NTSPP – 579 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

NTSPP – 579

A Puzzle by Alchemi

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

I would never have worked it ut, but the setter informs me that 4a, 14a, 18a/24a, 20a, 25a, 1d, 3d, 10d and 28d all relate to 1930 – see the Wikipedia page for 1930 for explanations.


1a Band eats outside women’s quarters (6)
HAREMS: a pop group (band) inside a verb meaning eats or consumes

4a Lord drunk in toilet before winning big competition (5,3)
WORLD CUP: an anagram (drunk) of LORD inside a two-letter toilet followed by a word meaning winning

9a Charlie and Bill silent about independent element (7)
CADMIUM: C(harlie) and a bill or placard followed by a word meaning silent around I(ndependent0

11a Space drinks contain electronic motors (7)
ENGINES: a printer’s space followed by some alcoholic drinks around (contain) E(lectronic)

12a Mark gets sick running events which keep big wheels going (9)
MILLRACES: M(ark) followed by a word meaning sick and some running events

14a Line in place round remote body (5)
PLUTO: L(ine) inside a word meaning to place and followed by a round letter

15a 8s in funny bed attire (8)
NIGHTIES: an anagram (funny) of EIGHTS (8s) IN

16a Metamorphic rock sounds pleasant (6)
GNEISS: sounds like a word meaning pleasant

18a/24a Cartoon series ordered, only not ending, you see (6,5)
LOONEY TUNES: an anagram (ordered) of ONLY NOT U (ending you) and SEE

20a East Derby is ugly in overhead view (5-3)
BIRDS-EYE: an anagram (ugly) of E(ast) DERBY IS

24a See 18 Across

25a Minor mistake, swapping head and tail for cartoon girl (5,4)
BETTY BOOP: start with a minor mistake and swap the first (head) and last (tail) letters

26a Tries frantically to circumscribe bishop, which causes trouble (7)
STIRRER: an anagram (frantically) of TRIES around R(ight) R(everend) (bishop)

27a What politicians want is in demand at elections (7)
MANDATE: hidden (in) inside the clue

29a Do not remove childrens’ headgear (8)
STETSONS: a printers instruction that a marked alteration should be ignored (do not remove) followed by some male children

30a Live tracks by Lisa Stansfield, initially gems (6)
BERYLS: a word meaning to live followed by some railway tracks and the initial letters of Lisa Stansfield


1d Gene chop chap (7)
HACKMAN: a four-letter verb meaning to chop followed by a chap

2d Free beer – I drink loads (3)
RID: hidden (loads) inside the clue

3d Ragtime-playing detective (7)
MAIGRET: an anagram (playing) of RAGTIME

5d University being crushed by mineral supply threat (2,4)
OR ELSE: a university in London preceded (being crushed) by a mineral supply

6d Supports fix for bowling (3-4)
LEG-SPIN: some supports followed by a verb meaning to fix

7d Facilitating count, voiced orders (9,2)
CONDUCIVE TO: an anagram (orders) of COUNT VOICED

8d Juice up Conservatives? That’s not for ministers (7)
PASTORS: the reversal (up in a down clue) followed by some Conservatives without (not) the Latin abbreviation for that is

10d Mouse which will put you to sleep (6)
MICKEY: two definitions – a cartoon mouse and a doped drink

13d Soldier on moon in near panic (11)
LEGIONNAIRE: another word for the on side in cricket, a moon of Jupitern and an anagram (panic) of IN NEAR

17d She detects particle of alga (6)
DIATOM: a senior police detective followed by a particle

18d Positions Biblical character exploits (7)
LOTUSES: the Biblical character whose wife was, allegedly, turned into a pillar of salt followed by a verb meaning exploits

19d Makes certain drug to confuse nurses (7)
ENSURES: a drug followed by an anagram (to confuse) of NURSES

21d Senior member finished receiving money (7)
DOYENNE: a word meaning finished around (receiving) some money

22d Cause admiration, starting effort to replace Italy’s ruler (7)
EMPRESS: start with a verb meaning to cause admiration and exchange the IVR code for Italy for the initial letter (starting) of E[ffort)

23d King‘s ring found in old Swiss city (6)
OBERON: Shakespeare’s King of the Fairies is derived from O (ring) inside O(ld) and a Swiss city

28d A gracious Johnson? (3)
AMY: the A from the clue followed by an interjection meaning “gracious!”

30 comments on “NTSPP – 579

  1. This was a lot of fun, just right for a NTSPP. For the most part, I found it relatively easy for an Alchemi puzzle although there were a few clues, particularly in the SE corner, which proved to be quite a challenge. Never having heard of 25a didn’t help and that, together with 17d, were my last two in.

    I needed to check that 10d meant the same with or without a subsequent Finn. My only other query is that the definition for 26a seems a little strange. The answer would seem to be a person not a thing, so “which” doesn’t quite work for me. “One who causes trouble” would be OK for the definition but that would make the bishop, rather trying to circumscribe him, the cause of the trouble.

    I thought 16a was rather nice :wink: and it joins 4a, 20a, 29a, 13d & 28d on an extremely crowded podium.

    Many thanks to Alchemi and in advance to CS.

      1. A teaspoon is certainly a “thing” and is aptly described by 26a, but it wouldn’t normally be an item “which causes trouble” unless you do something very unusual with it in your your family. :wink:

    1. I think using ‘that’ rather than ‘which’ might be an improvement in 26a…?

  2. Liked this. Sufficiently chewy.

    Got off to a very bad start by putting VINCENT in for 1d – Gene chop chap – my thinking here was GENE VINCENT, and VINCENT VAN GOGH chopped his ear off, so it all made sense, until I realised that the crossers wouldn’t fit.

