NTSPP – 268 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 268

NTSPP – 268

A Puzzle by Toro

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle follows.

Thanks to Toro for an excellent crossword.  Apologies for the brevity of the review but it is a busy time of year and times is at a premium.


1 Document backup from PC with durable binding (4,4)
HARD COPY – A five letter word meaning durable goes around (binding) three letter word for a policeman.

5 Seaman and rower departing on a boat (6)
ABOARD – The abbreviation for an able seaman followed by three letter word for a rower and the abbreviation for departing. Chambers gives only “departs” for the abbreviation.

10 Businessman I bump into circling round posh island (9)
MAURITIUS – A four letter word for a businessman (from what he wears), the I from the clue and a three letter word meaning bump into around (circulating) the abbreviation for posh are all reversed (round).

11 Womenswear absorbing and dividing Britain? (5)
BURKA – The abbreviation for United Kingdom (Britain) is split and put separately in an item of womenswear.  To quote Wikipedia “The UK’s full name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  Great Britain comprises only England, Scotland and Wales.  Great Britain is the largest island of the British Isles.”  Therefore is Britain a synonym for the United Kingdom – discuss!

12 Part of a duet, a piece to harmonise con dolore (7)
SECONDO – The answer is hidden in (a piece to) HARMONISE CON DOLORE.

13 Bag in corridor packed by ex (7)
HOLDALL – A word meaning ex or former goes inside (packed by) another word for a corridor.

14 Chemist let off steam volubly (5)
BOYLE – A homophone (volubly) of boil (let off steam).

15 Latched on to smash four runs and another six off the track (9)
DECATHALON – An anagram (to smash) of LATCHED ON for a series of ten track and field events.

17 Rope’s swinging with dead outlaw (9)
DESPERADO – An anagram (swinging) of ROPES DEAD.

19 Novice outputs of mine are lacking definition (2-3)
LO-RES – The abbreviation for a learner or novice goes inside the word do described the rocks extracted from a mine.  The construction wordplay are definition jars slightly.

21 Goods shipped abroad out of harbours (7)
EXPORTS – A two letter prefix meaning out of followed by another word for harbours.

23 Warning, verbal, after being half-cut all the time (7)
FOREVER – A warning shouted on the golf course followed by one half of the word verbal.

25 Exercise is a bit boring (5)
DRILL – Double definition time for a word for an army exercise and the bit that is used when boring holes.

26 Represented as labour but not charged? (9)
UNIONISED – A double definition for having organised workers groups and, if looked at as 2-7, meaning without having ions that carry electrical charges.

27 Go back inside nomad’s tent for fermented milk (6)
YOGURT – Reverse (back) the GO from the clue and put it inside another word for a nomad’s tent.

28 Measures against delinquents hanging round estate, a hazard in some buildings (8)
ASBESTOS – The abbreviation for anti-social behavioural orders goes around the abbreviation for an estate.


1 Rotten smell American leaves after decomposing (5)
HUMUS – A three letter word for a rotten smell followed by the abbreviation for United States.

2 Risqué but unverifiable letter penned by a puzzling ‘Mr T’ (7)
RAUNCHY – … if you don’t solve the back page Telegraph crossword and read the blog to know the identity of the Thursday setters you are at an immediate disadvantage with this clue!  A word for an unchecked square in a crossword is included in (penned by) the first name of Mr Terrell, one of the unnamed setters of the back page crossword in the Daily Telegraph.

3 Tell niece off for patronising people (9)
CLIENTELE – An anagram (off) of TELL NIECE.

4 Monk’s holding mass over Internet connection about very origins of life (10,4)
PRIMORDIAL SOUP – The abbreviation for mass goes inside another word for a monk who runs an abbey goes on top of (over) a phrase (4-2) for an internet connection around an two letter word meaning very.

6 Confused speech of infant the earliest sign of language (5)
BABEL – A four letter word for an infant followed by the first letter (earliest sign of) language.

7 Letters in ‘plane’ sorted for a foreign country (7)
AIRMAIL – A cryptic definition of overseas post?

8 No more rows? I shouldn’t miss them but I do (9)
DEADLINES – Split 4,5 this might mean no more rows or tiers.

9 Welsh factories supply direct (2,3,4,5)
AS THE CROW FLIES – An anagram (supply) of WELSH FACTORIES.

14 The penny-drop moment of the year? (6,3)
BUDGET DAY – A cryptic reference to the even when the Chancellor knocked a penny of the pint of beer.

16 Ability to stomach cereal and not nuts (9)
TOLERANCE – An anagram (nuts) of  CEREAL NOT.

18 What the Big Apple used to be — a place to croon about? (7)
SAPLING – A word meaning to croon or make vocal music goes around the abbreviation for place.

20 Rebounding from tonsillitis, I’ve romance to get back to (7)
REVISIT – The answer is hidden and reversed inside TONSILLITIS IVE ROMANCE.

