NTSPP – 207 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 207

NTSPP – 207

A Puzzle by Skipjack

– + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

[Skipjack is a recent graduate of one of Boatman’s Crossword Masterclasses.  BD]

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.

Welcome to Skipjack with a cracking debut crossword with a Shakespearean theme and some tricky clues to be solved or not to be solved – that is the question…  We look forward to more crossword from Skipjack in the future.


1 /24/5A: 11 concerning love after not a little song and dance (4,3,5,7)
{MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING} – … a play by Shakespeare.  A five letter  word meaning concerning and a seven letter word meaning love (in the sense of zero) come after a four letter word meaning “not a little” and a three letter word meaning song and dance or a palaver.

5 See 1 across

9 Mutinous pigs rebel under his direction (9)
{SPIELBERG} – … a film director.  An anagram (mutinous) of PIGS REBEL.

10 Alarm of Pope turned leading characters (5)
{APPAL} – A word meaning of the pope or papacy has its first two letters swapped (turned leading characters).

11 Bradman middles shot in a crisis (5)
{DRAMA} – An anagram (shot) of the middle letters of [b]RADMA[n].

12 Complex interaction, ongoing confusion (9)
{INTRICATE} – An anagram (confusion) of INTERACTION after removing the ON (ongoing!).

13 The closest players get to the orchestra once purism is abandoned (10)
{PROSCENIUM} – … unless there is an apron to the stage.  This front part of the stage is an anagram (is abandoned) of ONCE PURISM.

15 Woman who cleans fish (4)
{CHAR} – A double definition of a cleaner and a species of fish.

17 Make vessel sound (4)
{EARN} – A homophone (sound) of URN (vessel).

19 Patron of clothes shop acts for one lacking competence (4,6)
{NEXT FRIEND} – A person who represents a minor in legal proceedings might be a person who likes a particular clothes store.

22 New political system forged when centre-right faction of community activism is expunged (9)
{COMMUNISM} – new in the sense of an alternative to centre-right and community activism.  Remover the centre-right letters from COMMUNITY ACTIVISM.

24 See 1 across

26 Swinger at orgy embraced one going down inconclusively (5)
{ERATO} – The answer is hidden (embraced) in SWINGER AT ORGY.

27 Reversing initial polarity of sensitive liquid produces concentrated solution (9)
{INTENSIVE} – … the solution is a word meaning concentrated.  An anagram (liquid) of SENSITIVE with the first S changed to an N (Reversing initial polarity).

28 /5D: At five minutes to the hour, recited piece from 11 (7,5)
{TWELFTH NIGHT} – … another play by Shakespeare.  The fraction that 5 minute represents to one hour (5/60 = 1/12) followed by a homophone (recited) of Knight (piece on a chessboard).

29 Scottish-Hebrew character in 6 11 (7)
{MACBETH} – A Shakespeare tragedy.  The three letter word for son of in Scotland followed by the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet.


1 Old queen was said not to be scratching head in thought (5)
{MUSED} – Remove the first letter (scratching head) from what Queen Victoria was reputedly said not to be.

2 Musical band (7)
{CHICAGO} – Double definition of a West End Musical and an American rock group named for the Windy City where they originated.

3 Casual relationship topped more serious one (8)
{ALLIANCE} – Remove the first letter (topped) from a word for a casual relationship (dalliance) to give a word for a more serious one.

4 Adherence to orders that once included “live” and “die” (9)
{OBEDIENCE} – Inside the letters of once add a to letter word meaning “live” and the DIE from the clue.

5 See 28 across

6 Like Hamlet, the cigar that finally made a comeback (6)
{TRAGIC} – Reverse the letters (made a comeback) of CIGAR and the final letter of that to give a description of Hamlet.

7 Challenge setter’s cheap shot (7)
{IMPEACH} – A two letter word meaning setter’s followed by an anagram (shot) of CHEAP.

8 Extremely valuable weapon found in garden (9)
{GOLDENROD} – … a plant that may be found there.  A word that describes something extremely valuable followed by an archaic word for a weapon or gun.

13 Discerning gift includes jersey for one (9)
{PRESCIENT} – A word for a gift includes the abbreviation for the group of Islands of which Jersey is a constituent part.  As others have pointed out, Jersey should have been capitalised.

14 Mutual disagreement about university upset final offer (9)
{ULTIMATUM} – An anagram (disagreement?) goes around the reversed (upset) abbreviation of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

16 Distilled product of iron, silver and recycled tin (8)
{ARMAGNAC} – A three letter word for a gun or iron (another archaic reference to weaponry) followed by the chemical symbol for silver and a reversal of a three letter word for a tin.

