NTSPP – 277 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 277

NTSPP – 277

A Puzzle by Prolixic

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by crypticsue follows.


Thanks to Prolixic once again for the alternative Saturday crossword which on test-solving, I described  as ‘lovely and user-friendly’.   Sorry Kath, but revisiting the puzzle to type up the review hasn’t altered my opinion one bit.


1a           Band touring Utah gets payment (7)
TRIBUTE A historical payment is obtained by putting a band or set of people of common descent around (touring) the abbreviation for Utah.

5a           Two notes hardly sufficient for part of song (7)
DESCANT   Two musical notes and an adjective meaning hardly sufficient.

9a           Beagle vet dissected for food (9)
VEGETABLE An anagram (dissected) of BEAGLE VET.


10a         Force king to leave chef’s hat (5)
TOQUE   Remove (king to leave)  the Latin abbreviation for king from a force causing rotation or torsion.


11a         Elected men went off (8)
RETURNED   These men are members of the Royal Engineers, the abbreviation for which should be followed by a verb meaning went off (became sour)

12a         Sends out 51 to replace European boundaries (6)
LIMITS   Replace the E (European) at the start of a verb meaning sends out, and replace with the Roman numeral for 51.

14a         All traces of matter originally (4)
ATOM   The ‘original’ letters of the first four words in the clue.

16a         Drops paragraphs about report of fire (10)
PARACHUTES   The abbreviation for paragraphs goes round a homophone (report of) a verb meaning to fire a gun.


18a         After leaving castle sleep with pirate first to get children (10)
KIDDYWINKS   As children we had an ancient aunt who used to refer to us as this .  Remove a type of castle from a plural noun meaning a short nap, especially one taken after dinner and replace with a Scottish pirate, whose name should be familiar to anyone who has taken note of the history of Execution Dock while at an S&B at the Town of Ramsgate in Wapping.

19a         Pick  fruit… (4)
PLUM A double definition – an adjective meaning choice (pick) or a type of fruit.

22a         … one type after noon’s better (6)
NEATER   A type of fruit suitable for eating uncooked follows the abbreviation for Noon.

23a         Justifies battle-cries (8)
WARRANTS     Battle (or perhaps battles) and cries out in anger.

26a         Model history about Indian city (5)
DELHI Hidden in moDEL HIstory.

27a         Charts the break up of apartheid (3,6)
HIT PARADE   An anagram (break up) of APARTHEID.

28a         Ask permission of French to return Dog Fennel (7)
MAYWEED   Another name for dog fennel is obtained by following a way of asking permission with a reversal (to return) of the French word for ‘of’.


29a         That lady comes back with food and puts it on the cooker again (7)
REHEATS A reversal (comes back) of the female  pronoun (that lady) and an archaic term for food.

1d           Commander leaves set of notes on genetic material in auberge (7)
TAVERNA   Remove the abbreviation for Office in Charge (commander) from a set of eight notes and then add the abbreviation for ribonucleic acid (genetic material).


2d           Elected after exchange of words to find valuable material (5)
INGOT   Reverse the two words (after change) of the way a recently elected MP might say he had been elected and you get a mass of unwrought metal (valuable material).

3d           Presents headless goats? (6)
UTTERS   Presents here meaning says out loud – obtained by removing the first letter from a description of animals that strike with the head (goats, for example, as indicated by the ?)

4d           Angry camel bit me and representative (10)
EMBLEMATIC   An ‘angry’ anagram of CAMEL BIT ME.

5d           Ready escort carrying colours (4)
DYES   Hidden in reaDY EScort.

6d           Italian stockings with toe put over head hold firm (3,5)
SIT TIGHT   Take the abbreviation for Italian and some stockings and move the ‘toe’ or last letter to the beginning.

7d           Leave to enter a court to quash gangster’s release (9)
ACQUITTAL   A (from the clue) followed by the abbreviation for court, into which is inserted (enters) a verb meaning to leave, the result of which should be followed by the two-letter nickname of a famous American gangster.

