NTSPP – 180 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 180

NTSPP – 180

A Puzzle by Vigo

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NTSPP - 180

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

I first met Vigo at the 4th Birthday party, back in January. She asked me for help with setting up a grid for a special puzzle for her father’s birthday. I introduced her to Alchemi and the puzzle appeared soon after. I thought that was the end of the story, then this lovely puzzle arrived in my mailbox – Vigo had been bitten by the setting bug! BD

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.

Bombay Mix?

Another new setter to delight us. A warm welcome to Vigo who has discovered that attending cruciverbalist conventions can be a very dangerous game. I hope that she enjoyed researching this crossword which contains within the answers a number of varieties of 3d. The ones that are hidden among the answers are set out at the end of the review with recipes should you want to try them at home (not all at once though!)

This was a highly enjoyable crossword and a very good debut appearance for Vigo. I hope that there will be more to come.

There was a very rarely used word in the annals of the NTSPP that I used in the first paragraph. Bonus points for spotting what it was!!


1 Country crooner needy for listeners (9)
{SINGAPORE} – A homophone (for listeners) of words for a crooner and needy.

6 Not ideal sailing harness (5)
{SLING} – Remove two letters meaning ideal from SAILING.

10 Warning of A6 construction (6)
{SIGNAL} – An anagram (construction) of A + the answer to 6a.

11 Vulgar buttock display’s an exceptional event (4,4)
{BLUE MOON} – Another word for crude or vulgar followed by a word meaning buttock display.

12 About time son made magnanimous offer (3,2,2)
{ITS ON ME} – An anagram (about) of TIME SON.

13 Aggressive Amazonian gunners in fix help allies initially (7)
{PIRANHA} – … an aggressive fish found in the river Amazon. The abbreviation for Royal Artillery (gunners) goes inside a three letter word meaning fix. Follow this with the initial letters of help allies.

16 Support friend taking drug in sordid location (4,5)
{BACK ALLEY} – A word meaning support followed by a word for a friend into which (taking) you put the abbreviation for Ecstasy (drug).

18/28 Part of pet found stuck to road? (4,3)
{CAT’S EYE} – A cryptic definition of the reflective devices used on roads to mark the centre and edges of the highway.

20 Cheese from France chewed over (4)
{FETA} – The abbreviation for France followed by a word meaning chewed reversed (over).

21 Rough lass drunkenly reveals shapely figure (9)
{HOURGLASS} – An anagram (drunkenly) of ROUGH LASS.

23 Wife holds sick note for factory workers (7)
{MILLERS} – The form of address for a married woman (wife) holds a word meaning sick and once of the notes in the musical scale.

24 Creative injecting heroin after second whisky gets dark (7)
{SWARTHY} – The abbreviations for second and whisky (in the NATO phonetic alphabet) are followed by a word meaning creative into which you put (injecting) the abbreviation for heroin.

27 Blears crazy for taste of Frangelico (8)
{HAZELNUT} – The first name of the politician (Ms Blears) is followed by a word meaning crazy.

29 Demand headless chicken and dog (6)
{ENTAIL} – A three letter word for a chicken has its first letter removed (headless). This is followed by a word meaning dog or follow.

30 Juliet’s alright about returning wild card (5)
{JOKER} – The abbreviation for Juliet (in the NATO phonetic alphabet) is followed by a two letter word meaning alright and a Latin word meaning about which has been reversed (returning).

31 Present position: small sad squat in outback (6,3)
{STATUS QUO} – An anagram (sad) of SQUAT goes inside the abbreviation for small and a reversal of OUT (out-back).


2 Simpleton misprints edition’s content (5)
{IDIOT} – An anagram (misprints) of the central letters (content) of eDITIOn.

3 Drink-ing (3,8)
{GIN COCKTAIL} – The answer would give you an anagram clue to ING.

4 Prime Minister admits everything, before entire Westminster area (4,4)
{PALL MALL} – A word meaning everything goes inside the abbreviation for Prime Minister and this is followed by a word meaning entire.

5 Filleted game’s colour (4)
{RUBY} – Remove the central letter (filleted) from a game played by the British Lions.

7 Sheep shaved for pelt (3)
{LAM} – … as in hit. Remover the last letter (shaved) of a young sheep.

8 Recruits phoney characters with backing group (9)
{NEOPHYTES} – An anagram (characters) of PHONEY is followed by a reversal (backing) of a word meaning group.

9 Detectives round up God (5)
{CUPID} – An abbreviation for detectives goes around the UP from the clue.

14 Air Corps celebrate losing soft centre with small Snowballs (11)
{ACCELERATES} – … ignore the capitalisation of the definition. The abbreviation for Air Corps is followed by the word celebrate from which the central letter (meaning soft as in a soft pencil) is removed and the abbreviation for small.

15 Have no memories of consuming poison (5)
{VENOM} – The answer is hidden (consuming) in HAVE NO MEMORIES

17 Bitter cocktail disseminating nice aroma (9)
{AMERICANO} – An anagram (disseminating) of NICE AROMA.

19 Crown and Drum serves cow (8)
{BROWBEAT} – … as in dominate. Alternative words for crown and drum are added together.

22 Born around unknown area of New York (5)
{BRONX} – An anagram (around) of BORN followed by a letter used to denote an unknown number.

