NTSPP – 379 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 379

NTSPP – 379

A Puzzle by Radler

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Radler is back with one of his extremely difficult crosswords – this one with a theme inspired by ‘sitting patiently outside the fitting rooms in M&S’.


1a           Revolutionary Spanish nationalists at army officer’s place (6)
LOCATE Reverse (revolutionary) the abbreviation for the Spanish Nationalists and an abbreviation for an army officer

4a           Hit book gets put away (6,2)
BEATEN UP The abbreviation for Book followed by a verb meaning put away in the sense of food

10a         One who belittles Ebenezer – that’s not big (9)
MINIMISER  The type of person Mr Scrooge was if he was smaller, he might be called a xxxx xxxxx

11a         Message sent to wife made public when no answer (5)
WIRED The abbreviation for Wife followed by a word meaning made public without the abbreviation for answer 

12a         Push cups up, just the left protruding (5)
PROUD A verb meaning to push holds (cups) the ‘left’ letter of Up

13a         Likely to go on TV (like at a broadcast) (9)
TALKATIVE – An anagram (broadcast) of TV LIKE AT15a         Lap dances, overcome with anxiety, lacking visible support (9)
STRAPLESS An anagram (dances) of LAP ‘overcome with’ or inserted into some anxiety

17a         Roughly takes cup size at the front (4)
MUGS A cup with more or less vertical sides (thank you BRB) with S (size at the ‘front’)

19a         I wade: one, two then start to swim (4)
IBIS The letter that looks like a number one, a prefix meaning two and the ‘start’ of Swim

21a         Have sex, perhaps trying shortly… to get this? (9)
MATERNITY A verb meaning to have sex and an anagram (perhaps) of TRYIN (shortly tells you not to include the last letter)

24a         Cowboy Clint’s sipping milk and syrup concoctions (9)
LINCTUSES An anagram (cowboy) of CLINTS and part of a  verb meaning to milk or take advantage of

26a         Head off catastrophe through appeal for money (5)
LUCRE the ‘head’ of Catastrophe goes inside (through) an appeal or enticement

27a         Poor tips for fun life, make lad unhappy (5)
NEEDY The ‘tips’ or final letters of fuN lifE makE laD unhappy

29a         Secreting inside code with inner cyphers (9)
ENDOCRINE Relating to glands that secrete into the blood – an anagram (cyphers) of CODE INNER

30a         Ghetto drug review: suspect half-heartedly to get suspension (8)
EMULSIFY A reversal (review) of another word for ghetto, the abbreviation for the drug Ecstasy followed by an informal word meaning suspect without one of the middle letters (half-heartedly)

31a         Jolly good fellows, Bob once Paddy’s around (6)
SPORTS – The abbreviation for the old coin once known as a Bob and a reversal (around) of a paddy or temper tantrum


1d           Pole in the way of Scandinavian briefly after blocking Frenchman (8)
LAMPPOST Almost all of a person from Lapland (Scandinavian ‘shortly’) and a word meaning after, into which is inserted the abbreviation for Monsieur the Frenchman

2d           Outline when travelling below top speed (7)
CONTOUR The letter used to indicate the speed of light should be followed by the way a pop group, for example, might say they were travelling

3d           Bond actor Moore turning to Pierce, tiptoes out (4,7)
TIME DEPOSIT Ms Moore the actress reversed and inserted into (pierce) an anagram (out) of TIPTOES

5d           Put up name to enter learning? (5)
ENROL A reversal (put up) of some learning into which is inserted the abbreviation for name

6d           Trail from the East? (3)
TOW If you were coming from the East, you’d go XX [the] X

7d           Career tending to inform, boss given promotion earlier (7)
NURSING A slang word meaning to inform and a verb meaning to boss, the latter reversed and going first (given promotion earlier)

8d           Did stuff when put together under pressure (6)
PADDED A verb meaning put together goes under the abbreviation for Pressure

9d           2:1 So there! Spain’s lost to Malta (8)
ISOTHERM Another word for the solution to 2d I (one) SO THERE (from the clue) without E (the IVR Code for Spain) which is replaced by the IVR Code for Malta

