NTSPP – 562 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

NTSPP – 562

A Puzzle by Alchemi

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A delightful puzzle with a theme that should be familiar to all!


1a Trader intended to accommodate wealthy one leaving (8)
MERCHANT: A verb meaning intended around an adjective meaning wealthy from which the I (one) has been dropped (leaving)

6a Incompetent Shepherd to look after branch office (2-4)
BO-PEEP: This incompetent shepherd lost her sheep, and is our first thematic entry! – A verb meaning to look follows (after) the abbreviation for Branch Office

9a Every family member receives £1,000 from failed egg-restorers (3,3,5,3)
ALL THE KING’S MEN: a phrase meaning every family member (3,3,7) around (receives) a G(rand) or £1,000 – the definition references those who failed to put Humpty Dumpty back together

10a Managed to stop writer using material – initially for a year (3,5)
PER ANNUM: a three-letter verb meaning managed inside a writing implement and followed by the initial letters of two words in the clue

11a Be next to sign up after commercial (6)
ADJOIN: a verb meaning to sign up receded by a two-letter commercial

13a Very brave touring European choir (6)
HEROIC: an anagram (touring) of E(uropean) with CHOIR

15a Nike clog designed by merry soul (4,4)
KING COLE: an anagram (designed) of NIKE CLOG

16a Cables to move barrier (8)
OBSTACLE: an anagram (move) of CABLES TO

19a Film detective with nothing on – Bobby who went to sea (6)
SHAFTO: a detective from a film followed by O (nothing)

21a Someone looking hard at two leading ladies (6)
STARER: a leading actress followed by her majesty’s regal cipher

22a Old coin featuring detectives in the West (8)
OCCIDENT: O(ld) and a small coin around some detectives

24a Incredible, the million injured victims of agricultural violence (5,5,4)
THREE BLIND MICE: an anagram (injured) of INCREDIBLE THE M(illion)

26a Start alternatively with one drink (6)
ORIGIN: a two-letter word meaning alternatively followed by I (one) and an alcoholic drink

27a Extremely mild general to try holding line (8)
GENTLEST: GEN(eral) followed by a verb meaning to try around L(ine)


2d Foreign character actor Richard’s display case (7)
ÉTAGÈRE: a three-letter character in the Greek alphabet followed by the surname of US actor Richard

3d Summon assistance as 100-dollar coat ruined (4,1,6)
CALL A DOCTOR: an anagram (ruined) of the Roman numeral for 100 with DOLLAR COAT

4d Like chicken grey (5)
ASHEN: a two-letter word meaning like followed by a female chicken

5d Plasma container to initially keep mother in Alaska (7)
TOKAMAK: TO from the clue followed by the initial letter of K[eep] and a two-letter word for mother inside the abbreviation for Alaska

6d Mad Dan replaces Australian headgear (9)
BANDANNAS: start with a word meaning mad and replace the middle letter A(ustralian) with DAN from the clue

7d Father’s ballet step (3)
PAS: two definitions

8d Prophet of 50% freeze at German port (7)
EZEKIEL: the second half (50%) of [fre]EZE followed by a German port

12d Hill-climbers flag with judge getting sick (4,3,4)
JACK AND JILL: the couple who climbed a hill before both fell down are derived from a type of flag followed by a word meaning with, J(udge) and an adjective meaning sick

14d Company waste disposal unit contains crushed rock and murder victim (4,5)
COCK ROBIN: CO(mpany) and a waste disposal unit around (contains) an anagram (crushed) of ROCK gives this bird killed by a sparrow with his bow and arrow

17d Kill one of three men in a tub (7)
BUTCHER: along with the baker and the candlestick maker, this tradesman was in a tub

18d Rolling pine log an activity for dish and spoon (7)
ELOPING: an anagram (rolling) of PINE LOG – what the dish and spoon did in Hey Diddle Dddle

20d Smelly person’s head drops for first cherry stones (7)
TINKERS: Start with a smelly person and then move their first letter (head) to the end (drops) – when counting cherry stones these preceded tailors, soldiers and sailors

23d Fish prepared for DNA component (5)
CODON: a fish followed by a word meaning prepared

25d European horse food (3)
EGG: E(uropean) followed by a child’s horse

20 comments on “NTSPP – 562

  1. Great fun with a lovely theme – thanks Alchemi.
    5d and 23d were new words for me but the wordplay was clear in both clues.
    The clues I liked best were 6a, 9a and 6d.

