NTSPP – 238 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 238

NTSPP – 238

A Puzzle by Toro

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows:

Our thanks to Toro for an excellent crossword to delight us on a Saturday afternoon.  More like this one please!


1 Some clever dick who wrote operas (5)
VERDI – The answer is hidden (some) in CEVER DICK.

4 Items of Anthea’s making (8)
ARTICLES – Split the name AN / THE / A and you have a definition of the answer.

8 Slump in business after Christmas period (7)
DECLINE – Another word for business followed the month in which Christmas falls.

9 It may say ‘Peter’ on the front and back! (4,3)
NAME TAG – If you reverse the answer you get GATE MAN, a possible definition of St Peter as well as a name that might appear on a tag.

12 Love to travel? Some advice for one taking flight in season (6-3)
ORANGE-TIP – … a type of butterfly.  The letter representing love or zero followed by a five letter word meaning to travel and a three letter word for some advice.

13 She has her own company (5)
LONER – A mildly cryptic definition of a person with no friends.

14 Mobile number on which crazy caller starts ringing one (7)
NOMADIC – The abbreviation for number followed by a three letter word meaning crazy and the first letter (starts) of caller around (ringing) an I (one).

16 Veg still pence apiece (4,3)
SNAP PEA – Another word for a photograph (snap) followed by a P (pence) and EA (apiece or each).

17 Not the whole story, but about right (7)
EXCERPT – Another word meaning but goes around the abbreviation for right.

20 Expense allowance? Go out in style! (3,4)
PER DIEM – Another word meaning go out or expire goes inside a type of curly hair style.

22 Sphere that spins a long time (5)
ARENA – Reverse (spins) AN ERA (a long time).

23 Spanish side of bacon with real nuts (9)
BARCELONA – An anagram (nuts) of BACON REAL.

25 Diligent quote oddly erased in correcting fluid (7)
DUTIFUL – The even letters (oddly erased) of qUoTe go inside an anagram (correcting) of FLUID.

27 Such precision is beside the point (7)
DECIMAL – A mildly cryptic definition of the numbers to the right of the point or full stop in a number.

28 Venus in the centre caught by crafty Serena’s traps (8)
ENSNARES – The middle letter (in the centre) of veNus goes inside (caught by) an anagram (crafty) of SERENAS.

29 Communications course (5)
LINKS – A double definition, the second being another name for a golf course.


1 Odeon? DVD? I mean, potentially there’s an easier way to watch a film (5-2-6)
VIDEO-ON-DEMAND – An anagram (potentially) of ODEON DVD I MEAN.

2 Demand return of miracle plays (7)
RECLAIM – An anagram (plays) of MIRACLE.

3 Discernment is not this sugary stuff (5)
ICING – Adding not to the answer gives NOTICING (discernment).

4 Germ-free, as shown by detailed check after a month (7)
ASEPTIC – The A from the clue, an abbreviation for September followed by a word for a check mark with the final letter removed (detailed).

5 Regulars in tears about spilled pint – that’s too bad (4,3)
TANT PIS – The odd letters (regulars) in TeArS go around an anagram (spilled) of PINT.

6 Arrived, and left on song, having bagged husband material (9)
CAMELHAIR – A four letter word meaning arrived followed by the abbreviation for left go on top of a three letter word for a song all of which go around (having bagged) the abbreviation for husband.

7 Hollywood’s Paris in the Spring? Au contraire (3)
SPA – The answer is hidden in Hollywood’S PAris.  The au contraire tells us that the wordplay is reversed from the order given in the clue.

10 Crossword’s recent milestone (not clued cryptically) (3-2)
TON-UP – A build your own reversal clue!  How NOT could be clued in a cryptic crossword to produce the centenary last December of the cryptic crossword.

11 Bug with exotic name like ‘the Continental Disease’ (6,7)
GERMAN MEASLES – A four letter word for a bug followed by an anagram (exotic) of NAME, a two letter word meaning like and the French (continental) for the.  The whole clue gives a definition of the answer.

15 Classic Jaws feature showing when staff upped and left before end of film (6,3)
DORSAL FIN – A to letter word meaning when and a three letter word for staff or a stick are reversed (upped) and followed by the abbreviation of left and the French word for finished sometimes seen at the end of a film.

18 Trunk or part thereof (5)
CHEST – On its own a container and a part of the trunk as the body region.

19 A brutal criminal ordered into cells (7)
TABULAR – An anagram (criminal) of A BRUTAL.

20 Airborne infantry circling Germany and Eastern Marches (7)
PARADES – A five letter word for airborne infantry goes around (circling) the IVR code for Germany and the abbreviation for eastern.

21 Female superhero (4,3)
IRON MAN – Split the FE / MALE and to give the metal and the second part of the answer.

24 Borders of Essex and Cambridgeshire left to be distinguished (5)
EXCEL – The outer letters (borders of) EsseX and CambridgeshirE followed by the abbreviation for left (its third appearance in this crossword!).

