NTSPP – 183 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 183


NTSPP – 183

A Puzzle by Hieroglyph

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NTSPP - 183

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

See if you can spot the Nina!  Hint: it’s easier to see in the pdf version.

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.

Hieroglyph returns to entertain us with a gentle crossword.  There seemed to be a larger than usual number of clues in this crossword.  The reason for this is that the first letters of the clues spell out a message that tells you what you are doing and who set it!


9 Nothing’s vile about fruit (5)
{OLIVE} – An O (nothing) followed by an anagram (about) of VILE.

10 One star review discretely features Catholic institute’s responses (9)
{REACTIONS} – An anagram (review) of ONE STAR with the abbreviations for Catholic and Institute inserted.  Discretely tells us that the two abbreviations are inserted in different places.

11 Timid nurse – unsettled – covering midwives’ round (7)
{NERVOUS} – An anagram (unsettled) of NURSE with the middle letter of wiVes and an O (round) inserted.

12 Top sale arranged for Paul, perhaps (7)
{APOSTLE} – An anagram (four in a row!) of TOPSALE.

13 Heads of house each acquire red trump card (5)
{HEART} – The initial letters (heads of) House Each Acquire Red Trump.

15 Earl devoured Glen’s lentil dish (3)
{DAL} – Another word for a glen or valley with the final E (earl) removed.

16 Small aircraftsman’s bag (3)
{SAC} – The abbreviation for small followed by the abbreviation for aircraftsman.

18 Assam, for one, ending in pot for Environment Agency (3)
{TEA} – The final letter (ending in) of pot followed by the abbreviation for the Environment Agency.

20 The underworld link is separate (7)
{DISJOIN} – A three letter word for Hades (underworld) followed by a word meaning link.

21 Upright lecturer, for instance (3)
{LEG} – The abbreviation for lecturer followed by the abbreviation for “for instance”.

22 Raw individual, extremely cagey (3)
{ICY} – The abbreviation for one (individual) followed by the outside letters (extremely) of cagey.

23 Diamond inside Indo-European fish (3)
{IDE} – The abbreviation for diamond inside the abbreviation for Indo-European.

24 Avoid school – missing schedule on return (5)
{ELUDE} – Remove (missing) the abbreviation for school from the word schedule and reverse (on return) the remaining letters.

27 Young setters possibly beginning to pick up baked goods (7)
{PUPPIES} – The initial letter (beginning to) of pick followed by the UP from the clue and a type of baked product.

29 Poet‘s 18 – it’s said you see the Queen (7)
{CHAUCER} – Another word for the answer to 18a followed by the letters that are pronounced (it’s said) and you and see and the abbreviation for the queen.

32 Rodents he cooked, made friable by adding butter (9)
{SHORTENED} – An anagram (cooked) of RODENTS HE.

33 Island in the main part of the church is green (5)
{NAIVE} – The abbreviation for island goes inside a word describing the main part of a church.


1 Zoo finally admitted to chap’s complaint (4)
{MOAN} – The final letter of zoo inside (admitted to) another word for a chap.

2 Eastern river in airs about mountains (6)
{SIERRA} – The abbreviations for Eastern and River inside an anagram (about) of AIRS.

3 Peru’s standing order for currency (4)
{PESO} – The IVR code for Peru followed by the abbreviation for standing order.

4 Uruguay’s navy needs small vessels (4)
{URNS} – The IVR code for Uruguay followed by the abbreviations for Royal Navy and small.

5 Zebra, gutted? Catch big cat beginning to eat – sweet! (10)
{ZABAGLIONE} – The outer letters (gutted) of zebra followed by a word meaning catch, a type of big cat and the first letter (beginning to) of eat.

6 Zero time on Tuesday, at first, with old king (4)
{OTTO} – … of Greece.  An O (zero) followed by the abbreviation for time, the first letter of Tuesday and the abbreviation for old.

7 Lyrical quality of a writer, note – beginning to compose by a lake (8)
{POETICAL} – The name of an American writer followed by the name of one of the musical notes, the first letter (beginning to) compose, the A from the clue and the abbreviation for lake.

8 Estate a second son’s sweetheart bought at last (5)
{ASSET} – The A from the clue followed by the abbreviations for second and son, the middle letter (heart) of sweet and the final letter (at last) of bought.

13 Bowlers, perhaps, originally heckling Australian team’s supporters (4)
{HATS} – The initial letters (originally) of Heckling Australian Team’s Supporters.

