NTSPP – 594 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 594

A Puzzle by Radler

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Big Dave follows:

There is a ghost theme in this puzzle – Twenty Questions theme: Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, Yes and No, Mystery Voice


1a Still possessing technique, I removed pair of braces (7)
QUARTET: QU[I]ET still without (removed) I around (possessing) ART (technique) giving two (pair) sets of two (braces)

5a Minimum age before taste of legal drink (7)
MINERAL: MIN(imum) followed by ERA (age) and the initial letter (taste) of L[egal]

9a Passing broken-down ferries (3)
END: hidden (ferries / carries) inside the clue

10a One gripping schoolbook, wherein attempt to describe noun (11)
SPELLBINDER: SPELLER (schoolbook) around (wherein) BID (attempt) itself around (to describe) N(oun)

11a Walk away from second unwelcome visitor on site (5)
TROLL: [S]TROLL (walk) without (away from) S(econd)

12a Worked out, there’s quoted amount one short of 1a (9)
THREESOME: an anagram (worked out) of THERE followed by what sounds like (quoted) sum (amount)

13a Cook too much, no more! Starts to dine out (6)
OVERDO: a word meaning “no more” followed by the initial letters of (starts to) the last two letters in the clue

15a Ran across ice, or slid fast (8)
METEORIC: MET (ran across) followed by an anagram (slid) of ICE OR

18a Affecting all parts, so we’re told, why stop inside? (8)
SYSTEMIC: a Latin word meaning so around (inside) Y sounds like (we’re told) why and STEM (stop)

20a Sensual layer from behind (6)
ANIMAL: the reversal (from behind) of a layer

23a Inactive person, half in love, needs to get fit (9)
VEGETABLE: [lo]VE followed by a phrase meaning to GET fit (3,4)

24a Boss added to Noddy’s core character with Big Ears (5)
DUMBO: the boss on a shield preceded by (added to) the centre letter (core) of [No]D[dy]

26a Starts car, heading off to station roughly around one (11)
INITIATIONS: [M]INI (car, heading off) followed by an anagram (roughly) of STATION around I (one)

27a/2d On sandy ground all over Spain perhaps (3,3,2)
YES AND NO: an anagram (ground) of ON SANDY around (all over) the IVR code for Spain

28a Youngsters eat and go without finishing, shall we? (7)
EAGLETS: EA]t] and G[o] without finishing followed by a word meaning shall we

29a Tyres burst! Punctures? Radler’s unexplained incident (7)
MYSTERY: an anagram (burst) of TYRES inside (punctures) MY (Radler’s / the setter’s)


1d Queen Fancy is set on following posh posers (9)
QUESTIONS: Q(ueen) followed by an anagram (fancy) of IS SET ON the latter following U (posh)

2d See 27 Across

3d Periodically it bursts, already being scrapped (7)
TUSSLED: the even letters (periodically) of three words in the clue

4d Number go right to left (6)
TWENTY: start with a three-letter go and replace the R(ight) with WENT (left)

5d Rot on table provoked alarm (8)
MALARKEY: a three-letter table or index preceded by (on) an anagram (provoked) of ALARM

6d Rectify it, even a lack of experience (7)
NAIVETE: an anagram (rectify) of IT EVEN A

7d Hospital photograph idiot naked with cloth round butt (9)
RADIOGRAM: [i[DIO]t] without its outer letters (naked) inside a three-letter cloth and followed by a verb meaning to butt

8d Learner put mileage on, clipping bottom of car bumper (5)
LARGE: L(earner) followed by a verb meaning to put mileage on around (clipping) the final letter (bottom) of [ca]R.

14d Good-humoured gag I put together with 27 2 (4-5)
EASY-GOING: an anagram (put together) of GAG I with the first and last words of 27 Across and 2 Down

16d Term in France where designing without caring (9)
CALLOUSLY: a verb meaning to term or name followed by the French for where and a three-letter adjective meaning designing

17d Ideas about clothing – put something on – getting complaint (8)
DIABETES: an anagram (about) of IDEAS around a verb meaning to put something on, say, a horse

19d Lace bald gentleman’s drink (7)
ENTWINE: [g]ENT without its initial letter (bald) followed by an alcoholic drink

21 Ultimately uninhibited individuals on vacation, exhibiting crown jewels outside (7)
NUDISTS: the final letter (ultimately) of [uninhibite]D followed by I[ndividual]S without its internal letters (on vacation) all with NUTS (“crown jewels”) outside

22d Cripple in boarded up old room (6)
DEFORM: the reversal (UP in a down clue) of FED (boarded) followed by O(ld) and R(oo)M

23d Say nothing, gripped? (5)
VOICE: O (nothing) inside a VICE (gripped)

25d Honour traps 27 in 27 2? (5)
MAYBE: a three-letter honour around a two-letter word meaning 27 Across

41 comments on “NTSPP – 594
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  1. I always think you need a special solving hat to tackle a Radler puzzle and this was no exception. Great stuff – I enjoyed it a lot. Many thanks to Radler.
    My podium features 1a, 4d and 7d.

        1. Well that makes me feel considerably less inadequate.
          I’ve now completed but only after opening up more letters than are opened in the average day in a prison governor’s office. Way above my level.

