NTSPP – 178 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 178

NTSPP – 178

A Puzzle by Marley

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NTSPP - 178

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Today we welcome a new setter.  Marley is not a ghost – more a partnership between Ebenezer Scrooge and Bob Cratchit!

A belated review follows with apologies from the blogger.

Welcome to Marley (or as Big Dave describes them Ebenezer Scrooge and Bob Cratchit).  This is a setting partnership between Dave Tilley and Matt Marcus, a new setter in this neck of the woods.  I will leave it you your imaginations to decide who is Scrooge and who is Bob.

There was lots to enjoy in this crossword and we look forward to more Marley to come.


1 Singer has miserable end to tune (4)
{SADE} – A word for miserable followed by the final letter of tune.

3 Can rule recalculation of leap second, when losing scientist at first (5,4)
{PENAL CODE} – … can as in a prison.  An anagram (recalculation) of LEAP SECOND after removing (losing) the first letter (at first) of Scientist).

9 Remove old joke, anticipating grand finale of Fringe (7)
{EXPUNGE} – A two letter word for old and another word for a joke go in front of (anticipating) the abbreviation for Grand and the last letter (finale) of fringe.

10 Small birds heard seals (7)
{CYGNETS} – A homophone (heard) of SIGNETS (seals).

11 I am in it, and you are too! (3,7,5)
{THE PRESENT TENSE} – When parsing the verb “to be”, this describes the grammatical category into which “I am” and “You are” fall.

12 25 where sister partly hides (6)
{RESIST} – … another word meaning the same as the answer to 25a.  The answer is hidden (partly hides) in WHERE SISTER

13 Polite denial rebuffed after Italian politician’s intern (8)
{IMPRISON} – The abbreviations for Italian and politician are followed by a phase for a polite denial (2, 3) which has been reversed (rebuffed).

16 Cuff for one soldier trailing material (8)
{SERGEANT} – … the rank of the detective in  Wilkie Collins ‘s mystery “The Moonstone”.  A type pf material is followed by an archetypal soldier insect.

17 Man takes drug – nothing tacky! (6)
{CHEAPO} – Put an E (drug) inside another word for a man and follow this with an O (nothing).

20 It may prove that blood is thicker than water. (8,7)
{RELATIVE DENSITY} – A cryptic definition of the ratio of the specific gravity of one substance compared to a reference substance.

22 Coldplay start group of sell-out performances with a line? (7)
{CONTOUR} – … on a map perhaps.  The first letter of Coldplay followed by a description (I think) of a band who might be performing a group of sell-out performances.

23 Suitable drinks for Madame Arcati..? (7)
{SPIRITS} – Madame Arcati is the clairvoyant in the play “Blithe Spirits”, which gives us the answer!

24 …or else prove unfortunate reason for tiredness (9)
{OVERSLEEP} – An anagram (unfortunate) of ELSE PROVE.

25 Cock a snook at rapper’s brilliant close of play (4)
{DEFY} – A three letter word a rapper may use to describe something as brilliant followed by the final letter of Deny.


1 Cooked up real stew, but not a fantastic cook (7)
{SWELTER} – An anagram (cooked up) of REAL STEW without the A.  The on-line version only accepts SHELTER as the correct answer.  I suspect there was either a last minute change of clue or a typo in the grid.  [I failed to spot the error in the file sent to me.  It’s now been corrected.  BD]

2 Input nothing into the German situation, which could bring one down (9)
{DEPRESSOR} – A word meaning type 0 on the keyboard (input nothing) goes inside a German word for the.

3 Like regularly polled answer? (6)
{PLEASE} – The odd letters (regularly) of POLLED ANSWER

4 Practise identity theft, and it’s the clink for one? (8)
{NICKNAME} – Split 4,4 this could be either identity theft or the description of a prison (clink for one).

5 He is risen.  Why? (7-4-3)
{LIGHTER THAN AIR} – A cryptic definition of why Helium (He) rises.

6 Indian maybe wrecked canoe (5)
{OCEAN} – An anagram (wrecked) of CANOE.

7 Genius traded in for small change to band manager (7)
{EPSTEIN} – The name of a scientific genius (for his theories of general and special relativity) with the IN removed and replaced by the abbreviation for penny (small change).

8 So, Conti’s Pinter play has lots of navel-gazing moments? (14)

14 Steady! Strangely sibilates! (9)
{STABILISE} – An anagram (strangely) of SIBILATES.

15 Absolutely everything‘s contained in college song? (8)
{UNIVERSE} – A three letter word for a college followed by a word for a song (or part of one).

16 Snapping crocodiles led astray clumsily, and wind up in North Africa (7)
{SIROCCO} – An anagram (snapping) of CROCODILES after removing the letters of LED.  As the letters are not removed in order “clumsily” tells us that they are jumbled in the order of their removal.

18 After having too much, Yankees have exact direction on tour (7)
{ODYSSEY} – The abbreviation for overdose (having too much) followed by YY (Yankees) inside which (have) you add a precise direction.

19 Makes sense for a theologian to drink (4,2)
{ADDS UP} – The A from the clue, the abbreviation for Doctor of Divinity (theologian) and a word meaning to drink.

21 Is Armstrong really clean? (5)
{LANCE} – A sort of all in one clue for the name of the cyclist who it turns out was not clean.  The answer is an anagram of clean.

Apologies for the lateness of the review.  Real Life has intervened today in a number of ways to delay its production.

8 comments on “NTSPP – 178

  1. Lovely debut puzzle. Review will be up later as sermon writing duties and shopping for wife’s birthday have intervened.

  2. There’s a mistake somewhere here. The clue at 1d leads to a different word from the one which the grid thinks is correct.

    It’s nice puzzle otherwise, though.

  3. A bit of a mixed bag for me. I was left with four unsolved. Although I had the right word for 12A. I had no idea if it was correct because 25A remained a mystery ( sorry, but I was not impressed when I saw the solution). In the printed version, 2D wraps to the third column so I was only reading the first part of the clue. Doh! 18D was a tad contrived, I thought. Should have got 17A but didn’t. On the other hand, 20A was brilliant, as was 3A and 7D. A great debut and a lot of fun despite my minor whines. Congrats to the setters. Many thanks to Prolixis for the review. By the way, your MPP is giving me a workout.

  4. Many thanks to Dave and Matt for an enjoyable puzzle .Ihad the same problem as Alchemi earlier today but just assumed it was a glitch .
    Favourite 20a and others .
    Thanks also to Prolixic (MPP apart !) .

  5. The solving process has been interrupted several times by such things as visitors and a bridge tournament but did eventually manage a completion. Had problems with 10a as either of the two options fitted the clue until 4d was able to exclude the seals. Challenging and enjoyable.
    Thanks Marley and Prolixic.

  6. Greatly enjoyed this, took Some working out .

    Thanks to Prolixic for review.

    Thanks to Marley, look forward to more of the same.

  7. Thanks from both of us for the comments and more importantly the feedback. Apologies for the glitch with the CC file, I think I was tinkering with a clue as is my wont.

    Always essential to know where solvers had problems and what solvers appreciate.

    It was a pleasure working with young Cratchit on this one and I have a feeling you will hear more from us.

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