NTSPP 630 – 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.

Radler’s turn to provide the post-Saturday lunch brain stretching


1a    University degrees rejected, Sally cut short Japanese class (7)
SAMURAI A reversal (rejected) of the abbreviation for University and some degrees followed by a truncated (cut short) sally

5a    Dark smudges on brown pot (7)
TANKARD An anagram (smudges) of DARK goes after (on) a brown colour

9a    Chambers first word test curtailed (5)
ATRIA The first word in any dictionary, not just Chambers, and a truncated (curtailed) test

10a    Each of speakers intended introducing correct qualification (9)
AMENDMENT a synonym for correct ‘introduced’ between A (each) and a homophone (of speakers) of a synonym of intended

11a    Union short day stops rescheduling of pain and illness (9)
PNEUMONIA The abbreviation for the European Union, an abbreviated day of the week ‘stops’ or is put inside an anagram (rescheduling) of PAIN

12a    One getting end away at last, on sex register (5)
INDEX I (one), an anagram (away) of END and the last letter of seX

13a    Remove money from? (5)
DEBIT – DE BIT (take coins away)

15a    Evil creature stripped, confined and bound (9)
OBLIGATED The inside (stripped) letters of an evil creature followed by a synonym for confined

16a    Cover for retired teachers needing quiet study (9)
BEDSPREAD The abbreviated degrees obtained by teachers, the musical abbreviation meaning quiet and a verb meaning to study

18a    Saucy dance causing partial arousal say (5)
SALSA Hidden in arouSAL SAy

20a    Cab mate? Leaders departed on Central Line (5)
AXIAL Remove the ‘leaders’ from a cab and an informal mate

21a    Puns about tipsy virgin (9)
UNSPOILED An anagram (about) of PUNS followed by a slang word meaning tipsy

23a    American Nations homes love Apple and Android (9)
AUTOMATON The abbreviation for American, followed by  the abbreviated name of a group of nations which ‘homes’ the fruit also known as a love apple

24a    One on right in joining occasion? (5)
GROOM I thought this was just a cryptic definition as the man in the solution does stand on the right in a ‘joining occasion’, but the wordplay could also be the letter on the right side of joininG and an occasion or opportunity

25a    Runner‘s score halved, dropping behind in training (7)
TENDRIL The number that is half a score and a synonym for training without its last letter

26a    Want fish, but no time for bones (7)
SURGEON A type of fish without the abbreviation for time – bones here being an informal nickname for a doctor


1d    Overwhelmed with live run around the perimeter (7)
SWAMPED A synonym for run (or even ran) goes around the abbreviation for With and a way of say [I] live

2d    Casually spread for one horny creature with erection (5)
MARGE A reversal (with erection) of an abbreviated way of saying ‘for one’ and a creature with horns

3d    Send outside and, point taken, allow back in (7)
READMIT A way of saying send goes outside AnD without the N ([compass] point taken)

4, 5d    Troubled about the definitions of 2d, solvers uniting after I spot things could change (2,4,4,5,3,3,4,5)
IT AINT OVER UNTIL THE FAT LADY SINGS Hands up who just wrote this in when they had the checking letters? Me too! After I (from the clue) and a synonym for spot, you need an anagram (troubled) of SOLVERS UNITING which then goes about THE and the two definitions of the solution to 2d (the picture I’ve used to illustrate 2d may help!)

6d    Nearly undressed, bottomless, declining to remove top (7)
NUDGING Nearly in the sense of almost – Remove the ‘bottom’ from a synonym for undressed and then the top from a synonym for declining

7d    Engineer located propping up one from Accounts (9)
ANECDOTAL An anagram (engineer) of LOCATED propping up or going under an indefinite article (one)

8d    Act protects by undertaking to rid of poison (7)
DETOXED An act ‘protects’ the mathematical symbol meaning by or times, which goes under TO (from the clue)

14d    Poor make money on game (9)
BADMINTON A synonym for poor, a verb meaning to make money and ON (from the clue)

16d    Open sandwich, cakes, afternoon buffet (7)
BLATANT An abbreviated sandwich ‘cakes’ or goes round the abbreviation for Afternoon and a verb meaning to buffet

17d    Principally inadequate employer’s pants – nylon? (7)
POLYMER An anagram (pants) of eMPLOYER without the first letter (principally inadequate)

18d    He takes advantage of another daily? (7)
SPONGER Double definition

19d    Bishop to fix punctures – answer to prayers: spare tyre here (7)
ABDOMEN The chess abbreviation for Bishop and a verb meaning to fix ‘punctures’ or goes inside a response to prayers

22d    Free-range duck stuffing put in wrong place (5)
LOOSE The letter representing a duck in cricket ‘stuffing’ a verb meaning to put in the wrong place


24 comments on “NTSPP 630

  1. Great puzzle – many thanks to Radler.
    I haven’t managed to fully parse 4/5d but I got the answer mainly from the checkers and I can see how most of it works.
    Doesn’t 24a depend on which direction you’re looking from?
    My ticks went to 15a, 16a, 25a and 6d.

    1. G, 24a. I can see your point, but I suspect the clue refers to the tradition of wedding ceremonies rather than what direction observers might be viewing it from. The groom walks/stands on the right, historically so his right hand is free to draw his sword to defend his bride. Not sure what happened if the groom was left-handed …

  2. A great puzzle as Gazza says, with Radler in rather risqué mode. I was very slow to get started on this and was staring at an almost blank grid for quite a while. However persistence paid off and it all came together slowly but surely, and it proved to be very enjoyable indeed.

