NTSPP – 483 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 483

NTSPP – 483

A Puzzle by Alchemi

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

When you have finished the puzzle, see how many of the Shakespearean references that Alchemi has hidden in the grid you can find.

A review by Big Dave follows:

Another excellent puzzle from Alchemi – did you find all the 15 Shakespearean references hidden by the setter?  Check the list at the end of this review,


1a While aboard, sailor gets to wash on Sundays (8)
SABBATHS: one of our usual sailors, and a verb meaning to wash inside the abbreviation for a SteamShip (while aboard)

5a Maybe White Horse School hosts function (6)
SCOTCH: SCH(ool) around (hosts) a trigonometric function [COT/ cotangent] – White Horse is a brand of the answer

9a Fast runner in the end, I’m afraid, rejecting team’s pay limit (6,3)
SALARY CAP: a four-letter word meaning fast followed by the final letter (in the end) of [runne]R and a word meaning “I’m afraid” all reversed (rejecting) – Wikipedia defines the answer as an agreement or rule that places a limit on the amount of money that a team can spend on players’ salaries

11a Sun’s head of news dismissed informer (5)
SNOUT: S(un), the initial letter (head) of N[ews] and a word meaning dismissed, particularly in cricket

12a Look after hotel’s rigged board game (7)
OTHELLO: a two-letter look preceded by an anagram (rigged) of HOTEL

13a Has cycling exercise increased to reach a higher standard (5,2)
SHAPE UP: cycle HAS so that its final letter becomes its first follow it with some exercise (Physical Education) and a word meaning increased

14a Joint the Spanish show respect (5)
ELBOW: the Spanish definite article is fb a verb meaning to show respect

16a Comparatively haughty old ogre oddly missing 100cc? That’s right! (8)
LORDLIER: two words in the clue without the odd-numbered letters (oddly missing) followed by the abbreviation for the metric volume which is the equivalent of 100cc (1000cc make a litre!), the Latin abbreviation for that’s (that is) and R(ight)

18a Best thing about goth’s hip getting broken (4,4)
HIGH SPOT: an anagram (getting broken) of GOTH’S HIP

20a Stokes went for drug (5)
SPEED: the abbreviation given in Chambers for stokes (the CGS unit of kinematic viscosity) followed by a verb meaning went or urinated

23a One to pull round American and British Library in one fell swoop (2,1,4)
AT A BLOW: A (one) and a three-letter verb meaning to pull around the abbreviations for American and British Library

24a Cardinal in America (Illinois) gets colander? (7)
UTENSIL: a cardinal number inside the two-letter abbreviations for America and Illinois

26a Maidenhead has extremely happy people (5)
HYMEN: the outer letters (extremely) of H[app]Y followed by some male people

27a Stop food company holding down financial instrument (4,5)
BANK DRAFT: a three-letter word meaning to stop and an American food company [Kraft] around the crossword abbreviation for down

28a Call queen’s unauthorised substitute (6)
RINGER: to call on the ‘phone followed by the Queen’s regnal cipher

29a Boosts English pictures in layers (8)
HEARTENS: E(nglish) and a three-letter word for some pictures or paintings inside some birds that lay eggs


1d Outwardly silly neckwear causes pumping of the heart (7)
SYSTOLE: the outer letters of S[ill]Y followed by an item of neckwear

2d British and American railway children make unpleasant noise (5)
BELCH: B(ritish) followed by an American elevated railway and CH(ildren)

3d In distress, wail for what they study in wind tunnels (7)
AIRFLOW: an anagram (in distress) of WAIL FOR

4d Woman’s holding court over bully (6)
HECTOR: the pronoun meaning belonging to that woman (woman’s) around (holding) C(our)T and O(ver)

6d One sharing the bill with daughter for cooking apple (7)
COSTARD: someone sharing the bill in, say, a film [co-star] followed by D(aughter)

7d Away from the main action, denies shaking excessively earlier (2,3,4)
TO ONE SIDE: a word meaning excessively precedes an anagram (shaking) of DENIES

8d Stirred up short impetuous bloke, possibly from Tottenham (7)
HOTSPUR: an anagram (stirred) of UP SHORT

10d Cut up about mist, not starting gun (6)
PISTOL: a verb meaning to cut reversed (up in a down clue) around [m]IST without its initial letter (not starting)

15d Thief’s predecessor, say, with key weapon covered by embargo (6-3)
BEGGAR-MAN: what comes before thief in a well-known rhyme is derived from the Latin abbreviation of say (for example), a musical key and a weapon inside (covered by) an embargo

17d Company has books about bridge partners’ trap (6)
COBWEB: CO(mpany) and a pair of B(ook)s around some bridge partners

18d Warm woman is possibly Erica (7)
HEATHER: A verb meaning to warm and a female pronoun gives a plant also known as erica

19d Quiet after the French get captured (7)
SILENCE: the French definite article inside (get captured) a word meaning after

20d Second one making advances slight (7)
SLENDER: S(econd) followed by someone making advances of money

21d Finishes, accepting half of Latvia expands (7)
DILATES: a word meaning finishes or expires around (accepting) the first half of LAT[via]

