NTSPP 684 – 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 difficult crossword from Radler – there’s a boxing theme in many of the clues


1a    Grasping drunk given punch (11)
TIGHTFISTED A synonym for drunk and part of a verb meaning given punch

7a    Box? Not an entire match (3)
SET Another word for a television (box) or part of a tennis match

9a    Rocky won, Stallone hit defensively (9)
STONEWALL An anagram (rocky) of W (won) STALLONE

10a    Henry’s getting in Inoue’s drink to settle differences (5)
SHAKE The symbol for the SI Unit of Inductance (Henry) inserted into something a Japanese boxer like Inoue might drink

11a    Changes withdrawn limiting right to march (6)
STRIDE A reversal (withdrawn) of some changes (to a book or newspaper perhaps) ‘limiting’ the abbreviation for right

12a    Castrated German relieved by cut Chinese force provided (7)
YIELDED Take a synonym for castrated and replace the abbreviation for German with the first two letters of a three-letter Chinese force

14a    Old ruler lines taken out brought back anxiety (6)
NERVES The regnal cipher of Queen Victoria (old ruler) inserted into a way of saying taken out, the result then reversed (brought back)

15a    Fury boxing on, fighting for trophy? (8)
IRONWARE Some anger (fury) going round (boxing) ON (from the clue) and some fighting

18a    Company logo clipped onto unopened facilities (8)
ENSEMBLE A truncated logo followed by some facilities without their first letter (unopened)

20a    Past time of bitterness, Radler prudent in conversation (3,3)
ICE AGE How Radler might refer to himself and a homophone (in conversation) of a synonym for prudent [sage]

23a    Oldest daughter recollected walks as child (7)
TODDLES An anagram (recollected) of OLDEST D (daughter)

25a    Without answer, lacking detail (6)
ABROAD The abbreviation for answer and an adjective meaning without detail

27a    Essentially knackered: totally wiped out and ultimately toast (5)
KAPUT The essential letters of knacKered totAlly wiPed oUt and the ultimate letter of toasT

28a    Mike Tyson lie about serious stuff (9)
SOLEMNITY An anagram (about) of M (Mike in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet) and TYSON LIE

29a    Whatever’s close to shop (3)
RAT The ‘close’ of whatever and an adjective meaning to

30a    Cast in roles may revise these (6,5)
ACTORS LINES An anagram (may revise) of CAST IN ROLES


1d    Labour character facing Tory demand (4)
TASK The letter facing (at the front of) Tory and a verb meaning to demand

2d    Favours building to grounds (4,5)
GOOD TURNS An anagram (building) of TO GROUNDS

3d    Such man admitted to lifting skirt over madame’s backside (3,4)
THE LIKE The masculine form of the third person pronoun (man) inserted into a reversal (lifting) of a skirt usually worn by a Scotsman, the result followed by the letter at the back of madame

4d    Promptly employed by China’s economy (2,1,3)
IN A SEC Hidden in (employed by) chINA S EConomy

5d    Where men fought on horse and cart, it’s tipped to entertain officer (8)
TILTYARD An abbreviated military officer inserted into a reversal (tipped) of a type of cart and IT (from the clue)

6d    Detectives held up by laboratory notice (7)
DISCERN Some abbreviated detectives on top of (held up by in a Down solution) a well-known laboratory

7d    What winds pedant up, stops aforementioned becoming boring (5)
STAID The final letter (what winds … up) of pedant followed by a synonym for aforementioned

8d    Fat brother and skinny guy managed to garner support (10)
TWEEDLEDEE An informal term for a skinny guy and a verb meaning managed inserted into a support used by golfers

13d    Clay boxer (10)
UNDERTAKER A cryptic definition of someone who’d lay some to rest in a box under some clay

16d    Birmingham resident say, after European friend in bar (9)
ALABAMIAN Not a resident of the West Midlands – A preposition meaning in the manner of (after) and a European word for a friend inserted into a verb meaning to bar

17d    Ends etc, not altogether near each other (5-3)
CLOSE SET A synonym for ends and almost all of ETc

