NTSPP – 381 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 381

NTSPP – 381

Beefsteak by Chalicea

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Chalicea returns with another chance for me to share some of my photographs, with a perfectly pitched NTSPP (fits nicely into the post-lunch period, fairly easy to solve, ideal for someone who only does the back page puzzles to try something ‘different’ and  fun to review), – this time with a theme, the title of the crossword giving the whole thing away before the printer had woken itself up for me to print off the puzzle to both solve and then scribble notes for the review.  I am a little disappointed that one of my favourite 27a varieties hasn’t been included as I would have thought Chalicea would really have wanted to include the delicious Shirley  ;)

I’d normally highlight themed clues in blue or green but today there is only one colour to use!


1a           Lament about woman’s bright red colour (6)
CHERRY A lament goes about the female possessive pronoun (hers) The definition matches that in the BRB so I’d call it accurate rather than too helpful

5a           Mould returning in Glasgow on most of the Irish family inheritance (8)
HEIRLOOM A Scottish (in Glasgow) form of the word mould is reversed (returning) and placed on (or after) most of the word tHE and the abbreviation for Irish

9a           Hands and feet maybe needed for this card game (3,5)
ALL FOURS An expression meaning on hands and feet or a card game known as High-Low-Jack or Seven Up, is an English tavern trick-taking card game that was popular as a gambling game until the end of the 19th century.

10 Sadly inevitable but not able to make a formal request (6)
INVITE An anagram (sadly) of INEVITABLE without (not) ABLE

11a         Kinky get ups involving misused Euro for these southwestern Europeans (10)
PORTUGUESE An anagram (kinky) of GET UPS into which is inserted (involving) another anagram (misguided) of EURO

12a         God of love making a comeback in Italy’s capital (4)
ROMA A reversal of one of the names for the god of love gives the name the natives would give the Italian capital

13a         Inordinately respects monarchic authority (8)
SCEPTRES An anagram (inordinately) of RESPECTS

16a         Slippery indeed about money (6)
SMOOTH An archaic word meaning indeed into which is inserted the abbreviation for money

17a         Harassed bosses constantly worry (6)
OBSESS An anagram (harassed) of BOSSES

 19a        Mini dish of whitebait, say, insignificant little things (5,3)
SMALL FRY A description of a mini dish of some immature fish (whitebait) could be an expression meaning insignificant little things

21a         Fruit’s almost well filled out (4)
PLUM Almost all of a word meaning well filled out

22a         Tolkien’s river‘s spirit and rich dark-red colour (10)
BRANDYWINE An alcoholic spirit and a rich dark-red colour.   We grow the themed item but I had to check that it was indeed a Tolkien river as I’ve never ever opened a single one of his works

25a         Average gutlessly idle small-minded fellow (6)
MEANIE Another word for average and the outside letters (gutlessly) of IdlE

26a         Dealer in stocks peeled waterproof off (8)
OPERATOR ‘Peel’ or remove the ‘skin’ of wATERPROOf and then make an anagram (off) of the letters you have left

27a         Two disheartened partners consuming round red fruit (8)
TOMATOES Dishearten or remove the middle letter from TwO and follow with some partners or friends, the latter ‘consuming’ the round letter

28a         Curiously resist senior female nurse (6)
SISTER An anagram (curiously) of RESIST gives a senior nurse, especially one in charge of a ward.    Dutch may wish to note that the inclusion of the word ‘female’ is necessary as the male equivalent is apparently a Senior Charge Nurse.


2d           Greeting   celebrity news magazine (5)
HELLO   A very helpful double definition

3d           Restoration of equipment burnt ultimately after wild fire (5)
REFIT The ultimate letter of burnt goes after an anagram (wild) of FIRE

4d           Call for attention, a French pursued by German with less maturity (7)
YOUNGER A call for attention, the French word for ‘a’ pursued by the abbreviation for German

5d           Paid partner‘s great multitude primarily expecting special services (7)
HOSTESS A paid female partner at a dance hall is obtained by following a great multitude with the primary letters of Expecting Special Services.  I found this picture while searching to make sure that random solutions weren’t part of the theme family and couldn’t resist using it here.

