NTSPP – 592 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 592

A Puzzle by Chalicea

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Don’t forget that Chalicea’s NTSPP puzzles almost invariably have a ghost theme.

Having spent quite a bit of time this week sitting under a shady tree in the garden test-solving crosswords,, I was hoping to be able to solve today’s NTSPP in similar fashion. As Chalicea’s themed crosswords go, this one didn’t require that much time indoors fossicking in reference books – I saw the theme after I’d solved 9a and 1d, and recognised another five themed items as I solved the clues; the rest were discovered mainly in Mrs Bradford’s Crossword Solvers Lists and a final couple in Chambers Crossword Dictionary. I learned something new about a favourite author and fortunately did know the definitions others probably had to find in the BRB. Some quick hints and tips and a search for suitable images and I was back in the garden in reasonable time to enjoy the afternoon sunshine



6     Female student admitting first hint of interest in metal oxide (7)
ALUMINA A female former student ‘admitting’ the first hint of Interest

7     Myself, perhaps, and French in German gathering (7)
MEETING The word most people need when they wrongly use the word ‘myself’, the French word for and, IN (from the clue) and the abbreviation for German

9     Height of achievement of bird with start of nesting (5)
CROWN A bird with the ‘start’ of Nesting

10     Cooked the garlic in state of sluggishness (9)
LETHARGIC An anagram (cooked) of THE GARLIC

11     Select from list English politician, a north eastern Liberal (7)
EMPANEL The abbreviation for English, a politician, A (from the clue) and the abbreviations for North East and Liberal

13     Metal flying machine losing height (6)
COPPER Lose the abbreviation for Height from a slang name for a type of flying machine

15     Charitable secret orders; sadly aim of sneerers (13)

19     US Suffragette lady author‘s at heart really draconic embattling (6)
ALCOTT The letters at the heart of reALly draCOnic embaTTling

20     Plead for contents of written treaties (7)
ENTREAT Found in the contents of writtEN TREATies

23     Unusually inelegant species of wild rose (9)
EGLANTINE An anagram (unusually) of INELEGANT

24     The French money, old and new, for fruit (5)
LEMON The French definite article and the abbreviations for Money Old and New

26     Mythical thing; a carriage drawn by three horses (7)
UNICORN Double definition, the first being fairly obvious, the second coming under the heading of Obscure GK you never think you’ll ever need to use, as does the themed meaning of this word

27     Not specific knowledge on historic blood fine (7)
GENERIC Some knowledge and an old Irish legal term for the blood fine paid by a murderer to his victim’s family


1     Some amateur overstretched this jumper (4)
EURO This particular Australian jumper is a fairly regular visitor to cryptic crosswords – here it is found in some of amatEUR Overstretched

2     Idiot in Perth is turning up to record arrival at work (4,2)
SIGN ON A reversal (turned up) of a word (as used in Perth, Australia) for Idiot and IS (from the clue)

3     Diagrammatic representation, limits of line and page for national symbol (5-4)
MAPLE LEAF A diagrammatic representation, the ‘limits’ of LinE and a page of a book

4     Be left-winger and argue to absurd lengths (8)
BELABOUR BE (from the clue) and a left-winger

5     Heavy artillery of persistent attack on chessboard man? (5,5)
SIEGE PIECE A persistent attack and a man on a chessboard

6     Bent chief newspaper man (6)
ARCHED A synonym for chief and an abbreviated newspaper man

7     Tiny arachnid‘s strength, so we hear (4)
MITE A homophone (so we hear) of a synonym for strength

8     Attempt to carry child’s home-made vehicle (2-4)
GO-CART An attempt and a verb meaning to carry – although most people would use a K rather than a C when spelling the name of this home-made vehicle

12     Kinky rustic poll produces this protection for castle entrance (10)
PORTCULLIS An anagram (kinky) of RUSTIC POLL

14    Beginnings of strict or very exacting rule for monarch (9)
SOVEREIGN The ‘beginnings’ of Strict Or Very Exacting and another word for rule

16     Deplorably exerts no muscle (8)
EXTENSOR An anagram (deplorably) of EXERTS NO

17     Highlanders’ way with a posh cake (6)
GATEAU A Scottish and Northern English word for a way (there are lots of them in York) with A (from the clue) and the letter used to mean posh

18     About nations putting sense essentially into set of principles (6)
ETHNIC The ‘essential’ letter of seNse inserted into a set of principles

21     Natural ability in story supported by part of Bible (6)
TALENT A story supported (in a Down clue) by the abbreviation for part of the Bible

22     Fierce animal‘s raised combed fibre (4)
LION A reversal (raised) of some combed fibre

25     Take note of apostle (4)
MARK Double definition

22 comments on “NTSPP – 592

  1. A puzzle by Chalicea! What’s not to like? A hugely enjoyable solve.

    Many thanks, Chalicea.

