NTSPP – 369 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 369

NTSPP – 369

A Puzzle by Radler

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

I always look back to see what I think about a crossword when I first ‘met’ it and what changes, if any, have been made to any of the clues.   This one definitely took me a fraction of the ‘normal’ time for a Radler and I’m sticking to my view that it was at the easier end of the ‘Radler’ spectrum although, of course, these things are relative.   He’s been a bit quiet lately, perhaps he’s working himself up to a really tough crossword again – I’m sure we’ll find out in due course.



1a           Top rate delivery of swimwear? (5,2,5)
SPEED OF LIGHT Split this maximum speed 6, 6 and the second part of the clue may make you smile

9a           Perhaps a pound with tips in change (5)
PENCE An animal pound with the ‘tips’ in ChangE

10a         Evil fighter has drink – men, what about retaliating (9)
SUPERHERO A verb meaning to drink followed by a reversal (retaliating) of the abbreviation for Ordinary Ranks of Soldiers (men) an interjection meaning ‘what?’ and the two-letter abbreviated way of saying about (in an email subject line, or more often than not in a crossword clue)

11a         Annoyance admitted over a good old time (4,3)
IRON AGE Another word for annoyance or anger admitted a preposition meaning over, A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for Good

12a         Part   one in table (7)
ELEMENT Part of something or one of many listed in a particular table

13a         Straight thing, gold about so long (5)
  ADIEU The chemical symbol for gold goes ‘about’ something used with straight (as a) to mean honest

15a         City cheat meeting lady to get end away (9)
ROTTERDAM A rotter and almost all (end away) of a lady

18a         Visual aids in back of theatre, quiet-spoken parts OK (9)
EYEPIECES  he ‘back’ of theatrE, and  a homophone (spoken) of a synonym for quiet, the latter ‘parting’ the way we’d say OK to a question

19a         Star introduced as crypticsue? (5)
SUSAN Introduce  an anagram (cryptic) of AS [can you have an anagram of two letters??] into the biggest star of all

20a         Bishop’s informant providing essentially racy shock (7)
ACTRESS This particular informant usually says something to a bishop as part of an informal vulgar punchline – the ‘essential’ letters of rACy and a piece of hair (shock)

23a         Inadequate youth pursues spot control treatment (7)
PLACEBO  Almost all of (inadequate) a youth ‘pursues’ a spot or position

25a         Poisonous growth daughter put in snack, (bent over toilet) (9)
TOADSTOOL Insert the abbreviation for Daughter into a food item eaten as a snack (although I’ve just had some for breakfast which I’d call a meal) and follow with a reversal (bent over) of an informal term for the toilet

26a         Tip-top telly? (5)
UPSET  To tip over – in a higher place and another way of referring to a television (telly)

27a         OK! (8,4)
ABSOLUTE ZERO   O K represents a temperature which could also be called nought degrees Kelvin


2d           Childsplay locating item on map (9)
PANTOMIME An anagram (locating) of ITEM ON MAP

3d           Rival eliminates unknown answer to make system clearer (5)
ENEMA Remove the mathematical unknown from a rival and replace with the abbreviation for Answer.   Not a solution I’m going to illustrate!

4d           Concerned with the club escort getting bit raunchy (9)
OBSTETRIC The club here being a slang term for pregnancy – the solution is an anagram (raunchy) of ESCORT and BIT

5d           Greases palms to cover up mistake (5)
LAPSE Cover up indicates a reversed lurker hiding in greasES PALms

6d           They’ve a way to cultivate greens outside (9)
GARDENERS An anagram (cultivate) of GREENS goes outside  A RD (a road, way)

7d           Particular note forming melody (5)
THEME A definite article used to denote a particular thing, in this case the third note of the tonic sol-fa scale

8d           Settling down in seat, hip having arthritic condition (9,3)
BOTTOMING OUT A person’s ‘seat’, a way of saying fashionable (hip) and a nasty arthritic condition (4)

