NTSPP – 231 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

NTSPP – 231

NTSPP – 231

Soccer Team and Reserve by Chalicea

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Don’t worry – no football knowledge is required!

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.

Welcome back to Chalicea with this week’s excellent NTSPP.  I downloaded this to solve on a tablet and therefore did not see the special instructions.  It soon became clear that there was something going on with the clues and a quick look at the PDF version revealed that 12 of the clues (indicated with a * in the solutions) all omitted a three letter word from the wordplay that appeared in the solution.  Having spotted that, I was able to make steady progress with solving the crossword.  Although there were a few more unusual words, these were all fairly clued and did not cause too much head scratching.


1 Partner welcoming freakish rain to soak food (8)
MARINATE – A word for a partner includes (welcoming) an anagram (freakish) of rain.

*5 Perform work upon opening of large megalithic tomb (6)
DOLMEN – A two letter word meaning perform work upon followed by the first letter (opening of) large and our unclued three letter word.

10 Some banana chopped for Mexican food item (5)
NACHO – The answer is hidden (some) inside BANANA CHOPPED.

11 Forthcomingness of nice men I’m circling (9)
IMMINENCE – An anagram (circling) of NICE MEN IM.

*12 Type of chilli recipe for central coordinators of TV programmes maybe (9)
ANCHORMEN – A five letter word for a type of chilli followed by the abbreviation for recipe and our unlcued three letter word.

13 Confused law pursuing debtor’s slow lazy delivery (5)
DRAWL – An anagram (confused) of LAW follows (pursuing) an abbreviation for doctor.

*14 School for decent admirable person stateside (6)
MENSCH – Our unclued three letter word followed by the abbreviation for school.

*15 Informal word commenting on foolishness about heartwood (7)
DURAMEN – A three letter word for an informal expression commenting on foolishness followed by an abbreviation for about and our unclued three letter word.

18 Offspring returns with bit of Tequila alcoholic spirit; hypothetical cure-all (7)
NOSTRUM – Reverse (returns) a word of a male offspring and follow this by the first letter (bit of) Tequila and another type of alcoholic spirit.

20 Stimulating tip-off for sport involving horses (6)
RACING – A word meaning stimulating – usually used when the weather is cold and windy loses its first letter (tip-off).

22 Deadly snake‘s bite at first puncturing mother (5)
MAMBA – The first letter of bite goes inside a four letter word meaning mother.

24 Noting essentially shoddy ornaments in French city, briefly close eyes (9)
NICTITATE – The middle two letters (essentially) of NOTING and a word for shoddy ornaments goes inside the name of a French city on the Riviera.

*25 Trick to block Scots seasoning (9)
CONDIMENT – A three letter word meaning trick and a Scottish word meaning to block include our unclued three letter word.

26 Nasty snare approaches (5)
NEARS – An anagram (nasty) of SNARE.

27 Disparage set exercise we’re told (6)
LESSEN – A homophone (we’re told) of LESSON (set exercise).

*28 British trouble principally tolerating delivery of goods in trust (8)
BAILMENT – The abbreviation for British followed by a word meaning to trouble and the first letter (principally) of tolerating) include our unclued three letter word.


*1 Domestic servant mostly laid up (6)
MENIAL – Our unclued three letter word followed by the first three letters (mostly) of LAID which have been reversed (up).

2 Eccentric soccer hit skips along the ground (9)
RICOCHETS – An anagram (eccentric) of SOCCER HIT.

3 Ludicrously naive cover notes of revised political ideology adopting more traditional attitudes (15)
NEOCONSERVATIVE – An anagram (ludicrously) of NAÏVE COVER NOTES.

4 Old car company‘s notable achievement (7)
TRIUMPH – A double definition of an old British car manufacturer and a word for a notable achievement.

6 Dizzy romantic idol in theatre ultimately acting in all different ways (15)
OMNIDIRECTIONAL – An anagram (dizzy) of ROMANTIC IDOL IN E (the E being the final letter (ultimately) of theatre).

*7 Special academy organisation for highly able people (5)
MENSA – Our unclued three letter word followed by the abbreviations for special and academy.

8 Irritating to have requirement for cod (8)
NEEDLING – A four letter word meaning to have a requirement for and a four letter word for a fish of the cod family.

