NTSPP – 272 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

NTSPP – 272

NTSPP – 272

Windsurfer’s box spanner

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

This puzzle was distributed to those attending the S&B meeting in Cambridge today.

This crossword was prepared for the crossword gathering in Cambridge.  A number of the answers are themed with links to Cambridge.  I have highlighted these with ** in the solutions below.


1 Came across back exercises that intrigue (5)
TEMPT – A word meaning came across or encountered is reversed (back) and followed by a two letter word for exercises.

4 See 13

11 He loves to make new cuts (7)
OSBORNE – An semi-all in one clue.  The letter representing love or zero followed by an S (as loves in is the plural) followed by a word meaning to make (as in to make, produce or ???? a hole with a drill) with the abbreviation for new inserted (cuts).

12 An unbeliever ignoring Catholic’s head is pure (7)
ASEPTIC – The indefinite article (an but for a following consonant) followed by a word for an unbeliever with the C (Catholic’s head) removed.

**13/4 English runner assumes fellow likes to freshen up before 5 for celebration (4,8)
FOLK FESTIVAL – The name of an English river (English runner) includes an anagram (to freshen up) of F (fellow) LIKES TO and the Roman numeral for five.

**14 They show players golf shot; it is playable! (10)
FOOTLIGHTS – An anagram (is playable) of GOLF SHOT IS.

16 Accustom to cutback, acquiring nothing foreign (6)
ORIENT – Reverse (cutback) the TO from the clue and include the French word (foreign) for nothing.

**17/3 Refine snack recipe in technological surroundings (7,4)
SCIENCE PARK – An anagram (refine) of SNACK RECIPIE.

21 American car lacks permit before adding Lincoln’s tail badge (7)
CHEVRON – Remove (lacks) a three letter word for permit from the name of an American car and add the final letter (tail) of Lincoln.

22 Locum not initially disastrous for post (6)
COLUMN – An anagram (disastrous) of LOCUM N (Not initially)

25 He could use long strides (10)
AUSTRALIAN – A cryptic definition of someone who wears long trousers and calls them strides.

**27 This sapphire might be pure, palish variation (4)
BLUE – A compound anagram and all in one clue given the colour of the gem.  The word which when added to Sapphire could produce an anagram (variation) of BE PURE PALISH.

29 Spooner’s in front of traffic (7)
DEALING – How Spooner might (on a really bad day when suffering from a heavy cold and having imbibed too much port) have said LEADING (in front of).

**30/23 Bad region can’t be changed into delightful place (7,6)
BOTANIC GARDEN – An anagram (changed) of BAD REGION CANT.

31 Protest easily dismissing first of lawsuits is ultimately short-term (8)
NIMBYISM – A word meaning deftly or easily loses the L (first of lawsuits) and is followed by the IS from the clue and the final word (shortly) of short-term.

32 Musical characters in edgy psychodrama (5)
GYPSY – The answer is hidden (characters in) EDGY PSYCHODRAMA.


2 Ellie’s upset, hard wearing makeup and blusher at first to tart up (9)
EMBELLISH – The first letters (at first) of Makeup and Blusher go inside (wearing) an anagram of ELLIES H (hard).

3 See 17 Across

5 They’re useful for large extensions (8)
ELASTICS – A cryptic definition.

6 People similar to these 13 I appointed (3,5,2)
THE LIKES OF – An anagram (appointed) of THESE I and the answer to 13a.

7 Climber could score victory; it’s the reverse (5)
VETCH – Reverse the order of a word meaning score or engrave and the abbreviation for victory.

8 Six-footer, say, swore under his breath? (6)
LOCUST – A homophone (say) of Low Cussed (swore under his breath)

**9 College pup? (7)
WOLFSON – Split 4,3 this Cambridge college could be a pup of a wild pack animal.

10 Half-heartedly shout down (5)
BELOW – Change the LL to L (half hearted) is a word meaning shout down.

**15 1 of 19, unfinished creation, it’s taken years (10)
UNIVERSITY – The combined educational establishments (19d) in Cambridge.  A word for all created things with the final letter removed (unfinished) followed by the IT from the clue and the abbreviation for years.

18 Devices for getting men and women together? (9)
COUPLINGS – A double definition for devices that link carriages together and pairings of men and women.

**19 Schools have pass limits reportedly (8)
COLLEGES – A homophone (reportedly) of Col (pass) edges (limits)

20 Cool articulate hunk might rest this way (2,5)
IN PEACE – A two letter word meaning cool or trendy followed by a homophone (articulate) a word for a hunk or slice of something.

23 See 30 Across

24 Noisy Spring insect perhaps (5)
MAYBE – A homophone (noisy) of MAY (spring) BEE (insect).

26 Crowd livens up, the final is proceeding to start (5)
SWARM – A word meaning livens up has the last letter moved to the front.

28 Starts to snow trek at youth holiday (4)
STAY – The initial letters (starts to) of Snow Trek At Youth.

26 comments on “NTSPP – 272

  1. Thanks to Windsurfer for a very enjoyable puzzle. I twigged the relevant theme part way through but it was only after I’d finished that I realised the significance of ‘box spanner’.
    There are some great clues here – favourites for me were 25a, 24d and 26d.

  2. Not an easy ride by any means, but think I’ve finally got there. Interestingly, Gazza’s favourites were amongst my last ones in!
    A few bits of wordplay I haven’t quite sorted and suspect that I may have overlooked a couple of answers that are relevant to the theme, but it was an enjoyable challenge – thank you, Windsurfer.

    My own favourites are 10&26d.

