NTSPP 599 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Chalicea

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A typical Chalicea NTSPP which fitted the ‘lunchtime diversion’ slot perfectly.   One for people who like anagrams, double definitions and inserting single letters into other words. The publishers of Bradford’s Crossword Solvers’ Lists will be grateful for the number of new sales this crossword engendered. 17 of the 19 ghost-themed words can be found in that book, the other two in Bradford’s Crossword Solvers’ Dictionary

Only two of the comments on Saturday mentioned the theme (three if you include Chalicea!).   I’d be interested to know who else, having seen that the setter was Chalicea,  looked for something in the solved grid, or whether most people decided to just solve the crossword and then get on with their day.  I went from printer to the bookshelf before even putting pen to paper.  I’d solved 7a on the way (and quite often think of the horsey meaning of that word rather than the stuff Mr CS is about to apply to the walls of the guest bedroom en-suite) and so was fairly sure which page to go to in the Lists (p372) in order to sort out the solutions with lesser-known equines in them.


1 Ludicrously inapt material for decorator (5)
PAINT An anagram (ludicrously) of INAPT

4 Worried doubter is chief journalist’s assistant (9)
SUBEDITOR An anagram (worried) of DOUBTER IS

9 Mostly she ‘ll restrain sheepdog (7)
SHELTIE Most of SHELl and a verb meaning to restrain

10 Plants in byway, now and then, primarily ragged continuous strips (7)
YARROWS The even letters (now and then) of bYwAy, the primary letter of Ragged and some continuous strips

11 Glimpses of 17th century diarist, we’re told (5)
PEEPS A homophone (we’re told) of the surname of a famous 17th century diarist

13 Prankster‘s a dissolute fellow around girls principally (5)
ROGUE A dissolute fellow goes around the principal letter of Girls

15 Stuff a bachelor flat (3)
PAD Double definition

16 Constantly find fault with and partly shun a girl (3)
NAG Hidden in part of shuN A Girl

17 Press you at first for kind of sarcasm (5)
IRONY A verb meaning to press and the first letter of You

19 Make hot and dry average church (5)
PARCH A synonym for average and an abbreviation for church

21 Russian money‘s difficulty with the French (5)
RUBLE A difficulty and the French masculine definite article

23 Flustered hen or some other bird (5)
HERON An anagram (flustered) of HEN OR

24 Dingy hill (3)
DUN A dingy colour or a hill

25 Strike a male swan (3)
COB A verb meaning to strike or a male swan

26 Additional large blackish edible fungus (5)
MOREL A synonym for additional and the abbreviation for Large

28 Can’t stand headgear round tip of ears (5)
HATES Some headgear round the ‘tip’ of Ears

29 Partly develop a query more difficult to understand (7)
OPAQUER Hidden in part of develOP A QUERy

31 Schoolteacher ‘s organised hostel with this person in charge of training (7)
COACHER The word SCHOOLTEACHERS is a compound anagram  of HOSTEL and the solution

33 Original specimens produced by struggling holy poets (9)
HOLOTYPES An anagram (struggling) of HOLY POETS

34 Casual wages of small gang (5)
SCREW The abbreviation for Small and a gang


1 Public notice circling quietly on one who puts things off (9)
POSTPONER A public notice circling the musical abbreviation to play quietly and ON (from the clue)

2 Type of salad plant‘s large frozen mass (7)
ICEBERG Double definition

3 Local twitch, hint of trouble with computer technology (3)
TIT A Scottish (local) word for a twitch – the first letter (a hint) of Trouble and some abbreviated computer technology

4 Control movement of young ox (5)
STEER Double definition

5 Reddish-brown laurel tree (3)
BAY Double definition

6 Mournful hymn‘s dreadful, involving touch of gloom (5)
DIRGE A synonym for dreadful involving the first letter (a touch) of Gloom

7 Account turning up about ordinary cavalry soldier (one who swears?) (7)
TROOPER A reversal (turning up) of an account goes about the abbreviation for Ordinary

8 Put up, we heard and flattened (5)
RASED Sounds like (we heard) part of a verb meaning put up

12 County‘s old lord holds first of hunts (5)
SHIRE An old lord holds the first letter of Hunts

14 Good year might become more cheerful (5)
GAYER The abbreviation for Good and an anagram (might become) of YEAR

18 Parent, not first – second (5)
OTHER A parent without her first letter

19 Slug a fruity alcoholic drink (5)
PUNCH Double definition

20 Passes to ship’s company a jack for raising weights (4- 5)
HAND-SCREW A verb meaning passes and a ship’s company

22 Move jerkily and pursue a docked dog, for example (7)
BOBTAIL Verbs meaning to move jerkily and pursue

24 Digger of trenches, revolutionary communist nursing restless desire (7)
DITCHER A reversal (revolutionary) of a communist nursing a restless desire

25 Fabric of dress cut short (5)
CLOTH Truncate or cut short a verb meaning to dress

26 Ascend a small hill (5)
MOUNT Double definition

27 Place highly destructive insect is ultimately eradicated (5)
LOCUS Eradicate the ultimate letter of a highly destructive insect