*9 OED affording signs of some future event (6)
OMENED – Our unclued three letter word goes inside the OED from the clue.

*16 Story circling about good level of intellectual development expressed in years (6,3)
MENTAL AGE – Our unclued three letter word followed by a word for a story the goes around (circling) an abbreviation for about and the abbreviation for good.  The same abbreviation for about was used in 15a.

17 Hostile revolutionary implication; dubiously opt out (8)
INIMICAL – An anagram (revolutionary) of IMPLICATION after first removing (out) the jumbled (dubiously) letters of OPT.

*19 The German skilled worker who repairs things (6)
MENDER – Our unclued three letter word followed by a German for “the”.

20 Riot act about Italian cheese (7)
RICOTTA – An anagram (about) of RIOT ACT.

21 Semi-precious lignite mounted for rich fashionable people (3,3)
JET SET – A type of black jewellery followed by a word used in jewellery for mounted.

*23 Lists of dishes available, as above (5)
MENUS – Our unclued three letter word followed by the abbreviation for ut supra (as above in Latin).

14 comments on “NTSPP – 231

  1. Really enjoyed this puzzle, quite a few obscure words which slowed the solve down a bit, google and BRB sorted that out. Got to the substitute before I realised what the short word was….doh.

    Many thanks Chalicea.

  2. Thanks Chalicea ,I must remember to look for instructions before commencing !
    Last one in 28a which is perhaps as it should be ,favourite 17d .Cheers .

  3. Finished before noon EST, with the help of google and the BRB. What a lot of new words I’ve learned! Definitely needing the review to understand the wordplay for three or four. Favorite is 14A (which I did know). Thanks to Chalicea for the workout.

  4. That was fun.
    I found the same short word fairly quickly which helped quite a lot – I get the “Soccer Team” but not the “Reserve” bit.
    The words that were new to me – 5, 15, the Scottish bit of 25, and 28a – were all reasonably easy to work out as the clues were really clear.
    I look forward to the review tomorrow – still have a couple I don’t quite understand.
    With thanks to Chalicea.

      1. Oh good! Not just me being dim again – always good to have company. No doubt all will be revealed tomorrow.

        1. How many times does the unclued word appear in the grid and how many of these people are there in a football team?

          1. OK – now I get it although I did have to google it – oh dear! You’d think I should know by now . . . http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif
            Thank you for putting me, and Expat Chris, out of our misery!
            I thought you didn’t like football.

              1. These days, though, the team that only has one reserve is rare to non-existent. Meanwhile, Holland are two goals up at the half!!!

  5. Thanks Chalicea for an interesting one. Nice setting to fit in all the theme words. That obviously meant some new words for me.

    I got the theme but only understood the ‘reserve’ towards the end – oh dear, after I’ve finished I’ve only just noticed the instructions underneath the grid! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif Never mind, I got the idea from the title.

    My Scots not very good but Chambers came to the rescue in 25.

  6. Compiling for Big Dave’s site has the wonderful advantage that we get almost instant input and that fabulous Prolixic illustrated blog (compared with the other outlets (Listener, EV, IQ) where we hear input about three weeks later or over a month (Magpie, Crossword) – and the quality of the blog – including the discreet comment that an abbreviation (A for About) was used twice. That’s the sort of editorial comment that prompts compilers to be more careful.
    It is really appreciated, Prolixic. I am sorry that the MEN missing from the clues didn’t leap out at solvers. As one of the relatively few female setters, I have built up a bit of a reputation for female themes but, with the current soccer frenzy, had to shift just a bit into the male world.
    Many thanks.

  7. I enjoyed this. I discovered the short word fairly early on, which helped. Plenty of interesting words in this puzzle. After arriving at the answers through the word play, I did need to check a couple in the dictionary to make sure they were right. The exception to this was ‘duramen’ which I found by looking up ‘heartwood’ in the dictionary. The only explanation I needed was for the ‘us’ in ‘menus’ (oh dear!).

    (22a gives me the creeps, both the clue and Prolixic’s vivid illustration! I almost trod on one once… )

    Thanks to Chalicea for a very interesting and enjoyable challenge. And thanks to Prolixic for a super review and illustrations.

Comments are closed.