NTSPP – 320

NTSPP – 320

A Puzzle by Imsety

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Apologies for the late review but I could not access this for most of yesterday and today has, for obvious reasons, been a busy one.


1 Business practice (6)
CUSTOM – Double definition.

4 Throw out last of cheese and pickle (6)
SCRAPE – A word meaning throw out and the final letter (last of) cheese.

8 Give old fellow weapon for upcoming battle? (10)
ARMAGEDDON – Split 3,4,3 this means to give weapons to an old university lecturer.

10 Market trader grabs a bargain (4)
DEAL – The name of one of the Trotter family from Only Fools and Horses around (grabs) the A from the clue.

11 Unexpected result brings glory (6)
LUSTRE – An anagram (unexpected) of RESULT.

12 Bolt, say, from small machine (8)
SPRINTER – The abbreviation for small followed by a computer peripheral or machine.

13 Stagger, having second cask of wine (4)
STUN – The abbreviation for second followed by a name for a wine cask.

14 Samples of mince pies ruined when one is consumed by son (9)
SPECIMENS – An anagram (ruined) of MINCE PIES when one of the letters I is replaced by the abbreviation for son.

16 Soldier to run away with traitor (6,3)
DESERT RAT – A word meaning to run away followed by a word for a traitor.

18 Spoils sound of instrument (4)
LOOT – A homophone of Lute (instrument).

19 Execute 50 during battle (8)
COMPLETE – The Roman numeral for 50 inside (during) a word meaning to battle.

21 Scorer and cricket commentator almost overwhelmed by extra runs (6)
WAGNER – The name of a cricket commentator (probably a little too specialist for the general solver) inside (overwhelmed by) the abbreviation for wide (extra) and the abbreviation for runs.

22 Court heard a testimony, though not all of it (4)
DATE – The answer is hidden in (though not all of it) in HEARD A TESTIMONY.

23 Worry when record at gig fails to start (10)
DISCONCERT – Another word for a record followed by another word for a gig with the first letter removed (fails to start).

24 Flyer smuggles animal on the plane (6)
ABOARD – The name of a wild pig (animal) inside the abbreviation for a flyer or advertisement.

25 Finally view goldmine then pull back and come to the surface (4,2)
WELL UP – The last letters (finally) of view and goldmine followed by a reversal (back) of the pull from the clue.


1 Depraved TV producer turned volume off (9)
CORRUPTED – An anagram (turned) of TV PRODUCER after removing (off) the abbreviation for volume.

2 Plain brown box brought to the front (7)
SPARTAN – A word meaning to box or fight before (brought to the front) a type of brown colour.

3 Round bishop feasted regularly, getting even rounder? (5)
OBESE – The letter representing the round followed by the abbreviation for round and the even letters (regularly) of feasted.  Surely even rounder would imply more ***** as the answer.

5 Criminal transaction excludes one fraudster (3,6)
CON ARTIST – An anagram (criminal) of TRANSACTION after removing the AN (one).

6 Article written by literary figure at a steady pace (7)
ANDANTE – The indefinite article used before a vowel before the name of a literary figure famed for his Inferno.

7 Earth found after man pulled up hedge (5)
EVADE – The abbreviation for earth followed by a reversal (pulled up) of the shortened form of David (man).

9 Removes the guts, perhaps, from the sardines when cooked (11)
DISHEARTENS – An anagram (when cooked) of THE SARDINES.

14 Republican’s aim? To be involved in certain king’s capitulation (9)
SURRENDER – The abbreviation for republican and another word for end or object inside (to be involved in) a word meaning certain and the abbreviation for rex or king.

15 Plant pots knocked over, including one empty container (9)
STONECROP – Reverse the “pots” from the clue and put it around the “one” from the clue and the outer letter (empty) of container.

17 One in charge of retrospective work about rock band (7)
SUPREMO – Reverse (retrospective) a word for work around the name of an American rock group.

18 Independent accountant given large account initially – that’s sensible (7)
LOGICAL –  The abbreviations for independent and chartered accountant and large after (initially) another word for an account or record.

20 Old parts of Manhattan attract homeowners across city (5)
OMAHA – The abbreviation for old followed by the initial letters (parts of) the fourth to seventh letters of the clue.

21 Healthy wife gets depression (5)
WHOLE – The abbreviation for wife followed by another word for a dip or depression.




  1. silvanus
    Posted March 26, 2016 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    An excellent puzzle with silky smooth surfaces and quite a few clever misdirections. Pitched at just the right level of difficulty in my opinion.

