NTSPP 731 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View comments 


A Puzzle by Radler

+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Radler always likes to stretch our cryptic grey matter and this week's NTSPP was no exception


1a    21, 20 (16 from 12) he orchestrated havoc abroad with hot kiss (12)
SHOSTAKOVICH An anagram (abroad) of HAVOC with HOT KISS  The solutions to the clues listed are all songs from the musical in 12d orchestrated by this composer

9a    The first Frenchman and woman (5)
IRENE The first person and a Frenchman's name

10a    It sharpens feeble-sounding soprano sound quality (9)
WHETSTONE A homophone (sounding) of something feeble, the abbreviation for Soprano and a sound quality

11a    Sails on board ship chasing crank smuggling illegal fur (9)
WINDSURFS An abbreviated ship 'chasing' or going after a verb meaning to crank, an anagram (illegal) of FUR being inserted (smuggling)

13a    Lying about parent, blotted out pest in bed (5)
APHID A reversal of a father (parent) and blotted out or concealed

14a    Half-pint pub cut stocks (6)
MINNOW A verb meaning to cut (grass) 'stocks' a pub

15a    Burlesque garment dispels element of restraint (4)
SKIT A garment without the first 'element' or letter of Restraint

17,19 Royal name for trainee to shade from exposure (6)
SUNTAN Take a Muslim ruler and replace the L (trainee) with an N (name)

20a    Run from left to right (4)
TROT A reversal of TO (from the clue) and the abbreviation for right

21a    Is it about holding a strike? (6)
TAHITI A sneaky use of the abbreviation for island – a reversal (about) of IT holding A (from the clue) and a verb meaning to strike

24a    9 wanting lead with overhaul (5)
RENEW The solution to 9a without its 'lead' followed by the abbreviation for With

26a    Most costly mess, not the first to follow     Tory minister (9)
DEACONESS Almost all of a synonym for costly, and mESS from the clue without its first letter, the latter following an abbreviated Tory

27a    Put under bar when ex avoided ambush (9)
INTERCEPT Put under the ground and a synonym for bar or exclude without the EX

28a    Complete set covering a time for reflection (5)
TOTAL A set of something covering A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for Time, all reversed (for reflection)

30a    Male driver questions turning on stereo (12)
TESTOSTERONE A set of questions and an anagram (turning) of ON STEREO


1,29 This light to get it to simmer (6)
SEETHE A phrase meaning to get something,  the third word of which is light

2d    Go too far, get lost in plain (9)
OVERSHOOT An informal way of saying get lost inserted into a synonym of plain

3d    Death, war and terror together bears witness to defeat (6)
THWART Hidden in (bears witness to) deaTH WAR and Terror

4d    Reminder to look up fermented drink (8)
KEEPSAKE A reversal (up) of a verb meaning to look followed by a type of fermented drink

5d    Victor from Spain: this striker (5)
VESTA The letter represented by Victor in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet followed by the Spanish word for this

6d    Transform loneliest hotel clubs into somewhere to hang out (11)
CLOTHESLINE An anagram (transform into) of LONLIEST H (hotel) C (clubs)

7d    Rug, wife and mother lifted round home (6)
WIGWAM A hair covering (rug), the abbreviation for wife and a reversal (lifted) of a mother

8d    Joining band put on to bolster perfect rating? (6)
TENDON A verb meaning to put on goes under (to bolster) a number considered to be a perfect score

12d    Musical clown ultimately on, performing a web recital (2,2,7)
NO NO NANETTE The ultimate letter of clown, ON (from the clue), a synonym for performing and a homophone (recital) of another name for the Web

16d    Charge divided by inverse of prime number (3,3,3)
TEA FOR TWO A charge 'divided' by a reversal (inverse) of OF, the result followed by a prime number

18d    My sentimentality ends in trouble closer to chaos (8)
GOODNESS A slang term for sentimentality, an anagram (in trouble) of ENDS and the letter that 'closes' chaoS

19d    Stifling temperature unpleasant, but not hot (6)
TORRID The abbreviation for Temperature and a synonym for unpleasant without the abbreviation for Hot

22d    Without help? Here's one of Santa's helpers! (6)
ITSELF Split 3,3 this could be used to introduce one of Santa's helpers

23d    Keep the peace we're told (6)
CASTLE A homophone (we're told) of peace is a term for part of a chess set, the solution being a name used by some people,  but definitely not Rabbit Dave!

25d    Best women, immoral sort (5)
WORST The abbreviation for Women and an anagram (immoral) of SORT

20 comments on “NTSPP 731
Leave your own comment 

  1. Another top-notch puzzle from the devious Radler – many thanks to him for the enjoyment.
    I don’t suppose I’ll be the only one to think of RD when solving 23d.
    Top clues for me were 21a (my last answer which held me up trying to find the definition until the penny dropped), 30a, 8d and 16d.

    1. On the topic of NTSPPs, I came across your NTSPP-235 (Aug, 2014) this week. What a treat! Lots of enjoyable clues, but my stand-out favourite was: “Hunted Irish cleric who’s had a change of faith? (8)” – best PDM ever, perhaps! I’m happy to say that I still have 16 of your puzzles to look forward to as I go back through the archive :smile:

  2. I expect a Radler puzzle to be an enjoyable challenge, and that was certainly the case here, apart from the awful 23d (about which the less said the better).

