NTSPP 647 – 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.

As Radler crosswords go, I thought this was quite a tricky one!  There’s a mini theme too (see 22a/26a/27a)


1a    Dramatic work rocks those in control (9)
OPERATORS A musical dramatic work and some rocky heights

6a    Addict wanting medicine returned (5)
DEMON A reversal (returned) of a way of saying you were in need of medicine

9a    A large number subtracted from lower number (5)
ETHER The abbreviation for number taken away from an adjective meaning lower – number here referring to something diminishing pain

10a    Put off Spooner’s duke given promotion (9)
SPONSORED An anagram (put off) of SPOONERS followed by the abbreviation for Duke

11a    State guards check device (7)
MACHINE An American State ‘guards’ or goes round the chess abbreviation for check

13a    Departure steps (6)
FLIGHT The act of departure or a set of stairs (steps)

15a    Spent Sabbath meeting one providing bowler with education (9)
SHATTERED The abbreviation for Sabbath ‘meeting’ a person providing a bowler or other head covering, followed by the abbreviation for education

18a    German while in Japan? (5)
GLAZE Japan here referring to a type of varnish or lacquer – The abbreviation for German and a verb meaning to pass time in a leisurely manner

19a    Unqualified German violinist lacks money (5)
UTTER The surname of the German violinist Anne Sophie XXXXXX without the M (lacks Money)

20a    Pull up before opening cold wine (9)
CASTIGATE The abbreviation for Cold and a type of sparkling wine go in front of (before) an opening

21a    Sweet booze cask emptied for Pop, who cleared the drink first (6)
ALCOCK A type of sweet alcoholic drink where the letters POP are replaced with the outside (emptied) letters of CasK produce the surname of one of the pilots who first crossed the Atlantic (cleared the ‘drink’ first).   The other one is elsewhere in the grid

23a    OT tribesman and promiscuous pair he married (7)
EPHRAIM An anagram (promiscuous) of PAIR HE followed by the abbreviation for Married

26a    Current almost reaching beach and … (9)
AMPERSAND Almost all of the SI Unit of electric current, followed by a type of beach

27a    … as bathers turn, arch and point … (5)
BROWN These particular bathers would be sitting in the sun – an arch found on your face and a compass point

28a    … left to land in lake and thread … (5)
LISLE A type of cotton yarn – the abbreviation for Left and a piece of land found in a lake

29a    … of condensation at bank concealing coastal feature (9)
TIDEWATER A bank ‘concealing’ some condensation and AT (from the clue)


1d    Look, no clothes! Rues unseemly trousers drop. Sounds naughty! (4,6)
OOER MISSUS The inside (no clothes) letter of lOOk and an anagram (unseemly) of RUES Into which is inserted (trousers) a synonym for drop

2d    Husband and I divorcing and others being moral (5)
ETHIC The abbreviation for Husband and I (from the clue) divorcing or separating ETC (and others)

3,25     Post one left, he said (7)
AIRMAIL Homophones (said) of a person left something in a will and a MALE (he)

4d    Harry bit escort dealing with delivery (9)
OBSTETRIC The delivery being babies! An anagram (harry) of BIT ESCORT

5d    Quickly put away object of derision (5)
SCOFF To eat quickly or, as the BRB says, an object of derision

6d    Notice put out to make ex-wife insult (11)
DISTINGUISH Take a verb meaning to put out and replace the EX (ex-wife) with a street slang term meaning to insult

7d    It could make a human high, inhaling dodgy air (9)
MARIHUANA An anagram (make high) of A HUMAN ‘inhaling’ an anagram (dodgy) of AIR

8d    For the most part underdressed? (4)
NUDE An anagram (dressed) of most of UNDEr

12d    It‘s put under route (11)
INTERCOURSE A verb meaning to bury (put under) and a route

14d    He decides to discourage possible gold digger (10)
DETERMINER A verb meaning to discourage and a gold digger

16d    Escape wearing workers’ jumpers (9)
ANTELOPES A verb meaning to escape put inside (wearing) some of crosswordland’s regular workers

