NTSPP – 443 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 443

NTSPP – 443

Harmony by Chalicea

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A crossword from Chalicea which doesn’t take long either to solve or indeed, once you’ve taken note of the title, and solved 13a, to spot the theme



1a Old innkeeper, tipsy veteran imbibing last drop of beer (8)
TAVERNER An anagram (tipsy) of VETERAN imbibing the last letter (drop) of beeR

5a Ceremonial dinners of fine animals (head removed) (6)
FEASTS The abbreviation for Fine and some animals without their first letter (head removed)

10a Uncover a local singular purple moorland plant not right! (9)
UNSHEATHE A dialect (local) pronoun meaning a or one) the abbreviation for singular and a purple moorland plant without the T (not right) at the end

11a Try to avoid standard railway (5)
PARRY A synonym for standard and the abbreviation for railway

12a Rudely slags industrial material (5)
GLASS An anagram (rudely) of SLAGS

13a Authors of music primarily offer melodic pieces set in complicated scores (9)
COMPOSERS The primary letters of Offer Melodic Pieces set in an anagram (complicated) of SCORES

14a Retsina, sadly one that leaves mark that’s difficult to remove (7)
STAINER An anagram (sadly) of RETSINA

16a Early American computer, lacking use finally, concerned with member of vitamin B complex (6)
NIACIN Remove the E (lacking usE ‘finally’) from an early American computer and add IN (concerned with). I’d never heard of the computer but fortunately the checking letters made the Vitamin B complex member easy to write in

19a Makes sense to include further drink (4,2)
ADDS UP A way of saying to include further followed by a verb meaning to drink

21a Republic‘s anger with nation (7)
IRELAND A synonym for anger and another for nation

23a Strong, thick rope surrounding meadow, very capable of being cut through (9)
CLEAVABLE A strong thick rope ‘surrounding’ a meadow and the abbreviation for Very

25a Complete fix, we’re told (5)
WHOLE A homophone (we’re told) of a fix or difficult situation

26a Entangle gravely, lopping extremities (5)
RAVEL Lop off or remove the extremities of gRAVELy

27a Not rightly, a person given to playfully mocking is socially uncomfortable (3,2,4)
ILL AT EASE Another way of saying not rightly or well, and a person given to mocking (1, 5)

28a Hairdresser‘s wounding remark on queen (6)
BARBER A wounding remark and the regnal cipher of our current Queen

29a Fixed ideas old boy abandoned in series of sittings (8)
SESSIONS Remove (abandoned) the abbreviation for Old Boy from some fixed ideas


1d Time to embrace good is handled at first like a violent ruffian (8)
THUGGISH The abbreviation for Time, a verb meaning to embrace, the abbreviation for Good, IS (from the clue) and the first letter of Handled

2d Power university academician set out; illustrative item to help with teaching (6,3)
VISUAL AID A synonym for power (thank you BRB), the abbreviations for University and Academician and a way of saying set out

3d Browsing animal rejected southern marsh grasses (5)
REEDS A reversal (rejected in a Down clue) of a browsing animal followed by the abbreviation for Southern If one was allowed to mention prize puzzles before closing dates, I could say something about coincidences

4d Tempter in charge filling in record (7)
ENTICER The abbreviation for In Charge inserted into (filling in) to a verb meaning to record

6d Sea pigeon deployed for spying (9)
ESPIONAGE An anagram (deployed) of SEA PIGEON

7d Supply funny verse (5)
SERVE An anagram (funny) of VERSE

8d Styles arranged, done with most artful dexterity (6)
SLYEST An anagram (arranged) of STYLES

9d Language mostly relevant to the subject under discussion (6)
GERMAN Almost all (mostly) of an adjective meaning relevant to the subject under discussion

15d Havens I’ll incorrectly place for country music in Tennessee (9)
NASHVILLE An anagram (incorrectly) of HAVENS ILL

17d Male lover, not a Roman I’d endlessly upset (9)
INAMORATO An anagram (upset) of NOT A ROMAn – endlessly telling you not to use the N at the end of Roman

18d Inactivity gutlessly isolated the French promontory (8)
IDLENESS Remove the inside letters (gutlessly) of IsolateD, add the French definite article and another word for promontory

20d Inn with allegiances regularly open to all (6)
PUBLIC Another word for an inn and the regular letters of alLegIanCes

