NTSPP – 316 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 316

NTSPP – 316

A Puzzle by Beet

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle follows.

I hope that this review makes it onto the site following the transfer to the new servers.  Fingers crossed.  Beet give us a crossword that was initially brilliant, exciting, elegant and thrilling to review.


1 Laugh very loudly cutting piece of cake for bird (9)
CHAFFINCH – A two letter word for a laugh and the musical notation for very loudly go inside (cutting) a word meaning a piece of cake or easy,

6 See through deception: there’s one in the clue… (5)
COLON – A two letter word for see inside (through) a word meaning a deception.  The solution is the punctuation mark of which there is one in the clue.

9 …there’s one in the clue, but not in polite conversation (1,4,6,4)
FOUR LETTER WORD – Something you should not use in polite conversation – there is one of these in the clue in a literal rather than a figurative sense.  The others have 6, 3, 2, 3, 3, 2, 6 and 12 respectively.

11 Of all the single digit numbers, this is 9 (4,3,3,5)
LAST BUT NOT LEAST – Oh, this is very clever!  A description of the number 9 amongst single digits but also the answer is also an example of the answer to nine across.

12 US state where William resided 1981-82 (7)
INDIANA – Where Prince William was for approximately nine months during the years in question.

14 “Masses are ultimately absorbed by trifles,” say pretentious types (6)
PSEUDS – The final letters (ultimately) of masses and are inside another word for which trifles are an example (say).

16 Breast reduction gets negative reaction (3)
BOO – Remove the final letter (reduction) for another word for a breast.

18 Times cryptic by foremost of setters could be fan-bloody-tastic (6)
TMESIS – An anagram (cryptic) followed by the first letter (foremost of) setters.  The answer means the splitting or separation of a word into parts by one or more intervening words.

20 Simon said call him repeatedly; Garfunkel rejected nonsense lyrics (3-2-2)
TRA-LA-LA – You need to remember the name of a song by Paul Simon, “You can call me Al”.  Repeat the final word of the title and follow with the first name of Garfunkel.  Finally reverse all of the letters (rejected).

24 The Telegraph crossword is often positioned so poorly (5,3,7)
UNDER THE WEATHER – A cryptic and double definition.  It has been a long time since I solved the Telegraph crossword in the paper itself but I presume is still appears below the forecast of expected climatic conditions across the country.

26 Get first prize in the WI fair covering iconic song (6,2,3,4)
BLOWIN IN THE WIND – A word meaning fair (as in hair colour) goes around (covering) a word meaning get first prize and the “in the WI” from the clue.

29 “Lispy” duck? That’s just silly (5)
DAFFY – Double definition time with the cartoon duck who lisps and a word meaning just silly.

30 Person proposing to Iron Man is potty (9)
NOMINATOR – An anagram (is potty) of TO IRON MAN.


1 Tea without milk or sugar for clergyman (8)
CHAPLAIN – Split 3,5 this would describe a cup of tea with no additions.

2 Excited to get employment in a bar (7)
AROUSED – A word meaning employment inside the A from the clue and a word for a bar.

3 Reportedly Rupert’s grandparents or other ancestors (9)
FOREBEARS – Presuming a traditional nuclear family, a homophone (reportedly) of the number of grandparents Rupert (he of the ursine nature) would have.

4 Oddly, niece is born in Nice (3)
NEE – The odd letters of niece.

5/14 Betty’s soapdish! (6)
HOTPOT – Thou needest to split the final word into soap and dish and thence to recall Betty in the Street of the Coronation and thinketh of the dish that she frequently cooketh.  Thou mayest need to be of a certain age to recalleth this and methinks that it requireth a little too much familiarity with the genre.

6 Pinky-orange colour produced by final flicker in ember (5)
CORAL – The final letter of flicker inside another word for an ember.

7 Under fifty, dare to get squished into skin-tight outfit (7)
LEOTARD – After the Roman numeral for fifty put an anagram (get squished) of DARETO.