8d           Locks Hitler’s bodyguards in timbers (7)
TRESSES   The two letters by which Hitler’s bodyguards are known inserted into the source (plural)of timbers.


13d         A test mark’s adjusted for overseer (10)
TASKMASTER An anagram (adjusted) of A TEST MARKS.

15d         Traditional comedian loses account in court (3,6)
OLD BAILEY   Another way of saying traditional followed by the surname  of a comedian (cleverly indicated by ‘loses account’ as his abbreviated Christian name is a written account of money owed).

old bailey

17d         Movement to include agreement about Northern part of Britain (8)
TYNESIDE   The abbreviation for Northern is inserted into the usual way we verbally indicate our agreement and the result inserted into a movement usually associated with the sea.

18d         Good lord supports relatives’ land (7)
KINGDOM The three-letter word for relatives followed by the abbreviation for good and the abbreviation for a Latin word meaning lord.

20d         Confusion over golfer’s seafood (7)
MUSSELS   An archaic term for a mess (confusion)  goes before a South African golfer who seems to have gone out of favour with crossword setters of late.

21d         Betray occupation by resistance in talk (6)
PREACH   The abbreviation for Resistance occupies or goes inside an originally Shakespearean verb meaning to betray

24d         Name song about a ruminant (5)
NYALA The abbreviation for Name, a reversal (about) of a type of song, and A (from the clue).


25d         That lady would drop (4)
SHED   An abbreviated way of saying ‘that lady would’, without the apostrophe, produce a verb meaning to drop.

24 comments on “NTSPP – 277

  1. Wonderful stuff, Prolixic. Some clever anagrams, a few potential potholes for Kath and great surface reads.
    Favourite…….well, there’s 5,16,18,23,27 & 28a to choose from, along with 1,2,6 & 15d.
    Suspect that 6d could land you in trouble with the ‘suspenders’ brigade!

    Thank you so much. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  2. The last two in (21D & 24D) held me up for a while, but I learned a new word in solving 21D. 17D also took a bit of time because I couldn’t get past the agreement being ‘Ay’. So many I liked, but I’m tipping my hat to 18A because of the D’oh moment when I finally twigged the castle bit. Lovely stuff, Prolixic. You’re a star!

  3. This gave us quite a fight but an enjoyable one. 17d was the last one for us to work out. Why do we always assume that the geography ones are places we have never heard of when most of the time we do know of them? 28a, however was new to us and needed Google help. Excellent Sunday morning breakfast entertainment. Now for a beach walk as long as the threatening rain holds off.
    Thanks Prolixic.

  4. Got there in the end but might need the blog tomorrow to fully understand some of the answers. 18a I’ve just seen. Devious.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

  5. Well *********** to it all! Just in case anyone is trying to make something awful of that lot it was just a random number of stars!
    Over in the “other place” this one was called a Prolixic in a kind mood for solvers, or something like that. I thought it was distinctly tricky in bits.
    To cut a very long story very short – still can’t do 17 or 21d.
    Husband corrected 23a from ‘warsongs’ (my answer which I couldn’t justify) to ‘warrants’ which seems to work – he’s so smug that I might have to shoot him!!
    All good fun – off to bed.
    Night night to everyone . . .

    1. Please don’t do that shooting! Who would we have to cook us a superb gourmet dinner next time we come to Oxford if you did that. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

      1. Do share details of your dinner! Still waiting to see some photographs of your trip, by the way!!

        1. Chris, we were treated like royalty all the time we stayed with Kath in Oxford and on our last evening there, the person who Kath has just threatened to shoot, had prepared a magnificent meal of pilaf and lamb followed by a berry crumble and egg custard. Yummmmm. A memory to treasure.

          1. Wow! How nice that you were able to spend time with Kath and her husband. Especially if he cooks! Our trip home is going to be short and already packed with must-do things, one of which is meeting up with BD, who lives just a few miles from our home town.