    Difficult to choose favourites, but I’ll plump for 18a and 21a. I also loved the “market trader” in 10a!

    Great fun and extremely enjoyable to solve. Many thanks, Imsety.

  2. Expat Chris
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    Overall, an excellent puzzle with generally great surfaces, though there seemed to be a lot of “take a letter out” type clues. I have what I’m pretty sure is the correct answer for 21A, though I can’t parse it. I’m presuming the cricket commentator is someone I’ve never heard of. I thought just ‘parts’ for 20D was a bit too loose…early parts, maybe. And I’m not convinced that 22A works all that well. Still, that did not detract from the enjoyment. 8A is top of my pops. Thanks, Imsety.

    • Posted March 27, 2016 at 2:32 am | Permalink

      22 Across is a lurker! Easily missed.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted March 27, 2016 at 3:39 am | Permalink

        D’oh! Yep, I completely missed that one and was trying to make something out of ‘sounds like data’ as testimony.

  3. 2Kiwis
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 3:19 am | Permalink

    A significant struggle for us and we eventually got it all apart from understanding how the wordplay for 22a works. Satisfying to solve.
    Thanks Imsety.

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted March 27, 2016 at 3:21 am | Permalink

      We have just noticed BD’s comment above and are kicking ourselves.

  4. baerchen
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Thanks to Imsety for a really good puzzle with very smooth surfaces. I found the top half much easier than the bottom, and also fell for the sucker punch of missing the embed at 22.
    Nice one; happy Easter!

  5. Gazza
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    A really enjoyable puzzle which caused a lot of pennies to be dropped – thanks, Imsety. I thought that the market trader and especially the cricket commentator required a bit too much specialist knowledge. Top clues for me were 4a and 8a.

  6. crypticsue
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable thank you Imsety – well worth the wait. Agree with Gazza about the specialist knowledge, although I did know both of them, and indeed 10a was on the ‘favourites’ shortlist.

  7. Jane
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Very good quality NTSPP – thank you, Imsety.
    Like Chris, I had to take a guess at the cricket commentator and missed the lurker in 22a, but I did manage the market trader once the penny dropped.
    Top three for me were 8,10&12a.

  8. pommers
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Enjoyable stuff, thanks Imsety.

    Took a while for the penny to drop on the market trader but I did know the commentator. He’s commonly known as ‘Aggers’, I got given the nickname ‘pommers’ when Brian Johnston (Johners) started naming all the TMS crew in similar public school fashion – Aggers, Blowers, Tuffers etc.

  9. Expat Chris
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Although I’ve never seen the show in 10A, I have seen the odd clip so I did know of the character in question. I have seen the late actor in other roles and I’m a big fan.

    • Jane
      Posted March 27, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, Chris – didn’t mean to imply that you didn’t know the 10a trader. Realised it could have been read that way only after I’d posted. Let’s hope the edit facility comes back soon!

      • Expat Chris
        Posted March 27, 2016 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        No worries. It never occurred to me that you were implying anything. I know so few British TV shows that it’s unusual for me to get one without having to Google so I’m always a bit pleased when I do.

    • silvanus
      Posted March 27, 2016 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Hi Chris,

      The actor in question is very much still with us!

      • Expat Chris
        Posted March 27, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        Oh dear. I’m mixing up his name with someone else’s and for the life of me I can’t remember who!

  10. Maize
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    I would echo most of the comments above; the surfaces were super smooth – every one of them – and that gave the whole puzzle an air as if it had been effortlessly assembled, which probably means it took an awful lot of work!
    Top half (except for 8a) flew in, bottom half took quite a lot longer. Once the penny dropped with 8a I think it became my favourite clue, closely followed by 1d and 18a. I also sprinkled some ticks around my sheet of A4 (once I could eventually access the site!) for 1a, 21a, 24a, 2d, 3d, 5d, 17d and 18d.
    My only question mark concerned the use of ‘parts’ in 20d. Whilst I can see it’s a lot like the often used ‘bits’, I think the latter is a less-than-rigorous indicator which survives as a one-off from a bygone age of setting ‘because it does’, so to speak, and probably shouldn’t be used as a precedent.
    Many thanks Imsety, I shall look forward to your next one.

    • Jane
      Posted March 27, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Hi Maize,
      Yes – I had a question mark over ‘parts’ and I think Expat Chris did as well. I’m assuming it was used to help the surface read but it does jar a bit.

