NTSPP – 245 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 245

NTSPP – 245

Non-alcoholic by Soup

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Soup becomes the first of our Rookies to graduate to the NTSPP slot with this entertaining puzzle – watch out for more graduates in the coming weeks.

Read the instructions carefully!

A review of this by Prolixic follows.

Welcome to our first graduate from the Rookie Corner to the NTSPP. Soup provided us with an excellent crossword where ten of the clues provided only part of the wordplay.  From the instructions, we knew that the solutions had to be fortified.  This was done by adding the name of an alcoholic drink in to the answer.  Explanations are set out below and a copy of the completed grid with the drinks highlighted is included at the end of the review.


9 Let out awful solo note (5)
LOOSE – An anagram (awful) of SOLO followed by one of the notes on the musical scale.

10 Measure spice – I left out girl’s food (9)
ENCHILADA – A two letter word for a printer’s space or measure followed by a hot type of spice with the final I removed (left out) followed by a girl’s name.

11 Fire axe? (9)
DISCHARGE – A double definition, the first as in firing from a gun and the second as another word for make redundant.

12 See 8 Down

13 “____?” “No, she flew to Indonesia!” (7)
JAKARTA – … the capital of the country – A play on the phrase “d’ya cart her?” which might lead to the response, “no she flew…”

15 Resolution seen when starting display equipment (7)
DECIDER The initial letters (starting) of Display and Equipment fortified (and followed by) by an alcoholic drink made from apples.

17 Lodges or retreats (5)
NESTS – A single definition that has two synonyms with opposite meanings.

18 Bag of pheasants acquired (3)
SAC – The answer is hidden (of) in PHEASANTS ACQUIRED

20 Unfinished Pinter performance is heavy-handed (5)
INEPT – An anagram (performance) of PINTE (Pinter unfinished – ie without its final letter).

22 Scorn as mindless front follows somewhat crass rebuttal (7)
SARCASM – The AS from the clue and the first letter (front) of Mindless follow a reversal (rebuttal) of the first four letters (somewhat) of crass.

25 In which a heart of flint sparks a steely reserve? (7)
LIGHTER – A cryptic definition of a device that sparks a piece of flint against steel to produce a flame.

26 French and English articles are turned on it (5)
LATHE – The French feminine definite article followed by the English definite article.  I think that the “articles” here is doing double duty as both part of the wordplay and part of the definition.

27 Apple, cored and stuffed with exceptional German fruit (9)
AUBERGINE – The outer letters (cored) of apple contain (stuffed with) the German word for exceptional followed by and fortified with mother’s ruin.

30 Rants about the buses? (9)
TRANSPORT – An anagram (about) of RANTS followed and fortified by a type of alcoholic beverage from Portugal.


31 Soup set off matches (5)
MEETS – A two letter word for the setter followed by an anagram (off) of SET.


1 /13d: Radio presenter has singles by former chorister (4,5)
ALED JONES – We begin with and fortify the clue with a type of beer followed by the two letter abbreviation for a disc jockey and a word meaning singles.

2 Leaves supporters? (8)
FORSAKES – Another word for supporters is fortified by (and contains) a type of Japanese rice wine.

3 Tangle frayed hems (4)
MESH – An anagram (frayed) of HEMS.

4 They mop up spills, Mother Eliot (4,4)
BEER MATS – We begin with fortifying the clue with a hops based alcoholic beverage and follow this with a two letter word for mother and the initials of the poet Mr Eliot.

5 Wife dropped in twisted passage (6)
SCREED – Remove the W (wife dropped) from a word meaning twisted.

6 Spooner hears PM taking criticism (3-7)
NIT PICKING – How Spooner may have said (PITT (Prime Minister) NICKING (taking)).

7 Holy section of mass (a Credo) (6)
SACRED – The answer is hidden inside (section of) MASS A CREDO. Although not part of the theme, the answer does end with a generic type of grape based alcoholic beverage.

8 /12a: Look at you, protecting singer who kissed a girl (4,5)
KATY PERRY – The first part of the answer is hidden in (protecting) LOOK AT YOU and the answer is fortified and followed by a pear based alcoholic beverage.

13 See 1 Down

14 Wanting safety, try some poetry (4-6)
RISK AVERSE – Another word for try or risk followed by a phrase (1,5) that indicated part of a poem.

16 It revolves around, around revolves it! (5)
ROTOR – A cryptic reference to the palindromic word for something that revolves.

19 Bite lace off, still a virgin (8)
CELIBATE – An anagram (off – again!) of BITE LACE.

21 Embroiled hospital section and departmental head (8)
ENTWINED – A hospital department dealing with the ear, nose and throat and the first letter (head) of departmental inside which the answer is fortified by a grape based alcoholic beverage.

23 Coming soon in tabloid: naughty boy! (6)
RATBAG – An abbreviation meaning coming soon goes inside a derogatory word for a tabloid newspaper.

24 Centre of sown field (6)
MEADOW – We start with an alcoholic beverage made from honey and follow this with the centre letters of SOWN.

26 Dead slow (4)
LATE – A double definition.

28 Parking one’s behind (4)
RUMP –We start with an alcoholic drink distilled from sugar cane and follow this with the abbreviation for parting.

29 Facility for exams we took regularly (4)
EASE – The odd letters (took regularly) of EXAMS WE.


32 comments on “NTSPP – 245

      1. Appropriate, given the special instructions! What time do you think you will be there till?

    1. I’m not sure you’ll get much sense out the “Ramsgate Mob” today so I thought I’d reply.
      I’m enjoying your crossword very much but am now a bit stuck.
      So far I’ve done the left hand side apart from 4d – want to make that something to do with Mama Cass but http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif
      I haven’t got many answers, yet, in the right hand side so am going to stop for a little while and see if brain will kick into action. Back later . . .

