NTSPP – 215 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 215

NTSPP – 215

A Puzzle by Bucko

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Welcome to Bucko.  He is a new setter who has already had a puzzle published on Alberich, but this is his first NTSPP puzzle.  I hope you all enjoy it.  BD

Prolixic’s review of this puzzle follows.

Many thanks to Bucko for an entertaining crossword and a warm welcome to the ranks of the NTSPP.  We look forward to more from him.  Several solvers’ shins have now healed so the review can begin.


1a Scott Fitzgerald’s great character gets drug for leading actor and makes ends meet (4,2)
{GETS BY} – An E (drug) replaces the first letter (leading) of actor in the eponymous title character in Scott Fitzgerald’s novel.

4a Mixture of dyes brightened majority of early wine (6)
{LITMUS} – … used in chemical tests to determine if something is acidic or alkaline.  A word meaning brightened is followed by the first three letters (majority of) the name of the liquid created in the first stages of brewing wine.

8a Defeat by returning and burning fuels – no need for force (7)
{REPULSE} – Reverse a word meaning by or according to and follow this with an anagram (burning) of FUELS without the F (no need for force).

9a Singer‘s brief kiss outside La Scala, missing opening of Elektra (7)
{SOPRANO} – A four letter word meaning kiss has the final letter removed (briefly) and goes around the art form for which La Scala is renowned with the E removed (missing the opening of Elektra.

11a Impotence in office (10)
{INCAPACITY} – The IN from the clue followed by a word meaning office or the power invested in someone by their office.

12a Old Italian dates team, first to last! (4)
{IDES} – A word for a team has the first letter moved to the end.

13a Publish volume about last Hussar (5)
{PRINT} – A type of volume associated with milk goes around the last letter of Hussar.

14a He questions old Australian “Digger” (8)
{EXAMINER} – A two letter word meaning old or former followed by the abbreviation for Australian and another word for someone who digs for minerals or metals.

16a Girl has bare back and starts to enjoy sex with her trousers down! (8)
{UNAWARES} – A three letter name for a girl followed by a three letter word meaning bare reversed (back) and the first letters (starts to) Enjoy Sex.

18a Cheeky make up (5)
{LIPPY} – A double definition, the second being an informal term for a cosmetic.

20a Empty rhetoric often improvised? (4)
{JAZZ} – A double definition, the second being a musical style that relies on improvisation.

21a Almost accept soft payment terms at the outset – that’s nonsense (10)
{CODSWALLOP} – The abbreviation for cash on delivery (payment terms) followed by a word meaning accept with the final letter removed (almost) and the abbreviation for soft.

23a Start express outside (4-3)
{OPEN-AIR} – Another word for start or being followed by a word meaning express or ventilate.

24a Hide and sob sadly before fix (7)
{OBSCURE} – An anagram (sadly) of SOB followed by a word meaning fix or heal.

25a Finale in G? (6)
{ENDING} – A word meaning finale followed by the IN and G in the clue.

26a Catches wrasse in estuary nets (6)
{SEINES} – Catches as a verb.  The answer is hidden (nets) in WRASSE IN ESTURARY.


1d A party good to go (5)
{GREEN} – A double definition of a political party and the light that indicates that you can go.

2d Mountains shaking on passing of cataclysm (7)
{TSUNAMI} – An anagram (shaking) of MOUNTAINS after removing (passing) the O and N.

3d Spoil salesman’s talk after barracking extremely silly introductions (9)
{BESPATTER} – The first letters (introductions) of Barracking Extremely Silly

5d Record extracted from virology experiment reveals dentine (5)
{IVORY} – An anagram (experiment) of VIROLOGY after removing the LOG (record extracted).

6d Sue, drunk, leaves spilt miniatures to get another drink! (7)
{MARTINI} – Remove the letters of SUE from MINATURES and make an anagram (spilt) of the remaining letters.  The “drunk” tells us that the letters of SUE are not in order when removed from the word.

7d Truly evil church Count follows (9)
{SINCERELY} – A three letter word for evil followed by a two letter abbreviation for Church of England and a word meaning count or trust.

10d Notes delivered from France found in part of amusement park by flower (9)
{RIVERSIDE} – Remove the F (France) from the name of some paper money and put the resulting letters inside a type of attraction you would find in an amusement park.

13d Fruit tree’s first fruit (9)
{PINEAPPLE} – A coniferous tree first followed by the a traditional fruit (or a coniferous tree followed by the first fruit in the garden of Eden but the fruit is nowhere named in the book of Genesis.

15d Legitimate ration being deficient – blew a fuse! (9)
{ALLOWABLE} – A fiver letter word meaning ration (as a verb) with the final letter removed (being deficient) followed by an anagram (fuse) of BLEW A.

17d Need replacement after hearing virtuoso dried up (7)
{WIZENED} – A homophone (after hearing) of WHIZZ (virtuoso) followed by an anagram (replacement) of NEED.

19d Grisham’s brief has a very large bill? (7)
{PELICAN} – A double definition of the name of the book by John Grisham and a bird with a very large beak.

21d Vagabond finally abandons stray rancid dog (5)
{CAIRN} – Remove the final letter of vagabond from RANCID and make an anagram (stray) of the remaining letters.

22d Lace flower (5)
{ORRIS} – Double definition of a type of gold or silver lace and a type of iris.

12 comments on “NTSPP – 215

  1. Welcome Bucko and thanks for an entertaining puzzle with some arresting imagery. I liked 12a, 16a and 2d in particular. Look forward to the explanations for 1d and 10d. 22d was completely new to me.

    1. You’ll need your shinpads when you see the wordplay for 1d and 10d!! I’ll lend you mind because I’ve finished with them now.

  2. Just right for the NTSPP slot – by which I mean that you can solve it after lunch before getting up to do all those domestic things you ought to be doing rather than crossword solving.

    Welcome Bucko and thank you – looking forward to seeing more from you soon. Thanks in advance to Prolixic for the review.

  3. Had got everything apart from parsing the bit about money in 10d. Good fun with some challenging word play. We also look forward to more of the same.
    Thanks Bucko and Prolixic.

  4. Lovely debut. Thank you Bucko. I needed a couple of hints (for 9A and 7D, both of which I should have got!), and aid in unravelling the wordplay for 10D, but all in all very good fun. Loved 16A and 21A. Thanks to Prolixic for the review and the help.

  5. Congrats on your debut, Bucko. Well done! I’m also looking forward to seeing more of your puzzles.

    There was much to enjoy in this one. I liked the variety of subject very much. Plenty of lovely clues, like the naughty but clever 16a! Others I singled out were 1a, 9a, 11a, 14a, and 17d. Like others, I had everything but the parsing of 10d, and the ‘good to go’ in 1d. ( Ouch! Shin pads definitely needed. May need Toro’s crash helmet as well…)

    Many thanks to Bucko for a lovely puzzle. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif
    And many thanks to Prolixic for an excellent review and illustrations.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  6. Hi Everyone,

    Many thanks for all your comments. I’m very pleased you enjoyed my puzzle !

    I hope to do another one soon for the NTSPP.

    Best wishes,


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