8 Fresh air sounds like something naturist would enjoy (6)
NUDITY – A homophone (sounds like) of NEW(fresh) DITTY (air – as in a song).

10 Take care where you write your answer (4)
TEND – Think about the clue number and where you write the answer to 10d.

13 Husband’s middle reverting to six-pack (3)
ABS – Reverse the middle three letters in husband.

14 See 5

15 Egyptian river rising and engulfing a poor Egyptian town (2,7)
EL ALAMEIN – Reverse (rising) the name of the Egyptian river and it around (engulfing) the A from the clue an a word meaning poor.

17 Next to Newfoundland, this breed is more manageable size (8)
LABRADOR – The name of this dog is also the name of a territory next to Newfoundland.

19 Heard Bernie legged it with ill-gotten gains (4,3)
MADE OFF – A homophone (heard) of the surname of Bernie, the disgraced American stockbroker.  This does not work for me as a homophone as the surname is not pronounced in the way that the solution is pronounced.

21 He doesn’t believe what he is told, not entirely (7)
ATHEIST – The answer is hidden in WHAT HE IS TOLD.

22 Doubt I could be moved to make a better offer (6)
OUTBID – An anagram (could be moved) of DOUBT I.

23 Student, eruditely answering numerous starters for 10 (4)
LEAN – another word meaning the answer to 10d.   The abbreviation for a student or learner followed by the first letters (starters) of the second, third and fourth words in the clue.

25 Spitting cobra in Yosemite, camouflaged (5)
RAINY – The answer is hidden inside COBRA IN YOSEMITE.

27 Trendy new pub (3)
INN – A two letter word meaning trendy followed by the abbreviation for new.

28 Cricket umpire holding belly in (3)
TUM – The answer is hidden in CRICKET UMPIRE.

58 comments on “NTSPP – 316

  1. Highly enjoyable to solve, Beet’s best crossword yet with some very clever cluing. I thoroughly recommend people to have a crack at this one. Review should be up later today in case the move to the new server does not go as smoothly as we hope!

  2. Brilliant with some very imaginative clueing and a perfect pre-rugby treat. Thanks to Beet. I’ll pick out 12a, 10d and 21d from a long list of top-rate clues.

    1. Interesting that you put 10d as one of your picks, Gazza. I thought the clue was rather better suited to a six letter answer?

  3. Great fun from, Beet!

    Lots of laughs with some very inventive cluing.

    Looking forward to the review to fully explain 26a and 23d.

    Favourite: “Betty’s soapdish!” but there were many, many other contenders for the top prize.

  4. Great stuff, Beet. Well done indeed.
    Many contenders for first place – my list includes 1,12&24a plus 5/14,6,8&21d.
    More of the same anytime, please. :good:

  5. When I saw it was a Beet puzzle today, my response was “yay!” I wasn’t disappointed.

    Too many beautiful touches for me to list all of my favourites … but I might do it anyway:

    6a, 9a, 11a, 12a, 26a,
    2d, 8d, 10d, 15d, 21d, 22d, 23d, 25d
    .. and there are others not on that list that would still win my favourite award if transplanted into many back-pagers. I am in awe.

    16a was another highly amusing clue with an impeccable surface … and I laughed aloud at 29a’s “lispy duck.”

    Stephen Fry would like 18a (he has waxed lyrical about that word). As do I.

    I thought CS would particularly enjoy 24a.

    Without capitals, 30a would have a quite different but also amusing surface reading. I can think of one or two men who are asking to be flattened straightened out…

    I had to look up Betty’s role in 5/14d but the answer wrote itself in once there were enough checkers.

    I’m still not quite sure how 20a parses but am happy to wait for the review for that.

    One other thing – brief clues! :good:

    Well done Beet, and thanks for the best puzzle in ages. Keep ’em coming :yes:.

        1. Yes it was written by Paul Simon … and Betty (5/14) gets a mention in the song.

          Is there a theme ?

        2. Hi Jane,
          yes I know it’s from Simon and Garfunkel.
          It’s the other song in 26a from Dylan that I didn’t know. See comment 6.

