NTSPP – 389 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 389

NTSPP – 389

A Puzzle by Alchemi

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

While solving this puzzle I became aware that I was unable to correctly spell several of the “leaders” whose names can be found around the perimeter.  I also borrowed the repetition-detection radar from Silvanus and picked up the repeated used of missing as a subtraction indicator (2d and 7d).  As I was unfamilar with the way the radar operates, I may have missed something!


1a Saying unusual king’s replacing Luxembourg’s lost leader (4,3,3,3)
AUNG SAN SUU KYI: an anagram (lost) of SAYING UNUSUAL with K(ing) replacing the IVR code for Luxembourg

10a Allowed, say, everyone to cycle (5)
LEGAL: the Latin abbreviation for “say” and a word meaning everyone with the final letter “cycled” to the front

11a City cat wants gold-plated bowl (9)
MOGADISHU: a three-letter a colloquial word for a cat followed by the chemical symbol for gold around (plated) a bowl

12a Force out underworld freemasons (8)
DISLODGE: a three-letter word for the underworld followed by a group of freemasons

13a Make film straight (6)
DIRECT: two definitions

15a Fashions not all unassuming (5)
MODES: most of an adjective meaning unassuming

17a Tediously continued shabby river crossing (7,2)
DRAGGED ON: an adjective meaning shabby with a three-letter river outside (crossing)

18a Spilled barrel-load covered by stone barrier (9)
ROADBLOCK: an anagram (spilled) of B(arrel) LOAD inside (covered by) a large stone

20a Musician not starting band (5)
LAYER: All but the initial letter of (not starting) a word for a musician

21a Forcibly remove cheerful batsman (6)
UPROOT: a two-letter word meaning cheerful followed by the surname of England batsman Joe

22a Sang song unevenly and was irritating (8)
SNITCHED: to get “sang” in the sense of told tales, the odd letters (unevenly) of the second word in the clue are followed by a verb meaning was irritating

25a Flag displaying a certain male being structured differently (9)
ISOMERISM: a plant sometimes called the flag around (displaying) a word meaning “a certain” followed by M(ale)

26a Lassa fever dance (5)
SALSA: an anagram (fever) of LASSA

27a Leader has party by the sea when blue (6,2-5)
BASHAR AL-ASSAD: a four-letter a colloquial word for a party followed by an inland sea in central Asia and words meaning “when” and “blue”


2d Gets rid of priest missing eggs (5)
URGES: a verb meaning get rid of without (missing) the initial P(riest)

3d Old inhabitant of France, not hanging here (7)
GALLOWS: an old inhabitant of France, Asterix perhaps, without (not) the letter used to mean socially acceptable followed by the verb meaning imitates a cow (no, not moos!)

4d Equip old lecturer for battle (10)
ARMAGEDDON: a verb meaning to equip with a weapon followed by a, adjective meaning old and a university lecturer

5d Drop European herb (4)
SAGE: a verb meaning to drop followed by E(uropean)

I recently purchased a herb wheel from B&Q and filled it with herbs, including this one:

6d Cancelling defeat (7)
UNDOING: two definitions

7d Playing darts by eye, missing big opening in the past (9)
YESTERDAY: an anagram (playing) of DARTS BY EYE without (missing, again!) the initial letter (opening) of B[ig]

8d Leader very stupid to enter hideaway and submit (8,5)
VLADIMIR PUTIN: V(ery) followed by a three-letter adjective meaning stupid inside (to enter) a four-letter hideaway then finally a phrasal verb meaning to submit or enter

9d Newly-arrived Greek character impressed by earthy leader (6,7)
JUSTIN TRUDEAU: a phrasal adjective meaning newly-arrived followed by a letter (character) of the Greek alphabet around (impressed by) an adjective meaning earthy

14d Almanac I revised under pressure to include Kirkpatrick’s mule? (4,6)
PACK ANIMAL: an anagram (revised) of ALMANAC I preceded by (under in a down clue) P(ressure) and including K(irkpatrick) [from the catalogue of Domenico Scarlatti’s works]

