NTSPP – 298

NTSPP – 298

S&B York 2015 by Elgar

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Crossword logo

This puzzle was distributed at the S&B meeting in York today.

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by crypticsue follows:

BD told me last Saturday that this special crossword, compiled for this weekend’s 5d/13d Gathering held in the second word of 4d , would be this week’s NTSPP too. I then had a word with our setter, and was pleased to find when I started to solve the puzzle, that my request for him to be kind to me (as I’d be blogging it) was taken on board (I’ve known far harder Elgar “specials” than this one!).   I did notice the Nina* (well it was in full colour so even a non-noticer of Ninas couldn’t fail to miss it) and then tried to make the letters in the other coloured squares into words that made sense (some do and some don’t).   However, being Elgar, it is much more brilliantly clever than that – if you still can’t ‘see’ it, have a look at the end of the review.


8a           Party successful at election murder (2,2)
DO IN   Another word for party followed by an adverb used to describe being  successful at an election.

9a           Recovered from effects of powerful punch? This Aussie’s got a long way to go (10)
OVERLANDER   An Australian who drives cattle a very long way – A way of saying recovered from the effects of, followed by an informal term for a heavy blow (powerful punch).


10a         Receives Good Guide for Tipping (6)
GREETS   The sneaky capitals held me up no end –   The abbreviation for Good followed by a reversal (tipping) of a verb meaning to guide.

11a         Dairy produce harms Gentile, reclining in van (8)
YOGHURTS   Take a word meaning harms and a Jewish word for a non-Jew (Gentile), the latter being reversed (reclining) and then placed at the front (in van, in the lead).

12a         Golden retriever initially seen from the 7th to the 11th (5)
JASON    And the Award for D’oh moment of the Year goes to …   I can’t tell you how long it took me to realise that the solution is the initials of the months of the year from the 7th to the 11th especially as I knew right from the start what the 7th and 11th were!


14a         Callow youth near to Berlin without work turned back (9)
GREENHORN Turned back is the most important part of this clue – I knew what the callow youth had to be, but it wasn’t until I reversed  my solution  that I realised I had the abbreviation for near, the German (as used in Berlin) word for ‘without’ and the CGS unit of work.

15a         A linesman’s inertia: of the two of us, you’d more energy (7)
IDLESSE   A poetic way of describing inertia –   split the solution 1’1, 4, 1,  remember the abbreviation for energy, and the penny will drop as to how the last bit of wordplay works!

17a         Land sliding into sea (7)
ESTONIA   An anagram (sliding) of INTO SEA.

20a         Topless, perform with rhythm on pole, possibly (9)
PERCHANCE   Remove the first letter (topless) from a verb meaning to perform with rhythm and put it after (on) a pole or rod.

22a         Star turn for Sherlock actor – for the most part (5)
DENEB The brightest star in the constellation Cygnus is a reversal (turn) of most of the Christian name of the actor who plays Sherlock Holmes in the current TV production.

23a         Check rum has a dash of lime (8)
STRANGLE   Insert the first letter (dash of) Lime into another way of saying rum in the sense of peculiar.

24a         Man from Hamburg, say, who’s giving up hamburgers? (6)
DIETER   A German Christian name (man from Hamburg, say) could also mean someone who has given up eating hamburgers because of their fat content!


26a         The curious wedding of Rose and Martin Smith (10)
IRONMASTER   An anagram (the curious wedding of) of ROSE and MARTIN.


27a         Right time to feel remorse? (4)
TRUE   The abbreviation for time followed by a verb meaning to feel remorse.


1d           Bellow‘s writing perhaps repeatedly engaging old American (4)
ROAR   Writing is one of the three subjects studied which are often referred to using a single letter of the alphabet –   You need two lots of this letter (repeatedly) into which are inserted (engaging) the abbreviations for Old and American.


2d           Brute fixed stake on the run (8)
ANTELOPE   Mr CS and I discussed  whether the solution was one of the ‘lower, larger animals’ which is how the BRB describes ‘brute’ and decided that it must be –   you need a fixed betting stake and a verb meaning to run with a long stride.

3d           “We’ve charges in business”, Iceland’s admitted (4)
IONS ‘Admit’ or insert the adverb meaning operation (in business) into the IVR code for Iceland.

4d           Port fool’s wrapping with present! (3,4)
NEW YORK   Insert into (wrapping) a slang term for a fool or irritating idiot, the abbreviation for With and an informal (usually American) interjection used to indicate one’s presence (present!).

New York

5/13d    US bod recording moments of time in superior company (8,3,7)
BLOGGERS AND SETTERS   Elgar once again using a sneaky capital (the S) to confuse –   “Us” being the people at the gathering in York for whom the puzzle was intended –  Into some superior company BETTERS,  insert someone recording data LOGGER, and two moments of time S AND S, S being the abbreviation for a second, and then split the result 8, 3, 7 . Thank goodness for CLICK HERE! as my original explanation of this wordplay confused me no end!