6d           Lack of enthusiasm in command on island promontory (7)
ICINESS The abbreviations for In Command and Island go before a promontory

7d           Endlessly vilify upcoming group of players in north-western city and seaport (9)
LIVERPOOL A reversal (upcoming in a Down clue) of almost all of a word meaning vilify followed by a group of players

8d           Remote act performing line of verse (9)
OCTAMETER A line of eight feet or measures is an anagram (performing) of REMOTE ACT

14d         Member of group involved in political intrigue, old Spanish gentleman (9)
CABALLERO A member of a group involved in political intrigue; a Spanish gentleman, especially a horseman; and one of today’s themed solutions

15d         Surprisingly am one up in an unpleasant respiratory condition (9)
PNEUMONIA An anagram (surprisingly) of AM ONE UP IN

18d         Below freezing point, replace bit of zinc with raised mineral aggregate (7)
SUBZERO An abbreviated way of saying replace, a bit of the word Zinc and a reversal (raised in a Down clue) of some mineral aggregate

19d         Periods of the year of main offspring (7)
SEASONS Here ‘main’ refers the ocean – so you need another word for main and some offspring

20d         Put printed direction on a primarily dandy lady’s garment (7)
ADDRESS A (from the clue) D (dandy ‘primarily) and a lady’s garment

23d         Perth’s high praises for secrecy (5)
WRAPS In Perth, Australia, this is a slang term of favourable appraisal.   Here we’d just use it to refer to keeping something in secret

24d         Nobody’s energy after lunchtime (2-3)
NO-ONE The abbreviation for Energy goes after a time of day when one might well eat lunch

I’m hoping that if I tell Jane I’m off now to walk in Clowes Wood, including along part of the Crab & Winkle Way she might put down her fine-toothed comb and go off and look that up instead, but knowing her, I’m sure she’ll find time to do both!

To see the completed grid,

37 comments on “NTSPP – 381

  1. Many thanks Chalicea, fun finding the 27a.

    I’m missing 23d at the moment, maybe it’ll come.

    Lots of nice clues. You have a number of very helpful definitions, e.g. not sure you need to include bright red (1a), southwestern (11a), mini dish of (19a), red (27a), senior female (28a) etc. 7d another case.

    But that just made it easier, did not detract.

    Congratulations and thank you again

  2. I enjoyed this – thanks, Chalicea. As Dutch says, you can be generous with definitions – but I don’t mind generosity!

    I was stupidly slow to catch the theme (the title was a red herring as I forgot it was one) even though I saw 1a 27a.

    The Scottish mould was new to be but didn’t pose a problem. I had to use the internet to find 22a and only got 23d after that.

    Thanks again, and thanks also in advance to CS for the review.

  3. Many thanks, Chalicea – it was good fun finding the themed answers once the penny had dropped.
    Like Kitty, I didn’t know the Scottish mould and – like Dutch – I haven’t yet managed to find a convincing word to slot into 23d.
    Will keep trying for the latter – maybe read up on Perth!

    1. It took me a while to work out 23d – you have to do a bit of alternative thinking in more ways than one. I wonder if someone will give the game away before my review appears in the morning?

      1. Spindrift’s comments have led me to settle for one of the possible answers I had, but I’m not at all convinced that I’ve completely parsed it – particularly as there isn’t even a question mark after the clue.
        Will await your review with great interest, CS. Hope you don’t make us wait until after you’ve had breakfast!

        1. Mr CS keeps waking up with the dawn chorus at the moment, so there’s probably little chance of me getting a Sunday lie-in – mind you given the weather forecast, we may (my friend, Elsie her cairn terrier, and I) have go for a very early walk tomorrow to avoid being either drowned or struck by lightning so the review might be delayed.

  4. Nothing there to startle the stallions or frighten the foals. However I have several ?s about some of the clues including 23d so will wait for the review tomorrow. Thanks Chalicea for a pleasant diversion.

  5. I cheated to get 23D.

    I did enjoy it. I saw the theme straight away and for once I knew something about the subject. I’m still working on parsing a couple, but I have time. My thanks to Chalicea and in advance to Sue for the review.

  6. Thanks Chalicea; yes some generous definitions that made the start very easy – but no complaints!

    Seeing Dutch’s comments I found the right entry in the BRB to parse 23; otherwise, it was just a guess from one of the definitions.

    Very enjoyable solve although I didn’t twig when I saw BEEFSTEAK.

  7. 16a was the one that held us up the longest but nobody else has mentioned it. There are just so many words that fit the checking letters we had and it took a while to find one that worked with definition and wordplay. We have found many 27a but guess there are still more that we do not know. All good fun.
    Thanks Chalicea.

