NTSPP 612 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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“The Memorial Ground” by Elgar

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

This puzzle was distributed, as an alphabetical jigsaw, at the S&B meeting in York on Saturday 30th October.

It is important to bear that in mind while solving that this puzzle is intended for attendees at the above meeting.

A review by crypticsue follows:

Elgar’s 2021 York Special is definitely one of those crosswords where having more than one or two brains working on it together would probably be easier than one solver on their own – solving the clues took quite some time, but when I realized exactly what the instructions meant, the pleasure of the discovery made up for all the brain strain.

I only noticed late on Saturday evening that BD had transformed this crossword into a ‘normal’ one rather than the alphabetical version that was handed out at York, and which was the version I solved. I am not a fan of alphabetical jigsaw crosswords (and that’s an understatement), but I followed my usual habit of working through the clues over and over again until I’d solved as many as I could (22 of the 28 clues). I then started to fill in the grid – the NW corner being the ‘easiest’ to work out which solution might go where, eventually ending up in a position with enough checking letters to enable me to finish the remaining clues. My hints reflect the alphabetical order of the clues and I haven’t got the time or energy to go back and rearrange the order to match the numbered version of the crossword on the blog, so I’ve put the relevant clue number from BD’s version in brackets before each clue.

At the end of the Hints, you will find both an explanation of how Elgar’s instructions relate to the letters found in the red and silver cells, and a completed grid.  Once again, it is time to marvel at our setter’s brilliant sneakiness and continue to be grateful that, as far as we know,  no-one’s yet lured him over to the dark side!

“The Memorial Ground” by Elgar

The letters in the red cells connect the four items in the clockwise perimeter with the location formed by the letters in the silver cells. [Clues are listed in alphabetical order of their answers, to be arranged jigsaw-wise in the grid, wherever they will fit]

(4d) Aboard it, god-forsaken, waves swamp vessel (7)
AIRBOAT An anagram (waves) of ABOARd IT (god-forsaken telling you to omit the Latin abbreviation for god)

(9a) Fruit and salt kept separate in some of one’s food (10)
ALIMENTARY A type of fruit and a sailor (salt) inserted separately into an adjective meaning some

(7d) They exploit the market when stocks at the outset repeatedly backfire (4)
ARBS A conjunction meaning when ‘stocks’ the letters at the outset of Repeatedly and Backfire to produce an abbreviated  word for people who exploit the stock market

(27a) Changes in the Sahara that rolled off production lines in 1963? (4)
AREG A Saharan area of shifting sand dunes could if split 1,3 be an informal way of describing cars that were produced and sold in 1963.

(14a) Encourage first character to switch to last character (4)
BETA Move the first letter in a verb meaning to encourage (usually to commit an offence) to the end of the word

(14d) Hold electric light less upright entering guest-house? (6,4)
BOSTON CRAB A reversal (upright) of an electric light (3) and a two-word expression meaning less into an abbreviated guest house

(13d) Black egret seen agitating northern birds (5,5)
BRENT GEESE An anagram (agitating) of B EGRET SEEN

(25a) Tea, Indian, that will be taken by bishop – but not rector (4)
CHAI A seat taken by a bishop without (but not) the abbreviation for Rector

(26a) Look at Roman guards self-catering tucking into wee pastry (6,4)
ECCLES CAKE The Latin (Roman) word meaning behold! (look at) ‘guards’ or goes round an informal term for passing water (leak) into which is inserted the abbreviation for self-catering

(21a) About to receive notice lamb or pork is preferred? (3,3,4)
FOR THE CHOP This informal expression meaning that you are about to get notice that you have been sacked from your job sounds like you would prefer to eat a particular cut of meat, usually of lamb or pork

(8a) Madagascans who value stores (4)
HOVA These members of the dominant race in Madagascar can be found stored in wHO VAlue

(6d) A couple of Marmite Mephistos (4)
ITEM Hidden in marmITE Mephistos

(11a) New-fangled mobile’s too slow in operation (10)
LOBOTOMISE An anagram (new-fangled) of MOBILES TOO

