NTSPP – 325 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 325

NTSPP – 325

Globetrotters by Maize

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

In his review of Maize’s last Rookie Corner puzzle, Prolixic wrote “the time has come to sack Maize as a Rookie and promote him to the NTSPP” – well, he has been duly dismissed and here is his latest offering.

A review of this crossword by Prolixic follows:

A well deserved promotion to Maize to the pages of the NTSPP.  The quality of this crossword shows that it was the right time for him to graduate from the Rookie corner.  The theme is revealed around the edge of the crossword with “Around the world in eighty days” with many of the clues taking up the globetrotting theme. 


7 Superior place to live built up every second in central Godthab (6)
DULUTH – … a city on Lake Superior – Ever second letter in “built up” goes inside the central three letters of Godthab.

8 Originally termed Islas Malvinas, this country’s in wild but remote location (8)
TIMBUKTU – The initial letters (originally) of termed Islas Malvinas followed by the abbreviation for United Kingdom (this country) inside an anagram (wild) of but.

9 Give peace a chance, she said, with Syrian city and port (8)
YOKOHAMA – The name of John’s Lennon’s wife who recorded a version of the song “Give Peace a Chance” followed by the name of a Syrian City.

10 Capital city of the French leaves Dublin so excited (6)
LISBON – Remove the French for “of the” from DUBLINSO and make an anagram (excited) of the remaining letters.

11 Move a mountain in South Africa (5)
TABLE – A double definition, the first being to move a motion in a debate.

12 Asian capital’s inquiry into priest’s sinfulness (9)
ISLAMABAD – Split 2,4,3, this could be a question about the behaviour of a Buddhist priest.

13 Cleans up inside houses (7)
HOOVERS – Another word meaning up (in the sense of time’s up or finished) inside the plural of an abbreviation for houses.  The whole clue is a definition of the answer

16/5 Revolutionary stirs Austria’s imperial power (7,6)
TSARIST RUSSIA – An anagram (revolutionary) of STIRS AUSTRIAS).

18 Rocky gorge in front of Alps – hey, oddly it’s topical here! (9)
GEOGRAPHY – … the theme or topic of this crossword.  An anagram (rocky) of GORGE in front of the odd letters of alps hey.

21 Long stretch of river between Eastern Europe and Switzerland (5)
EPOCH – Put a two letter name of a river (beloved on Gnomethang) inside the last letter (eastern) of Europe and the IVR code for Switzerland.

24 At home, bolt back entrance (6)
INFLOW – A two letter word meaning at home followed by a reversal (back) of word meaning to bolt or eat quickly.

25 To start with Paul Cezanne designed a backdrop for Gilbert & Sullivan (8)
PENZANCE – The first letter (to start with) of Paul followed by an anagram (designed) of CEZANNE.

26 Sprout and lentil starters separately consumed in restaurant might give you wind (8)
EASTERLY – Put the initial letter (starters) inside (but not consecutively – separately) a word for a restaurant.

27 Hide that’s covered in tallow? No thanks! (3,3)
LIE LOW – The abbreviation for that is (that’s) inside the word tallow after removing a two letter word meaning thanks (no thanks).


1 Light shower moving north through Qatar or U.A.E. (6)
AURORA – The answer is hidden an reversed (moving north through) QUATAR OR UAE.

2 Old Balkan bloke erected mapmakers’ toilet (8)
YUGOSLAV – Reverse (erected) a generic term for a man or bloke and follow this with the abbreviation for this country’s mapmakers and a three letter abbreviation for a toilet.

3 Outspoken Muslim gets cut off (5)
SHEAR – An alleged homophone (outspoken) of Shia (Muslim).

4 Alloys of aluminium in magnesium and americium in arsenic (8)
AMALGAMS – Put the chemical symbol for aluminium inside the chemical symbol for magnesium and add the chemical symbol for Americium.  Put all of the letter inside the chemical symbol for Arsenic.

5 See 16 Across

6 Turks once raised saying ‘An end to Cyprus!’ (8)
OTTOMANS – Reverse (raised) another word for a pithy saying and follow this by the AN from the clue and the last letter (end to) of Cyprus.

8 Some Asians put one of these outside Afghanistan’s capital (5)
THAIS – The singular (one of) of these around (outside) the first letter (capital) of Afghanistan.

12 Greek island where Mike goes for sun in Douglas’s home (3)
IOS – The abbreviation for the island where Douglas is a town with the M (mike) being replaced by the abbreviation for sun.

14 When confused, can I start to ask one of the Kiwis, perhaps? (8)
OCEANIAN – An anagram (when confused) of CAN I A ONE, the A being the first letter (start to) of ask.

15 Cartoonist grabbing artist’s upturned behind (8)
REARWARD – Another word for a cartoonist include (grabbing) the abbreviation for an artist with all the letters then being reversed (upturned).

16 Firth’s progressive appearances in Tinker Tailor Spy (3)
TAY – The first, second and third letters (progressive appearances) in the words Tinker, Tailor, Spy.

