NTSPP – 331 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 331

NTSPP – 331

Stripey Horse (5) by Chalicea

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This puzzle is dedicated to Hilary and deliberately incorporates as many crosswordese 3 downs as could be fitted into the grid and clues.

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by crypticsue follows:

If you look at comments on 11 and 12 on http://bigdave44.com/2016/02/13/ntspp-314/  then you’ll see exactly why this week’s NTSPP is dedicated to Hilary.  Reading the comments, it would appear that Hilary was delighted in more ways than one with ‘her’ crossword, although I have to say from the reviewing point of view, I did wonder whether to just explain the three clues that weren’t ‘old friends’ and required a visit to the good old Big Red Book to confirm that my thoughts were correct.  Looking at the comments as I prepare to add the review, I see that I wasn’t alone!


6a           Couple of girls; one on each knee (7)
PATELLA   The famous ‘Rufus’ clue – just put two girls’ names one after the other.


7a           English flower festival (6)
EASTER    The abbreviation for English followed by a flower.

10a         Madagascan animal disturbed centre (6)
TENREC    An anagram (disturbed) of CENTRE.   The BRB describes this animal as an insectivore similar to the hedgehog.


11a         Former partner with abundant special things to be imitated (8)
EXAMPLES   A former partner (2), another word for abundant, and the abbreviation for Special

12a         Vermin return to play principal role (4)
STAR    A reversal (return) of some vermin.

13a         Weird lake, we hear (5)
EERIE    A homophone (we hear) of a North American lake.

14a         Marsh grass turned over for ruminant mammal (4)
DEER    A reversal (turned over) of some marsh grass.

15a         Brief spell of activity; unwanted e-mail involving slush principally (5)
SPASM    Insert the first letter of Slush (involving Slush principally) into some unwanted e-mail.

17a         Sound of hesitation about the number (5)
ETHER    Put a ‘sound of hesitation’ outside THE (from the clue).

22a         Steep-sided flat-topped hill‘s peculiar seam (4)
MESA    The first part of this clue exactly fits the BRB definition – you need an anagram (peculiar) of SEAM

24a         Garlic condiment in ravioli (no need for revised version) (5)
AIOLI   Simply remove (no need for) the RV (revised version) from RAVIOLI.


26a         Alas tit consumed wine (4)
ASTI   Crosswordland’s favourite sparkling wine is consumed by alAS TIt

27a         Day of Wrath passes away, occasionally improbable (4,4)
DIES IRAE    The day of wrath or judgement, using in a Latin hymn for the dead.   A verb meaning passes away and the occasional letters of ImpRobAblE

28a         Tender foot regularly felt bad (6)
PESETA   Spanish legal tender before the Euro took over.   A more helpful definition would, I suppose, have spoiled the surface reading.    A word for the human foot followed by the regular letters of fElT bAd

29a         Refuse to acknowledge princess’s thing peculiar to her (6)
DISOWN    The informal way we refer to the late Princess of Wales, plus an S (princess’S) and a possessive pronoun meaning belonging to oneself (peculiar to her)

30a         Let bank, by arrangement, cover (7)
BLANKET   An anagram (by arrangement) of LET BANK.



1d           Wildly entraps father and mother (7)
PARENTS  An anagram (wildly) of ENTRAPS

2d           Proper ad organised for pungently sweet boiled sweet (4,4)
PEAR DROP     An anagram (organized) of PROPER AD gives one of the few edible items that Mr CS and I share a passionate dislike for.

pear drops

3d           Principally crossword language in clues hopefully easy, filled with stereotypes (6)
CLICHÉ   the principal letters of Crossword Language In Clues Hopefully Easy

4d           Sexually potent fellow inherently sanctimonious, dull in understanding (6)
STUPID Insert the two-letter word meaning sanctimonious (you know, the one people always say ‘I didn’t know xx meant that’ when it appears in the back page crossword) into a sexually potent fellow.

5d           Liberate honey maker, one given away for nothing (7)
FREEBEE  Another way of saying free followed by the honey making insect gives us an alternative spelling for something given away for nothing.

8d           Poetic foot peasant sorted out (7)
ANAPEST An anagram (sorted out) of PEASANT

9d           Could be crossing black and white animal (5)
ZEBRA   The animal who gives its name to a type of pedestrian crossing.