26 Reflect when millions are lacking employment (3)
USE – Remove the M (millions) from a word meaning to reflect.


28 comments on “NTSPP – 238

  1. Thanks Toro for a really enjoyable puzzle with many penny-drop moments. It’s said that the mark of a good crossword is that the clues don’t read like crossword clues – in that case this is a very good crossword because the surface readings are excellent. I liked 4a, 9a and 10d a lot but my favourite was 21d.

  2. Thanks Toro; nice crisp clues. I didn’t know 12 & 16 but fairly clued (although 16 took me a moment to fathom.) 13 is a typical Arachne clue for those who do the Guardian puzzles.

    I really enjoyed all of gazza’s favourites. I was encouraged to look again at 21d……….

  3. A very nice puzzle from Toro – fairly gentle but great fun.

    But – I still do not understand the wordplay for 3d & 21d.

    Really liked 25a, 7d & 10d.

    On my shopping expedition this morning, I bumped into Nigel Farage and Douglas Carswell – touting for UKIP votes – already!

    1. Neither 3d nor 21d would be likely to appear in a Telegraph crossword.

      For 3d look again at NOT + the answer

      For 21d split the first word into (2,4)

  4. A really enjoyable puzzle so many thanks to Toro. I agree with Gazza about the surface readings which are smooth as silk.

    If it was a DT back-pager I’d give it **/***** with 21d as favourite closely followed by 3d and 13a,

    Thanks again Toro – enjoyed it while watching Man Utd play something that looks a little bit like football but clearly isn’t as skillful http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif

  5. I have a completed grid, but there are several where I believe my answer is correct but I don’t understand why, like 4A and12A and the relevance of the first word in 16A. Also, I think I understand most of 21D, except for the last letter. I’m sure of my answer for 10D, but what has it to do with the first part of the clue?

    I did like 20A, and loved 27A. Thanks to Toro, and I look forward to tomorrow’s review.

    1. 4a – three articles – both definite and indefinite – can be found in “Anthea”!

  6. Agreed, a super-smooth set of clues and some very clever ones too. A few only appreciated after jumping to a successful conclusion (20a, 3d). 12a and 1d were favourites and I got 21d straight away but have my doubts about it.

  7. A really brilliant crossword – I enjoyed it very much.
    To begin with I didn’t think I could do it at all but have finished now.
    I didn’t understand my answers for 3 or 21d but those have now been sorted out by some earlier comments – thanks BD.
    I still don’t understand my answers for 9a or 15d.
    I liked 4 and 27a and 4 and 10d. Loved 1a.
    Thanks to Toro for the entertainment and to anyone who will sort out my two remaining problems.

    1. 9a Reverse (back) your answer to get the saintly Peter’s role.
      15d Reverse ‘when staff’ (2,3) and add L(eft) and what marks the end of a film (especially in France).

  8. Excellent fun for our Sunday morning treat. Hard to pick a favourite but will go for 4a as winner by a nose in a closely packed field.
    Thanks Toro.

  9. Thanks for that, Toro. I loved 4ac, and 19d was another favourite. Look forward to the review for some where I got the answer but couldn’t see all the wordplay – I’m still a beginner really.

  10. Thanks to Toro for the puzzle and to Prolixic for the review!

    Liked the clip for 23a – Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé – who would have thought?

    1. This needed moderation because your email address was missing the variables. I’ve edited it for you.

      1. Many Thanks & Many Apologies!

        Why not have a “sign-in” to avoid such typos from fat-fingered people like me?

  11. It’s always such a pleasure to have a puzzle picked for the NTSPP, and to see the reactions to various clues, so thank you very much to Prolixic for the as always impeccable explanations, to Gazza for providing hints on the day, and to everyone who took the trouble to solve and comment. It’s much appreciated.

  12. Great puzzle, Toro! Thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you very much. As I’ve been off-line, it has been an added pleasure to have this NTSPP midweek. My apologies for the lateness.

    Many thanks, too, to Prolixic. Going through the explanations has enhanced my appreciation of this puzzle. This because although I had arrived at all the correct answers, I had missed the subtleties of 4a, 9a, 3d and 21d. What clever clues! My fave, though, is 1a. Also particularly liked 12a, 5d, 11d and 15d.

    Enjoyed listening to the clip at 23a, which I haven’t heard before. Tried to listen to 1a, but it wouldn’t open (suspect my Vista laptop was the reason). Closed Firefox and when I returned and tried a second time, it was fine. Do hope I didn’t cause any problems. My sincere apologies if I did.

    1. Thanks Catnap! I worked hard at this one and I’m really glad you enjoyed it. Prolixic didn’t miss a trick – he never does!

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