NTSPP – 209 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

NTSPP – 209

NTSPP – 209

A Puzzle by Halcyon

– + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows with an end of year review too.

One of Year 4’s new boy’s (see below) makes an excellent return to the fold with an enjoyable puzzle. I will be at the Birthday Celebrations in Bristol when this is published but will drop in to say hello as time permits. Many thanks to Halcyon for entertaining us today. On adding the review, I have noticed that the majority of the answers are ones difficult to provide pictures for – in more ways than one! Your blogger will rise to the challenge to illustrate Halcyon’s private parts in a tasteful manner!!


1 Private parts inflamed in retirement – a depressing experience (6)
{DOWNER} – A word meaning private, as in mine, goes inside (parts) a word meaning inflamed that is reversed (in retirement).

4 Boss entertaining very loudly before drug gets loaded (7)
{STUFFED} – The musical abbreviation for very loudly followed by the abbreviation for ecstasy (drug) goes inside (entertaining) a word for a boss or protuberance.

9 Former lover compromised at cave is mine! (8)
{EXCAVATE} – The two letter word for a former lover is followed by an anagram (compromised) of AT CAVE.

10 Passionate about new decorations (6)
{FINERY} – A word meaning hot or passionate goes around the abbreviation for new.

11 Even for rugby it’s a riotous event (4)
{ORGY} – The even letters of fOr RuGbY. The space between the words is not counted as a letter here.

12 Moderation from politician within expense limits? Dream about it! (10)
{TEMPERANCE} – The abbreviation for a member of parliament goes inside the first and last (limits) of expense. Put a word meaning dream around these letters.

13 Beer bottle? (5,7)
{DUTCH COURAGE} – A semi-cryptic definition of a word for nerve or bottle that could be a bottle of beer too.

16 Record beetroot finally found in back end of Bognor allotment (12)
{REGISTRATION} – The final letter of beetroot goes inside the second part (back end of) the seaside resort Bognor and a word meaning allotment or share.

20 Really big moon and star I get excited about (10)
{ASTRONOMIC} – An anagram (excited) of MOON STAR I followed by an abbreviation for about (circa).

21 Examine straps from women’s underwear (4)
{SCAN} – Remove a four letter word for strap from the end of an eight letter word for women’s underwear that expresses the insubstantial nature of what it covers!

22 Delicate proposal (6)
{TENDER} – A double definition – delicate as in sore and proposal as in offer.

23 Drug from Colombia hidden in rear of Peruvian lorry (8)
{NARCOTIC} – The vehicle registration code for Columbia goes inside the final letter (rear of) Peruvian and a type of lorry.

24 Completely leaderless project joining both sides of the railway (7)
{UTTERLY} – A word meaning project or stick out has its first letter removed (leaderless), this is followed by the first and last letters (both sides) of the an a three letter abbreviation for railway.

25 Pronounced rise in compliance (6)
{ASSENT} – A homophone (pronounced) of ASCENT (rise).


1 Skilful investment in spandex trousers (8)
{DEXTROUS} – The answer is hidden (investment in) SPANDEX TROUSERS.

2 Fashion you’re beginning to find tiresome (5)
{WEARY} – A word mean fashion as in put on or display followed by the first letter (beginning) of you’re/

3 European in charge of housing least likely to be flexible (7)
{ELASTIC} – The abbreviation for Europe and the abbreviation for in charge of hold (housing) are word meaning least likely.

5 Stout served up with cheese and stuff (7)
{TAFFETA} – … a type of material. A three letter word meaning stout or portly is reversed (served up) and followed by a type of Greek cheese.

6 Cardinal scratching a large behind (9)
{FUNDAMENT} – Remover the last A and L (large) from a word meaning cardinal or essential.

7 Make more solvent with Rhine Chemicals lead compound (6)
{ENRICH} – An anagram (compound) of RHINE C (first letter or lead of Chemicals).

8 Union members and I managed to split rent rebate (13)
{REIMBURSEMENT} – An anagram (managed) of U (union) MEMBERS I goes inside (to split) the RENT from the clue.

14 Dismantled rig carted round in barrel (9)
{CARTRIDGE} – … round as in ammunition and barrel as in part of a gun. An anagram (dismantled) of RIG CARTED.

15 Verdi’s “Oberto” premieres with Cuba’s most famous singer (8)
{VOCALIST} – The first letters (premieres) of Verdi Oberto followed by the vehicle registration code for Cuba and a description of the most famous celebrities.

17 Drop dead from sex, roughly, with nearly everyone, everyday (7)
{GENERAL} – Remove the D (drop dead) from a word that describes (roughly) the sex of a person and follow this by a word meaning everyone with the final letter removed.

18 Burns on trousers (7)
{RECORDS} – … as in copies to a CD or DVD. A two letter word meaning on or about followed by a word for a type of trousers.

19 Claim “Fiesta’s behind lock-up” (6)
{ASSERT} – The final letter (behind) of Fiesta is followed by a word for a lock of hair reversed (up).

21 House is ripped off after changing hands (5)
{STORE} – A word meaning took illegally or ripped-off has the L changed to an R (after changing hands).

