SP – 009 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

SP – 009

Special Puzzle – 009

by Twmbarlwm

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +


Today we have a bonus treat in the form of this Sunday Special Puzzle set by Twmbarlwm.  Click on the grid above to access the puzzle.

Our setter is more than happy to receive feedback, so your comments are welcomed.

If you would like to have a go at perhaps writing a review for the puzzle, feel free to contact me via crosswords@btinternet.com. [Now done]

Thanks to Twmbarlwm for the puzzle!


1 Bob is one dead boring friend in the City (10)
PALINDROME – The abbreviation for dead inside (boring) a three-letter word for a friend, the in from the clue and an Italian city.

8 Cold, pull on extremely elegant jumper (7)
CRICKET – The abbreviation for cold followed by a four-letter word meaning to pull or twist a muscle and the outer letters (extremely) of elegant.

9 Reportedly keen on Split (2,3)
IN TWO – A homophone (reportedly) of “in to” (keen on).

10 Alongside river, wonderful shrub (4)
ACER– To the left of (alongside) the abbreviation for river add a three-letter word meaning wonderful.

11 Suspect Morse tracks, arresting American woman (8)
ROSEMARY – An anagram (suspect) of MORSE followed by the abbreviation for railway (tracks) around (arresting) the single letter abbreviation for American.

13 Be relegated – after match, miserable (2,4)
GO DOWN – A two letter word meaning match or correspond with a four-letter word meaning miserable after it.

14 Mafia scorned? That requires bottle (6)
FIASCO – The answer is hidden (that requires) the first two words of the clue.

17 ‘Uptight‘ or Chic, ‘Le Freak’? (8)
CHOLERIC – An anagram (freak) of OR CHIC LE.

19 West of island, dump tent (4)
TIPI – To the right (West) of the abbreviation for island add a three-letter word for a rubbish dump.

21 Hastily repair hoist (3,2)
RUN UP – Double definition.

22 First in lift, finally rid of odd characters (7)
INITIAL – The IN from the clue followed by the even letters (rid of odd characters) of the third sand fourth words of the clue.

23 Preacher who’s condemned evil on stage, expressing love (10)
EVANGELIST – An anagram (condemned) of EVIL ON STATE after removing (expressing) the letter representing love or nothing.


2 With wraps I notice strong flavouring (7)
ANISEED – A three-letter word meaning with around (wraps) the I from the clue and a three-letter word meaning notice or spot.

3 Petite top missing – it’s black (4)
INKY – A five-letter word meaning small (used with a make of model cars) without the first letter (top missing).

4 Too much strong wine, journalist keeling over (2,4)
DE TROP – A four-letter word for fortified or strong wine and the abbreviation for editor (journalist) all reversed (keeling over).

5 What could be ‘virgin’ ignoring Romeo in musical, Grease (5,3)
OLIVE OIL – A musical based on a Charles Dickens book without (ignoring) the letter indicated by Romeo in the NATO phonetic alphabet followed by a three-letter word for grease.

6 Spear carrier’s outtake, perhaps (5)
EXTRA – Double definition.

7 Having more than one term in swimming pool, mainly (10)
POLYNOMIAL – An anagram (swimming) of POOL MAINLY.

8 Load back of Civic with a case of red – paid for with this? (6,4)
CHARGE CARD – A six-letter word meaning load followed by the back letter of civic, the A from the clue and the outer letters (case) of red.

12 Water in spate worried climber (5,3)
SWEET PEA – A three-letter word meaning water (in the toilet sense) inside a anagram (worried) of SPATE.

15 Stir and sip rum, rye and brandy, for example (7)
SPIRITS – An anagram (rum) of STIR SIP.

16 Rover, Mars spacecraft (6)
VIKING – Double definition.

18 Open University regularly knocked? Just a little bit (5)
OUNCE – The abbreviation for Open University followed by the even letters (regularly) of knocked.

20 Face learner backing up (4)
DIAL – The abbreviation for learner and a three-letter word meaning backing or assistance all reversed (up).

13 comments on “SP – 009

  1. A very pleasant puzzle giving us an unexpected treat – thanks Twmbarlwm.
    For my podium I’ve selected 4d, 5d and 8d.

