NTSPP – 286

NTSPP – 286

Work, Work, Work by Soup

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows:

Across 7 Worked out action, imprisoning French nobleman (7)
DEDUCED – A word for an action or exploit goes around (imprisoning) the French for duke.

8 Song put worker on edge (6)
ANTHEM – A three letter word for an insect worker followed by a word for the edge of a garment.

10 Soup puzzle is quite some work (4)
OPUS – An anagram (puzzle) of SOUP.

11 See something positive after working away from the studio (2,8)
ON LOCATION – A two letter word meaning working followed by a two letter word meaning see and another word for a positively charged particle.

12 Pitched working title to leading director (6)
TILTED – An anagram (working) of TITLE followed by the abbreviation for director.

14 Support worker with banter (8)
HANDRAIL – A four letter word for a worker followed by a word meaning to banter.

15 Way of working disrupts a British river plant (7)
ANEMONE – The abbreviation for modus operandi (way of working) goes inside the A from the clue and the name of a British river.

17 Writes again; mistakenly orders worktop (7)
REWORDS – An anagram (mistaken) of ORDERS W (the W being the top of work – allegedly!)

20 Sprang up at work: upset Rod (8) S
– An anagram (work) of UPSET ROD.

22 Summary: “get back to work!” (6)
RESUME – A double definition and homograph – words that are spelled the same but with a different pronunciation.

23 Queen indoors, cutting out working (10)
EXERCISING – The regnal cipher of the current queen inside (indoors) a word meaning cutting out.

24 The French, with axes, are work-shy (4)
LAZY – The French feminine singular for “the” followed by two of the axes on a three-dimensional graph.

25 Work Ron ostensibly covers for important Greek figure (6)
KRONOS – The answer is hidden inside (covers)  WORK RON OSTENSIBLY.

26 Plant official stops work (7)
TREFOIL – The abbreviation for a football official inside (stops) a word meaning work.


1 Taking on a party with controversial point (8)
ADOPTION – The A from the clue followed by a two letter word for a party and an anagram (controversial) of POINT.

2 Evens? Possibly… not? (4)
ODDS – Evens is an example of what may be offered at the bookies but which sounds the opposite.

3 Harmony with a note repeated – or another (6)
ACCORD – The A from the clue (for the third time) followed by a repeated note on the musical scale, the OR from the clue and another musical note.

4 Playing lead character from overseas at London theatre (7)
ADELPHI – An anagram (playing) of LEAD followed by a character of the Greek alphabet.

5 Expressed no feeling at birth (8)
NASCENCE – A homophone (expressed) of NAY (no) SENSE (feeling).  Perhaps Scotsman expressed might have been a little fairer here.

6 Talks about bringing up Arab found in a palace? (10)
STATEROOMS – A word meaning talks around  four letter word for a North African Arab which has been reversed (bringing up).

9 In the middle of tea, dined alone, sucking big mushroom (5)
ENOKI – The middle letters of the fifth to ninth words in the clue.

13 Bullish, taking on unruly mob: can it be beaten? (10)
TAMBOURINE – A word meaning bullish (from the star sign) around (takes on) an anagram (unruly) of MOB.

16 King Cole draws tomahawk, at the tip most sharp (8)
NATTIEST – The first name of the singer King Cole followed by a word meaning draws (as in a game) and the first letter (at the tip) of Tomahawk.

18 Girls confine blackbirds, but not for all to see (8)
DAMOZELS – A word meaning confine or hold back followed by another (archaic) word for blackbirds with the U removed (but not for all to see).

19 Did cast perform for fans? (7)
ADDICTS – An anagram (perform) of DID CAST.

21 Spooner reported weak/average animators (5)
PIXAR – I can see the PAR for average and the Spoonerism is to swap the words weak and average so that the PAR is divided by IX.  Where IX comes from is a mystery.  Maybe IX is one over the eight or some strange mathematical operator.  Hopefully Soup will enlighten us.

22 Sadly remember rare (largely extinct) white heron (6)
REGRET – The first letter (largely extinct) of rare followed by the name of a white heron.

24 Ransack as look-out regularly drops off (4)
LOOT – The odd letters (regularly drops off) in LoOk OuT.



  1. Gordon
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    It all seems very quiet here!
    Well done Soup – a most enjoyable piece of work, with an interesting theme.
    I need help in parsing three clues: 13, 18 and 24a, and I learned a new word at 9.

    • Kath
      Posted August 1, 2015 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      13d – you need an adjective meaning bullish, or bull like – not the normal one that we associate with signs of the zodiac but one with a slightly different ending – that word contains an anagram (unruly) of MOB. Hopefully you’ll end up with a small instrument that can be bashed and shaken around.
      I haven’t got 18d and although I have a possible answer for 24a I really have no idea why, or even if, it’s right.

