NTSPP – 214 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 214

NTSPP – 214

A Puzzle by Prolixic

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by crypticsue  follows.

Thanks once again to Prolixic for another fine Saturday afternoon diversion  – a shame that this enjoyable  crossword appears on a day when there is Six Nations rugby to watch and it is gardening weather outside.  Still a glance at the Telegraph’s equivalent of the Radio Times indicates that Saturday night TV is as dire as usual so perhaps there’ll be a few people who’ll solve this while celebrating/drowning their sorrows/relaxing after a hard day in the garden!


1a           Snag peers resolved for commuter (9)
{PASSENGER}   An anagram (resolved)of SNAG PEERS.


6 a          Simple song of two tenors in amateur production (5)
{DITTY}   Insert two Ts (two Tenors) into the abbreviated term used for the  sort of work done by an amateur rather than a professional.

9a           Best man embraced by old friend (7)
{OPTIMAL}  The diminutive form of Timothy (man) is embraced by or inserted between O (old) and an informal term for  a friend.

10a         Set‘s repaired by academy fellow (7)
{AFFIXED}  The abbreviation for Academy plus the abbreviation for Fellow and another way of saying repaired or mended.

11a         Men leave for Spain in a line for match (6)
{EQUATE}  Match or be identical to in value –   Remove the two-letter abbreviation for Other Ranks of soldiers (men) from the line that goes round the centre of the Earth and replace it with the IVR code for Spain.

12a         Rules from first officer! (8)
{PROTOCOL}   First-formed or primitive followed by the abbreviation for a senior army officer.

14a         Call boy back around lunchtime? (4)
{DIAL}   A reversal (back) of a boy with I (one o’clock may be when you eat lunch) inserted.

15a         Buy or sell dilapidated model of car before getting tram (10)
{TROLLEYBUS}    The single letter by which the first affordable motor car is known followed by an anagram (dilapidated) of BUY OR SELL.


18a         Protagonist in works of Wagner? (10)
{RINGLEADER}   A cryptic definition of someone who might head the company of singers in one of Wagner’s most famous works.

20a         Chief of European Space Station (4)
{EMIR}   Crosswordland’s most well-known chief?   E (European) followed by the name of the Russian space station.

23a         Fearful farm animal only just beheaded (8)
{COWARDLY}   A farm animal followed by an adverb meaning only just with its first letter removed (beheaded).


24a         Prepare group of seven in advance (6)
{SEASON}  To prepare by  allowing to mature, or adding flavouring.   The seven here are the oceans of the World – another word for oceans followed by an interjection meaning advance,  proceed forwards.

26a         Expressing regret as career girl fails missing three key subjects (7)
{ELEGIAC}   Mournful –   Remove the 3 Rs (missing three key subjects) from CAREER GIRL  and make an anagram (fails) of the  remaining letters.

27a         German opponents bug old secret organisation (7)
{GESTAPO}   G (German) followed by the abbreviated way of referring to two of the opponents in  a game of bridge, a verb meaning to bug (especially a telephone wire) and O (old).

28a         State services hold back return to original position (5)
{RESET}   Reversed and hidden (hold back) in staTE SERvices.

29a         Function quickly and be dependable (9)
{STEADFAST}  In the function of another person followed by another way of saying quickly.


1d           Scottish verdict on derived foodstuff (9)
{PROVENDER}  A Scottish word used when a criminal case against someone has been successful and the abbreviation for derived.

2d           In write up one’s highly recommended a small fruit (7)
{SATSUMA}  A reversal  (write up) of A (from the clue) an essential thing (to watch perhaps) (highly recommended) and A[‘]S (one’s).


3d           Atrocity with theft of gold creates hostility (6)
{ENMITY}   ‘theft’ indicates the removal of the heraldic term for gold from an atrocity or great wickedness.

4d           Girl left with hard feelings (4)
{GALL}   An informal term for a girl and the abbreviation for Left.

5d           Earl or Lord supply equipment for navvy (4,6)
{ROAD ROLLER}   An anagram (supply) of EARL OR LORD.


