NTSPP – 315 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 315

NTSPP – 315

A Puzzle by Bufo

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle follows:

Bufo is an infrequent flyer of the NTSPP but what he lacks in regularity he make up in quality.


1 Can this be obtained from a moist flower? (4-2-1-4)
LOVE-IN-A-MIST – To get the answer think about the position of the O (and away of representing it cryptically) in the words “a moist”.

7 Scaly creature’s a male pig – that can’t be right! (3)
BOA – Remove the R from a word for a male pig.

9 Old woman queueing with son to follow Spurs? Definitely not! (4,5)
MAIN LINES – A two letter word for an old woman, a phrase (2,4) meaning queuing and the abbreviation for son.

10 Went by boat and by bicycle as reported on the radio (5)
ROWED – A homophone (as reported on the radio) of “rode” (went by bicycle).

11 Nellie Dean appears topless in recurring role (7)
ELEANOR – Remove the first letter (appears topless) from dean and put the letters inside a reversal (recurring) of the word role.

12 Complex woman chosen by God (7)
ELECTRA – A word meaning chosen followed by a two letter named Egyptian god.

13 An Irishman no longer now he’s this? (5)
EXPAT – Split 2-3, the answer would suggest a person who is no longer an Irishman.

15 Speak briefly about barbarian emperor’s final words (2,2,5)
ET TU BRUTE – Take six letter word meaning to speak with the final letter removed (briefly) and reverse the remaining letters (about) then follow this with a word meaning barbarian.

17 Onset of thrombosis is suppressed by new anabolic drug (9)
BOTANICAL – The first letter (onset of) thrombosis inside (suppressed by) an anagram (new) of ANABOLIC.

20 Girl has finished short in pub in 3 (5)
ANGEL – Remove the final letter (finished short) from a girl’s name.

22 Like a desk, perhaps, after working girl has lid put back (4-3)
ROLL-TOP – A seven letter word for a prostitute or working girl has the first letter (lid) moved towards the back of the word (put back).

24 Making money from tin mining (but only after entering a hole) (7)
MINTING – Not to sure about this one – the best I can come up with is an anagram (mining) of TIN inside a word for something nasty or smelly (a hole).

26 18 location with no parking towards the centre? (5)
INNER – Remove the abbreviation for parking from a district of London (18 location).

27 Possibly one sector of a dartboard that’s associated with China (9)
TWENTIETH – Double definition, the first being a section of the dartboard and the other being a wedding anniversary celebrated with a gift of china.

28 He’s one involved in causing a stink (3)
GAS – Double definition of the state of the element helium and something trumped that is smelly.

29 18 location reached by short stroll alongside river (but not east to west) (11)
WALTHAMTOW – A four letter word meaning to stroll with the final letter removed (short) followed by the name of the London river without the E (not east) and followed by the TO from the clue and the abbreviation for west.


1 Film-maker (often accompanied by son) needs his light (7)
LUMIERE – The French for light referred to cryptically by the name of a film maker whose name is also accompanied by son in the phrase (son et _____) or it works equally the other way round!

2 Utter depravity with nothing barred (5)
VOICE – A word for depravity goes around (barred) the letter representing nothing.

3 I drink near the entrance to the Old Nag’s Head in 18 location (9)
ISLINGTON – The I from the clue followed by a type of drink (often with gin) the first letter (entrance to) of the, the abbreviation for old and the first letter (head) of nag.

4 Racing here over fences apprentice sees leaders fall (7)
AINTREE – Remove the initial letters (leaders fall) from a word for an apprentice and the word sees in the clue.

5 Examine bug that’s inhibiting first part of program (7)
INSPECT – A word for a bug includes (inhibiting) the first letter (first part of) of program.

6 Ex-worker about to depart for Scottish island (5)
TIREE – A word for a person who has reached the age where they no longer have to work has a two letter word meaning about removed from the beginning (about to depart).

7 Bar just south of where early policemen were garrotted (9)
BOWSTRUNG – The London location where the early police were stationed (3,2) followed by the name of a bar on a ladder.

8 BBC boss is visiting a former 18 location (7)
ALDGATE – The abbreviation for director general (BBC boss) inside (visiting) the A from the clue and a word meaning former.

