NTSPP – 437 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 437

NTSPP – 437

A Puzzle by Alchemi

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

This excellent puzzle is typical of what we have come to expect from Alchemi.  There is a mini-theme signalled by 1 Across.


1a Teach recruit about design (12)
ARCHITECTURE: an anagram (about) of TEACH RECRUIT

9a Chop wood at end of visit to coastal area (3,4)
THE WASH: a verb meaning to chop and wood from a specific type of tree preceded by (at) the final letter (end) of [visi]T

10a Back replacing animal’s head with tail (7)
ENDORSE: start with an animal and replace its initial letter (head) with a word meaning tail

11a Australian in space needing uniform (3)
EMU: an Australian animal is derived from a printer’s space followed by the letter represented by uniform in the NATO Phonetic alphabet

12a Designer European company grabbed with both hands working harder (2,9)
LE CORBUSIER: E(uropean) and CO(mpany) inside (grabbed with) the abbreviations for both hands and followed by an adjective meaning working harder

13a Musician‘s sharp break with poet (10)
RHAPSODIST: an anagram (break) of SHARP followed by a word meaning a poet

15a Only fabric not ready (4)
MERE: Start with a type of fabric and drop (not) CASH (ready)

17a Grass went (4)
WEED: two definitions – another slang word for marijuana (grass) and a verb meaning went or relieved oneself

19a SI unit support for wax cylinder holder (10)
CANDELABRA: the base SI unit of luminous intensity followed by a women’s support garment

22a Designer Goth will dry out (5,6)
LLOYD WRIGHT: an anagram (out) of GOTH WILL DRY

24a Supporting shape dropping marks (3)
FOR: a word meaning shape without (dropping) M(arks)

25a Factor in the Spanish people in France and outside (7)
ELEMENT: the Spanish definite article followed by some people with the French for “and” outside

26a Facilities used during tour in Alsace (7)
URINALS: hidden (during) inside the clue

27a Demolishing Irish shrine director enters wearing dress (8,4)
KNOCKING DOWN: a pilgrimage site in County Mayo (Irish shrine) followed by D(irector) inside (enters) a phrase meaning wearing a dress (2,4)


1d Directly watches for corruption and attempts to deceive (2,3,4,5)
AS THE CROW FLIES: an anagram (corruption) of WATCHES FOR followed by some attempts to deceive (by telling untruths)

2d Emperor deprived of gas cutting short river break (7)
CAESURA: start with a Roman Emperor, drop the chemical symbol for Argon (gas) and add a Russian river without its final letter (short)

3d Climax of competition starts late, remains fast (2,1,5)
IN A FLASH: a word for the match which is the climax of a competition with its initial letter moved down (starts late) followed by some burnt remains

4d Code in Latin and this (5)
ETHIC: the Latin for “and” followed by the Latin for “this”

5d Other side come round having had an idea (9)
THEORISED: an anagram (come round) of OTHER SIDE

6d Air and mud mixture produces 25 (6)
RADIUM: an anagram (mixture) of AIR and MUD give an example of the answer to 25 Across

7d “Teas?” said Mark (6)
BRUISE: sounds like (said) a colloquial word for teas

8d Musician surprisingly rogering a horse (6,8)
GEORGE HARRISON: the name of this musician is an anagram (surprisingly) of ROGERING A HORSE – apparently the anagram has appeared elsewhere, but it was new to me

14d Distinguishing reportedly awful reviewer (9)
DIACRITIC: according to Chambers, a term used of marks (e.g. accents, cedillas, etc) attached to letters to indicate modified sound, value, etc. – the first three letters sound like (reportedly) an adjective meaning awful and are followed by a reviewer

16d Excessive, jewel-encrusted sort of paper (8)
BLOTTING: The abbreviation for a phrase meaning excessive inside (encrusted) some flashy jewellery

18d Old books featuring church weapon (6)
EXOCET: a two-letter word meaning old followed by a two-letter word for some books of the bible around (featuring) the Church of England gives a weapon that became well-known during the Falklands conflict

20d Dull yellow metal round milk producer (7)
BUFFALO: a dull shade of yellow followed by the chemical symbol for a specific metal and the round-shaped letter

21d Carefully enter three notes (and one in German) (4,2)
EDGE IN: three notes of the diatonic scale are followed by the German for “one”

23d Designer from Georgia’s act of secession (5)
GAUDI: the abbreviation for the US state of Georgia followed by an abbreviation for an act of secession by a dependent state without the agreement of its protector

18 comments on “NTSPP – 437

  1. Very enjoyable puzzle with a nice theme – thanks Alchemi. I surprised myself by knowing all the theme elements.
    The clues I liked best were 15a, 3d and (for the hilarious surface) 8d.

