NTSPP – 321 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 321

NTSPP – 321

Font by Vigo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Can you spot all the thematic answers?

A review of this puzzle by crypticsue follows:

Vigo returns with a very enjoyable  crossword –if you didn’t spot the theme, don’t worry, her original instructions were “It does have a theme but I realised that, apart from the top line, it‘s not very noticeable so ignore it!”

A traditional list of the themed items, such as that on your Word page, doesn’t include all of the ones Vigo has managed to include in this crossword – putting some of the solution names into Google Images,  if you include the three in the top line as separate items rather than the whole one Vigo mentions in her message to me,you should end up with twenty-one of them.


9a           Measures house backing on to start of trail (5)
TIMES   The start of Trail is followed by a  reversal  (backing) of an abbreviated way of describing a house attached to another

10a         Young, tailless amphibian (3)
NEW    Just remove the tail from an amphibian.

11a         Capital’s resident from Angola’s hiding (5)
ROMAN   Hiding in fROM ANgola  This illustrates the themed item  revealed by the top row: Times New Roman12a         Language institute follows wordplay with punch (7)
PUNJABI   The abbreviation for institute follows a play on words and a punch.

punjabi13a         About a kilo in glass dish (7)
PANCAKE    The abbreviations for a Latin word meaning about and Kilo are put inside a piece of glass.

pancake14a         Vehicle almost destroyed French motorway (9)
AUTOROUTE   An abbreviated vehicle and almost all of a verb meaning ‘destroyed’

16a         Angry man has set back (3,2)
HET UP   The masculine form of the third person pronoun (man) and a reversal (back)of another way of saying set.

17a         Florentine originally made by journalist here in Provence (6)
MEDICI    The ‘original ‘ letter of Made, the abbreviation for the top journalist and the French (as used  in Provence) word for here.

Medici18a         Contemporary style with rayon edging (6)
MODERN    Another word for style followed by the ‘edging’ of RayoN

modern22a         Transgression involving a tiny bit of titillating material (5)
SATIN   Insert into a transgression A (from the clue) and the first letter (a tiny bit of) of Titillating.

satin24a         Time when right font’s Comic (9)
FORTNIGHT  An anagram (comic) of RIGHT FONT.  I suppose if we are including clues in the theme, there’s another one here!

26a         One shedding tears over old uniform guide (7)
COURIER   The abbreviations for Old and Uniform go inside someone shedding tears.  This particular themed item always reminds me of Golfball typewriters a long time ago.courier27a         Space for keeping herb to hold back decay (7)
STORAGE    A herb holds a reversal (back) of decay.

29a         Tree covered by cheap Plexiglas (5)
APPLE   A tree covered by cheAP PLExiglasapple30a         Finally given menu and initially no one’s taking orders (3)
NUN   The final letters of given and menu and the initial letter of No.

31a         Abandon harvest (5)
YIELD   A double definition to finish the Across clues.


1d           University head has first class set up and ideal situation (6)
UTOPIA   The abbreviation for University, a synonym for top and a reversal (set up) of the two letters used to indicate first class.Utopia

2d           Put out when upwardly mobile celebrity gets wrong date (8)
EMANATED    A reversal (upwardly mobile) of a celebrity followed by an anagram (wrong) of DATE.

3d           Land mass America is returning to leader of Algonquians (4)
ASIA    The abbreviation for America and IS (from the clue) reversed (returning to) the ‘leader’ of Algonquians.Asia4d           Article’s quite strange and old-fashioned (7)
ANTIQUE   An indefinite article and an anagram (strange) of QUITE.

Antique5d           Exchanged second hand climbing gym with scuffed base (7)
SWAPPED   The abbreviation for second, a reversal (climbing) of a hand, the abbreviated way we refer to gym and the ‘base’ of scuffeD

6d           Nice people start to hoard gold and new brass (6,4)
FRENCH HORN    The nationality of people from Nice, the ‘start’ of Hoard, the heraldic term for gold and the abbreviation for new.

7d           Consequences of Independent politician’s legislation (6)
IMPACT   The abbreviation for Independent, the abbreviated way of referring to a politician, and a piece of legislation.impact8d           Lower leg support (8)
UNDERPIN   A synonym for lower and an informal term for a leg.

