NTSPP – 332 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 332

NTSPP – 332

A Puzzle by Beet

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Of the rising stars coming through the ranks of the Rookie Corner into the NTSPP, Beet stands out as one of the new setters destined to for greater things.  This crossword would not have been out of place in a national paper with inventive cluing, smooth surfaces and humour.  Bravo Beet.


1 Fishfinger perhaps, used to dress up meat and two veg (8)
CODPIECE – Split 3,4 this item of male clothing that covers the crown jewels may be a description of a fish finger.

5 Amyl nitrite for love drug – it spices things up (6)
PEPPER – Amyl nitrate is a popper.  Replace (for) the O (love) with the abbreviation for ecstasy (drug)

9 Ends of Gertrude and several others in or close to here (8)
ELSINORE – The final letters (ends) of Gertude, several and others followed by the IN OR from the clue and the final letter (close to) of here.  [Gertrude was Hamlet’s mother and, with several others, was buried near this place.  BD]

10 Emergency case for counter-terrorist organisation (6)
CRISIS – The outer letters (case for) of counter followed by the name of a Middle East terrorist organisation.

12 Have a stab and parse any which way (5)
SPEAR – An anagram (any which way) of PARSE.

13 Greene King, say, is solvent after restructuring (9)
NOVELISTS – An anagram (after restructuring) of IS SOLVENT for those of whom Graham Greene and Stephen King are examples (say).

14 Get lost in Transit? Sort of… (6)
VANISH – Split 3-3, this might be a description of something like a vehicle of which transit is an example.

16 What’s the point of church? (7)
STEEPLE – A mild cryptic definition of part of the architecture of a church.

19 Empty caviar out on little piece of toast (7)
CROUTON – The outer letters (empty) of caviar followed by the OUT ON from the clue.

21 Here‘s how to beat boxing opponent (6)
HITHER – Split 3,3 this would be a description of how to beat a female boxing opponent.

23 Literally and symbolically (9)
AMPERSAND – The punctuation symbol used to represent “and”.

25 Hulk-like ogre beheaded by opponents (5)
GREEN – Remove the first letter (beheaded) from ogre and follow it by bridge opponents.

26 Stranger is happier with central heating switched off (6)
EERIER – Remove the abbreviation for central heating from a word meaning happier.

27 Biblical character prompts Reverend Spooner to pose existential question (4,4)
LOT’S WIFE– A Spoonerism of “what’s life”.

28 Want to put right in the end (6)
DEARTH – Put the abbreviation for right inside a word meaning the end of life.

29 Way Kray Twins go toe-to-toe is comparatively tough (8)
STRONGER – The abbreviation for a street (way) followed by the shortened form of Ronald (one of the Cray twins) and a reversal (going toe-to-toe) of the shortened form of Reginald (the other Cray twin).


1 It’s said to raise a smile (6)
CHEESE – A mild cryptic definition of the word the photographer asks you say to smile.

2 Marshal ropes dead bandit (9)
DESPERADO – An anagram (marshal) of ROPES DEAD.

3 Victor wants whiskey in secret (5)
INNER – Remove the W (whiskey in the Nato phonetic alphabet) from a word meaning victor.

4 My hint is not usual ancient city (7)
CORINTH – A three letter word meaning my goodness followed by an anagram (is not usual) of HINT.

6 Weird loner joins police force accepting new admission (9)
ENROLMENT – An anagram (weird) of LONER followed by the abbreviation for the Metropolitan Police around (accepting) the abbreviation for new.

7 Positions oneself in the middle of hippo’s escape (5)
POSES – The answer is hidden (in the middle of) in HIPPOS ESCAPE.

8 Did not yield to perverted desires – about time (8)
RESISTED – An anagram (perverted) of DESIRES around the abbreviation for time.

11 Days before perseverance yields up answer (4)
EVES – The answer is hidden and reversed (yields up) PERSEVERENCE.

15 In short, state what crossword answers do… (9)
INTERSECT – The in from the clue followed by a word meaning short and the abbreviation for Connecticut (state).

17 …before quietly fading away (9)
PRECEDING – The musical abbreviation for quietly followed by a word meaning fading away.

18 Cut! Rocky peak is blocking broadcast (5,3)
SCRAG END – Another word for a rocky peak inside (blocking) a word meaning broadcast.

20 Arkwright and nephew primarily leading characters in “Open All Hours” (4)
NOAH – The first letter (primarily) of nephew followed by the first letters (leading characters) in Open All Hours.

21 Topless video concealed in shed in secret location (7)
HIDEOUT – Remove the first letter (topless) from video and put the remaining letters inside (concealed in) a word for a shed.