25 The cabaret gratified bankers, catapulting hearts into verse (5)
{HAIKU} – The central letters (hearts) of tHe cabAret gratIfied banKers catapUlting. A type of poem containing 17 syllables, just like this clue.

26 Editor’s note tempts politician to go back (4)
{STET} – The abbreviation for a politician is removed (to go) from TEMPTS and the remaining letters are reversed (back).

28 See 18 Across

The themed entries are:


1/2 oz grenadine syrup, 1 oz gin, sweet and sour mix club soda, 1/2 oz cherry brandy

Pour grenadine into the bottom of a Collins glass, and fill with ice. Add gin, and almost-fill with equal parts of sweet and sour and chilled soda. Top with cherry brandy, and serve unstirred, garnished with a cherry.


1 1/4 oz Tanqueray® malacca gin, 1/2 oz Blue Curacao liqueur, 1 1/2 oz fresh sweet and sour mix, 3 oz pineapple juice.

Mix all ingredients into an ice-filled shaker. Shake and strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel.


1 1/2 oz Bombay Sapphire® gin, 3/4 oz Green Chartreuse®, 1/2 oz dry vermouth, 1 orange peel.

Shake gin, chartreuse, and vermouth in cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Twist orange peel and drop into cocktail.


2 part Gin, 1 part Whiskey, Red Maraschino Cherry

Stir the gin and whiskey with ice in a mixing glass. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.


10 cl Gordon’s® gin, 5 cl Rose’s® lime juice, 4 cl Heering® cherry liqueur, 20 cl apple juice, 5 cl tonic water.

Mix everything together and add some crunched ice and olives.


1 1/2 oz gin, 1/2 oz sweet vermouth, 1/2 oz dry vermouth, 1/2 oz white creme de cacao.

Stir the gin, vermouths and creme de cacao together in an old-fashioned glass half-filled with ice cubes, and serve.


2 1/2 oz gin, 1 tbsp cocoa powder, 2 tbsp sugar

Pour gin into a malt shaker or similar. Stir in the cocoa and sugar, mix together and shake. Pour into a champagne flute glass, and serve.


1 oz dry vermouth, 1 oz gin, juice of 1/4 oranges, 1 slice orange.

Shake all ingredients (except orange slice) with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Add orange slice and serve.

There is also a Ruby Fizz, Back Street Abortion, Three Miller, Cupid’s Cocktail, Piranha, Idiot Box, Americano and Haiku. Add Hourglass and a cocktail shaker called Stet and you have an amazing collection of themed answers.

Oh, and that very rare word (SHE). Yes, our first new female setter in over three years of the NTSPP and only the second the entire series.

14 comments on “NTSPP – 180

  1. Thanks to Vigo for a very good puzzle (although Blears is possibly a bit obscure, especially for non-UK solvers). I enjoyed it – favourite clue 26d,

    1. Swings and roundabouts, really. We US residents get our share of “easy to us ” clues like 22D.

  2. Well got there eventually, will have to wait for review to confirm some of the word play.

    Another cracking puzzle from a new setter, look forward to more.

    Many thanks Vigo.

  3. Most enjoyable puzzle from Vigo, Thanks.

    Also, thanks to gazza – amazing what a few gentle nudges can do – I now understand Blears and also 26d.

    Still missing some of the wordplay (10a & 25d) – so looking forward to the review!

    The pet owners on this blog may find 18/28 somewhat disturbing! Look away now!

    1. Having read the review I’m not surprised that I failed on 10a & 25d. (Far too clever for me).

      I was going to say that it was a bit clumsy to have “cocktail” appearing both in the solution to 3d and also in the clue to 17d.

      I always miss a theme! Oh! Dear!

      Crosswords like this always leave me in awe of the setters’ brainpower!

      Excellent stuff! Thanks to Prolixic for the review!

      1. ps. Nice to know that the NTSPP Setters’ Club is not restricted to men only!

        Back to watching the golf at Muirfield! Boo!

  4. Nice debut. Very enjoyable puzzle and some really clever clues. 6A was my last one in and took ages before the penny dropped. Many thanks to Vigo and to Prolixic for the review.

  5. Thank you to Prolixic for the excellent, and wonderfully illustrated, review and to everyone for the kind comments – I was a bit nervous so I really appreciate you all taking the time to give feedback!

  6. It will not be too long before Vigo’s puzzles are a bit too hard for the NTSPP slot. When she actually gets good at this setting lark, she’s going to be out there with the Elgars and Bannsiders, Monks and Tyruses, because she’s that devious.

    I don’t mean to imply this puzzle isn’t good – far from it. I just know how few puzzles she has set so far and how much decent setters improve once they’ve mastered the basics, and if she’s this good this early…..

  7. I worked on this one during a train journey this morning and finished it in Wellington airport while waiting to catch a flight to Nelson. Found it a really fun puzzle to do. Missed some of the wordplay in the Blears clue, but got the answer OK. Lots of chuckles and d’oh moments. Look forward to your next one.
    Many thanks Vigo and Prolixic

  8. Very late to the party as ever. Good, entertaining puzzle, although the cocktails were a bit lost on me (mine’s more red wine or Guinness!)

    I think there’s a typo in 13 PIRANHA.

    I especially liked the GIN COCKTAIL.

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