NTSPP – 328

NTSPP – 328

A Puzzle by Windsurfer

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

This puzzle was distributed at the S&B meeting in Derby on 21st May 2016.

A review by Prolixic follows:

Our thanks to Windsurfer for the special puzzle for the Sloggers and Betters meeting in Derby.  Eight of the clues shown below as (**) are thematically linked to the location of the meeting.


1 Disbelief as Conservative adopts sly vagrant (6,5)
LIKELY STORY – A four letter word meaning as and another word for Conservative include (adopts) an anagram (vagrant) of SLY.

**7 Opera maybe that’s lacking a beginning (3)
HAT – Remove the first letter (lacking a beginning) from the third word of the clue.

9 Very pleasant, mostly audible (5)
SONIC – A two letter word meaning very followed by a word meaning pleasant with the last letter removed (mostly).

10 Eastern man seeks rogue to come together (4,5)
MAKE SENSE – An anagram (rogue) of E (eastern) MAN SEEKS.

11 One evening out? (9)
EQUALISER – A cryptic definition of something that would make the score in a football match level.

**12 Somewhat fair is how to describe setter (5)
IRISH – The answer is hidden (somewhat) in FAIR IS HOW.

13 Skipton’s unusual small wells (7)
INKPOTS – An anagram (unusual) of SKIPTON.

**15 Peer review of discovered beautiful Raeburn (4)
EARL – The answer is hidden (discovered) and reversed (review) in BEAUTIFUL RAEBURN.

18 Elite where power is replaced by king’s boot! (4)
KICK – A word meaning elite has the initial P (for power) replaced by a K (for king).

20 Dug private dance (7)
HOEDOWN – A five letter word meaning dug (as a gardening expression) followed by a three letter word meaning private.

**23 Top belt (5)
CROWN – A double definition, the first being a type of headwear and the second being another way of saying to hit.

24 Naughty peer met at stable (9)
TEMPERATE – An anagram (naughty) of PEER MET AT.

26 Eagerly want a little glass of whisky (4,1,4)
LIKE A SHOT – Another word for want followed by the A from the clue and another word for a little glass of whiskey.

27 Starting to suffuse pepper into curried eggs (5)
SPICE – The initial letters (starting to) of the final five words of the clue.

**28 Time that’s before break (3)
DAY – A period of time that can be used before break to indicate when the sun comes up.

29 Plays with extreme spin? (11)
EXPERIMENTS – An anagram (plays with) of EXTREME SPIN.


1 What GCHQ might do to Leninist potentially (6,2)
LISTEN IN – An anagram (potentially) of LENINIST.

**2 State county’s horrible when lacking leadership (8)
KENTUCKY – A county in the south east of England followed by a word meaning horrible without the first letter (lacking leadership).

**3 Abbreviated mirth around about neighbourhood (5)
LOCAL – Text speak for laugh out loud around an abbreviation for about.

4 South African model, possibly actress, primarily packing filled cases (7)
SAMOSAS – The abbreviation for South African followed by the surname of the model Kate includes (packing) the first letter (primarily) of actress.

5 Teak or ebony at first sculpted to produce wooden structure (3,4)
OAK TREE – An anagram of TEAK OR E (ebony at first).

6 Enthusiastic agreement you understand enthrals gentleman, right (3,6)
YES SIRREE – The old English word for you followed by a word meaning to understand around (enthrals) another way of saying gentleman and the abbreviation for right.

7 Nautical ring that is one for catching drips (6)
HANKIE – A sailors term for a loop of rope followed by the abbreviation for ‘that is’.

8 Note he keeps Alsatian and may acquire another canine (6)
TEETHE – A two letter word for a musical note followed by the HE from the clue around (keeps) the way someone from Alsace (Alsatian) would say ‘and’.

14 New trainee to adapt (9)
ORIENTATE – An anagram (new) of TRAINEE TO.

16 Offering to complete race (8)
DONATION – A two letter word meaning to complete followed by another word for a race of people.

17 Where girl is located among teenagers’ units (8)
INTEGERS – How you would describe the appearance of ENA (girl) in TEENAGERS.

19 It’s saucy drawing not at the beginning completed (7)
KETCHUP – Remove the first letter (not at the beginning) from a word for a drawing and follow it by a two letter word meaning completed.