  2. Thanks Twmbarlwm, a nice surprise. As a ‘special’ puzzle and with 13×13 grid, I thought there must be some theme … not found anything yet (other than the 5d / 12d pair, if both misspelt!)
    Favourites 17a, 23a & 7d (I must be in an anagrammy mood, but beyond that particularly liked the surface references, ‘expressing love’ and definition respectively), plus 14a a nice new definition for me to learn.
    Thanks again, and in advance to ??? for review

  3. Thanks Gazza and Fez, I’m glad you both enjoyed it.
    There’s no theme despite that coincidence – this was an old abandoned 15×15 that went wrong with the unches and that I reconstituted as a smaller puzzle. So it’s a bit of an inbetweenie (to quote The Goodies) that I hope is a reasonably quick solve for a hot day.
    Thank you to Tilsit for finding it a home.

  4. Thank you Twmbarlwm for what could have been a grauniad quiptic. New words for me at 7d & 19a.

  5. I have a bad tummy so am confined to the house today but this little gem cheered me up no end.
    Took me an embarrassingly long time to twig “Bob”, great clue. Also very much enjoyed 2,4&5d.
    Thanks Twmbarlwm

  6. Very nice quiptic, Twmbarlwm, for which many thanks. As with Stephen L, Bob held out and was my LOI, bar one. (3d had that honour – could NOT find the pseudonym for black with that K). Very nice clueing throughout, even for that tricky 7d (a crossword chestnut in the making?). Favourites included 8a, 22a, 2d, 12d and 15d. That’s an interesting hidden indicator in 14a. The pedant in me notes that there are many trees in the 10a genus: shrub? The only thing that jarred slightly for me was the positioning of the instruction in 17a which would, otherwise, have been a favourite. The surface is undeniably delightful and earns you full forgiveness. If the indicator is being used in a directive sense, I feel it sits more comfortably before the fodder. Probably a personal foible.

    Whether you intended it to end up being shared in this form or not, I’m glad it got the airing.

  7. Thank you Spindrift, Stephen (get well soon) and PostMark.
    PostMark @6, I take your point about it being a genus, but I’ve seen it clued as ‘tree’ or ‘shrub’ a few times and it seems fair to me. That clue was meant as a simple gimme so I wouldn’t be surprised if something similar is out there somewhere.
    As for 17a I meant freak as a verb, as in ‘go crazy’ – i.e. ‘or’ and ‘Chic’ and ‘Le’ go crazy. (I know some say it can only be freaks in that case as you have to treat the fodder as singular even if there’s more than one word, but Anax and Azed, just to mention two, disagree with that.) Despite that, I think it also works as an adjective where it is – I’m not sure how putting the indicator at the front could work anyway as ‘Le Freak’ has to be kept that way.

  8. I wonder when this one was originally compiled – it didn’t seem to have quite the savoir faire I’ve come to expect from this setter despite being quite an enjoyable solve. I would agree with our setter that 10a is a widely accepted name for the tree or shrub – very few of us can remember the precise Latin moniker of the example we may have in the garden!
    Thanks, Twmbarlwm, hope to see another of yours in the NTSPP slot ‘ere long.

    1. Thanks, Jane. Glad you found something to enjoy in it. It was a neglected oldish puzzle with a few clues later simplified in places.
      I do like the idea that I once had savoir-faire. I only wish I’d known about it at the time.

  9. Many thanks to Prolixic for the review, must remember to investigate the definitions of 14a which I have to admit was something of a guess based on the enumeration. Also, thanks again to Twmbarlwm for the ‘special’.

  10. This was the second puzzle published on Sunday which left me floundering at the very last hurdle. Thanks to Prolixic for the review and resolving 16d for me – although I am now kicking myself as the answer was indeed hiding in plain sight :roll:
    Thank you to Twmbarlwm for a bonus treat, although 13×13 turned out to be unlucky for me! We have three varieties of 10a in our front garden which are looking resplendent at this time and Mrs S’s 12d’s are providing delightful scent and colour around the house, however the pick of the bunch goes to 1a, 8a, 3d, 7d and 15d.

    1. Thank you, Spartacus. Glad you enjoyed it. It’s funny how the straightforward clues can often be the ones that stymie us in the end. Collins defines rover as a pirate without saying it’s archaic (which Chambers does), and Viking as ‘any sea rover … or pirate’, so the combination of the Mars rover remote-controlled vehicle and the 1976 Mars Viking mission was too good to ignore.

Comments are closed.