NTSPP – 401 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 401

NTSPP – 401

A Puzzle by Alchemi

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Big Dave follows:

This puzzle had a rather obvious theme, but provided a fun solve.  The parsing of two of the clues, 5a and 25a, caused some concern, but I am happy with the latter.


1a 14 boasted pizazz, they say (8)
CRUISING: sounds like (they say) a verb meaning boasted followed by some pizazz [crew + zing]

5a 14 needs excellent translation in 24 hours (6)
MATRON: an excellent mark and TR(anslation) inside the abbreviation for a specific day of the week – i) Chambers supports excellent = A1 but not A; ii) Chambers supports translator = TR, the New Oxford American Dictionary (NOAD), however, does support translation = TR

10a Changes silencers to suppress cheers (7)
MUTATES: silencers or devices for subduing the sound of a musical instrument around a two-letter word meaning cheers or thanks

11a Give authority to politician over being in jug (7)
EMPOWER: our usual politician and O(ver) inside a water jug

12a Very long one goes round on top (9)
OVERLYING: an anagram (goes round) of VERY LONG I (one)

13a Backing fashionable revolutionary with limited appeal (5)
NICHE: The reversal (backing) of a two-letter word meaning fashionable followed by one of our usual revolutionaries

15a Accepted code of banquet hospitality (5)
ETHOS: hidden (of) inside the clue

16a Money – one way to get some armour (8)
BRASSARD: a colloquial word for money followed by A (one) and the abbreviation for a way or street

19a Rich sailor and German soldier (8)
ABUNDANT: one of our usual sailors followed by the German for “and” and a 6-legged soldier

20a Literary effect lasts in character with horribly grim face (5)
RHYME: the final letter of five words in the clue

21a Churchill possibly drops in, becoming more confident (5)
SURER: the type of business of which Churchill is an example (possibly) without (drops) the IN

23a Confuse 22 with Arab negotiator (9)
BARGAINER: an anagram (confuse) of the answer to 22 Down with ARAB

25a Eccentric to check computer access for 14 (7)
CAMPING: a word meaning an eccentric (a device for taking an alternating rectilinear motion from a revolving shaft) followed by what can be done to check computer access [ping] – Chambers supports the use of eccentric as a noun in this context, as does Mrs Bradford

27a Alchemi’s elected to stop publication causing serious injury (7)
MAIMING: a word meaning “this setter is” and a two-letter word meaning elected inside (to stop) an abbreviation for a type of publication

28a Proverb quiet for a 14 (6)
SPYING: start with a word meaning a proverb and insert the musical notation for quiet in place of the A

29a English ladies overlap in the final stages (8)
ENDGAMES: ENG(lish) overlapping some ladies


1d Company doctor goes outside to ask for calm (8)
COMPOSED: CO(mpany) and an abbreviation for a doctor around a verb meaning to ask, as in to ask a question

2d Buy 3hp contraption to transport king in 14 (2,3,6)
UP THE KHYBER: an anagram (contraption) of BUY THREE HP around (to transport … in) K(ing)

3d Child from Yorkshire town makes a choice (7,2)
SETTLES ON: split as (6,3) this could be a child from a Yorkshire town (the one that has a railway that goes to Carlisle)

4d Northern Idaho seems extremely inhospitable at first to child of immigrant parents (5)
NISEI: the initial letters (at first) of five words in the clue – Chambers gives “an American or Canadian born of Japanese immigrant parents”

6d Tree like writer (5)
ASPEN: a two-letter word meaning like followed by a writing implement

7d Fight naked former PM (3)
ROW: start with the name of a former Prime Minister and drop his outer letters (naked)

8d 14 obscure runes (5)
NURSE: An anagram (obscure) of RUNES

9d Cloth-worker 14 (8)
SERGEANT: a type of cloth followed by a 6-legged worker

14d Cabin baggage covering collection of double entendres (5,2,4)
CARRY ON FILM: a word meaning baggage that is suitable as cabin baggage followed by a covering or layer

16d Runner possibly has pants for shapeless seats (8)
BEANBAGS: the vegetable of which a runner is an example followed by some pants or trousers

17d Carol welcomes elite 14 (9)
SCREAMING: a verb meaning to carol around the elite

18d Titles go over fashions (8)
PEERAGES: a verb meaning to go or urinate followed by (over) some fashions or vogues

21d Fishing boats without matches to start fires (5)
SACKS: start with some fishing boats and drop (without) the initial letter (to start) of M[atches]

22d Drops on a radio control (5)
REIGN: sounds like (on a radio) drops or precipitation

24d Italian river country (5)
ROMAN: R(iver) followed by a Middle-Eastern country

26d Can a lot forget name? (3)
MAY: start with a word meaning a lot and drop (forget) the N(ame)

29 comments on “NTSPP – 401

        1. Ah, I see. I was too quick off the mark. I printed it out before midday from the shortcut you gave me a few weeks ago as the links to the NTSSP & Rookie via the blog are blocked by my company’s server due their categorisation as “games”.

  1. Very straightforward after overcoming the ‘shock’ of seeing so many references to 14 and solved before breakfast.

    Not sure if I have seen an ‘overlapping’ clue like 29a before.