20 Pet from North London area abandoning broken pad, happier at last (7)
HAMSTER – Remove the letters in PAD from an area of North London.  The letters are not in the same order when removed so the broken is an anagram indicator to show this.

21 California slider outside – took coat off (6)
SCALED – Another word for a toboggan (slider) around the two letter abbreviation for California.

**22 Dunce is academic and important (6)
DONKEY – A three letter word for an academic and a three letter word for important.

**25 Course record several reduced (5)
EPSOM – A two letter word for a record followed by a word meaning several with the final letter removed (reduced).


  1. Gazza
    Posted May 21, 2016 at 2:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Lovely puzzle with lots of penny drop moments – thanks Windsurfer. The clues that I liked best were 1d and 8d.

  2. crypticsue
    Posted May 21, 2016 at 2:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I noticed the theme, yes me, I noticed the theme! :yahoo:

    Just me or does 27a like a definition?

    Thanks to WIndsurfer for the post lunch entertainment.

    • Gazza
      Posted May 21, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I forgot to look for a theme – now that you’ve mentioned it I have spotted it. I think the whole clue in 27a is meant to be the definition – the sort of clue that Ray T is very fond of.

      • Jane
        Posted May 21, 2016 at 3:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Yes – me too!
        Sorry about the 27a blind spot.

  3. Jane
    Posted May 21, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks, Windsurfer, hope everyone in Derby is enjoying this as well!
    Top three for me were 1,8 & 16d.
    Seem to have an extra ‘R’ floating about in 6d so guess my parsing is a bit off and, like CS, can’t find a definition in 27a.

    Like to bet there’s a few 1a’s being told today!

    • Prolixic
      Posted May 21, 2016 at 2:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think that 27a is an all in one clue with an answer being a verb.

      6d seems fine to me. The old English word for you followed by a word meaning to understand all around another word for a gentleman and the abbreviation for right.

      • Jane
        Posted May 21, 2016 at 3:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Prolixic – I’d managed to completely forget about the ‘right’ in 6d, makes perfect sense now.
        Your explanation of 27a is, of course, doubtless equally accurate.

        Apologies for maligning you, Windsurfer!

  4. Kath
    Posted May 21, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Oh – you all mean there’s a theme? Maybe I’d better see if I can find it.
    I’m stuck with two in the bottom left corner and three in the top right corner – spotting the theme might just sort me out.
    Off to the garden – perhaps a bit of doing something else will work.
    Back later.

    • Kath
      Posted May 21, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Damn – just got 22d which was one of my problems – but have given myself a different problem as my 28a was wrong. Oh dear!

      • Jane
        Posted May 21, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Getting the theme should certainly help you with 28a, Kath. If you were thinking along the same lines as I was, you’ve probably tried to use the word for something to break a deadlock in a game!

        • Kath
          Posted May 21, 2016 at 4:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Yes, that’s exactly what I was trying to do with 28a – nothing wrong with it apart from being wrong and screwing up two other clues. Bottom left corner now sorted but still have two problems in top right and don’t quite ‘get’ my 8d – it sort of works but can’t see where the middle two letters come from.

          • crypticsue
            Posted May 21, 2016 at 5:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

            8d Where do Alsations come from? And don’t say a dog breeders. The BRB is as usual your friend or even ami in this case ;)

            • Kath
              Posted May 21, 2016 at 5:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

              Oh – in that case I rather suspect my 8d might be wrong. A pity as I thought I’d now finished it – damn, yet again. Pig’s ears spring to mind.

              • Kath
                Posted May 21, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

                Stupid, stupid, stupid . . . I’m always fooled by Alsatians being German Shepherds – dear, oh dear, oh dear! 0/10 for geography. :roll:

            • jean-luc cheval
              Posted May 22, 2016 at 12:40 am | Permalink | Reply

              That’s very debatable.
              I don’t believe the Alsatians come from France although they are now part of our country.
              They still have their own language. The word for “and” is “on”.

              • Jane
                Posted May 22, 2016 at 10:19 am | Permalink | Reply

                I thought that as well – however, Mr Google says that although Alsation remains the ‘official’ language, the majority of the people use French as their primary language. Maybe that’s where Windsurfer got the info. from?

