NTSPP – 194 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 194

NTSPP – 194

A Special Puzzle by Omnia

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NTSPP - 194

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Tilsit has gathered together no less than 28 setters from across the broad spectrum of the UK crossword community to compile this tribute to John “Elgar” Henderson, who celebrates his 50th birthday tomorrow.  If you would like to play “who set which clue” there is a list of setters on the puzzle page and Crypticsue reveals all in her review below.

Whilst being very jealous of everyone having such a lovely time in Sheffield (I am receiving regular reports!) , it does mean that I get the chance to blog this splendid puzzle specially created for John Henderson’s  50th birthday.     Many happy returns John – I hope you’ve had a lovely day and that you enjoy solving this great puzzle as much as I did.  Love  “Use” xxx

 Tilsit presenting the crossword to John

Thanks to Prolixic for the photograph.


7a   Spike Milligan finally succeeded, even if rejected originally (5)
{THORN}  A poetic variant of a word meaning even if, and the ‘original’ or first letter of Rejected are followed by (succeeded) the final letter of MilligaN.

8a  Most pompous, thieves a potty (8)
{HEAVIEST}   An anagram (potty) of THIEVES A.

9a   Least likely to manage growth, Miliband’s backing cycling taxes (6)
{DRIEST}    The backing or last letter of MilibanD  followed by a word meaning taxes or strains where the first letter moves to the end (cycling).

10a   Unpleasant as one starts to go grey – how awful (for the elderly) about that (7)
{PIGGISH}  Insert into an archaic (for the elderly) injection of contempt, I (one) and  the ‘starts’ of Go and Grey.

11a   Adult education centre covers heartless aftermath surrounding Pearl Harbour (4)
{OAHU}   Insert the outside letters (heartless) of AftermatH  into the two letters by which a distance learning university is known to get the Hawaiian island where Pearl Harbour is located.

12a   Pressure to get agreement with Spain for whom the money goes to (5)
{PAYEE}   The abbreviation for pressure, another way of saying Yes (get agreement) and the IVR Code for Spain.

13a   Fruity cross and bungaloid now and then (4)
{UGLINow and then indicates that you need the regular letters of bUnGaLoId.


14a   Laundered riches invested in Dodge and Beamer (8,3)
{CHESHIRE CAT}   Misleading capitals time.   The ‘beamer’ is a Lewis Carroll character famed for his smile.   An anagram (laundered) of RICHES invested in a verb meaning to dodge or deceive.

Cheshire Cat

19a  Outflanked by both parties, disheartened Obama gives way (4)
{ROAD}   The outside letters (disheartened) of ObamA are inserted into the single letter abbreviations for the two American political parties.

21a   Cloth design produced by anonymous hippie popping ecstasy (5)
{BATIK}  A type of printed fabric is produced (here anyway) by removing the N (no name, anonymous) and E (popping Ecstasy) from a 1950s hippie.


23a   No alternatives to Blairism?  Drown your sorrows here (4)
{BARS}   The alternate letters of BlAiRiSm give somewhere to drown your sorrows.

24a   Setter’s receiving award – blushing in parts (8)
{MEMBERED}   The  way the setter might refer to himself, the award of Member of the British Empire and the colour you go when you blush.

25a  Beat the bishop, run out for tablet (5)
{THROB}  Remove the E from the end of THE and replace with the abbreviation for Run Out in a cricket score (run out for [ecstasy] tablet) and then finish with the abbreviation for Bishop.

26a  Io’s drunk a gallon before noon – at least at fifty, finally showing shame (8)
{IGNOMINY}   Insert into IO, the abbreviations for Gallon and Noon, and then follow with the abbreviation meaning at least, and the final letter of fifty.

27a   The first part of Will after acting his dismissal   (6)
{AVAUNT}  A  Listener style clue from, Tilsit tells me, a Listener setter….. An archaic expression meaning go away, leave –   Follow A (acting) with a Shakespearean  word meaning  the first part.   Shakespeare used the word in many of his plays to mean ‘Get thee gone’ (dismissal).


 1d   Relentless Indy setter abandoning the capital (7)
{ETERNAL}   Although there are lots of setters of cryptic crosswords whose work appears in the Independent, only one really upsets the spellchecker on my computer by spelling his name mainly  in lower case with a capital letter ‘in the wrong place’.   Remove (abandon) that capital letter to get a synonym for relentless.

2d   Ideal  Nina only starts to appear by resolving unches (8)
{NONESUCH}   Not only does this clue produce the solution to 2d but it also tells you where to look for the Nina in the perimeter of the puzzle.    The ‘starts’ of Nina and Only and an anagram (resolving) of UNCHES.

3d   Arch character fronting Inquisitor present in a tipsy state about to be given send-off (6)
{INSTEP}  The character at the front of Inquisitor followed by an anagram (in a tipsy state) of PRESENT once you have removed the two letters used to mean ‘about’, especially in an email subject box.

4d  Mortification of the flesh – it may be character-building having endless cross to bear (8)
{GANGRENE}  An adjective meaning cross without its last letter (endlessly) is inserted into  a unit of heredity  (it may be character-building)

5d  I’m about to deceive with superior setting (6)
{MILIEU}   A reversal (about) of IM followed by a verb meaning to deceive  verbally and the single letter used to mean superior, upper class.

6d  Pal shat all over part of road (7)
{ASPHALT)   An anagram (all over) of PAL SHAT.  Not a nice surface reading –  my guess as to the setter was correct!!