6d           Busy hours introducing new charge (6)
ONRUSH   An anagram (busy) of HOURS ‘introducing’ N (new).

7d           Draw from Orient – back is little put out (10)
WESTERNISE   To move away from Eastern ideas and become like the people of Europe or America in customs or ideas.   Another word for back and IS (from the clue) inserted into an adjective meaning little or tiny.

13d         See 5
16d         Mum again uncomfortable touring hot Oriental city (8)
SHANGHAI   An interjection meaning hush (mum being an adjective meaning silent) followed by an anagram (uncomfortable) of AGAIN which goes round (touring) the abbreviation for Hot.

18d         A long-distance caller through to a worried Patience? (8)
OPERETTA   It probably helps to solve this one if your school used to put on Gilbert & Sullivan works on a regular basis as Patience is the title of one of them.  Into an anagram (worried) of TO A, put another way of saying through/by means of and the film alien who tried so hard to call home (long-distance caller).

19d         27 curate not verbally ordered to go to some grave? (6)
ACCENT   Remove the solution to 27a from CURATE, then rearrange the letters you have left and follow with a homophone (verbally) of a verb meaning ordered to go.


21d         Confinement in which Dave’s partner’s kept (6)
CHAINS   Insert IN (from the clue) into the other member of the Cockney signing duo (Dave’s partner). Anyone else spend a very tiny moment trying to fit Mrs BD in??  

24d         Place for Mr Lazy, Mr Lazy and Mr Uppity? (4)
DORM   This clue merited ** once I’d finally worked out what our devious setter was on about. The clue has Mr Lazy, Mr Lazy twice,   the second Mr Lazy could have been expressed using the word ditto – so you need the abbreviation for Ditto followed by a reversal (uppity) of MR.


25d         Papa’s out in Andes country – very exceptional area (4)
ERUV   Remove the P (NATO Phonetic Alphabet – Papa = P) from a South American country through which the Andes pass and then add the abbreviation for Very.   This ‘exceptional area’ is a Hebrew term for an area within which certain activities normally forbidden in public on the Sabbath are permitted.

*I am sure  you spotted the word RAINBOW at the top of the grid.   If you then look at the first  square of each coloured section, you will see that each colour starts with the appropriate  letter in the mnemonic we all had to learn at school to remember the correct order of the colours of the rainbow:   Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain.

A big thank you to Elgar for being relatively kind, wonderfully sneaky, and exasperatingly tricky all at the same time.  I hope all the 5/13s enjoyed solving this special crossword too.


  1. windsurfer23
    Posted October 24, 2015 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Clever but fairly impenetrable Elgar, compiled especially for the S&B meeting (sorry I’m not there.)

    My computer and I eventually solved it although there is a need for some GK and Latin familiarity.

    My LOI was 12 which I got from the definition but failed to parse. One or two others I’m not sure of the correct parsing.

    Definitely a tour-de-force which I am sure will keep the literati busy for a little while.

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 24, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Don’t kick yourself too hard (as I just did) when I worked out the parsing of 12a . I just hope no-one gives away the ‘how’ too soon as it would spoil part of my review.

      • Beet
        Posted October 24, 2015 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

        oooohh i know! that’s my favourite clue. many many others elude me though

  2. Jane
    Posted October 24, 2015 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Well – that was a battle royal! Two hands needed to count up the ones that are only ‘half-parsed’, a couple that are out and out ‘bung- ins’ and one that I’m not entirely convinced is a real word!
    Doubtless the guys in York have done much better than that – I suspect this was just way above my pay grade.
    12a is the definite favourite http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wink.gifbut I also chuckled over 8&24a.
    Many thanks to Elgar (I’m sure I’ll be kicking myself when some of the answers are revealed) and also, in advance, to CS.

  3. dutch
    Posted October 24, 2015 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    I very much enjoyed solving this together with Bufo in York today. I think in the end we had parsed most of it, if not all, although we seemed to have entire quadrants of bung-ins in the process. Very satisfying, and it was Bufo who saw the significance of the coloured squares. We thought we’d taken our time, but most others still appeared to be struggling when we had a completed grid so I think we did reasonably well (I say we, I think my contribution was fairly minor)

    A fun day, there was another nicely themed puzzle by Dalibor (also Dutch) and a quiz by Elgar which was even harder than his puzzle.

    • Jane
      Posted October 24, 2015 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for that, Dutch http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_negative.gif I’d been managing quite successfully to completely ignore any significance in the coloured squares!
      Back to the drawing board, although I think I’ve got too many potentially wrong answers to make much more headway.

