NTSPP – 312

NTSPP – 312

Celebration by Windsurfer

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Copies of this puzzle will be distributed at the Birthday Bash today.

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.

Once you twig the theme and the venue for the celebrations, the themed entries go in fairly easily.


1 Time for 29/18 (8)
SATURDAY – The date on which the birthday party takes place.

5 Wally at large is seduced by male, providing a great deal of trouble (6)
HASSLE – Another word for a wally or fool followed by the abbreviation for large inside a pronoun for a male.

10 Spirited father? (7)
ALCOPOP – This form of drink split 4,3 would indicated a spirited father.

11 Suspect for a second time in retreat (7)
REDOUBT – Split 2,5 this type of fortification means to have second thoughts about or suspect for a second time.

12 See 13

13/12 Venue building used to be higher (3,6,5)
THE BRIDGE HOUSE – Where the party was held – an anagram (building) of USED TO BE HIGHER

14 Small thing that Caesar first said before the banks of Carthage riverside place (6,6)
LITTLE VENICE – The part of London in which the venue is.  Another word for small followed by the first part a famous quotation of Caesar and the first and last letters (banks of) Carthage.

18 See 29

23 Drink served on river cruises? (5,4)
CRAFT BEER – A semi-cryptic definition of the types of drink served in 13/12.

25 Caged zebra kept in check (5)
BRAKE – The answer is hidden in ZEBRA KEPT.

26 Tess is almost this when liberated (3,4)
SET FREE – A reverse anagram clue.  The answer followed by an anagram indicator would almost give the word Tess.

27 Star formula not for backward pupil (7)
ALUMNUS – Another word for star (the one that shines in the sky) and the word formula from the clue without the for all reversed.

28 Large woman‘s firm (6)
AMAZON – Double definition, the firm being an internet company.

29/18 Did shabby bars give that timeless, funny celebration? (3,5,8,4)
BIG DAVES BIRTHDAY BASH – An anagram (funny) of DID SHABBY BARS GIVE THAT after removing a Y (timeless).


1 Bandage hitman (6)
SWATHE – Split the hitman into hit and man and provide synonyms for each word.

2 Big problem where tense, replaces fleece at first to make snug (4,2)
TUCK UP – A four letter / two letter word for a big problem that involves a swear word with the abbreviation for tense replacing the first letter (at first) of fleece.

3 Make up – unfortunately he lets rip with new trousers initially removed! (9)
REPLENISH – An anagram (unfortunately) of HE LETS RIP N(ew) with the T (trouser’s initially) removed.

4 Nice taste of chopped-up pâté, it pleases primarily (7)
APPETIT – The French word for taste (Nice taste) comes from an anagram (chopped up) of PATE IT P (pleases primarily).

6 Dared to be different in Summer (5)
ADDER – An anagram (three in a row!) of DARED.

7 Leader of stormtroopers is before court to lose his life like a soldier (8)
SQUADDIE – The first letter (leader of) stormtroopers before another word for a courtyard and a word meaning to lose his life.

8 Limits experiments dismissing where pin stuck in, unsound (8)
EXTREMES – An anagram (unsound) of EXPERIMENTS after removing the letters in PIN.

9 Starts to blow really energetically, exceptional zephyr’s ennervating (6)
BREEZE – The initial letters (starts to) of the final six words of the clue with the words providing a definition too.

15 Contracted every disease in healthy housing, contradicting the western point-of-view (9)
EASTBOUND – A contraction of a word meaning every followed by a word meaning healthy or hale including the abbreviation for a disease sometimes known as consumption.

16 The bottom line – sailor with a relative reportedly imprisoned (8)
ABSCISSA – A two letter word for a sailor and the A from the clue includes a homophone (reportedly) of SIS (little relative).

17 Rich food to eat unhealthily (5,3)
CREAM TEA – An all in one clue where the answer is a rich food and an anagram (unhealthily) of eat.

19 Compensate ignoring cost to treat old folk (3-3)
APE-MEN – An anagram (to treat) of COMPENSATE after removing the letters (ignoring) in cost.

20 Undecided man, I entertain another to food (7)
BIRYANI – A two letter word to describe a person of undecided sexuality and the I from the clue around (entertain) a man’s name.

21 Device situated on top of reversing vehicle (6)
SATNAV– A word meaning situation on top of a reversal of a type of vehicle.

22 Survey ensures sheds about to go after originally collapsing (6)
CENSUS – The first letter (originally) of collapsing followed by the ENSURES from the clue after removing the two letter word meaning about.

24 Spooner’s throbbing member, a mutilated work of art (5)
TORSO – A spoonerism of sore toe (throbbing member).


  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted January 30, 2016 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Just got back home after the excellent Birthday Bash. If was great fun to meet everyone and put a lot of faces to names, many of which I am sure I will have forgotten by the time of the next Bash.

    I printed this NTSPP off and completed it all apart from three answers in the SW corner on the journey there, and as often happens after a break the final three answers sprang to mind immediately on the way home.

    Does MP serve 23a at his hostelry?

    Having guessed from the title what the theme might be, a few related clues fell quickly into place. There were some nice and some naughty clues, which made for a very enjoyable solve. I have no idea why the man in 20d is undecided, and I thought the clue for 8d was rather contrived. My favourite was the excellent 24d. It can’t have been easy to create a Spoonerism which works so well with such a smooth clue construction containing a large dollop of innuendo.

    Many thanks to WIndsurfer for the entertainment.

    • silvanus
      Posted January 31, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      Hi RD,

      I didn’t realise that you were there yesterday, I suspect it was after I had already left unfortunately. Having now had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Jane, you are definitely now at the top of the list of contributors whom I would be keen to meet in person, as more often than not we seem to have remarkably similar views on many puzzles. There’s always next year I suppose?

