NTSPP – 199

NTSPP – 199

A Puzzle by Gazza

– + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

NTSPP - 199

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.

It is always a joy to have Gazza in the setter’s chair and this week is no exception.  I swear he takes lessons from Ray T.  This is a fun puzzle with a wide range of clues and a pangram (all of the letters of the alphabet appear in the solutions) to boot.


1a Calls to wake up irritate the French (6)
{BUGLES} – A word meaning to irritate or annoy followed by the plural definite article in French.

5a OTC given makeover by Washington‘s old foe (4,4)
{VIET CONG} – … Washington here being synonymous with America … An anagram (makeover) of OTC GIVEN.

9a Clowns involve family members in birthday ritual (8)
{BUMPKINS} – Put a three letter word for family members inside the word for a birthday ritual that involves being bounded up and down by so-called friends!

10a Material about company admitting endless deception (6)
{CALICO} – A word for a deception or fib with its final letter removed (endless) goes inside a two letter abbreviation for about and the usual abbreviation for a company.

11a Paxman may be a poser but he’s got all the answers (10)
{QUIZMASTER} – A cryptic definition of the role played by Jeremy Paxman in University Challenge.

12a Possibly stole money in Cambodia (4)
{MINK} – … a wrap made from this material is often referred to as a stole …  The abbreviation for money followed by the IN from the clue and the international vehicle registration code for Cambodia.

13a Taught a lesson in quiet university building (8)
{PUNISHED} – The one letter abbreviation for quiet followed by a three letter abbreviation for university and a word for the type of building you may have in your garden.

16a John beavered away at finally replacing old copper (6)
{TOILET} – … as in another name for a convenience …  A word meaning beavered away has the D (old copper or penny) replaced by the final letter of at.

17a Getting naked after divinity lesson’s vulgar (6)
{RIBALD} – A word meaning naked or hairless goes after the abbreviation for religious instruction (divinity lesson).

19a Takes care of young boy’s first cavity, tackling it, … (8)
{BABYSITS} – The first letter of boy is followed by a word for a cavity or deep chasm around (tackling) the IT from the clue.

21a … not to be distasteful, after a … (4)
{AJAR} – … sneaky this one!  If the door is not to (as in push the door to), it is this answer.  A word meaning be distasteful or grate goes after the A from the clue.

22a … tricky set of problems in German city loo? (3,2,5)
{CAN OF WORMS} – A toilet in a German city where a famous parliament or diet was held might describe a tricky set of problems.

25a In time traitor will make mistakes (6)
{ERRATA} – Another word for a traitor goes inside a word for a period of time.

26a Playing around last month in a neighbourly contest lacking bite from the start (8)
{ADULTERY} – The Latin abbreviation for last month goes inside the A from the clue and a word to describe a local contest between two neighbouring teams with the B removed (lacking bite from the start).

27a Traveller was bound to avoid attractive women on first of these trips (8)
{ODYSSEYS} – A cryptic definition of the trips described by Homer in which sailors had to be bound to the mast to avoid being lured by the sirens.

28a Warrant officer, trapped by natives, keels over (6)
{SWOONS} – The abbreviation for warrant office goes inside (trapped by) a word meaning natives.


2d African’s emancipation from guru hushed up (5)
{UHURU} – The answer is hidden (from) and reversed (up) in GURU HUSHED.

3d City plaza’s being restored (2,3)
{LA PAZ} – An anagram (restored) of PLAZA.

4d Discovered wasp in a Chinese vegetable (7)
{SPINACH} – The answer is hidden (discovered) in WASP IN A CHINESE.

5d Called on challenged nurses to serve (7)
{VISITED} – A word meaning challenged goes around (nurses) a word meaning to serve (as you might on a jury).

6d Romeo’s caught in bar scrap (7)
{EXCERPT} – Put an R (Romeo in the phonetic alphabet) inside (caught in) a word meaning bar or save.

7d Tore muscle in a number of malicious attacks (9)
{CALUMNIES} – An anagram (tore) of MUSCLE IN A

8d Tesco not worried about competition – in the end it’s a foregone conclusion (2,7)
{NO CONTEST} – An anagram (worried) of TESCO NOT around the final letter (in the end) of competition.

14d June almost ruined broadcast, but no damage done (9)
{UNINJURED} – A anagram (broadcast) of JUN (June almost) RUINED.

