimmed at both sides (7)
IGARAPE A Brazilian waterway for canoes – I (one), the abbreviation for good, and the insides (trimmed at both sides) of pARAPEt

20a         Authentic German dramatist, not British (4)
ECHT An originally German adjective meaning genuine or authentic is obtained by removing the BR (not British) from a German dramatist

22a         Repeated phrase from host in a tournament (8)
OSTINATO  Another lurker – hidden in hOST IN A TOurnament.  A short melodic phrase repeated throughout a musical composition

25a         Our pet, a principally quite naughty little chatty flier (8)
PAROQUET An anagram (naughty) of OUR PET A and the ‘principal’ letter of Quite.   Another name for a small member of the parrot family.

26a         Busy person circling Mecca pilgrimage for battered vegetable appetiser (6)
 BHAJEE A proverbially busy person circling the name for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca

27a         Scrubby African terrain‘s curiously very lush beds (9)
BUSHVELDS An anagram (curiously) of V (very) LUSH BEDS

28a         Setter with shelter in noisy conflict (5)
MELEE How our setter would refer to herself plus ashelter


1d           Encountered decapitated folkloric creatures in lands tenants paid for with produce (9)
METAIRIES  A simpler way of saying encountered followed by some folkloric creatures with their first letter (decapitated) removed

2d           Mother with helmets (not small once) for monkeys (8)
MACAQUES An informal term for a mother and some helmets from which the S in third place has been removed, you still need the S for small at the end as the monkeys are plural!

3d           Spoil work on South American tree (7)
MARGOSA A synonym for spoil, a verb meaning to work and the abbreviation for South American

4d           German dividing antique silver coin in the past, the cheek! Position player hopes to avoid (8) ZUGZWANG A lot of looking up involved in solving this one.   In chess, a blockade position in which any move is disadvantageous to the blockaded player.   Put the abbreviation for German into a three-letter old Austrian silver coin, then add an obsolete term for the cheek (or,  apparently,  a molar tooth)

5d           Exceptionally amirs originally had seamless, white, Muslim garments (6)
IRHAMS Seamless white cotton garments worn by Muslims on pilgrimages to Mecca.  An anagram (exceptionally) of AMIRS and H (had ‘originally’)

6d           Chief academician going after deserted area for country retreat (5)
DACHA  Abbreviations for chief and academician go after the abbreviations for deserted and area.   Alternatively if you know the name for a Russian country holiday home, and aren’t the blogger needing the check the abbreviations for chief and academician are in the BRB, just write in the solution.

9d           Company in Italy has ordinary Italian greeting (4)
CIAO The abbreviation for Compagnia (the Italian word for company) and the abbreviation for Ordinary

14d         Petty quarrel before the French regularly set eyes on sweet late harvests (9)
SPATLESES  A German word for sweet late-harvested wine – A petty quarrel, the French definite article, and the regular letters of Set EyeS.   I had to look in several of our reference books but finally found one dictionary that had the plural word

16d         Eccentric nuts seek small carved Japanese ornaments (8)
NETSUKES An anagram (eccentric) of NUTS SEEK

18d         Two men (Corbett and Cameron maybe) briefly left circular hut (8)
RONDAVEL The abbreviated way we might refer to Mr Corbett the comedian, an informal way of referring to Mr Cameron, the former Prime Minister, and the abbreviation (briefly) of Left

19d         To primarily savour small amount on a tortilla (7)
TOSTADA  TO (from the clue), the primary letter of Savour, a small amount, and A (from the clue)

21d         Nonchalance shown when nanna fancifully has this fashioned hat (6)
CLOCHE Remove the letters of NANNA from NONCHALANCE (fancifully tells you that the letters aren’t in that order) and an anagram (fashioned) of the remaining letters will give you the hat.

23d         Have a common boundary, back to front! Strictly forbidden (4)
TABU Take a word meaning to have a common boundary and move the letter at the back to the front of the word

24d         British endlessly take advantage of Indian clerks (5)
BABUS The abbreviation for British and a truncated (endlessly) word meaning to take advantage of

Thank you to Chalicea for the special crossword which had so many lovely photo opportunities for the “Dutch” words, I had a hard time picking the eight to use – I’d like to make a request that the next one has the word TOMATO in it please, as I’ve got a really great tomato photo I’ve been waiting to use in a blog since last summer.

