NTSPP – 201 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 201

NTSPP – 201

Chromatograph by Artix

– + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

NTSPP - 201

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

I met Artix at the 2012 Times Crossword Championships, and during our conversation he offered to set a puzzle for the NTSPP series.  Well, it was over 12 months later that this one arrived in my inbox, but it was well worth the wait.  Please make sure that you read the instructions carefully.  While it can be solved interactively, it is probably best to print the pdf version.  BD

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.

Welcome to Artix with an intriguing crossword and enjoyable NTSPP debut.  The preamble told us “Answers to all of the Across clues contain thematic items.  These are ignored in the wordplay of their clues and are not to be entered in the grid but instead solvers must apply them appropriately (this only applies to printed versions, not to interactive ones!).  Down clues are normal”.

The title to the crossword “Chromatograph” made it clear that colours were involved in the crossword in some form.  It soon became clear that the full solution to each across clue contained a colour.  The wordplay did not indicate the colour and the colours themselves were not to be entered into the grid.  For example, if the solution was GREYBEARD only BEARD would be entered into the grid.  The wordplay would give you the answer to be entered into the grid, for example “Poet entertains European” but the full definition would include the colour, for example “Old man”.

In the solutions below, there are two sets of {} for the across clues.  Those with the {} in italics are the missing colours.  A suitable coloured solution is included at the end of this review.


1 Athlete fixing engine part with spanner (9,4)
{CAMBRIDGE} {BLUE}– The name of part of the engine followed by (fixing A with B) something that spans a river.

6 Hearts master set piece (5,5)
{BLACK} {MARIA} – … a form of whist in which players avoid winning tricks containing hearts or the queen of spades.  The abbreviation for master followed by an operatic set piece.

9 Traffic system heading off detour somehow (3,5)
{RED} {ROUTE} – An anagram (somehow) of DETOUR after removing the first letter (heading off).

10 Making contract? He’s not the one most likely to (9,6)
{SHRINKING} {VIOLET} – … reference to another name of a coy or shy person … Another word for making something contract or grow smaller.

11 Gives big fish generous farewell package (6,9)
{GOLDEN} {HANDSHAKE}- Another word for gives followed by the name of a big fish.

12 Abandoning the French. Hitler’s redeployed one of his storm troopers (5,5)
{BROWN} {SHIRT}- An anagram (redeployed) of HITLERS after removing LE (the French).

13 Do these Internet grannies start out as Radio Four users, possibly? (6,7)
{SILVER} {SURFERS}- An anagram (possibly) of R F USERS, the R and F being the initial letters (start out as) of Radio Four.

15 In hindsight, ruin jazz classic (4,6)
{MOOD} {INDIGO} – Reverse (in hindsight) a word meaning ruin or condemn to a terrible fate.

18 Pop group relieved after comeback (4,6)
{DEEP} {PURPLE} – Reverse (after comeback) a word meaning relieved (as in having been to the toilet).

20 Fire engine‘s strange-looking in unfinished plaster paint (5,7)
{GREEN} {GODDESS} – A word meaning strange-looking goes inside a word for a type of plaster paint with the final letter removed (unfinished).

23 Head Office to exploit official address (5,5)
{WHITE} {HOUSE} – The abbreviation for head office followed by a word meaning to exploit.

24 Old hit song to pay for soldier (6,9)
{YELLOW} {SUBMARINE} – A word meaning to pay for followed by a type of nautical soldier.

26 Elusive character giving solicitor main part after knight’s left (7,9)
{SCARLET} {PIMPERNEL} – Another word for a solicitor (of an unsavoury nature) followed by a word for the main or central part of something after removing the K (after Knight’s left).

27 A proper geezer means to destroy canopy (5,6)
{AGENT} {ORANGE} – … a form of now banned defoliant used in Vietnam… The a from the clue followed by the polite term for a man.

28 Glare of publicity easily digested (9)
{LIME}{LIGHT} – A word meaning low in calories or easily digested.

29 The plane’s crashed after the pilot saw these? (4,9)
{PINK} {ELEPHANTS}- An anagram (crashed) of THE PLANES.


1 Removing chunks or just one piece covering ear (8)
{CORNHUSK} – An anagram (removing) of CHUNKS OR.

2 Those making grimaces around urn? (8)
{MOURNERS} – An all in one clue where the whole clue provides the definition with the word play being a word for making grimaces going around the URN from the clue.

3 They used to make up films about golfer (5)
{REELS} – The word meaning about followed by the surname of the South African golfer Ernie ***.

4 Pub in Norfolk town kicks out lawyer (7)
{DISBARS} – Another word for a pub goes inside the name of a town in Norfolk.

5 Men rue hot treatment, catch cold (7)
{ENRHEUM} – An anagram (treatment) of MEN RUE.

6 Confusingly miscoined “hourglass-shaped” (9)
{MENISCOID} – An anagram (confusingly) of MISCOINED.

7 Roughly 86% growing grape product (6)
{RAISIN} – … a dried form used in cake making … The first 6/7 ths (roughly 86%) of a word meaning growing or lifting up.