30 In Chicago severely criticise disreputable person (3)
RIP An American (as used in Chicago) word meaning to severely criticise or a disreputable person

32 Dull, stupid fellow‘s a singular mess ultimately (3)
ASS A (from the clue) the abbreviation for Singular and the ultimate letter of mesS




25 comments on “NTSPP 599

  1. Game of two halves for me. The top half was a breeze but found the south much trickier. Good job 33a was an anagram as the word is new to me, don’t really understand 30d (had the wrong vowel in to start with), zero practical skills meant I’d no idea what 20d does & needed to check 24a for the hill context.
    Still other than two bites of the cherry at 30d an unaided finish & an enjoyable diversion.
    Thanks Chalicea

  2. A wonderful puzzle, which I thoroughly enjoyed. No special favourite – I just loved it all. Many thanks, Chalicea. :good:

  3. A great end to a ‘Chalicea week’ – many thanks for that. 22d took me way back to Thursday’s Watch with Mother!

  4. I doubt that I have found all the thematic references, as I never succeed in doing so with Chalicea’s puzzles, but CS will doubtless corral them all for me! Filled the grid at somewhat of a canter but enjoyed the ride. Thanks, Chalicea.

  5. Thanks Chalicea, very enjoyable (as always!) – I’m sure I’ve missed several themers though so looking forward to review, thanks in advance to CS(?)

  6. Had to scrabble around a bit to verify a couple of definitions and one – 20d – I never did find. The definition given by Chalicea for 20d is, word for word, that given for a different implement with the enumeration 5-4 but I failed to satisfactorily agree with a 4-5.
    Still, every day’s a school day and my word learned from this one appears at 33a.

    Thanks to the hard-working Chalicea.

  7. Like Huntsman, the North was much less of a challenge than the South. In fact, while I know I have the correct answer 31a, I am still puzzling over the parsing.

    Definitely more enjoyable than the ‘companion’ back pager with no caffeine required.

    Thanks Chalicea and in advance to CS.

      1. Thanks Prolixic, perhaps I should have had an intake of caffeine before or during solving.

  8. Great fun, slowed a little by a few clues in the S – happily so as I received my new BRB today (nearly 40 years after the last one!) and was able to use it to confirm my answers for 20d and 33a.

    Did not parse my answer to 31a, so grateful thanks to Prolixic for doing so.

    Thank you to Chalicea for another great puzzle – and if you were also the setter of today’s backpager, thank you for that one, too.

  9. Yes, guilty of the back page competition puzzle and Quickie too and I am delighted that this one is going down well, as several solvers there are finding that one difficult – a real surprise for me. I am so used to being ‘easy’, even ‘too easy’.
    Don’t worry about not finding all the thematic references (crypticSue always gets them all) as they are not needed to solve the puzzle and I certainly don’t know them all when setting, but let Mrs Bradford prompt me. I’m working on a replacement one for Big Dave’s files and using a different type of ghost theme. Thanks for those generous comments.

  10. Started off really well then slowed down as we moved southwards. We kept away from the answer we wanted at first on 34a as we had just used the same word elsewhere. However, it had to be. Many thanks Chalicea and to CS in advance as we need to uncover a couple of parsing issues.

  11. We also were much slower on the the bottom half than the top half and thoroughly enjoyed all of it.
    Thanks Chalicea.

  12. Thanks for the review CS & the homework in Bradford’s. Guessed the equine theme but only came up with 9 definites under my own steam.

  13. Many thanks for the review, CS. I did pick up on some of the themed entries along the way but have to confess that I didn’t trawl through reference books to find the others. I’d love to know where Chalicea found that definition for 20d, all I came up with was a ‘screw jack’.

    1. You can always guarantee that if Chalicea uses a word (especially one you’ve never heard of) it will be in the BRB. I’ve almost reached the point where, when she does that, I don’t bother to check and verify that she’s right.

  14. Jane, it appears in the long list of compound nouns under the head-word HAND in Chambers. Many thanks to CS. I loved your horse pictures.
    Two more ‘Bradford’ thematic ones are in Big Dave’s file then something different.

  15. ” … or whether most people decided to just solve the crossword and then get on with their day.” That’s me! Very enjoyable though. Thanks, Chalicea and CS.

  16. There’s a theme? News to me but it didn’t spoil the puzzle – a Chalicea speciality
    Thanks again to both setter & CS

  17. fun! i even grokked the equus theme. I was so sure that “round” was superfluous in 28a that I was planning to write indignantly to the editor — only to realize I had read the clue as “… round tips of ears”. Why did I have the audacity to think Chalicea would stumble?

  18. Finally found time to have a go at this one, and very glad I did. 33a was a new word for me, and never heard 30d used in that regard, perhaps because we are way south of Chicago? Thoroughly enjoyed this one from Chalicea, as usual a very doable puzzle.

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