NTSPP – 308 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 308

NTSPP – 308

A Puzzle by Wiglaf

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.

Our thanks to Wiglaf for an enjoyable crossword.  The review has been delayed as it is my eldest son’s 18th birthday today and the obligatory visit to the pub was in order.  He needs plenty more practice!


1 Lethal characters fighting alongside soldiers of normal intelligence (3,5)
ALL THERE – An anagram (characters fighting) of LETHAL followed by (alongside) the abbreviation for Royal Engineers (soldiers).

5 Special desserts and flavourings (6)
SPICES – A two letter abbreviation for special followed by a type of cold dessert.

9 Delay in trade union support and guidance (8)
TUTELAGE – A three letter word meaning delay inside the abbreviation for trade union and a type of support used by golfers.

10 Fermat’s last problem is absorbing stuff (6)
TISSUE – The final letter (last) of Fermat followed by another word for a problem.

12 They took care of Caligula etc using a drug preparation quietly dropped in a cocktail (10,5)
PRAETORIAN GUARD – An anagram (in a cocktail) of A DRUG REPARATION (the P – quietly dropped being removed from preparation).

13 DiMaggio periodically visited a villain (4)
IAGO – The even letters (periodically visited) of DIMAGGIO.

14 Son, visiting large Spanish island, left note – a series of them (5,5)
MAJOR SCALE – The abbreviation for son inside the name of a large Spanish island followed by the abbreviation for left and a note on the musical scale.

17 Clown reluctant to talk about some teachers in stall (7,3)
COCONUT SHY – A four letter name of a clown followed by a word meaning reluctant to talk all around the abbreviation for Nation Union of Teachers (teachers).

18 Festival presenting Trotsky retrospective? (4)
NOEL – Reverse (retrospective) the first name of Trotsky.

20 Debauched hedonist hugs Peter during gathering? Take precautions (2,2,3,4,4)
BE ON THE SAFE SIDE – Another word for a peter (a secure box) inside an anagram (debauched) of HEDONIST inside another word for a gathering traditionally associated with spelling competitions.

23 Rotter defaced toy (6)
TINKER – Remove the leading S (defaced) from a word for a rotter.

24 Hello! Aussie bounder has caught blasted emperor (8)
HIROHITO – A two letter word for a greeting followed by the informal name of an Australian animal (bouncer) inside which (has caught) another word meaning blasted.

25 See the money in Dubai that’s shelled out for institute (6)
DURHAM – Dirham (the currency used in Dubai with the I (Institute) replaced by the U in out (shelled).

26 My itch to gain attention met with a premature end (6,2)
DEARIE ME – A three letter word for itch (as in to *** for) includes (to gain) a three letter word for attention followed by  the met from the clue with the final letter removed (with a premature end).


1 A competition to eat tons and behave badly (3,2)
ACT UP – The A from the clue and another word for a competition includes (to eat) the abbreviation for tons.

2 Sluggish service at Charing Cross? That’s not new (9)
LETHARGIC – A service in tennis that requires a new serve followed by an anagram (cross) of CHARING with the N removed (that’s not new).

3 Keep Lady Day for indulging in passionate love (4,2)
HOLD TO – The abbreviation for Lady Day inside another word for passionate an the letter representing love.

4 He sings Ravel retrogradely (5,7)
ROGER DALTREY – An anagram (ravel) of RETROGRADELY.

6 Puritanical nonsense written about English actress (8)
PRIGGISH – A four letter word for nonsense around (written about) the name of the Avengers English actress Diana ****.

7 Damage a rib (5)
COSTA – Another word for the price of something (damage) followed by the A from the clue.

8 Veronica‘s fit to join expedition (9)
SPEEDWELL – A word meaning fit or health after (to join) a word meaning expedition or haste.

11 Sharia police disrupted work in parish (12)
PAROCHIALISE – An anagram (disrupted) of SHARIA POLICE.

13 Copper in endless debate gets heated? Just so (9)
INCUBATED – The chemical symbol for copper inside an anagram (gets heated) of IN DEBAT (endless debate).  The just so points back the the heated so we require a solution for this.

15 Native undressed for doctor, at home in Lincoln? (9)
ABORIGINE – The central letter (undressed) of for and word meaning to doctor or fix something in a crooked way and a word meaning at home all inside the informal name of Abraham Lincoln.

16 Rock anthem in Carmen? It’s an abomination (8)
ANATHEMA – An anagram (rock) of ANTHEM inside the abbreviation for Automobile Association (car-men).

19 A roundabout way from Belgrade to Uruguay (6)
DETOUR – The answer is hidden inside BELGRADE TO URUGUAY.

21 Proprietor with unique houses and highest in rent (5)
OWNER – The abbreviation for with inside a word meaning unique followed by the final letter (highest in) of rent.

22 Call up mainly just to check agreement (5)
EVOKE – A word meaning just with the final letter removed (mainly) goes around (to check) a two letter informal for signifying agreement.

31 comments on “NTSPP – 308

  1. Thanks Wiglaf for the enjoyable puzzle with some clever wordplay and a number of d’oh moments. Top clues for me were 25a, 26a and 16d.