8d   Blowing out air?  (5, 8)
{HAPPY BIRTHDAY}   My top favourite  as this is a brilliant clue providing the theme of  today’s crossword – what a superb cryptic definition (once the penny had clanged loudly to the ground  – d’oh indeed).

Happy Birthday

15d   Set up a massage business (not half dodgy) round so-called ‘respectable’ area (8)
{SUBURBIA}  Reverse (set up in a down clue)  A (from the clue) and  a verb meaning to massage and place the result inside an anagram (dodgy) of the first half of BUSIness (not half tells you that you only need the first four letters).

16d   Actual wild boar first seen living in the forest (8)
{ARBOREAL}   ‘First seen’ tells you that you need to put the anagram (wild) of BOAR before an adjective meaning actual.

17d  Fruit stuffed with cod roe?  Starter from Noma’s peculiar (7)
{FOREIGN}   Insert into the second  type of fruit Adam and Eve knew well, an anagram (cod) of ROE and finish with the ‘starter’ of Noma.

18d  Guardian for plebs” – Times leader needs to tease one outside the UK (7)
{TRIBUNE}   An officer elected by the plebs of Ancient Rome  to protect their interests.  T (the leader of Times) a verb meaning to tease and the French (outside the UK) word for one.

20d   One yet to settle orbited round leaving island (6)
{DEBTOR}   An anagram (round) of ORBITED leaving out the abbreviation for Island.

22d   Christopher Chataway turned over item of luggage (3, 3)
{KIT BAG}   A diminutive name for Christopher followed by a reversal (turned over) of  a verb meaning to chatter excessively (chat away).


Around the edge of the puzzle you will find the names that strike fear and trembling in the heart of any crossword solver.   The missing name – John’s name he uses for FT puzzles– appears in two places  as shown on the grid below.   If you can’t work out why the single letter is highlighted, have a look at the number in the same square.  Yes I know – it’s daft , but that’s Tilsit for you!

 John H Birthday Puzzle


Thanks to Tilsit for organising this present, the clues were provided by:

Across:  7 Gazza; 8 Windsurfer; 9 Donk; 10 Notabilis; 11 Vigo;  12  Alchemi; 13 Chalicea; 14 Arachne; 19 Toro; 21  Kairos/Prolixic; 23 Witchfinder; 24  Rorschach; 25 Tramp; 26 Radler; 27 Stan

Down:  1 eXternal; 2 Qix; 3 Shamus; 4 Micawber; 5 Anax; 6 Samuel; 8 Bannsider; 15 Tyrus / Lato; 16  Charybdis / Crosophile;  17 Hieroglyph; 18 Monk; 20 Cephas; 22 Bufo

How many did you guess correctly?



16 comments on “NTSPP – 194

  1. Thanks to Omnia for the collaboration! Very clever!

    The horizontal appearance of the missing part is most devious! :wink:

    (Or maybe, I’ve gone wrong somewhere! )

    1. You’ll find out in an hour or so. Just waiting for an email from Gnomey so I can finish off the review.

    2. The missing part appears twice horizontally in the grid.

      I thought it was I O I.

      IO horizontally from left to right and also from right to left? Pish!

  2. Thank you to all the setters and to CS, both for the much needed review and for the suggestion to try this very enjoyable puzzle during a horrid wet and windy afternoon.

    I eventually finished with a little bit of electronic help but needed CS’s review to explain the wordplay for lots of my answers, such as 7a, 9a, 10a, 27a, 1d and 15d.

    Sue, in your hint for 15d you have put “part of a verb”. Isn’t it the whole verb? Also, there is a typo in your hint for 20d. The anagram fodder is ORBITED minus the I.

    I got the three parts of the foursome round the edge fairly quickly, and one of the horizontal IOs; but, without CS’s explanation I wouldn’t have spotted the other one in a million years.

    Loads of good clues here, but I found 21a (which was a new word for me) convoluted and 6d was a bit coarse for my taste. There was no doubt however that 8d was my stand out favourite.

    1. Thanks Dave – you’ve no idea how many times I have re-read my draft in the last couple of days. My usual pointer-outerer is ‘absent with leave’ this afternoon too.

      1. … And is now heading home “gambrinous” after a wonderful celebration. Today’s Independent by Anax also refers to the reason for the celebration as does yesterday’s Financial Times.

  3. Wow! I completed half, and was pretty pleased with myself to get that far. But I had great fun trying! Hats off to any of the usual suspects who managed to complete the whole thing.

  4. What absolute fun for a birthday celebration. Managed everything except for the P answer. Like Stan, I had settled for the I O I forwards and backwards option.
    Happy Birthday John,
    Thanks to all the setters and Sue for the review.

  5. Sorry I couldn’t make it to the celebration.

    I failed to spot even one of the missing appearances, as I read the preamble as “diagonal” not “horizontal” – and I hadn’t even been drinking!

    My own favourites of my colleagues’ contributions were PIGGISH, MILIEU, CHESHIRE CAT and the very cheeky KIT BAG!

  6. Together with today’s cryptic I have printed this so that I have something to occupy my mind during the imminent deluge.

    Thanks to all & to CS for (wo)manning the fort while the rest of ’em were sinking a few sherberts up north.

  7. Thanks to crypticsue for the review, and Happy 50th Birthday to John. Puzzle was way too difficult for me, only managed four answers, and when I looked up all the missing ones and filled the grid, I could only see Emigmatist , Elgar and Nimrod in the Nina. What has 10 got to do with it ?

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