NTSPP – 016 Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 016 Review

NTSPP – 016 Review

A Puzzle by Bufo

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BD Rating – Difficulty **/***Enjoyment ****

Morning All!

During the recent Cruciverbalist’s Convention at the White Horse, Parson’s Green, as well as agreeing to “blog the Thursday Toughie”, Bufo also generously volunteered to throw in a puzzle for the NTSPP series.  And here it is. It is not especially difficult and I plumped for 2.5 stars as there are a smattering of unusual words and some wordplay that is not immediately obvious.

Nevertheless, this should appeal to all solving abilities and is highly recommended.


1a Crazy people use cocaine first and marijuana second (9)
{CRACKPOTS} – A charade of slang terms for the two drugs here, followed by S(econd) will lead you to crazy folk.

6a Key symptom of scabies is something very unpleasant (5)
{BITCH} – Follow a musical key (one from A to G) with a symptom of scabies that nay require you to scratch to get a slang term for something (or someone) very unpleasant

9a Can ordinary diesel be produced from this? Yes and no (7)
{OILSEED} – A semi &Lit (all-in-one) clue. If you make an anagram (prepare) O(rdinary) DIESEL you find a biofuel alternative which is not actually diesel but can be a substitute – hence the ‘Yes and No?’.

10a One’s mother possibly describing a park in Richmond in speech (3,4)
{OLD DEAR} – A well known park in Richmond, London is a homophone (in speech) of a common term for your mum.

11a Mineral that is found in Regents Park….(4)
{SPAR} – A non-metallic translucent mineral is hidden in Regents Park

12a ….and another that is found in Hyde Park (10)
{SERPENTINE} – Another green mineral is also a famous feature in Hyde Park.(I love the way these two clues gel together)

14a The Corrs – a smashing group of musicians (9)
{ORCHESTRA} – A refreshing change of tack to define what can be an old chestnut. Smash THE CORRS A to find a group of musicians.

17a An attempt to cause embarrassment (5)
{ABASH} – Read this as (1,4) and think of a try or attempt and you will get a word meaning embarrass or disconcert

18a Compel king to enter place of ill repute (5)
{DRIVE} – A verb meaning to compel or force. Add the abbreviation for King into a word for a crap nightclub.

19a How can you be out of beer unexpectedly after a single game? (3,6)
{LEG BEFORE} – A lovely surface reading particularly in the World Cup period masks a definition that is hard to spot. Take a single game which is part of a set in e.g. Darts and add to that an anagram (unexpectedly) of OF BEER to find a way to lose one’s wicket in, you guessed it, cricket!.

21a Steals more unusual rubber-like substances (10)
{ELASTOMERS} – The class of rubbery compounds can be found in an anagram (unusual) of STEALS MORE.

22a Bishop leaves bicycle in front of a furniture store (4)
{IKEA} – Remove the B from a small word for a ‘cycle’ then add A for the home of the Billy Bookcase.

25a Possibly warning other road users in part of London (7)
{TOOTING} – Possibly warning them in South London!. Wolfie Smith used to hang around the Broadway.

26a Ground worried trainer (7)
{TERRAIN} – A synonym of ‘Ground’ from another anagram, this time of TRAINER

27a Enzyme setting you back less than a tenner? (5)
{RENIN} – One less than a tenner is a niner. Turn this round to get a renal enzyme that regulates blood pressure

28a One sibling lay back and allowed intercourse to start (9)
{SEXTUPLET} – Easy Tiger!. A risqué surface reading tells us to reverse a word for lay or set then add a word for allowed. At the start of this we want a word for intercourse or rumpy-pumpy. The result is one of many children of the same age.


1d It could be me being irritated by dispute about new leader in Downing Street (9,6)
{CROSSWORD SETTER} – In this case it is Bufo, but on Monday it may be Rufus. Take a synonym for ‘irritated’ followed by a reversal (about) of a dispute or fight then add an anagram (new) of the leader of Downing and also STREET.

