NTSPP – 382
Think by JollySwagman
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
JollySwagman makes his long-overdue debut appearance in the NTSPP slot.
A review will by Prolixic follows.
Welcome to JS to the pages of the NTSPP. This was an enjoyable crossword with a theme. As usual with NTSPP crosswords, I will not dissect each clue in the same detail that I would for a Rookie crossword. However, one thing that struck me here was the extraordinary number of repetitions in wordplay indicators which will not have been to everyone’s taste.
1 Old lady has a pint to knock back. First she’s going for an Indian (8)
MAHARAJA – A two letter word for an old lady with the “has” from the clue with the S removed (first she) followed by a reversal (to knock back) of the A from the clue and another word for a pint as in a pint or *** of ale.
5 Maybe Sweeney Todd made an offensive remark to the Queen (6)
BARBER – A four letter word for an offensive or pointed remark followed by a two letter abbreviation for the Queen.
10 Optimistic – like a typical Englishman (7)
BULLISH – A cryptic definition, literally someone who is like John Bull (typical Englishman).
11 Taught you French and German by rote? That’s unusual! (7)
TUTORED – The signal French pronoun for you followed by an anagram (that’s unusual) of ROTE and the IVR code for Germany. The dictionaries give G for German. To make the wordplay work, this would have to be Germany.
12 See anger in French valley … (5)
LOIRE – A two letter word meaning see followed by a three letter word for anger.
13 … where Sun King also cavorted about (5)
SOLAR – An anagram (cavorted about) of R (King) ALSO.
14 Drink and drugs on trains (3)
RYE – A two letter abbreviation for railway (trains) and the abbreviation for Ecstasy.
15 Sound gent 17d is going out with a cutie (4,9)
GIVE UTTERANCE – An anagram (is going out) of GENT A CUTIE and the answer to 17d.
19 Beginning golfer? (7,6)
LEARNER DRIVER – Cryptic definition by reference to a shot that a new golfer would have to master.
21 Return first prize (3)
POT – A reversal (return) of a word meaning first.
22 Charlie’s bullets ricochet around Mark (5)
COMMA – The letter represented by Charlie in the NATO phonetic alphabet followed a reversal (ricochet around) of a four letter word for bullets or other munitions.
23 An occasional sherry with a group of women might make one better informed (5)
WISER – The abbreviation for Women’s Institute (group of women) and the odd letters (an occasional) in sherry.
24 It’s a drag entertaining exceptionally rich English composer (7)
PURCELL – Another word for a drag (as on a cigarette) includes (entertaining) the odd letters (exceptionally) an the abbreviation for English. I am not sure that exceptionally means every other letter. If anything, it means irregularly rather than regularly.
25 Routine operation at the pre-natal stage (2,5)
IN UTERO – An anagram (operation) of ROUTINE.
26 A bit of a fry-up for a sheriff to tuck into (6)
RASHER – The answer is hidden (to tuck into) in FOR A SHERIFF.
27 Runner‘s more complacent about first loss (8)
SMUGGLER – A seven letter word meaning more complacent around (about) the first letter of loss.. As first has already been used as an initial letter indicator in 1a, perhaps a different indicator should have been used here.
1 American cell for gangsters found on French island (6)
MOBILE – A three letter word for a group of gangsters followed by the French word for Island.
2 Stacks of models have interest up front (7,8)
HOLDING PATTERNS – … stacks of aircraft awaiting a landing slot. Another word for a financial interest in a company followed by a word meaning models or templates.
3 Setting for Wagner’s Ring principally – first hit in English (5)
RHINE – The first letter (principally) of Ring followed by the first letter (first) of hit, the IN from the clue and the abbreviation for English. This clue repeats so many elements of wordplay used in other parts of the crossword, first, English and possibly (although it could be a generic setting for Wagner) has the Ring doing double duty, that it really does not pass muster.
4 Philosopher:”After Major’s blunder with tart I mull.” (4,6,4)
JOHN STUART MILL – The first name of the former Prime Minister, Mr Major, followed by an anagram (blunder) of ART I MULL.
6 Perhaps George Clooney‘s account’s a bit steep – it might be (5)
ACTOR – The abbreviation for account followed by a three letter word for a hill that might (or might not be steep).
7 With one abstention EU accepts the Queen’s right over Article 50. Donald’s beginning to come on board. He’s done the maths (8,7)
BERTRAND RUSSELL – Hold on to you hats and listen carefully, for I will only type this once. The first letter (beginning) of Donald inside word (named for the city where it has its seat of power) for the EU with the final letter removed (with one abstention) inside which you have the abbreviation for the Queen a reversal (over) of the two letter abbreviation for right and a two letter article) all followed by the Latin for 50.
8 Saved – right where English river meets the sea (8)
REDEEMED – The single letter for right followed by the abbreviation for English (third time) the name of the river that flows through Chester and the shortened form of Mediterranean (sea).
9 4d’s view of Ilium:”It’s a train-crash.” (14)
UTILITARIANISM – An anagram (crash) of ILIUM ITS A TRAIN.
16 Soldier leaves the front line in a vehicle (3)
VAN – Remove a five letter word for a soldier from a word meaning the front line.
17 Priest‘s over is over – but it’s not over! (3)
REV – A reversal (over) of OVER after removing the abbreviation for over.
18 This may fix bugs in air traveller’s defective app (8)
FLYPAPER – An anagram (defective) of APP inside another word for an air traveller.
20 The king’s lover’s coming over for the night – we’re told it’s an old habit (6)
ARMOUR – Another word for a lover around the abbreviation for King (again) to give something once worn by a knight (night we’re told).
22 American sandwiches – a bit of pasta – or a French snack? (5)
CREPE – The name of a Native American around (sandwiches) the first letter (a bit of) pasta.
23 Forced to flee Gateshead after one week (5)
WRUNG – The abbreviation for week followed by a word meaning to flee and the first letter (head) of gates.