16d         Little bird in dispute and squabble (7)
SPARROW   A dispute followed by a squabble


18d         Coral snake in heart of Niger gliding away (8)
ELAPSING   One of those ‘look up the first four letters to see if it actually is…’ clues.   A coral snake, IN (from the clue) and the ‘heart’ of NiGer.

19d         Stretches of time dubious parodies not accepted (7)
PERIODS    An anagram (dubious) of PARODIES without the A (not Accepted)

20d         Lover from Italy’s capital (old) (5)
ROMEO   The capital of Italy followed by the abbreviation for Old.

21d         Stammering bumble of street-speak (7)
STUTTER    The abbreviation for street and a verb meaning to speak.

23d         Estimate the value of female donkey maybe? (6)
ASSESS   If a male donkey is an xxx then a female donkey must be an …..

25d         African antelope, mischievous creature, a leaping animal primarily (6)
IMPALA    A mischievous creature, A (from the clue) and Leaping Animal ‘primarily’



38 comments on “NTSPP – 331

  1. Well, that was a very pleasant puzzle indeed. Solved with a smile while watching the England v Oz rugby match – what a result that was :yahoo: For a few moments I thought they might manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory but what a try at the end!

    I think the puzzle deserves one of those yahoo thingies as well for reuniting me with such a lot of old friends. Well done and thanks to Chalicea. :yahoo:

  2. Smiles all round. Several new-to-me words, but solvable then verified. I have the correct answer for 28A (because I checked) but I can’t parse the first bit. Maybe it will come to me. Thanks for the fun, Chalicea. A welcome relief after yesterday’s toughie.

    1. Try looking up the first three letters. I have a feeling it was a crosswordland regular at one time but it’s one I haven’t seen for a fair while. Can’t think of any other reason for me to know the word other than a few appearances in crosswords.

    2. That one threw me too. Could see what the answer was but couldn’t figure out why for quite a bit.

  3. Thank you chalicea

    I had been thinking about doing a crossword with crossword cliches, and you beat me to it. Maybe there is still room. I thought it was cheeky to steal the two girls, one on each knee clue. Wasn’t sure who the Hilary was, is it Clinton because of cliches?

    It was all very easy at the top but got much harder towards the bottom, with several things I hadn’t seen before.

    Well done, thank you again.

    1. Hilary from the blog – if you look up the last NTSPP by Chalicea you’ll see she mentions doing a crossword specially for Hilary.

      Anyway, Mrs Clinton has two LLs in her name.

  4. I never dreamt when Chalicea said she would do a crossword for me it would happen. When I picked up the email this morning it stopped me in my tracks. Solved 3d then soldiered bravely on with my faithful pencil. All done except for 18d and the elusive 28a. Thank you Chalicea this has really given me confidence to try other crosswords than just the back-pager. Off to tackle 28138. :yahoo:

  5. Really enjoyed this. 10a was new to me so had to wait for some checkers and just work it out from that. 22 and 27a were only vaguely familiar but gettable. I enjoyed seeing the the girls on each knee as the clue makes me smile and a few of the other 3d’s.

    Well done and thanks to Chalicea and to whoever blogs this.

  6. Nice to see so many old friends in the same grid!

    A shame that there was no room for the “snow leopard”.

    Great fun – many thanks to Chalicea.

        1. Just reading your comment and looked up to see two ladies go by on horses, not something you round here very often.

          1. Oh how weird, especially given that you don’t see them often near you! I spent the morning applying Avon Skin So soft onto mine, helps stop fly bites!

            I’m still loving that you got your own puzzle! :good:

  7. Thanks Chalicea; great fun.

    Had to check the Madagascan animal again. I liked the female donkey.

  8. Chalicea – if you should by chance drop by I would dearly like to know why you chose the theme of 3d for this crossword?