19d    Force = Mass.Acceleration (comprising one literally by another) (7)
MILITIA The abbreviations for Mass and Acceleration go round I (one), an abbreviation meaning literally, and another I (one)

21d    Sugar Ray’s non-stop punching landed on left (7)
CARAMEL The first two (non-stop) letters of Ray inserted into part of a verb meaning landed, followed by (on) the abbreviation for Left

22d    Cut back wrapper from order (6)
TAILOR A synonym for back or end and the outside (wrapper) letters from OrdeR

24d    Remove cannabis from warehouse? (5)
DEPOT with a hyphen (2-3) this might mean remove cannabis

26d    Colours parts as told (4)
DYES A homophone (as told) of parts or stops living

13 comments on “NTSPP 684

  1. Radler doesn’t provide many gimmes so each clue needs to be worked through carefully. I did enjoy the process a lot – thanks to him.
    I don’t know the old ruler in 14a but I think I understand everything else.
    Loads of clues to like – I’ll mention 15a, 3d and 16d but my favourite has to be 2d.

  2. Radler wins again!

    It took me a very long time to get started and not much progress after that. Thankfully, the referee stepped in to declare a technical knockout!

    ps I had already thrown in the towel.

  3. Yes, Radler wins again!

    I found this really tough and only got home by a combination of sheer stop-start bloody-mindedness and a few reveals. I wasn’t helped at the outset when the first clue my eyes alit on was 26d and I confidently wrote in “hues”. This fits the definition and wordplay perfectly – even after having had the thought that 28a would then need to be a rather unusual word.

    I am mystified by the definition for 15a as neither Chambers nor Collins has anything to suggest it can mean “trophy”. Also the pedant in me (to use the words in 7d) was (only very slightly) wound up by 19d. Strictly speaking, if you want to use a dot as a multiplication symbol it should be placed in the middle of the line and not on the baseline like a decimal point.

    There was a lot of clever and devious clueing in evidence, and my top picks were 30a, 3d, 16d & 24d.

    Many thanks to Radler and in advance to CS. Now I need to go and lie down.

  4. Thanks Radler, very tough and very satisfying to complete – and eventually got everything parsed. Just missing 5d where the check button doesn’t agree with my answer (which parses, and I’m sure must be right; by the way Chambers has it split 4,4 – Wikipedia confirms the enumeration 8 though) in the 4th letter – Is there a mistake, or am I missing something? Thanks again, and in advance for review!

    1. You’re right about the fourth letter of 5d. I must have mistyped it when I copied the puzzle into the software

  5. No contest this time – the Radler fiend wins hands down! I did eventually crawl across the finish line but only via a couple of reveals and several doubts on the parsing side.
    There were quite a few answers I felt were worthy of podium places – 1,11,12&18a plus 8&17d all made me smile.

    Thanks to Radler for the substantial challenge – I have the feeling that the recovery room is going to be well populated this evening!

  6. A long slow challenge for us with several interruptions along the way.
    Eventually beaten by a couple in the NE quadrant. Really clever wordplay throughout and much appreciated.
    Thanks Radler.

  7. Thanks again to Radler and thanks to CS for the review.
    I hadn’t realised 2d was an anagram (d’oh). I solved it by splitting ‘grounds’ into G (good) and rounds (turns).

  8. Many thanks for the review, CS, particularly for the parsing of 14a – I was convinced that I needed to take either LL or RY out of an old ruler!
    Thanks again to the Radler fiend for the serious challenge.

  9. My thanks to Sue, to Mr K, and to all who had a go at the puzzle.
    @ Gazza – an interesting idea for 2d, though for once I wasn’t being that devious. Maybe I’ll use a similar device one day.
    @ RD – I don’t think “parts” quite defines “hews” precisely enough for me, but had I spotted the closeness, I’d certainly have clued that one differently

  10. Finally finished, with, like RD, a couple of reveals and a long time getting nowhere in the SE with Hues instead of Dyes. Really dislike boxing, an appalling activity, so it took discipline to stick with the puzzle regardless!

    Very clever construction and while devilishly difficult and occasionally somewhat left field, fair throughout.

    Thank you for the battle Radler, and thanks also to CS.

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