NTSPP – 473 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 473

NTSPP – 473

A Puzzle by Radler

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Reading the comments as I drafted this review, it was interesting to find that others found this so very difficult as, when I originally met this crossword back in January, I solved it all in one go in a good time for a Radler (a time I’d expect for a 4* DT Toughie!) and, unusually for me, I spotted the ghost theme, although at that time, I didn’t realise how soon we’d be using this crossword to mark a sad event this week.


1a Royal We – Queen’s instructions to issue on retirement (6)
ANDREW A reversal (in retirement) of WE (from the clue), the Latin abbreviation for queen, and the initials used to indicate our genetic fingerprint (instructions to issue)

4a Parking: relative to struggle with trailer (7)
PREVIEW The abbreviation for Parking, the two-letter abbreviation meaning relative (or referring) to, a verb meaning to struggle, and the abbreviation for with

9a Just recite religious words or put on paper (5)
RIGHT A homophone (recite) of some religious words or a verb meaning to put on paper

10a I’m trailing: got to pull over, they want to pass (9)
EXAMINEES A reversal (over) of IM (from the clue) which goes after another way of saying got, the result followed by a figurative verb meaning to dispense with

11a Smoker‘s diseased torso, doctor intervenes, only 50% live (9)
STROMBOLI One of the abbreviations for doctor is inserted (intervenes) into an anagram (diseased) of TORSO, the result followed by 50% of the word Live

13a Norwegian Blue sensation curtailed, terminally pining (5)
GRIEG A blue or sad sensation with the last letter removed (curtailed) plus the terminal letter of pininG

14a Atomic disposal: waste placed by richer houses (6)
STERIC An adjective relating to the spatial arrangement (disposal) of atoms in a molecule can be found ‘housed’ by waSTE RICher

15a It’s put out largely for the audience (7)
GALLERY An anagram (put out) of LARGELY

18a Sea and Island area (7)
OCEANIA Another word for the sea followed by abbreviations for Island and Area

21a Hemingway’s first novel re-set around East of Spain (6)
ERNEST An anagram (novel) of RESET around the letter at the east end of SpaiN

23a Humiliated man modelling contraceptive (5)
CHEAP The masculine form of the third person pronoun (male) modelling or ‘wearing’ a type of contraceptive device

25a More like a peacock, caged flyer not as bright (9)
SHADOWIER Another way of being more demonstrative (like a peacock) into which is inserted an abbreviated advertisement (flyer)

27a Sober student, initially rejected, given further education (9)
RETRAINED A way of saying sober without (rejected) the initial letter of Student

28a Small school backing those on staff (5)
NOTES A reversal (backing) of the abbreviation for small and a well-known public school

29a Keep a log falsifying score for opponents (3,4)
OWN GOAL A verb meaning to keep and an anagram (falsifying) of A LOG

30a Vessel caught at last, navy guarding La Manche? (3-3)
TEA-URN The last letter of caughT and the abbreviation for the Royal Navy guarding the French word for water (La Manche?)


1d Succeeding in putting together spare parts (5)
APRES Succeeding in the sense of going after – an anagram (putting together) of the parts of SPARE

2d Progress steadily, track going up to right (7)
DOGTROT A verb meaning to track or follow and a reversal of TO (from the clue) and the two-letter abbreviation for right

3d Take course and blaze a trail down the centre (3)
EAT Lurking in the centre of blazE A Trail

4d Amateur’s piercing high-pitched sound on the fiddle (7)
PLAYING A synonym for amateur ‘piercing’ a high-pitched sound

5d Aging Greek goes working as surveyor (5)
EYING Remove the abbreviation for Greek from a synonym for aging

6d Couple’s European catalogue (7)
ITEMISE A couple, IS (‘s) and the abbreviation for European

7d Reasons appearance said to make people conceited (4,4)
WISE GUYS A homophone (said) of reasons) and an external appearance

8d Brave hearts essential to contain current uprising (6)
HEROIC The abbreviation for Hearts in a pack of cards, followed by a reversal of I (electrical current) inserted into a central or essential part

12d Satellite researcher finally admitted I’m not a rocket scientist (5)
MORON Insert the final letter of researcher into a planetary satellite

16d Novice kissing at home? Try tongue! (5)
LINGO The abbreviation for a learner (novice) IN 9at home) and another word for a try

17d When in credit, to work in bars (8)
CONCERTO An adjective meaning when inserted into the abbreviation for credit, TO (from the clue) is then added at the end

19d Retired tennis player at side in cricket club (7)
EVERTON A retired tennis player and one of the sides on a cricket pitch

20d Battery leads to accumulator rusted, strips twisted (7)
ARSENAL The ‘leads’ to Accumulator and Rusted followed by a reversal (twisted) of some strips

21d Best avoiding extremes, acquiring light plain jumpers (6)
ELANDS Remove the ‘extreme’ letters of bESt and insert (acquiring) a verb meaning to light on the ground

22d Small dog and this horse running over reporter’s garden (4-3)
SHIH-TZU THIS (from the clue) H (horse) and a homophone (reporter’s) garden (where animals are kept)

24d Joanna‘s old pot one’s filled to the top (5)
PIANO O (old) goes after a pot into which has been inserted I (one)

26d Yellow top-to-bottom, wrong hair treatment for musician (5)
ROSIN Reverse (top to bottom) the heraldic name for gold and follow with a ‘wrong’

28d Earlier went by detailed requirement (3)
NEE A formal way of indicating a woman’s maiden name (earlier went by) is obtained by ‘de-tailing’ a requirement

Did you spot the ghost theme? The You Tube video and the highlighted solved grid may assist:


ARVE Error: need id and provider




RIP Mr Preview

26 comments on “NTSPP – 473

  1. One can be sure of a stiff struggle when faced with a Radler puzzle – this was no exception and very enjoyable it was.
    I didn’t help myself by writing in Latin for 16d which held me up until 21a convinced me that it was wrong.
    My ticks went to 1a (because it was my last answer), 13a (for the Monty Python references), 18a (an excellent all-in-one), 17d (for ‘work in bars’) and 21d (for the plain jumpers).
    Many thanks to Radler for the enjoyment.