22 King in trouble regularly with Queen? (5)
RULER – The regular (even) letters of trouble followed by the abbreviation for Queen Elizabeth.

24 Goings-on at the fair? (5)
RIDES – A cryptic definition of things you go on at a fair or theme park.

46 comments on “NTSPP – 268

  1. Excellent stuff – thanks, Toro. Too many ‘favourites’ to list them all but I have to mention 15a, 28a and the laugh of the week which is 2d.

  2. Very entertaining puzzle, the LHS went in easily but I got a bit stuck on some of the RHS.

    Gazza, I’m afraid I don’t understand your laugh of the week. Is Ray Mr T? Perhaps a hint is needed.

    1. Hi Windsurfer – thought ‘puzzling’ was enough of a hint but maybe I’m just biased…………!

      1. Unfortunately I don’t regularly do the Telegraph crosswords, but I did find the reference………

  3. Really wonderful stuff, Toro – just the lift I needed on a miserable day. Potential favourites included 13,15 &17a + 8 &14d but it just HAS to be 2d (of course!). Hope the man himself drops in to give you a http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    Very clever use of anagrams and hidden answers and only one clue that took a bit of a ‘shot in the dark’ for this self-confessed technophobe. Loved some of the ‘simple’ ones – 14a + 7 & 24d.

    I reckon there’s a great review heading your way!

    1. Had a peek at this earlier, but not sure I’ll get the time to do more. Anyway, just popped by here to say hope you’re ok Jane. No need to give any details, just accept a flower http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif.

      1. Thank you Kitty – I think you’ll be needing some flowers of your own shortly, so it’s especially nice that you sent your good wishes.

  4. What a joy! So many that I liked, including 26A and 4D, but the fabulous 2D takes the crown and deserves five stars all on its own. I have not heard of 14D, but from the checking letters I worked out what I think is the correct answer and investigoogled. There is such an occasion, but the penny-drop relevance escapes me. The one I had real trouble with was 11A and I confess to revealing a letter to get it. One doesn’t see them in Southern Maryland. Great stuff, Toro!

    1. We had a 14d a couple of weeks ago and in a burst of pre-election generosity the duty on beer was dropped by the equivalent of one penny per pint. We’re trying hard not to spend the savings all at once. :D

        1. Don’t worry, Chris – I started out there as well. Then realised I was probably thinking of Groundhog Day!

    2. A quick hello from me to Expat Chris from Arlington VA, where I’m visiting my adored 9-year-old son Mickey. Where in MD are you?

      1. I am in Waldorf, Toro. Enjoy your stay! If you’re out and about today, wrap up warm. The sun is shining but the wind is biting.

        1. Hi Mr. T – thought you’d be ‘touched’ by the inclusion. Please note that it was almost universally voted as favourite clue of the puzzle!

  5. I absolutely loved this – brilliant – and the right level of difficulty, for me anyway.
    I got very stuck for a while in the top right corner – 8d was my last answer.
    I had to check 19a with husband – don’t understand that kind of stuff but he says it’s right.
    I did run a mile when I saw 15a but that one didn’t cause problems in the end.
    I’ve turned 10a all ways up and inside out and I still don’t see why my answer is right – I think it must be but I’m just being dim.
    Far too many brilliant clues to mention all of them but just a few are 14 and 17a and 3, 8 and 18d. The obvious favourite, along with everyone else is 2d – wonderful.
    With thanks and congratulations on such a good crossword to Toro and thanks in advance to anyone who will dig me out of my 10a hole.

    1. I was in the same hole as you with 10a when I tested this one – I will email you.

    2. 10a is an informal term for a business man (4) + I + bump into (3) containing posh (1) – all reversed.

    3. Took me a while to work out which ‘I’ and which ‘posh’ was which! Try writing your answer down backwards – should help.

    4. Thanks Sue, gazza and Jane – I would never have worked that out for myself. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
      Now we’ll all have a peaceful evening – I’m sure the rest of the household will be very grateful to you!

  6. Lovely stuff that we really enjoyed. Tripped slightly at the very last hurdle with 28a as the acronym that makes up most of the wordplay was unfamiliar to us. Google did the sorting out. 2d for favourite of course but heaps of others to smile and chuckle over.
    Many thanks Toro.

  7. I can’t remember the last time I tried to solve one of your crossword but I must admit that I had to concentrate very hard on this one.
    4d took me the longest to parse but eventually got there.
    14d came with the help of the blog. I first was thinking about a religious day when one gives money, but even if the word badger came to mind, I only know about a groundhog day. Expatchris did make me smile.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif
    I like the personal note in 8d. That made me smile too.
    I’ll go along with everyone else and declare solemnly that 2d is my favourite.
    These letters, single or double, always cause so many problems and so does this setter actually.
    Found 25a very elegant.
    Thanks Toro

    1. Apparently, there is a National Badger Day in the UK in October, so Google tells me! I must confess that with no checking letters as yet, my first thought for 14D was Ladies Day, like at the races, a penny-drop ( penny in the slot) being the cost of using a public loo when I was young.