9d           Soldier goes downstairs (7,5)
PRIVATE PARTS ‘Downstairs’ here is an euphemistic reference to a certain area of the body.   A lower rank of soldier and a verb meaning goes or leaves

14d         Domains created by academic divisions of biblical content (9)
UNIVERSES An abbreviated way of referring to an academic institution and the divisions of chapters in the Bible

16d         One up on trial (for tautology?) (4,5)
TEST PILOT One who goes up to trial new aircraft.   The reference to tautology in the clue is that each word in the solution can mean ‘trial’

17d         Most depressing receiving treatment in chemist? (9)
DISPENSER Most of the word Depressing receiving treatment as an anagram

21d         Crown of thorns, idealised and revered among crowns (5)
TIARA The ‘crowns’ of Thorns Idealised And Revered Among

22d         School  bar (5)
SHOAL A multitude (school) of fish or a sandbank (bar)

24d         Animated amateur astronaut (5)
ABUZZ The abbreviation for Amateur and the informal way we refer to the second person to walk on the moon



33 comments on “NTSPP – 369

  1. Thank you Radler, I absolutely loved that. Packed full of wit and invention with every single clue a gem. Nearly every one seemed impossible at first then obvious afterwards – which is exactly as it should be of course.
    I could mention any of the clues for praise, but surely the most memorable is 27a. Brilliant!
    I haven’t always managed to get on your wavelength in the past, but this was right up my street. My favourite puzzle in quite a while. :)

  2. I really can’t do this. :sad:
    Been in the garden all afternoon and have only just come in – I’m going to have another go now and see if I get anywhere.
    Back later, or tomorrow maybe, so in the meantime thanks to Radler and, in advance, to CS.

    1. Don’t worry, Kath, I’m still staring at a virtually empty grid as well! I have managed 5d but that’s about all…………..

  3. Not sure that we agree with CS about it being a gentle Radler but certainly agree with Maize that it is packed full of real gems with 27a being the stand out masterpiece. We had to work quite hard but good fun all the way.
    Thanks Radler.

  4. Beautifully clued and great fun to solve. So many great clues but I think 20a was my favourite. Thanks Radler!

  5. Like Expat Chris I have four answers and I’m not sure about the rapidly losing the will to live – I think I’m probably a goner – oh dear.
    Who was it who said this was Radler in a much gentler mood? I blame CS.
    Might try again later or tomorrow but I seem to have said this already.

  6. Well – its taken the better part of the day but I think I’ve got there. Still the odd question mark re: bits of parsing so I look forward to CS’s review.
    Thank you, Radler – I didn’t think it was one of your easier ones by any means!

  7. Great puzzle Radler – real slow burner for me.

    Plenty of chuckles and good crunchy wordplays.

  8. I came to this a day late – what a joy with some superb clues and lots of pennies being dropped. I particularly enjoyed 1a, 20a, 26a and 9d but favourite must be the brilliant 27a. Thanks to Radler for a superb puzzle.

  9. I did manage to get a few more answers but this was way beyond me and I gave up.
    I saw the picture for 25a and read the hint very quickly without taking it in properly – was slightly worried at first to hear that CS had had some for breakfast.
    I think my favourite was 9d but it had some competition from 20a.
    Thanks to Radler for the crossword and to CS for filling in all my gaps – there were a lot of them.

  10. Many thanks, CS. I had, as I’d suspected, made a hash of a couple in the bottom SE corner – no wonder I couldn’t figure out why others were claiming 27a as COTD!
    Thanks again, Radler – I guess I have to accept that you beat me this time.

  11. I agree Sue – because I can’t usually finish a Radler.
    And congratulations on your celebrity status in 19a. :)

  12. Thanks to all for the comments.

    As Maize put it, a clue should appear impossible at first, but be obvious afterwards. (Of course, how long afterwards varies as it depends on the elusive “wavelength” factor.)