15d Setter comes close to pinching a bishop’s behind (2,7)
{IN ARREARS} – A one letter word for the setter followed by a word meaning comes close to goes around (pinching) a two letter abbreviation for a bishop.

18d Call in teammates from French college (7)
{DECLARE} – The French for from followed by the name of a Cambridge college next door to Kings.

19d Rubbish collectors drop trousers (3-4)
{BIN BAGS} – Another word for drop followed by another word for trousers.

20d To live on picked up birds spreads contamination (7)
{BEFOULS} – Another word for “to live” goes on top of a homophone (picked up) of fowls (birds).

23d Run circles round  barbecue? (5)
{OUTDO} – Double definition time.  A barbeque is a party held outside!

24d Take in exhibit behind Charlie (5)
{MORON} – An R (abbreviation for take) goes inside a word meaning to exhibit your behind.

Next week is the 200th NTSPP crossword.  Tune in then for something a little different with a crossword by Hydra.


  1. Qix
    Posted November 30, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Some nice clues here, and a full selection of letters too.

    Many thanks to Gazza.

  2. crypticsue
    Posted November 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I love Gazza crosswords – they don’t turn up very often but are worth the wait. Excellently reviewed by Prolixic too.

  3. stanXYZ
    Posted November 30, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    “No Contest” – gazza won very easily!

    Far too difficult for me today – a real Toughie!

    Mein Favorit ist – 22a.

  4. Kath
    Posted November 30, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gifThat was difficult – I have finished it but admit to needing the hints to explain quite a few.
    I think I’ve only done a couple of Gazza’s crosswords but I agree that he takes lessons from Ray T, or vice versa – either way it explains why I enjoy both.
    I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite from so many good clues but the ones that made me laugh were 22a and 4, 19 and 24d so it would have to be one of those.
    With thanks to Gazza for the entertainment and to Prolixic for putting me out of my misery with the ones I didn’t understand.

  5. Pegasus
    Posted November 30, 2013 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this one, favourites were, amongst a plethora of others 4d 15d and 26a thanks to Gazza and to Prolixic for the comments.

  6. KiwiColin
    Posted November 30, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Finished it and really enjoyed it. Had not fully parsed 12a though. Those pesky IVR codes again. Had to check on birthday bumps too. Never heard of these. Yesterday, in deprivation desperation mode, we did the prize puzzle in the Guardian, so amazed at the coincidence of Paxman turning up again today. At least I knew of him this time. Lots of clever clues, great fun.
    Many thanks Gazza and Prolixic.

  7. una
    Posted November 30, 2013 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    I was able to do quite a bit,but I’m afraid those “gimme a lettter” proved too tempting and so I used them to complete it. Thank you , Gazza ! lots of likes, including 26a and all the hidden ones.

  8. Catnap
    Posted December 1, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    This is my first Gaza puzzle and I enjoyed it so much (*****) I greatly look forward to more!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif What a lot of chuckles!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_lol.gif I did find it quite difficult but managed to complete all except 23d without hintshttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif. Like KiwiColin, I didn’t fully parse 12a. Although I had the right answer for 24d, I simply couldn’t work out the word play. I didn’t know the abbreviation for ‘take’, and hadn’t heard of the word for exhibiting one’s behind! Oh, and I did make a silly mistake by giving the name of the traveller instead of his travels in 27a! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif Especial likes were 1a, 9a, 19a, 22a (my fave), and 19d.
    Big thanks to Gaza for a super puzzle. And big thanks, too, to Prolixic for an excellent review.

  9. Toro
    Posted December 1, 2013 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed these witty and devious clues, especially 6d and 15d. Many thanks to Gazza and to Prolixic for the illuminating explanations.

  10. gazza
    Posted December 1, 2013 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to Prolixic for the review and to all who commented.

  11. Vigo
    Posted December 2, 2013 at 3:26 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Gazza for a challenging and entertaining puzzle and to Prolixic for the review. Lots of smiles along the way. Favourite 24d.

  12. windsurfer23
    Posted December 2, 2013 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Very entertaining crossword. Thanks to Gazza and Prolixic.

    I particularly liked IN ARREARS and MORON, despite my allergy to take=R, although I suppose I used to use Rx all the time……