(3d) Broadcasting chap put in post (4)
MAIL A homophone (broadcasting) of a chap

(5d) Livery stable unboarded? Clear sign it’s been acquired by me (10)
NETTLESOME A clue, the parsing of which, definitely left me irritable (livery).  I’ll also be interested to know whether I’ve got it right. ‘Unboarded’ tells you to remove the TABLE (board) from Stable. Hang on to the S for a minute. Take an adjective meaning clear of all deductions, add a Sign of the Zodiac into which you insert the S from before. Finish with ME (from the clue)

(2d) Wandering south through places that are wet and places that are dry (4,6)
OAST HOUSES An anagram (wandering) of SOUTH inserted (through) places in deserts that are wet

(19a) Kills time avoiding members of the gentry (4)
OFFS The abbreviation for Time avoiding a slang term for members of the gentry

(22d) Loads of money lost in pursuit of goose-egg – apt cry? (4)
OUCH A letter shaped like a bump on the head (goose-egg) is followed by an adjective meaning many (loads of) without the abbreviation for Money (money lost)

(18d) Here rum’s infused with precision ready for cooking (7)
PREHEAT An anagram (rum) of HERE inserted into a word meaning with precision

(24d) Victims beg to be heard (4)
PREY A homophone (to be heard) of a verb meaning to beg

(12a) On which a ball boy’s split? It cuts both ways (5,5)
RAZOR BLADE Insert A (from the clue), a large inflatable ball and a boy into the two-letter word meaning ‘on the subject of’

(1d) Form of restraint blocks pro picking up work (5,1,4)
ROMAN A CLEF A type of restraint blocks a reversal (picking up) of a simply way of saying in favour of (pro)

(10a) President you shouldn’t have following Trump (the arse having been ousted) (4)
TAFT A simple expression of thanks (you shouldn’t have), the abbreviation for following and the letter that starts Trump (the synonym for bottom having been removed)

(15d) Iconic Ford model audibly purring in gear, take a drive hence (6,4)
TEEING AREA The letter used as the name of an iconic Ford car model (audibly showing that you need the three-letter spelling, an anagram (purring) of IN GEAR followed by (take) A (from the clue)

(23d) Lean times, not all bad in between (4)
TILT To get this synonym for lean (to one side)  you need two lots of the abbreviation for time in between which should go the first two (not all) letters of a word meaning bad

(20a) Sports Action is positioned east of hill ruin (10)
TORPEDOING An abbreviation for school sports and an action go after (positioned east of) a hill

(16a) Is this workaday in three parts? (7)
ULYSSES James Joyce’s three-part work covers events that happen in one single day

(17a) With one’s first love back, ditch new man-about-town (7)
WOOSTER The abbreviation for With, the first letter of One, the letter representing love in a tennis score) and the back of something without (ditch) the abbreviation for new go together to get the surname of PG Wodehouse’s man-about-town

And as for those instructions:

The letters in the red cells spell out VIBOYGR which represents the colours of the traditional spectrum. We normally use this as ROYGBIV  – Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain –  a mnemonic to remember the colours of the rainbow. The links with the words round the outside of the completed grid are as follows:

RO – the IVR code for ROMANIA

Y – the abbreviation for YEAR

GB – the abbreviation for GIGABYTE

IV – THE FOURTH Roman number

An anagram of the silver cells produces [the City of] WAKEFIELD which in 1460 was the site of one of the battles in the Wars of the Roses – and was the very place where Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain

22 comments on “NTSPP 612
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  1. Having now reread the preamble I now understand why I can’t get to grips with this puzzle. I’ll continue to persevate but may have to resort to a few crossing reveals.
    I hope everyone is enjoying the S&B and that the rain is holding off – we’ve just had a downpour of biblical proportions here in the Vale of Belvoir.

  2. I was pretty sure when I saw who the compiler was and then read the preamble that this would be a DNF for me. Little did I know it was going to be virtually a DNS as I threw the towel in with one answer entered. My respect goes to anyone who manages to complete this!