  6. Very inventive clueing indeed.
    Laughed at 12a,16a and 29a.
    Took a while to parse 26a which was an educated guess until I found the right kind of fair.
    Had to Google the soapy Betty to get the link. Fun clue.
    The term in 18a had to be checked also. New to me.
    Thank to Beet for the great challenge and thanks to Prolixic in advance.
    I shall read the review when the blog has successfully moved.

  7. Terrific stuff! Beet is simply outstanding and always so much fun. I did have to Google to confirm my 5/14 answer, as I suspect anyone my side of the pond would. 14A was the other one I needed help to solve. That’s not a word I ever hear these days. 18A was a new word for me but not difficult to work out from the clue. Altogether a joy to solve. Special mention to 11, 12 and 24A, and 8 and 10D. Keep ’em coming, Beet!

  8. Absolutely brilliant Beet. Very well done. This was splendid entertainment from start to finish with great cluing and surface readings throughout.

    I had to use an anagram solver for 18a, which is an obscure word that I have never come across before, and I am struggling to see what the definition is for 23d.

    My page is littered with asterisks and, even in Kath’s absence, I won’t risk choosing them all as favourites, but 6a, 9a, 11a, 24a, 10d & 19d each earned double asterisks!

    Let’s have more like this as soon as possible please.

  9. Filled in all the little squares but am having serious doubts that I am correct. My brain does not connect with Beet but as a relative newcomer to NTSPPs perhaps I still have a long way to go. Roll on the hints thanks to all concerned off to make tea to revive me. :phew:

  10. Brilliant Beet, loads of fun. I enjoyed your take on 11a, and 12a raised a chuckle after wondering about the brief visit. I don’t watch tv and had to have 5/14d explained to me, and i haven’t figured out how trifles works in 14a. 18a was a new word, which reminded me of some australian poetry (out in tumba-bloody-rumba shooting kanga-bloody-roos). I thought “Simon said you could call him this repeatedly” might be closer to the song, and wasn’t sure about “get squished” as an anagram indicator. 26a is a bit yoda-like but we see a lot of that. The homophone 19d isn’t exact for me, homophones are so tricky. Everything else is simply brilliant and a joy to solve. I had to look up the answer to 23d, pushing the limits here, and why not. Many thanks Beet, made my day.

  11. 18a – I tried very hard to solve this clue as “The Times they are a changin’ – but thank you, Beet, for improving my vocabulary!

    How do you pronounce it?

  12. Thanks for the feedback everyone. and you can rest assured that there is no sneaky theme lurking like last time -apart from one of the answers being a name check for my cat. Looking forward to seeing what Prolixic made of it in his review. Thanks especially to my test solving gurus The Four S’s – Sprocker, Snape, Silvanus and Sue.

    1. A great pleasure to help as always. I’m delighted that this has received the excellent reaction that I was convinced it would.

    2. Always a pleasure, and even more so in this case as it was still incredible fun on the second time around. Very pleased to see the deservedly great reaction, I thought you absolutely knocked it out of the park with this one! :good:

    3. Great to see the site back up, I don’t envy the day BD must have had.
      Likewise, it was an absolute pleasure, and I’m glad everyone else agreed with the assessment. What most astounded me was the what happened when we suggested 3 or 4 clues didn’t quite work. Rather than come back with clues that made do and filled the gaps, the replacements were absolute belters. Stunning.

  13. Abso-bloody-lutely brilliant. We loved it. Totally at sea with 5/14 but had the answer. With only one unchecked letter it was hard to miss and then Mr Google helped us understand it. Too many great clues to pick a favourite so won’t try.
    Many thanks Beet.

