NTSPP – 079 (Review)

NTSPP – 079 (Review)

A crossword by Gazza

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

Apologies for the delay in reviewing but I had assumed that Prolixic would be doing his usual duty and only remembered in the early hours this morning that he was on his holidays.  I feel the best way to recommend this great Gazza puzzle is to copy what I said to him when I test solved it “This is without doubt the best crossword I have solved today (I would even go so far as to say for several days)….   It has just the right amount of brain-stretching, d’oh moments and some really great clues.”   I hope you all enjoyed it too.


7              9 raids repulsed (5)
{STOOL}  The first themed clue.   A reversal of a synonym for raids and plunders produces this backless example of 9.

8              How obnoxious roofer goes about making killing (9)
{SLAUGHTER}  A man who uses a certain type of roofing material with an expression of disgust (3) inserted produces a noun meaning wanton or inexcusable killing.

10           Determined vampire slayer introduced in scary writer’s 9 (6)
{POUFFE}   The most mispronounced type of 9!    Remove the first and last letters of the young TV female vampire slayer and insert the result into the surname of a writer of scary fiction.

11           Sober quality evident in Attlee and Mitterand (8)
{TEETOTAL}  An abbreviation for someone who doesn’t drink, ie is sober, is found in both these names.  You need the full word for the solution.

12           Robin, say, takes over hugging a foreign bird (8)
{COCKATOO}  A term for a male bird is often applied to a robin, follow this with A (hugging A) and then an adverb meaning over or extremely to get a type of crested parrot.

13           Public appeal for the old to be housed in Australia (4)
{OYEZ}  The public appeal here is the cry made by a town crier.   A colloquial term for Australia into which is inserted the old-fashioned way of saying the.

15           9 land on head (7)
{BEANBAG} A large cushion used as a 9 –  an informal term for the head followed by a term for the quantity of fish or game landed.

17           Reactionary military group adopting French word for 9 (7)
{OTTOMAN}  A reversal of the acronym for the international military alliance into which has been inserted the French word for word produces a type of backless stuffed 9.

20           9 characters featured in works of Asimov (4)
{SOFA}  Another of the themed words is hidden in workS OF Asimov.

22           9 jolly children in a song (8)
{ARMCHAIR}  Another 9 – a charade of A (from the clue), an abbreviation for a sailor, sometimes known as a jolly, a two letter abbreviation for children, and a song or tune(3).

25           Rubbish golfer?   A danger to kids (8)
{BOGEYMAN}  A man who shoots one over par at hole on the golf course could also be said to be a frightening being with whom to threaten children.

26           Inflict on 9 (6)
{SADDLE}  A double definition.   A 9 that goes on a horse or to inflict a burden on someone.

27           Stern’s bid is floundering in the soup (5, 4)
{BIRDS NEST} An anagram (floundering) of STERNS BID gives a soup usually found in a Chinese restaurant.

28           Ill-natured like Mrs Norris? (5)
{CATTY}   Here it helps if you remember your Harry Potter!   A term for spiteful or backbiting is also an epithet that could be applied to a creature like Mrs Norris (the pet of the caretaker in the Harry Potter stories).


1              Repair to stove door’s postponed (5,4)
{STOOD OVER} A term meaning postponed is an anagram (repair) of STOVE DOOR.

2              Are these wild dogs?  Hide! (8)
{WOLFSKIN} Double definition.   Relations of a type of wild dog or leather (hide) made from them.

3              Film philosopher at work (7)
{PLATOON}  A 1986 war film directed by Oliver stone – the name of a Greek philosopher followed by ON (working).

4              9’s works out at 3 (4, 4)
{CUBE ROOT}  One of the sneaky not a theme 9s.    In mathematics, 3 is this of 9.

5              9’s reportedly confused (6)
{THRONE}  The type of 9 used by a king of queen sounds like (reportedly) a term meaning perplexed or confused.

6              Free really odd savage (5)
{FERAL}   The odd letters of FrEe ReAlLy are an adjective meaning savage, wild or untamed.

9              Estate car (4)
{SEAT}  The Theme!    A double definition – Lord So and So’s country **** or a marque of car which originated in Spain.

14           Go hot then cold, getting queasy in desert (9)
{VACILLATE} To waver or not make your mind up –  it helps to note that desert here means leave somewhere (not a sandy place as I thought when test solving) into which should be inserted a three letter word meaning queasy or poorly.

16           Marginal deviation can be ominous (8)
{ALARMING} An anagram (deviation) of MARGINAL  makes an adjective meaning ominous or frightening.

18           Python, for example, took cover in dilapidated piano (8)
{OPHIDIAN}  One of the genus of snakes, of which a python is an example – insert a three letter word meaning took cover into an anagram (dilapidated) of PIANO.

19           English composer being imprisoned by French is serious (7)
{EARNEST}  An adjective meaning serious or intent –  Insert the surname of the composer of Rule Britannia into the French word for is.

