NTSPP – 174 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 174

NTSPP – 174

A Puzzle by Toro

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NTSPP - 174

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

[Toro is a new setter that I met at the recent S&B meeting in Manchester.  He is pictured on the left below with Monk  BD]

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.

A warm welcome to Toro for his or her first NTSPP  [he’s a he!  BD]. This was a confident debut with lots of excellent clues, the favourite of which, for me, was 1d closely followed by 12a, 4d and 7d. More of the same please.


1a Bishop is penning fitting document for admissions to church (8)
{BAPTISMS} – … the rite that symbolises this. The abbreviation for Bishop (used in chess notation) is followed by the IS from the clue with a word meaning fitting or appropriate inside (penning). This is followed by the abbreviation for manuscript (document).

5a Food offered uncooked in pints, oddly! (6)
{PRAWNS} – A word meaning uncooked goes inside the odd letters of pints. A nice semi-&lit clue as this food is still sold by the pint.

9a Minor celebrities displaying footwear (8)
{BLISTERS} – These minor celebrities (1-7) give the name of a painful condition of the foot caused by too much wear.

10a Dangled lines ready for a bite (6)
{HUNGRY} – A word meaning dangled followed by the abbreviation for railway (lines).

12a Novel in which the blameless rise in rebellion (3,10)
{LES MISERABLES} – A lovely clue for the novel, musical and, more recently, film. The answer is an anagram (in rebellion) of BLAMELESS RISE.

15a They’re uncultivated in bed (5)
{WEED} – A cryptic definition of those things that grow in your flower beds that you don’t want to grow there.

16a Uncut film as large as life (4-5)
{FULL-SCALE} – A word meaning uncut followed by another word for a film or deposit on the surface of something.

17a Thoroughbred from Qatar abhors exercise (4,5)
{ARAB HORSE} – The answer is hidden (from) in QATAR ABHORS EXERCISE.

19a Minister admits Republican tendency (5)
{TREND} – A word meaning minister or nurse contains (admits) the abbreviation for Republican.

20a Irritating red-eye at group photo (13)
{DAGUERREOTYPE} – … an old term for a type of photograph. The answer is an anagram (irritating) of RED-EYE AT GROUP.

22a Volunteers land one on isle somewhere in the Pacific (6)
{TAHITI} – The former name of the reserve army followed by a word meaning to land one on or punch and the abbreviation for isle.

23a Revised version contains new setting (8)
{ENVIRONS} – An anagram (revised) of VERSION contains an N (new).

25a First of unfolding leaves in tree (6)
{POPLAR} – Remove the first letter of Unfolding from a word meaning in, hip or cool.

26a Gently preserving plant once it was plucked (8)
{PSALTERY} – … an old form of musical instrument referred in the pages of the Bible. The abbreviation for gently or quiet is followed by the name of a plant or factory where food used to be preserved.


1d It’s fun to pop in pub, brawl and be thrown out (6,4)
{BUBBLE WRAP} – An anagram (thrown out) of PUB BRAWL BE.

2d Inflation measure shows character of Greeks (3)
{PSI} – A double definition of a letter of the Greek alphabet and a measure of how much something is inflated (your car tyres for example).

3d Headless fowl dressed for the wedding table (2,5)
{IN TAILS} – Remove the first letter (headless) from the name of a type of duck (in the plural) know for its pointed posterior! The Latin name is Anus Acuta.

4d Merkel forecast to abandon the Spanish, caving in to economic pressures (6,6)
{MARKET FORCES} – An anagram (caving in) of MERKEL FORECAST without the EL (abandoned the Spanish).

6d Money worries after taking time off (7)
{ROUBLES} – … in Russia. A word for worries has the letter T removed (taking time off).

7d Sweatshop existence in which every gal was put to work (4,7)
{WAGE SLAVERY} – An anagram (put to work) of EVERY GAL WAS.

8d Seventies rock band heard in concert with Stones? (4)
{STYX} – A homophone (heard) of a word associated (in a rhyme) with stones and the breaking of bones.