      Puxatawny Phil is a grinch. We always get six more weeks of winter, no matter what.

      1. I thought too of some kind of toilet joke. Everything possible came to mind. And with the unchecked letters uhm uhm, it was quite hard to get unless you remembered about the exchequer’s little red box and everything that comes out of it. But fair cop, it did make the news. We are supposed to be Telegraph readers I guess.

    2. Forgot to say about 11a. I first thought the word was hidden between the two first words… wasn’t far off really.

  8. almost there but stuck on 9d. if i can get that the rest should drop into place. guess i’ll have to wait for the review. i’m completely discombobulated as a result of the fiddling around with the time – slept in which is unusual for me & was woken by no2 son wanting access to his storage unit [my garage].

    thanks to toro.

    1. 9d – an expression meaning ‘direct’ is an anagram (supply) of WELSH FACTORIES.

      1. thanks cs – off now to slice a raw onion then soak it in vinegar to go with tonight’s roast & yorkshire puds.

  9. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. Must admit that I didn’t have an issue with 5,11 or 19a – maybe such minor details are of little importance where they do not significantly impinge on the clue’s solvability?

    Interesting point re: 6d. The Tower of Babel is a story in the Hebrew bible which is meant to explain the origin of different languages.
    ps – no, I’m not that knowledgeable, it popped up on Google!

  10. Many thanks for reviewing, Prolixic. I can tell you are snowed under with official and/or family duties this weekend because, for the first time ever, I have a few minor quibbles. (Even so, I should have known I would never succeed in sneaking “departing” in 5a past you!).

    10a (MAURITIUS) The wordplay is actually SUIT I RAM (businessman I bump into) reversed (circling) around (round) U (posh).

    11a (BURKA) Great Britain of course is only part of the UK, but Britain and the adjective British are official short forms for the UK as a whole and widely used not just by the BBC for instance but in government also.

    19a (LO-RES) The wordplay is L (novice) and ORES (outputs of mine). Re. the comment, I personally have always thought that a plural link word (here ARE) is grammatical and fair when the wordplay is a charade of two or more elements (and posted a comment on this after your review of Gazza’s last NTSPP in which he did the same thing).

    7d (AIRMAIL) Sorry about this ropey clue, which I was supposed to rewrite. For what it’s worth, the intention was to mislead solvers briefly into looking for an anagram of ‘plane’ to give ‘Nepal’, before realising that the surface is just a straight definition for (physical) letters having been sorted (in the postal sense) for a foreign destination and put on a plane.

    8d (DEADLINES) This is charade of DEAD (no more, as in ‘this parrot is no more’) and LINES (rows), rather than a phrase that could be interpreted as “no more rows/tiers”.

  11. Many thanks everybody for taking the time to solve and comment. It’s very much appreciated, and the feedback is extremely useful.

    1. Hope you are having a lovely time. Do you have sightseeing planned, or have you already ‘been there, done that’?

      1. Usually, when I am not just picking Mickey up to bring him to England, we stay in the Philadelphia with an ex-neighbour of mine, but that’s just fallen through this time so we are wondering whether to stick around the DC area. I haven’t done many of the sights, but it’s a little difficult to interest a nine-year-old local in national monuments and the like. But do let me know if you have any bright ideas!

        1. For a nine-year old, the Air and Space Museum is magic. You can go several times and still not see it all. Same with the Natural History Museum. Great dinosaur exhibit and, I believe, a butterfly room now. My kids, and now grandkids, never tired of going to the Aquarium in Baltimore. Neither did I. You can visit a WWII sub and take a trip over the harbor to fort McHenry, where the Star Spangled Banner was penned. Has he been to Luray Caverns? Bit of a hike, but worth it if you’re willing to drive on the wrong side of the road. If it were later in the year, I would recommend a trip down to St. Mary’s City, the first settlement, with Indian long barrows and the like. It’s open all year round, but more activities in the Summer months. Does he follow a sports team? A night at a Caps home game would be awesome.

          1. That’s really kind of you, Chris. St. Mary’s City, which I had not heard of, looks utterly fascinating and is now firmly on the bucket list!

            1. You’re welcome. We started going to St. Mary’ City 30 years ago when very little had been uncovered. Been back many, many times since. Pack a picnic. Not many places to eat around there.

  12. What a lovely puzzle. I’m glad I found the time to do it. A nice level of difficulty and lots of laughs. Apart from the popular favourite, I can’t choose another – too many candidates! The variety of clues cited by people as (second!) favourites shows how good this was.

    Thanks to Toro and Prolixic – and Toro again for mounting a defence of his use of “are” as a link word – interesting, and I hadn’t thought of it like that.

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