NTSPP – 172 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 172

NTSPP – 172

A Puzzle by Elgar

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NTSPP - 172

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

This puzzle was distributed at the recent S&B meeting, and a review by Crypticsue follows.

Many of you will know that Crypticsue is a prolific crossword solver and that she test solves for a number of different setters.
She is pictured here with some members of her creche!

Crypticsue's creche

L to R   Alchemi, Prolixic/Kairos, Hieroglyph, Commoner,
Front row Donk, Rorschach


Once again, thank you to Elgar who has kindly allowed the puzzle he created for Thursday’s S&B Gathering to be reproduced as the NTSPP.  It is not entirely essential to have an extensive knowledge of the theme to solve the crossword (although if the local council is looking for someone to run historical tours of the area, our setter is now apparently one of the leading experts in the subject, despite, or possibly because of,   the fact that no public houses were visited during the course of his investigations – or so he says!).    I  knew quite a bit about the history of this area of London but if you don’t the link on the puzzle page and/or the Wikipedia entry for ‘Wapping’  and its associated links should help your quest for the relevant information.

The solving of the puzzle in the pub was a bit of a team effort by me and  (in no particular order other than the clockwise direction of seats round the table)  Osmosis (note that when he says he is a setter who can’t solve cryptic clues, he is definitely fibbing!), Peter Biddlecombe, Heno and, for the second year running, BD’s sister Carol.  The working out of the majority of the wordplay was undertaken during my lonely late evening  wait on a very chilly platform at Stratford International Station. A little bit of investigoogly checking on  Friday morning left me with one tiny bit of confusion –   I will leave you to guess which part of which clue that one was!


1a/19d  Scathing of whip by Prescott on the 23dn at 28 (8,2,6)

Prospect of Whitby

9a           Henry’s returning to recall of past year – such emancipation’s not cool! (3,4)
{HOT YOGA}   The single letter abbreviation for Henry (here not a Christian name, but the SI unit of inductance ,  a reversal (returning) of TO (in the clue), the abbreviation for Year and a reversal of a word meaning past.   Emancipation meaning a state of being free, you are looking for a form of exercise producing such a state, conducted in temperatures of 40.6oC in 40% humidity, for 90 minutes – not my idea of fun!

10a         See 7 Down

11a         Light brown coal’s forgotten origin (6)
{IGNITE}   Remove the first letter from a type of brown coal (forgotten origin).

13a         Stylish girl, new to the scene, missed broadcast (2,3)
{ON AIR} Remove the  abbreviation for the girl introduced to the social scene from an adjective meaning stylish or elegant.

14a         I have worn pants bearing the face of Elvis (5)
{OWNER}  an anagram (pants) of WORN into which is inserted the first letter, or face, of Elvis.

15a         Wet business paper that’s very forward (6)
{SOFTIE}   A wet ,  weak,  silly person –  start with a word meaning very (very forward or at the front) and follow with the familiar way we refer to the  pink paper read by businessmen  (where from time to time you can be lucky enough to find a cryptic set by Elgar’s alter ego, Io) and the abbreviation used to denote ‘that is’.

17a         By which one may top and tail 8’s nemesis by the 23dn at 28 (9,4)
{EXECUTION DOCK}  The first part of the clue is a cryptic definition of a type of physical punishment, quite often involving the removal of the head (top).   The second word is a verb meaning to cut the tail off.  The link to 8d will become clear in due course.

Execution Dock

20a         Like the victims of 5, does no wrong (6)
{NOOSED}  An anagram (wrong) of DOES NO.  Again when you get 5d…..

23a         Drawn plans being made for the big day? (5)
{TOWED}   Drawn in the sense of being pulled along.   Split 2, 3 and you should see the connection to plans made for the big day.

24a         Prince knocking back glass of beer that’s nice! (5)
{RAJAH}   A reversal of an informal term for a glass of beer followed by an interjection expressing joy or pleasure.

25a         Wasted introduction to Bleak House? (6)
{BLOTTO}   I left at 8.30 pm  so cannot comment on how many attendees were wasted at the end of the evening.   The first letter (introduction) of Bleak followed by another name for bingo – ‘house’  being the call made by the first person to finish in such a game.

26a         The dimly lit compound (8)
{DIMETHYL}  Another name for ethane.   An anagram (lit) of THE DIMLY.

28/16/6d              Refreshing post-prandial swig here is the bloody way down to the 23dn (7,3,6)
{WAPPING OLD STAIRS}  An anagram (refreshing) of POST PRANDIAL SWIG   The connection to ‘bloody’ is that this was how people made their final journey  to 17a.  Our setters did seem to be enjoying their post-luncheon refreshments!!