    Neither I nor any of my five grandchildren have heard of the obscure clown in 12d and isn’t “lying” in 13a surface padding? I can see why all the numbers have been added to the clue for 1a but I did find them a bit off-putting during the solve.

    There were a lot of devious definitions on show with PDMs aplenty, and after due consideration my top picks were 20a, 30a & 1d/29d.

    Many thanks to Radler for the very enjoyable brain work-out and in advance to CS.

    1. I don’t think the clown in 12d is a real person. The word clown is there to supply its ultimate letter to start the answer.

      1. Oh, dear. Thanks, Gazza.

        It just goes to show how Radler can scramble the brain! Google found me Nono The Clown, a US Children’s TV program(me!) from 1968, and my (very wrong) parsing was NONO (o)N A plus a homophone of WEB with “performing” as padding. Very sorry, Radler!

  3. Just managed to deny the Radler fiend the pleasure of beating me although my last two – 20a & 18d, almost reduced me to tears. Thought 1a was going to be a stumbling block but a couple of very useful checkers allowed me to make a semi-guess and then reverse parse.
    So many glorious penny drop moments along the way and my final line-up is 30a plus 1/29 and 22d although I did want the first of those to be something along the lines of not asking for directions! I felt RD’s pain over 23d and doubt that ‘we’re told’ gets our setter off that particular hook.

    Many thanks, Radler, a real brain-stretcher.

  4. Gosh but that was tough! I’ve got a correct grid but I’m looking forward to reading CS’s review to understand some of my answers. Very satisfying to complete though until completion I’d no idea what was going on with 1a other than it was a straightforward anagram. I guess had I heard of the musical and/or the 16d/20a/21a combination it would all have made more sense and been a faster solve.

    Some great and devious clues, though I do dislike the constructions that are seen in 1/29d and 17/19a.

    COTD for me to 26a with 30a a close runner-up.

    Many thanks to Radler and, in advance, to Sue

  5. Had a good look at this earlier and didn’t get very far. Revealed some letters and answers and had started to wonder if the clues matched the grid! Having read the comments I can now parse some of them but this is way way above my pay grade. Much like last week.

    Can we not have some NTSPP puzzles that are doable for us mere mortals? Something akin to backpager level please, even once in a while? It’s becoming easier not to even bother looking, sadly.

    1. I do agree AgentB that was tough. Like last week’s – way beyond my solving skills. However I guess it’s up to the compiler as to which audience they wish to attract. As I understand it that’s how this NTSPP works!

      1. Yeah, I do get that Jeemz. It’s just a shame because there are a scant handful of commenters each Saturday. I’m not the only one who feels this slot “isn’t for the likes of me”. There’s an outcry if backpagers are too tough, likewise rookies are told to be “gentler to the solver next time”. As a puzzle subject to editorial oversight, it seems like a bit of a waste of a great idea if the puzzles are only solvable by four or five experienced regulars.

  6. This was clearly well above my pay grade too – even from the outset. I need to learn when to give up!

    I did solve ( but perhaps not parse) maybe 60% then used the reveal button to limp through to the end. I’d wd have liked to say ‘ used the reveal button to illuminate….” but wouldn’t be true.

    I agree with AgentB.

    Maybe CrypticSue’s hints will elucidate (for which thanks in advance).

  7. I finally completed this puzzle but I was left with a lot of ?s as to the parsing. Just one query, if 8d is TENDON then 17/19 must be SUNTAN or have I got myself into a bit of buggeration? Thanks radler & to CS for her explanations.

  8. A most enjoyable head-scratcher from Radler. Having made a start on the right of the grid I got 1a quite quickly from the last two checkers, but it took an age to understand the numerical bits at the front of the clue. The “(16 from 12)” was a help to fill in 16d, but it took me another age and a PDM to spot the definition word and unscramble the wordplay! As for the “21, 20”, I had never heard of it but eventually tracked it down with e-help. Like RD I also discovered the very obscure Nono the clown before realising where the first ‘N’ came from in 12d. I have read 20a dozens of times and can’t justify the reversal of “to right”; if it was “Run going left to right” (i.e. Run = going left: to right) I would be happier. What have I missed…?!
    I selected 6 favourites from a host of candidates: 26a, 30a, 2d, 6d, 8d & 18d.
    Thank you, Radler, and my thanks to CS for her review. The 6d illustration looks like our washing line did a couple of weeks ago – the same winds that had earlier brought down a fence post and torn roof sheeting from a covered area…

  9. Thank you to Crypticsue for the review and to others for their comments.
    Spartacus – you’re right. It’s my mistake. In fact, I see from my notes when I was working on the clues I’d used “going” as you suggest, but then wrote “from” when creating the documents to submit. After that it was like “egg yoke is white”, I didn’t see the obvious.

  10. Looks like we forgot to press the ‘send’ button when we commented yesterday. We did enjoy this challenging puzzle as we know we always will from this setter.
    Thanks Radler and CS.

Join the Conversation, Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.