NTSPP – 424 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 424

NTSPP – 424

If I had all the money I’d spent on drink … by Encota

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

English as tuppence, changing yet changeless as canal-water, nestling in green nowhere (dot dot dot). A family maxim can be found around the border of the completed puzzle.

It is possible to solve this crossword without knowing anything about the themed person and, if you have a full grid and are still none the wiser, all is explained at the end of the review. I’ll be interested to see whether anyone other than Alchemi recognised the theme*.

Encota must have worked hard to get all the themed references into the crossword, but I think having to fit them and the Nina into the grid, did lead to quite a few obscurities being included. I also found that, a bit like with Elgar’s 125th on Friday, I spent quite a bit of time putting the person’s name and various solutions into search engines to see if anything came up as a match. I’m sure I haven’t got them all but I did my best in the time available to me.


8a French bird sheds golden tail in river (4)
OISE The French word for bird ‘sheds’ the chemical symbol for gold at the end (golden tail) to leave a French river

9a Rebel central to ‘Feudal still, reactionary 16 End‘ (5)
REACT The solution is central to ‘Feudal still, REACTionary 16 End’ – the quotation relates to a film written by the subject of this anniversary puzzle

10a A call of Bacchic frenzy in Brexiteer’s cry for attention? (4)
EUOI An alternative spelling of an interjection expression Bacchic frenzy can be produced by the abbreviation for the European Union and an informal way of calling for attention

11a The rest without a musical instrument (8)
THEREMIN THE (from the clue) and a verb meaning to rest from which the A is omitted

12a Admiral‘s port found in New Zealand (6)
NELSON Probably our most famous Admiral or a port in New Zealand (and Manitoba, not to mention it being the name of a cove in Western Australia)

13a Apt to cycle to source of beer (3)
TAP An anagram (to cycle) of APT

14a An unlikely occurrence is, no matter what (2,3,6)
AT ALL EVENTS If you split the solution 1, 4, 5’1, you’d have a way of describing an unlikely occurrence

17a At the beginning, Old Scrotum carried a retainer for this award (5)
OSCAR The letters at the beginning of Old Scrotum Carried A Retainer. Old Scrotum was the wrinkled retainer

18a An Ade Edmondson character on the radio is our hero (3)
VIV The abbreviated name of our hero sounds like (on the radio) an Ade Edmondson character

19a Start of Nice’n’Tidy’s capitalisation after breaking iron mostly (5)
INTRO Take the letters shown in capitals in Nice’n’Tidy and insert them (breaking) into most of IROn. Nice’n’Tidy is a song written by this crossword’s ‘subject’

22a Idled in quiet kitchen, according to Spooner (11)
LALLYGAGGED If the dreaded Reverend was to use this (especially North American) expression meaning to idle, he’d probably tell you that his ship’s kitchen had been insulated to make it quieter.

25/30a Roadworks sign maybe recorded as ’25a opening umbrellas 30′ by 18a (3,5)
MEN AHEAD This refers to the first solo album of the themed person



27a Hood in Montreal is ‘good and French’ grabbing Smeeton’s behind (6)
BONNET What someone in Montreal, Canada, might call the hood on their car is obtained by taking the Frenchh words for good and ‘and’ and inserting (grabbing) the last letter (behind) of SmeetoN [Reg Smeeton was the piece’s newsagent and self-styled walking encyclopaedia “…did you know there is no proper name for the back of the knees?”]

28a Appropriate to follow Cockney’s say so to ignore a seaside tree (4-4)
COCO-PALM There’s a Cockney expression meaning I should xxxxx – ignore the A at the end, and instead follow with a verb meaning to take swiftly and unseen (appropriate)

29a Dry – wine perhaps – is second to none (4)
SECO A Spanish adjective referring to dry wine is obtained by following an abbreviation for second with a letter that looks like a number used to represent none

30a See 25a

31a Further allusion occasionally (4)
ALSO The ‘occasional’ letters of AlLuSiOn


1d Drunk associated briefly with mean person (5,3)
TIGHT ASS One of the many words we used to indicate drunkenness followed by the abbreviation (briefly) for associated

2d/16d In general, one of our hero’s alter egos in her war nylons all squiffy (5,9)
HENRY RAWLINSONON The name of a World War One general, and one of Encota’s hero’s alter egos is obtained from an anagram (all squiffy) of IN HER WAR NYLONS

3d Religious recluse before a small child (7)
EREMITE A poetical way of saying before and a small child