Belated end of term review

Last week was puzzle 208 which marked the end of the fourth year of the NTSPP series. I foolishly omitted my traditional end of year review so hasten to rectify my mistake having been reminded to do so by our well-loved headmaster, Big Dave.

As well as continued appearances by the now old boys of the NTSPP crossword school, we welcomed a host of new setters to the series this year. Congratulations to Artix, Halcyon, Marley, Skipjack, Toro, Trailman and Vigo who have each made their debut appearance this year. After several years of hoping that we would get some female setters, it is particularly pleasing to welcome Vigo to join the old hands of Quaiteaux as a setter. There will be more new setters in the pipeline, I am sure. With so many excellent people in the setting team, the only downside is that we get to see our shining stars less and less frequently!

Sadly, nothing has emerged from the idea that was floated of ATOM (A Toughie On Monday) that would enable more puzzles to be published in the schedule. However, given the enormous amount of work that Big Dave puts in behind the scenes to organise, edit and publish the puzzles, it would need a willing victim volunteer to take on the extra work that this would entail. Applications should be made on the back of a £50 note to the headmaster if you want to assist.

As well as the general weekly crosswords, various occasions were celebrated in the NTSPP series this year. Notable among these were wedding of Sarah and Nick (Sarah is Arachne in the Guardian), John Henderson’s (Elgar) 50th birthday with a puzzle to which many setters contributed and Tilsit skilfully edited and our very own 200th puzzle with a jumbo crossword to which nearly all of the setters in the series contributed.

Last year’s theme of setters graduating to the national papers has continued. External has added appearances in the Independent following his Inquisitor debut last year and an also made appearances in the Financial Times. A long-overdue and welcome graduation was Hieroglyph’s appearance in the Independent. Commoner has also made welcome regular appearances in the Independent too. Congratulations to all of them.

I would also like to thank the Headmistress of the NTSPP series! Crypticsue works behind the scenes as a test solver for many of the setters in the series and also blogs a number of the crosswords on the weeks when the NTSPP has been set by one of the national setters. She does all of this extra work with patience and good humour. The role of test solvers cannot be underestimated. I know that if she is struggling to solve a crossword, it must be too difficult!

Finally, as ever, the biggest thanks must go to Big Dave who set up the series and has the unenviable task of getting a new puzzle ready to be published every week in addition to his general blogging and site management duties.

As we embark on the fifth year of the series a big thank you to everyone involved and to all who leave comments on the blog to encourage us.

8 comments on “NTSPP – 209

  1. Very late in solving as we have had a very busy weekend with a large family gathering. Managed to do the puzzle in bits and pieces throughout the day. A top quality offering that gave much enjoyment.
    Thanks Halcyon and Prolixic.

  2. Thanks Halcyon and Prolixit,

    A testing puzzle and an interesting blog.

    I was held up at the end by the 21s, but managed to nut them out.

    1 and 16 across were my favourites, and the definition in 14 down was nicely disguised.

  3. Thanks to Halcyon for an excellent puzzle with very good surface readings throughout. My favourite clues were 1a, 6d and 14d. Thanks also to Prolixic for the write-up (I don’t understand the last sentence of the 11a hint).

  4. Thanks to Halcyon and to Prolixic for the review and hints. I found this quite tricky, but very entertaining. Had fray for 11a. Needed the hints for 6d, & the 21’s. Favourite was 16a. Was 3*/4* for me.

  5. I thought this one was really good fun – lots to make me laugh.
    I screwed up 11a twice – my first answer was ‘ball’ but then I got 2d so, even though I couldn’t find it in BRB, I changed it to ‘fray’ hoping that it might be an obscure rugby term – oh well, never mind.
    I liked 1, 13 and 20a and 3 and 6d. My favourite was 21a.
    With thanks to Halcyon and Prolixic.

    I like the name Halcyon – it sounds like its meaning. I knew what it meant but, because I quite often get the meaning of words slightly wrong, I checked it in BRB. I was right but I didn’t know that it meant a kingfisher as well.

  6. This was a real Saturday treat and great fun to do. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif Fave clues were 1a and 6d, closely followed by 15d and 17d.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_lol.gif

    I had two problems. Like Heno, I had ‘fray’ for 11a, and had difficulty trying to work out which was the clue and which the answer in 21d. Otherwise all was well.
    Many thanks to Halcyon for a first-rate puzzle. Very well done, and it would be lovely to see some more.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif
    Many appreciative thanks to Prolixic for an excellent review. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    Thank you, too, Prolixic, for your ‘End of Term Review’. Warmest congrats to all concerned, and a huge thank you for all the enjoyment derived from the NTSPPs.

  7. Thanks Halcyon for an entertaining puzzle.

    Thanks also to Prolixic for the comprehensive review. Unless I have misunderstood, I think TAFFETA=stuff is a bridge too far. Yes, stuff can be material in general but I don’t think TAFFETA could be defined as stuff. In 11a should it not read ‘The space between the words is NOT counted as a letter here?

    I particularly liked 17d.

  8. Many thanks to all of you for your feedback and to Prolixic for a super review [as well as for his restraint in not illustrating 1a – this is a family blog after all.]

    In my defence re “stuff” in 5d the BRB does have “cloth” as one specific meaning. It were a common usage when I were growing up in God’s own County.

    ps – Fine review of the year too P.

Comments are closed.