22 Bottom to gain attention and inspire amorous feelings (6)
ENDEAR – A three letter word meaning bottom followed by a word meaning attention

24 Cold? Take yoga top off and put on a jacket (5)
PARKA – Remove the Y (take yoga top off) from a word meaning cold and follow the remaining letters with an A.

25 Soldier’s way of operating any unfamiliar technical equipment (5)
GISMO – The abbreviation for American soldiers retaining the S (from ‘s) and the abbreviation for modus operandi (way of operating).

40 comments on “NTSPP – 332

  1. Superb entertainment – thanks Beet. I particularly like 13a, 29a and 20d but my favourite has to be the laugh-inducing 1a.
    I wondered, after seeing the start of row 2, whether there was a Nina based on commenters’ names but I can’t see any more.

  2. Thanks for a great puzzle Beet. 1a is a cracker, although sadly for me I saw it clued similarly just the other day by Hoskins. However, I think you took a leaf out of Vanessa Wiliams’ book by keeping the best to last , imo anyway, with the quite brilliant 27 and 29.

    1. I would like to point out that this puzzle hit my inbox before the Hoskins puzzle was published – so definitely no plagiarism just coincidence.

      1. and, my dear Dave, I would like to point out that I never for a second considered plagiarism (knowing as I do the length of production cycles and the depth of your treasure chest)

  3. The puzzle of the year for me. Witty and inventive. I thought it would be a fairly straightforward solve after the NE fell without too much of a fight, but I needed to get my brain in gear for much of the rest and it proved in the end to be a perfect level of difficulty for me.

    I found myself misdirected in 21a and 3d: in both I was looking for an insertion. My last one in was the Spooner: I had to go through the alphabet and was on the verge of giving in when the penny finally clanged home, bringing with it immense satisfaction. (You don’t want to know my answer to the existential question though.) I did like that it was relevant to the surface that he was a Reverend, and I suspect that even Spooner haters might be won over by this one.

    Clues such as 28a and 8d might have been favourite on another day, but were completely eclipsed today. 23a was just brilliant. Other clues I marked out as particularly impressive were 9a, 21a, 29a, 15d and 20d. Smiles and laughs for 1a, 14a, 16a … and last, but most definitely not least, 22d.

    Many thanks and huge admiration, Beet – really clever and lots of fun.

      1. Not generous at all, Beet – entirely warranted.

        I shared my favourite clues with Mr K, who was very impressed, so a big well done from him too.

  4. I just knew it was going to happen – a full grid barring that wretched Reverend! I can only see two possibilities for the first word but…….. Maybe if I walk away for a while.
    Super puzzle, Beet, I particularly liked 23&29a plus 17&20d.
    I’ll be back to thank you when I’ve trawled through the Bible stories.

    1. Think Old Testament PS It is about the only one that I have succeeded in solving

    2. Oh, for goodness sake! Sorry, Kitty, I’m not won over yet.
      Many thanks, Beet, even for the cringe-worthy one!

  5. Thanks Beet, very entertaining.

    I’m afraid I looked up ‘Open All Hours’ before the PDM for Arkwright. Lots of lovely clues, including 1a, 9, 17, 23 & 27.

  6. After last week and having been challenged by someone who said they would like to see a few more from ‘”the other side” I picked up my trusty pencil and tiptoed over here. It seemed like a good idea at the time but several hours later I am beginning to question my decision. Three corners sort-of filled but SW has completely defeated me, roll on tomorrow. :phew:

    1. Cracked sW corner but still two clues have eluded me, definitely roll on tomorrow. Off to do GK.

      1. I end up cheating on the last couple of clues in probably 80 % of the puzzles I do Hilary – or just bung in an educated guess and count it as finished. I’d mark this one up as a win if I were you.

        1. Solved penultimate clue last evening lying in bed trying to get to sleep, one to go. Thanks for your comment much heartened.

  7. What a joy! Full of invention and wit – the surfaces were as good as Arachne at her best and there were super ideas in nearly every clue. I have ticks by just about all of them, and double ticks by 1a (arf!) 2a (nice!) 3a (brilliant), 23a (genius), 27a (best Spooner ever, surely?), 28a (another great surface), 29a (what a discovery!) and 21d (great construction & surface).
    Many congratulations, Beet – you’re a real discovery on this site and I think your puzzles just keep getting better and better.

    1. Thanks very much Maize – I take a comparison to Arachne as the very highest compliment.

      1. I’m feeling bad about not having highlighted 9a and 20d – both beautifully worked clues.
        And I do hope I’m not being sexist in comparing you with Arachne – I think it runs deeper than clues like 21a; It’s the playfulness and creativity, somehow… hard to say what exactly. She’s right up there with Brendan and Paul in my book, so praise indeed!

