NTSPP – 263 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 263

NTSPP – 263

A Puzzle by Wiglaf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.

Well that took some working out.  Wiglaf came up with some entertaining and perplexing wordplay with this one.  I was not too keen on some of the lift and separate wordplay but this was a crossword to keep you plugging away to get to the end and to enjoy the mental dexterity required.


1 Description of centre for unfreezing ethylene (6)
ETHENE – A description of the central letters of unfrEEzing as 1, 4, 1 gives the answer.

4 Fuel produced by US science graduate containing energy cereal I brought round (8)
BIOGASES – … an American spelling.  The abbreviation for Bachelor of Science contains a reversal (brought round) of the abbreviation for energy, a type of cereal and the I from the clue.

9 Mo throttled husband several times over (6)
THRICE – Another word for mo or a short period of time goes around (throttled) the abbreviation for husband.

10 Disheartened school child, oddly, swallows earth worm (8)
SCOLECID – remove the HO from school (disheartened) and follow this with the odd letters of ChIlD and include (swallowed) the abbreviation for earth.  Wiglaf has borrowed heavily from the Setters’ Book of Obscure Words in various places in this crossword.

11 Old warmonger from Mars zapped American nurse (9)
RASMUSSEN – … a Viking surname (old warmonger).   An anagram (zapped) of MARS followed by the abbreviation for United States (American) and the abbreviation for State Enrolled Nurse.

13 Member of secret fraternity moans about … (5)
MASON – An anagram (about) of MOANS.

14 … some philosophers providing instruction during organised sit-ins (13)
INTUITIONISTS – Another word for teaching or instruction goes inside an anagram (organised) of SIT-INS.

17 Among believers the First Lady is slightly fascistic (5,2,6)
RIGHT OF CENTRE – A description of the position of the L (first lady) in the word beLievers.

21 Pressure put on city of old Georgia to exterminate dissidents (5)
PURGE – The abbreviation for pressure followed by the name of an old biblical city and the abbreviation for Georgia.

23 Egg’s best served with endless butter for pedantic type (3-6)
NIT-PICKER – A word for the egg produced by a head louse followed by another word for best or choice and the final two letters of butter (butt or end removed – endless).

24 Doctor Strangelove! He waits in the theatre (with Vladimir) (8)
ESTRAGON – An anagram (doctor) of STRANGE O (love).

25 Choose an extract from Penrose lecture (6)
SELECT – The answer is hidden (an extract from) PENROSE LECTURE.

26 Author of satirical novels set in Flanders? Just the opposite, except at the end (8)
SMOLLET – The name of Miss Flanders in the Daniel Defoe novel goes inside the SET from the clue and this is followed by the last letter (at the end) of except.

27 Seaman in port is exhibiting eye problem (6)
PTOSIS – The abbreviation for port followed by the IS from the clue inside which you add the abbreviation for Ordinary Seaman.


1 Complete collection of books discovered in Ireland (6)
ENTIRE – The abbreviation for the New Testament goes inside (discovered in) another name for Ireland.

2 Badgering society girl to do a somersault during topless event (9)
HARASSING – The abbreviation for Society and a diminutive form of the name Sarah are reversed (do a somersault) inside another word for an event or happening with the first letter removed (topless).

3 US broadcaster on the quarterdeck in protective gear? (3,4)
NBC SUIT – The abbreviation for National Broadcasting Company followed by a word for something of which there are four in a deck of cards.

5 Continually wanting to go home to North America? (11)
INCONTINENT – A two letter word for home followed by a word for a landmass of which North America is an example.

6/7 Apparently grandfather’s laundered cash for American banksters? (7,5)
GOLDMAN SACHS – The abbreviation for grand followed by another word 3,3 for a father with the ‘s added and an anagram (laundered) of cash.

8 Europeans embraced by woman from part of Africa (8)
SUDANESE – The word for people from Denmark (Europeans) goes inside (embraced by) a woman’s name – we have a cryptic one as a blogger here.

12 Detecting bad smell? Shout about it (8,3)
SNIFFING OUT – Another phrase for shout out (4,3) goes around a four letter word for a bad smell.

15 Polish ships turned up at cape (9)
SLEEKNESS  – A poetic word for ships is reversed (turned up) and followed by another word for a cape or headland.

16 People complaining about priest’s vices? (8)
GRIPPERS – Another word for people having gripes goes around the abbreviation for priest.

18 Elation after massaging part of foot (7)
TOENAIL – An anagram (after massaging) of ELATION.

19 Missile making a loud sound after taking out Scottish leader (7)
TRIDENT – Remove (after taking out) the S (Scottish leader) from a word meaning making a loud sound.

20 Greek revolutionary army is free (6)
GRATIS – The abbreviation for Greek followed by a reversal (revolutionary) of the abbreviation for Territorial Army and the IS from the clue.

22 5 mph to 100 mph? That’s some acceleration (5)
RATIO – … the relationship between two numbers or quantities is hidden inside ACCELERATION.

19 comments on “NTSPP – 263

  1. Thanks to Wiglaf for a really good puzzle with some excellent and inventive wordplay. I particularly liked 17a and 24a but my favourite (for the laugh) is 5d.

  2. Just thought I’d ‘pop in’ to see if anyone is as totally stuck as I am – damn, blast and oh dear! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    Friends here for supper this evening so the battle will recommence tomorrow.