  6. I really enjoyed this puzzle, parts of which put up a bit of a fight, but it was well worth the effort.

    Although I completed the grid, I didn’t know the name for a chef’s hat but the answer was easily derivable from the clue and checking letters. I couldn’t parse my answer for 22a because I was too stupid to make the connection to 19a despite the ellipses. I wasn’t sure where the final three letters in 18d came from, and the first four letters of 20d made a new word for me. Many thanks to CS for the enlightenment.

    Many thanks too to Prolixic for a splendid puzzle with smooth surface readings throughout.

  7. Many thanks, CS, particularly for the parsing of a couple I wasn’t sure about. 18a – I’d got the pirate and ‘winks’ for sleep, then removed ‘after’ from Castle Day for the middle section. Technically that left me short of a ‘d’ in the answer and I suppose ‘winks’ is a bit of a stretch for sleep. 21d – I’d forgotten about the Shakespearean word – only ‘impeach’ came to mind and I couldn’t justify removing the ‘im’.
    Not to worry – it was so enjoyable and I had finished up with all the right answers!
    ps. Still had to check the spelling of the chef’s hat even though it turned up not so long ago. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

  8. Thanks Prolixic, nice puzzle.

    Thanks CS, I didn’t quite get the parsing of 15 and 18a.

    I particularly liked 2 & 6.

  9. I didn’t know this woollly hat that I associate with bob & doug mcKenzie cooking back bacon, eh, was also a chef’s hat.

    I certainly did not know the old words for mess & betray (I’m really amazed anyone did) and I had to look up dog’s fennel, so quite a bit of learning

    I didn’t manange to parse 18a, though I’d heard the term. I struggled with some definitions, e.g. returned for elected, cries for rants, and I didn’t understand quash in 7d. Paras has a lot in common with paragraphs, which is a pity.

    I thought the anagrams were clever and I liked the surface in 5a & 27a (does charts have to be plural?).

    As always, I’m in awe of the accomplishment of putting together a puzzle and very grateful to Prolixic for providing us with this entertainment, many thanks and look forward to more

    1. Hi Dutch,
      Hadn’t heard of Bob & Doug before so investigated Youtube – you actually watch that stuff?!!!

      As for ‘charts’ – I seem to recall that radio/tv presenters always referred to a ‘run down of the charts’ on pop music programmes. I assumed that the Top Ten listings were an amalgamation from various different sources.

      1. well, it was a while ago, probably lost it’s context now – this was “the great white north” since us weather maps just had white where there was canada. SCTV asked Rik Moranis and Dave Thomas to add canadian content, and this parody was the result, it became a bit of a cult thing. I was living in Vancouver at the time.

  10. Well I still thought that was quite tricky!
    I should have got 17d (but didn’t!) and I couldn’t do 21d either – if I ever knew the Shakespearean verb I’ve forgotten it – kept trying to justify ‘breach’.
    The blasted South African golfer has been out of favour with crossword setters for long enough for me to have forgotten him but I did, eventually, remember him.
    I’ve read the explanation for 18a several times now – just got there! Oh dear!
    I really enjoyed this even if I didn’t find it as straightforward as everyone else seems to have done.
    With thanks to Prolixic for the hours, and I mean hours, of entertainment and to CS for sorting out my problem answers.

  11. Took me forever to parse the fortywinks or at least I think that is what it is. I do know a captain Kidd though. But the answer once Googled was taking me to some crèche in NZ.
    Had Breach for betray in 21d. The beach is a great occupation and with the R of resistance, I thought I was there. The “in talk” was totally forgotten.
    The seafood was a bung in. Still can’t parse the clue. I don’t know where the first word finishes nor where the second one starts.
    Really enjoyed the challenge.
    Thanks to Prolixic and to CS for the review.

    1. The first four letters of 20 D form a word that is common parlance today in the US for ‘mess up’ so that was easy for me. I did not know it was Shakespearean in origin, though. The last three letters are the name of a South African Golfer.

  12. I couldn’t finish this as 17d isn’t AYRSHIRE – thanks to Prolixic & to CS as per .

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