  2. Kath
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Yes – it is quiet here. Last time it was unnaturally quiet on the NTSPP page all the comments were going somewhere different – I wonder if that’s what is happening this time. Think I’ll wait to comment on the crossword until a bit later.

  3. Hamish/Soup
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Hey there –
    Glad you enjoyed it, Gordon, and hope you did too!
    24a: you need to be thinking mathematically, and not just in two dimensions!
    Hope the silence means I haven’t put people off…

    • Hamish/Soup
      Posted August 1, 2015 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Crikey, some appalling grammar in that comment. The first sentence was missing a ‘Kath’, and the second was intended to say that I hope it doesn’t mean I’ve put people off. I was pecking out the comment on my phone – at least, that’s my excuse…

      • Kath
        Posted August 1, 2015 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Yes – thank you – I did enjoy it and, because I haven’t finished it yet, I still am!
        I still don’t understand what I think has to be the answer to 24a – I’m not sure that I’m capable of thinking mathematically.
        I think 18d has to be to do with ‘ouzels’ (blackbirds) without the one letter that means a film is suitable for everyone but haven’t untangled the rest yet.
        I’m still a bit stuffed with three in the bottom right corner.
        Thank you, Hamish/Soup.
        I still think that the general silence is possibly due to a ‘technical hitch’ but http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

        • Kath
          Posted August 1, 2015 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

          Oh dear and **************** to it all. I meant three in the bottom left corner! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

          • Gordon
            Posted August 1, 2015 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

            Ah! Those sort of axes….not the lumberjack ones….very, very clever

  4. Jane
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    All went smoothly in the top half but then gradually became more difficult as I got further down the grid. Had the wrong ending for 1d – my first answer didn’t parse correctly but seemed a more logical answer. Needless to say, 15a was then impossible until the light dawned and adjustments made!
    Needed to check the definition of the answer for 18d and hadn’t seen 25a spelt that way before – although the answer was clear enough. As for 21d – I’d never heard of the word (age thing, no doubt!) and still haven’t got the remotest idea where the Spoonerism comes into it. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif Not that that surprises me – I invariably have trouble with Mr. Spooner.
    Some really good clues, Soup – think I liked 24a&13d the best.
    Many thanks for the puzzle. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    • Hamish/Soup
      Posted August 1, 2015 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      Thanks! As for the spoonerism, it’s weak/average! Now go and watch Monsters, Inc.

      • Jane
        Posted August 1, 2015 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

        No thanks, Soup! However I did use your info. to confirm that I had indeed come up with the correct answer. Goodness knows what Mr. Spooner is trying to say, though…………http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif
        Not to worry, I’ll find out soon enough and don’t want to spoil the enjoyment for others by asking you to spell it out for me!
        Thank you for responding so diligently to comments – it makes all the difference when setters take the time to follow through. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

        • Hamish/Soup
          Posted August 1, 2015 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

          You’re welcome! I set about fifteen puzzles a year so it’s always nice to see one in the wild and to be given the chance to interact with the victims… I mean solvers…

          • Kath
            Posted August 1, 2015 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

            Hear, hear to Jane’s last sentence – not so sure about the “wild victims” though – I’m joking – a good fun crossword, and one that I still haven’t quite managed to finish. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif to you.

  5. Expat Chris
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

    Oh my goodness! I was so wrapped up in the MPP earlier ( not that it got me very far!) that I totally forget about the NTSPP! Rectifying that immediately.

    • Hamish/Soup
      Posted August 1, 2015 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      I think I’ve fallen victim to being on the first of the month – two other puzzles to have a crack at first!

  6. 2Kiwis
    Posted August 1, 2015 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    A well put together clever puzzle. Several in the SW corner, including the Spooner one, were the last to yield. Amazing how many ways you managed to work in ‘work’ and still avoid repeating usages. Lots of fun. We felt amused, challenged, and impressed.
    Thanks Soup.

    • Hamish/Soup
      Posted August 1, 2015 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

      Thanks! Always nice to be complimented. For a puzzle like this, like my ‘in other words’ ntspp a while back, I start out with a premise and work out potential ways of using that premise before even doing the puzzle. When I have at least fourteen I start setting and cross them off as I go so I don’t reuse them. It looks harder to solve than it is, I think – Boatman commented a while ago that his puzzles can look baffling but when you start thinking like he’s thinking they’re actually not that bad. I’m aware of various people’s feelings towards his clues though!

