NTSPP – 548 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 548

A Puzzle by Chalicea

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

As is usual with Chalicea’s puzzles, there is a ghost theme (one that it is not necessary to know in order to complete the puzzle) – the setter has flagged 15 answers, I didn’t get nearly that many!

An NTSPP from Chalicea completely solved and parsed with no need whatsoever to consult the dictionary – that’s either a first or a miracle or both.  I did need a reference book to help with the ghost theme.   Once I’d spotted a link with some of the solutions, I looked up every solution in the helpful list in Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Lists and worked out which ones I needed to highlight and illustrate


8     Disapproving expression used at first for very short skirt (4)
TUTU A disapproving expression and the first letter of Used

9     Hard material sung by church group with husband absent (5)
CORAL Remove the H (with husband absent) from an adjective meaning sung by a church group

10     Cunning ruse for drug addict (4)
USER An anagram (cunning) of RUSE

11     British ultimately go teetotal before the French drinking bout (6)
BOTTLE The abbreviation for British, the ultimate letter of gO, the two-letter abbreviation meaning teetotal and the French definite article [and yes, I do know the one in the picture isn’t the ‘real’ thing but it is pretty and more importantly, it made me smile]

12     Flower present between start of spring and fall (8)
SNOWDROP A synonym for present goes between the ‘start’ of Spring and a verb meaning to fall

13     Accepted as normal to be stationary on a trunk road (8)
STANDARD A word meaning to be stationary goes on A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for road

15     A second class route overseas (6)
ABROAD – A (from the clue again), the letter that indicates second class and a route

17    Primarily safeguard and enclose children’s play place (7)
SANDBOX The primary letter of Safeguard, AND (from the clue again again!!) and a verb meaning to enclose

19     South African custom for traditionally barbecued meat dish (7)
SAUSAGE The abbreviation for South African and a synonym for custom

22     Restrained frolicking cheats (6)
CHASTE An anagram (frolicking) of CHEATS

24     One copper after another with honour essentially awarded; it’s said to be cool (8)
CUCUMBER Two lots of the chemical symbol for copper (one … after another), an abbreviated honour and the essential letter of awarded

26     Redesigned rum label creating protective cover (8)
UMBRELLA An anagram (redesigned) of RUM LABEL

28     Way to erase spell of card playing (6)
RUBBER Something to use to erase or a spell of playing in a game of whist or bridge

30     Not completely bring to a standstill coalition (4)
BLOC Almost all of a word meaning to bring to a standstill

31     Section of directory’s right-hand page (5)
RECTO Found in a section of diRECTOry

32     Sudden forward movement of Dutch branch of learning (4)
DART The abbreviation for Dutch and a branch of learning


1     Bouncing currency unit (4)
EURO The reference to bouncing relates to the name for the most common type of kangaroo

2     Tightly-closed large cask braced up (8)
BUTTONED A large cask and a way of saying braced up

3     Complaint of haywire maze supporting European Community (6)
ECZEMA An anagram (haywire) of MAZE supporting or going after in a Down clue, the abbreviation for European Community

4     Furiously cursed a vigorous campaign for change (7)
CRUSADE An anagram (vigorous) of CURSED A (furious is also an anagram indicator but I’m not sure about furiously)

5     Problematic otalgia maybe for starter in this malignant tumour (8)
GLIOMATA An anagram (problematic) of OTALGIA plus the ‘starter’ of Maybe

6     Poet’s separate star rising blood- coloured (6)
SUNDER The largest star followed by a reversal (rising) of the colour of blood

7     Illustrious person found among the Romans (4)
HERO Found among tHE ROmans

14     Temperature and outbreak of spots? Nonsense! (5)
TRASH The abbreviation for Temperature and an outbreak of spots

16     America’s bird rises with hint of appetite for one eastern group of plants (5)
ALGAE Reverse (rises) the American bird and change the final E (one eastern) for a ‘hint’ of Appetite

18     D-day invasion of Normandy concluded with an expression of surprise (8)
OVERLORD A simple way of saying concluded with an interjection expressing surprise

20     Bigshot‘s considerable torso (8)
SOMEBODY A considerable amount of something and a torso

21     Screechy noise of caught rodent in school (7)
SCRATCH The abbreviation for caught and a rodent inserted into an abbreviation for school