14d         Maid’s abandoned car plus sabotaged racing offshore (8,3)
ADMIRALS CUP An anagram (abandoned) of MAIDS and another (sabotaged) of CAR PLUS

16d         Disregard level at Wimbledon? (3,5)
SET ASIDE If each player at Wimbledon had won one xxx

18d         Mounts pile of wood, getting followed up (8)
PYRENEES A pile of combustible material for burning and a reversal (up) of a verb meaning understood (followed)

20d         State censored my strip for head (7)
BANDEAU A homophone (state) of a word meaning censored and an interjection meaning ‘my’

22d         Radler thrice received treatment, but not as patient (7)
ITCHIER An anagram (received treatment) of I (Radler) THRICE

23d         Drop down, needing a breather during exercise (6)
PLUNGE One of the organs needed to breathe inserted into the abbreviation for an exercise lesson at school

25d         Shallow flesh wound (5)
SHELF An anagram (wound) of FLESH

28d         Roger checks out, first to leave (3)
YES –  Yet another remove the letter – this time the first one of an expression meaning checks out or looks at

And here’s the grid



32 comments on “NTSPP – 379

  1. Radler triumphs again with a puzzle chock full of his deviousness. I liked lots of clues including 7d, 8d, 9d and 20d but my favourite, for the very suggestive surface, is 12a. Thanks Radler – do keep them coming!

  2. Dear goodness, Radler, you don’t ever go easy on us, do you! I guess it’s a mark of respect for you as a setter that I will always soldier through to the end regardless of how long it takes.
    Hadn’t heard of the 3d bond before so that was one of the last to slot in along with 29a, the surface of which frightened the bejesus out of me!

    No surprise that Gazza (and potentially all other male solvers) put 12a in the top slot. My own contenders are 8&16d.

    Many thanks for another battle royal – the final victory always tastes so sweet.

        1. I nearly always miss ghost themes but I’ve found this one now after Radler’s prompt. It’s not one of my specialist subjects but I think I’ve got all 11 (although a couple are guesses!).

  3. Thanks Radler; pretty tough, I bifd a few and parsed later. It took me a while to see the parsing of 12A. Yes, I’m male and yes, I liked it.

    I did notice the theme from a couple of points… I may have all eleven after doing some extensive research.

    I liked 3, which took me a while to sort out, and several others, including Gazza’s ‘likes.’

  4. Just got back from four days of crossword-deprived business travel and downloaded this puzzle. I think I may be on a loser before I begin!

    1. Don’t think you will, Chris. Just read through the clues until you find the odd one that falls into place – it seemed to get much easier after that!

  5. Theme? What theme? Never mind, at least I finished it, which has to be the main thing.
    I think Radler manages to play with the ambiguity of language like no-one else. The trouble is I nearly always guess wrong! Still, that prolongs the pleasure, so many thanks. Loads of fun, ingenuity and art in those clues!

    1. Try lateral thinking, Maize. Why would the theme come more easily to me than to Gazza and require me to do no research like Windsurfer?

  6. As often seems to be the case I agree with Jane. This was tough, tough, tough and on my first pass I had only two answers in with very little idea about the likely clue constructions for most of the others. However, with a lot of perseverance and some electronic help, it all finally fell into place although I still can’t fully parse 30a, 1d & 7d.

    Without the comments above I would never have realised that there was a theme. But, when I started to look, it became obvious. I suppose it’s a sign of my misspent youth that I was aware of eight of the themed items and I was able to guess the other three which Google confirmed for me. Whoever is doing the review tomorrow has a great opportunity for pictorial accompaniment (hint, hint).

    With such inventive cluing it’s difficult to pick a favourite, but I’ll give special mentions to 8d, 9d & 20d with 3d in first place.

    Many thanks to Radler for the very enjoyable but utterly exhausting challenge.

    1. 1d – Def is first 4 words, last 4 letters are ‘after’.
      7d – Def is first 2 words, the rest splits 3, 4.
      30a – Sorry, I can only parse the last 3 letters.

