NTSPP 708 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View comments 


GTC by Radler

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

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Radler has set some extremely difficult crosswords in his time but were there a competition for the most difficult crossword, this one would definitely be a medal winner.  As I have other things to do in addition to crossword blog writing,  I ended up revealing letters to finish and my brow was greatly furrowed by the time I'd finished parsing all the clues


9a 10 22A House two from Rome bedding local bird (3,6)
HOI POLLOI: The abbreviation for house, the Roman numerals for two into which is inserted (bedding) the word people in Rome would use for a chicken

10a Latest in ping pong balls (5)
GREEK: The last letter in pinG and a smell (pong) – balls being an interjection meaning nonsense, the solution being used in a phrase "it's all XXXXX to me"

11a 10 21 formed when shamed by earthiness (5)
MEDEA: An example of a 10 21 – hidden in shaMED by EArthiness

12a Provocative novel: Isobelle Carmody's first (9)
BELLICOSE: An anagram (novel) of ISOBELLE and the first letter of Carmody

13a See 25 Down (7)

14a Goes back, needing means to reduce pressure (7)
DEPARTS: A reversal of part of a verb meaning needing means without one of the abbreviations for Pressure

17a Bulb lit a second time after current interrupted (5)
ONION: Two lots of a synonym for lit or working into which is inserted the symbol for Electrical Current

19a Regularly travel along The Strand? (3)
PLY: Regularly travel a route or a strand

20a Both instalments in hardback (5)
STERN: The solution could define both parts of the last word of the clue

21a Go over old unhappiness (7)
TRAGEDY: A verb meaning to go into which is inserted (over) a synonym for old

22a Often met Society members here (7)
COMMONS: Something that is often met and the abbreviation for Society

24a Sports venue where stars are observed (9)
ASTRODOME: A sports venue or somewhere where stars are observed

26a Feeling sorry for cripple, early sign of goodwill (5)
RUING: A verb meaning to cripple and the first letter (early sign) of Goodwill

28a Start to finish, beliefs that multiply? (5)
THOSE: Move the letter at the start of some beliefs to the end of the word

29a See 7 Down (9)


1d Gull tailed salmon (4)
CHUM: Remove the last letter (tailed) of a dupe or fool (gull)

2d American chasing after Indians (6)
HINDUS: An abbreviation for American following (chasing) a synonym for the part behind (after)

3d Changing relationship blessed once vicar accepts answer (10)
COVARIANCE: An anagram (blessed) of ONCE VICAR into which is inserted (accepts) the abbreviation for Answer

4d Bad tempered woman's ex given poke? (3,3)
OLD BAG: What something is when it is 'ex' and the meaning of the dialect word 'poke'

5d Great time not in time (5,3)
FIELD DAY: A time when a cricket team is not batting

6d Fruit pudding again and flan with seconds (4)
UGLI: The second letters of pUdding aGain fLan wIth

7d & 29A. Elected superior worked on a 21 of the 22A (8)
RESOURCE DEPLETION: An anagram (worked) of ELECTED SUPERIOR followed by ON (from the clue)

8d Upper limit quoted. it's more than an inch (4)
SKYE: An inch is a very small island; the solution is a bigger one obtained from a homophone (quoted) of something described as the upper limit

13d Frequently off-course, missing new driver Jack? (5)
FROST: A two-letter abbreviation for frequently and a synonym for off-course without the letter associated with a new driver

15d Station heads cocked up Underground, suspicion of manager's debrief (10)
POSTMORTEM: A station or position and a reversal (cocked up) of a type of underground railway and the first letter (suspicion) of Manager

16d Suspect circles occupying airspace (5)
SINUS: A slang word meaning suspect goes round (circles) an adverb meaning occupying

18d Battling unemployment (8)
INACTION: Split the solution 2,6 and you may well be battling

19d Burdens settle well (8)
PAYLOADS: A verb meaning to settle (a debt) and a synonym for well or in abundance

22d Unsettling howl, nursing slash on its head (6)
CREEPY: A verb meaning to howl 'nursing' a reversal (on its head) of an informal verb meaning to urinate (slash)

23d Cause to return benefit payment: at work (6)
ORIGIN: A reversal (to return) of a benefit payment inserted into a way saying at work

24d & 27D. 10 21 opponent departed (4)
ANTIGONE: A 10 21 which I studied for French A-Level (the play by Jean Anouilh based on the 10 21) – an opponent and a synonym for departed

25d & 13A. Forgiven his sins for a 21 of the 22A (11)
OVERFISHING: An anagram (sins) of FORGIVEN HIS.   21 of the 22a is defined as the Tragedy  an economic and environmental science problem where individuals have access to a shared resource and act in their own interest, at the expense of other individuals. This can result in overconsumption, underinvestment, and 29a  of 7d

27d See 24 Down

8 comments on “NTSPP 708
Leave your own comment 

  1. Crikey. I usually enjoy battling with a Radler puzzle but I have to admit that I found this a bit of a slog due to the number of cross-references in the clues. Radler is as devious as ever – many thanks to him for the challenge.
    I needed to reveal one letter to complete the grid and I still don’t understand the wordplay of 15d or how the definitions of 7/29 and 25/13a work (it seemed to me that the definition of 25/13a should be 7/29 rather than what it is). I have no idea what the title means either – I look forward to CS’s explanations.
    I liked 9a, 14a, 20a, 4d, 13d and 16d.

    1. Respect, Gazza. I am really struggling with this one but I can help you with 15d which is one of the very few entries I have managed so far!

      A synonym for “station” is followed by (“heads”) a reversal (“cocked up”) of a type of “Underground” railway and the first letter (“suspicion”) of “manager”.

      1. Thanks, RD. I had the right answer but unaccountably I’d written it totally incorrectly on my piece of paper. No wonder I couldn’t see the railway!

  2. I surrender! I have been well and truly beaten with just under half the grid filled in not all of which I been able to parse satisfactorily.

    Thanks for the brain-ache, Radler, and thanks in advance to CS whose review I will await for enlightenment.

  3. When tidying the crossword folders on my laptop, I came across this puzzle that I’d written nearly ten years ago. I was going to discard it, but it has some clues that I still like and I became curious as to whether my setting style had changed since then. The title incidentally, was unintended. It’s been applied from the filename I used.
    You may be relieved to learn that I don’t have any other “old” unpublished puzzles.

  4. Thanks again to Radler and thanks to CS for the write-up, especially for explaining the ’21a of the 22a’, a phrase I’d never heard of.

  5. Just as well that I gave up when I did – I wasn’t within a million miles of getting some of the answers! Well done indeed to CS for battling through to bring us the answers. I can’t help thinking that BD would probably have consigned this to his circular file.

    Sorry, Radler, that was possibly something of a bridge too far for most of us.

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.