NTSPP – 406 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 406

NTSPP – 406

Elzzup by Radler

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

It has been a while since we spent a Saturday afternoon with Radler, and this time he provided us with a friendlier crossword than some of his previous ones, but then made us concentrate and work to make sure all the Across solutions were written in backwards and the Down ones upside down


7a     Computer department’s gremlin? The very thing! (6)
ITSELF How one might describe a goblin belonging to the computer department

9a     In a queue, taking cash primarily in bank (7)
INCLINE Insert the primary letter of Cash into a 2,4 way of saying ‘in a queue’

10a     Fell over on second run (4)
MOOR Fell here is a sneaky use of a verb. The abbreviation for Over goes between an informal small period of time and the abbreviation for run

11a     I get round to eating or cooking (10)
NEGOTIATOR An anagram (cooking) of TO EATING OR produces someone who gets round obstacles

12a     Hobbit gets to harbour area in port (6)
BILBAO The abbreviation for Area inserted into one of Professor Tolkien’s best-known hobbits

13a     Radio limits signal: broadcast blocked (8)
WAVEBAND A hand signal and a homophone (broadcast) of a verb meaning blocked

15a     Exhaust waste (2,2)
DO IN A double definition

17a     Merkel’s denial then admission: expelled English assassin (5)
NINJA Take the German word for no (Mrs Merkel’s denial), follow it with the way she’d say yes (admission) and expel the abbreviation for English and you should be left with an assassin

19a     Capital returned zilch, moreover less advance (4)
OSLO The capital of Norway is obtained by reversing (returned) O (zilch, nothing) and an adverb meaning moreover, the latter ‘less’ the abbreviation for Advance

20a     I’m first to succeed, choose someone positive (8)
OPTIMIST IM (from the clue) and the abbreviated way of saying first succeed or follow a verb meaning to choose

22a     Some believers stop taking sabbath to its conclusion (6)
DEISTS Take part of a verb meaning stop and take the S for Sabbath which appears in that word to the end (its conclusion)

24a     Eurasia: facts about US denied in this region (4,6)
EAST AFRICA Remove the US (US ‘denied’) from EURASIA FACTS and an anagram (about) of the remaining letters will produce a different region of the world

27a     Monarch that’s overthrown to create republic (4)
EIRE A reversal (overthrown) of the regnal cipher of our current Queen and the abbreviated way of saying that is

28a     Restore clip in other ear and repeat(7)
REPLICA An anagram (restore) of CLIP inserted into an anagram (other) of EAR

29a     Fruitcakes added to party snacks for American (6)
DONUTS Some slightly mad people added after an informal term for a party


1d     Butterfly length in a swimming pool (6)
APOLLO A (from the clue) and an anagram (swimming) of POOL into which is inserted abbreviation for Length

2d     Faint echo incorrectly models temperature furthest from extremes (10)
MIDDLEMOST A reversal (echo) of a synonym for faint, an anagram (incorrectly) of MODELS, and the abbreviation for Temperature

3d     Recurrent characters crashing, quicker to walk (4)
TREK Hidden in reverse in quicKER To walk

4d     Cutting drug, (speed, not ecstasy)(6)
ACIDIC A slang term for the drug LSD followed by another one for methamphetamine (speed) without the E (not Ecstasy) at the end

5d     Each one in murder inconclusively recalled killer (4)
ORCA A reversal |(recalled) of A (one) and the first three letters of a bird, the collective noun for which is a murder

6d     What made woman prise bra off? (5,3)
SPARE RIB An anagram (off) of PRISE BRA

8d     Thinking quickly, I disguised bachelor as Renaissance man (7)
ALBERTI An adjective meaning thinking quickly and I from the clue disguising or hiding inside the abbreviation for Bachelor gives us an Italian humanist author, artist, architect, poet, priest, linguist, philosopher and cryptographer; who epitomised the Renaissance Man

13d     Had single daughter, wife admitted (5)
OWNED ‘Admit’ the abbreviation for Wife into a synonym for single and add the abbreviation for Daughter

14d     Report uses free trade centre (10)
SUPERSTORE An anagram (free) of REPORT USES

16d     Spring showers retreating so one’s hurried outside (8)
NARCISSI These Spring ‘showers’ are things that show up in the spring rather than raindrops. A reversal (retreating) of a Latin word meaning so, with IS (one’s) and a verb meaning hurried< outside /p>

18d     Top cover of Rolling Stones touring Thailand (7)
STETSON An anagram (rolling) of STONES ‘touring’ the IVR code for Thailand

21d     Working company providing ventilation shaft for mine (6)
UPCAST Another way of saying working plus a [theatrical] company

23d     I being independent having nothing to eat (6)
IODINE The abbreviation for Independent, the letter that looks like a nought (nothing) and a verb meaning to eat

25d     Wider in the middle, Moon River designer (4)
DIOR The middle letter of wiDer, one of Jupiter’s moons and the abbreviation for River

26d     Arguments for ordinary language from spokesperson
PROS A homophone (from spokesperson) of some ordinary language


I hope everyone spotted the Nina round the perimeter BACK TO FRONT AND UPSIDE DOWN

19 comments on “NTSPP – 406

  1. That took a while, (following the instructions), which did become slightly tedious, I have to say.
    Some nice clues and a satisfying extra treat, which I saw fairly early on, and which helped a lot.
    Thanks Radler.

  2. Many thanks Radler. The Nina certainly describes the state of my brain after doing this. I’ll have to retrain it before the next crossword. I was focusing so hard on writing stuff in backwards that I entered some things into the wrong grid entry.

    I’ve been waiting for someone to look over my shoulder and be impressed with my knowledge of obscurities – no such luck.

