NTSPP – 475 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 475

NTSPP – 475

A Puzzle by Alchemi

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

It won’t have taken long to realise that “place on route” refers to the iconic Route 66 – from that point on all you have to do is to remember (or look up) the lyrics of the song.  Only Joplin escaped from being an answer in this puzzle.


1a Awkward banners in road at place on route (3,10)
SAN BERNARDINO: an anagram (awkward) of BANNERS IN ROAD

9a Federal agent pursues family to place on route (7)
KINGMAN: a Federal agent [G-man] preceded by (pursues) a three-letter word for family

10a Place on route losing its soul (2,5)
ST LOUIS: an anagram (losing) of ITS SOUL

12a Relaxing top-quality remake of True Lies (2,7)
AT LEISURE: A (top quality) followed by an anagram (remake) of TRUE LIES

13a Passage from Chekhov is targeting Panorama (5)
VISTA: hidden (passage from) inside the clue

14a Basket-makers, residents of Indiana, lose house (6)
OSIERS: residents of Indiana (Hoosiers) without (lose) the abbreviation for HO(use)

15a 31 days sick in a ring at place on route (8)
AMARILLO: MAR[ch] (31 days) and a word meaning sick inside the A from the clue and the letter shaped like a ring

18a Say city backs and supports ways of working things out (8)
ALGEBRAS: the Latin abbreviation of say (for example) and the two-letter abbreviation of a US city reversed (backs) and followed by some female support garments

20a Ryder’s place on route (6)
WINONA: the first name of actress Ryder

23a Become liable for backing disbanded police force where they were based (5)
INCUR: the reversal (backing) of the abbreviations of a now-disbanded police force and the part of the UK in which they were based

25a First of 14 prisoners cheers very loudly at place on route (9)
FLAGSTAFF: the first letter of F[ourteen] followed by some prisoners, a two-letter word meaning cheers and the musical notation for very loudly

26a Half of 20 gaze in confusion at Asian flower (7)
YANGTZE: an anagram (in confusion) of [twe]NTY GAZE

27a New children’s game stops Leo getting freckles (7)
LENTIGO: N(ew) and a children’s game inside (stops) LEO

28a American Bushes steer away after concession over promptly getting doctor (8,5)
SNOWDROP TREES: an anagram (away) of STEER preceded by (after) a three-letter concession around a word meaning promptly and the abbreviation of D(octo)R


2d Originators of ban on bull ring disappear, making it invalid (9)
ANNULLING: drop (disappear) the initial letters (originators of) from four words in the clue

3d Rear support not as smooth (7)
BUMPIER: the backside or rear followed by a support

4d Dismiss peacekeepers caught in major defeat (3,3)
RUN OUT: the usual peacekeepers and C(aught) inside a major defeat

5d Articles were about master interrogator’s demand? (6,2)
ANSWER ME: some indefinite articles followed by WERE from the clue around M(aster)

6d Turn up embarrassed about bad stuff to put through the letterbox (7)
DELIVER: the reversal of the colour that indicates embarrassment around a word meaning bad

7d Sisters gather round for parts of speech (5)
NOUNS: some religious sisters around the round-shaped letter

8d All right to claim hay spread around place on route (8,4)
OKLAHOMA CITY: a two-letter word meaning all right followed by an anagram (spread around) of TO CLAIM HAY

11d Water baby to fool around in promotion of hot cross buns? (8,4)
SEASONAL FOOD: a large expanse of water followed by a male baby and an anagram (around) of FOOL, the latter inside a two-letter item of promotional material

16d Possibly ladies get car, as it happens, and hurry up (4,5)
LOOK ALIVE: a public convenience (possibly ladies) followed by a model of Ford car and a word meaning as it happens

17d Try to keep colourless king unknown for 6 months (4-4)
HALF-YEAR: a verb meaning to try in a court of law around the name of a cake-burning king without a three-letter colour (colourless) and a mathematical unknown

19d Place on route prohibits, say, Trump without hesitation (7)
BARSTOW: a verb meaning prohibits followed by the type of building often associated with Donald Trump without the two letters indicating hesitation

21d Crazy earnings – after getting rid of government, crazier! (7)
INSANER: an anagram (crazy) of EARNIN[G]S without (getting rid of) G(overnment)

22d Drag senior lawyer up to place on route (6)
GALLUP: the reversal (up in a down clue) of a verb meaning to drag and the abbreviation for the Government’s senior lawyer

24d Clergyman‘s body of work (5)
CANON: two definitions

Each “place on route” can be found in this section of the song Route 66

Well, it goes through St. Louis
Joplin, Missouri
Oklahoma City looks oh-so pretty

You’ll see Amarillo, a-Gallup, New Mexico
Flagstaff, Arizona, don’t forget Winona
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino

21 comments on “NTSPP – 475

  1. Sourced from the link BD posted, thanks Dave. Very enjoyable while it lasted, although I have to admit that when the penny dropped on the recurring route, with 10a, I did Google a certain song.