  14. I really enjoyed this puzzle, which oozes wit and has fantastic surfaces.
    As always before even looking at a clue, I look at the gird and this one is, well, rum, frankly. The double unches in the long clues and the two three-letter jobs which can be filled in without being solved suggested to me a guaranteed NINA or some other fiendish device. But apparently not.
    I think this puzzle has some wonderful clues although I think three embeds, well-clued though they are, ia a bit much.
    many thanks to Beet, very well done indeed

      1. I’d be tickled pink; I’ll email you something in the next day or two and keep my fingers crossed that it meets the standard.
        I have a puzzle in the Indy on Tuesday; my last one in the dead tree version (sob)
        Best wishes to all, Rob

    1. Thanks for the comment – nothing hiding in the grid, only that I was trying to make sure No 10 was a four letter down clue and that ended up being more complicated that it sounds like it should be. Since writing this puzzle I have invested in crossword compiler software, so my grids should be a bit less eccentric from now on.

  15. Snape reminded while things were off line that I had a different version of 14a in my original grid (same crossers but not same answer) where I thought I was being hilarious but none of my test solvers agreed. I changed it but consoled myself by saying I would put the original version in the comments, so here it is.

    Fake soundalike “Susan Doyle” (6)

    1. is that an intended homophone of Sue Doyle? your test solvers have done you proud…

      1. Susan Boyle is known as SuBo so her tribute act Susan Doyle would obviously be SuDo aka pseudo, which is a brilliant name for a tribute act. The test solvers definitely made the right decision!

  16. Hooray, the site’s up! I can now say: excellent stuff, and especially well done on 10d.
    I sniggered at your alternative 14a, if that’s any further consolation.

    1. Many thanks!
      A question:
      How do you pronounce Madoff? To me it is an exact homophone (but I have said before, most things are an exact homophone in my accent)

      I was completely in the dark about Betty’s soapdish, so that was blank in my solve, but I figured when it was explained that most would have a better knowledge than me.

      1. Madoff = made off to me too (obviously, since I wrote the clue) but I think the moral of the story here is that proper names are even more prone to a variety of pronounciations than most words and you homophone them at your peril.

        I am standing by Betty’s soapdish on the basis that you did have the luxury of 5 out of 6 crossers. Also Prolixic’s suggestion that you would need to be of a certain age to know this – how very dare you! :wink:

        Thanks for the lovely review Prolixic, much appreciated as always.

        1. some of my friends saw betty immediately and thought it was hilarious – but you do have to watch tv.

  17. Sufficient time has passed since Saturday for me to enjoy this excellent puzzle all over again. Thanks to Beet for the superb enjoyment and to Prolixic for the review, especially for pointing out the second bit of cleverness in 11a (which I’d totally missed) which makes the clue even more outstanding. I’m sure that Beet, if she has the inclination, has the talent to be a professional setter.
    My only slight niggle (apart from the homophone) is the ‘final flicker’ in 6d. I don’t think that ‘final flicker’ really means the final letter of flicker.

  18. Thanks Prolixic for the review – it was, as Gaza mentions, an opportunity to enjoy the puzzle all over again. I too missed the additional cleverness in 11a pointing to 9. Great fun, many thanks again Beet

  19. Hi Beet – first chance I’ve had to congratulate you on this puzzle – what with all BD’s heroics going on!
    I was planning on starting my comment with the same ‘tmesis’ as 2Kiwis – but as they beat me to it, let me just say how brilliant I thought this was and how much I enjoyed solving it. I was literally laughing out loud – and that is really something if you knew what a miserable bugger I am! Favourite puzzle in ages.
    I have a list of my favourite clues, in case you wanted to check off against the puzzle. Several have single ticks; fourteen have double ticks (that might be a record) namely: 1a, 6a, 9a, 16a, 18a (last one in, needed BRB), 20a, 26a, 1d, 3d, 5/14d, 8d, 15d, 21d. And in case you think I’ve missed out some crackers, I have: THREE have triple ticks which were 11a, 12a and 10d.
    This was brimming with wit and invention. How lucky we are to have this site to give us gems like this!

  20. Far too late now – first time I’ve been able to access the site – but many thanks to Prolixic for the review and Bravo yet again to Beet – your best one ever, in my opinion. :good:

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