  2. I always expect to have to turn to the dictionary or other references for a Chalicea puzzle and this was no exception, with five answers requiring supporting evidence. This expectation sometimes takes me on a wild goose chase checking for unfamilar words, when actually I should persevere with the clue to tease the answer out, such as 1a where I was fixated with the wrong metal oxide! Nevertheless, I got there in the end and enjoyed the challenge – thanks, Chalicea. I have identified seven answers with a common theme, plus some likely candidates which CS will iron out in the review – so my thanks in advance.

    1. There is no 1a – I meant 6a, of course. I must have been in a hurry to watch the sport on TV ( but I’m not in a hurry to watch the cricket ‘highlights’) :roll:
      Are there some chirpy Kiwis out there..?

  3. Couple of answers/part answers that were new to me but all done and dusted in a reasonable time. There may well be some themed answers that I’ve missed but I don’t possess the relevant Mrs Bradford’s tome so will wait for CS to enlighten me tomorrow.

    Thanks to Chalicea for another in her ever increasing pile of NTSPPs.

  4. You had me beaten Chalicea but very much enjoyed the beating. Didn’t twig the 1d lurker until revealing the 6a checker & can’t say I understand what it has to do with jumper. Ought to have got 6a but only did so after the letter reveal. The other failure was the first word of 5d which I only got after revealing the 3rd letter & again don’t get the heavy artillery bit. The Aussie clot was new to me but it’s a great word & will use & have only seen 6d with a K.
    My favourites were 4d (great word) & the wordplay at 19a – hadn’t appreciated she was a suffragette.
    Splendid stuff. Many thanks.
    Ps if there’s a theme it’s beyond me

    1. Hi Huntsman
      1d is not a jumper you’d wear and is likely to be found in the country as the “idiot in Perth” !

      1. Aha – too lazy to investigate. Knew I could rely on one of you bright sparks to enlighten me. Ta

  5. Like Jane there were one or two solutions or part solutions that I had to guess from the wordplay and checkers. My LOI was 4d were I was out off by the “be” being the first word of the clue and the first syllable of the solution, though I’m guessing the pronunciation is different. Quite enjoyable overall though, I think my favourite was the clever but simple 14a with 3&14d getting ticks too.

  6. A curate’s egg for me and if there is one of Chalicea’s famous ‘ghost themes’ present then I have failed to detect it (as usual).

    Runaway favourite, by a country mile, 3d!

    Thanks to Chalicea and, in advance, to CS.

  7. Completed in **** time for me, but no real sense of joy I’m afraid. Perhaps spoilt by the incident with Christian Eriksen. Best wishes to him and thanks to Chalicea.

  8. Seeing it was a Chalicea puzzle we made sure we had our reference books handy and we did need to use them a couple of times in this thoroughly enjoyable solve. Spotted several answers that could be part of themes but well short of having a definitive list as yet.
    Thanks Chalicea.

  9. No need to look for the theme, I’d seen that the puzzle title was cash!
    Thanks Chalicea and CS

  10. Many thanks for the review, CS, and for doing all the homework regarding the theme – certainly a few that I hadn’t heard of previously.

  11. V late to this one, an enjoyable solve thanks Chalicea Defeated by a couple of unknowns and whilst I saw the theme there were some I didn’t know as thematic. Many thanks for the review crypticsue which I needed to complete the thematic set, and explain a few parsings too.

  12. Many thanks to CS for the review and in particular for the illustrations. I have to admit some were new to me. Imposing a ghost theme is not just to frustrate solvers but rather a kind of self-discipline and a way to structure a crossword. Machines will create an instant grid but a ghost theme adds a bit of difficulty and character to it and, of course, as it is a ‘ghost’ theme, there is no need at all for a solver to spot all (or even any) of the examples. Thank you for all the kind comments.

  13. Late to the party – it was too nice to stay indoors at the computer yesterday. A pleasant and fairly quick solve but I didn’t bother looking for tthe theme. Thanks, Chalicea and CS.

  14. Late to the puzzle as we have been away for 10 days. Thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle. Thank you, Chalicea. Just going to read CS’s review – thank you CS – to fully understand the parsing of a couple of our answers.

    1. Oops, we had an incorrect first word for 5d – kings instead of siege! We also missed the theme!

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