      • Jane
        Posted October 25, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        Think I’ve finally got there. Still a couple of bits of parsing I’m not happy with, one ‘is that a word’ bung-in and two high-lighted letters that I’m trying to ignore, but overall I’m pleased to have got this far on a solo attempt.
        Now then – I wonder how long CS is going to leave us in suspense…. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

        • crypticsue
          Posted October 25, 2015 at 9:06 am | Permalink

          My review was added a good while before your comment asking when I was going to add it http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_unsure.gif

          • Jane
            Posted October 25, 2015 at 9:42 am | Permalink

            Sorry, CS – it wasn’t showing here until about 9am!
            I’ve forgiven myself for not being able to fully parse 11&14a plus 24d but kicked myself over 18d – I was still trying to use ‘operator’ for the long-distance caller (that’s my age showing!).
            As for 5d – I’d quite happily put ‘sloggers’ as the first word, taking ‘sands’ as the moments in time and ignoring the fact that ‘bod’ is not a plural. That rather messed up the word across the top, which only came to me in a flash of inspiration just before I read the review.
            The mnemonic went right over my head – what a clever man Mr. Henderson is, although I’d take issue with his description of 2d – I think they’re rather sweet!

            A most enjoyable fight, but I’m extremely glad I wasn’t under pressure to solve this one in a pub full of my ‘betters’!
            Many thanks for explaining it all so clearly, CS and I take my hat off to Elgar.

            • Jane
              Posted October 25, 2015 at 9:49 am | Permalink

              Forgot to add – it was 25d that was my ‘non-word’. Seemed so unlikely that I didn’t delve very deeply into Mr. Google’s memory bank – silly girl, it was there all along!
              By the way – are the pub solvers allowed to use electronic wizardry to help them?

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 24, 2015 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      As someone whose reviews always get some of the fun of revealing ‘stuff’ taken from them by people pointing out the special ‘things’ too soon, can I please ask that the significance isn’t revealed just yet as I’d really like to be the one who, just for once, explains all.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted October 24, 2015 at 9:47 pm | Permalink


      • Expat Chris
        Posted October 24, 2015 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps there should be a “No spoilers, please” notification that comes up when the puzzle is posted.

    • dutch
      Posted October 24, 2015 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      In the grid posted here, I don’t think 8a is meant to have a coloured square

      • windsurfer23
        Posted October 24, 2015 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

        There isn’t a coloured square in 8a. Any square that is clicked on changes to yellow temporarily.

        • dutch
          Posted October 25, 2015 at 7:27 am | Permalink

          ah! of course, thanks.

  4. Expat Chris
    Posted October 24, 2015 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Plugging away from my sick bed. I have nine yet to solve. Time to bring up the rear guard with the emergency rations.

  5. 2Kiwis
    Posted October 24, 2015 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    That took a long time and a lot of hard work for us and our computer but we did get there in the end although there are a couple where a bit more work is required on the parsing. We did eventually work out 12a and it has to be our favourite. Very challenging and satisfying to get a completion.
    Thanks Elgar.

  6. jean-luc cheval
    Posted October 24, 2015 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    Can’t wait for the review as I had to throw the sponge on this one.
    Guessed the end of the first highlighted word as I am missing only 6 and 7d in that corner and the first phrase made sense.
    Got the entire left side in fact but the SE corner gives me a lot of trouble.
    Also got the second word highlighted from Google I’m afraid to say but the checkers don’t really help.
    Elgar is a hell of a hard nut to crack.
    21d made me laugh. Remembered how awful they were.
    12a was fun.
    No favourite yet as it is not over.
    Thanks to Elgar.

  7. Hanni
    Posted October 25, 2015 at 12:28 am | Permalink


    Jane put me on to this. I blame Jane. Gosh. Still have 8 to go. 12a is not one of them…12a is sublime. I’ll carry on.

    • Hanni
      Posted October 25, 2015 at 12:56 am | Permalink

      Horribly rude of me, I’m sorry.

      Thank you Elgar for the ongoing challenge, one that I am enjoying.

    • Jane
      Posted October 25, 2015 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gifDidn’t think I should suffer on my own!
      Following our conversation about a different puzzle, I thought one of the ‘significant’ bits might amuse you. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_bye.gif

  8. Expat Chris
    Posted October 25, 2015 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    I eventually was left with just 12A unsolved. What a great clue! Of course, I had blithely thrown in sloggers for 5D early on and not questioned it. So although I could see the colors of the rainbow in the grid (even though the blue font appears as a shade of green on my screen) I missed the nina and would definitely not have connected the initial letters even if I had not made the error in 5D. I have never heard of the twerp in 4D either, though I did have the correct answer. Several new words that required the BRB to confirm. Altogether lovely, and though I had to work hard to tease out a number of answers it was too much fun to be considered a slog. If I’d solved it, 12A would have been my favorite, but as it is I’ll go for 7D and 15A. Thanks to Elgar, and many thinks to CS for the review.