2d Just over half of sitcom can be seen in Scottish town (5)
{ALLOA} – Leesten verr carefooly, Ah shell say zees only wurnce. Take ze first six chiffres from a famous 80’s seetcom

3d Flat-bottomed vessel from a German port reportedly (4)
{KEEL} – This simple flat bottomed boat is a homophone of a port in northern Germany

4d What Mr Ernst has is something left over (7)
{ODDMENT} – As Big Dave pointed out when he sent me the wordplay (Thanks!) this is a relatively novel clue. If you took the even letters of ‘Mr Ernst’ you would have EVEN RRS. If you take the odds, however, you would get something left over

5d Whose pan is less hot when cooking mangetout? (4,3)
{SNOW PEA} – A vegetable also known as mangetout is found by removing H from WHOSE PAN than making an anagram (cooking)

6d A spa so good they named it twice? (5-5)
{BADEN-BADEN} – This spa town nestles sleepily at the foot of the Black Forest mountains in Germany

7d See the chart-topping singer perform in comic opera (3,6)
{THE MIKADO} – OK, Pop Pickers!, hands up who spotted the young falsetto straight away?. A charade of  THE, the singer in question (ask your daughter) and a word for ‘perform or ‘act’ gives a famous G&S opera. I shall forego the usual Youtube clip on this occasion!

8d Attractive object that brings good luck? (9,6)
{HORSESHOE MAGNET} – A cryptic definition of a magnetic (attractive) lump of metal in a specific shape, thought to be lucky if fixed the right way up over doorways.

13d A president set out to be dull (10)
{PEDESTRIAN} – The definition here is ‘dull’ as in ‘Run-of-the-mill and is an anagram of A PRESIDENT

15d Is this ethnic area part of the Potteries? (9)
{CHINATOWN} – A cryptic definition of an area that springs up in most large cities and alludes to the earthenware of the Potteries

16d Regret being heartlessly cruel? On the contrary (3)
{RUE} – The instruction is to take the middle out of ‘cruel’, but ‘on the contrary’ tells us to take the outside and leave the inside, giving a word for regret

19d Tells stories about cat in French city (7)
{LIMOGES} – A 3 letter pet name for a non pedigree cat is placed inside a word for stories or falsehoods.

20d Travel about large state to procure fabric used in sportswear (4-3)
{GORE-TEX} – I had a small quibble with this and saw at least one other from Tilly I think. A breathable rainproof fabric is a charade of a word for travel, one of the usual abbreviations for about and a short form of the Lone Star State. There doesn’t appear to be any indication to abbreviate the state name.

23d Set up joke about a village in Africa (5)
{KRAAL} – A South African village, specifically with a stockade for livestock. Reverse (set up) a word for joke or cavort around the indefinite article

24d Language used by Monsieur Dupont (4)
{URDU} – Not French!, another hidden word in Monsieur Dupont

Plenty of enjoyable clues here, my favourites being the pair at 11a/12a, 28a and in particular 19a. Many thanks to Bufo and I am looking forward to the next one (Big Dave has got you now!)

4 comments on “NTSPP – 016 Review

  1. Thanks for a great review Gnomethang. I knew the falsetto singer (for reasons which i won’t mention in this post). I also commented on this after I did the crossword as I wasn’t sure it would be generally known. But all credit to Bufo for using it.

    1. Thanks Tilly, having looked at my comment re: TEX I think I am being daft or pernickety. Setters regularly use state abbreviations without declaring them as such. Was your furrowed brow relating to this or some other element (e.g. Niche market trade name?).

      1. i just wondered how many people might not have heard of the trade name.

        TEX is ok by me as TEX is in quite common use such as TEX-MEX. Some might even remember Aertex and get the clue via that.

        1. There were a couple of trade names (Ikea being the other) but both must be well known for me to have heard of them. I rarely notice brands – advertising directed at me is a complete waste of money!

          One thing I’ve noticed from the NTSPP series is how each setter really does have his/her own innate individual style. I was of course aware of differences between the professional setters, but their styles might have been influenced by external factors such as their audience and editorial requirements and in many cases have had years to evolve.

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