  8. Very very good puzzle which, as everyone has already said, has loads of super surfaces and well over half a dozen clues where I thought “gosh, that’s quite original and clever”. Pitched at exactly the right difficulty level too. I liked 9a, 13a, 14a, 23a, 27a, 20d… oh, there are probably more but you can’t just list the whole puzzle can you. Applause!

  9. Just a quick note to say I haven’t had a chance to look at this yet, but having just noticed who the setter is I will be sure to do get around to it when I get home tomorrow.

  10. Oh Joy! I have been waiting for another Beet puzzle and I was not disappointed. Still pondering 21A, but 1A was blooming marvelous. Loved 15D too but my personal favorite has to be the superb 23A. Thanks Beet!!

  11. We have been away for a few days and the very first thing that we did when we got home was print off and solve this puzzle. We are now very glad that we did. Great fun from the laugh out loud 1a to the trickier few in the bottom of the grid that had great penny-drop moments.
    Excellent stuff, many thanks Beet.

  12. I am an ‘old friend’ of this crossword but felt I must say that I agree wholeheartedly with Prolixic – I’m hoping it won’t be long before Beet is added to the list of NTSPP setters for me to blog rather than him ;)

  13. Had I checked the fact that hither and here were synonymous I would have scored 100% must try harder.

  14. I was out all day yesterday (dressed as a Red Indian Chief!) at my granddaughter’s 7th birthday party, which the adult contingent present managed to extend until midnight. Surprisingly I couldn’t sleep despite having consumed copious quantities of wine, and stupidly I attempted to do this puzzle in the early hours of this morning. I gave up with just two answers in place and decided not to bother trying to finish it.

    What a strange thing the brain is. When I woke up this morning, even without looking at the grid, I almost instantly thought of several of the answers that had eluded me last night. That inspired me to rescind my decision and, with a fresh (but late) start to a new day, I completed this magnificent puzzle, and I am very glad I did.

    Many thanks, Beet, no praise is too high for this – challenging, witty, fun, erudite, PDMs aplenty, great surfaces throughout. A masterpiece! Favourite? Every single clue came into contention, but my short list is 1a, 9a, 13a & 14a.

    Many thanks too to “Admin” (Prolixic?) for the review.

  15. Thank you beet!

    I have just had a week-end away with the in-laws celebrating nan’s 70th birthday (I did put together a puzzle for her). Any weekend with the in-laws is stress for me and I’m already stressed out by politics.

    your puzzle was the most perfect way for me to chill out when I got home. It was light, entertaining, elegant, what more could I want?

    I don’t have much to add to previous comments. I hesitated before entering 21a. I thought it was nice in the spoonerism that the swapped letters were unchecked.

    Thank you and congratulations.
    Independent here you come

    And thank you Prolixic for an appropriately positive review

  16. Thanks all for the kind comments, I’m pleased that you enjoyed it. It’s a bit of a milestone as it’s my tenth puzzle and the first one to get past Prolixic with a clean bill of health – hooray! The credit for that goes to my test solvers Silvanus, Sprocker, Snape and Sue – we finally did it team!

    1. I would normally say that it was a pleasure to help, Beet, but in this case I have to say that it was a privilege to have an association with such a brilliant creation.

      I hope that all this deserved praise coming your way won’t make your head too swollen to get through your tent at Glastonbury?!!

    2. Well done, it was a joy to solve first time round, and I was much quicker the second, but still got all the same enjoyment. My favourites matched lots of other people’s, with Open All Hours just getting top spot, ahead of 13a, 27a, 29a, 14a, 15d,1a,.. I could go on, but would end up listing pretty much all the clues.

  17. I am verging on ridiculously tired but Jane said I had to make time for this. The woman is always right.

    Beet….as Dutch said…Indy here you come.

    You are one heck of a talented setter. Loved it.

    So many thanks to you and to Prolixic for blogging a joy of a puzzle.

  18. Apologies for this late comment. Just had to say what a splendid puzzle this was. Clever, witty, entertaining, all clues in Beet’s own distinctive style. Fave clue was 23a. I also loved 27a, which I thought beautifully done, as well as 1a and 29a.

    Warmest congratulations, Beet, and thank you very much for your delightful NTSPP.

    Many thanks to Prolixic for the excellent review. Much appreciated, as it put me right on 21a. I parsed it correctly but wrote it in wrongly! Really!

  19. So many great clues.
    Loved every minute of it.
    Thanks to Beet and to Prolixic for the review.

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