          1. I put it to one side and went off to do the Saturday puzzle on Falcon’s web site, much more user friendly.

  2. Thanks Radler, a most enjoyable work-out. NE corner resisted for quite some time! Nice to see a different boss than the usual. Lots of exceptionally good tricky clues, but favourite has to be the cheeky 21d.
    Thanks again!

  3. Still trying to work how clue 9 gets “criticism”. I think the clue should help solve not the solution solve the clue!

    1. David, did you mean to post this comment here? I think you must be referring to 9a in the Saturday Prize Puzzle, but please don’t repost it there as you are giving away the answer which is not allowed for the Prize Puzzles.

      The wordplay is quite tricky but Tilsit has explained it in his review. If you are querying the definition, Tilsit’s review tells you it is “stick” and if you look up stick in Collins online dictionary you will find the answer there (definition 7).

  4. Having noted the setter, I thought I would be putting this aside to watch the rugby this afternoon, but suprised myself by completing it beforehand :smile: As always, Radler has delivered an intriguing and entertaining puzzle – thank you! Of many excellent clues my favourites were 1a, 18a, 4d, 8d and the LOL 21d.

  5. We almost didn’t even attempt this crossword when we saw the name of the setter. However, good fun once we started but we needed to uncover several starter letters to keep us going! We still can’t parse some of our answers so we shall be keen to see the solutions tomorrow. Many thanks Radler and in advance CS. Now going to do the work in the garden we should have started before the crossword.

  6. I’ve been doing it off and on while listening to the cricket. Needed to reveal the first letter of 21d – so then realised what it was – had put in cojones to start with, on my first sweep through, so I was thinking of the right kind of crown jewels, just hadn’t come up with the correct ones! Have a bit of a query with 14d though – if I parse it correctly, I don’t know how it gets rid of the d…Will be interested to read the review tomorrow.

  7. On first read through I thought this was going to be impossible but with persistence, electronic help, two reveals and a couple of bung ins I managed to complete it.
    Too difficult to be really enjoyable but I did like several, including 1,11,26&29a plus 1&7d. Top spot goes to the witty 21d.
    Thanks Radler and to the reviewer in advance.

  8. :phew: That took me five separate sittings and a couple of reveals to complete, and I agree with Stephen L that, despite a lot of very clever clues, overall it was too difficult to be enjoyable.

    Presumably the capital I in 21d is a typo, and I can’t parse 4d. I remember my parents had a 7d in our lounge in the 1950s. It has obviously assumed a new meaning in the intervening years!

    Thanks to Radler for a great deal of head scratching and in advance to CS.

    1. 4d: A 3-letter word for a ‘go’, with the abbreviation for right changed to a word meaning ‘left’ – pipped to the post as favourite for me by 21d despite the capital typo. Agree this was tough but I think everything was scrupulously fair … I really enjoyed it!

      1. Thanks very much, Fez. That’s very, very clever. I got as far as starting with TRY but of course changing the R to L didn’t make any sense.

  9. Sorry about my typo in 21d. It doesn’t invalidate the clue, but it does detract a little.
    Incidentally, I’m guessing no-one has spotted the hidden theme in 8 answers (9 lights)

    1. I’ve just twigged the theme but I can only find 7 answers (8 lights). It is something else along with the radiogram that I remember from the 1950s when my parents avidly watched it.

  10. It is a good thing that the weather is bad enough here to persuade us that a Radler crossword would be better than a walk today. Slowly and surely we managed to piece it all together with penny-drop moments all over the place.
    A thoroughly enjoyable challenge.
    Thanks Radler.

  11. Just made the finishing line and could have wept when I saw the fiend’s comment about a hidden theme but fortunately that didn’t take as long to find!
    Well done, Radler, you almost got me with that one.

  12. I did check for a nina (none found) but failed to spot a theme yesterday. Reading the various comments this morning I have been able to abstract it all…
    Thanks for awaking the memories, Radler!

  13. Many thanks for the review, BD, and the confirmation that all my (eventual) parsing was correct. Must admit that I’d forgotten about the 29/23d – perhaps I never guessed it correctly!

    1. Yes many thanks BD … I only knew 20Qs as a general parlour game (with first Q always A, V or M? and then following Qs to be answered yes/no/maybe) so needed Google/Wiki (following Spartacus’ prompt) for enlightenment about the radio show and ‘MV’. Thanks again Radler!

  14. Thanks for the review BD and clearing up the parsing of 10a. I had BINDER as the schoolbook and SPELL being the ‘attempt to describe’ (i.e. spell) ‘binder’. I wasn’t happy about how ‘wherein’ fitted into my version of events!
    Let me see, do I remember ever getting 100% on a Radler puzzle…? Surely…? :scratch:
    What I do remember is that I always enjoy the challenge :yes: Thanks, Radler!

    1. Ah, I didn’t have to look back far. I did manage to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s on Radler’s recent MPP-109 :phew:
      BTW, Big Dave, the link to MPP-109 from the Puzzles Index page is going to MPP-108. The link embedded in MPP-108 to MPP-109 is OK.

  15. Certainly a challenge – I had to resort to a lot of wordfinder help but at least I was able to parse everything. Thanks, Radler and BD.

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