42 comments on “NTSPP – 368

  1. Dear goodness – that was not so much a crossword as an advanced level course in GK!
    At least, having read and thoroughly enjoyed Hare with Amber Eyes, I was au fait with 16d.
    Not sure that I can really say I enjoyed the solve but there was a certain sense of satisfaction in digging out all the required answers.

    Thank you, Chalicea, but maybe don’t do that to us again?!!!

  2. Due to the extremely clear and precise cluing, I found this pretty straightforward to finish, despite being familiar with only about three-quarters of the grid entries. It was a puzzle which engaged me, and I wanted to finish, but I can’t honestly say it was a barrel of chuckles.
    I must say though that the grid entry at 16d can’t work in the original language and Chambers doesn’t support the Anglicised modification.
    Thanks to Chalicea

    1. 16d is in my copy of Chambers (13th edition) – I checked the spelling when entering the answer, which will be familiar to followers of The Antuques Road Show and Bargain Hunt.

        1. Chambers appears to have no view on the plural of 14d or 16d, which usually means “add an s” – the ODE gives two alternatives for both. Presumably this is “anglicisation”, like forums and stadiums.

  3. Very similar to Baerchen, on my travels through the clues I guessed around 25% – based on the very accurate clueing – & enjoyed the journey! I did mix letters 1 and 3 in 5d on my first guess, though! Thanks Chalicea – great fun, and I am sure Dutch will enjoy the tribute!

  4. Thanks Chalicea, great fun!

    The Anglicised spelling of 14d is in Collins.

    Amazingly, I found I knew a number of the difficult ones. I’m not sure though that I need to remember 17 or 18 unless I go on my travels!

    1. with that ending?
      It doesn’t make any sense. (if this is too boring, as I understand it might well be, please don’t bother looking it up!)

      1. I’m with you on the ‘ending’ question – I’ve even tried investigoogling it with the last letter to no avail.

        Update: I’ve found the plural spelling in our Microsoft Encarta World English Dictionary so I’m going to have to amend that bit of my draft blog :mail:

  5. Such a shame that, as we found out yesterday, Dutch doesn’t return from his skiing trip until tomorrow. I’ve sent him a pdf and the preamble so that he doesn’t see the review before he solves the crossword

  6. I thought that was good fun – it’s certainly a new idea.
    I’d never have got 4d if it hadn’t cropped up in a comment in yesterday’s back page comments – thanks to LbR.
    I knew a few of these words but I don’t think Mr Google has ever had to work as hard as he has today.
    I have several answers I don’t quite understand and two that I can’t do at all in the bottom left corner.
    Thanks to Chalicea for the crossword and, in advance, to CS for the review.

  7. When many of the acrosses slipped in without much resistance, I thought this might not be too hard. Hahaha … Yes, soon after that I was reaching for help. An enjoyable and refreshingly different exercise – thanks Chalicea. I bet Dutch will be thrilled.

  8. As my granny would have said – “A joke’s a joke but bugger a pantomime!”

    I hope Dutch appreciates the challenge that Chalicea has set. Now to get the beers in before the Ireland game.

  9. If you put most of the letters of 14d into the Chambers Word Wizard, it finds the correct solution. It’s always difficult with plurals as they are not often indicated in dictionaries.

  10. Pass the tissues I’m off. I usually like GK crosswords but this one has defeated me with two to go. I have tried everything that I can think of but I have failed to find the answers. Roll on tomorrow. Thanks to Chalicea for addling my poor little brain and CS who will sort me out. :phew:

  11. With a preamble like that, I wonder if I was the only one who couldn’t resist trying to see if it could be done without recourse to a dictionary… Almost made it, just defeated by 4d – my chess never quite reached those levels and as for Palestinian coinage – well!

    Otherwise everything was provided by very clear wordplay and a bit of guesswork on the anagrams. An ingenious gridfill and, as a one-off experiment I thought it was rather wonderful. Many thanks Chalicea, and to Dutch for providing the inspiration.

    1. Hi Maize, I tried and failed – I was caught out by 5d! I never can resist a challenge like that :-)

        1. Thanks Jane! However, it was much more down to the accuracy of Chalicea’s wordplay than my certainty about the (often alternative) spellings of the definitions :-)

          1. Ha! So we did I it between us Encota :) – and Jane there was quite a bit of lucky guessing going on for me!

  12. A mouthwatering crossword journeying around the world. Most enjoyable Chalicea.
    I am just a bit confused in my parsing of 23d which would seem to give me a musical instrument rather than strictly forbidden.