23     Neat special Royal Ulster Constabulary base (6)
SPRUCE The abbreviations for Special and the Royal Ulster Constabulary and the letter that means base

25     Crikey! Lecturer in circle of police (6)
CORDON An informal interjection similar to crikey and a university lecturer

27     Extract small measure and a thousand of them (4)
MILK There are two ways to parse this clue. Either truncated (small) measure and the letter used to indicate a thousand or the Roman numeral for 1000 and a way of saying of the same kind

29     Noble almost beheaded with no end of ceremony (4)
EARL Behead or remove the first letter of a synonym for almost and then remove the Y (no end of ceremony)


23 comments on “NTSPP – 548

  1. A very enjoyable NTSPP which was straightforward enough that I could keep one eye on a very entertaining Oz Super Rugby match.
    I did need some electronic assistance with the 5d tumour.
    Since I am no good at detecting themes, ghost themes are beyond me! So, I will look forward to the review for explanations.
    I did like 24a and 6d.
    Thanks Chalicea.

  2. Pleasant and not too taxing, though I also needed help with 5d
    I think I have the theme, but can’t get to 15 either without looking up a few others
    Thanks for the entertainment Chalicea

  3. I needed help with 5D, too. Straightforward otherwise and enjoyable. I’m rubbish at spotting ghost themes and this one is no exception so I’ll just be patient until tomorrow, unless inspiration unexpectedly strikes. Thanks Chalicea

  4. I’m another who had to check on 5d – perhaps we should count ourselves lucky!
    No particular problems but if 11a counts as a ‘drinking bout’ then I must be guilty of a lot of them………
    Had a couple of attempts at finding the theme but can’t get anywhere near 15 so, Like Chris, I’ll probably have to wait for the review to get the correct answer.

    Thanks to Chalicea – wonder whether it’s too early to commence the next drinking bout………..

  5. Just to add a pedantic, or is it semantic, comment on 5d – not that it would have helped me in any way – the BRB and others say that the required answer is plural so the definition should be tumours.

  6. Sorry Chalicea – I’d replied to Senf before I read your comment. I’ve asked for it to be deleted but don’t think it has been.

  7. A lovely not too tricky antidote to the back page crossword which, while enjoyable, had worn out and used up all the ‘little grey cells’.
    I can’t find a theme, ghost or otherwise, and I’m a bit stuck now with a few to go in the top left corner – maybe that’s where they’re all hiding.
    I’ll keep going in a minute but need a glass of wine first!
    20d made me laugh!

  8. I found this light and pleasant. Like others had to check on 5d but the rest came together very nicely. My favourite, was probably the witty 20d though I liked 12a and 27d too..
    Cant see anything resembling a theme at the moment.
    Many thanks to Chalicea for the entertainment.

  9. Solved the puzzle with just a quick check on 5d and thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Haven’t spotted the theme yet but maybe cogitation during our beach walk will do the trick.
    Thanks Chalicea.

  10. Other than 5d which required Mr G confirmation this was pretty straightforward and very pleasant. Not for the want of trying but the theme escapes me however.
    Many thanks Chalicea.

  11. Many thanks for the review, CS, although I’m not sure what our favourite rabbit would have to say about your reference to his favourite game in 25d!
    I was on the right lines with the theme but hadn’t followed it through far enough – don’t possess a copy of that particular Bradford’s volume. 8a certainly sounds fairly lethal – hope our 2Ks steer clear of it!

  12. Sorry folks. Even with the theme answers highlighted I’m still none the wiser. Can someone please spell it out for me…..

      1. Thanks – vaguely thought that but I’m afraid flowers & trees are among my many fields of near total ignorance

  13. Thanks for the review CS and for clarification on the parsing of 1d.
    I was actually going for “growths” as the ghost theme so I suppose I wasn’t a million miles away.

    1. Re 4d, surely “furiously” is the anagram indicator and “vigorous” part of the definition?

  14. Thank you CS for the splendid illustrations (and the review, of course). Many years ago (before it was made illegal) the Pear Williams liqueur was made locally, here, by placing the bottles over the flowers which grew to pears within the bottles which were then filled with the alcohol. I had a wonderful photograph of my small son gazing in astonishment at a ‘bottle tree’ just like your 11a.

  15. This was a most entertaining crossword with a beautifully illustrated review to accompany it! I have had much enjoyment from both. My most appreciative thanks to Chalicea and Crypticsue.

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