  7. Hamish/Soup
    Posted August 2, 2015 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    It seems 21’s spoonerism is causing troubles! The intention was to have ‘weak/average’ being ‘sick/par’, which spoonerises to the answer. I think it’s fair…?
    Thanks for the review, Prolixic! Comment on Scotsman noted; likewise ‘worktop’ – that last is a personal preference, I guess; I don’t often use that sort of device but sometimes it’s just too helpful for a surface!

    • Posted August 2, 2015 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Old crossword adage – nobody complains that there is no Spoonerism in a puzzle.

      • Hamish/Soup
        Posted August 2, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        True, but I have a weakness for them… And some people really, really love them. I think a good one can be very good; this isn’t one of my best, but the word in question is very hard to clue, given ‘picture’ (or ‘pic’) is part of the formation of the word itself and therefore out of the running…

        • Kath
          Posted August 2, 2015 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

          I have to confess that I like Spoonerisms too – I think that we’re probably in the minority.

    • Prolixic
      Posted August 2, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      If anyone heard a shrill sibilant sound south-west of Staines, it was the reviewer sucking his teeth!

      • Hamish/Soup
        Posted August 2, 2015 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        I thought that was a plane going over from the airport… The noise reached me in Cambridge! :-)

  8. Jane
    Posted August 2, 2015 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Many thanks for such a beautifully illustrated review, Prolixic – that must have taken a while! It would have been nice, just for once, to have had The Byrds doing the singing but I guess that puts me in the minority yet again.
    Thank goodness I didn’t need to know about positively charged stuff to get the answer to 11a – I was quite happy with a location that was ‘on’ being a positive! Sorry to negate your hard work on that one, Soup.
    Apart from the Spoonerism (still can’t get ‘sick’ out of ‘IX’) this was a really good NTSPP. Hopefully more people will give it a go over the weekend once they’ve completed/given up on the Radler!

    • Hamish/Soup
      Posted August 2, 2015 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Spoiler alert:
      sick par goes to pick sar…

      • Jane
        Posted August 2, 2015 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, Soup – I’m still being incredibly thick here. What has IX got to do with sick? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

        • Hamish/Soup
          Posted August 2, 2015 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

          I think you’ve got your mind set on that ix – it’s not part of how I was intending the clue to work. A spoonerism is simply swapping initial letters and then performing a homophone; I was intending weak/average to be sick par. If you then spoonerise that you get pick sar, and if you say that out loud it’s Pixar.

          • Jane
            Posted August 2, 2015 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

            http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif finally the penny drops!
            Thank you for your patience, Soup. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

            • Hamish/Soup
              Posted August 2, 2015 at 1:31 pm | Permalink


  9. Hamish/Soup
    Posted August 2, 2015 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Have to say I’m not so keen on the anonymous star rating system for puzzles like this. It feels fairer for national papers, where the setter has been paid and is anonymous; when it’s an amateur like me doing it just for fun, having spent probably about ten hours compiling a puzzle, it’s a bit of a dampener to get 2 stars (and therefore know a number of people have voted 1/5). Sorry to the people who voted that; I’d love to know why, given the comments on here have been pretty decent. Just voting 1/5 and not telling me why just makes me unhappy and won’t make my puzzles more to your taste – instead, it may mean I don’t send many more in! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif

    • Jane
      Posted August 2, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Oh please don’t stop sending them in, Soup. I think a lot of folk don’t vote at all on NTSPP puzzles – very possibly because they don’t feel that to do so would be in any way either constructive or encouraging. I for one would be more than happy to see the ‘star’ system dropped for NTSPP puzzles – it seems to be one of the less likeable qualities of the human race that we are quick enough to pass judgement (preferably anonymously) when we dislike something but very slow to give praise where it’s due.
      I think that most of us who comment here have nothing but admiration for those like yourself who can actually put together a very respectable puzzle that gives us hours of enjoyment. I will always make comments as I suspect that you are just as interested in the perceptions of the ‘minor leaguers’ as in those of the elite solvers who are much better qualified to guide you on your way – but I will always put my name to them. I have learnt a enormous amount courtesy of setters like yourself who respond to questions (no matter how silly you may think them to be!) and I have no doubt that you and other NTSPP setters benefit greatly from the time-consuming reviews prepared by Prolixic et al. I can only see this as a win-win experience and NTSPPs are probably my favourite puzzles of the week.
      Don’t lose heart, Soup – and please don’t even think about stopping your contributions…….even if that was the worst Spoonerism I’ve seen in a long time. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gif

      • Expat Chris
        Posted August 2, 2015 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        i rarely give a star rating. It’s even more rare for me to give a difficulty/enjoyment rating. I think they’re too subjective. One woman’s meat, etc. When you put your work out in the public domain, you have to develop a thick skin and take the brickbats along with the bouquets.