    1. You’re always so reliable, Gazza. I have learnt to recognise that the clues you give top marks to are invariably the ones that I have to shed blood, sweat and tears to solve.
      Almost as though you are giving some sort of reverse review – or should that be perverse?

  2. Thanks Wiglaf; I found this quite tricky.

    I think the fourth letter in 7d in the online version must be incorrect. My favourite was 16d with 21d quite tricky to parse. Ah, only just parsed 26a, which is another good one.

  3. Found this one quite tricky and had to use reveal a letter on a few. But clues were all fair just a bit too hard for me! I liked 10a, 17a, and 4d.

    1. I’d have liked 4d much more if I hadn’t spelt his surname wrong thereby completely screwing up my chances of getting 20a – my fault! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif

        1. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif but the trouble is that I know I will – something has to fox me at least three times before I say, “Just don’t be silly, Kath – you know that one now”.

  4. Thanks for the entertainment on a rainy afternoon in Cornwall, Wiglaf. My list of favourites included 1a, 9a, 12a, 14a, 4d (nice!), 7d and 19d. Personally I like my anagrams with as little repetition in letter sequences as possible, so neither 13d nor 16d rocked my boat because they both preserved 4-letter sequences. Otherwise very enjoyable and many thanks. :)

  5. GK alerts all over the place – never my strong point!
    Nevertheless, much to enjoy and quite a lot of ‘ticks’ – 1,10,17,20 & 24a plus 19d.
    Not sure that I’ve entirely got to the bottom of 26a, but nothing else would fit!

    Thank you, Wiglaf.

  6. That was good fun – tricky in parts – well, I thought so anyway.
    Carmen indeed – and I’ve been caught by that one before – took me ages the first time and again today. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_rolleyes.gif
    I thought the capitalisation of ‘Ravel’ in 4d was pretty sneaky.
    Assuming my answers to 25a and 15 and 21d are right I don’t understand why – maybe they’re wrong.
    Almost impossible to pick out any in particular but I’ll have a go – 17 and 26a and 2, 7 and 13d.
    With thanks to Wiglaf.

  7. We found it tricky. Got held up for ages with 4d. Had only very vaguely heard of the singer and had the wrong Spanish island for 14a which meant we had an ‘I’ for the second letter of his surname that stopped an anagram working. Once we had that corrected it all made sense. Still not sure how the substitution works in 26a to give the right answer and had the currency as our answer. Very clever, very challenging.
    Thanks Wiglaf.

    1. I presume you mean 25a. You have to change the abbreviation for institute to the ‘shelled’ version of the word ‘out’.

      1. Took some of us hours to work that one out, Gazza. It’s rather depressing when you make it sound so easy. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      2. Gazza, we wrote a thanks for that yesterday but must have forgotten to click ‘Post Comment’. Sorry. It all makes sense now and we did mean 25a too.

  8. Definitely tricky, so I did it in two goes.I also think that the online version of 7d , fourth letter has to be wrong.
    I particularly liked 17a, 1a and 5a.
    You don’t have to deface this rotter to get toy in 23a, in my opinion anyway, well not all of them but a good many.
    I don’t understand the word play in 15d and 26a.
    Thank you Wiglaf.

  9. Well, I picked it up again and began making headway. I now have three left to solve and several I can’t parse. Maybe I’ll get there before the review, and maybe not. I can’t say I have enjoyed this.

      1. Just answered you, but looked at the wrong puzzle! Hopefully, that reply will disappear ‘ere long!
        For 25a – look up the currency for Dubai and then follow Gazza’s hint at No.8. It’s a ‘toughie’ – took me ages. The definition you’re looking for is a ‘see’ in religious terms.

  10. I always find it difficult to get into Wiglaf crosswords but once I get a foothold, everything follows.
    Loved the Carmen too and the unusual construction of 21d.
    Just left with 7d to go.
    Liked 25a and 26a a lot.
    Thanks to Wiglaf for the fun.

  11. Very busy yesterday, as some of you might know, and have just completed this puzzle now. I understood Carmen and “see” only after reading the other comments. This puzzle is on the hard end of the scale. I had never heard of 12a, for example, and I don’t use 11d, and I thought some of the clues took the liberty of adding extra words (12a, using a, 14d, large, etc). The abbreviation for Lady is not in chambers. I liked 23a and 13d.
    Many thanks for the challenge Wiglaf, I did enjoy it. I wouldn’t mind if next time you weren’t quite so clever.

    1. The two letter abbreviation for L(ady) D(ay) is in BRB.
      Apparently it’s also the abbreviation for L(ow) D(utch) whatever that may mean http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif and, using lower case, l(ethal) d(osage).

    2. Anyone who, like me, is a fan of Matthew Bourne’s ballet company (Swan Lake with an all male cast etc.) would have had no problem with Carmen. The last of his productions that I saw was called Car-men.

      1. Yes, he’s great, isn’t he – and just been given a knighthood in the New Year’s honours, I’m told.

  12. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, much appreciated as always.
    Some of those wordplays took a fair bit of working out for me – and I hadn’t been to the pub beforehand!

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