  11. snape
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t do very well with this yesterday, (I managed two, once I managed to access it), but I also needed all the hints for the DT one, so can’t have been having a good day. Today I managed far better, (helped by a couple of the comments above!) and I’m glad of that because there were lots of really good dawnings and smiles and great surfaces. It’s a real pity it might have lost some of its audience because of the website problems.
    Many thanks Imsety, I particularly enjoyed 4a, 8a (the parsing was achieved well after the answer!), and 17d.

    • Jane
      Posted March 27, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Don’t worry, Snape, I was having bad days with the Toughies all last week. It just seems to ‘happen’ sometimes to all of us.
      By the way, I have been appraised of your new nickname post-Macclesfield and given carte blanche to bandy it about on the blog. If only the emoticons were back in use!!!

      • snape
        Posted March 27, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

        Oh, I never worry, it amazes me when I can complete one unaided, and that is with the simplest of back pagers.
        It was only one person who referred to me in any other way, and I think I will stick with my current sobriquet for my Rookie submissions.
        I do know I’ve got a fantastic bottom, as every time I leave a room I hear people saying ‘What an ar*e’

        • Jane
          Posted March 27, 2016 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

          I am reliably informed by the same source that it’s a ‘hot’ one. In fact, it was suggested that Hot Seat could be a more suitable nickname for use on the blog.

          • snape
            Posted March 27, 2016 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

            I’m going to turn the other cheek.

            Much like I had to keep doing standing in front of that fire.

  12. Colin
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Is there a review of this puzzle, as it’s causing me grief?

    • pommers
      Posted March 27, 2016 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

      Reviews of the NTSPP usually appear on Mondays.

  13. Gordon
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    All finished after much cogitation and assistance from comments above, except for 20d and 24a. Any hints please would be much appreciated.

    • pommers
      Posted March 27, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      20d – start with O(ld) then the first letters (bits of) of the next four words.

      24a – ‘On the plane’ is the def but it could have equally been ‘on the ship’. Stick a large porcine animal inside a flyer as in advertising stuff.

      • Gordon
        Posted March 27, 2016 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        Doh. Many thanks pommers.
        And many thanks also to Imsety – lovely smooth surfaces for a good brain workout.

  14. jean-luc cheval
    Posted March 27, 2016 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t mind seeing Mr Trotter but who could be hiding in 21a?
    I haven’t got a clue!
    Agree with the majority about the excellent surface of the clueing.
    Even when it comes to anagrams.
    Loved 1d.
    9d made me laugh.
    So did the homophone in 18a. Sounded so Irish to me.
    Will wait for the review to get 21a unless someone gives me a hint.
    Thanks to Imsety for the great fun.

    • pommers
      Posted March 27, 2016 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      21a – you need the one letter abbreviation for a type of extra in cricket and R(uns) and inside you put a cricket commentator and part of the TMS team – the one know as Aggers – but without his last letter to get a German scorer whose music is better than it sounds according to Mark Twain.

      • stanXYZ
        Posted March 27, 2016 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Pommers, I have listened to TMS for so long that I have forgotten Aggers’ real surname!

        Those that show no interest in cricket will be quite rightfully be up-in-arms!

        (The Johnners & Aggers “leg-over” clip still makes me laugh after all these years! 1991?)

        • pommers
          Posted March 27, 2016 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

          I was driving down the M6 when the leg-over bit happened and I had to pull off onto the hard shoulder on the J16 slip road because I was corpseing too much to drive – magic stuff!

          • jean-luc cheval
            Posted March 27, 2016 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

            Merci messieurs. I got the wider picture now. Or is it the wide pitcher…

  15. Colin
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the review Prolixic, I made a real meal of this puzzle, though on seeing the answers I don’t know why…a wavelength thing.
    Thanks to Imsety.

    • Gazza
      Posted March 28, 2016 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Colin, you’re putting a double-L in your email address which is sending your comments into moderation.

  16. Jane
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. I was never in with a chance of parsing 21a – both the name of the commentator and the ‘w’ for extras were well outside of my territory. Also struggled a little over 18d – just not getting the words of the clue into the right order!

    Thanks again to Imsety – must make a note to look out for cricket terms in your next one.

  17. dutch
    Posted March 28, 2016 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t want to miss out – with limited wifi and no printer, I managed to download this and solve with across lite. And happy I did.

    It’s already been said, but I am highly impressed with all the super smooth surfaces. There lies the art for me. Absolutely brilliant, and no mean feat – beautifully done, e.g. in clues like 14d – very clever. Congratulations on a superb puzzle. I didn’t know the cricket commentator but that didn’t hold me up.