NTSPP – 533 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 533

A Puzzle by Radler

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Those of you with good memories will recall NTSPP 496 where Prolixic did clever things with definitions for one clue appearing in another. I made the big mistake of saying ‘So who are you and what the heck did you do to Radler when you nicked this crossword from his collection?’ as, obviously inspired by this remark, a few days later, Radler sent me a crossword to test where all the clues, both Across and Down, had their definitions moved to the subsequent clue. I tried valiantly to solve it and after two separate sessions adding up to about two hours, I’d solved one clue! So, I waved the white flag, surrendered and ‘returned to setter’.

This week’s NTSPP is his second attempt at this type of crossword, where, as he says in the instructions, the Across clues are normal. Even after nearly ten years, I still struggle to get on his wavelength and this time wasn’t helped by having to get my head round the fact that the definition was in the next clue down. It took me a very long time to solve this crossword. The bottom half of the crossword was particularly trying – I ended up trying to find words that fitted the checking letters/definition and then seeing if I could justify entering them into the grid”. I think the main problem is that when you are used to working your way down the clues, and ‘flowing’ from one to the next, to have to go up and down to find the required definition is just too much for the poor old brain, especially with a Radler crossword.

As I said to him “One for the fans of Radler I think. Your ordinary Saturday afternoon solver would take one look at the instructions and decide not to bother”. I’m presuming the lack of comments as I finish off typing this blog proves my point

The instructions read:

The across clues are normal.
In each of the down clues, the definition has been moved into the subsequent clue. I.e. The definition for 1d is in the clue for 2d, and that for 2d is in the clue for 3d etc. The definition for the final down clue (23d) is in 1d. this may sound daunting to start with, but it should become less so as you progress. Once you solve a down clue, you learn something about the clue either side of it.


1 Rob completely ready to sit? (3,2)
MUG UP A verb meaning to rob and an adverb meaning completely

4 Rescue animal commitments over, headed right back (2,7)
ST BERNARD Take some financial commitments, insert part of a verb meaning headed in the sense of led and the abbreviation for Right, and then reverse (back) the result

9 Complaint detailed drowned rower (9)
SUNSTROKE Remove the ‘tail’ from a synonym for drowned and follow with a particular rower

10 Scruffs sleep and rest inside (5)
NAPES A short sleep and the inside letters of rESt

11 Precursor to Zeppelin‘s heavy metal sound (3)
LED A homophone (sound) of some heavy metal

12 It prescribed lessons on plant body (11)
INTERCOURSE A set of prescribed lessons goes on or after another way of saying plant [a] body

13 Work at compliance to assess qualification (9)
DOCTORATE Another way of saying do, the abbreviation for compliance and a verb meaning to assess

16 Poke one with tip of this? (5)
DIGIT A way of saying poke, the letter that looks like a number one and the ‘tip’ of This

17 Missing sign, runner last to drop out (5)
CARET Remove the last letter of droP from a long narrow runner found in a passageway

18 Group reflected curious English view (3,4,2)
SET EYES ON A group and a reversal (reflected) of a synonym for curious and the abbreviation for English

20 Bar storing spicy sauce in fast food provider? (4,7)
LEAN CUISINE A bar ‘storing’ an anagram (spicy) of SAUCE IN

23 Well spoken tea drinker (3)
SOT Another way of saying so and the letter that sounds like tea spoken out loud

24 Ride left running? (5)
IDLER An anagram (running) of RIDE L

25 Money problem: high fuel stops fan touring S Africa (9)
AFFLUENZA An anagram (high) of FUEL ‘stops’ an anagram (touring) of FAN, the result followed by the IVR code for South Africa

26 Eccentric Count admitted had gone crazy (3,6)
MAD HATTER A verb meaning to count ‘admitted’ an anagram (crazy) of HAD

27 Sister dropped her in seaside town bordering Spain (5)
NIECE A French seaside town ‘bordering’ the IVR code for Spain


1 First of down clues marks moved definition (7)
MUSCLED An anagram (moved) of the first letter of Down and CLUES M (marks)

2 Metal disc almost circular in shape (5)
GONAD Almost all of a metal disc) and an abbreviated advertising circular

3 Maybe cat regurgitated it – fur ball? (9)
PETTICOAT A household animal such as a cat, a reversal (regurgitated) of IT (from the clue) and an animal’s coat

4 Slip road abroad (5)
STOUT An abbreviated road and a way of saying abroad, not at home

5 Book, realise after shredding, original from Thomas Hardy (9)
BLEARIEST The abbreviation for Book, an anagram (after shredding) of REALISE and the original letter of Thomas

6 Less distinct than any other pair of circles (5)
RINGO A pair of circles – one a circle shape and the other a letter that is circular in shape

7 Like Pop, then ridicule our group’s drummer (9)
ASPARAGUS Another way of saying like, an abbreviated way of referring to a father (pop), a verb meaning to ridicule and a pronoun meaning relating to our group The photo is of the first of this year’s crop from our garden

