NTSPP – 574 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 574

ByA Puzzle by Chalicea

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

As with most of Chalicea’s puzzles, there is a ghost theme.  Good luck with finding the 12 thematic answers.

The preamble said:

It was not easy to produce material for this puzzle but it does have a fairly obscure ghost theme. Of course, solvers don’t need to spot that theme.

Another NTSPP from Chalicea where you do begin to wonder whether she gets a share of the profits from Mrs Bradford’s Crossword Dictionary!   I did know several of the items – my friend and I were only discussing the other day whether children still make small cross stitch mats using 4d.  Eleven of the themed items are listed in Mrs Bradford but the twelfth I got from checking some of the more likely words in the grid in the BRB.


6     Very slightly shift plan of household expenditure, lacking time (5)
BUDGE Remove the abbreviation for time from a plan of household expenditure

7     Aircraft industry‘s navigation, leaderless and not good (8)
AVIATION Remove the ‘leader’ and the abbreviation for good from nAVIgATION

10     Garlands of frolicking maenads (7)
ANADEMS An anagram (frolicking) of MAENADS

11     Fashionable scene of Texas massacre – extremely dire! (1,2,4)
A LA MODE The scene of a famous Texas massacre and the extreme letters of DirE

12     Eating away some of vetch in garden (7)
ETCHING Hidden in some of vETCH IN Garden

13     Reactionary US soldiers holding backward lively party (7)
SHINDIG Reverse (reactionary) some US soldiers and insert an adjective meaning backward

14     Fearless fellow‘s powerful battleship (11)
DREADNOUGHT A double definition

19     Giving credit for moment in golf (7)
TICKING A moment, IN (from the clue) and the letter represented in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet by Golf

21     Hospital patient may be on this or off it if he’s crazy (7)
TROLLEY A piece of hospital equipment or a slang term meaning crazy

23     Enliven an international pal (7)
ANIMATE AN (from the clue) the abbreviation for International and a pal

25     Person who sets as task one medium puzzle (7)
IMPOSER The letter that looks like a number one, the abbreviation for medium and a puzzle

26     Covering workers finally construct for window frame (8)
CASEMENT A covering, some workers and the final letter of construct

27     Society cuts back kitchen waste (5)
SLOPS The abbreviation for Society and a way of saying cuts back


1     Sophisticated ace participated in ‘Strictly’ securing victory (8)
ADVANCED The abbreviation for Ace and what you’d have done if you’d participated in Strictly ‘securing’ the letter used as a sign of victory

2     Characteristic of Gulf inhabitants; the old folk, originally indigenous (6)
YEMENI The old way of saying the, some folk and the original letter of indigenous

3     Snag in Woomera, drongo oddly produces pet (7,3)
SAUSAGE DOG What residents of Woomera, Australia would call a snag followed by the odd letters of DrOnGo

4     Assist a Verdi heroine (4)
AIDA A verb meaning to assist and A (from the clue) 

5     Useless to work after boundless snow over land finally (2-4)
NO-GOOD A verb meaning to work follows the inside (boundless) letters of sNOw, the abbreviation for Over,  the final letter of lanD being added at the end

6     Work very hard at beard (6)
BEAVER Double definition

8     Ring around excellent US commercial activity (7)
TRADING The sound of a small bell (ring) goes round an American slang word meaning excellent

9     Large altar candle’s sudden increase of power, we hear (5)
SERGE An alternative spelling of the name of a large altar candle sounds like (we hear) a sudden increase of power

13     Catalogues of likely candidates in brief jousting contests (10)
SHORTLISTS A synonym for brief and some jousting contests

15     Tumultuous era and time for Muslim ruler’s land (7)
EMIRATE An anagram (tumultuous) of ERA and TIME

16     With no opener, pursues someone stealthily, bound to discuss work (4,4)
TALK SHOP Remove the opening letter from a way of saying ‘pursues someone stealthily’ and then follow with a bound

17     Book of maps finally short of a bit of technology (5)
ATLAS Remove the first ‘bit’ of Technology from a phrase meaning finally

18     Some fancy Prussian island (6)
CYPRUS Hidden in some fanCY PRUSsian

20     Ascent, without problem essentially, with a cross showing highest point (6)
CLIMAX An ascent without the middle (essentially) letter of problem, followed by A (from the clue) and the letter that looks like a cross

22     Set oneself up against work attitude (6)
OPPOSE Some abbreviated work and an attitude

24     Woolly ruminant runs chasing water carrier (4)
EWER A woolly ruminant ‘chased by’ the (cricket) abbreviation for Runs

32 comments on “NTSPP – 574

  1. A gentle romp, which is very welcome. I read the preamble, and though I’m not 100% sure about the theme, it’s craftily introduced.

    Thanks to Chalicea

  2. Learned a couple of new things today in the shape of the garlands and the altar candles – often something to add to one’s vocabulary in a puzzle from this setter.
    The brief jousting contests made me smile but I’ve yet to find a theme which could incorporate 12 of the answers.

    Thanks to Chalicea for compiling another NTSPP for us.