21           Exaggerate celebration after a few balls (6)
{OVERDO}  A term meaning to exaggerate or carry too far –  a cricketing term for six balls bowled followed by a two letter term for a party, feast or celebration.

23           Obligatory cover-up hurts umpire (4)
{MUST}  A verb meaning that something is obligatory is reversed and  hidden (cover-up) in hurTS UMpire.

24           Mounting 9 in bed could be fatal (5)
{TOXIC} We finish with another sneaky non-themed 9.   Insert the Roman ‘numberals’ for 9 into a baby’s bed and reverse the lot to get an adjective meaning poisonous, which could, of course, be fatal.

One of the many pleasures in life is getting an email in your inbox from Gazza asking you to test solve his latest puzzle.   I look forward to receiving the next one soon.   (No pressure there then!).



  1. Prolixic
    Posted August 14, 2011 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Thanks to CS for stepping into the breach. I had warned BD that I was off duty this weekend.

    Superb crossword from Gazza with just one quibble in 4d, 3 is the square root of 9. The cube root of 9 is 2.08…. The cube root of 27 is 3 as 3 * 3 * 3 = 27. For far too long I had Take Root as the answer to 4d as a result.

    Looks like it is brightening up in N Devon so a trip to the beach is in order!

    • gazza
      Posted August 14, 2011 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Whoops!! It’s funny how you can have a moment’s idiocy and never revisit it. Thanks to Prolixic for pointing it out (I blame the test solvers :D ).
      Thanks a lot to Crypticsue for the review (and nice pics) and to all for their comments.

      • crypticsue
        Posted August 14, 2011 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        I have never claimed to be the ‘numbers’ expert in our house – I leave that to Mr CS. I probably should have checked both at test solve stage and this morning but was typing as fast as I could (and I can type fast!) in order to get the post up before the Sunday joint had to be in the oven. Perhaps Gazza and I can claim that we both made deliberate errors to see if anyone was actually reading it properly :D

    • Lea
      Posted August 14, 2011 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Prolixic – although we all know you are right – here’s a definition that I found for the cube root – that is how I justified it

      cube root

      .a number that when multiplied three times equals a given number


  2. AtH1900
    Posted August 14, 2011 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    4d threw me too for a while.

  3. Lea
    Posted August 14, 2011 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Good review CS – thanks

  4. mary
    Posted August 14, 2011 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    I feel after reading your review Sue I should have been able to do more of this! Nice one Gazza, well done Sue and thanks for trying tohelp :-)

  5. Spindrift
    Posted August 14, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Gazza – please do not take this the wrong way but don’t give up your day job! If you produced these on a regular basis then I’m afraid I’d have to hang up my boots & revert to “dot to dot” puzzles & word-searches.

    What an absolute corker! Thanks to Gazza & to Cryptic Sue for the review.

  6. Posted August 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Being of a scientific persuasion I was completely thrown by 4d! Worked out the answer was ‘square root’ but it don’t fit, but the U is there!
    Otherwise a splendid puzzle so many thanks Gazza. Clever use of the theme methinks!
    Thanks also to Sue for the fine review.

    • crypticsue
      Posted August 14, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Being of a wordy persuasion, I just assumed that 3 was the cube root of 9 and wrote in the answer! It took me two goes to get Maths O Level!

    • gazza
      Posted August 14, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      I can only apologize. I have already donned the hair shirt. I don’t know what I was thinking of – I’m perfectly well aware that the square root of 9 is 3.

      • pommers
        Posted August 15, 2011 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        No pasa nada!
        Happens to the best – in Paul’s Grauniad prize puzzle (25394) Saturday before last EROICA and SPINACH are supposed to cross on the I of spinach. I can only assume he spelled it ERIOCA when filling the grid!
        Enjoyed the puzzle so keep them coming please.

        • gazza
          Posted August 15, 2011 at 11:00 am | Permalink

          I remember that Paul puzzle and the cock-up – it’s about the only thing that his puzzles and mine have in common!

          • pommers
            Posted August 15, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

            Hey, don’t do yourself down! This was a cracking puzzle and, for me, more accessible than the usual offerings from Paul which have me head scratching for hours. OK, he’s one of the best setters but I’m not one of the best solvers!
            Have to agree with BD though that 2.0800838230519041145300568243579 would have quite spoiled the clue!!!!

    • Posted August 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Like CS I just wrote in the answer and didn’t think to query it!

      Somehow “9’s works out at 2.0800838230519041145300568243579” isn’t the same.

  7. Franco
    Posted August 15, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Gazza for a very entertaining puzzle that I started on Saturday and finally finished today (unfortunately, not all my own work – I needed a few hints from CS). A very nice substitute for the non-existent Monday Toughie! Thanks, Both!

    I’m no good at maths, either!