    Got the Nina about half way through and it was a big help in solving the rest.

    Liked 6d (foi), 7a, 12a, 17a, 22a, 23d and more

    Many thanks

  3. The lousy weather gave me the opportunity to tackle this, which was good fun and, although difficult, not as terrifying as some of Radler’s puzzles can be.

    I had a similar experience to Dutch, spotting the Nina when I had completed the LHS which then helped a lot with the RHS. My etiruovaf was 6d, with 12a & 23d running it close.

    I can’t fully parse 19a, 22a, 4d & 5d. Regarding 4d, many of our setters seem very well versed in drug terminology which is mostly a complete mystery to me.

    Many thanks, Reldar.

    1. Yes, certain setters seem to revel in how much they can use drug (and sexual) references.

      Most of the sexual ones (and worse) were done by Tiresias, the original Private Eye crossword setter.

      This idea has been done a few times previously, twice in the Graun and once in another one, which escapes me, maybe the Indy.

    2. I’ve unravelled 19a & 22a and, with the aid of Google, I’ve cracked (excuse the pun) 4d so only 5d remains elusive now.

        1. Cor, stone the crows. I’d never have got that in a month of Sundays (or Saturdays come to that).

          Thanks for putting me out of my misery, Roy.

  4. Well – that was something of a revelation! Started off OK with some ‘across’ clues answered and filled in backwards but then – horror of horrors – all the resulting checkers for the ‘down’ clues were, of course, in the wrong places. I have to confess to even turning the grid upside down to see whether it would help – it didn’t………

    Anyway, I struggled on to just beyond the halfway point meeting a few new words along the way and then came to a total standstill. Eventually a light-bulb moment suggested the Nina (I didn’t have any complete words in it by then) and much more rapid progress was made from then on.

    I got there, Radler, but only at great cost to my sanity. I feel decidedly like the Nina at the moment!
    Thank you for a very different experience.

  5. Admittedly I haven’t spent a lot of time on this yet and only have a few answers, but I’m already feeling very discombobulated.

  6. Talk about doing ones head in……. We found that we made better progress by ignoring the grid as much as possible and writing out the letters we had with the relevant gaps to be filled in. This worked and we eventually got it all sorted with the last two being 3d and 23d. Kicking ourselves now that we did not look for a Nina as it would have been a big help with the last few.
    Good fun and greatly appreciated.
    Thanks Reldar.

  7. Wow – this was strange! I usually find a Radler puzzle right at the edge of my ability level, and this was no exception. I did manage to get there in the end (although I peaked at some of the early blog comments which prompted me to look for the Nina which was a help especially in the SE corner.). I thought the reversals were very clever, but I am not sure they added anything to the enjoyment of the challenge.

  8. Phew! Finally finished at a ridiculously early hour on Sunday morning. The only reason I looked for, and found, the nina was seeing the first couple of comments yesterday. It was a tremendous help, so thank you gentlemen. I found this very difficult and more than a little frustrating. It didn’t help that I initially put in in ‘reprise’ for 28A from the checkers I had in place, and being convinced that the first name of Mr. Baggins was Bilko. I can’t say I enjoyed the experience but there’s a certain satisfaction in finally getting all sorted out. Thanks Radler.

  9. Although Radler’s puzzles are always entertaining I didn’t enjoy this one as much as usual – having to write the answers in backwards just seemed to be a bind. The Nina helped with the last couple of 4-letter answers. The clues which themselves involved reversals (e.g. 10a, 27a and 5d) were particularly odd.
    My top clues were 29a and 23d. Thanks Radler.

  10. My thanks to Sue for the test solve and blog and to BD, who despite his initial doubts, agreed to publish this puzzle.

    Some of you pointed out that it was harder to recognise words from their crossers. If it’s any consolation, I had the same difficulty when filling the grid, especially as I wanted as far as possible to exclude obscure words. It took more failed attempts and retries than would a normal puzzle with a Nina but no theme. As it was, I ended up instead with some standard crossword fodder like ‘OSLO’, (which incidentally, I was determined to clue without the chestnuts ‘Czechoslovakia’, ‘big look’ or ‘go slow’.)

    Gazza – I did wonder how it would be fairest to deal with reversals in the clues and decided to write the clues as I would for a conventional puzzle, but refrain from using specifically directional indicators such as “up” or “from the east”

    1. Hi Radler – yes, the thought of you having difficulty filling the grid was a definite consolation!

  11. !siht devol I !nuf eguh saw Ti :grin: :yahoo:

    Thank you for a most entertaining and absorbing ‘Elzzup’, Reldar.

    Many thanks, too, to Crypticsue for a super blog and for confirming three answers about which I wasn’t sure. I did manage to complete the remainder without problem — but with plenty of cogitation… Having to work back to front didn’t really bother me. The Nina was a big help.

  12. Many thanks for the very colourful review, CS, particularly the picture of the Apollo butterfly which I hadn’t seen previously.
    Also, thanks for the parsing of the ‘faint echo’ – that had me rather fooled.

    The old comb picked up on a few bits:-
    22a I think it should read ‘stop’ rather than ‘stops’ – a superfluous ‘S’ otherwise.
    2d Not sure that’s quite the synonym you had in mind!
    13d Shouldn’t the ‘wife’ be admitted into another word for single.
    16d I think a couple of parts of the decryption should swap places.

    Missed me, haven’t you?!!!

    1. I have made the corrections

      Don’t put the comb away, I’m just waiting for the sacred runes to be cast and then you can correct the MPP Review too.

  13. Really enjoyed.
    It makes a refreshing change to solve such a different crossword.
    And so much more work went into it with an added Nina.
    Just great.
    Thanks to Radler and to CS

Comments are closed.