  3. If there is one way to delay giving up valuable brain cells to a Radler MPP it is solving a delightfully enjoyable Chalicea NTSPP first!
    I really liked 13a, 21a, and 1d.
    Thanks Chalicea and in advance to Cryptic Sue for the review.

  4. I echo all of the above but must admit to not solving the ‘garlands’ & had to resort to a reveal. Thank you Chalicea & to CS (who will hopefully
    identify the theme).

  5. Very gentle but, as always beautifully clued & enjoyable. 10a was last in & it took a couple of stabs to arrange the N,D & M in the correct order. Mr G was also needed to confirm the candle but otherwise straightforward. The theme eludes me but nothing unusual there & will look later.
    Thanks Chalicea

  6. Think I’ve got the theme, as several answers fitted the strong hint near the start of the preamble, though I haven’t looked up anything I didn’t actually know whether they suited or not. 10a was my last fo solve too … knew what I had to do, but resorted to reveals to get the consonants in the right order.

    Otherwise pretty straightforward to complete, and contributed to a pleasant afternoon while the sun shines outside (not, I’m told, for much longer)

  7. Enjoyable steady solve. Worked out the theme and learnt some new definitions. One ghost alludes me, but I will keep trying…
    Many thanks Chalicea.

  8. I really don’t have any idea what the theme is, and neither can I see why (or if) my 3d answer is right.
    Never mind – all good fun and not too tricky – just right for a Saturday afternoon.
    I’m sure all the bits I can’t see will be revealed tomorrow.
    Thanks to Chalicea and, in advance, to CS.

    1. Kath, I am quite tickled that you left the SPP to come and solve the NTSPP (just read your comment there). It is by the purest of freaks that I have the privilege and pleasure of setting both today!

  9. I’m really pleased that you are enjoying it. I wasn’t aware that some of those words fitted into the theme but Mrs Bradford helped me create the grid.
    Let me prompt you to have a go at the Saturday Prize Puzzle too as that is my first one there and I promise you that the clues are of about the same level of difficulty. Rabbit Dave and Jane, I usually see you there and here and am looking forward to your reactions!

    1. A double dose of you today – no wonder I enjoyed both puzzles so much. If only I could get the final ghost …

  10. Pleasant Sunday morning fun for us. Haven’t sorted out all the themed answers yet but our walk along the beach in the warm sunshine (and a bit of searching in Mrs B) should help identify the last ones.
    Thanks Chalicea.

  11. 10a and 9d were new to us and a couple of answers we can’t parse – first part of 3d and part of 5d. We liked 13a and 14a. We couldn’t solve the theme though. We look forward to CS’s review tomorrow and very many thanks to Chalicea.

  12. Many thanks, Chalicea – ok, i’ll go have a look as SPP as well.

    I have 3 ghosts left to find

  13. Very enjoyable, solved over two early Sunday morning cups of tea. Favourite was 3d.
    Thanks Chalicea and to CS in advance.

  14. Solving was a fairly gentle stroll and one or two answers, taken with the hint in the preamble soon revealed the theme. Several other answers looked likely candidates for theme words and checking in the BRB found lesser-known meanings that were indeed thematic, and I managed to get 10 if the 12 in the end. Thanks, Chalicea and CS

  15. I never did catch on to the theme so thanks CS for ‘sorting me out’ and again to Chalicea for the crossword.

  16. I took the hint from the preamble after seeing serge and casement – so I got exactly 2 and decided I was probably barking up the wrong tree
    Thanks Chalicea and CS for the review

  17. For me, this was a mix of the straightforward and the obscure. The theme was hidden in plain sight and I was happy to confirm this with 19a, but then the only other theme answer I recognised was 9d, although I have never heard of the candle. The garland was another stranger. I was happy to have CS confirm my unravelling of 8d. I researched 3 more theme references before going for the quicker option of CS’s review! My favourite clues were 21a and 1d. Thank you for the entertainment, Chalicea.

  18. Many thanks for the review, CS. Just as well that the theme was an ‘add on’ rather than a necessity because I only knew two of the required terms off the top of my head! I did plenty of cross stitch as a youngster but don’t recall ever hearing the specific name for the material we used.
    I did take the time to look up maenads and was amused to discover that they were known as the ‘raving ones’!

  19. Thanks for the review, CS, though I think you missed O (for over) in the explanation of 5d (and probably didn’t mean to capitalise the W of snow…?)

  20. Many thanks crypticsue. Indeed I would be lost without Mrs Bradford’s help and have to confess that your illustrations have shown me what some of them look like – they were new to me too.

    1. Mrs Bradford? What’s its (her) full title? I’ll get a copy. Have only heard reference to this today, several times

      1. Bradford’s crossword solvers dictionary

        Tilsit put a photo of it on his hints yesterday

        There’s a Crossword Solvers Lists too

  21. This is the first time I’ve tried this puzzle. It certainly won’t be the last! Like Ruth Allen I revealed the missing 3 consonants, never having heard of the word. I’ll try and sort the theme out now.
    Thanks to Chalicea (twice), and to CS

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