    Ticks to 4a, 15a, 29a, 7d, 18d and 21d.

    Thanks to Alchemi and in advance to CS in advance

  3. Very enjoyable, not least because there was no need to resort to the dictionary. Most fun was discovered in the NE corner, but I had plenty of other tick marks. Top spots for me went to 4a, 15a and 25a. I did have to look a few times at the letter lottery in 18/24 to pin it down! Thank you, Alchemi.

  4. First read through of an Alchemi puzzle often has me thinking it’s going to be a difficult solve but often, like today, that proves not to be the case. Like RD, I did find 26a a little odd and unlike Spartacus I did need help from the Big Red Book for 17d.
    Podium places handed out to 4,20&29a plus 13&28d.

    Thanks to Alchemi for a most enjoyable NTSPP.

  5. Enjoyable fare as always from Alchemi. I did need Google assistance for my last answer, 17d.
    My prizes were awarded to 25a, 27a, 29a and 13d.

  6. Many thanks alchemi. Unable to parse15a & never heard of 17d. Will wait for tomorrow’s review.

    1. As I am sure CS will tell us tomorrow, for 15a turn the numeral in the clue into a word and proceed from there.

  7. It seems that CS’s reply to MalcolmR in Comment 13 of the SPP blog sums up today’s puzzles perfectly. After the straightforward SPP, this was a bit of a head scratcher but I still managed to complete it pre-caffeine.
    I did need some research support (a.k.a. Google) for 16a and 17d. And, I agree with RD on the construction of 26a.
    I did like 9a and 21d.
    Thanks Alchemi and thanks in advance to CS for the review.

  8. We saw who the setter was so knew we were in for a bit of a tussle. A most enjoyable one it was too. A couple of Google checks needed for confirmation.
    Thanks Alchemi.

  9. We started off well and then hit a brick wall and needed google. We managed most of the across clues bar the cartoon characters and 12a. 12d was new to us. Many thanks for the challenge Alchemi and thanks in advance to BD for enlightenment tomorrow.

  10. Thanks Alchemi, very enjoyable.
    Seemed like it was going to be a struggle but everything gradually, steadily, slotted into place… and when looking back it wasn’t clear why some of them caused quite so much head scratching – just as it should be!
    Faves 25a & 13d (slight quibble with 26a as mentioned by others!)
    Thanks again!

  11. Struggled through. Can’t parse some of my answers and felt some of the clues to be yoda-esque. Looking forward to BD’s hints to enlighten. Thanks to Alchemi for the workout.

  12. I finished this early this morning after several passes on my recently-acquired laptop, the first time I’ve had the internet at home since 2000 (which was dial-up). I’ve never solved one of theses before, but have been aware for years and viewed them and commented a few times. I was pleasantly surprised that the answers saved in the grid were still there after logging out then back in hours later. I expected they would have disappeared. Until recently, when it was mentioned on the blog, I didn’t realise what NTSPP stood for. So, I’ll be a regular solver in future.

    I found this a very pleasing solve, mild to average difficulty, with well-written clues. I got 17d from the wordplay and checkers but had to confirm my answer via Google. Like RD, I do have a slight problem with rationalizing the definition’s grammar in 26a. Perhaps the reviewer will explain?

  13. Tackled this late last night & found it a real challenge. Used 4 letter reveals to get within 2 answers of a finish but eventually gave up & fully revealed 16a & 17d, neither of which I’d heard of. Not sure why I found it so tough because those two excepted there was nothing particularly obscure & the wordplay was very precise & clever. Had to laugh at 5d which, along with 4a, took an eon for the penny to drop & where I couldn’t figure out what university had to do with it despite having done my degree there. Unable to parse 1&15a so look forward to the review.
    Thanks Alchemi

  14. A little daunting at first possibly because like Huntsman I started it late at night, but picking it up in the morning everything fell nicely into place, helped by seeing that there was something of theme. Thanks, Alchemi, and in advance to CS.

  15. Just got round to this – have to agree with RD that 26a stands out in an otherwise excellent puzzle
    Thanks to Alchemi & BD

  16. I found tis one a true battle, but I finished it in the end. Assuming my answers are right.
    I did not help myself by spelling the soldier wrong and I took ages to twig the rock.
    However it all came together when I worked out the toons.
    Congratulations on a really challenging puzzle.
    Time for vinyl.

  17. I had a slow start, but in the end didn’t have too much problem – needed a couple of reveals – one really to confirm that 10d was what I wanted it to be … I’m old enough to have heard of 25a, though anyone who has seen ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ should have come across the character too.

  18. Many thanks for the review, BD, I certainly wouldn’t have come up with 1930 as a theme!
    Think I’d have been happier if the clue for 26a had contained ‘who’ rather than ‘which’ but it was a very enjoyable NTSP.
    Thanks again to Alchemi for the puzzle.
    PS Think the answer to 22d needs a tweak when you have time, BD.

  19. Thanks. I’ll point out that I certainly didn’t expect anyone to spot the 1930 connection. As with a lot of the themes I use, its only purpose is to put a bunch of words into a grid. Shuffling them about until I can fill the rest in without having anything stupidly obscure inevitably forces me to put in words I wouldn’t have thought of using, and that forces me to work hard to come up with interesting clues, which makes for a more interesting puzzle..

    1. How come you missed 6d from the theme list?
      Richie Benaud was born on 6 October, 1930… :wink:

      Thanks for the review, BD, and again for the puzzle, Alchemi.

Comments are closed.