8 Director’s abandoning tube station nevertheless (as it were) (6)
{ALGATE} – … an archaic word (as it were) for nevertheless … removed the abbreviation for director from the name of the tube station on the Circle Line between Tower Hill and Liverpool Street.

14 After Telegraph puzzle, somewhat obscene men try strike action (9)
{EVENEMENT} – The abbreviation for Enigmatic Variations (a Telegraph puzzle published on Sundays) followed by part (somewhat) of OBSCENE MEN TRY.

16 Distinguished Italian doctor decapitated Scottish child (8)
{MEDICEAN} – Another word for a doctor followed by a Scottish name for a child with the first letter (a W) removed (decapitated).

17 Resistant to heat like top quality tar (8)
{ASBESTOS} – A word meaning like followed by a word meaning top quality and the abbreviation for ordinary seaman (tar).

19 Pavarotti’s heavy foot on top of stake (7)
{PESANTE} – … an Italian musical term … A three letter word for foot followed by a word for a stake used in gambling.

20 French salt tax‘s current measure in storm (7)
{GABELLE} – A word for a measure of current (defined in Chambers as a unit used to express a relationship between two power levels) goes inside another word for a windy storm.

21 Printers’ union man on US railway (6)
{CHAPEL} – Another word for a man followed by the abbreviation for the elevated railway in America (or parts of America).

22 Gnetum hybrid producing spice (6)
{NUTMEG} – An anagram (hybrid) of GNETUM.

25 Swimming in a patch of rough water behind boat (5)
{AWASH} – The A from the clue followed by another word for the wake or turbulent water left behind the boat.


17 comments on “NTSPP – 201

  1. Many thanks Artix,

    After the penny dropped, all the a cross clues went in without too many problems, the downs however caused problems, number of words I’d never heard of, which didn’t yield to my parsing skills…which aren’t great.

    Still good fun though, look forward to more.

    Many thanks Prolixic , help definitely needed today.

  2. Agree with Colmce about this one. I got 9a pretty quick and that gave the game away. Really enjoyed the acrosses as a nice diversion from a regular puzzle. Not too keen on some of the downs though but I guess that having filled the grid with so many themed answers it must leave some pretty rotten checkers!

    I clicked the 4* icon so it must have been pretty good for me!

    Thanks to Artix and Prolixic.

  3. Started off with a hiss and a roar and picked the theme after the first one or two answers. Then made the mistake of thinking it would be plain sailing from there. Definitely not so. In the end. assistance was needed from BRB, Mrs B, Mr Google and even Onelook. However I was determined that I would get there before bed-time last night so I would not be tempted to look at the hints this morning. Managed to achieve this, just. A real challenge.
    Thanks Artix and Prolixic.

      1. We know it is the wrong forum, but in the hope that he might glance this way, we do want to congratulate Hieroglyph on his wonderful puzzle in the Indy. We thoroughly enjoyed it.
        And thanks again Sue for giving us the opportunity to do it.

  4. Really enjoyable until as others had to be inventive for some of the obscure down solutions which took ages ,Thanks Artix for the unusual challenge and yet again Prolixic

  5. Rather stupidly I didn’t take any notice of the title of the crossword so when my first across answer was 28a I thought we were talking about fruit!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif
    It didn’t take too long to sort out that minor problem and I really enjoyed doing the puzzle.
    I was defeated by several in the top right corner and 14 and 20d.
    Lots of clever clues and it must have been quite a mission to compile so thanks to Artix and to Prolixic for all the much needed hints and explanations.

  6. Great fun, great puzzle and great setting. This could have been a good crossword for a daily (no – not a char!)

    Thanks Prolixic for the tour-de-force blog. I think you have to expect unusual words when setting something like this. It’s OK, you can use Google and OneLook to get to the answers – not cheating in my book!

    I thought that ‘bel’ as in decibel was only used in acoustics, but I see in Wiki that it is also used in electronics. I would have thought, however, that ‘sound’ could have been used instead of ‘current’ in the 20d clue to help the solver a bit, especially as it was an unusual word.

  7. What a clever puzzle this is! I didn’t realise the colours also fitted into their own grid. The first time I looked at this, my heart sank because I didn’t think I’d be able to do it. After a couple of false starts, I got 13a and 29a and that established the theme.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif I didn’t get the colours for 15a and 28a, although I had the correct answers in the grid.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif Two of the down clues flummoxed me — 14d and 16d — and I needed the answers.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif I also needed an explanation for my answer to 21d. Otherwise my answers and parsing were fine, so I am very pleased.
    This was a challenging crossword with some obscure words, like 8d which I eventually found in our old 1934 edition of Websters.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif
    I gave this ***** for enjoyment. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif
    And I’d like to give ***** for enjoyment to Prolixic for an absolutely super review.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif
    Thank you both very much, Artix and Prolixic

    1. P S Would also love a PDF copy of the Hieroglyph from the Indy if anyone has one available. Would love to have a try…

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