  8. Thank you, Chalicea, nice work.

    Still not sure quite how 23d works. We have the theme word and we found four examples thereof. Let’s hope that’s right!

    1. I have five specific examples, plus two related answers. three if you count the puzzle title.

  9. Have finally read through the BRB entries far enough to sort out the rest of the parsing for 23d. Can’t say it’s my favourite clue!
    Actually – that honour’s already gone to 19a anyway.

  10. I’ve only just noticed Kitty’s comment@21 in Chalicea’s last NTSPP, following on from a request by CS in the review. Ha! Chalicea you’re wonderful!

    Guess we will see the pic, CS!

    1. If you look more carefully at the previous NTSPP you should be able to see the picture in question in my review and comments on it in the ‘comments’

  11. Crypticsue, I don’t think there are things like Oscars, Baftas or Grammys for the year’s best blog but if there were, you would be the outright winner. That was absolutely fabulous and mouth-watering. Many thanks, as always. As I have said before, there is nowhere else that the blog appears at once and with such insight and artistry. Yes, indeed, it was difficult to resist the Shirley tomatoes but a clue about poppies or places in Croydon or Solihull seemed a little unfair to solvers.

  12. Many thanks for such a comprehensive insight into 27a, CS – I’d missed out on two varieties, despite much consultation with Mr. Google. What an amazing assortment of names they have!
    I was interested to note that you made no particular comment about 23d. When I eventually found the Australian definition (a bit too obscure, maybe?) it was spelled without the initial ‘W’ which is why I thought the clue should perhaps have had at least a question mark.
    Having said that, I thought this was a triumph of theming – maybe we should conduct a poll to come up with some more themes to challenge Chalicea!

    PS Yes, I did look up your walking route – loved the name of the pathway! Have you ever been to Clowes Wood at dusk to look for the Nightjars?

    1. have a look at the history of the Crab and Winkle railway.

      No night jar looking – we usually go relatively early in the day – lots of lovely orchids today

      The solution to 23d comes under ‘alternative spellings”

  13. Thanks to Chalicea for the puzzle.

    By the way, I followed your advice about buying Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Dictionary in your comment in NTSPP-376 …

    NTSPP – 376

    …. but it seems that you and CS know far more about tomatoes than Mrs B does (10th Edition).

    Regards, Disapointed from Tunbridge Wells!

    1. I don’t know about Chalicea but as you will see from the photos at 22a and 27a (and the picture I used with her previous NTSPP), I do live with someone extremely keen on growing tomatoes. There are a couple in this crossword which even we didn’t know but I’m sure given half a chance, Mr CS will be out buying seeds for those varieties soon

  14. I always look forward to Chalicea’s puzzles and they are accessible and fun to solve, unlike some of her chums who spend more time trying to put you off finishing a puzzle. They are a great way to make the leap from standard backpagers and gentle Toughies to giving you something to think about a little more.

    Looking forward to the next one!

  15. A big hug, Tilsit! You make it all worthwhile. with such warm comments. My clever ‘chums’ are always prompting me to write more difficult and obscure clues (to escape from the Magpie A slot which I really treasure in fact) but my pleasure is in setting something I could (maybe) solve myself.

    It’s 32°C here today (just outside Geneva, overlooking Mt Blanc) and my tomato plants (sweet baby cherries mostly) are three feet high, loving the sun and very thirsty. They produce kilos of tomatoes right through to November.

    Jane, there was just a tiny hint in your message and it tallies with the ‘theme’ of the next one which is already compiled and kindly tested by Encota, who has, as usual, neatened it up.

    1. Now I’m really intrigued, Chalicea! I shall look forward to seeing that one.
      I wonder whether any of your baby tomatoes are ‘Small Fry’ – I really liked the name of those.

  16. It doesn’t bother me how hard a blocked puzzle is; I’m more concerned with how enjoyable I find it. This wasn’t tricky, but was entertaining. Thanks to Chalicea!

    1. Well – that really confused me! You usually only pop in wearing your Mister Ron hat when you’re owning up to being the author of the puzzle. You may have several pseudonyms but I refuse to believe that Chalicea is one of them!

      1. Oops… best point out that I am definitely not Chalicea! Had meant to pop in under my real name, but forgot to change the relevant field 😬

  17. By the way, it’s Chalicea’s Birthday today – many happy returns.

    I have her next puzzle already – not long to wait!

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