  13. I was convinced this was going to be a pangram, and was frankly amazed when I realised it wasn’t!

    Twelve of the twenty-eight answers were unknown to me and needed BRB verification, which frankly I found increasingly tedious after a while, but I was determined to finish and only sought electronic assistance for 4d, which has to be my least favourite clue of 2017 by a wide margin. Unfortunately I didn’t see its spookily prescient mention yesterday, but an obscure chess term clued using an equally obscure Hebrew coin as part of the wordplay was not very solver-friendly, and, as for the tautology of having “antique” and “in the past” together as well, oh dear! I was also disappointed to see a very avoidable split infinitive used in 19d, but I won’t go on for fear of being drummed out of the NTSPP Setters’ Union…

    Thanks to Chalicea for the entertainment, her puzzles are never less than original, for sure.

    1. I thought exactly the same! Perhaps there is some obscure reference to Chalicea’s missing ‘X & Y’ (Coldplay cd) – or ‘No Axes (to grind)’ – or something!

  14. :yahoo: Amazing what a cuppa and a crumpet will do, came back and found last two remaining answers. Off to do GK in Weekend wish me luck.

  15. For anyone loving languages as I do, this was just perfect.
    Lovely trip around the world and very happy to see that France takes first place.
    Everything being found in the BRB proves once again that you are open to the outside world.
    Thanks to Kath for mentioning LrB’s comment as I didn’t get 4d.
    Thanks to Chalicea for the great fun.

  16. That was certainly different and we thought a lot of fun. We did know a significant proportion of the answers and enjoyed the exploration in Google and BRB to sort out the ones that were new to us. It would have been challenging to anyone trying to solve without these resources available but for us, sitting at home on a Sunday morning, a very pleasant diversion.
    Thanks Chalicea.

  17. Certainly different. Defeated by 4D. Eventually revealed letters but that was no help to parsing. The challenge of sorting out and verifying all those obscure words did become tedious, though. Thanks Chalicea.

  18. Certainly different. Defeated by 4D. Eventually revealed letters but that was no help to parsing. The challenge of sorting out and verifying all those obscure words did become tedious, though. Thanks Chalicea.

  19. Dear Chalicea – thank you!
    Just made it back from skiing holiday, thankfully with intact family…

    What an absolutely splendid, wonderful tour of foreign words that have made it into the English language. Hm, I could get political…..

    I was absolutely delighted. I thank you for acknowledging me as your inspiration, though it is clear the art is yours.

    Of course, as part of the whole premise, I might argue that some of the language indicators (15a, 17a, 9d, 16d) were not necessary, however, neither were they out of place :-)

    guess that’s the point

    many thanks, I really felt touched and I enjoyed the crossword vey much

    looking forward to the next one

  20. i fully retract my earlier comment as this was brilliant. i persevated & managed to solve all of the clues albeit with the help of the brb, seiko crossword server & even my hobson-jobson dictionary.

    I’m looking forward to the review which should be interesting.

  21. Thank you Sue – this is one where I was definitely keen to double check the answers!
    And seeing them all there really does highlight what a brilliant gridfill it was.
    And with apologies for being pedantic, in 27a I think the last letter is an S, and in 19d an A.

    1. Thank you – I do like to leave a couple of things to make sure people read my blogs thoroughly :whistle:

  22. Beautiful, Cryptic Sue, especially the monkeys, the Russian grannies and the wee green bird. I was half way through setting the next one but the tomatoes have gone in and Encota has promised to test it (congratulations to him – he’s now a Listener setter!). I can’t say too often how this (NTSPP) is the most enjoyable site to compile for because of the very generous and instant solver input and the spectacular blogs. Dutch, many thanks for the idea – so glad you enjoyed it. I was wondering how to make something of Spindrift’s hilarious comment at no. 8 – maybe in a future one. Many thanks to all.

  23. Many thanks for the review, CS – pleased to see that you struggled to spell 5d as well!
    Certainly needed your help to parse 4d and wondered about all those abbs in 6d. You obviously checked more thoroughly than I did.

    Must remember tomatoes for the next one!

  24. Thanks again to Chalicea for the crossword and to CS for the much needed explanations and pictures.
    I’ll be watching out for the spectacular photo of a tomato in the next one – or maybe a photo of a spectacular tomato.

Comments are closed.