    • Beet
      Posted August 2, 2015 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      I honestly wouldn’t worry much about the star rating, it always seems a bit random. My first submissions to Rookie Corner (which were pretty iffy) always got a solid 3.5 / 5, but the most recent two, which everyone said really nice things about in the comments, got 2.5. So I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.

      I’m just finishing the puzzle off and then I will come back and comment – but I never normally do a star rating. Maybe I will this time though.

    • Posted August 2, 2015 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      Now you see it, now you don’t. It’s a bit tedious as each post has to be added to a list.

      • Jane
        Posted August 2, 2015 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        I did worry that doing away with the ‘stars’ could cause you an admin. problem, BD. I’m sure the site is already a full-time occupation and you could well do without any further complications – equally, I feel sorry for any newbie setters who get discouraged by looking at their supposed ‘rating’ when in truth I think few commenters subscribe to it, which renders it far from meaningful.
        As always, you’ve picked up on and dealt with the issue extremely promptly – no amount of ‘stars’ could reflect the debt of gratitude we all owe you for this amazing blog. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

        • Hamish/Soup
          Posted August 2, 2015 at 10:38 pm | Permalink


  10. Snape
    Posted August 2, 2015 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    I think there is a troll repeatedly (presumably from 5 different computers) pressing 1. I noticed that beet’s wonderful glastonbury puzzle had 5 stars after 5 votes after quite a while – then very quickly it was 2.5 so there must have been several 1 stars, inconceivable for that puzzle.

  11. Hamish/Soup
    Posted August 2, 2015 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Aw, thanks, guys, faith in humanity restored. I don’t mind criticism, just don’t like anonymous bashing, that’s all. Yes, the reason I hang around on here is to find out what real people think – it’s rare to be able to do that. And it does make me a better setter, I know!
    Have a good evening.

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted August 2, 2015 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      We have been regular commenters for quite some time now and have never ever clicked on the star rating at the bottom of the blog for any puzzle. We suspect that there are many other regulars who have a similar pattern. Our advice is just to ignore them and please keep feeding us puzzles of the quality of this one. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    • Kath
      Posted August 2, 2015 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      I’m a real person – I never do the yellow star rating thingy, mainly because I forget/don’t really notice it. – pathetic! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
      I do always say what my ratings are for difficulty/enjoyment for the back page cryptics in my daily comment. I never do for the Toughies as I don’t really feel qualified to judge those.
      As of now I will try to remember to do it every day – cryptics, Toughies – well maybe – but specially for NTSPP’s and MPP’s
      I’m going back up there now and am going to give it a 4*. Apologies for not having done so before and thanks again for the crossword.

      • Kath
        Posted August 2, 2015 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

        Yellow star rating duly clicked! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  12. Beet
    Posted August 2, 2015 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyable, with a cleverly executed theme. My favourite was definitely 10a – which I agreed with, I always think Soup’s puzzles are tricky! But actually I chipped away at it and in the end only resorted to revealing a letter in 18d.

  13. jean-luc cheval
    Posted August 3, 2015 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Ah! these Spoonerisms; Always causing trouble.
    Here’s a French one: couper les Nouilles au seCateur.
    You just have to swap the capital letters to get the answer.
    The ones I couldn’t parse were 11 and 15a.
    Thanks to Soup for the fun and to prolixic for the review.

    • Hamish/Soup
      Posted August 3, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      Hopefully Prolixic will have sorted that out, but just in case, it’s ON LO CATION (i.e. working, see, something positive) and A NENE – MO being ‘way of working’, inside the NENE. Glad you enjoyed it!

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted August 3, 2015 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        I didn’t know the Cation at all. And as far as British rivers are concerned, I’ve only learned the list of three letter rivers provided by Miffypops.

        • Hamish/Soup
          Posted August 3, 2015 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

          I was a chemist once, so cations and anions are there in the back of my memory… somewhere…
          Wot no Ouse, Nene, Dart, Tees, Plym, … … … ?! :-)

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted August 3, 2015 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        Ps: Did you get the French Spooner?

        • Hamish/Soup
          Posted August 3, 2015 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

          Ah, Couilles au Senateur? I prefer oysters, myself…

  14. Kitty
    Posted August 4, 2015 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this, Soup. I found it quite tricky – probably more so than this month’s prize puzzle, though it’s hard to tell because solved little bits at a time. I never did get 18d, and also failed on another – I don’t feel like disclosing which one! My favourites are 11 and 24a. (Hopefully Kath won’t check back here to catch me being naughty and having two…)

    I would also like to add a big thumbs up to Jane’s reply to your comment #9.

    Thanks to Prolixic for the review and thanks Hamish/Soup. I look forward to being a “victim” of your next one :).

    • Hamish/Soup
      Posted August 5, 2015 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Grin. Thanks, Kitty!