NTSPP – 288 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 288

NTSPP – 288

Easier By Half  by Wiglaf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.

The initial instructions made this crossword look daunting.  However, having solved a couple of the themed clues, it became clear that the “half” words were repeated in the grid when entering the full answer.  To get fourteen words into the grid and not have any obscure crossing solutions is an amazing achievement.  Coupled with some excellent cluing, this was a fun crossword to solve.  Many thanks to Wiglaf.

The themed clues are shown in green in the solutions.


7 Officer takes soldiers to a party in US state (8)
COLORADO – The abbreviations for colonel (officer) and other ranks (soldiers) followed by the A from the clue and a two letter word for a party.

9 Butcherbird, backing off in fight (6)
BOUBOUA four letter word for a fight with the final letter removed (backing off) and repeat.

10 Set off and fly (6)
TSETSEAn anagram (off) of SET and repeat.

11 Smooth cascade, seen in twilight (8)
EVENFALL – A four letter word for smooth and a four letter word for a cascade.

12 In honour of Dorothy’s dog (4)
TOTOA word meaning in honour of – think Keat’s Ode to a Grecian Urn and repeat.

13 A French girl’s first appearance in bachelor party of sorts (10, 2 words)
BUNGA BUNGAThe French masculine singular for A followed by the first letter (first appearance) of girl inside the abbreviation for bachelor or arts.

15 Brooks and beaches contaminated with tritium (6)
STANDS – A five letter word for breaches includes (contaminated with) the chemical symbol for tritium.

17 Man hitched to southern county (6)
STAFFS – Another word meaning to man or crew followed by the abbreviation for southern

20 A way of purchasing Verne novel (10)
NEVER-NEVERAn anagram (novel) of VERNE and repeat.

22 Not the original work, having been penned by contemporary on vacation (4)
COPY – A two letter word for work inside (penned by) the outer letters (on vacation) of contemporary.

23 Former Soviet police chief contracted disease (8)
BERI-BERIThe surname of an infamous Soviet police chief with the final letter removed (contracted) and repeat.

25 Comic strip character serving egg on a roll (6)
TINTINReverse (on a roll) the word for the egg of a head lice and repeat.

26 More unattractive fruit is brought to emergency room (6)
UGLIER – A four letter word for a type of fruit followed by the abbreviation for emergency room.

27 Ska’s played with viola in this country (8)
SLOVAKIA – An anagram (played) of SKA VIOLA.


1 Bigwigs must have little time to visit prostitutes (8)
HOT-SHOTSThe abbreviation for time inside a three letter word for prostitutes and repeat.

2 Exquisite number to listen to (6)
TOO-TOOA homophone (to listen to) of TWO (number) and repeat.

3 British promoters will lose heart in German spa town (10)
BADEN- BADENThe abbreviation for British followed by a five letter word for promoters with the central M removed (will lost heart).

4 Stop over to join regulars in boozer (4)
OBOE – … an organ stop.  The abbreviation for over followed by the even letters (regulars in) in boozer.

5 Advertisement appearing in The Express? (8)
PUFF-PUFFA four letter word for an advertisement and repeat.

6 Function truncated or inverted (6)
LOG-LOGThe metal indicated by the word “or” with the final letter removed (truncated) and reversed (inverted) and repeat.  Not sure that this is a function, more a description (according to Chambers) of the type of graph paper where both axes are drawn to a logarithmic scale.

8 I will expose relationship between two people in Washington (6)
ONE-ONE – … the way an American would say what in England would by a ???-to-???.  The number represented by I and repeat. 

14 Oriental at work for a change (10)
ALTERATION – An anagram (work) of ORIENTAL AT.

16 Afternoon sex beginning with a poem that could whet the appetite (8)
APERITIF – The abbreviation for afternoon followed by a three letter word meaning a (as in a head) followed by a two letter word meaning sex and the name of a poem by Rudyard Kipling.

18 One physics lecturer relaxed, not having caught the pox (8)
SYPHILIS – An anagram of I (one) PHYSICS L (lecturer) after removing (not having) the abbrevaition for caught.

19 Ducks when circling chasm (6)
AVOIDS – A two letter word meaning when goes around (circling) another word for a chasm.

