NTSPP – 253

NTSPP – 253

A Puzzle by Skipjack

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Crossword logo

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic.

A colourful puzzle from Skipjack where the top and bottom rows spell out the words that form the solutions to seven of the clues.


8 Former leader died coming from middle eastern country (8)
DISRAELI – The abbreviation for died followed by the name of a citizen of Israel.

9 Replace button (6)
SWITCH – A double definition of a word meaning to replace or swap and a button that can be off or on.

10 Revolutionary US soldiers catch Navy SEAL perhaps (6)
SIGNET – Reverse (revolutionary) the plural of a term for US soldiers and follow this with a word meaning to trap or catch.  There may be a more complex solution to this as I cannot see the significance of Navy other than someone in the Navy might use one of the seals.

11 See 28

12 Down and dirty (4)
BLUE – A double definition of a word meaning down or sad and dirty or crude humour.

13 Site for putting on party (5)
GREEN – Another double definition, the first being found on a golf course and the second a political party.

15 Republican party doctors do well (2,6)
GO PLACES – The abbreviation for the US Republican Party followed by a word meaning doctors as in spikes a drink.

17 First person imprisoned by officer regarding lawful arrest (7)
CAPTION – The first person pronoun goes inside a short form of an army rank and a word meaning regarding (not RE on this occasion).

20 At a lower point, more east than north in The Wash (7)
BENEATH – A compass direction that is more east than north goes inside another word for a place where you might have a wash.

23 Messenger of god, writer and composer (8)
GABRIELI – The name of the angel who appeared at the annunciation followed by a letter representing the setter or writer of the crossword.

24 Size of board used for dry lining farm building (5)
DAIRY – A size of board or paper goes inside (lining) the dry from the clue

27 This case is quite revolting without question (4)
ETUI – An anagram (revolting) of QUITE without the Q (without question).

28/11 Descartes, having shrugged off setback, becomes religious (6)
SAC/RED – An anagram (becomes) of DESCARTES without the TES at the end (having shrugged of SET – back)

29 Physical young man carries large papers around (6)
BODILY – Reverse (around) the abbreviations for large and identification and put this inside a word for a young man.

30 Colour television covers race in The Time Machine retrospectively (6)
VIOLET – Put the abbreviation for television around a race of people featuring in HG Wells’ story “The Time Machine” and reverse all of these letters (retrospectively).

31 Generalissimos toppled after purging rebellious masses for beliefs (8)
RELIGION – An anagram (toppled) of GENERALISSIMOS after removing the letters (after reordering (rebellious) of MASSES).


1 Quoting auditor’s view at a given time (6)
CITING – A homophone (auditor’s) of sighting (view at a given time).

2 Circular letter published, for example, about fruit (6)
ORANGE – The letter that represents a circle followed by a word meaning published and a reversal (about) of the abbreviation for “for example”.

3 Flower, given space, grew (6,4)
LENTEN ROSE – A word meaning given (as money might be on conditions for repayment), a printer’s space and a word meaning grew.

4 Boring plants doctor paints outside (3,4)
OIL RIGS – A word meaning doctor or engineer something goes inside a word for some types of paints.

5 Unsteady characters regularly took drugs (4)
USED – The odd letters (regularly) of UnStEaDy.

6 Perhaps I ram kerb without this (3,5)
RIM BRAKE – An anagram (perhaps) of I RAM KERB.

7 Bruschetta’s 80% cooked, lied barman (8)
SCHUBERT – … lied is a German form of song.  An anagram (cooked) of the first eight letters (80%) of BRUSCHET[TA].

14/21 Couple follows teachings of the church to make amends (6)
REP/AIR – Another word for a couple or two people follows the abbreviation for religious education.

16 Can this shed any real light on delicate flower’s swelling? (10)
PSEUDOBULB – A semi-cryptic definition and straight definition of a type of swelling found on a plant.

18 A club brawl turned into scene of multiple deaths (8)
ABATTIOR – The a from the clue and club used in sports and a reversal (turned) of a word for a brawl.

19 Flat fare from Mexico (8)
TORTILLA – A cryptic definition of a thin type of Mexican food.

21 See 14

22 Notice man returning to scientific establishment (7)
DISCERN – Reverse (returning) the name of a man and follow this by the name of a European scientific establishment.

25 Hip groove of the opening of “Kind of Blue” (6)
INDIGO – A word meaning hip or trendy followed by a word for groove as a verb and the first letter (opening) of “of”.

26 Cowardly snake in the end stabs lowly criminal (6)
YELLOW – The final letter (in the end) of snake goes inside an anagram (criminal) of LOWLY.

28 Self-immolation comes from dissatisfaction (4)
SATI – The answer is hidden inside (come from) DISSATISFACTION.



  1. gazza
    Posted December 13, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable – thanks, Skipjack – with a nice theme and helpful Nina. There were lots of clues I liked but especially 13a, 15a and 20a.

  2. Franco
    Posted December 13, 2014 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Far too difficult for me … but I liked 7d …

  3. windsurfer23
    Posted December 13, 2014 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Nice setting, Skipjack. Clever to fit a NINA and the theme words into the grid.

    One or two more difficult words, but nothing outrageous given the constraints of the theme words.

    Like Gazza, I particularly enjoyed 15 & 20.

  4. Jane
    Posted December 13, 2014 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    Against all the odds – and with a little electronic help – I’ve almost got there. A broad hint for 3d would be very much appreciated – it’s the only answer I’m missing.
    Lovely theme and Nina – many thanks Skipjack.

    • Jane
      Posted December 13, 2014 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      OK – I’ve got it! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif Trouble caused by wrong ending at 17a.

  5. Kath
    Posted December 13, 2014 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gifThis was very much at the top level of my ability.
    If I hadn’t caught sight of gazza’s comment about the Nina I wouldn’t have been able to finish it as I never see them for myself.
    I really enjoyed it even if I still have one that I don’t understand – 24a – I get the farm building – I get the dry in the middle and then it all goes a bit wrong http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif
    There were several others that I didn’t understand but husband has been press ganged into explanations!
    Thanks to Skipjack and, in advance, to whoever does the review tomorrow – I’ll be back then. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

    • Jane
      Posted December 13, 2014 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kath – try thinking of a paper size (one capital letter + one number) for part of 24a.

      • Kath
        Posted December 13, 2014 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

        Oh dear – maybe my answer is wrong – I’ve got first, third and fifth letters of a five letter word – I can’t even think of another word that would fit, let along make sense of the clue. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

        • Jane
          Posted December 13, 2014 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

          Doesn’t your third letter look like a number?

          • Kath
            Posted December 13, 2014 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

            Thank you – think I’m just a little past my best, whatever that may be!! Off to bed now! Sleep well. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-yawn.gif

      • Kath
        Posted December 13, 2014 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

        Oh for goodness sake – just seen it – thought that the middle three letters were the ‘dry’ bit – numbskull!! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

  6. Skipjack
    Posted December 13, 2014 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to everybody who’s had a go at my puzzle. I’m please to hear that people have enjoyed it, despite it being on the difficult side.



  7. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    Other things have got in the way of our usual solving time, but we did eventually get on to it and got everything sorted, with a little electronic assistance for 16d as the last too yield. Quite tricky and a lot of fun.
    Thanks Skipjack and Prolixic.

  8. Jane
    Posted December 14, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. Think the second word in the answer for 6d should be ‘brake’?
    Some lovely pics & video clips!