NTSPP – 265 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 265

NTSPP – 265

A Puzzle by Hieroglyph

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by crypticsue follows:

Hieroglyph does love a themed crossword – indeed he achieved a long-held ambition last Tuesday when his cheese-themed puzzle was published in the Independent.   This week’s NTSPP is themed around an activity he obviously followed in between rounds of cheese sandwiches!   Once the theme is ‘seen’ it doesn’t take long to finish off the enjoyable crossword.



8/14a    15 19s and 14Ds, 24, 17, 25, 27, 29, 14D on a 10/26? (7,5)
MAXIMUM BREAK    The score of 147 on a 10/26 involving potting 15 x 19a (1 point) and 15 x 14d (7 points), a 24 (2), 17 (3), 25(4) , 27(5), 29 (6) and 14d (7).

maximum break

10/26a  14? Slot one away on one! (7,5)
SNOOKER TABLE  You can get a 14a by scoring (slot one away) by putting a ball into a small opening such as a pocket on a 10/26a.

snooker table

11a         Unruly thief trapped by desire for swimmers (9)
WHITEFISH   An anagram (unruly) of THIEF inserted into (trapped by) a desire.

12a         Dare beginning to trouble English poet (5)
DANTE   Readers of the Eagle comic will remember this ‘Dare’ – his Christian name is followed by the beginning of trouble and the abbreviation for English.

14a         See 8

15a         Booth that acted for a Miliband victory? (5)
EDWIN   The Christian name of a famous 19th century American actor is obtained by following Mr Miliband’s name with a victory.

16a         Witch‘s portion of Scottish dish (3)
HAG   Half (portion of) a Scottish dish eaten on Burns Night.

18a         See 24 Down

19a/26D Bureaucracy predates endless reorganisation (3,4)
RED TAPE  Remove the final letter (endless) from PREDATES and then reorganise to get an informal way of referring to bureaucracy.

red tape

20a/29d Well popular judge covers record (2,3,4)
IN THE PINK   The two-letter adverb meaning popular or fashionable,  followed by a verb meaning to judge into which is inserted a type of record.

21a         Stimulant property of vodka tonic (3)
KAT Hidden in, so a property of, vodKA Tonic is an alternative spelling for some leaves taken for their stimulant effect.

23a/14D Stamp that might cryptically signify lead (5,5)
PENNY BLACK   The abbreviations for the two words of the name of the first adhesive postage stamp can be combined cryptically to give  the chemical symbol for lead.

Penny Black

25a         See 5 Down
26a         See 10

28a         Learners excitedly pouring outside on arrival (7,2)
ROLLING UP    Two of the letter we use as an abbreviation for Learner are put into an anagram (excitedly) of POURING.

30a         Wet paper essentially left, you hear, by lake (7)
PLUVIAL   The ‘essential’ or middle letter of paper, the abbreviation for Left, the letter that sounds like ‘you’, a preposition meaning by way of,  and the abbreviation for Lake.

31a         Philosophical method of investigation on newspaper at first? (7)
ORGANON A method of investigation in Greek philosophy –   a word for a means of communication such as a newspaper followed by ON (from the clue).


1d           Sea duck in the end paddles from the mudflow (4)
SMEW   The ‘ends’ of paddleS froM thE mudflow. [I found this picture some two hours before Jane made her comment last night, and said to myself at the time ‘what a pretty duck’]]


2d           Agitation of old setter after drinking vermouth (10)
EXCITEMENT   A prefix meaning former (old) and a type of setter that makes two objects stick together into which is inserted (drinking) an abbreviation for Italian vermouth.

3d           Referee, having left court, roasted prime cut (6)
UMPIRE   Remove the abbreviation for court from PRIME CUT and make an anagram (roasted) of the letters you have left.

4d           Turned down El Salvador revolutionary with leader writer (8)
ESCHEWED   The IVR code for El Salvador, crosswordland’s favourite revolutionary, the abbreviation for with and the journalist who writes the leading article in a newspaper.

5d/25a  Former PM: “God! Borrow recklessly!” (Having introduced new note) (6,5)
GORDON BROWN   An anagram (recklessly) of GOD BORROW plus (having introduced ) N (new) and N (note).

6d           Film Kelvin amongst interminable function (4)
SKIN The abbreviation for Kelvin inserted into almost all (interminable meaning endless) of a trigonometrical function.

7/27d    Card-carrying butler upset over the European Union (4,4)
TRUE BLUE Someone unswervingly faithful, especially to a political party  represented by a particular colour –   An anagram (upset) of BUTLER put round the abbreviations for European and Union.