    Favourite 3d.

    Thanks to Alchemi.

  2. Great work to get so many themed answers in an enjoyable puzzle – thanks Alchemi. Top clues for me were 21a, 29a and 3d.

  3. I had a hilarious time doing this in the pub with friends who were well into the theme, recalling snippets and lines – great fun.

    Not sure of the parsing of 5a and 25a, so await review.

    Many thanks alchemi

  4. I found some of the clues too difficult to parse (25a, 16d ,18d) but I carried on regardless!

  5. Not a genre that ever appealed to me which took a bit of the shine off this one, although I’ve no doubt that others will be delighted by it. However, there was still much to enjoy – my top three being identical to those that Gazza singled out for mention.

    Like Dutch, I’m struggling to satisfactorily parse 5&25a – will keep looking at them.

    Thank you Alchemi – sorry to be a grouch over the theme!

    1. For 25A, the first 3 letters represent a sticky-up pointy bit on a shaft that causes the movement of the shaft to be periodically eccentric as it rotates (see how high tech I am!). The last four letters are what your IP will do to your computer to check remotely that you have a connection to the internet.

      1. Yes – so I have now been informed, but thank you so much for the high tech stuff! The ‘pointy bit’ was a complete mystery to me and the closest I could get to something that might be to do with a computer was only a 3 letter word. What’s an IP?

  6. A good fun crossword – thanks Alchemi.
    I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a whole 14d although I’ve heard snippets from them – I admit to extensive use of Mr Google.
    Like Jane and Dutch I don’t ‘get’ my answers for 5 and 25a – I had an idea for 5a which depended on the third and fourth letters being an abbreviation for translation but it isn’t.
    I liked the 23a/22d combination and 3 and 7d. My favourite was 16d.
    Thanks again to Alchemi.

  7. Great puzzle – thanks Alchemi. Spent last weekend walking in Snowdonia and found out something about 2d … but won’t say more to avoid spoiling here. And 25a took me back to a day-job of old…
    I had similar lack of clarity re. 5a as others, and 16a was a new word for me.
    The solution to my first Enigmatic Variations is in tomorrow’s Sunday Telegraph, in case any of you had the time to try it.

  8. Is Alchemi American?

    – 4d is a US term.
    – Only an American would refer to hand luggage as the first two words of 14d.
    – IMHO 16d doesn’t work because it uses a uniquely American term for trousers as the wordplay for a uniquely British slang word for trousers.

    But then again would an American know the Yorkshire town in 3d?

    However I did enjoy this overall. It was challenging and fun. 16a & 4d were new words for me, and I can’t parse 7d.

    My podium is occupied by 29a, 3d & 18d.

    Many thanks, Alchemi.

    1. The penny just dropped on 7d. I had “raw” as my answer as a naked brawl. I see now that it is the ex PM who is naked – not a pleasant thought.

  9. I gave up as not knowing 14d put half the clues out of court and I could not solve any of the other half!!

  10. It took an age for me to get 14D, then things fell into place quite quickly. Some of the theme clues I had heard of, some I hadn’t. I’m guessing Churchill is the name of a firm. 4D was a new word. I, too, am still puzzling over the full parsing of 5A. I liked this a lot once I had the theme because it brought back memories of some marvelous character actors. I think 27A has to be my favorite. Thanks Alchemi.

    1. Yes, Chris. Churchill are a company famous for using a dog called Churchill who likes to say “yes” in their adverts:

  11. We solved this very early in the morning at Wellington airport. It is now many many hours later and we have arrived at New Delhi. It took us a few clues before we twigged the theme and then we were away laughing, literally. Really enjoyed it.
    Now it is time we went to bed as it is well over 24 hrs since we last slept.
    Thanks Alchemi.

  12. Many thanks for the review, BD, and the confirmation that I hadn’t missed something in 5a. As for 25a – I now understand it (thank you, Senf and Chris) but think I’ll leave my car maintenance to the local experts!

    Thanks again to Alchemi for the puzzle – hope you’ll be back again ‘ere long.

  13. Thanks BD – at least I was right about 5a – well, sort of.
    I still don’t get 25a but I don’t really mind – it was a good crossword.
    When I went to print out yesterday’s NTSPP I was just thinking that we hadn’t had an Alchemi for a while and there it was.
    Thanks again to Alchemi and to BD.

  14. Thanks BD for a fun review. And for 2d I just found out that the Watkins Path up to the top of Snowdon was used as the Khyber Pass in the film – there’s even a blue plaque there, so it must be true :-)

  15. Lucky to start with the NE corner and the anagram in 8d gave the game away directly although I wasn’t sure if I had to look for characters or films at first.
    The other anagram in 2d definitely put me on the right tracks and had to check the list for 28a and 17d which I didn’t remember seeing.
    Whether you like it or not this kind of humour is part of your heritage and as British as Alchemi’s trousers.
    Thanks to him for the great fun and to BD for the excellent review.

  16. Thanks to Alchemi again for the puzzle and BD for the review.

    Although I solved 5a with knowledge of the 14ds and checkers, it really spoiled an otherwise very good puzzle.

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