4d It’s fine if Scotch mist seen in Edmund’s rule (4)
RAIN No idea about the Edmund’s rule bit but Scotch mist is a way of referring to a fine type of the solution

5d Encota’s inebriated without delay (2,4)
AT ONCE An anagram (inebriated) of ENCOTA

6d Happiness is person after source of drink (4-5)
WELL-BEING Put a person after a source of water (drink)

7d Leave the computer and behold the swelling below (3,3)
LOG OUT An archaic way of saying behold followed by an ailment that produces swelling in the foot (below)

15d Deceitful lady heartlessly on gin, sozzled (5)
LYING The outside letters (heartlessly) of LadY on top (in a Down clue) of an anagram (sozzled) of GIN

16d See 2d

20d Listener drunk is to enthusiastically support a cause again (2-6)
RE-ENLIST An anagram (drunk) of LISTENER

21d Big car trouble in Mexican market (7)
MERCADO The abbreviation for a ‘big’ car marque followed by another way of saying trouble

23d Gorilla maybe contains revolutionary ego’s high point (6)
APOGEE Insert a reversal (revolutionary) of EGO into the animal family of which a gorilla is an example

24d Arrested amateur in DC city (6)
GOTHAM An informal way of saying arrested followed by an amateur

26d Rhyming Jack’s holding up covers (5)
TARPS I still think there should be an indication that the solution is an abbreviation for some particular covers. You need to reverse the surname of a nursery rhyme jack (not the one who went up the hill)

28d Regularly called on Johnny Dankworth’s wife, informally (4)
CLEO Found in the regular letters of CaLlEd On


*To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the birth of that English eccentric Vivian Stanshall of the Bonzo Dog Doodah Band, his character Sir Henry Rawlinson (of Rawlinson End) and his associated drinking habits: “If I had all the money I’d spent on drink … I’d spend it on drink“. His family motto can be found around the border of the puzzle. Numerous Viv or Bonzo references are scattered amongst the clues.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rawlinson_End may prove interesting/helpful.

17 comments on “NTSPP – 424

  1. There was a completely new Spenserian word for me – that made me smile, as did that very amusing family saying round the perimeter. Thank you, Encota.

  2. Pretty tough – if I hadn’t remembered the nina, it would have taken a lot longer. As it was, it was insoluble muck, and there wasn’t enough of it.

  3. I know absolutely nothing about Ade Edmondson and his ilk – the type of ‘entertainment’ I steer well clear of – so I think a lot of the nuances in this puzzle were completely lost on me. There were certainly a few slightly odd surface reads.

    Managed to get the family maxim – which I have heard before – by virtue of the anagram in 2/16 but there are a couple of clues – 10&18a – to which I haven’t found satisfactory answers and I’m very unsure about the correct parsing of 9a.

    Came across four new words along the way and learned another bit of GK but all in all this really wasn’t a puzzle for me.

    Sorry, Encota, I think you’re a lovely person but we obviously have different tastes in some things!

  4. I’m not doing well either. Like Jane, I am not familiar with Ade Edmondson. I have about half, but not enough of the outside letters to make any sense of the family maxim. (Having said that, there is a chance that even if I had all of the outside letters I still may not be able to make any sense of the family maxim.) I give up I’m afraid – so sorry.

  5. Wow! That was very tricky and I had to resort to google as I hadn’t come across the theme before. Though from what I’ve read about it, I will definitely look into it more deeply!
    I will wait for the review with interest as there were a couple of answers I got, but don’t really understand how I got there.
    Many thanks to Encota.

  6. We had never heard of any of the characters or shows that made up the theme so Mr Google had to work very hard on our behalf. Probably would have been impossible for us without the border Nina, but with this we did manage to get it completed. We used to live in 12a so that one at least was pretty simple for us.
    Thanks Encota.

    1. PS. If the Wikipedia article we found on line is correct, the quote that forms the title is not quite right.

  7. Got there in the end but needed extensive googling and even so a few are the dreaded bungins. I can see relevant parts of 10a but its a new word to me – back to google for an explanation. And I met my nemesis with Mr Spooner again. One day I will get better at Spoony clues. I think I am off to get eternallt drunk!

  8. I still have half a dozen to go, but I’m not going to bang my head against the wall any longer. Like the 2Kiwis, I am totally unfamiliar with the show and the characters, and for me a number of the surface reads made no sense. I dislike the need to Google so much for a cryptic crossword. So its thanks but no thanks from me, Encota.

