NTSPP – 168 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

NTSPP – 168

NTSPP – 168

A Puzzle by eXternal

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

NTSPP - 167

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle follows:

Our thanks to eXternal for a challenging crossword. Favourites are underlined in blue.


1 Disclosure of age making bubbly nurses down (6,6)
{CARBON DATING} – A word meaning making bubbly (as in adding fizz to a drink) goes around (nurses) the abbreviation for down.

8 Sticky substance spotted after unbridled sex (5)
{EPOXY} – A word meaning covered in spots goes after the middle letter (unbridled) of sex.

9 Rejected model, one with right to give complaint (9)
{GASTRITIS} – Reverse (rejected) a word meaning to model, I (one) an abbreviation for right and a word meaning to give or sink.

11 Independent country with extensive fish consumption (9)
{FREELANCE} – The name of a European country contains (consumption) a type of fish than is long (extensive) and slippery.

12 Squander advantage for promoting product around Europe (3,2)
{USE UP} – The abbreviation for unique selling point (advantage for promoting Europe goes around the abbreviation for Europe.

13 Agreement regarding Sweden breaking record (9)
{CONSENSUS} – A word meaning regarding (not RE on this occasion) and the abbreviation for Sweden goes inside (breaking) a word for a record (one held every 10 years in the UK).

16 Heated situation unsettling level-headed guards (5)
{INGLE} – … a location by a fire. The answer is hidden inside (guards) the words UNSETTLING LEVEL-HEADED

18 Outside area: parking for king (5)
{PATIO} – The “:” in the clue is apparently a symbol meaning ratio. Remove the R (king) and replace it with a P for parking.

19 The Spanish concoctions accompanying buffet make a comeback in European city (9)
{MARSEILLE} – Reverse (make a comeback) the Spanish for the, a word meaning concoctions or fibs and a word meaning buffet or hit to give the name of a European city.

20 Pot broken by staff makes dull sound (5)
{THRUM} – The abbreviation for human resources goes inside a word meaning pot (or stomach).

22 Dispassionate victim to be beheaded (9)
{OBJECTIVE} – A word for a victim or target is followed by a word meaning “to be” with the first letter removed (beheaded).

25 Manic couple finds connection on-line (9)
{HYPERLINK} – … that you can click on to go to another web-page. A word meaning manic is followed by a word meaning couple or join together.

26 Bishop drove squirrels away with strength (5)
{BRAWN} – An abbreviation for bishop is followed by a word meaning drove inside which (squirrels away) the abbreviation for with.

27 Article that’s covered criminal armed gunner gets tense (12)
{UNDERGARMENT} – … unless you are a slob on a Saturday morning! An anagram (criminal) of ARMED GUNNER is followed by the abbreviation for tense.


1 Exotic stock line is familiar (5-4)
{CLOSE-KNIT} – An anagram (exotic) of STOCK LINE.

2 Noble, devoted leader’s changing sides (5)
{ROYAL} – A word meaning devoted has the first letter (leader) changed from L to R (changing sides).

3 Men fuss over something to play with (5)
{ORGAN} – … play on might be slightly less risqué! The abbreviation for other ranks (men) is followed by a reversal (over) of a word meaning fuss.

4 One serving princess formerly, about to be made saint (9)
{DISPENSER} – Take the maiden name of a late princess and change the C (about) for an S (saint).

5 Our quest’s ridiculous, touring Italy for gemstone (9)
{TURQUOISE} – An anagram (ridiculous) of OUR QUEST about (touring) the abbreviation for Italy.

6 Idiot with concerning explosive substance (5)
{NITRE} – A word for an idiot is followed by (with) a word meaning concerning.

7 Musical ability is ideal for groundsman (7,5)
{PERFECT PITCH} – A double definition of what a groundsman would like to produce and a musical ability.

10 God displays sauce with the living (7,5)
{SUPREME BEING} – Another word for a thick creamy sauce is followed by (with) a word for the living.

14 Business practice investing two million in eastern railroad (1-8)
{E-COMMERCE} – The abbreviation for million is inserted twice inside the abbreviation for eastern and a word meaning railroad or force.

15 Silence low-life gossip (9)
{SHMOOZING} – A two letter word meaning silence is followed by a word meaning low (as in the sound cattle make) and a word meaning life or pizzazz.

17 One’s against feeding fearless stray (9)
{GALLIVANT} – An I and the abbreviation for against or versus goes inside (feeding) a word meaning fearless.

21 Mature author overlooked by scientific society (5)
{RIPEN} – The abbreviation for the Royal Institution goes over a word for an author (or the item that they use).

23 Brand centre-half a showman (5)
{JOKER} – The first name of the comedienne __ Brand is followed by half of a word meaning centre.

24 Lead vehicle left emissary at summit (5)
{CABLE} – Another word for a taxi (vehicle) is followed by the abbreviation for L and the first letter (at summit in a down clue) of emissary.

13 comments on “NTSPP – 168

  1. Great stuff and very enjoyable with lots of d’oh moments – thanks to eXternal. My favourites were 26a, 4d and 14d.

  2. I don’t know whether it is just the particularly busy day I am having today but I found this crossword took far longer than the time I had allocated for the NTSPP and I had to leave it to cogitate. A very enjoyable tussle was had, thank you eXternal – 14d was my top favourite. Thanks as usual to Prolixic too.

  3. Very difficult for me and had to resort to hints to complete, great fun though on a sunny breezy but perishingly cold afternoon in Dover.

    Some very nice clues, all of which I should have got on reflection.

    Plans for a flit round the bay put on hold :(

    Thanks to Prolixic for the review, and to eXternal even though he made my brain hurt.

  4. Is it me? In 14d there are 9 letter spaces in the grid but in the answer “SCHMOOZING” there are 10 letters.

  5. A really good puzzle – I found it pretty difficult and needed the hints to get the last ones, nearly all in the bottom right corner, and to explain a few more.
    8a and 3d made me laugh – worthy of Ray T, I thought!
    With thanks to eXternal and Prolixic.

  6. Thanks for the comments and to Prolixic for the review. Seems I unwittingly made this a bit trickier than my usual offerings.

  7. I was away for the weekend and thus was able to save this one for a Monday morning. So glad that I did as found it a really tough but enjoyable tussle. The two that stumped me were 12a and 18a. Both of these I had the correct answer but had failed to work out all the word-play. Last in was 27a, despite having all the checking letters.
    Thanks eXternal and Prolixic.
    PS. And its a Pangram too.

  8. Managed to complete without the need to refer to the hints. (but it was a close run thing)
    Excellent crossword and a great review.
    Many thanks to eXternal and Prolixic.

Comments are closed.