  1. This expat’s feeling pretty smug because I managed to work out 1/13D (never heard of him before) and 8D/12A ( vaguely heard of) all by myself! What’s not to like about this puzzle? Lots of fun and I really enjoyed working out the booze clues. Hard to pick a favorite so I’m going with two today…the fabulous 13A and equally great 27A. Great stuff, Soup! A worthy NTSPP debut indeed.

  2. I have finally finished – I enjoyed it a lot – I found it quite difficult – I thought it was all very clever.
    I did the left side without too much trouble – then the bottom right corner and then was left with top right which took ages – I nearly gave up.
    8/12 was (were?) my last.
    Don’t quite know which clues to pick out for particular mention – 13 and 30a and 1/13d and 6d – I know I’m in the minority here but I like Spoonerisms.
    With thanks and congratulations for such a good crossword to Soup.

  3. I’ve got 9 of the ten – I presume that my missing one is in 8/12 – No idea on this one.

    I presume that 13a is a version of:-

    My wife’s gone on holiday to the West Indies.
    No, she went of her own accord

    A nice opus from Soup, Thanks.

  4. Glad to see some people enjoying it – so, not everyone’s at the Times or the S&B get together?! Have to admit to a little giggle as I set 13a. Yep, the last one is in that double clue – should be gettable from the wordplay and checked letters, I hope. Thanks for the kind comments! H/S

  5. Nice one, Soup.

    Without giving away too much, 8/12 is an American singer/songwriter/actor, probably better known to a youngish audience.

    Good setting and very enjoyable. As I have said before, commenters please rate/vote above as this gives more feedback to the setter.

    1. 8/12 -Thanks, windsurfer23.I’ve now got all ten. Off to have a drink!

      (I just wanted to put in “Georgie Porgie” – obviously doesn’t fit … Oh Dear! Definitely an age thing.)

      1. Ha! I don’t remember any indication that GP enjoyed the kissing, just that the girls didn’t :-)

      2. Hi Franco, we must be about the same age – I was well down the same route. In fact, I still am! Back to the G&T………http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  6. We just loved it. It turned out to be not as fearsome as it looked at first reading. Enjoyed 13a and 14d as the best two out of many chuckle inducing clues.
    Many thanks Soup.

    1. Excellent to hear. With puzzles like this I try to be scrupulously fair and not too tricksy with the clues, particularly the ones to which the special instructions apply, as otherwise it’s just baffling (for the *wrong* reasons!).

  7. Should have known this was going to be a tough one when the printer coughed out a load of gobbledegook on the first couple of attempts. Have followed Soup’s advice to Kath and just finished the second large G&T – maybe a third one will help……….. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    1. Hi Jane. I’m about to have my second glass of wine but I now fancy a G&T…of which we only have T. And lime.
      I am also about to start my first ever NTSPP. Quite excited. :-)

      1. Suggest you go to the late night shop – the G could be a necessity. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif
        I’m still facing a half empty grid – and a half empty glass.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

        1. Welcome to Cruciverbalists Anonymous.

          A half-empty glass in one hand ,,, a pencil in the other ,,, and a crossword somewhere?


          1. OK that was funny from you and Franco :-)
            Things that I have learnt this evening…
            NTSPP is proving to be a challenge, one that I am enjoying very much.
            Never ever, at any cost, get into a discussion about Whisky v Whiskey. Whisky stones or anything relating to that subject. Especially if one of you is Scottish and the other Irish. The history and etymology is unwinnable. And pointless.
            However I’m now up to 10 clues completed. It may have to be finished tomorrow. And I still didn’t get a G&T!…oh and I have just seen posts about Whisky!!!!

    2. I can print out the next day’s DT puzzles at 7 pm here, with the 5-hour time difference, but I just can’t make headway if I tackle them in the evening. I’m an early morning solver over a cup of tea or several.

    3. My (real!) hint would be to list the alcoholic drinks you can think of, and work from there… It’s what I did! :-)

      1. I had a mental list of the usual suspects, starting with my favorite north of the border tipple that, alas, did not appear! But even a partial list is certainly helpful.

      2. Even tried a physical list – amazing what’s lurking in the back of the booze cupboard – now on to trying to remember the proportions for a Harvey Wallbanger. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif
        Shnot helping so far – but I’m almost beyond caring http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif
        Thanks Soup – I’m feeling well and truly fortified and will try to avoid entering any grids http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  8. Almost got there – Franco’s hint probably made 13a easier! Much as I appreciate Spoonerisms, I invariably have a devil of a job to work them out so that left me in a bit of a quandary over 8/12 – not young enough for the lady’s name to be on the tip of my tongue http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif
    Particularly enjoyed 4&14d.
    Having emptied out the booze cupboard in search of clues, think I should probably dispose of some of the more ancient half-used bottles. MP – do you know how long an opened bottle of Galliano will keep? I suspect it’s survived the last couple of house moves!
    Now – if we could have a puzzle themed around tinned goods, that’s another cupboard that might get a spring clean. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    1. Ha – crosswords as incentives to tidy. I like it. I’m sure we have a bottle of Cointreau that’s been handed down from generation to generation…

      I’m with you on Spoonerisms; I feel they need to be used sparingly and only when they’re pretty much spot on – there’s no room for fudging them, I don’t think.

      Glad you enjoyed it!


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