NTSPP 605 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Radler

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Another tricky crossword from Radler (solving it t took me nearly twice as long as Friday’s Elgar)– this one has a helpful (some solvers might say ‘appropriate’) Nina which will help you get to the end


8 Americans replace globes in interminable panic at Mexican flower and plant growers (8)
TERRARIA The abbreviation for American replaces the letter that is globe shaped in a panic (without its last letter [endless] and the Mexican word for river (flower)

9 Unsettled when reported by Eastender working on allotment? (6)
HOEING An Eastender might pronounce this form of gardening in a way that you’d think something was unsettled

10 Get on with the same as before? (4)
REDO The usual two-letter ‘on’ and an abbreviated way of saying the same as before

11 Bikini here, romanticise about spending time (10)
MICRONESIA The home of Bikini Atoll is an anagram (about) of ROMANtICISE without (spending) the T

12 Staggering! Seems barmy to start (6)
EMBRYO the alternate letters of sEeMs BaRmY tO

14 Material for floorshow left by Moulin Rouge’s last cast (8)
LINOLEUM The abbreviation for Left and an anagram (cast) of MOULIN E (the last letter of rouge)

16 Lied retrospectively, second but last learned (7)
GNOSTIC Reverse (retrospectively) what the Germans would call a LIED, then add a second minus (but) its last letter

18 Naked XXX convention (7)
ENTENTE Write out the number represented by the Roman numeral X three times and then remove the outside letters (ie make them naked)

20 Large lady sings at end of performance – it’s all over (8)
GIANTESS An anagram (its all over) of SINGS AT and the end of performance

21 Smeared with oil, lying back, submit – because of this? (6)
LIBIDO A verb meaning to submit is inserted (smeared) into a reversal (lying back) of OIL (from the clue)

23 Poor Catholic girl after lingerie is taken (10)
UNDERCLASS Take away the IS from an informal word for lingerie and then add the abbreviation for Catholic and a girl

25 Bird  sound made by 26 (4)
RUFF A type of bird or the sound made by 26d

27 Races breathlessly at first, then rushes (6)
BREEDS The first letter of Breathlessly and some rushes

28 City blocks Frank returning into shelter (8)
LEEWARDS A Northern city ‘blocks’ a reversal (returning) of a synonym for frank


1 Called out to catch attendant (4)
HERE A homophone (called out) of a verb meaning to catch

2 Injury touching circuit without HT protection (6)
ARMOUR Some injury without the H and a circuit without the T

3 Track around river for Spring exercise (10)
TRAMPOLINE A track goes around this blog’s favourite Italian river

4 Can I fly high? Plainly not! (7)
FANCILY An anagram (high) of CAN I FLY

5 State cop who hid mob fleeing banks (4)
OHIO Remove the outside letters (fleeing banks) from cOp wHo hId mOb

6 One breaking in to throttle Madame causes alarm call (8)
REVEILLE I (one) inserted into an informal way of saying to throttle followed by the French word for she (madame)

7 Dated infatuated female to question being smitten (10)
ANTIQUATED An anagram (smitten) of InfQATUATED where the F (female) changes to Q (question)

13 Priests‘ battle curtailed to pass over Sabbath (10)
MONSIGNORS A First World War Battle, a truncated (curtailed) verb meaning to pass over and the abbreviation for Sabbath

15 Number 1 daughter adopts and son unsure how to react (10)
NONPLUSSED The abbreviation for Number, 1 written as a word and D (daughter) into which is inserted (adopts) a synonym for and plus the abbreviation for Son

17 As American brother, born to go deeper (8)
SINCERER A conjunction meaning as, an American brother without the B (born to go)

19 National lives, real characters, a suspicion of immigrants (7)
ISRAELI A verb meaning leaves, an anagram ( ) of REAL and the first letter (a suspicion of) Immigrants

22 Grave difficulty arising, uncovered face (6)
BURIAL A reversal {arising) of a difficulty followed by a face without its first letter (uncovered)