  9. Dear Hilary, indeed I think setters always watch the blog and hope solvers are going to be happy.
    You will recall my promise that I would set one especially for you – one that would make you feel more confident in your solving ability (as you should). I put this one together immediately and it has been with Big Dave since then as we have to wait our turn (up to two years in some publications!) Of course, regular solvers have seen all of these words over and over again as they are the ones that appear all the time – at least one in almost every crossword and I knew some would be familiar to you – get you started with your solve, and would raise a smile for most solvers.
    It was naughty of me to poach the ‘Two girls, one on each knee’ clue which came from Alan Connor’s book title and Roger Squires’ two millionth crossword (I haven’t set a thousand yet!) but it has become a cliché, albeit one of the best kind.
    Stripey Horse is a joke against myself as I blog for Listen With Others and rate myself a ‘stripey horse (5)’ level solver – I can set but can’t solve, so I know how you sometimes feel.
    Just wish i’d managed to squeeze in the ‘esoteric coteries’.

    1. Thank you for this but most of all thank you for my crossword. Needless to say I did not manage to finish it, all but two which I shall pick up in the morning. I had seen 6a several times before, 27a was a favourite as I am a great fan of Berlioz’ requiem, and I managed without any artificial aids until I got to 18d and 28a. I will definitely keep the copy as a reminder. :rose:

  10. Dutch, I’ll look forward to solving your crossword based on the 3 downs. There are plenty more of them and it is fun to do.

  11. Excellent fun. It is always a delight to meet old friends and there are so many of them here to enjoy.
    Thanks Chalicea.

  12. CS was right about the three clues which needed to be checked.
    The Latin expression in 27a. The foot in 28a and the snake in 18d were the ones I had difficulty with.
    The rest were indeed old friends but it was a pleasure to solve.
    Very happy that Hilary is the talk of the town.
    Thanks to Chalicea for the great fun.

  13. We’re with Jean-Luc on the three clues that really held us up. The top half was almost read and write, but a most enjoyable, if probably one-off, offering.

    By huge coincidence, I read an article about Australian monotremes yesterday. It mentioned the 10a so I Googled and read about that too.

    Many thanks to Chalicea for brightening up our Sunday morning.

  14. Very enjoyable, and not the complete walkover it seemed initially. The bottom half was a bit more challenging and I needed help with the last two: 28a and 18d. I was actually surprised at how relatively few of these were old friends to me: I think some must have lain dormant for a few years.

    I did smile at the cheeky inclusion of the two girls clue. Mr K bought me the Alan Connor book and it sits in view as I type this.

    How can one choose between friends? No favourite today, just many thanks to Chalicea for the puzzle – a really lovely idea, well executed. It’s so great to see a setter take the experiences of her solvers so much to heart. Hilary’s delight is all our delight.

    And of course thanks to crypticsue for the write-up. The 10a looks rather cute!

  15. Thanks Sue for putting me out of my misery, I did pencil in 18d but could not see why and I would nit have got 28a in a month of Sundays. Thanks once again to Chalicea and only time will tell if this has made me more brave.

  16. Thanks for the excellent review CS…and wonderfully illustrated, love the zebra crossing the zebra crossing!

  17. Thank you Chalicea for an entertaining romp through some chestnuts, although as a relative newbie I only really recognised three or four as such. Like others, I found the top half more straightforward than the bottom, and was grateful the clues were nice and precise and usually gentle as the grid wasn’t helpful, with so many 3/7 or 2/5 checkers.
    Thanks to CS too for the review and the illustrations, although when people first were sending their thanks I couldn’t see any review at all, for some reason.
    Isn’t Madagascar an amazing place!

    1. Happened to me too Snape re not seeing the review at first. Wondered what people were on about!

  18. This was literally read & write until the last three (the same ones which held up Jean-Luc) where the wheels came off my speeding wagon with an almighty bump. Never mind. Good to have all those old chestnuts collected into one place.
    For anyone wanting more of the same, here’s a link to a slightly more challenging treatment of the same idea from Puck: https://www.theguardian.com/crosswords/cryptic/26500

  19. Many thanks as always, Cryptic Sue for the great blog. I particularly liked the stripey horse.

  20. Hi Chalicea and All! I’ve come very late to this one but couldn’t resist it. Initially expected more equines – but not a Carthorse (though of course multiple Old Chestnuts) in sight. A fun puzzle and a great idea. Oh, and one day I will remember ‘coral snake’ and that particular ‘foot’ without needing a BRB-enhanced memory jog! Thanks crypticsue for the review and the pics!

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