  3. I got nowhere with this, let alone being totally colour blind so all the shaded squares look a pinky-grey to me!
    Congrats to any solvers and thanks all round

  4. The thing to remember about a crossword with ‘structions is to ignore most of them until you’ve solved the crossword. Here the only important thing to note is that “Clues are listed in alphabetical order of their answers”. Starting from the top, the clues at positions 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 14, 17, 20 and 24 are straightforward enough to be solved, even if you aren’t quite sure what letter they might start with.

  5. If anyone should make it to the end and work out what the instructions mean, could I please ask that they don’t say anything about it here as I was so chuffed with myself when I worked out was going on, I’d like to be the person who explains it in the review in the morning. Thank you

      1. Me neither. I was thrilled to solve his (admittedly gentle for him) puzzle in the Graun midweek but had got nowt after 15mins & thought sod this.

  6. Got there in the end, although using the numbered clues online – I don’t think I’d have managed the jigsaw version, as filling the grid needed extensive help from crossers and (once worked out) the perimeter words (thankfully, in correct order) and shaded cells too. I think I have all parsings, many (most?) worked backwards from the solution. Very very tough but well worth it for the PDM of the endgame – looking forward to CS’s review! Thanks to Elgar for the workout.

  7. Well, I spent nearly all afternoon on this but I got there in the end.

    17 was LOI. I realised that I could check in the online version and found that I had got 7D wrong – a word I didn’t really know anyway. I now understand the perimeter.

    I would have had no hope with this without my computer. I also used both the .pdf and alphabetical versions to complete it. Phew! My brain needs some R&R. Look forward to CS’s review tomorrow.

  8. I got 13 or 14 answers without help, most of the top right and bottom left; needed some reveals to get a few more, then worked out the perimeter which gave me the rest. 7d was a new word for me, too.
    Had several goes during the day, rather than sitting at it all at once, and I don’t pretend to have parsed it all.

  9. Re 7 down, arbs is, I think, an abbreviation of arbitrageurs, who are people who exploit perceived inefficiencies in market pricing, rather than an informal name for stock exchanges.

    1. So it is – I obviously need to look more carefully at the BRB when my brain is too worn out to look at things properly

  10. Many thanks Sue; I got everything including the abbreviations for the perimeter and the place, but failed to link them! I thought it must have had something to do with the place football or rugby team. Obviously, history is not one of my strong points. What a clever idea, well done Elgar!

  11. PS I don’t know if this is the 4th gig at the Fox & Roman, but if so there is (coincidentally?) some added meaning.

  12. Many thanks for super review CS. Looking back, despite the undoubted difficulty, there was nothing really too obscure although of course I had advantage of doing the regular numbered version not the jigsaw. I thought definition of 20a a bit of a stretch, and agree parsing of 5d tricky (but entirely fair!) It was the puzzle title, in conjunction with the location, that helped eventually get the theme (via a bit of Googling) A great puzzle overall, thanks again Elgar – hope everyone enjoyed the S&B event!

  13. Managed about a dozen clues before (after many hours) eventually giving up. For me, too many of the solutions were words I did not know. Well done to anyone who completed it. Great review CS.

  14. Thrown in the towel at long last…!
    Pleased to discover that I got the right answers to 23 out of 28 but couldn’t parse 3 of those so really only ‘solved’ 20 of them. Being famililar with the rainbow mnemonic I did twig what the red letters were all about but didn’t manage to spot the link to the words around the outside – which therefore looked like gobbledygook to me! I reckoned that the silver cells must be ****FIELD but without the W of WOOSTER I didn’t work out the location, and what’s more I had always thought that the mnemonic referred to Richard III and the Battle of Bosworth Field. So, I have learned something new here!
    Thanks, Elgar for an intriguing puzzle and a history lesson, and many thanks to CS for putting me out of my misery by filling the empty cells in my grid!!! [I wasn’t really miserable – I’m always up for a decent challenge… :wacko: ]

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