  2. Good fun on a miserable wet day. Many thanks Alchemi.
    I also found 5d and 23d new words, but solved with clear wordplay.
    Did anyone else find themselves humming an occasional tune …?

  3. Very entertaining and, amazingly for me, I managed to spot the theme with my second answer (and my first answer wasn’t part of the theme), although it wasn’t that difficult to spot.
    I thought it would take a lot longer than the first half of the Italy-Scotland confrontation but I did start a while before they started playing.
    5d and 23d also new for me and they required dictionary checks for confirmation.
    Favourites – all those that are part of the theme!
    Thanks Alchemi.

  4. Thanks for the nice comments so far. To blow my own trumpet, I pride myself on clueing obscure(-ish) words in ways which allow solvers to be confident of writing them in even though they’ve never heard of the solution before.

  5. A very enjoyable puzzle and most entertaining. I didn’t spot the theme but then I rarely do. I loved 6a and 9a with 24a close behind.

    Many thanks, Alchemi for providing an antidote to today’s SPP – for me, anyway.

  6. Got off to a poor start with my assumption that the 1a ‘intended’ was a fiancé but rapidly improved my performance once the delightful 9a fell and the theme became apparent.
    Same new words for me as for others – 5&23d – not convinced that I’m likely to need either of them again!
    Loved Senf’s way of sidestepping the issue of picking a favourite and I’ll go along with his decision.

    Thanks for the amusement and the memories, Alchemi, wish I could remember as clearly what happened recently as I can those childhood rhymes.

  7. Loved this puzzle, thank you Alchemi. New words for us 5d and 23d. Once 9a was written in the theme dropped into place. Still unable to parse 20d but happy otherwise with answers. Very enjoyable on a dreary afternoon.

  8. A lovely lighthearted crossword for an absolutely miserable grey wet afternoon – thank you, Alchemi.
    Last answers were nearly all in the bottom right corner – couldn’t remember what the dish did with the spoon or how cherry stones came into nursery rhymes but got there eventually.
    I think my favourite was the incompetent shepherd.
    Thanks again Alchemi

  9. A whimsical puzzle that brightened up a dull Saturday afternoon/early evening. I spotted the theme early on (how could you not!) which helped with the solve.
    I particularly liked 9a, my favourite of the themed clues and I also liked 21&25a
    Thanks Alchemi.

  10. We encountered the same two new words that others have mentioned above and also worked out the probable answers before checking in BRB. A very satisfying experience. A delightful romp that we thoroughly enjoyed. Just loved the themed clues.
    Thanks Alchemi.

  11. Great fun Alchemi – even I enjoyed the theme which is unheard of (ok, ok; for the pedants amongst you – ‘of that which is unheard’
    Got stumped with my last few but that’s not bad for a solve on the move
    Thanks for the entertainment, much appreciated

  12. Great themed crossword Alchemi. Far more fun than the prize puzzle. Mr G needed to confirm 3 words new to me after successful punts from the wordplay. Only complaint is that sleep may prove difficult with the tune of that chap who went to sea going through my head. Many thanks.

  13. Fairly rattled through this, with the theme emerging early on and only 5dn and 23dn needing to be checked in the BRB. Very enjoyable. Thanks, Alchemi.

  14. Many thanks for the pictorial review, Prolixic. I did wonder whether it was Miss Polly who called the doctor for her dolly but perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch? Interestingly, a Google search of that rhyme now has a final line which says that the doctor will be back in the morning ‘if the baby’s still ill’. I’m sure it used to end with ‘I’ll be back in the morning with my bill, bill, bill’. Another one that the PC brigade have insisted upon?
    Thanks again to Alchemi – great fun.

    1. The grandchildren still sing Miss Polly in the way you remember

      I would think BD provided the review but needs to change from Admin to his own avatar

Comments are closed.