    Thank you to Crypticsue for the review and earlier test solve, and thanks to BD too.

  13. Having dipped in and out of this several times since yesterday, I thought is was very tough but very enjoyable. I echo Gazza’s comments and his choice of the clues deserving particularly special mention.

    My only query to CS relates to the clue in which she gets a name check. Doesn’t the wordplay lead to “Sasun”, or does “as cryptic” mean reverse “as” with “sue” as the definition?

    Many thanks to Radler for taking up a lot of my time doing something I really enjoyed rather than the chores I should have been attending to and to CS for her review.

    1. Glad you brought that up, RD. It had me puzzled as well, but I forgot to mention it.

    2. Hint now corrected. It has been so long since anyone called me Susan, I obviously forgot how to spell it

  14. Just got around to this today, a we celebrated my wife’s birthday yesterday with a movie (la la land) and a chinese dinner.

    Wasn’t easy, but a lot of fun, some great penny-drops (and groans) and mainly some lovely definitions. Also some bold indicators.

    I particularly liked 23a (where i headed off in a completely different direction), 27a!, 2d, 4d, 5d (a beautiful hidden – didn’t see it for ages), 9d and 16d

    Would have preferred “crowns” in 21d and though I got 9d i’m struggling to separate the definition from wordplay, so I’ll take it as an &lit.

    An excellent puzzle, many thanks Radler, and thanks CS for the review.

    1. Dutch, I think 9d is a great clue which is actually quite straightforward as indicated by CS. The first word is a soldier of a particular rank; the second word is a (perhaps slightly archaic) synonym for goes; and the whole answer is a colloquial expression defined by the euphemism “downstairs”.

    2. I think that the (singular) ‘crown’ in 21d is the definition. I suspect that your struggle is with 9a rather than 9d.

    3. I’ve reinstated the underlining in the 9a clue which for some mad reason didn’t make the transfer from my Word document draft to the blog

  15. That clue just reminded me of an incident from a dinner party more years ago than I care to remember, at which, after a few drinks, one of the “gentlemen” present said to one of the “ladies”, who was noted for her promiscuity, “the trouble with you is that your 9d are not particularly private”. Quite a conversation stopper!

  16. As far as I am concerned all the pennies are still in my hand and I can’t even find the slot to put them in.
    Totally blank crossword.
    First time this has happened to me.
    Tant pis.
    Can’t thank anybody yet.

  17. In truth, I would have given up long ago with just six answers in place, and then saw RD’s dinner party story in my email. That gave me 9D and was the kick start I needed. I was motivated. Now I have just half a dozen to go, all on the left hand side, and each time a clue falls I think “How did I not see that before!” 4D is way ahead in the favorites race so far.

  18. OK!…which is now my favorite clue. All but 3D done, so I came to the review and hints, to find that I had 9A wrong (pends, because I thought pence was too obvious. Oh well.) , which made 3D impossible. But I’m so glad I persevated because it was well worth it. 27A was superb and 1A wasn’t half bad either. So many more…the aforementioned 4D, 20A, 8D and 9A which (thanks again to RD) gave me any entry. Many thanks, Radler, and of course thanks to CS.

    P.S. In 24D, I thought maybe the “animated” was also perhaps a reference to Buzz Lightyear?

    1. Glad you persevated, Chris – I got two wrong but it was definitely worth the fight.

  19. Excellent – thanks Radler!

    Some very neat definitions e.g. 2d
    Some perfect clues – 5d as a great example!

    A few other brief notes below.


    25a bent over – is this stretching it a bit? Very clear imagery!
    Some very witty and clever clues
    10a is ‘retaliating’ a reversal indicator?
    4d def ‘in the club’?
    A couple of fun techniques in 19 & 26. Won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I really liked them.
    Top and bottom one’s across – very nice!

  20. Just to say Radler, that I recommended this puzzle on idothei, where I know it’s gone down extremely well, even if fellow solvers haven’t come back to this comments thread here to say so. :)

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