16d Order her a radio to get runs (9)
DIARRHOEA: an anagram (order) of HER A RADIO gives a condition known colloquially as the runs

19d Injecting canine specimen with oxygen and drug at different times is cutting edge science (7)
BIOTECH: a female dog (canine specimen) with the chemical symbol for Oxygen and our usual drug inserted into (injecting) different places

20d Insect bites first of the small flowers (7)
LOTUSES: an insect around (biting) the initial letter (first) of T[he] and followed by S(mall)

23d Almost cut in two by advanced confectionery (5)
HALVA: most of a verb meaning to cut in two followed by A(dvanced)

24d One in a dock (4)
PIER: I (one) inside a three-letter word meaning a, as in tuppence a pound

Thanks to Alchemi for a slightly tricky but very enjoyable puzzle.

16 comments on “NTSPP – 389

  1. That was enjoyable with an interesting peripheral theme – thanks Alchemi. I ticked 11a, 22a, 4d and 24d. I didn’t know 25a and I discovered (not for the first time) that I can’t spell 16d.

  2. Firstly, may I congratulate anyone who managed to spell 1a correctly without looking it up! I also had to look up the definition of my answer to 25a and confirmation of what I thought was probably the answer to 23d.
    With apologies to my mentor, RD, the cricket one didn’t trip off the tongue, either!

    One or two bits of parsing that require further investigation but it turned out that I actually knew more than I thought I did – always a pleasant surprise.

    As usual, it wasn’t the most complex that appealed to me the most – 13&22a plus 4d made my leader board. 11a also deserves a mention as it reminded me of a certain Lord Mayor of London and his faithful companion.

    You certainly set yourself a challenge to clue some of the principals, Alchemi – well done indeed!

    1. Thanks. I’m particularly pleased that I only had to resort to an anagram for one of them, but I really can’t see any other alternative for 1a.

      1. I’m sure you could find one, Alchemi – although it might require an extremely long clue! Even then, I doubt that many of us could assemble the letters correctly.
        BTW – want to add 24d to my podium list – very neatly done.

        1. Even the most vehement of anagram disliker’s would forgive you that one Alchemi! (Especially as it was done so niftily).

  3. Thanks Alchemi; what a start at 1A – like Jane I had to check the spelling, but 16d was no problem.

    I guess there are two goodies and two baddies in your leaders.

    I liked 11a, 17a, 18a, 22a and 2d. 10a seems to me to need an anagrind somewhere, or perhaps I’m parsing it wrong.

  4. Thanks, Alchemi, but I’m afraid this is too hard for me. I have one of the leaders, and about a quarter, or maybe a third, of the rest, but I don’t think I can get any further.

  5. Many thanks alchemi, just got around to this today having been to john’s inquisitor meeting in Manchester yesterday. Not that I’ve ever done the inquisitor.

    Very enjoyable. Got the baddies first and thought they might all be, so surprised when I got 9d. 1a was my last (I was annoyed I couldn’t remember the name just from the enumeration)- next to last, actually, I needed it to get 2d finally. 2d, 16d, 3d and 22d all were pleasant (or maybe not quite so pleasant) surprises, very nicely done. I also liked 19d. And of course the leaders. All great fun, many thanks.

  6. Many thanks for the review, BD – all present and correct on the parsing front here although I’d have got there a great deal faster had I not stuck with ‘disgorge’ at 12a for a ridiculous length of time.

    Thanks again to Alchemi – most enjoyable.

  7. Utterly defeated by 1A. I had the Iris and M part of 25A but not the middle bit. I didn’t have 27A until I saw the picture in the blog and then that gave me 24D though I didn’t get the parsing. I don’t have many ticks, not because of lack of contenders but because I was so focused on unravelling the clues. I did rather like 11A, 8D and19D, with 11A coming out on top. thanks Alchemi, and thanks to BD for the review.

  8. Terrific puzzle Alchemi, much enjoyed, especially those leaders. I now realise how to spell the Burmese leader’s name – something I’d never particularly paid attention to before now, but the other tricksy spelling at 16d has a useful mnemonic : Dash In A Rush, Run Home Or Else Accident.

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