14 Yes, trouble at the end of August (all over now) (5)
{TODAY} – Take the abbreviation for yes, a word meaning trouble and the final letter (end of) August and reverse all of them (all over).

15 Handing someone their papers: the princess is gone! (10)
{DISMISSING} – Split 2’1, 7 the answer might indicate that the nations favourite princess has gone.

16 Impression of Poles in a bishopric (5)
{SENSE} – The abbreviations for North and South (poles) inside another word for a bishopric or diocese.

17 Eater of men climbing thus (4)
{OGRE} – Reverse (climbing) the Latin word meaning thus.

19 Radical indoctrination a fool applied to rugby player (8)
{AGITPROP} – The A from the clue, another word for a fool and a position assumed by a rugby player.

25 Old city character’s name for a ragamuffin (6)
{URCHIN} – The name of the old biblical city followed by a letter of the Greek alphabet and the abbreviation for name.

26 Gasp! A smile conceals cramp (5)
{SPASM} – The answer is hidden (conceals) in GASP A SMILE

28 Letter thanking a heavenly body? (4)
{IOTA} – … a letter of the Greek alphabet.  Split 2, 2 the answer conveys giving thanks to one of the moons of Jupiter.

29 Yolanda finally goes after a fish in the end (4)
{CODA} – The final letter for Yolanda goes after a type of fish.

30 Patronne, oddly, missed barman (4)
{ARNE} – … a composer.  Remover the odd letters from pAtRoNnE.

31 Higher Education embraced by artist’s bird (4)
{RHEA} – The abbreviation for Higher Education goes inside the abbreviation for a top class artist (member of the Royal Academy).

Was it me or were there an abnormally high number of abbreviation and first and last letter indicators in this crossword?

14 comments on “NTSPP – 183

  1. Thanks to Hieroglyph for the crossword. Spotted the hidden message very early on. Review up later.

  2. Nicely done.

    Mild gripe. I love acrostics and use them a lot myself, so if I think it seemed like there were a lot of “use the initial letters of” wordplays, it may have got slightly out of hand.

  3. Thanks to Hieroglyph and to Prolixic for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle. I managed a good chunk of this before resorting to the hints. Thanks for the Bill Bailey clips, brilliant.! Needed 8 hints in all. Was 4*/4* for me.

  4. Lots of fun. 20A and 19D took me as long as all the rest of the puzzle put together. Loved 32 across. Nice to get a clever cooking clue. And 14D was a gem. Thanks to Hieroglyph, and to Prolixic for the review (especially the Magritte).

  5. Thanks Hieroglyph ,latched on to the “message “after 3-8 d .A really pleasant puzzle
    Personally I would like to solve one of yours without a theme ,message or whatever
    Although I agree to some extent with Alchemi and Prolixic (to whom thanks yet again) regarding predominance of first and last etc they helped me get started but did seem to come in a rush .
    Very grateful from a much delayed passenger in Barcelona Airport ..

  6. I totally failed to spot the NINA, despite having glimpsed the hint that there was one to be found. Good puzzle, good fun.
    Thanks Hieroglyph and Prolixic.

  7. I thought this was more straightforward than is usual for a Hieroglyph puzzle.
    Lots of good clues. Also lots of three and four letter answers which are often the ones I struggle with but haven’t today.
    You can all call me dim if you like but, even knowing that there is a hidden message of some kind, I can’t find it – could some helpful person put me out of my misery?!!
    With thanks to Hieroglyph and Prolixic, and in advance to anyone who can point me in the right direction.

    1. What is spelled out by the initial letters of the clues (NB the clues, not the answers) ?

    2. Would it be incredibly stupid to suggest that it was almost like one of Hieroglyph’s alphabet puzzles but with a little bit of a twiddle – certainly one that I’d never met before – it would never have occurred to me to look at the clues rather than the answers in the grid if gazza hadn’t come to the rescue. Thanks again – it might just have driven me potty!

  8. Thanks to Prolixic for the review and for all your comments. Hope to be back here anon :-)

  9. Sometimes you just have to sit back & wonder how the hell they do what they do these setters….most enjoyable . Thank you to H & to P.

  10. Good setting, although I didn’t spot the NINA as I did it online.

    Fairly straightforward cluing; I particularly liked the PUPPIES with the ‘setters’ misdirection.

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