NTSPP – 544 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 544

A Puzzle by Radler

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

I’d describe this Radler NTSPP as ‘friendly to start with and then Radlery to finish’ – much more of a toughie than a Saturday Lunchtime Solve


1     Protection from rustlers in Carry on Cowboy (7)
EARPLUG A verb meaning to carry goes after a cowboy (who is probably best remembered as an Old West lawman)

5     Musicians one needs to outlaw (7)
BANDITO A group of musicians, the single letter meaning one and TO (from the clue)

9     Agile men like going outside to climb netting (9)
ENMESHING An anagram (agile) of MEN and the abbreviation meaning for example (like) go outside a verb meaning to climb by gripping with the hands and legs

10     Never ending sitcom disturbed patient (5)
STOIC Remove the last letter (never ending) from SITCOm and an anagram (disturbed)of the remaining letters will provide an adjective meaning patient

11     Alcohol producer since investing in still (5)
YEAST An adverb meaning since inserted into (investing in) another one meaning still

12     Italian director: one for following after taste of coffee beans (9)
CANELLINI Change the F that is the first letter of the surname of an Italian film director to an indefinite article and put the result after the first letter (a taste) of Coffee Who else didn’t know you could also spell this type of bean with only one N?

14     Former guards last to stop taking orders (9)
OBEDIENCE A synonym for former ‘guards’ a way of saying last and a verb meaning to stop (living)

16     Bring over portion of basmati, a rice dish (5)
RAITA Hidden in reverse (bring over portion) in basmATI A Rice

17     Part of a day at end of Spring (5)
AMONG A (from the clue) an abbreviated day of the week and the ‘end’ of sprinG

18     Pitch seals base round roof, to left for example (4,5)
ROLE MODEL A synonym for pitch ‘seals’ the single letter base in natural logarithms and then a reversal (to left) of a round roof is inserted

19     Plant root is constraining almost everything (9)
DIGITALIS A slang term meaning to appreciate (root) and IS (from the clue) ‘constraining’ a truncated (almost) synonym for everything

21     Opening hotel in seaside town (5)
NICHE The letter represented by Hotel in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet inserted into a seaside town more familiar to Jean-Luc than those of us in the UK

23     Uncover finally with alibi first to weaken (3,2)
HIT ON The final letters of witH alibI firsT tO weakeN

24     Liquid gas sold in sliding scale (9)
GLISSANDO An anagram (liquid) of GAS SOLD IN

25     Goes out, and on returning, son enters shed (4,3)
NODS OFF A reversal (returning) of ON (from the clue) followed by a way of saying shed one’s clothing (usually used these days to refer to one’s hat) into which is inserted the abbreviation for Son

26     Constant troublemaker escaping from Government fortified complex (7)
KREMLIN A letter used in physics to represent a Boltzmann Constant followed by a troublemaker without the G (escaping from government)


1     Whenever, November, today, noon sporadically (5,3,3,4)
EVERY NOW AND THEN An anagram (sporadically) of WHENEVER N (November in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet) TODAY N (noon)

2     Club closing early bolsters unusual steps (5)
RUMBA Almost all (closing early) of a type of club bolsters or goes under a synonym for strange or unusual

3      Enduring cuddles the short time before bed (4,5)
LAST THING Another way of saying enduring ‘cuddles’ the first two letters (short) of THe

4     Master criminal racing onto line (4,7)
GAIN CONTROL An anagram (criminal) of RACING ONTO followed by the abbreviation for Line

5     The place to go, as we’re told Pete’s here? (3)
BOG Somewhere you might find a fuel that is a homophone (we’re told) of Pete

6     Americas Latin delivery style (5)
NASAL The abbreviated way you’d refer to the two separate ‘Americas’ followed by the abbreviation for Latin

7     I foolishly confide, I made representation (9)
ICONIFIED I (from the clue) followed by an anagram (foolishly) of CONFIDE I

8     Rarely down below in canoe, swimming at present behind (4,2,1,4,4)
ONCE IN A BLUE MOON A colour indicating feeling down inserted into an anagram (swimming) of IN CANOE followed by a verb meaning to present one’s bare behind to public view

13     Type of medical injury limited preventable stroke (11)
NEEDLESTICK Almost all (limited) of a way of saying preventable followed by a stroke

15     Happy to pocket over $1000 at a stretch (9)
ELONGATED In very high spirits (happy) to ‘pocket’ a word meaning over and the abbreviation for $1000

16     Talk from memory about car since leaving home (9)
REMINISCE The two-letter way of saying about, on the subject of, a small car and SinCE without the IN (leaving home)

20     Character on radio set out to support function (5)
TANGO One of the NATO Phonetic Alphabet characters – a verb meaning to set out supports or goes under a mathematical function

22     Sexual ribaldry at first avoided cut (5)
CANAL Remove the first letter of Ribaldry from a synonym for sexual    

24     Twisted something unimportant for picture on Internet (3)
GIF A reversal of something unimportant

14 comments on “NTSPP – 544

  1. Not too fiendish, so thanks for that…
    Enjoyable challenge – though 7d what an awful word; 24a needed checking, heard of it but never looked it up
    Thanks for the entertainment Radler

  2. I always enjoy a battle with Radler and I thought that this one put up quite a fight. I still can’t parse 23a.
    I had ticks for 1a, 12a, 14a and 3d but my favourite (for the ‘present behind’) was 8d.
    Many thanks to Radler.

      1. Thanks – I knew the meaning of the solution but I couldn’t parse it. I now can – d’oh.

  3. Think I’ve boxed myself into a corner – three answers to go and inserting any of my ideas into one space immediately renders the other two impossible. Thought that not having to work out an answer to an MPP would have made this one easier – apparently not so!
    Well done, LBR, you’re obviously doing a better job than I am of getting onto the fiend’s wavelength!

  4. Well I completed but I’d be embarrassed to admit how many letter reveals I resorted to. Think this is one strictly for the premier league solvers or maybe it was I just couldn’t get on Radler’s wavelength. Thought it a super crossword but sadly beyond my capabilities.

  5. 🏳 I surrender!

    I managed just over half of these and then, like Huntsman, resorted to some reveals (a gentlemen never tells how many) before struggling over the finishing line although I still have six answers unparsed.

    Thanks, Radler, I think you were about 10-0 up at half-time when the match was abandoned to save further embarrassment.

    1. Many thanks CS for your review which explains the several answers that I couldn’t parse. It all seems so easy when it’s pointed out!

  6. Yes that was certainly a significant challenge for us but perseverance paid off in the end and everything parsed too.
    Thoroughly enjoyable.
    Thanks Radler.

  7. Many thanks for the review, CS, my problems arose from the beans with one ‘n’, wanting 14a to have a different ending and not having the faintest idea about the medical injury.
    My top two were 1a and 8d.

    Thanks to the Radler fiend and to CS for the review. Think your alibi has gone awol from the 23a hint.

  8. This took a bit of unravelling but I was finally left unsure of the first letter of 26ac, and with only 13dn to get resorted to a wordfinder, which then settled the 26ac question.
    I liked the two long answers at 1dn and 8dn but favourite was 24ac.
    Thanks, Radler and CS.

  9. I promised in the comments to my previous puzzle, that his one would be clued conventionally, (and I’ve avoided themes and gimmicks too), so had hoped it wouldn’t be perceived as particularly fiendish. However, with the notable exception of LetterboxRoy, many of you found it to be trickier than I’d anticipated.

    My thanks to BD and CS and to all who have provided feedback with their comments

Comments are closed.