  5. Kath
    Posted May 21, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Right – I think the less said about my attempt at this one the better.
    Anyway, here I go.
    That was fun, eventually, although I’ve done some really stupid things in the process.
    Quite often I can’t get a crossword answer for a while but I don’t very often get them wrong – I have today.
    I started off having ‘Tie’ for 28a which messed up that corner and also had ‘upper’ for 23a – top=upper and upper cut=belt or hit. Oh dear.
    Oh, and I spent a while wondering how we were supposed to know that Windsurfer is 12a – stupid, yet again.
    All finished now and pretty much sorted out – need to go back and see if I can spot the theme – only just remembered that bit.
    With thanks to Windsurfer and in advance to Prolixic.

  6. 2Kiwis
    Posted May 21, 2016 at 8:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

    All done in a bit of a rush before going out. Really enjoyable and quite challenging. Did not think to look for a theme so will save the pleasure of searching for it for later.
    Have fun all you people in Derby and don’t give Kate R too much stick, despite it being deserved.
    Thanks Windsurfer

  7. Encota
    Posted May 21, 2016 at 10:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Just had a quick go at this. Found it quite hard, esp. the top half, but enjoyable with it. Wasted far too long trying to sandpaper ‘Aida’ to fit NE corner! And didn’t cotton on to the theme at all – no doubt I’ll kick myself as usual when I find out.
    Thanks Windsurfer. And I hope the Derby event has gone well…

    • Encota
      Posted May 21, 2016 at 10:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

      …now have suitably bruised shin!

  8. Expat Chris
    Posted May 21, 2016 at 11:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Well, I have a full grid, but have eight clues with a question mark beside them and also no idea what the theme could be, even given the comments above. Looking forward to the review.

  9. Jane
    Posted May 22, 2016 at 12:23 am | Permalink | Reply

    Many thanks for the review, Prolixic – extremely well illustrated. Thanks to the couple of hints from Gazza and yourself, I did get a full house on the parsing front but must admit that I wouldn’t have looked for the theme without the comment from CS. Strangely enough, it was 7a that put me on track – possibly the least likely contender of the lot!

    Thanks again, Windsurfer – most enjoyable.

  10. windsurfer23
    Posted May 22, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink | Reply

    Many thanks to Big Dave who gently suggested that perhaps ANKYLOSAURS was not the best way to start the puzzle at 1A. Thanks also to Prolixic for a splendid pictorial blog – as your asterisks indicate there are actually nine theme words in the grid.

    And thanks also to all the contributors for your kind comments. 28A was ambiguous and TIE was a reasonable solution, not wrong, only not in accord with the crossers. I just assumed that as Alsatians are now in France they might speak the mother tongue.

    We had a jolly time in Derby; it was good to see again some familiar faces and meet some new ones. Glad that CS spotted the theme!

  11. jean-luc cheval
    Posted May 22, 2016 at 3:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Didn’t mean to be so pedantic but Alsace always had a very special status within our country. They even have a specific social cover in the health service and other benefits but I’m sure a lot of them consider themselves French.
    I really enjoyed your crossword and fell in the trap of TIE at first until I got the dunce from the lovely 22d.
    Liked 29a too.
    Thanks to Windsurfer for the great fun and to Prolixic for the review.

  12. beery hiker
    Posted May 23, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink | Reply

    This was the only one of the Derby puzzles I did on the day, and it was a collaborative effort by the group on my table. I think I’d have found it quite tricky to do on my own, but there were some nice tea-tray moments and I enjoyed it.

    Thanks to Windsurfer and Prolixic, and thanks to everyone else who was there – a very entertaining day out.

    • Posted May 23, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the Dark Side Beery Hiker

      Great to see you again on Saturday.

  13. Maize
    Posted June 1, 2016 at 10:11 am | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve had this sitting around waiting to do for 10 days, so you may very well never read my tuppence worth, Windsurfer – but here goes anyway:
    Regarding difficulty, I found it to be pitched about right. Apart from 20d, all the wordplay elements were pretty straightforward, I thought, although 9 anagrams is a few too many for my taste.
    The definitions were often brilliant. I especially like the way – in clues like 4d, 5d and the stand-out 8d – you lead the solver along an almost narrative path and disguise the definition as a synonym at the end. Great!
    I also thought the &Lit at 1d and the wordplay for 3d were terrific – abbreviated mirth! Love it!

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