    I have never heard of 28a, so that also needed Google assistance for confirmation once a plausible answer had been teased out,

    Favourite – 27a.

    Very entertaining, thanks Alchemi and Prolixic(?) for the upcoming review.

    1. I review the Alchemi puzzles – Prolixic complies with the setters code and doesn’t comment on puzzles by other nationally published setters.

  2. Thanks to Alchemi for a good puzzle. To be honest I liked the non-themed clues better than the themed ones (I don’t know which route is involved and I hadn’t heard of half the places, although Alchemi’s wordplay is, as usual, spot on and I think I’ve got all the places correct).
    Can 18a be a plural? – doesn’t seem quite right.
    Top clues for me were 23a, 2d and 4d.

    1. 18a – no indication in the BRB, but, according to some on-line sources – yes and no.

    2. I seem to remember from my University Maths course (circa 55 years ago!) that thee were different types of Algebra as there were with most branches of Maths.

        1. Arithmetics = process of applying arithmetic? geometries definitely, as it can mean shapes.

  3. Thank you very much, Alchemi, the theme was right up my street (or should I say right on my route?) and a cricket clue to boot! Fortunately I remembered the unusual (to me at least) spelling of the children’s game from the debate generated on this website some months (years?) ago. I only needed to check the residents of Indiana in 14a; to confirm that 18a existed as a plural; and that 28a was real.

    I learnt the theme over 50 years ago and can still recite it verbatim, which made the solving process much easier. The memories it evoked brought a big smile to my face.

    I can’t do better than duplicate Gazza’s picks of 23a, 2d and 4d for my podium.

    Thanks again, Alchemi, and in advance to BD.

  4. Thanks alchemi,
    Very pleasant solve, thinking of the song. I have a nephew in USA who wants me to join him on a motorcycle trip, who knows. I guess I can rent a Harley or something.

  5. Unlike RD, I’m far from word perfect on the theme, so a couple of the destinations had to be checked as did the freckles, the bushes and the natives of Indiana.
    Certainly a puzzle with a difference – I rather enjoyed it and gave top billing to 23a & 3d.

    Many thanks, Alchemi.

  6. Very enjoyable. I know the route but only vaguely the song. Although I live in the USA I did not know the bushes.

  7. That was fun. I knew all of the places on the route, but I did not know the American Bushes. If I had to pick a favourite, it would be 19d. Thanks to Alchemi for an entertaining solve, and thanks in advance to BD for the review.

  8. We twigged what the theme was quite early on but did then need to Google the song as we did not know all the lyrics.
    Good fun to get us back to solving new puzzles. We have been working through a book of 2001 Sunday Times puzzles whilst on our own road trip.
    Thanks Alchemi.

  9. Thanks all. I didn’t know the bushes either, but in a puzzle like this where I’m squeezing in some fairly meaty themewords, I allow myself to put in ONE obscure word, and try and make sure that it’s clued so that the solver can construct the word reasonably accurately (which, as Gazza so kindly noted, is my general practice when I don’t expect most solvers to know the word). And it’s quite a nice word, so I’m quite glad to have learned it.

    Having learned the most common algebra for maths, I then had to learn Boolean algebra for philosophy. I’ve seen references to a couple of others, although I haven’t the faintest idea what they’re for. So I definitely think they can be plural, because I can use two different ones.

  10. Many thanks for the review, BD, and for coming up with pics of the signs for the various destinations along the route.

    Also, thanks again to Alchemi for a fun solve. I trust that, like me, having had to look up the bushes you are now inundated with adverts from companies who wish to sell you one!

    1. Amazon appears to have system whereby there is a template that reads ‘Buy top quality [insert search term here] at Amazon.com’.

      Amusing to see though, if you repeatedly search for ‘absolute crap’ (or worse) the computer churns out ‘Buy top quality absolute crap at Amazon.com…’ :smile:

      The irritating thing is, the ads appear long after you’ve just bought, say, a new mattress!

  11. I must be distracted at the moment – I couldn’t finish this, never mind spot a theme. I only got 1a because of the Frank Zappa number by the same name.

    Very clever, thanks Alchemi and to BD for the review.

  12. Late to the party again; although I completed this late Saturday and early Sunday I didn’t get round to commenting. I wasn’t familiar with either the route or the song about it but soon twigged the theme with the help of an atlas and google.
    An enjoyable puzzle – thanks Alchemi and BD.

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