NTSPP – 453 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 453

NTSPP – 453

A Beastly crossword by Chalicea

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

The only beastly things about this Chalicea NTSPP were the title, theme and several solutions, for which this blogger, for one, was extremely grateful.


8a Boast in Siouan language (4)
CROW A verb meaning to boast or a Native American language


9a Before start of engagement, performing quintette’s standards for good online behaviour (10)
NETIQUETTE An anagram (performing) of quintette goes before the ‘start’ of Engagement

10a Rotten Mongolian tent gives worry (6)
BADGER A synonym for rotten and a Mongolian tent – anyone else spend a moment trying to fit in a yurt?

11a Norwegian composer consuming French alcohol, generating distress (8)
GRIEVING Insert the French word for wine (alcohol) into a Norwegian composer

12a Unlimited fast gauges for officers in charge of weights and measures (8)
ASSIZERS The inside letters (unlimited) of fASt and some gauges

14a Beam about score in Hampden Park; uncommon thing (6)
RARITY A beam of light goes ‘about’ a Scottish word (possibly used in Hampden Park) meaning to score or scratch

16a Tolerate ill-mannered fellow (4)
BEAR Not only a double definition, but also part of the theme

17a Torment essentially digging small trench (5)
GRILL The ‘essential’ letter of digGing and a small trench

18a Hear about speed (4)
HARE An anagram (about) of HEAR

19a Good old feast producing bellyache (6)
GROUSE The abbreviation for good and an archaic word for a feast

21a Highly attractive hospital department killing in Hollywood (8)
ENTICING The abbreviation for one of crosswordland’s most useful hospital department followed by an American (as used in Hollywood) verb meaning killing

23a Vivid red colour of part of scratchcard in a lottery (8)
CARDINAL Lurking in part of scratchCARD IN A Lottery

26a Jewish teacher with time for insignificant person (6)
RABBIT A Jewish teacher followed by the abbreviation for Time. I’m saying nothing about a particular person… but I bet there was muttering!

27a Instrument of sweetheart finally able to court in a sentimental way (10)
TABLESPOON The final letter of sweethearT, ABLE (from the clue) and a verb meaning to court in a sentimental way

28a Half of team regularly fall for dark greenish-blue colour (4)
TEAL The first half of TEam and the regular letters of fAlL


1d Disastrous heartbreaker’s lacking art, at sea, to be forced off anchor by tides (5,5)
BREAK SHEER A nautical term (at sea) produced from an anagram (disastrous) of HEartBREAKERS – lacking ART telling you not to include those letters

2d With greater number of small offshoots; more like a sixties fashion model? (8)
TWIGGIER I always like a clue that references the 60’s fashion model

3d Section of vent reengineered for means of access (6)
ENTRÉE Another lurker, found in a section of vENT Reengineered

4d Pistols casually taken up for better in the market (4)
STAG A reversal (taken up) of an informal term (casually) for some guns

5d Hoard of young nobleman involving one hand followed by the other (8)
SQUIRREL Insert the abbreviation for one hand into a young nobleman, and then follow the result with the opposite hand’s abbreviation

6d Work very hard at beard (6
BEAVER To work very hard at or a slang term for a beard

7d Shock when small lumps of coal turn up (4)
STUN Will there come a time when all the terms for lumps of coal are forgotten? Here you need to reverse (turn up) some small lumps of coal

13d Pines about verbal attack (5)
SNIPE An anagram (about) of PINES (I can hear the distant sound of repetition radar springing into life …)

15d Twisted carnality with touch of nastiness characteristic of 22a (10)
TYRANNICAL An anagram (twisted) of CARNALITY and N (a ‘touch’ of Nastiness)

17d Nondescript nature of white horse, say, on headland (8)
GREYNESS A colour that may describe a white horse goes on a headland

18d Old weapons roughly cut backsides (8)
HACKBUTS A verb meaning to roughly cut and an alternative spelling of some [American] backsides

20d Excessively turbulent when Democrat supplants Republican (6)
UNDULY The abbreviation for Democrat ‘supplants’ that for Republican in a synonym for turbulent

22d Cruel dictator‘s hollow thundery bombast (6)
TYRANT The outside letters (hollow) of ThunderY and some bombast – there’s a bird with this name but it could also refer to a nasty human!


24d Partly open a wide-mouthed vessel (4)
AJAR A (from the clue) and a wide-mouthed vessel

25d Can name simpleminded person (4)
LOON Can and the first part of this solution are informal terms for a lavatory – when you have the required one just add the abbreviation for Name



Did you spot all the beasts?


13 comments on “NTSPP – 453

  1. Well this is a rare thing indeed – a themed puzzle where the theme did not detract from my enjoyment of the puzzle. That is a first I think!

    One or two new words for me which are not horribly awful obscurities, so bonus points for that, plus I particularly liked the 16/17a combo – nice one.

    I think you can afford to crank up the level of difficulty a tad, but a nice puzzle anyway so thank you Chalicea.

  2. Drat, my comment has disappeared …..

    Beastly enough with 12, if I’ve counted properly – nice setting! I needed the BRB occasionally for eg the ‘Hampden Park score.’ I was also disappointed that my ‘yurt’ did not seem to fit into 10.

    Shame about the repeated word at 1d but it didn’t really matter.

    I especially liked 18 and 20.

  3. Unlike LbR, I had quite a tussle with some of the unknown GK – the IT lingo at 9a, a different Mongolian tent, the nautical terminology, the pistols and the other firearm in 18d and the Scottish term in 14a!

    Still struggling with the crossover point of 2d/12a – maybe a glass of red will help – but I’m up to 13 wee beasties.

    Thanks Chalicea although it’s perhaps as well for you that RD is away for the weekend!

    1. 2d – Lesley Lawson is an English 60’s model
      12a – I had assayer for far too long

      1. This reminds me of one time when I went to the theatre. Paul McCartney was in the audience and Leigh Lawson, Twiggy’s husband, was in the cast. As I left the theatre Paul McCartney and entourage rushed past everyone into a waiting car while Twiggy, who was waiting for Leigh, stood there patiently signing autographs and chatting – a lovely lady.

  4. I tried posting earlier today but it didn’t work. I had to reveal a couple of letter for 12A…new word for me. Favorites were 21D and 27A. Thanks Chalicea. That was fun.

  5. Many thanks for the review, CS, and I’m pleased to see from the comments that I wasn’t the only one who got hung up on ‘assayers’ for 12a and spent ages looking for an alternative ending for 2d. The actual answer is, of course, a far more precise definition.

    Missed out on one of the beasties – the Tyrant Flycatcher.

  6. Really enjoyed this puzzle…thank you Chalicea. New words for me were the Mongolian tent, the ancient weapon and the nautical term.

    My favourites were 19a and 20d.

  7. A nice fun puzzle – beastly in name but not to solve – but with a few challenges thrown in. The only Mongolian tent I knew was a yurt till I checked in the BRB for the second part of 10ac; and had to check 1dn and 12ac as well. But I was around in the 60s so 2dn was no problem. For 18dn I was fixated on old instruments rather than weapons for a while till I got 18ac. Thanks, Chalicea.

  8. The puzzle was great fun to create and I knew Cryptic Sue would produce lovely illustrations. Even I, when I solved it myself, initially expected the Mongolian tent to be a yurt. I think that shows what crosswordese habits we develop (a bit like ASTI and TSETSE – those familiar setters’ words). Thanks to all and especially to Cryptic Sue..

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