8 Shoots dead on drug trail (7)
DESCENT The abbreviation for Dead, the letter by which the drug Ecstasy is known, and a trail

14 Pedigree dog came last (9)
CURTAILED A worthless dog and part of a verb meaning came last

15 Cut loose Alsatians (9)
ASSAILANT An anagram (loose) of ALSATIANS

16 One rushing Ready, Set, Go! (3,6)
DAY RETURN An anagram (set) of READY followed by a go

17 Ticket scam – case dismissed? (7)
CALCIUM The central letters (case dismissed) of sCAm are a chemical symbol for a particular metallic element

19 Metal shell? (7)
NUTCASE A cryptic definition

21 Agents detaining catholic man without reason (5)
CIRCA The American secret agents ‘detaining’ the abbreviation for Roman Catholic

22 Close to conflagration, no escaping (5)
INFER Remove the NO (no escaping) from a conflagration

23 Gather around doves’ nesting boxes (5)
SENSE Lurking in reverse (around) in dovES NESting

19 comments on “NTSPP – 533

    1. OK, got there eventually albeit with a good few checks
      3 & 12 went in quite early and I did wonder where this was heading
      I would query 5d – should ‘less’ not be ‘least’ to fit the answer? I may be confused
      Still can’t say I enjoyed it much, sorry

  1. I’ve just drawn BD’s attention to a typo in the clue for 16a. If you are starting to solve the crossword, the IF in that clue should be OF

    Can I recommend people start off by ignoring the instructions and focussing solely on the Across clues until they have enough entries to give checking letters to help them follow the instructions and solve the Down clues

  2. Radler is one of my favourite setters otherwise I would probably have said ‘pass’ on this one having read the preamble. As it is I completed it, even though solving the down clues nearly did my head in!
    25a was a new word for me and I still can’t parse 2d.
    There are some great clues here – I particularly liked 12a, 20a, 26a and 27a.
    Thanks Radler – please make your next one a straightforward puzzle.

  3. :phew:
    My goodness that was tough. I got there in the end apart from the parsing of 2d, as mentioned above, and the parsing of 16a, until I came here and found out there was a misprint in the clue.

    It was too much of a struggle for me to give it an unqualified tick even though a lot of it was very clever indeed. I particularly liked 12a, 26a & 27a.

    Well done, Radler. For me overall this was a puzzle to be admired rather than enjoyed.

  4. I absolutely loved it. Apart from all the trickery there were some great clues – eg. ready, set, go! – and, as usual for Radler puzzles, consistently being surprised at what the words turned out to mean.
    I got the downs and acrosses at a similar rate, and don’t think you have to do loads of cold solving of across clues to get a handle on it.
    Atrica did one like this, I remember, which didn’t go down as well as it deserved.
    Thanks Radler

  5. I agree with Gazza about Radler – that kept me going too! Not quite sure how I got the answers in some cases, but managed to finish it and enjoy it. Off to reward myself with a 3d from puzzle 29347 – many thanks Radler for giving me the excuse.

  6. We sat down with a determination that Radler was not going to beat us. It took us a long time and a lot of effort but we got there without having to reveal any letters. We’re really in need of a coffee and a therapeutic walk now.
    Thanks Radler.

  7. 10&11a went in easily enough and I was full of hope but it all went downhill from there. Spent a ridiculous amount of time on this yesterday and still needed a full night’s sleep before the light dawned where the last dozen or so were concerned.
    I’m by no means convinced that all my answers are correct – sorry, Gazza, I’ve done a leap of faith with some of the parsing – so I’ll be fascinated to read the review.
    Thanks to the Radler fiend but I could well do without anything along similar lines in the next one!

    Oh good – looks as though I don’t have to wait any longer to discover my blunders!

    1. Now that really is depressing – it all looks so straightforward with CS’s review in front of me.
      Yes, I did mess up a couple in the SE corner – should have paid more attention to Gazza’s comment that 25a was new to him………

      Thanks for putting me out of my misery, CS – now it’s back to cleaning all the kitchen units, wishing that I’d never started it…………

  8. Thank you all for the comments, Sue for her review and earlier test solve, and Big Dave for publishing the puzzle.

    From the setter’s standpoint, there is a certain advantage to placing an answer’s definition and wordplay in different clues: I could be virtually certain that those clues would be unique. (And of course it’s no harder to produce a clue with a passable surface when the two halves relate to different answers than it is when they both pertain to the same answer.)
    However, I promise the next puzzle will be clued conventionally.

    1. Hi Radler,

      I shall hold you to your word – the solver’s standpoint does deserve some consideration!
      Thank you anyway, you know that I always enjoy your challenges.

    2. I’m another that will thank you for that!
      A fine puzzle nevertheless, thank you Radler

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