    Hope everyone’s had a great time in Cambridge – I wouldn’t have had much chance of completing this in a crowded pub, but no doubt you all sailed through it! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_mail.gif

  3. Haven’t looked at this one yet – for the first time ever I’ve made myself save it up for Sunday – the only day of the week when we don’t have two crosswords. Really glad that I’ve done that now – gardened all day today – now it’s raining so can do this tomorrow with a clear conscience! Smug or what? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    1. Good girl! We had the rain today so that’s my excuse for doing the puzzle instead of the gardening. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  4. Many thanks, Prolixic – that’s got my queries answered!
    11a – wasn’t sure that ‘bore’ really worked for ‘make cuts’.
    27a – just hadn’t thought far enough through the box.
    5d – haven’t come across this as a noun before now.

    However, I did get the Spoonerism (for once) and it seems I didn’t miss out on any of the Cambridge connections – despite having to Google the college names to get 9d!

    As for ‘box spanner’ – does this just relate to the fact that almost every square around the edge of the grid is used in the puzzle, or am I missing something there?

    Thanks again to both Windsurfer and Prolixic.

    1. In 11a ‘bore’ is ‘make’ (as in ‘make/bore a hole’) with the N(ew) cutting into it (i.e. getting inserted).
      Box is a type of CAM(era) and a spanner is a BRIDGE. That’s how I interpreted it anyway.

      1. Thanks Gazza – yet again!
        Now I understand that I’d put ‘cuts’ with the wrong word and also the significance of the ‘box spanner’.
        You would have thought I could have got the latter – my very first camera was a Brownie Box – it produced probably the only decent photo’s I’ve ever taken!

        If we ever meet up at a ‘birthday bash’ I’m bringing you a ‘knight in shining armour’ badge! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      2. I must admit I struggle with make (= create) indicating bore (= unmake?), which detracts from this clue for me.

  5. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gif And just how many days is this supposed to take us?
    I found it really difficult but eventually finished it apart from 11 and 31a and 10d. 11a might have been “doable” if my third letter hadn’t looked like an “R” – serves me right – should have doubted it..
    Very enjoyable and a great distraction from the garden . . .
    I loved 25 and 29a. My absolute favourite was 9d, once I’d stopped doubting it because all my problems were in that corner.
    With thanks to Windsurfer for the crossword and to Prolixic for all the untangling.
    I hope that the day in Cambridge was wonderful – at the risk of sounding a bit demanding I’m really looking forward to some piccies. Pretty please http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  6. Many thanks to all the contributors. Kath @5, this was designed at the more difficult end of the spectrum because there were many experts and setters at the Cambridge meeting, so no problem if you found one or two answers arcane.

    Yes, the box spanner was supposed to be box CAM (for camera) and BRIDGE for spanner.

    ‘Make’ is a difficult word as it can be applied in so many different ways. Gazza is right in that here it is in the sense of ‘make a hole’ i.e. bore a hole.

    Yes, we all had a great day in Cambridge (probably a bit too indulgent!) Big Dave did take some piccies so maybe they’ll appear in due course.

    1. Hi Windsurfer,
      So pleased to hear you say that this was designed at the ‘more difficult end of the spectrum’ – makes me feel really good for having finally solved it! Just so frustrated that I didn’t ‘get’ the box spanner.
      Many thanks. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

      1. I reckon Windsurfer’s reply lets us off the hook Jane – you particularly as you finished it. A http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif to you and me!

  7. I struggled with this, as well I might since I know absolutely nothing about Cambridge…the town or the university… or the doings thereof. I can see that it was appropriate for the occasion, but way too localized for me, I’m afraid.

    1. That was exactly our experience too Chris. Even Osborne was someone we did not know. We gave up with about two thirds done but did appreciate the cleverness when we looked at the review.

      1. Time for a re-visit then! I will be back there in September, not that I’m hinting or anything. I hear the Midland is a nice pub, and so convenient, but I hope everyone had a chance to stroll down the Promenade.

          1. That would be lovely! I’ll let you know more when we have our itinerary worked out.

  8. @8, sorry guys, this was a bit parochial, but was written for the event in Cambridge. Anyway, perhaps you can see from Prolixic’s nice pictures what a beautiful place Cambridge, UK is! Maybe you’ll be able to visit one day.

    …….And many thanks to Prolixic for a lovely pictorial blog, and to Big Dave for his help.

    1. No need to apologize! My poor showing is entirely my fault. I failed to make the connection between the puzzle and the occasion. Had I done so, I might have fared better because having read Prolixic’s super review, I can see that the clues were excellent and very fair. I’ve been over the pond for so long (35 years now) that I often have a bit of a struggle with places and the newer “Britishisms”. Now, if there is ever a S&B event in my beautiful home town of Cheltenham I will be in like Flint with the theme!

  9. Hello windsurfer,
    I guess there’s not much to do but Meeting in Cheltenham.
    Only joking.
    Fourth day and haven’t been able to complete your crossword.
    Didn’t get the college pup. Nor the folk bit even if I guessed the festival of 13/4.
    7d was a no go. Couldn’t see a word which fitted v-t-h. Still don’t get it.
    11a was a bung in with a big question mark.
    I suppose it would have helped if I got the theme. So topical but totally eluded me.
    Liked the Rien in 16a. We have a saying in Hyeres: Si tu as besoin de rien, appelles moi.
    Merci and I look forward to your next one.

    1. Hi jean-luc

      It would have been pretty difficult if you did not find the theme.

      In terms of VETCH, it’s etch for score and v for victory, so it gives ETCH/V. It’ the reverse is then V/ETCH. Maybe, ‘on the contrary’ would have been better.

Comments are closed.