NTSPP – 196 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 196

NTSPP – 196

A Puzzle by Vigo

– + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

NTSPP - 196

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.

Many thanks to Vigo for an excellent crossword with some nice surface readings as well as some well disguised and intricate wordplay.


1a Personal spin on Democratic decline (8)
{DOWNTURN} – The abbreviation for Democratic followed by a word meaning personal and a word meaning spin.

5a Agitate snake with increased vigour (4,2)
{WIND UP} – A word meaning snake (as a verb) followed by a word meaning with increased vigour.

10a Quiet doctor’s miasma used in drug trial (7)
{PLACEBO} – … something used in a drug trial … The one letter abbreviation for quiet followed by a word meaning doctor or adulterate and the smelly miasma that issues from unwashed armpits.

11a Watch Shakespeare production in Old English (7)
{OBSERVE} – A type of writing used by Shakespeare (think the sonnets) inside the abbreviation for Old English.

12a Good woman taking call about patient (5)
{STOIC} – The abbreviation for a saint (good woman) followed by a call used to attract attention and an abbreviation (one letter) for about.

13a Probe ball into goal area (9)
{ENDOSCOPE} – The letter representing a ball goes inside words meaning goal or objective and a word for area.

14a Fault finder audibly moans spreading its gloom (12)
{SEISMOLOGIST} – A homophone of sighs (audibly moans) followed by an anagram (spreading) of ITS GLOOM.

18a Daily round includes rest outside various topless private concerns (5,7)
{DIRTY LAUNDRY} – An anagram (round) of DAILY includes the outer letters of ResT and a word meaning various with the first letter removed (topless).

21a Devious doctor can make deal (9)
{CONCORDAT} – An anagram (devious) of DOCTOR CAN.

23a Calendar girls taking exercise before date cleaned up (5)
{WIPED} – The group of ladies responsible for that calendar followed by a word for exercise and the abbreviation for date.

24a Breakfast ingredient possibly giving energy to revolutionary leader (7)
{BRIOCHE} – A word for energy or vigour followed by the name of a revolutionary leader.

25a Base is second right then take a left after one mile (7)
{IMMORAL} – A two letter word for a second followed by the A from the clue and the abbreviation left go after an I (one) and the abbreviation for mile.

26a Former prostitute gets right to counsel (6)
{EXHORT} – A two letter word meaning former followed by a two letter word for a prostitute and a two letter abbreviation for right.

27a Aromatic herb without function died troubled (8)
{AGONISED} – Remove GO (without function) from the name of an aromatic herb and follow this with the abbreviation for died.


1d Dismiss journalist that’s upset model (6)
{DEPOSE} – Reverse (upset) a two letter word for a journalist and follow this with a word meaning model (as a verb).

2d Knife, perhaps, with mushy pea on (6)
{WEAPON} – The abbreviation for with followed by an anagram (mushy) of PEA followed by the ON from the clue.

3d Spread East in attempt to cultivate mutiny (9)
{TREACHERY} – A word meaning spread and the abbreviation for east go inside a word meaning attempt.

4d American bird orders idle hand around (5,6,3)
{RHODE ISLAND RED} – An anagram (around) of ORDERS IDLE HAND.

6d Little imps missing odd details (5)
{ITEMS} – The even letters (missing odd) of lItTlE iMpS.

7d Soap tidy used in nineteen-eighty-four perhaps? (8)
{DYSTOPIA} – An anagram (used) of SOAP TIDY.

8d Press release sends message about electronic devices (8)
{PRETEXTS} – The abbreviation for press release and a word meaning sends message (on your phone) goes around the abbreviation for electronic.

9d Worthless standard involving processed food travelling north (4-3-7)
{GOOD-FOR-NOTHING} – A word meaning standard (that may be used to describe the standard for a racecourse) contains (involving) anagrams (processed) of FOOD and (travelling) NORTH.

15d Blade cuts backward on a new boat propeller (9)
{OARSWOMAN} – A word for a blade followed by a word meaning cuts (as in cuts a lawn) reversed followed by the A from the clue and the abbreviation for new.

16d Ready to learn about dodge involving taxi (8)
{EDUCABLE} – Reverse (about) a word meaning dodge and including another word for a taxi.

17d Swing like comedians Russell and Jo? (8)
{BRANDISH} – Like (ish) the surname shared by the two comedians.

19d Exhibits left on board (6)
{SPORTS} – The nautical term for left inside (on board) the abbreviation for steamship.

20d Confused religious scholar involved in dodgy deal (6)
{ADDLED} – The abbreviation for Doctor of Divinity (religious scholar) goes inside an anagram (dodgy) of DEAL.

22d Turn out squatter dropping pastry dish (5)
{OCCUR} – Another word for a squatter omits the pastry dish beloved of football fans.

5 comments on “NTSPP – 196

  1. Thanks to Vigo for another enjoyable puzzle with a lot of d’oh moments. The clues I liked best were 12a and 18a.

  2. Thank you gazza for your kind words and thank you Prolixic for your wonderfully illustrated review (though the basket of washing was an unwelcome reminder that I am yet to tackle the elder daughter’s sports kit following yesterday’s (very muddy) cross country competition).

  3. Late getting on to this as early morning golf got in the way and Carol delayed hanging out her basket of washing to work on this puzzle. A really good tussle for us that we thoroughly enjoyed. Took about the same time as a *** or **** toughie, which is where we think the NTSPP should be. Lots of very good clues, look forward to your next one.
    Many thanks Vigo and Prolixic.

  4. Thanks Vigo an enjoyable and stiff challenge ,favourite for me 18a .
    Keep up the devious work !
    Cheers Prolixic as well .

  5. Started yesterday, and gave up with just a few done, but had the time to give it tonight and finished. Some great clues raising a few smiles and a real sense of satisfaction when finished. Thanks to Vigo and Prolixic.

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