15d         Have second thoughts about prisoner having right to go outside wing (10)
RECONSIDER    A preposition meaning about, an informal term for a prisoner and the abbreviation for Right which goes outside a ‘wing’.

17d         Performer is manic, dancing around centre of house (8)
MUSICIAN An anagram  (dancing) of IS MANIC and the ‘centre’ of hoUseMusician19d         One impressing regular teenage party goer (8)
ENGRAVER   The regular letters of tEeNaGe and a person who goes to a mass gathering  of young people with loud music and flashing lights.engraver20d         Insult a typeface found across France (7)
AFFRONT   A (from the clue) and a typeface put across the abbreviation for France.

21d         Quietly take offence to handout (7)
PRESENT   The letter used in musical instructions to indicate that the notes should be played quietly followed by a verb meaning to take offence to.

present23d         Blasts male involved in shoot up (6)
TRUMPS   The abbreviation for Male involved in a reversal (up) of a verb meaning to shoot up in a sudden stream.Trump25d         Attempt to keep goal in (6)
TRENDY   A goal inserted into an attempt.trendy28d         Stone supported by two axes (4)
ONYX   A preposition meaning in a state of being supported by and two axes used in geometry etc for reference purposes.Onyx

I’ve got another of Vigo’s puzzles waiting in my email inbox, I must remember to look out for a theme, ghost or otherwise.


30 comments on “NTSPP – 321

  1. Lovely puzzle – thanks Vigo. I’m not sure that I’d have spotted the theme without the helpful heading. My favourite clue is 30a.

  2. Thanks Vigo, great puzzle with the trademark smooth surfaces.

    9,10,11 give good start to the theme. I particularly liked 5,6,22 & 30.

  3. Nice one Vigo – that was fun. I think in this case the theme might also have worked as a ghost theme (completely unannounced), giving the solver extra delight at discovering it (edit: just read Gazza’s opposite view!). I enjoyed the thematic references in the clues as well, which would work as nice hints to the theme. I’m not sure I found all the fonts: I have 4 very clear ones (two of which I didn’t know), then a couple of words that i think are used in combination – other solvers may find more, and I look forward to the review.
    The puzzle itself was very pleasant, not too taxing, so thank you very much!

  4. thanks Vigo for another very well-crafted, smooth puzzle on Ghostthemefestday in Crosswordland. I’ve never had a Mac…….is 29 30 31 an option?

  5. Lovely puzzle, Vigo – thank you very much indeed.
    Great surface reads, nice bits of misdirection and a theme that enhanced rather than reduced the overall quality of the puzzle.
    I agree with Windsurfer’s list of ‘ticks’ but would also add 13a – my last one in and a real penny drop moment.

    More please!

  6. Very nice indeed, but over too quickly. I didn’t notice the theme until I read the hints. Now I’m going to have to open MS word and check a couple of additional possibilities! Thanks Vigo.

  7. I have 12 themed answers (13 if I count the one in today’s Quickie!). There could even be more. Some I knew and some I guessed at and Googled to confirm. I’m now upgrading my comment to very clever and quite an achievement to get all of them in!

    1. I haven’t got 12 themed answers and I’m reviewing it – doesn’t bode well!

      On Edit: searching for review illustrations, I found a lot more of the soutions were theme-related than I first thought.

  8. Haven’t looked yet – back tomorrow – I’m very bad at themed crosswords . . .

  9. 9a, 10a and 11a just leapt out at us giving us a very good start and the the rest flowed smoothly after that. Lots of stuff to smile and chuckle over.
    Thanks Vigo.

  10. bit of googling and i’m pleasantly surprised how many grid words give a hit together with font (most of which I’d never heard of). I’m up to 20, plus a few more i’m not certain about. If all these are genuine, this is one hell of an amazing grid fill – respect!

    1. Twenty! Good Lord. Then I’m not even close with 13. I’m not counting 29A or 17D and 25D because they’re generic categories rather than individual fonts, or 6D because that’s more of a wingding, or dingbat, whatever it’s called.

  11. Thanks, lovely clues, very enjoyable.
    No idea what this ‘theme’is though!!
    Nice one setter!!

  12. The perfect puzzle to wind down to before bed.

    I’m falling asleep and didn’t note down favourites, so this will be brief – sorry.

    It wasn’t too difficult but I was very impressed by the surfaces: they read very naturally and there were some really amusing ones among them.