9d           Rodent‘s reportedly just 21 (7)
MEERKAT   A homophone (reportedly) of a synonym for just followed by the solution to 21a.


13d         See 17d
14d         See 23a

16d         Showing off on board, translated “G-Goodnight” (3- 7)
HOT-DOGGING     Clever manoeuvres on a surfboard or skateboard – an anagram (translated) of G GOODNIGHT.

17/13d Spilled teenager’s drink (5,3)
GREEN TEA   An anagram (spoiled) of TEENAGER.

19d         Total income from property on National Theatre register (4-4)
RENT-ROLL   The two letters meaning on the subject of, the abbreviation for the National Theatre and another word for a register.

20d         Inspiring setter’s stuff taking individual in (7)
IMBUING How Hieroglyph (our setter) might start a sentence to say that he was doing something followed by a verb meaning to stuff into which is inserted I (taking individual – one– in).

22d         A Georgia range (3)
AGA   A (from the clue) followed by the abbreviation for the State of Georgia.


23d         Bird to go with it (6)
PEEWIT An informal term for urinating (to go) the abbreviation for With and IT (from the clue).


24d/18a Amber’s shout: that hurts! (Later cured) (6,5)
YELLOW ALERT   A shout, a spontaneous uttering of pain (that hurts!) and an anagram (cured) of LATER.

26d         See 19a
27d         See 7d
29d         See 20a

35 comments on “NTSPP – 265

  1. The only problem with this puzzle was that I twigged what 8/14 was going on about fairly quickly and it allowed me to write in six further answers without even reading their clues. Their “other halves” were then pretty obvious so about half the puzzle was done in no time at all.

    Apart from 8/14 fav was 2d and last in 31a with a “guess and Google” technique as I’d never heard the word.

    It was most enjoyable while it lasted so many thanks to Hieroglyph.

  2. Super puzzle – thanks Hieroglyph. I left the 8/14 clue until near the end so the full cleverness didn’t strike me until I’d almost finished. I also learnt a new phrase at 16d (I was a bit worried about where it was leading until I looked it up in the BRB!). Favourite clues: 2d and 23d.

        1. I reckon if MP was in the ‘chair’ for tomorrow’s review he’d be sorely tempted to include a suitable rendition of ‘Steamy Windows’ ……………http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

  3. Nice setting to get all the theme words in without too many other obscurities.

    A bit like Pommers, I got the theme early on, which led to completing about half the puzzle quickly.

    I particularly liked 2d & 23d (just like gazza!)

  4. I’ve amazed myself by completing this! These kinds of two-word answers scattered all over the grid makes my eyes cross. Thanks for the workout, Hieroglyph. I got 10A/26A from the checking letters. I had almost completed the puzzle before I got to 8/14 also and I had to list all the other answers to get it. How very clever! But I’m confused as to the significance of 15 in the 8/14 clue.

    23A/14D and 23D are my favorites.

  5. Afraid not. Still clear as mud. I checked Wiki previously and came up with a much larger number.

    1. Hi Chris

      There are 15 red balls on a snooker table so to get a maximum break you need to pot all 15 of them, each followed by a black, and then all the colours. So the clue says 15 reds and blacks and then the colours.

      Hope that helps.

      1. Thanks. Yes, it does help. Many thanks. I was looking at maximum break as a total score, which Wiki tells me is 147, but 155 is possible with a spare ball. Coincidentally, all the clue numbers given for the colors add up to 155 (Yes, I did my sums). Hence my confusion. I looked at 15 and thought it was a typo! My creative side strikes out again!!

      2. That’s really given the game away, Pommers – not to mention the one answer (8/14) that non-devotees could really struggle with! I did think – shouldn’t the 8/14 clue refer to 14d rather than 14ds?

        1. The s after both 19 and 14D signifies a plural so you want (15 x 19) + (15 x 14D) … etc.

          1. Sorry, Gazza – I was thinking in terms of there only being 1x14d on the table. Completely forgot about the number of times you’d have to pot it!

  6. I always approach with some trepidation a puzzle that has so many inter-connecting clues – feel as though it’s going to be necessary to solve in a particular order. Fortunately a couple of ‘colours’ gave me a way into this one and I could then employ Pommers’ tactics to get several of the others!

    16d – I’m still rather embarrassed about the way my mind was working (not terribly lady-like!).