24 Housing, for instance (4)
CASE  Double definition

26 Fellow’s Radler, gathering that’s the setter’s name? (4)
FIDO The abbreviation for Fellow, how Radler would refer to himself and a gathering

17 comments on “NTSPP 605

  1. No doddle but fortunately I guessed the message early which helped
    An odd surface or two but enjoyable all the same, thanks Radler

  2. A “Saturday toughie” very much in the spirit of the original intention for the NTSPP. Thanks Radler.

  3. Well that was hard work!

    Most of top half came with a bit of effort, but was about to give up when I came to see what other people thought. (I usually try and do it without looking here in case of spoilers – even unintended ones can make me wish I hadn’t seen them). I had already wondered if there was a theme or Nina, and LBR’s comment made me go back and look harder. It certainly did help to get that, and expressed very cogently how I had been feeling about the whole thing!

  4. White flag time for me. I gave up after a prolonged struggle with about a third of the puzzle completed. Too tough for me, Mr Radler – you win hands down – but thanks anyway.

    1. Think that’s the first DNF I’ve seen from you RD (outside of Rookie Corner, where one can lose the will to live at times, in the nicest possible way)

  5. On Friday, Greta said she got all the way to 19 down before she solved a clue. i felt sympathy for her.

    Well, today, i got all the way through the across clues and all the down clues – and the across and down again – and am none the wiser.

    i hope for enlightenment tomorrow😀.

  6. Got there in the end … largely thanks to LBR for hint to look for a message, I found this way before solving most clues and at least had a few starting letters to work with. Eventually parsed everything (I think – looking forward to review to check!) but to be honest, far too many ended up being guessed first then a struggle to work out the parsing – I do enjoy some clues needing ‘reverse engineering’ like this but here it was probably over 50%. Glad I persevered but very very hard work today! Favourite 18a. Thanks Radler :-)

  7. That was a real struggle.
    Just when we were about to throw in the towel we happened to spot the Nina which gave us enough checkers to finish the job. Well almost, as we haven’t yet sorted the parsing for 18a.
    Thanks Radler.

  8. Filled the grid long before I’d sorted out all the parsing, some of which seemed to take ages. A very meaningful message from our setter but you haven’t quite got me to that stage yet!

  9. thanks Radler! but what a workout! I was helped at some point when about to give up with seeing something or other on the perimeter — which with a bit of help of Mr G I managed to decipher.

    There were some very fine (and surprisingly clever) clues: e.g. 11a, 14a (I was misled for a while by another related term starting with the same 3 letters), 18a (wow! tour de force) and the most evocative of the lot 21a!

  10. I struggled with this for ages and eventually resorted to seeding the grid by revealing a few letters here and there; that didn’t help much but I then realised there was a perimeter nina, worked out what it was, said it to myself and accordingly gave up!

  11. I do enjoy a battle with Radler and I saved this to do this morning.
    I thought that this was the toughest NTSPP he (or anyone else probably) has given us and the Nina was a lot of help in getting to the finish line. Even so I was held up for ages in the SW corner.

    I ticked 9a, 12a, 18a, 3d and 15d.

    Many thanks to Radler and to Prolixic for the review.

  12. Well, that was a tussle and a half. I wouldn’t have got the 25/26 combo without the message – an apt expression, perhaps, given the challenge we were set! I stopped ticking clues early on because I was too intent on the task at hand but, in retrospect, I really liked 18. Thanks, Radler, for the cerebral workout! Thanks also to CS for the elegant review. It all looks so logical and easy when set out like that – how come it took me so long…

  13. Thank you to everybody who solved or attempted the puzzle, especially those who have taken the time to comment. I really hadn’t realised how difficult I’d made it. You have a quite different perspective as a setter, starting from the answers.

    My particular thanks as always to Crypticsue and Big Dave

  14. Many thanks for the picturesque review, CS, and also thanks to the ‘fiend’ for popping to see us. Doubt that the Nina would have passed muster with the DT editor but it certainly made me laugh!

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