    From the comments I must also be impressed with the grid fill. I spotted some of the theme words, but forgive me if I discover them by turning to the review rather than doing some intensive googling.

    Many thanks, Vigo, for a brilliant puzzle.

  13. Many thanks CS for your wonderful review illustrating all the fonts – certainly a lot more than the few I had spotted initially. I count 20 in your list (counting “times new roman” as 3 grid entries), so according to your message from Vigo, should there be one more? French horn? Autoroute? I also wondered about fortnight but that may be a company. All very clever, thanks again Vigo.

    1. The message from Vigo only told me not to look for them! Suggestions as to how many there might be are purely guesswork on my part.

      I did put some of the other solutions into the images search but nothing came up so I assumed I’d found them all.

  14. Put me in the ‘Glad it had the title’ camp – I doubt I’d have spotted the theme otherwise, which is precisely the thing that elevated this puzzle to make it extraordinary. I will bow to Expat Chris, Dutch and the review for the final total, but that certainly was a maximally impressive grid fill – bravo!
    The surfaces of the clues were all smooth – with several producing a smile; I particularly liked the ones which referred to the theme, like 24a – lovely! Also worthy of special praise, I thought, were 16a, 30a (novel idea, I might pinch that!), 4d, 19d, 25d and 28d.
    In terms of level of difficulty, definitelt more back page than Toughie but, like Kitty, I was doing this last thing at night so was glad for a gentle ride. Many thanks Vigo.

  15. Many thanks for the review, CS, and for going to all the trouble of reproducing examples of the various fonts. There were definitely a few that came into ‘never would have guessed it’ territory for me.
    Smiled at your recollection of the IBM golfball machines. I remember when they first became available for general use and I finally reached the dizzying heights of being allowed to use one. My typing suffered badly as I was mesmerised by trying to watch the golfball spinning round – also I had a vague suspicion that it might just ‘ping’ off the machine at some point if I typed too quickly!

    I thought this one from Vigo was a master class in creating a themed puzzle whilst maintaining a consistent quality in the remainder of the clues.

  16. Loved the clarity of the clues.
    Didn’t spot as many typefaces as the review suggests but that didn’t spoil the enjoyment.
    Thanks to Vigo and to CS.

  17. Thanks to Vigo for a most entertaining puzzle and to CS for the illustrated appraisal.

    Thanks also to Anax & BD for the recent thrash at the the Snow Goose and to Dutch for the themed puzzle.


    D. D.

  18. I missed 21D. I counted 23D although the typeface is singular, not plural. I saw, but did not include, 17D, 25D and 29A because I view those as categories containing a number of different typefaces. It never occurred to me that 20D could be included because it’s not a typeface.

    A pedant ( not me, I hasten to add) would say that none of them are fonts. They are examples of typeface. Fonts are subsets of typefaces. Font is just accepted these days as meaning the same.

  19. Thank you Sue for the lovely review and to everyone who took the time to comment. I must admit I don’t think I would have known all those typefaces – sorry to all who were offended by my calling them fonts – without google. I was just choosing from a font list one day and thought ‘this would make a good word list.’ ..and then I googled fonts and was gobsmacked by the variety of names out there.

    I do often have a ‘ghost theme’ but mainly because a blank grid has such a lot of possibilities that it’s nice to have a few words to get started. I hope that if the clues are good enough the solve will be enjoyable without spotting any link between a few of the words. I do love the wall in Only Connect though and enjoy finding lists of words you wouldn’t immediately put together.

    one of my Independent crosswords had the names of different boots in it including bondage and kinky and the word oubliette (dungeon)also appeared provoking speculation that there may be a completely different theme going on…..

    There are a number of words in the puzzle I sent to Sue the other day that might be found on the same list but I wouldn’t expect anyone to link them together…

    With best wishes to everyone from the Alps where the Vigo family are enjoying snow, sun and some beautiful views

    1. It’s always so nice when the setter stops by! I didn’t mean to give the impression that I was offended. I wasn’t in the least. I usually call them fonts too. I was interested enough in the topic, though, to do a little Googling. Font or typeface, it matters not to the fact that it was a super puzzle.

  20. Thanks to CS for the lovely review. Must have taken a while to find all the illustrations – thanks for taking the time.

    (I tried to put my comment last night into a different font typeface but it didn’t work. Oh well.)

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