14 In a film Caractacus steals design for things to brighten up a patio (3,6)
POT PLANTS – The surname of the character Caractcus in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang includes (steals) another word for a design.

16 Tribesman appears uncoordinated. Has this been damaged? (9)
BRAINSTEM – An anagram (appears uncoordinated) of TRIBESMAN.

17 Out to lunch in 18 location (7)
BARKING – Double definition of someone who is mad (out to lunch) and a part of London.

18 A1? It could certainly lead you to this answer (7)
CAPITAL – A description of the city reached via the road A1 if travelling south and also a description of the quality of something that is A1.

19 Writer of essays on the corrupt 18 location (7)
LAMBETH – The name of the essay writer Charles followed by an anagram (corrupt) of THE.

21 Stage school’s head leads the way in producing titillating entertainment (3-4)
LEG SHOW – Another word for a stage or section of a race followed by the first letter (head) of school before (leads) another word meaning the way.

23 Cast three non-English witches to begin with (5)
THREW – The three from the clue with one of the E’s (non-English) removed followed by the first letter (to begin with) of witches.

25 That is something you can see in side-streets (2,3)
ID EST – The Latin for that is hidden inside (side-streets).

30 comments on “NTSPP – 315

  1. A joy from start to finish – if only all crosswords were like this

    Many thanks to Bufo and in advance to Prolixic.

  2. I agree with CS. Sheer crossword heaven! Nicely challenging, with persistence rewarded, and great fun all the way.

    I had a blind spot to start with which slowed me down a bit with themed clues, because living where I do I never think of the A1 leading me to 18d.

    1d was my last one in, and a resounding clang was heard when the penny dropped. A couple of clues (4d & 7d) took me a while to tease out the parsing, and I still can’t work out the connection between China and 27a. The derivation of the second word in 21d is continuing to prove elusive.

    Many thanks to Bufo for the splendid entertainment.

      1. Aha! Thanks Stan. Now I’ve got it.

        In answer to your question – only three years so far at the second attempt. Not long enough to help with the clue.

  3. Not really one for me I’m sorry to say. So tied to knowledge of a specific area of the UK and somewhat lacking in humour.
    More clues like 1,10,13&15a would have made a world of difference to my enjoyment, but I’m pleased for Bufo’s sake that others have obviously enjoyed the challenge.
    1a gets a place on my all-time list!

  4. I loved it! 26A tipped me off to the theme and I only had to check 8D. I have three where I’m still working on the parsing so hopefully I’ll get there before the review. I have double ticks by so many clues, and a rare triple tick by the super 1D. Many thanks Bufo. You made my day!

  5. Yes, very enjoyable, well done Bufo.

    I BIFD a few at first, but managed to parse them all, I think. I ticked 1A, 29A, 4D & 6D. I’m not sure of the ‘working’ in 22A, and was quite surprised that 21D was a kosher expression, but it’s in Oxford and Chambers. Perhaps I don’t go to the right clubs!

  6. Most enjoyable Bufo, many thanks. Teased it all out after having to use a cheat listing 11 letter flowers – never heard of this one, but the clue does give it brilliantly.
    My favourite clue was 29a.

  7. Not surprisingly the place names were quite a challenge for us but with just a little help from Google we did manage to sort them all out. We also had a huge penny drop moment when we sussed what the China bit of 27a was all about. Many excellent clues and very much appreciated and enjoyed.
    Thanks Bufo.

  8. I thought the place names would defeat me , but they were very guessable .I had heard of the 1a flower too, which helped.I was somewhat baffled by the parsing in 1d, 12a, 27a, and 9a.
    Anyway, thanks Buffo for an enjoyable crossword, I often just give up on the NTSPP as being too hard for me.Expat is my favourite .

  9. Super stuff with lots of d’oh moments – thanks Bufo. I didn’t know either the 1a flower or the 17a drug but in both cases the wordplay is excellent. Top clues for me were 1a, 9a, 22a and 29a.

  10. Thank you Bufo, some real crackers in there. My favourites were 1a, 9a, 15a, 20a, 29a, 17d and 19d. A few more may be added once I can parse them (or the review does it for me) – like 24a, 6d and 21a which I’ve entered from just definition and checkers.

  11. Sheer bliss on a grey Sunday morning! So many superb clues, but I’ll nominate 4d and 9a as my favourites.

    Great entertainment, many thanks indeed Bufo.