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted January 31, 2016 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I too was hoping to meet you yesterday. I arrived at a bit after 2 o’clock. Next year it is then!

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted January 31, 2016 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Thanks very much for your review, Prolixic. I had spelled the food in 20d with an “I” in the middle instead of a “Y”, and so I completed messed up the parsing by taking “Brian” as an “undecided man” putting it round “entertaining” an “I” and adding “another” “I”. Even that was very silly as it would have meant the “I” in the clue was doing double duty.

      After I posted my comment I even Googled “undecided Brian”, and found that Brian in Family Guy (which I’ve never watched) was noted for his indecisiveness. It’s amazing how easy it can be to convince yourself of something which is totally wrong!

      • Dutch
        Posted February 3, 2016 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I too had spelled the food with an I, giving IAN for the other man. Leaving me with bir for an undecided man – a bi person might have decided with certainty that is what they want! And need not be a man….

  2. KiwiColin
    Posted January 30, 2016 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    The SW corner took longer than all the rest of the puzzle. 20a was new to me and a challenge. Good fun and much enjoyed.
    Thanks Windsurfer.

    • Expat Chris
      Posted January 30, 2016 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      I am stuck on the SW corner!

  3. Expat Chris
    Posted January 30, 2016 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Phew! All done now, but the SW corner took ages to unravel. I had what I thought was the right answer for 23A (and personally I like my solution better!) which made 16D impossible. Once I solved 28A, I rethought 16D and came up with the correct first word. 19D was the last to fall and I must confess it made me laugh. My favorite, though, is 2D. Thanks Windsurfer!

  4. Gordon
    Posted January 31, 2016 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Well done Windsurfer – a most enjoyable, if very difficult, tussle. After the first pass only four answers had been written in. After much mental chewing the NE corner succumbed and then the rest, almost, fell into place – though I look forward to the review to fully parse some.
    Three in the SW corner still defeat me.
    2d is excellent – though I think it goes beyond innuendo!
    I hope everybody enjoyed the Bash!

  5. Maize
    Posted January 31, 2016 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    How lovely to mark seven years with a topical crossword!
    First few flew in, then enjoyable progress until that quite impenetrable SE corner (plus also 5a/8d) where I more or less hit a brick wall. Putting it down and coming back to it though, I was then able to pencil in a few possibilities and eventually, with LOI the nifty Spooner at 24d, it all fell into place. Phew!
    Favourite clues 14a and 24d.
    Hope you all had a fine old time of it at 13a/12a.

    • Maize
      Posted January 31, 2016 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      i meant SW corner of course!

  6. Beet
    Posted January 31, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Nice to see you at the get together yesterday and get a copy of this in person. A really nice puzzle, quite tricky I got stuck in the south west corner,. My favourites were 1d, 2d, 10a, 14a and 24d.

  7. silvanus
    Posted January 31, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    A nice anniversary puzzle that was tricky in places, especially the SW corner as it seems others have discovered too. I didn’t manage to pick up a copy yesterday (I only had a copy of Prolixic’s one) but was determined to tackle it today instead.

    Favourites were 2d and 7d, although 1d was very clever.

    Many thanks, Windsurfer. It was great to chat to so many people yesterday, I’m sure that the last Saturday in January is now a firm fixture in many diaries!

  8. Chalicea
    Posted January 31, 2016 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    It was great to be welcomed to Big Dave’s birthday bash. We solved this on the plane on the way home today and had trouble not in the bottom left but in the top right. The naughty clue at 2d raised a smile and I admired the long anagram at 29/18 and the fine clue for 14ac. It’s an achievement to get so much thematic material into a grid. Thanks to Cryptic Sue for that delicious cake!

  9. windsurfer23
    Posted January 31, 2016 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to all the posters, Big Dave and Prolixic for a fine blog, although I was a bit disappointed that there was no picture for 24.

    I really enjoyed the bash and it was good to meet so many people, old friends and new alike. It’s always difficult with a theme such as this not to make the theme words write-ins, but it seems that there was enough difficulty to keep people occupied for a while.

    I’ve already done a grid for the May meeting, just in case!

  10. Dutch
    Posted February 3, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Thanks windsurfer, I’m a bit late getting around to this puzzle but I managed it today – all fine except putting in biriani ( see above). Some great laughs, nicely placed theme words -( took me a while to see 13/12). Favourite was the penny drop moment for 19d, lovely.

    All very entertaining and clever, so many thanks for putting this together

    And thank you Prolixic for reviewing it

  11. Jane
    Posted February 3, 2016 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Oops – only just realised that this was the puzzle given to us on Saturday – apologies for commenting so late.
    Managed a fair amount of it on the train home on Sunday but hit the same brick wall as others found in the SW. Looks as though I made a mistake all on my own with 23a. I used the American spelling of ‘draft beer’ and allied it quite happily to the draft of a boat, which made 16d rather difficult. When I finally got there, the 16d answer was a new one for me.
    I’ll go with 2d as favourite – naughty but nice!

    Many thanks, Windsurfer and great to meet you on Saturday. Also thanks to Prolixic for the usual sterling work on the review.

  12. jean-luc cheval
    Posted February 3, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Had the same trouble getting into the SW corner. Specially as I was trying to find some kind of Abyssinia in 18d. Didn’t have access to any kind of electronic help.
    Still have 23a to go. Red wine is my poison. Don’t know anything else.
    Thanks to Windsurfer and to Prolixic for the review which I am now going to read.