17d    Dropped section target limiting Carbon, breaks record (9)
DESCENDED The abbreviation for Section and a target inserted into (breaks) a record

22d    Wrapping up box with paper (5)
KRAFT A type of strong brown wrapping paper – a reversal (up) of a box or chest followed by the abbreviated way we refer to the ‘pink’ newspaper

24d    Upwards force splits many things (5)
ALOFT The abbreviation for Force ‘splits’ a way of saying many things

25d     see 3

27d    Bob called branch and caught boyfriend Rod on the fiddle (3)
BOW A homophone (called) of a branch of a tree and another (caught) of a boyfriend)


12 comments on “NTSPP 647

  1. You know what you’re going to get with Radler – a lot of deviousness and an enjoyable struggle. I really enjoyed this – thanks to Radler.
    I have too many ticks to list them all – I’ll just highlight 18a, 21a, 1d and 12d.
    27d reminded me of our latest Rookie Corner puzzle.

    [There are typos in 6a and 16d – I tried to find jumber in the BRB!].

  2. Thanks Radler, I have the theme pair and several related words but not familiar enough with it to know if I have appreciated it all. Lots to enjoy and some very clever clues, though have to admit I found it a bit of a struggle in places – eg the violinist, Japan reference and wrapping all needed electronic help. The ex-wife jarred a little too! 1d v funny, but overall favourite has to be 12d. Thanks again, and in advance to CS(?) for review.

    1. I wish I could remember to look for a theme – now that you’ve mentioned it I can see it. I presume that 26a joins the main pair (in the crossword as well as in the way they’re referred to).

  3. Finally got there despite a couple holding out on me for the longest time. I’m sure we’ve come across the ‘wrapping’ previously but it had obviously been cleared from my memory banks along with the sweet drink.
    Nice theme from the fiend and several related answers although I wouldn’t like to have to specify exactly how many.
    I shall now retire 13a’d!

    Thanks to Radler for another frustrating but enjoyable puzzle.

    1. “I shall now retire 13a’d!” – ah, so that explains the choice of avatar… :wink:

      1. Not exactly, Spartacus, I meant to type 15a’d! Apologies – although Radler often leaves me wanting to take 13a……..

  4. Wow, this was hard! Having finished an Elgar yesterday, I approached this with a degree of confidence. Favourite was 4D if only because it was the only answer I managed to solve!! Way beyond my capability, I’m afraid.

  5. I should perhaps know better than to sit in glorious afternoon sunshine with a Radler puzzle and not use sunscreen – fortunately I have survived to tell the tale without getting burnt to a crisp. Having slowly worked my way through most of the grid, 21, 22 and 18 then held me up until the penny dropped with the 21/26/27a combo – these three becoming my clues of the day. 21 helped me crack the wordplay for 22 and my LOI was 18, both of them requiring dictionary confirmation. Other favourites were 10a (nicely misleading), 20a, 1d, 3/25d and 27d (nice!). I note that the 21/26/27a theme is echoed elsewhere in the grid, but I doubt I have spotted them all…
    Thank you, Radler, for a most enjoyable and very satisfying challenge!

  6. My thanks to Tilsit, Prolixic and Crypticsue, and the very best of wishes to BD for his recovery.

    I didn’t set out to include a theme in this puzzle. During the grid fill having entered Alcock, I thought, why not include Brown in the 5-letter slot on the line below and then realised Ampersand would fit in a solution between them. It was only at this late stage that I added a small number of flight-related answers.
    However, my inclusion of Alcock was deliberate. John Alcock was a cousin of my grandfather. (And in a few photographs, I can even see a facial resemblance to my father as a young man.)

  7. Many thanks for the review, CS, nice to get confirmation that I’d eventually pieced everything together correctly. Couldn’t help but feel that this might have been better suited to the MPP slot?
    Thanks again to the fiend for the battle!

  8. I found this quite tough – got three tentative answers on my first pass. Things improved after that but i did need some help, and several answers went in unparsed. 26ac and 4dn were my favourites. Thanks, Radler and CS – and tilsit for keeping things going.

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