  12. Nice little trip down memory lane for me thanks to Bufo.
    Especially 7d as the Garrick was under their jurisdiction until most of them moved to the new place in William IV street.
    8d was a real mess when I was there for the bash. Boris is doing some major works around there for cycling lanes I believe.
    So good to see 14d. I started learning English with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
    Really enjoyed the whole puzzle.
    28a is my favourite.
    Thanks to Bufo again.

    1. Hi J-L,

      8d is currently resembling a building-site not because of Boris’s cycle lanes (for once), but because most of the previous one-way streets making up the gyratory system there are being converted to two-way traffic, and a new open space is to be created facing St. Botolph’s church. Quite what the knock-on effect will be for traffic in surrounding streets once everything is completed remains to be seen, but you might be interested to look at the link below.


    1. I agree with you about 28a being a lurker, J-L, and by the way the review is by Prolixic, to whom many thanks!

      P.S. Prolixic, my take on 4d was that “leaders fall” simply means move the first two letters of apprentice to a new position lower down in the word.

  13. Bufo’s original clue for 24a was “Making money from tin mining”, which was designed to poke fun at the “lift and separate” brigade. After the wordplay (T in MINING) totally eluded me he added (“but only after entering a hole)”

    1. I got the answer from the first five words of the clue but couldn’t understand the bit in brackets and wondered whether it was a cryptic reference to Polo (the mint with the hole). That reminded me of the description of Llantrisant (where the Royal Mint lives) as “the hole with the mint”.

  14. Just returned from skiing with all family fully intact – though everything seems to hurt.

    Noticed Bufo had contributed the NTSPP yesterday and felt compelled to give it a go, my first crossword in a week. I am a London ignoramus so had to look things up, also the film maker. I never did manage the 20a and 7d references, and thank you proloxic for explaining china. I also thought 28a was a lurker. Took me a while to parse 8d.

    Very enjoyable. I loved 15a, 17a, 25d and 28a in particular.

    Many thanks Bufo and thank you prolixic for the review

  15. An absolute masterclass from Bufo, and huge fun, helped by being from London and having lived in 19 and 29.

    I thought almost every clue was noteworthy, but the penny-drop moment in 9a was the loudest of the lot for me. I would have added 24a and 1d if I’d spotted them!

    Thanks and a plea for more to Bufo, and thanks to Prolixic for blogging.

  16. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. Still remain a little sceptical about 24&28a and feel that the ‘non-English’ instruction in 23d implies that both ‘E’s should be removed.
    Much prefer RD’s explanation of 4d.

    Thank you, Bufo – I’m sorry I didn’t really get along with some of this one.

    1. Jane

      24a depends on whether you fall into the love or hate camp for lift and separate, i.e.: do you think that “sweetheart” is a fair way to clue an E? I must admit I quite like this type of device and I think it works well here where “tin” is an instruction to put the letter “t” in “mining”.
      (I’m not sure I see any need at all for the bit about the hole, which BD mentions in his comment above) :unsure:

      I think 28a is great: “He[lium]’s one” is the definition and the answer is a lurker clued by “involved in”.

    2. I agree with you Jane on the two E’s in 23d – I’m not sure a Rookie would get away with that one on a Monday morning!
      And surely RD and you are right as regards 4d – especially given Bufo’s similar device with movement of the ‘lid’ in 22a; and while I’m on the subject, is that okay to have ‘lid’ to indicate first letter in an across clue?

    3. BD tells us above that the outrageous (but very nifty) 24a was meant as a parody. More generally, rules are there to be broken once a setter has learned the trade, as Bufo long since has. But it’s quite true that Rookie Corner puzzles are subjected to the most unforgiving of scrutiny and I admire the setters for their willingness to suffer such a baptism of fire and for the good grace with which they (almost) all do.

  17. I enjoyed this. I do agree that it’s one for the Londoners, but the theme didn’t cause me any problems – once I’d finally twigged 18, that is. Once that was in, all went well until the final half-dozen where I enlisted a little help.

    There were plenty of super clues to make this a fun solve. I liked 2d, but how can my favourite be anything other than 1a? Brilliant :good:.

    Many thanks to Bufo and Prolixic.

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