Wapping Old Stairs

29d         Writer in Times, say, is “Thunderous”! (8)
{ESSAYIST}   A cleverly hidden word  – look in TimES SAY IS Thunderous.   Appropriate wordplay too given that the Times newspaper is known as the Thunderer.



2d           Dry up a feature that perhaps needs to? (3)
{RIA}   A reversal of a verb meaning to dry produces a drowned valley.

3d           American President divides opinion, holding fire (8)
{SUSPENSE}   Insert the two letters by which America is known and the abbreviation for President into a word meaning, amongst many other definitions, opinion.

4d           Italian energy’s overthrown American charm (6)
{ENAMOR}   The American spelling of a word meaning charm is a  reversal of an inhabitant of the Italian capital city and the abbreviation for Energy.

5d           Local in 28 renowned for suspended sentences? (3,7,5)
{THE HANGING JUDGE}   Apparently this particular law enforcer used to frequent 1/19 and ‘ended up’ at 7/10.

The Hanging Judge

6d           See 28 Across

7/10d    Here‘s to women not following megastar impetuously! (4,2,8)
{TOWN OF RAMSGATE}   If you were at the S&B event, you should know where ‘here’ is –  others may need to work harder to sort out the wordplay –   TO (from the clue) , the abbreviation for Women, NO (not) F (following) and an anagram (impetuously) of MEGASTAR.

Town of Ramsgate

8d           On the 23dn at 28, victim of 5‘s better, a bit like expectant nanny on admission? (7,4)
{CAPTAIN KIDD}  A privateer who was a victim of 5d –   A verb meaning to better or outdo followed by a informal term for a small amount, into which has been inserted the way of referring to a pregnant nanny goat.

12d         Start fighting space traveller – then very big gust intervenes (4,2,5)
{COME TO BLOWS}  A heavenly body which travels through space,  the two letters used to denote outsize (very big) into which is inserted a gust or blast of wind, split 4,2,5.

16d         See 28

18d         What’s 16 after a   signal   ball-breaker? (3)
{CUE}  A triple definition –  A  homophone of a letter sixteenth in the alphabet after A;  a signal for the start of a speech in a play;  or a rod used in a game of snooker or billiards (ball-breaker)

19d         See 1

21d         I had lost arguments over arrangements (3-3)
{SET-UPS}  Reverse a word meaning arguments or quarrels, remove the ID (I’d, I had  lost) and you are left with some arrangements.

22d         Call by one’s name, after medic’s finished work (4,2)
{DROP IN}  Follow (after) the abbreviation for a medical worker and the abbreviation for a work (especially a musical one), with I (one) and the abbreviation for name.

23d         Runner of London Marathon initially entered in energetic heats (6)
{THAMES}  An  anagram (energetic) of HEATS into which is inserted the initial letter of Marathon.

27d         They have it, but leader quits, of course (3)
{YES} A word of agreement or assent (of course) is obtained by removing the first letter (leader quits) from a word used, particularly in Parliament, to denote those voting in favour of a particular motion.

And as for that photo of what Tilsit called ‘my crèche’ , Tilsit should have been included (as half of Zaphod) , and  if Radler and eXternal had been there, and we could only have persuaded the authorities to let Gazza cross over the Devon border, I would have had a complete set of ‘my’ setters .

6 comments on “NTSPP – 172

  1. Well, spent more time on this than was healthy, lot of work on google to get the back ground to the theme, but what a great puzzle.

    Lesson, read the clue over and over, the answer is in there trying to get out.

    CS thanks for the review, needed to correct one guess…wrong, and on more than a few to point out the subtle word play.

    Elgar thanks for an entertaining themed puzzle.

  2. Thanks to Elgar for the entertaining puzzle and to CS for the analysis (which I needed to understand the ’16 after a’ bit of 18d).
    I’m not sure what sort of school CS went to if ‘physical punishment’ involved the first half of 17a. :D

  3. We really needed the potted history page that BD pointed us towards. Without it we would have been totally lost. However this gave us a plethora of checking letters and the rest flowed in reasonably smoothly. Last in was 9a which took a while to see, even with all but two of the letters in.
    Thanks Elgar and CS.
    Now for our Sunday morning walk around beach and estuary.

  4. I really enjoyed this puzzle, lots of tough stuff to get ones teeth into – as we’ve come to expect from Elgar. Thanks to the setter & CS for the review :-)

  5. Excellent puzzle; I’m a bit late to this – probably a touch of 25 at 7/10.

    Thanks cryptic sue; I needed your help on some. I doubt whether anyone would refer to ethane as dimethyl these days, despite what Chambers says. It is usually used to indicate a radical as in dimethyl sulphoxide etc.

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