  9. Thanks Encota
    I managed to get it all, sort of, just, thanks to working out the main guy in the anagram early on and then eventually deducing the maxim, but I’d heard of neither of them before, sorry to say. I liked the vowelly Scrabble favourite making a guest crossword appearance – also 14a, top two for me.

  10. Very much on the tough side and needed to Google “English as tuppence” to give me a steer towards the hero referred to. Would not have been able to solve 10a or 22a without help either. Very clever construction, though and entertaining, so the puzzle has done its job as far as I’m concerned. Thanks Encota.

  11. A great review – many thanks! And thanks for all your comments, especially of course Alchemi!

    One or two other references might be of vague interest to some (and, by the sounds of it, definitely won’t be to others!) …

    The Rawlinson motto: ‘Omnes Blotto’

    And for those that think they haven’t heard of Vivian, you may still have heard him as the voice introducing the instruments on Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells. [If that doesn’t win you the Pub Quiz prize for random trivia then nothing will]

    Viv’s tales of his character, Sir Henry Rawlinson, made numerous appearances on the John Peel radio show over several years. John Peel used to say that, as he grew older, he’d like to turn into Sir Henry.

    Viv Stanshall is one of my heroes, I’m afraid – the perfectly barmy English gentleman :-)
    I’ve tried to include numerous obscure references that, with hindsight, perhaps only the (probably) one other Viv Stanshall / Sir Henry fan out there will recognise! In the comments I think I only got one ‘hit’, with Alchemi’s planned misquote of Sir Henry’s after-dinner comment: “That was inedible muck and there wasn’t enough of it. Bleugh!” :-)

    Some fairly random references:
    9a: “Feudal still reactionary Rawlinson End”: Viv Stanshall’s first description of Sir Henry’s home.
    13a. References Sir Henry’s cycling to nearby Concreton
    18a. Our hero Vivian Stanshall, Viv, once led the ‘leaderless’ Bonzo Dog Doodah Band. As an aside, ‘youngster’ Ade Edmonson toured more recently with the Bonzos as well as playing the character Vyv (aka Vyvian) in The Young Ones.
    19a. Nigel Nice & Teddy Tidy are contract cleaners who work at Rawlinson End (aside: and who are also ‘resting theatrical artistes’, who often make use of Sir Henry’s music room, but that’s quite another story)
    22a. Viv Stanshall, in Sir Henry at Rawlinson End, delightfully describes Rawlinsons and guests after dinner as ‘lallygagging over the syllabub”
    28a. Favoured phrase of Viv Stanshall’s character Buller Bullethead is “I should cocoa”.
    2d/16d. Sir Henry. He used to cycle off from Rawlinson End to nearby Concreton to soothe his piles, dressed in some very strange gear
    3d. The world around Rawlinson End is described at one stage by Stanshall as this
    23d. ‘Gorilla’ is said by many to be the Bonzo’s best ever album (featuring tracks such as “The Intro and the Outro”).
    Sir Henry is an inveterate drunkard, hence the numerous references. Pity there was no room to include some of his favourite drinks: a chill glass of ‘Paraffino’, a bottle of ‘Entre Deux Legs’ etc.

    And if you ever feel interested enough to find out more, then look out the 1978 album ‘Sir Henry at Rawlinson End’.

    Don’t bother so much with the film starring Trevor Howard: it’s ok but IMO it is the clever-and-silly wordplay that’s the real star. Anyone who uses ‘vile jelly’ quoting from King Lear one moment and then moves quickly on to insulting someone with ’stinking blancmange’ gets my vote!



  12. Many thanks for the enlightenment, CS. I thought you were being very generous in your assertion that the puzzle could be solved without knowledge of the theme!
    I’ll take a look at the article about the ‘gentleman’ concerned – maybe I’ll become a convert?

  13. Thanks CS. Safe to say I would not have got any of the ones I missed by myself. I was puzzled enough by the “DC City” in 24D to break down and google this morning since Gotham City generally refers to New York.. However, I see DC refers to a publisher, not a place. Another bit of specialized knowledge.

  14. I usually enjoy your puzzles Encota, but I can categorically say I did not enjoy this at all. In fact, I did not bother to finish it, as I did not find it at all engaging.
    As Expat Chris said @#8, its thanks but no thanks from me, Encota. Sorry.
    Thanks for the review, CS.

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