  3. Wow, that was a fight. It is well past the time that we go for our morning walk but we wanted to have a full grid before we left. We have that now and will work on the parsing of the last few when we get back. NW corner was the last to yield. Thought the 6/7 combination was very clever and agree with Gazza that the biggest laugh was from 5d.
    Thanks Wiglaf.

    1. Well the walk certainly helped as we have now parsed everything although not sure that we have completely got 1a.

      1. I’m still chipping away at the NW corner. Can’t believe how long it took me to see how simple 1D was. I did wonder how well the 6/7D combo is known outside the US. I may have a full grid by tomorrow…or I may not. Either way, this is a lot of fun.

  4. Well, I got there in the end and I have a full grid, the last three (24, 26 and 27A) falling into place in the early morning hours today. It was a victory for sheer stubbornness and, admittedly, some electronic help to get the last few and understand my answers for others. My literary and medical knowledge are clearly sadly lacking. I still can’t fully parse several answers, but I learned new terms (like 3D), and I have a great feeling of satisfaction. Many thanks to Wiglaf for the mind-stretching challenge. I’m looking forward to the review later today.

  5. This was a curate’s egg of a puzzle. I found it very tough, and needed about half-a-dozen separate long stints armed with my BRB and Google to nail it. Most of the puzzle was very enjoyable. I would say from my point of view that about 80% of the clues were excellent but I thought a minority were either obscure and/or had incomprehensible wordplay which sadly detracted from my overall enjoyment.

    6/7d was my favourite and provided a LOL moment. 10a & 27a were new words for me, although 10a was very fairly clued. The rationale for 1a needed dredging up from my chemistry knowledge of long ago. I assume 11a refers to the former Danish Prime Minister and Secretary General of NATO, but why is he an “old warmonger”?

    I look forward to the review to explain fully the wordplay for 4a, 11a, 17a, 27a, 3d, & 12d.

    Many thanks to Wiglaf for an interesting and largely entertaining challenge.

    1. Many thanks to Prolixic for unravelling the clues that were bothering me, and to Gazza for 17a. I tried but failed to find some way to involve Eve in the wordplay but failed to notice her lurking in “believers”! Armed with Gazza’s explanation I am now happy to promote 17a to assume the mantle of my favourite.

      I have never before come across BS instead of BSc as an abbreviation for science graduate. Trust our American friends to do things differently! And 11a remains a mystery as I still don’t get the specific link between Rasmussen and an old warmonger. Even though I was obviously barking up the wrong tree with recent Danish Prime Minister, the connection between a possibly common but random Viking surname and an old warmonger seems highly tenuous to me.

  6. I had the definition for 4A as just fuel, the US part referring to the American abbreviation for science graduate, which is B.S. (Bachelor of Science).

  7. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. I had the same problem as RD in locating Eve, so this was one of those I couldn’t parse. The name in11A came from the checking letters, though that’s because it’s one familiar to me as a US polling firm. Again, I agree with RD that the link to old warmonger is tenuous. I had Moll pegged in 26A , but had to resort to Wiki for the author and then work backwards. I did not know 27A at all but found the answer on line, also. Once I got past trying to fit a reversal of Deb in 2D, the solution came fairly easily. I was also temporarily confounded by 21A, because my first thought for Georgia was GA. 5D was my favorite, but I also liked 23A and 24A.

  8. Thanks for the comments and review.

    Just to clarify some of the clues, the definition is 4a is just fuel so Chris and Gazza are perfectly correct and Gazza is correct in his interpretation of 17a. 11a across does indeed refer to Anders Fogh Rasmussen (former Danish PM and former head of NATO). It is interesting how his role as one of the Big Three promoting the 2003 invasion of Iraq (along with Bush and Blair) is largely forgotten. His role as Head of NATO in promoting the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine hardly needs any further comment.

  9. Thank you, Prolixic, for making sense of it all as usual! I hadn’t arrived at the full parsing of 17a and got 1a purely by removing the centre letters from ethylene (taking them out of the script?).
    10,11,24 & 27a + 3d were all new words but I did manage to get them through the wordplay. Sadly, I never did get to the answer for 26a – so frustrating to get to within one of a full grid.
    Spent ages trying to fit our friend the goat into 23a before the checker went in from 12d!

    5d raised the best smile, favourite goes to 9a.

    Well done, Wiglaf – I enjoyed this one far more than my first read through led me to believe I would!

  10. Prolixic mentioned mental dexterity in his introduction – any of it that I ever had seemed to be AWOL when it came to this crossword. I really couldn’t do it. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    I got about half way and kept trying for ages before eventually admitting defeat.
    Having now read all the hints I think I just about understand most of the answers but there were several that I know I would never have got.
    Oh well – you win some and you lose some. I did enjoy what I managed to do so thank you very much to Wiglaf.
    Thanks also to Prolixic for all the untangling.

  11. Thanks to Wiglaf for the challenge.
    And it’s not the first time that I cannot finish one of his crosswords.
    3d and 14a remained half filled and had to check 12d and 15d from the hints.
    In 17a I also parsed it with eve in mind. Glad I was right and did make the connection with NATO for 11a with the help of Google of course.
    Thanks to prolixic for the review and I look forward to Wiglaf’s next puzzle.

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