17 Gun seller and consumer (8)
REPEATER – A three letter word for a seller followed by a word for a consumer.

19 Middle-aged half-Italians served up their ice creams (6)
GELATI – The middle letters of aged followed by half of the letters in Italians reversed (served up).

20 Some chap – pygmy? (5)
HAPPY – The answer is hidden in (some) chap pygmy.  The answer is defined by the whole – think Snow White.

22 Unbalanced report of New Zealand explorer’s military takeover (6)
CUCKOO – A homophone (report of) COOK (New Zealand explorer) COUP (military takeover).

23 Grassy place to carry out assassination? No, not I (5)
KNOLL – A word meaning to carry out assassination with the I replaced by the NO from the clue.

46 comments on “NTSPP – 325

  1. Superb puzzle – many congratulations to Maize on getting so many themed words in and on some very inventive clueing with smooth surfaces throughout. I don’t see what the definition is in 20d and I have my customary dislike of the 3d homophone. The clues that stood out for me were 11a, 13a, 27a, 16d and 23d.
    [update – have now worked out the definition of 20d – another excellent one]

  2. I’ve just popped in to print off the puzzle, but what an extraordinary coincidence that it should have that title!

  3. Many thanks maize – really enjoyable. At first I was getting annoyed at all the geographical references then I remembered the theme. Clues that I really admired were 8a, 16a, 21a, 27a, 6d, 16d (really nice device though pity not the full title). Brilliant stuff. I did groan horribly at the so-called homophone. 20a I guess is an &lit, feels not quite right somehow. 12d is ambiguous, I filled in the wrong island first. Not sure the replacement is ideally indicated in 23d, but a fun clue.

    Thank god 7a can be worked out from the wordplay!

    A great puzzle, congratulations!

  4. Thanks for this maize – I too enjoyed this a lot and thought there was some super clueing. Particular likes were 8A (very well crafted WP and surface, although is it a country?), 16A (nicely worked into the surface), 25A (great spot), 27A, 3D, 8D (one of these – great!), 6D, 23D (substitution seems clear enough to me). Not sure about 20D def. and if I’m being picky not crazy about the def in 1D, but a really good puzzle.

      1. I still feel dopey – have even googled the answer with pygmy and all I get is dancing goats! Will no doubt kick myself hard when the penny finally drops but it’s suspended in mid-air at the moment.

      2. One of my favourite jokes starts “the seven dwarfs are sitting at the bar when the pope walks in” – the first line inevitably cracks me up (isn’t it brilliantl?) and I find it hard to tell the rest of the joke.

    1. Tedgar, 8a is not a country, it’s a remote location. The country is part of the answer and much nearer home.

      1. Yes, feeling a bit bashful, should have waited until the coffee kicked in before attempting any coherent comments.

  5. Got a bit in a muddle in the NW corner and had to resort to cheating as I’ve got to go back to work.
    My problem was to write “check” in 3d and thinking that 9a started with “mo” as Mo Mowland and the NI peace deal. Even tried “momo” at one point.
    7a wasn’t a problem. I actually read Gore Vidal once. Such a laugh.
    Laughed also at 22d.
    Loved a lot of the clues.
    Favourite is 25a.
    Great fun.
    Thanks to Maize.

  6. Thanks Maize; nice setting, well done!

    I got a bit stuck in the NW corner but then saw the NINA, which helped to finish it off.

    Like Gazza at first I failed to see the definition in 20d which did make me Grumpy.

    Lots to like with my favourite probably 12a.

    1. Thanks Windsurfer.
      Totally passed me by.
      Obviously a missing key in my passepartout.

    2. Nina? So there is – I missed it totally. That makes the puzzle even more impressive.

      1. I saw the grid … and instantly thought Nina … unfortunately I went the wrong way around!!

        Brilliant puzzle from Maize!

        Many thanks!

  7. Superb!

    This took me several sittings to complete, but it was very well worth the effort and a joy from start to finish. Like Windsurfer, the Nina helped me sort out the NW corner.

    Brilliant surface readings abounded and choosing a favourite was a very tough task. In the end my schoolboy humour settled it in favour of 26a.

    Many thanks and congratulations, Maize.

  8. When we noticed that we got not one but two mentions in the clues, we just had to keep going even when it got really tough in the NW corner with 7a and 3d. If we had been awake enough to look for the NINA then life would have been a little easier. Very very clever and a lot of fun.
    Thank you very much Maize.

  9. Thanks to all the solvers and especially if you commented above.
    Well done if you completed, especially if you got the Nina and it’s connection to theme and title. Geographically minded purists may have picked up on the significance of its starting in the middle of the top row rather than the usual top left corner. And by the way, there’s just one of those place names which actually appears the book.

    Glad you liked the wordplay in 8d, Tedgar; my favourite and I did a little jig when it cropped up! The anagram in 25a has been with me since I first moved to Cornwall 25 years ago – nice to get a chance to put it in a puzzle.
    Apologies for the non-homophone in 3d – I should have checked.
    As it happens 12d and 20d were both post-editorial re-writes (the latter was previously ‘Diminuitive chap – pygmy?’ which I agreed with BD actually indicates an end deletion) so I think I’ve just learned to spend more time on doing re-writes than I did this time.