21d Frozen phenomenon produced by reserve fieldworkers from time to time (3,4)
ICE FLOE Another word for reserve in the sense of coldness of manner and some (from time to time) of the letters of FieLdwOrkErs

22d Rails put up circling round about beetle (6)
SCARAB Reverse (put up) some rails and insert (circling) the Latin abbreviation meaning about

24d Man digging with spade decapitated young eel (5)
ELVER Decapitate or remove the first letter from a man digging with a spade

25d What’s said to be power units (5)
WATTS A homophone (said) of WHATS


18 comments on “NTSPP – 443

  1. What a pleasure to have another Chalicea puzzle to solve so soon after her excellent Telegraph Toughie debut. This themed puzzle was much easier but still a lot of fun. I counted 9 themed items (10 if you include the generic class), and perhaps 15d could be squeezed in too under the banner of “harmony”.

    I had forgotten the early American computer in 16a and the man digging with the spade in 24d was new to me. I did think that 25d was rather too obvious. I so wanted Miffypops to be the answer for 1a but he has one letter too many in his name to fit.

    Most of the surfaces are fine but I felt that 5d (why not, “Ceremonial dinners of fine headless animals”?), 16a, 26a, 2d & 15d were all a bit iffy in this respect.

    I had lots of ticks, with double ticks going to 1a, 13a, 6d and, my favourite, 17d. It was nice too to see a couple of examples of clues where you need to pick every third letter rather than the more usual every other letter.

    Many thanks to Chalicea for such good entertainment.

    1. Thanks very much for your review, Sue. I missed 9d in my list of themed items. I know plenty of 9d composers but have never heard of one with that surname.

    1. I failed to change the online version – the downloadable ones were ok. All shoud be correct now, including the spelling of “inkeeper” in 1a.

  2. What a fabulous puzzle, with surfaces to die for!
    Thanks Chalicea!!
    PS But are there two versions, or are RD and I in parallel universes? ;-)

    1. The on-line version seems to be last Saturday’s offering from Silvanus.

      The pdf version is by Chalicea – alas I don’t have a printer at the moment.

      1. Should be OK now – I am currently experiencing severe problems with my laptop, which has to be rebooted every 30 minutes or so. I thought I had changed that field (I always clone the previous week’s puzzle) but that was obviously not the case.

  3. We’re seeing lots of Chalicea at the moment – and that’s aok by me. This was perfect for another day of very warm air. Glad to see the dischord between the versions has been resolved.

    2d was my last to parse, and required some dictionary double-checking. I didn’t note down favourites, but found the image of a sea pigeon amusing.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and in advance to Sue for the review.

  4. My word, you have been a busy girl, Chalicea!

    Didn’t have a clue about the American computer and had to consult the BRB about the power in 2d but everything else slotted in happily enough.

    Tops for me were 19a & 6d.

    Thank you – wonder where you’ll pop up next!

      1. I’ll bet a reasonably priced pint* that that’ll be the case … :yes:

        *or even London prices – but not, e.g., a pint of Scotch!

        1. Yes, tomorrow’s EV! So sorry if you are getting rather an overdose. Promise to lie low for a while after that – till next month anyway. Rather amused that I seem to have accidentally tuned into what seems to be the current Magpie theme – probably not a spoiler to say that they are all musical (and some of them are to be highly recommended – we haven’t managed them all yet.)

  5. As equally enjoyable as the MPP making a pair completed in reasonably short order. I hope my brain can stay in its elevated state for the solving (and hinting) of tomorrow’s Virgilius.

    Thanks to Chalicea.

  6. Many thanks for the review, CS. I have to admit to having missed a couple of the 13a’s.

    Think perhaps the second part of 27a should be enumerated as (1,5)?

    Thanks again to Chalicea for the music.

  7. A pleasant solve for a change after some absolute stinkers elsewhere this week. And the theme was right up my street – even including some less well known 13ac. Great stuff!

  8. Yes, indeed, Exit. Mrs Bradford gave me a number of those ten composers but I hadn’t heard of some of them. Many thanks to Cryptic Sue. I liked your rather large SCARAB the most.
    Indeed, Kitty, you won your pint. Friends are saying that today’s EV ‘Accomplishment’ is gentler than those ‘absolute stinkers’ we have seen elsewhere this week.I know the editors like to maintain a good balance.

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