    Quite a lot of my answers were entered using the definition and checkers, followed by the sometimes lengthy process of working out the parsing. In the end, I have just one question: wouldn’t 10a work just as well without “each of”, or am I missing something?

    The biggest challenge for me was the parsing of 4d/5d but I finally cracked it. Well done, Radler, it is an extraordinary achievement to have formulated such a wordy clue combining subtle wordplay with a super-smooth surface. I have many ticked clues but that double one was my favourite.

    Many thanks, Radler, and in advance to CS.

    1. I think I have parsing for 4/5d – but not sure why “definitions” is plural? Agree it’s an impressive clue but trying to tie up that one loose end!

      1. I also think I’ve now parsed 4/5d. If I’m right there are two “definitions”, the first inanimate, the second not.

        1. That was my conclusion, Gazza. Your description of one of the definitions as “not inanimate” made me smile. Should please the woke brigade. :wink:

  3. Many thanks Radler, a great puzzle, very challenging and incredibly satisfying to finish. 26a seemed familiar from similar surfaces in a recent clue competition. 21a, 2d & 17d possibly my top 3 though the long’un also deserves special mention, and really all of the clues were contenders. (I found this a lot tougher than the MPP – both highly enjoyable, so thanks too to Phibs, and in advance for reviews)

  4. Phew – got there after a bit of a tussle! Like RD, a number of parsings were subsequent to filling in the blanks, in particular 4/5d which seems to contain every construction in the book! A couple of clues come over a bit awkwardly to my reading, which probably means I’ve missed or misunderstood something. I’ll look forward to the review tidying that up for me. Favourites based on my tick marks were 16a, 25a and 6d, although I sometimes fail to properly appreciate good clues when the going gets tough, just being happy to get answers and unravel wordplay. I’ll take another look when the dust has settled.
    Thanks, Radler. At the **** or ***** end of the scale for me, but I really enjoy a proper toughie every now and then :smile:

  5. Finally come up for air having filled the grid but being far from certain of all the parsing. Think I need a break, or a good night’s sleep before getting back to it……….
    Ticks handed out to 15,16,24&25a – all understood and appreciated!

    Thanks to the fiend that is Radler and good luck to the reviewer – Prolixic?

  6. Devilishly tough but finally got a full grid after quite a battle. I think satisfying rather than pleasurable describes my thoughts on completion.
    Some fiendishly clever wordplay, not all of which I’ve sorted out. That’s the next stage!
    Best of the ones I totally understand are 16,21&25a along with 6,14&19d.
    Thanks Radler and to CS in advance.

  7. Really hard work for us and immensely to get it all sorted (apart from a few details of the parsing). Chuckles and guffaws all over the place.
    Thanks Radler.

  8. I’ve battled with this on & off throughout the day while watching sport. Resorted to strategic letter checker reveals after 20 answers & needed 5 of them to complete. Radler (like Elgar) is way above my pay grade really so don’t usually bother but glad I had a bash today. Haven’t a scooby how you parse the big long ‘un & a few others besides but my head hurts so will let CS explain it all.
    Thanks to Radler

  9. Many thanks for the review, CS, particularly for resolving my comment yesterday about 10a, where I had used the wrong synonym of “correct”, assuming it was AMEND not MEND.

    The excellent 4d/5d was certainly a tough nut to parse but I think you’ve left the THE out of your explanation, which needs to come before the two synonyms of 2d.

    1. Agreed, THE is part of the wordplay – but I do think just “the fat lady” as a single cryptic definition would have worked. Even so, a great clue which was fun to reverse engineer! Many thanks for review CS.

  10. Thanks for the review CS, if I’d been able to parse 23a it would have topped my podium.

  11. Many thanks for the review, CS, and yes I did rely on the enumeration and checkers to get the 4/5d combo. It takes a devious mind to come up with that one – Radler to a T!

    Thanks again to him for the challenge.

  12. Thanks for the review, CS, and explaining the nuance in 13a which I had missed. Your 1d is as I had it, but the ‘run (or even ran)’ part still feels uncomfortable – is there something else I have missed? Your 18d clue adds the word ‘role’ to the version I downloaded. I think the surface reading without ‘role’ is better as it also mis-leads.

    Thanks again, Radler, for the mental workout.

    1. There’s me thinking I’d checked all the clues carefully and spotted all the changes, and you found the word I’d missed!

      1. Mmm, I suspect you may have left it in to make sure we were paying attention… :wink:

  13. Thank you to CS and BD, and for everyone’s feedback in the comments.
    Several of those comments mentioned the long answer in 4,5.
    I began the process by thinking of long phrases, and realised that the one that would become 4,5 has 30 letters and, at least as importantly, there is a word boundary between the 15th and 16th letters making it suitable for two 15-letter lights. I placed these in the middle of the grid, so it wouldn’t provide exclusively first and last letters in the checkers. Spotted the fat + lady meanings as I wrote Marge into the grid. However, coming up with a definition for such phrases is often trickier than developing the wordplay. A risque clue in 2d added authenticity to the fiction created by the surface reading.

    1. Thanks for popping in, Radler, and for explaining how you set about constructing that 4/5 combo. I still maintain it takes a devious mind to come up with it in the first place but all kudos to you for achieving it!

Comments are closed.