11d Dance location for smooth movers (4,8)
{BALL BEARINGS} – … designed to reduce friction in machinery. Another word for dance is followed by a word meaning location.

13d Newly wed stars get joint custody (11)
{STEWARDSHIP} – An anagram (newly) of WED STARS is followed by the name of one of the joints in the leg.

14d Hype’s deceptive? Not necessarily (10)
{NEEDLESSLY} – Another word for a hype (or the thing on the end of a syringe) is followed by the S (hype‘S) and a word meaning deceptive.

18d Great time for seconds in main meal (4,3)
{HIGH TEA} – Another word for great is followed by another word for the main (as in a body of water) with the S replaced by a T (time for seconds).

19d Sickened unduly while away (4,3)
{TOOK ILL} – A word meaning unduly is followed by a word meaning to idle or while away (the hours, conferring with the flowers, etc).

21d Period vessels capsizing (4)
{STOP} – … a punctuation mark. Reverse (capsizing) a word for vessels used in cooking.

24d Selection of modern poetry (3)
{ODE} – The answer is hidden in MODERN.

11 comments on “NTSPP – 174

  1. Thanks to Toro for a very enjoyable puzzle with excellent surfaces, lots of clever bits of misdirection (most of which I fell for) and some very apt anagrams. Too many good clues to list them all but I’d pick out 9a, 25a, 4d and 8d.

  2. Very enjoyable and clever puzzle .I particularly smiled at 1d,9a and11d .
    Thanks very much .

  3. Very enjoyable indeed. Sme good d’oh moments and sneaky misdirections. My top favourite was 9a although there are others with *’s by them too. Thanks to Toro – he has several other puzzles which look like good contenders for the Saturday afternoon slot so I am sure it won’t be long before we see him here again (he’s just joined my ‘creche’)..

  4. Having abandoned any hope of going sailing needed something to lighten my mood. This did the trick, very nice clueing, misdirection and splendid anagrams and just the right degree of difficulty for me.

    Thanks to Prolixic for the review highlighting some subtleties I’d missed.

    Thanks to Toro for a great debut, look forward to many more.

  5. Excellent puzzle. Perhaps slightly anagram-heavy, but they are very good anagrams.

  6. Lovely puzzle! 26A defeated me, but that did not detract from the enjoyment. Lots of checkmarks against the clues I liked, but I’m with CS on 9a. Double check mark for that one.

    Welcome, Toro, and very many thanks. Thanks also to Prolixic for the review.

  7. An excellent diversion on a wet Sunday morning for us. Kept us challenged and amused for quite some time. Struggled with the spelling of 20a.
    Looking forward to more of the same for our Sunday entertainment.
    Thanks Toro and Prolixic.

  8. Just thought that I’d ‘pop in’ to say that I haven’t yet looked at the hints or comments. I have printed off the crossword and, on first quick look, I might stand a chance with this – I will have a go tomorrow. I can usually tell whether or not I might be able to do it pretty quickly and it does look very accessible – can’t help wondering if we’re being let in gently!

  9. Thank you so much to everyone who tackled this puzzle, to those who commented on it, and especially to Prolixic for the (needless to say) spot-on analysis of each clue. Until two days ago I hadn’t had any of my puzzles solved, and had no idea how they would go down if they ever saw the light of day, so to go from that to this is an incredible buzz.

    At the risk of being churlish, as something of a birder I need to tell Prolixic that the Latin name for Pintail (see his comment at 3d) is actually Anas acuta, the cuteness of its rear end notwithstanding.

    Kath, there is nothing so premeditated! I like an easy, pleasing solve with only one or two wordplay devices per clue, so expect more of the same if I get to feature again.

    Above all, thanks Big Dave for insisting I send you my puzzles when Holly and I met you at the Manchester S&B, and Sue for admission to the playpen.

  10. Most enjoyable. If that’s a debut publication the I’m looking forward to more soon please. Thanks to Prolixic for the hints which I didn’t need for a change.

    Completed this in the garden while wrapped in a fleece.I will not allow the poor weather to ruin my summer!

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