    1. Thanks, Gazza. I think 8d is one of those anagrams you end up remembering forever, like PRESBYTERIANS/BRITNEY SPEARS.

      1. Yes I did get that anagram in a pub quiz many moons ago and not forgotten it yet along with “MOURNS THE CHEESE” is an anagram of which of his songs?

        Still plodding away at the rest of the puzzle but don’t think I’ll finish until after I see the review.

  2. Good fun indeed, everything eventually slotted in steadily after a slowish start. Some excellent anagrams, particularly 1a and 8d.

    Many thanks, Alchemi.

  3. All done but for 13a – a word I have never heard of. Thanks to Alchemi & to tomoorow’s reviewer. I agree with Gazza about 8d. That put a smile on my face during a very stressful Saturday – we move house on Thursday (the first time in 25 years!) & eldest son is away & younger son has food poisoning & on top of that I have sciatica. Mrs S is doing a grand job with various screwdrivers & allen keys although the language is a tad Anglo Saxon at times….

  4. Hmm, designers and musicians…Not really a fan of themes, nor names for answers, so not great for me.
    Some good clues to enjoy though, so thanks Alchemi

  5. Well, that showed up some gaping holes in my knowledge. Embarrassed to admit how many things and people I had to look up.
    Not to worry, I still achieved a full podium – 15a plus 7&16d all awarded medals.

    Thanks, Alchemi – that was a tough one for me.

    1. Forgot to mention – have I gone even further astray or should 4d be enumerated (2,3)?

        1. Thanks 2Ks – I’ve got it now! Interestingly, when I asked the computer to translate the relevant English words into Latin it gave me a different vowel in the second word.

          1. That makes sense, and there is another variation that has two vowels in the centre. All those long ago Latin lessons are coming back to us.

  6. When we see the name Alchemi as setter we know we are in for a tussle, and so it proved to be. The GK for 27a was a challenge but luckily one of our team had a faint memory of having heard of it. Eventually we got it all sorted and thoroughly enjoyed the journey.
    Thanks Alchemi.

  7. Did reasonably well today, but needed hints for 13a and 14d. 2d and 7d were too hard for me and I had to do some googling. Favourites were (the related?) 17a and 26a. I don’t want to tell you how long I tried to cram BAUHAUS into 26a but when the penny dropped (was spent?) I loved it.
    Thanks to Alchemi and BD for the Here Comes The Sun clip.

  8. Many thanks for the review, BD. I shall console myself with the knowledge that, whilst I had to seek electronic assistance with several of the answers, I managed the parsing all by myself!
    Thanks again to Alchemi – could we perhaps have clothes designers and less science next time?!!

  9. Thanks to BD for the review.
    I wondered at the time of solving whether Alchemi deliberately decided against using Wren as the answer to 17a or whether he missed the opportunity of another theme element.

    1. Wren was there at an early stage of the grid-fill, when I was thinking about putting a whole bunch of architects in. Then I looked at a list of allegedly famous architects and realised I didn’t know any apart from the ones that I’d already put in there, decided that only 1.7% of other people would know many more and abandoned the idea.
      Then I also realised that I generally find clues to WREN the architect to be monumentally boring and obvious – and when it’s part of the sodding theme, it’s going to be even worse – so there are going to be people falling asleep all over the place, and that’s not the point at all. I also prefer to save him for when I’ve got to do _R_N, for which there are far fewer clueable alternatives than for W_E_. So I gave him the heave-ho.

      Thanks to everyone who’s been nice about the puzzle – glad you enjoyed it.

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