  2. If Gazza finds a puzzle a stiff struggle then it’s going to be a rough ride for us mere mortals.

    I tried to start as I normally do in the NW corner, but, after a time with only 3d entered, I moved on to the NE where I fared even worse with no further answers. Faced with the choice of giving up or struggling on, I opted for the latter course of action and was very surprised when, after a hard but enjoyable tussle, I found I had managed to complete all of the bottom half.

    A short break and then another battle ensued with the NE eventually yielding. Another short break plus a good helping of electronic assistance finally caused the NE to fall.

    I struggled to parse 1a, 14a, 30a & 22d but got there in the end. However, I have failed to unravel the wordplay for 10a, and I am not sure why “contraceptive” in 23a leads to an E; I think it would be very unwise to try using ecstasy for this purpose.

    My only quibble is with 1d where the answer is an unindicated French word. Admittedly it is in my BRB as English but only as the first part of a hyphenated expression. That apart, the whole thing was most entertaining and very well worth the effort.

    My ticks were awarded to 1a, 9a (a double homophone, both of which work for me!), 13a, 18a & 21d but many more could easily have been added to this list.

    Many thanks, Radler. Now I need a long break and a cold shower before tackling the MPP.

    1. It’s now been pointed out to me (what I totally missed) that there’s an excellent ghost theme (that’s very appropriate this week).
      The contraceptive in 23a could be Dutch! 10a is a reversal of 4,1’1,3.

      1. Thanks very much, Gazza and Jane.

        I’m very pleased to note that Dutch is a more effective contraceptive than ecstasy. I got my man and my contraceptive inside out – never a good idea.

        Even with your help, Gazza, it still took me a while to unscramble 23a. My poor rabbit brain has been working overtime.

    2. I’ve just noticed what is either a typo or, more probably, a result of brain overload. In the third sentence of my original post, I was trying to say that the NW corner was the last to fall.

  3. OK – my brain is well and truly fried!

    As usual, the fiend that is Radler almost defeated me but sheer b-mindedness eventually got me through.
    Seems to me that there is a theme which is extremely appropriate this week if one looks at 1&4a plus part of 14a & 21a.

    Not going to play favourites – just going to give myself a pat on the back.

    Love to hate you, Radler – many thanks for the challenge!

  4. Very tough but my computer and I got there in the end. I missed the ghost theme, despite it staring me in the face.

    RD @2; 1D is in Collins.

    Lots to like; I ticked 1A, 13A, 21A, 27A, 7D, 17D and 26D. Thanks Radler for the challenge, and nice theme.

  5. Prolixic and Radler in one day and the minor matter of driving around London for five hours today – I’m frazzled.

    Thanks Radler.

  6. I give up. I have a scant handful in NW corner and I have ground to a halt. I’m glad others are enjoying this and doing better than I.

  7. I just can’t get a foothold. I may…or may not…take another look later but I don’t hold out much hope for any real success.

  8. That was, for me, about as difficult as they come. Had to return to it three times and thought about giving up, but I’m glad I didn’t. Thanks to Radler…I think!

  9. Many thanks for the review, CS. Can you explain to me what the relevance is of 20d to the theme and also the red cross in the centre of the completed grid.
    Also, thought the clue for 13a should have appeared in red?

    1. In addition to leaving something for you to find, I was more than a little side-tracked with a thought about Prolixic and the solution to 13a (he knows why ;) :D )

      Fans of Eric and Ern will remember the sketch where Eric wasn’t a very good Mr Memory and couldn’t remember anything without being prompted by Ernie. It became a running joke so that whenever Ernie coughed, Eric would shout ‘Arsenal’

      No idea about the red square – it was there when I was sent the completed grid

  10. A tough challenge which I was on the point of abandoning with only half a dozen clues solved – then I got 4ac and just wondered if 1ac might relate to it, found it would parse, and managed, with electronic help to complete it all except the crossing 23ac and 19dn. Liked 11ac (one of the few I got at first) and 17dn. Thanks, Radler and crypticsue.

  11. My thanks to Crypticsue and Big Dave and also to Shabbo who kindly agreed to postpone his puzzle by a week in order to allow this puzzle to appear so soon after Andre Previn’s death on Thursday.

    Had I anticipated events, it would have been nice to have written a puzzle around the many achievements of Andre Previn. (He had four Oscars and 11 Grammys!) However, the theme of course, is the classic Morecambe and Wise sketch. Some other answers relate to them and their catchlines / running jokes. The plus in the centre links the answers containing Eric & Ern.

          1. Sorry, Stan – hadn’t joined up the dots. High horse now firmly back in stable!

    1. Nice of you to pop in, Radler and thanks for explaining the ‘plus’ sign. I should have seen that but then – the same is true with so many of your clues!

  12. Just finished this after what has seemed like a marathon – well worth it, though and many thanks to Radler for another tortuous but entertaining puzzle. By sheer coincidence I was watching a documentary on Mr Preview only last night, before I had looked at the puzzle. I’m not sure that it helped though! Thanks to Sue for providing the reasoning behind the answers, a couple which I had solved but been unable to parse. Like RD, I had ‘Latin’ in at 16d, which was soon dispelled by the reasonably straightforward 21a. 14a was a new word to me. Favourites were 23a, 29a, 7d with top place going to 12d.

    Thanks again, Radler, you are a hard taskmaster!

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