    • Jane
      Posted October 25, 2015 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Glad I wasn’t ‘slogging’ on my own, Chris and I’m with you over the ‘twerp’- the closest I could get begins with a ‘b’!
      Off to make your mushroom soup now. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

      • Expat Chris
        Posted October 25, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        how did it turn out?

        • Jane
          Posted October 25, 2015 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

          Smells delicious and the first ‘taster’ was pretty good. On the menu for tonight! I was a bit worried about the sherry – not my favourite tipple and I did consider a substitute – but I reckon it was probably the best combining element. I can always have a glass of wine with it! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  9. jean-luc cheval
    Posted October 25, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the great review CS.
    My first solution for 12a was “Oated” thinking that maybe it could mean golden. Got it from a breed of retriever called “curlycoated” and took the 7th to the 11th letter as instructed.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif
    24d was even better. I thought Mr Lazy might live on a farm. FA for the lazy bit and Mr backwards.
    14a just didn’t make any sense to me.
    21d remains my favourite.
    Thanks again.

  10. windsurfer23
    Posted October 25, 2015 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    I thought it was R****** O*** Y*** G***** B******* and S****** as an allusion to the weather in York (truly!)

    Spiffing puzzle now that I see it all, although 5d does look green to me.

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 25, 2015 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      It looks green to me too but it is a sort of blue-green so ….

      • Jane
        Posted October 25, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        My 5d is yellow with a green line running across it as is my 10a. 15d et al is pink with a mauve line running through it.
        1a and 9a are virtually identical – maybe time to replace the printer?!!!

        • crypticsue
          Posted October 25, 2015 at 11:34 am | Permalink

          Have you checked the levels in your ink cartridges lately? http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_scratch.gif

          • Jane
            Posted October 25, 2015 at 11:45 am | Permalink

            Yes I have – I do it regularly as I’m always running out of black, due to printing out so many NTSSPs, Rookies etc! However, I do suspect that my printer is probably well beyond its use-by date. Somehow, I can’t justify getting a replacement just to cope with Mr. Henderson’s cleverness!
            No excuse – I should have been able to get there even with my multi-coloured array!

        • dutch
          Posted October 25, 2015 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

          wow, now that’s a rainbow!

          • Jane
            Posted October 25, 2015 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

            Sure is, Dutch – and should have been a help to get the answer!
            Now then, about that electronic wizardry question of mine….?

    • windsurfer23
      Posted October 25, 2015 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      P.S. Thanks crypticsue for a splendid blog!

    • Jane
      Posted October 25, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      I thought the same, Windsurfer – and wondered how Mr. H had correctly forecast the weather in York. I reckon he was probably quite right either way!

  11. dutch
    Posted October 25, 2015 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks for a great review CS

    Funny, for 12a I too had the 5th and 11th, but stared at the clue for ages before parsing “ASO” – duh.

    For 19d, I just thought 27a=true=accurate, then take away curate to get AC. How amazing that you get the same by removing the letters of TRUE from CURATE.

    I had never heard of the mnemonic “Richard of York…” nice York reference…

    thanks again Elgar and CS

  12. George Clements
    Posted October 25, 2015 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Finally managed to crack this today at 17.45 despite starting at York yesterday.
    Hard challenge and great fun. I eventually parsed everything except 14a where lack of knowledge of German floored me. Lie CS, it took me a looong time to sort out 12a, but what a clue!
    Unfortunately either the ink colour on my copy was dodgy, or I’m a little colour blind, but 5d on my copy 5d looks green, and I looked in vain for a solution highlighted in blue and starting with B.
    Many thanks to John and CS.

    • Posted October 25, 2015 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      I’ve replaced the background colour for 5d with something i hope is a bit bluer!

      • crypticsue
        Posted October 25, 2015 at 9:24 pm | Permalink


  13. Hanni
    Posted October 26, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Done. Brilliant stuff from Elgar. Jolly tricky too. Many thanks to him and to CS for blogging.

  14. Den in Devon
    Posted October 26, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I have the puzzle fully solved but regarding the mnemonic where is the v?
    Also, is there any significance in the coloured edges in the bottom half of the grid.

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 26, 2015 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Welcome Den in Devon

      The V is the final letter of 25d. The colours are just there as part of the ‘rainbow’.

    • Posted October 26, 2015 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      Further to what CS has said, the initial letter of each highlighted word represents the colour of the background e.g. in the case of the “coloured edges” that you mention, the I and the V in ipsissima verba (the very words) are for Indigo and Violet respectively.

  15. Den in Devon
    Posted October 26, 2015 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for that.
    I see it now.