    31a took a Google check and 30a was way down in the foggy memory bank.

    1d is, unlike its name, rather beautiful – hope there’s a pic. with tomorrow’s review.

    I’ll give my vote to the current leaders – 2 & 23d.

    Well done on the theme, Hieroglyph – I can just imagine the likely header on the review!

  7. Perhaps our youths were not sufficiently misspent as it took us a long time to twig the subtlety of the theme. However we got on the right track about half way through and it then went more smoothly. We needed Gazzas comment above to understand the significance of 15 in the 8/14 clue. It kept us entertained and amused for quite some time so we are happy.
    Thanks Hieroglyph.

    1. Back in 1984 when I was expecting No 1 son and wasn’t particularly well and didn’t sleep much at night, I used to watch the game late into the evening (some championships or other) on a black and white telly, and after a while it was possible to ‘see’ the different coloured balls.

      1. Pot Black was a big favourite on telly here when I was growing up. I can’t imagine why we enjoyed it so much in black and white and from the other side of the world, but we did! (That and The Big Match were must-watches for us – colonials to the end!)
        I really enjoyed this, got the theme quite quickly but still failed on 1d despite understanding the wordplay – I just couldn’t believe it was a word! And 31 was new to me too. Thanks very much to Heiroglyph.

        1. Andrew, have a go at the MPP next. We foreigners are still allowed to enter but we are just playing for the HAG, ie, Honour And Glory. You do get a mention on the honours board too if you get lucky.

          1. Thanks 2Kiwis! Have made it through that one too now – what a great puzzle!

        2. I also used to watch Pot Black, although not totally voluntarily. The first ‘live’ game I saw really threw me – you’re sitting at the ‘wrong’ end of the table and don’t have the hushed tones of the commentator explaining what’s going on!

  8. I know it’s a bit late or rather early but I just got back home from a fun evening with friends.
    Really enjoyed this puzzle and apart from writing twice the same word in 14a and 14d, everything went well.
    Realised my mistake as 8/14 came clear to me when I got all the colours.
    Ray Reardon was my favourite at the time. I used to play in Crouch End snooker hall in Tottenham Lane with my lazy actor friends. We spend most of the afternoon there on a regular basis.
    It was quite hard work going from across to down with so many double clues and at one point my head was spinning.
    Enjoyed my helping of Haggis but favourite is 7/27.
    Thank to Hieroglyph.

    1. I enjoyed this crossword but would agree about the ‘head spinning’ factor. In the end I had to resort to writing the answers out as dashes then entering the checking letters then completing the solution.

  9. I started well by firstly potting a red (19a) but then I went for the green (17d) – so no maximum for me!

    Thanks to Hieroglyph for the puzzle!

    Thanks also to CS for the review … especially for explaining the Dante one …

  10. Many thanks for the great review, CS – and for finding the pic. of a 1d in full breeding plumage. I note that you wisely refrained from making any further comment on the answer to 16d!
    Think you may have left out ‘via’ from the hint at 30a.

    Head-spinning, certainly – but nevertheless a good puzzle from Heiroglyph.

    Hope everyone tries the MPP – I’ve twigged the theme but am a long way off completion.

    1. Thanks Jane – my solved grid paper actually has ‘via’ written by the clue so I’ve no idea why I left it out.

  11. Just reading CS’s review and I’m reminded of something I forgot to say in my first post.

    Re 9d. I don’t think a meerkat is a rodent. It’s a related to the mongooses, mongeese, sod it, it’s a mongoose.

    1. Hi Pommers,
      It all seems to get a bit confusing. My trawls of Mr. Google reveal some sources citing the Meerkat as a rodent, some a type of Mongoose and yet others who are adamant that it is neither and belongs to its own order – suricata.
      Not quite as clear-cut as the debate started by AndrewKiwi over the ‘rodent’ in the MPP. That one definitely isn’t!!!

      1. Rodents have continually growing gnawing teeth. Meerkats don’t. Simples indeed!

        1. Oh dear – does that make us rodents then? I had to have a ‘top’ tooth removed some years ago and the corresponding lower tooth just keeps on growing………….. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

    2. 9d in both the NTSPP & MPP has rodents – are they both rodents – I’m beginning to become somewhat confused!

      Simples! Where’s my bottle of wine? (Hic!)

  12. Thanks for your comments and to Cryptic Sue for the review. ‘Chambers’ Thesaurus lists MEERKAT as a rodent, erroneously as pointed out, so mea culpa. Hope to be back in this slot anon! :-)

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