21 Generally, not all divers go (6)
ENERGY – An anagram (divers) of GENERALLY after removing the ALL.

22 Limbo dance (6)
CAN-CANAnother word for limbo or a prison and repeat.

24 Topless German soprano showing boobs (4)
ERRS – Remove the first letter (topless) for the title of a German man followed by the abbreviation for soprano.

20 comments on “NTSPP – 288

  1. It was really clever to fit all those ‘themed’ answers in and there’s some very crafty wordplay. Thanks to Wiglaf for a very enjoyable puzzle. It’s difficult to pick out highlights from so many good clues but I’ll choose 3d, 6d and 16d.

  2. Looking forward to reading the BlogBlog tomorrow … there are quite a few that I cannot parse.

    Very, very clever … but far too clever by half for me!

    Thanks to Wiglaf!

  3. 3/4 done, but the NE corner is still blank. 25A is my favorite so far. Soldiering on…

  4. Completely stuck on 8d – can someone give me a clue, please?
    Think I’ve got the rest sorted answer-wise, but definitely not all of the parsing.

    Best ones for me are 10a,4&21d.
    Thanks for the challenge, Wiglaf – and well done to those of you who’ve got all the whys and wherefores!

      1. Thank you, shining knight – looks as though my wild guess may be right after all! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

        BD says 14 – that’s how many I’ve got but a couple don’t look overly convincing. Will keep on trying to justify them and await tomorrow’s review with interest. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

    1. 8d – Unfortunately I cannot help you.

      This One is one of the ones that I cannot parse.

  5. We ran out of time with just one left to go. This was 1d. We had worked out that it had to be one of the 14 but still could not get it. Kicking ourselves now. A few new words along the way, 9a and 8d for example. Good fun and much enjoyed.
    Thanks Wiglaf.

  6. A completed grid and 14 themed answers checked off just seconds before the review came up. I was held up in the NE because I misread 13A as 10,2 so was immediately fixated on the second word being two letters. I agree with Prolixic about 6D being a bit iffy. I also thought 9A was indigenous to Australia, whereas the answer, so the BRB tells me, is South African. I don’t understand the relevance of “I will expose” in 8D. Not convinced that 2D means exquisite either. Still, lots to enjoy and lots of clever clues. When I finally read 13A correctly, the answer made me smile. 25A still gets my vote. Thanks Wiglaf, and as always thanks to Prolixic for the early review.

  7. Thank you, Prolixic. I did have all the right answers (surprisingly) but would never have figured out some of the parsing.
    A for afternoon, L for lecturer, S for soprano – does that mean that it’s acceptable to use the first letter of any word as its abbreviation?
    I’ve never come across log-log before – just used the checkers and guessed. I did ask Mr. Google but got so bogged down in the explanation I wished I hadn’t bothered!
    Thought 8d was a bit of a stretch.

    I did very much enjoy the rest of this one – sorry to be a grouch over the others, Wiglaf!

  8. Thanks Prolixic for the review and everyone who commented.

    I’d like to clarify some of the clues.

    In 6dn I must admit I did not bother to check the BRB definition and just used the fact that log log is a function in mathematics.
    e.g. Solve the equation log log x = 1
    I should have realised that the mathematical usage would not justify entry into an ordinary dictionary.
    I suppose a “fairer” clue in retrospect would have been something like “Function of a particular type of graph” but I doubt whether it would have been easier to solve.

    In 8dn the words “will expose” in the sense of “will show” provide a link between wordplay and definition:
    i.e. (wordplay) will expose (definition)
    The future tense is used to make the clue work grammatically.

    In 2dn “exquisite” is given as the first definition of “too-too” in the BRB. Of course they could have just made it up. “I say, darling, your dress is simply too-too”.

    In 16dn the definition is “that could whet the appetite” and not just “could the whet appetite” since a noun phrase is needed to match the answer.

  9. Oh and in 22ac the definition is just “not the original” otherwise “work” would be doing double duty.

  10. Many thanks for your comments and explanations, Wiglaf. It seems that I must place the ‘blame’ for the abbreviations on the BRB and not on your good self! A for afternoon will live long in the memory. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

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