NTSPP 667 – 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.

Radler has been very quiet for some time – his last NTSPP was back at the beginning of July. This one had, for me anyway, his usual level of difficulty, with quite a few definitions that weren’t necessarily the first thing you’d think of. There is a Nina at the top and bottom of the grid which relates to a theme connected to the solution of 20a


8a Follow Australian native meeting Ex (7)
EMULATE: An Australian native bird and ex in the sense of former, in the past

9a Serviceman or men gathered outside church (7)
MCENROE: Not a clergyman but a tennis player. An anagram (gathered) of OR MEN goes outside the abbreviation for the Church of England

10a Wasted time, scrap after fine (5)
TIGHT: Wasted as in inebriated – The abbreviation for Time and the letters remaining in a synonym for scrap after you have removed the abbreviation for fine

11a Grip speculator, what with? (9)
STAGEHAND: Stock exchange slang for a type of speculator, an interjection meaning what and the conjunction meaning with. This grip is the job title of someone who moves scenery

12a Gallery’s unfinished self-portrait (3)
TAT: A truncated (unfinished) art gallery reveals an informal name for a portrait painted on the body (self)

13a Representative maybe, slams doctored note (11)
ASSEMBLYMAN: An anagram (doctored) of MAYBE SLAMS followed by the abbreviation for note

14a Bit Ed twice withdrew (7)
SECEDED: An abbreviated period of time (bit) followed by two lots (twice) of ED (from the clue)

17a Speeder runs over champion roughly (7)
RACECAR: Two lots of the abbreviation for Run between which are inserted (over) a champion and the abbreviation meaning roughly, about

20a Like Anna and Nina (11)
PALINDROMIC: Both these names can be read forwards and backwards

23a 12’s exchange for fool (3)
TIT: There is an expression where you can exchange the solution for this clue with that for 12a

24a Again going to press on with one’s action in court (9)
REISSUING: The usual two-letter ‘on the subject of’, an abbreviated way of writing one’s, and an action in a court of law

25a Fatty fish, maybe not for Jack? (5)
SPRAT: The Jack with this surname in a nursery rhyme wouldn’t have eaten fatty fish

26a Separately overturn damaged water drain (7)
OUTWEAR: Separate OVER/TURN and then take the abbreviation for over, a type of turn and an anagram (damaged) of WATER

27a Once more as cockney queen ignoring instruction to be quiet (7)
EARLIER: How one might describe something more as a cockney queen without the P (ignoring the instruction to be quiet


1d Bit of push through VAT rises (6)
NUGGET: A verb meaning to push or urge on inserted into a large cask (vat) – the result then reversed to reveal a small bit of something (usually valuable)

2d Trade was moving in one direction (8)
EASTWARD: An anagram (moving) of TRADE WAS

3d What makes Chapter 5? Language of Irish Society (6)
VERSES: The Roman numeral for five, the Irish language and the abbreviation for Society

4d He can cure the dead (8)
EMBALMER: A cryptic definition of some who treats a body to preserve it

5d Vacate centre of grey ring (6)
REPEAL: The centre letters of gREy and a verb meaning to ring

6d Excited soldiers poison Mike (8)
ORGASMIC: The abbreviation for Ordinary Ranks of soldiers, a type of poison and an abbreviated microphone (mike)

7d Cul-de-sac mostly dull (6)
DEADEN: Most of a way one might describe a cul-de-sac

8d Properties of Pa and Me, perhaps Ma capitalised too! (7)
ESTATES: If you capitalized PA, ME and MA you’d have abbreviations for a certain area of North America

15d Satellite phone’s initially turned off (8)
CALLISTO: One of the outer moons of Jupiter (satellite) – A synonym for phone and the non-abbreviated version of ‘S, followed by the initial letters of Turned and Off

16d After London, song sounds stern (8)
DERRIERE: A homophone of the part of a well-known song that follows the word London

18d Arrogant Rick’s on river (8)
COCKSURE: A hay rick, S (‘s) and a river in North Yorkshire

19d Go off absolute peak muscle (7)
ROTATOR: A verb meaning to go off, the abbreviation for Absolute and a rocky hill (peak)

20d Stop becoming dopier when worried (6)
PERIOD: An anagram (when worried) of DOPIER

21d Unassertive localised leader of Egypt (6)
NASSER: Hidden (localized) in uNASSERtive

22d Oddly suppressed old envy, supporting weekly fast train (6)
: The even (oddly suppressed) letters of oLd EnVy supporting or going after in a Down solution, an abbreviated weekly publication

23d Redirected to hurry and track old criminal (6)
: A reversal (redirected) of an informal word meaning to hurry and a track made by a wheel

7 comments on “NTSPP 667

  1. Great stuff, as usual, from Radler – many thanks to him for the enjoyment.
    Prompted by 20a I did notice the Nina.
    I really liked 11a, 17a, 27a, 8d and the 12a/23a pair but my favourite was the excellent 16d.

    1. Still far to brain-fogged to deal with fiend Radler but I have managed a few and agree that 16d is superb!

  2. We saw who the setter was so knew we might be here for quite some time. That proved to be the case.
    An excellent challenge and very satisfying to slowly put all the pieces together.
    Thanks Radler.

  3. Finished with a few reveals and some unparsed answers. Above my paygrade, but useful to fill in time while Mrs C watches Strictly! I loved the serviceman of 9a, and of course the 16d song. Thanks Radler and in advance to whoever will blog.

  4. There was no way I could finish this (or even barely start it) in the midst of all the rugby yesterday, and it has taken a great deal of teasing-out and brain-racking to finally get over the line today. 20a together with the rows 1 & 15 Nina were very helpful in providing the first letters for 1d and 6d, although 1d had to wait a long time whilst I scratched my head over 23d. As CS noted, it provided lots of PDMs on mis-leading definitions, such as the brilliant 9a. My other ticked clues were 11a, 3d and 18d, however I might have ticked more if I hadn’t been so intent on just solving them!
    Many thanks to Radler and also to CS.

  5. Got there eventually but only courtesy of a few hints from our reviewer. Hadn’t previously come across the fast train but online descriptions of it were fascinating. 16d remained top of my leader board throughout the solve.

    Many thanks to the Radler fiend who beat me fair and square this time and also to CS for guiding me across the line.

  6. Well, this was a tough challenge but eventually one or two chinks of light and a wild guess at 20ac revealed what was going on – ‘Nina’ in the clue doesn’t read the same backwards – it’s the nina in top and bottom unches. So as I got one letter of the nina I could put the same one in the corresponding place for reading backwards, and so it came together and helped solving other clues. And I’ve just seen what it refers to – with the exception of 8dn and 19dn look at the lengths of the across and down answers respectively.
    Just one little niggle, by the way, in 12ac: according to Chambers the answer is a contraction of a different meaning of the longer word, although Collins does have it in the sense used here.
    Thanks, Radler, for the challenge, and CS for the explanations.

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