6d           Rendered agreement about group of players’ times (8)
{DEFATTED}  Clarified by melting – insert into an official agreement, the abbreviation for the Football Association (group of players) and T T (times plural)

7d           Run along to consumer group in vehicle (7)
{TAXICAB)  To run along the ground (like an aeroplane on a runway) and the abbreviation for that consumer group, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

8d           Call delegate to support leaders of youth organisation (5)
{YODEL}   The leaders of Youth and Organisation followed by the abbreviation for delegate.

13d         What someone with trichophobia does with hairstyle (10)
{DREADLOCKS}  Split 5,5 this might describe what someone with a phobia about hair might do.


16d         Under the influence tinkled in beer (6,3)
{STRUNG OUT}   Weak, ill or distressed as the result of drug addiction.    Insert into a type of strong dark beer, a less informal way of saying telephoned someone than ‘tinkled’.    The wordplay reads as if one of the ‘naughtier’ setters had written this clue

17d         A film about tailless bird – Chicken Little? (8)
{ALARMISTNo 1 son loved the tale of Chicken Licken (aka Chicken Little, which is the name of the film) so much that in the end I buried the book in the garden as I just couldn’t face reading it again (sorry Steve!)   The young bird was an example of a scaremonger  – an acorn fell on his head and he thought the world was coming to an end.   A (from the clue), the first three letters (tailless) of a high-flying bird, and a fine film of water.

Chicken Little

19d         Reportedly understood head’s innovation (7)
{NEWNESS}   A homophone (reportedly) of understood, was aware of , followed by  a headland.

21d         Cosmetic kept in Emma’s caravan (7)
{MASCARA}  Hidden in EmMAS CARAvan.


22d         Familiar poem – the first of Donne (6)
{VERSED}   A poem, or part thereof, followed by the first letter of Donne.

23d         Warm   egg on   toast left unfinished! (5)
{CHEER}   A triple definition –  the toast is left unfinished  as it is usually seen with an S on the end.

25d         I’ll return to capture river monster (4)
{OGRE}   A reversal (return) of I or ‘the self’ with R (river) inserted.

7 comments on “NTSPP – 214

  1. Well, how lucky we all are today – two brilliant puzzles.
    I loved this one as much as I did the (inside) back page one although it did put up much more of a fight.
    My last answer was 24a – thought of dwarves, deadly sins, wonders of the world, a septet but not the right group of seven for ages – stupid or what?
    I liked 18 and 23a and 13, 16 (agree with CS about that one) and 23d. My favourite is one of those!
    With thanks to the very prolific Prolixic and to CS for explaining why my 11a and 3d were right.

  2. A truly delightful puzzle. Just right for our Sunday morning treat. Last one in was 6d. Got into a bit of trouble by trying to mis-spell 26a but Chicken Little sorted it for us. (Love your story about the book Sue). Great stuff.
    Thanks Prolixic and CS.

  3. This puzzle has had me grinning from ear to ear like the Cheshire Cat. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_biggrin.gif Fave clue is 18a. (Many years ago (1953), Anna Russell did a very funny take on the Ring Cycle.) I also loved 13d, 16d, 17d and 6a.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_lol.gif

    I completed all without hints, but I needed explanations of my answers to 11a and 24a. I missed the third definition in 23d by taking ‘toast left unfinished’ as the indicator. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

    Many thanks to Prolixic for a super puzzle and to Crypticsue for an entertaining and most helpful review.

  4. A beautiful warm day here in Southern Maryland too, and a rare winter opportunity to tackle the garden beckoned. Much to do before the promised snow arrives (again) tomorrow night, so I was late getting to this. Lovely stuff all in all, although I’m not altogether convinced by 24A (for which I needed the hint). I don’t play bridge so I don’t get the ‘opponents’ reference in 27A but the answer was obvious, and 11A was altogether too convulated for me. But 13D was fabulous, as was 25D. Many thanks to Prolixic and to CS for the review.

      1. I stubbornly try to fly solo and resort to help with great reluctance. It may be a character flaw, but at my age I reckon working out the clues for myself, however long it takes, keeps Old Timers at bay. I win some, I lose some, and that’s OK, too. As long as a puzzle raises a smile or two, as 16D did, I’m happy.

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