    As for whether or not the Falkland Islands is a country – that all depends on what you mean by a country! I would argue that a country is not necessarily the same thing as a nation state, and furthermore that the line is a pretty blurred one, depending on your definition. For example England? Wales? Isle of Man? San Marino? Palestine? Not easy!

  10. Looks as if I’m a bit late arriving at the party – been gardening almost all day so have done a few bits of this one whenever I needed a break.
    So far I’ve done about half – will keep going tomorrow am but, at the moment, my eyes just won’t stay open.
    I’ve deliberately not read comments yet – I’ve ‘got’ some answers that I don’t ‘get’ if that makes any sense at all.
    I really liked 12a – made me wander round the garden laughing for a while.
    Back tomorrow . . .
    In the meantime thanks and well done to Maize.

  11. Totally missed the Nina…what else is new. Brilliant and challenging puzzle. I do agree with Gazza about the inventive cluing. I’m curious about 23D. Is the whole clues meant to be the definition, or just the first two words? I decided on the latter.

    I revealed a letter to check my answer for 22D. I was wrong, but that did get me to the correct solution. Loved 20D, but 7A is the standout for me because it took so long to spot it and even longer to make the “superior” connection from several possibilities. Many congratulations, Maize.

  12. Fortunately, I made an accurate guess at the NINA very early on – otherwise I would have struggled quite a lot! Did have to ask Mr. Google for some help with my 18a knowledge and spent far too long looking for a specific cartoonist to work into 15d.

    Top picks for me were 11,12&27a plus 8,17&23d.

    Very well done, Maize, you definitely deserved that promotion!

  13. Superb stuff indeed, Maize, very well constructed.

    As ever, being aware of the Nina did help with certain of the later answers, I can’t recall seeing one not starting in a corner before.

    There were so many clues that were first rate and therefore it’s difficult to select particular favourites, but I shall plump for 24a, 16d and 22d. Any apologies for 3d are unnecessary in my opinion.

    Congratulations on a tour de force, if you can pardon the pun :-)

  14. A very impressive debut in the NTSPP series, Maize – well done.

    I found the south considerably less taxing than the north; the nina helped with the latter.

    I needed to cheat on the third letter of 7a, sine the answer was new to me – but I am kicking myself that I failed to work it out from wordplay. The Syrian city in 9a was also new to me but the rest of the clue was enough in that case.

    With so many good clues I can’t pick a favourite, but 20d appropriately raised a smile when the penny dropped, as did 12a. Others were even more impressive but if I were to make a list it would be too long.

    All very enjoyable (and this from someone who saw the title and did not then approach the puzzle with a huge amount of enthusiasm). Thanks, Maize, and many thanks also to Prolixic for the colourful review.

  15. Thanks for the review Prolixic, and thanks again to Maize.

    I did wonder whether 1D (CO) was also part of the world tour, since it’s a city that gained some notoriety a few years ago.

    1. I had forgotten about that, Chris, but do now remember. No, like 23d it’s a word which loosely fits the theme, but not intended as a place name. I did think you would be one solver to get 7a, Chris, I learnt about it when studying the steel industry at school.

      1. Re 7A…I’m more familiar with the IA location. But I asked Mr. Expat (after I’d worked it out) and he got it straight away!

  16. Thanks for the review to Prolixic and well done, again, to Maize.
    I didn’t quite manage to finish this one partly, at least, due to a stupid mistake which effectively screwed up the bottom right corner.
    I completely missed the Nina as I always do – spotting it might have made a difference – oh well, too bad.
    Thanks again to all – back to the garden.

  17. Wow, what a lovely review! Thanks Prolixic, that’s the first time I’ve had my clues illuminated like that, and I must confess to being rather touched – I hope you enjoyed putting it together. :)

    1. Hi Maize. A really enjoyable puzzle. You mentioned in comment 10 there is significance to the NINA starting in the middle of the row. Can you elucidate please.

      1. In the notes that Maize supplied with this puzzle he wrote:

        “The peripheral Nina reads ‘AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS’. It starts and finishes half way across the top row – similar to the position of London on a map of the world – where Phineas Fogg and Passepartout started and finished their journey in Jules Verne’s book. Several entries help to make ‘the world’ around which our globetrotters make their journey.”

  18. What a lot of work you put into that review, Prolixic – I’m not surprised that Maize was ‘rather touched’. Thank you so much for all the pictures and clips.
    I didn’t realise until I read the review that I’d dipped out on the complete parsing of both 13a & 2d. Obviously rested on my laurels once I’d come up with the hoover and the lav – so thank you for those!
    Well done again, Maize. Like Gordon, I’m interested to know the significance of the start point of the NINA.

    1. Yup, what Big Dave said. In an ìdeal world, pardon the pun, the place names would have corresponded to their positions on the globe as well – but their are limits!
      Oh, and the one place Phineas Fogg and Passepartout included in their trip was… Yokohama.

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