18 Such behaviour disrupts call following endless 11 (7)
{RAMPAGE} – Remove the outer letters (endless) from the answer to 11a and add a word meaning to call (by means of an electronic device usually).

20 Sensitive issue’s ultimate purpose (7)
{EMOTIVE} – The final letter (ultimate) of issue followed by a word meaning purpose.

21 Decisive event sabotaged for fun (3,3)
{RUN OFF} – An anagram (sabotaged) of FOR FUN.

23 National flag at half-mast to begin with (5)
{IRISH} – A four letter word for a flag or flower of this name followed by the first letter (to begin with) of half-mast.

25 Note the amendment gives force to legislation (5)
{TEETH} – … what metaphorically may give legislation force.  A two letter word for a musical note followed by an anagram (amendment) of the.

18 comments on “NTSPP – 207

  1. Thanks to Skipjack for an enjoyable puzzle. My favourites were 1/24/5a and 16d. I do think that the 13d clue needs a capital letter.

  2. Smashing mix of clues .
    Favourites 12a ,6d and 16d .
    Last in by quite a margin 19a (clever)
    Thanks Skipjack .

  3. Thanks to Skipjack on your NTSPP début (?).

    Very enjoyable! Liked 11a & 27a especially.

    I’m still missing the reasoning behind some of my solutions – so, looking forward to the review …
    e.g. 22a – what is “new” signifying … or have I arrived at the correct answer via the wrong route?

  4. I agree with Gazza Re 13d other than that a good offering, favourites for me were 14d and 16d thanks to Skipjack and in anticipation to the blogger.

  5. Many thanks for the positive feedback. I’m pleased you all enjoyed the puzzle. I was hoping to sneak the lower case letter in 13d past you without comment. Far too discerning an audience, obviously!

    @stanXYZ: Yes, it’s my debut NTSPP. I hope I’ll get the opportunity to publish another puzzle here in the future… The “new” in 22a, as gazza says, was intended to suggest “different”, although the clue would work equally well without it, I think.


  6. Nicely themed puzzle with some excellent clues.

    I’m not sure that ‘middles’ is accurate in 11; should it not be ‘middle’ – I know it spoils the surface!

    Is ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ really a drama? I thought it was a comedy.

    Personally, I would have set BEST FRIEND rather than the more obscure NEXT FRIEND, but maybe it was deemed too obvious.

    Welcome Skipjack, good debut puzzle!

  7. I found that difficult but very enjoyable – any more difficult and I wouldn’t have finished it.
    I did need a few explanations so maybe that means that I didn’t really finish it.
    I thought 6d was a hidden-in-the-middle and reversed answer. I was quite pleased that I spotted it as I usually miss them – it now seems that I’m seeing them even when they’re not there!
    I nearly put ‘wife’ for 15a – a woman who cleans and a ‘fish wife’. Good thing that I didn’t as it would have made 7 and 8d a bit interesting.
    I spent too long thinking that 27a was either chemistry or physics so went rather glazed over to begin with as I can’t do either.
    I liked 9, 13 and 29a and 1d. My favourite was 1d.
    With thanks to Skipjack and Prolixic.

    1. No! But 26a was very naughty!

      Ps. The Thane of Glamis seems to have done a runner … (picture 29a)

    2. No, but I also wondered why. Brewer’s Prhase & Fable says Erato is ‘the Muse of erotic poetry, usually represented with a lyre’.

  8. A good puzzle that we really enjoyed. However we have just discovered that we had 19a wrong as we had Best Friend. Guess that NEXT is a retail chain, but unfamiliar to us. We missed the subtlety of Erato too. Some really clever clue constructions. Look forward to the the next offering.
    Thanks Skipjack and Prolixic.

    1. Our five year old grandson Sam is staying with us for a few days and this morning is wearing a dressing gown sent to him by his other grandparents in England. It has a great big “NEXT” embroidered on it! :)

  9. Like Kath, I did find this difficult.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif The first time I looked at it I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. Once I got into it, I managed to complete all save one clue — 17a, for which I needed the hint. I had a mental block and simply couldn’t think past trying to find a homophone for ‘ewer’ that began with ‘e’ ! Oh dear!http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif
    I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif Many excellent clues. I particularly liked 1/24/5a and 28a/5d. I also enjoyed 9a but it took me ages to work out the anagram!
    Well done, Skipjack! Thanks for the entertainment and Iook forward to more of your crosswords.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif
    Super review with lovely illustrations, Prolixic. Thank you very much indeed.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    1. I’m really pleased to hear you enjoyed my puzzle and that it didn’t reveal its secrets too quickly.

  10. Thanks, Prolixic, for the great review of my puzzle, particularly the accompanying images and videos.

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