      1. 30a – look again at the first two words of the clue and then do exactly as the third word tells you.

      2. Thanks very much Maize.
        1d I completely missed “after” leading to the last four letters.
        7d I had “narking” (which fitted with the checkers) as the wrong answer using the first four words as the definition. The problem that now gives me is that the correct answer becomes my 12th themed answer when Radler has said there should be 11!

        1. Many thanks for your review, CS. My 12th themed answer was 6d. Apparently it is something that fits over the front of a car when towing it to protect it from stones! :wacko:

          P.S. For 2d, I took top speed to be “c” – the speed of light.

  7. Which part did we find tricky? All of it! However we stuck with it and did eventually manage to get it all together. We totally missed the ghost theme until we came here to post a comment and got an extra huge laugh out of that too.
    Thanks Radler.

  8. Morning All! A super challenge – thanks Radler!

    My experience sound like it was similar to Maize, 2Kiwis and Rabbit Dave, featuring:
    – Theme? What theme? D’oh!
    – Initially “tough, tough, tough”: it took me a while to get any at all! [And harder than this weekend’s Listener (in Saturday’s Times). Do try it if you don’t believe me :-)]

    Some features I really liked included:
    – ‘top speed’ in 2d
    – the definition in 7d – I initially thought it weak then realised I’d missed something & now think it very strong :-)
    – the usual excellent mix of ‘verbs disguised as nouns’ (and perhaps the reverse?), they always make me smile
    – especially 5d and 25d for their neat surfaces

    And with Exercise mentioned in 23d, it’s surprising but no wonder no push-ups involved? [That’s my trawling of Chambers done for the day.]

    Wishing everyone an enjoyable rest of the weekend,


  9. Thanks to CS for the review and thanks again to Radler for the entertaining puzzle. So, Pyrenees is not one of the themed answers? – I was trying to visualise what that one would look like. :D
    There’s no anagram in 9d.

    1. Behave!

      I have correct the hint – like Captain Mainwaring, I do like to leave something for someone to spot

  10. Many thanks for the review, CS, and for leaving me a couple of ‘deliberates’ to find. The answer at 4a is missing a couple of letters and in 7d doesn’t ‘given promotion’ refer to reversing the first word?

    Knowing that it was likely to be you in the chair today, I rather thought RD was going to be disappointed in his hope for themed pictures – and I must admit to finding it slightly worrying that he thought 6d formed part of the theme! Gazza’s notion of 18d didn’t surprise me in the least!
    I guess that those of us who didn’t know anything about Radler’s life can now reasonably assume that he’s a family man!

    1. Thanks Jane now corrected – I lost the will to live with the original version of this particular crossword back in September last year which probably didn’t help much when drafting the review yesterday, in between preparing and then later serving tea, sandwiches and cake to 45 bell ringers

      Radler is indeed a family man which is probably a good thing when it comes to being found loitering outside fitting rooms

      1. Hi RD,
        That’s really given me my laughs for the day. Some of the comments on that site, when taken in the context of the theme of this puzzle, are absolutely hilarious!

  11. I confess to giving up on this after quite a long time and having only got a handful (?) of answers.
    I know that I find Radler’s crosswords more difficult than any other setter so maybe I was in the wrong frame of mind to start with.
    Thanks for the review, CS – feeling a bit better as I can see that I would never have got lots of these answers.
    Thanks to Radler and huge admiration to anyone who managed this one.

  12. PS I’ve just read the hints for today’s Virgilius crossword but can’t get beyond the bottom of the hints to leave a comment – is it just me or is something funny going on?

    1. I’ve just pointed that out to BD and Senf so hopefully it will be fixed soon

  13. Phew! That was hard work but very rewarding to finally finish albeit with all manner of help.

    Thanks to Radler for the puzzle and to CS for the review.

    ps. Given the theme I am surprised that there were no “lift and separate” clue constructions.

  14. Thank you everyone for the comments and apologies to male solvers who were at a disadvantage with the theme and may have had no choice but to undertake extensive research on the Internet.
    My thanks too to Crypticsue for the blog and test solve

Comments are closed.