22d Horsey loses head eating slice of contaminated fruit (6)
QUINCE: an adjective meaning horsey without its initial letter (loses head) around (eating) the initial letter (slice) of C[ontaminated]

25d Reject clever answer concealing a trap (5)
SNARE: hidden (concealing) and reversed (reject) inside the clue


Alchemi’s list:

Sir Toby BELCH – Twelfth Night

COBWEB – Midsummer Night’s Dream

COSTARD – Love’s Labours Lost

ELBOW – Measure for Measure

HECTOR – Troilus and Cressida

HOTSPUR – Henry IV Part I

HYMEN – As You Like It

OTHELLO – Othello

PISTOL – Henry IV Part II. Henry V, Merry Wives of Windsor

QUINCE – Midsummer Night’s Dream

Justice SILENCE – Henry IV Part II

SLENDER – Merry Wives of Windsor

SNARE – Henry IV Part II

SNOUT – Midsummer Night’s Dream

SPEED – Two Gentlemen of Verona

26 comments on “NTSPP – 483

  1. Very enjoyable – thanks Alchemi.
    The abbreviation for stokes (and the word itself) was new to me.
    I can’t work out the 10cc bit in 16a – should it not be 100cc or is my conversion wrong (or am I on the wrong track completely)?
    Top clues for me were 26a, 15d and 18d.

  2. Not too taxing (apart from the ones I’m not sure I understand) and very enjoyable.

    As for the Shakespearean references, I’m not up to the task!

    Many thanks Alchemi and BD

  3. That was great fun and nicely challenging without being too tough. There’s even a clue especially for BD!

    I have got loads of ticks on my page, with 5a my favourite.

    My only query is, isn’t “team’s” surplus to requirements in 9a?

    I’ve counted 12 Shakespearean references so far but I think I’ll keep looking for a while longer.

    Many thanks for the entertainment, Alchemi.

    1. 1. I was going to query “team’s”, but I checked Wikipedia and got ” an agreement or rule that places a limit on the amount of money that a team can spend …..”.

      2. Alchemi has given me 15 references – all will be revealed tomorrow.

      1. I had found two more on my second run through. Your comment prompted me to look again and happily I’ve found number 15 so I can rest easy. Thanks, BD.

      2. I’ve only ever heard the phrase “salary cap” in relation to financial fairness regulations in sport.

  4. Thank you Alchemi for a very enjoyable start to my Saturday completed pre-caffeine.

    My only quibble is with the GK element of 2d.

    I’ll pass on the Shakespearean references and head straight for the 5a – hic!

  5. Drat – thought I’d done well to get 13 Shakespearean references!

    Many thanks, Alchemi, all the usual fun of the fair from you even though I did think 20a would be more at home in another place.

    Two more to find – that’s going to drive me mad…………..

  6. Good setting to get in 15 themed references; I noted some of them but will wait for the blog to reveal the complete list.

    Strange that the BRB has Stokes = S, whereas Collins, Oxford and Wiki give St. I wonder if Chambers got it wrong?

    My favourite was 1A, thanks Alchemi and Sue in advance with the blog and list.

  7. That was excellent fun. Looks like there are a couple of Shakespeare references that we missed on first count so we’ll keep trying there.
    Thanks Alchemi.

  8. I can see what looks like one Shakespearean reference in one of the clues rather than the grid.

  9. i started to comment earlier but had problems with my connection, just after i stupidly thought a cc was a cl. I just want to thank Alchemi for a lovely puzzle. I thought there might be a theme as soon as i saw 12a was clued as “game”. Of course i read straight past the instructions.

    Great fun, many thanks for doing this alchemi.

  10. Many thanks for the review, BD, and for putting me out of my misery over my two missing Shakespeare references – Justice Silence and Costard. Had no chance with the latter as I had the wrong answer for 6d!

    Thanks again to Alchemi for the puzzle.

  11. Well, I got all the references, although not quite as intended. I was sure “a person representing Hymen” was in The Tempest but (naturally) couldn’t find the reference there although Hymen is mentioned twice in speeches by Prospero. And I missed Silence in Henry IV but remembered that “the rest is silence” are the last words uttered by Hamlet. So I presume the additional reference I found in a clue is unintentional – for the curious it’s at 23ac; “in one fell swoop” echoes Macduff in Macbeth “What, all my pretty chickens and their dam at one fell swoop?” (Act 4, sc 3).

    As to the puzzle itself, it was all pretty straightforward except that I couldn’t parse 16ac because of the typo in the clue.

    1. A lot of common expressions have their origins in Shakespeare. Most of us use them without being at all conscious of where they came from. It’s quite weird when you study the plays 400 years on and you realise that some of the bits that read like cliches were original at the time.

  12. I’m impressed by those who knew Speed, a very small part in Two Gents, one of the, um, less popular of the bard’s works.

  13. We also missed Silence. We had checked the other names by Googling ‘name Shakespeare’, but doing this with Silence got bogged down with the Hamlet quote.
    The search was a bonus dose of good fun for us.

  14. Late to this, but enjoyed it very much. Very precise clueing and quite a feat to get 15 themed words into the grid!

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