NTSPP – 341 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 341

NTSPP – 341

A Puzzle by Vigo

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.


We haven’t had an NTSPP from Vigo since April, but this themed* puzzle was a perfect lunchtime diversion for a very busy Saturday.  I’m just really surprised that not one single commenter appears to have noticed the theme.


7a           Cut off point of American college returning priest to US college (4,5)
TIME LIMIT There’s an American college, which has an abbreviated name extremely useful to setters of cryptic crosswords.   Here you need a reversal of that abbreviation (American college returning), an Old Testament priest, and then that US college abbreviation again. 

8a           Setter, getting into bed, reveals heavenly body (5)
COMET How our setter would refer to herself getting into a small bed


9a           Wise guy came last swimming across river (5,4)
SMART ALEC An anagram (swimming) of CAME LIST goes across R (river)

10a         Florida remains in news briefly (5)
FLASH The abbreviation for the State of Florida followed by what remains after you’ve burnt some wood

12a         Word play 50’s youth bet on (6)
PUNTED A play on words followed by an unruly 1950s adolescent (that’s what the BRB says!)

13a         Fondly look upon French wine good with lemony yellowfin starters (8)
LOVINGLY An archaic way of saying look, the French word for wine, the abbreviation for good and the starters of Lemony and Yellowfin

16a         Vast semis destroyed by internal combustion (7)
SEISMIC An anagram (destroyed) of SEMIS followed by the abbreviation for Internal Combustion

19a         Consume pig outside part of enclosure (7)
SWALLOW A female pig goes outside part of an enclosure


23a         Deteriorating once past peak (8)
CAPSTONE An anagram (deteriorating) of ONCE PAST

26a         Crude dwelling shall not have yard (6)
SHANTY A less formal way of saying ‘shall not’ followed by the abbreviation for Yard

27a         Seagoing transport returned by gangster (5)
NAVAL A reversal (returned) of a type of vehicle (transport) followed by the informal way we refer to Mr Capone, the gangster

28a         Thing sitting next to ex-pupil (9)
OBSESSION A sitting goes after the two-letter abbreviation for a male ex-pupil

29a         Colour produced by artist overcome by depression (5)
CORAL A reversal of the abbreviation for an artist who is a member of the Royal Academy is inserted into (overcome by) a depression or pass in a mountain range


30a         Assorted dangers surround queen’s external staff (9)
GARDENERS I like the ‘external staff’ – ours is called Mr CS!   An anagram (assorted) of DANGERS and the regnal cipher of our current Queen.



1d           Idiot taking briefest time to employ flyer (8)
TITMOUSE An informal way of calling someone an idiot (Jane will have remembered this from her Toughie faux pas on Friday ;) ), a brief time and a verb meaning to employ


2d           Rubbish doctor I trusted (8)
DETRITUS Doctor or make an anagram of I TRUSTED

3d           Part of hospital holding ditzy, oddly deficient, genius (6)
WIZARD Part of a hospital holding the even (oddly deficient) letters of dItZy

4d           Cult sci-fi series following independent engineer and pilot (7)
FIREFLY Apparently this is a US Space Western drama (doesn’t sound my cup of tea at all).   The abbreviations for Following and Independent, the two-letter abbreviation for Royal Engineer and a verb meaning to pilot

5d           Backed up toilet short job for unpleasant creature (6)
GOBLIN A reversal (backed up) of a slang term for a toilet and the first three letters (short) of a job


6d           Kid left flower (6)
TEASEL A verb meaning to tease and the abbreviation for Left

11d         Acknowledge wife after serving up eggs (4)
AVOW Reverse (serving up) the Latin word for eggs and then add the abbreviation for wife

14d         Stage lighting includes piece of film (3)
GEL A sheet of transparent substance used in film lighting is included in stage Lighting

15d         Deviate from upward path (3)
YAW Reverse (upward in a Down clue) a path or road

16d         Regularly search kangaroo’s pouch perhaps (3)
SAC This pouch can be found in the regular letters of SeArCh

17d         Mischief maker starts to incite mass panic (3)
IMP The starts of Incite Mass Panic

18d         Symbol of international study (4)
ICON The abbreviation for International and a verb meaning to study

20d         Flings one boy into rising jib (8)
LIAISONS I (one) and a male child (boy) should be inserted into a reversal (rising) of a jib found on a yacht or similar vessel

21d         Engine unpopular with male died (8)
OUTBOARD A way of saying not popular, a male pig and the abbreviation for Died


22d         Polar mammal to live in various areas (7) (3,4)
SEABEAR SEA BEAR The simple way of saying live inserted into an anagram (various) of AREAS.  I think Vigo must have been muddling up her polar bears and/or fur seals with the SpongeBob Squarepants character as the polar mammal, and the themed solution are both 3, 4. [Now corrected.  BD]

24d         Before noon extreme characters stuck to river (6)
AMAZON The two letters used to indicate that a time is before noon, the ‘extreme’ letters of the alphabet and a preposition meaning on the surface of (stuck to)

25d         Beetle drive almost gets a billion (6)
SCARAB Almost all of a verb meaning to drive off by frightening, A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for a Billion

26d         Fleet went into Seychelles (6)
SPEEDY Insert a way of saying urinated (went) into the IVR Code for the Seychelles

*Now if my youngest sister had solved this crossword, she’d not only have spotted the theme and all the relevant solutions but, as she’s probably the biggest Arthur Ransome fan in the World, she’d also have loved every minute of it.   I’m not quite as fanatical as her but I enjoyed myself too.

The themed solutions are all craft found in the various books: everyone should have heard of Swallow and Amazon, but Vigo has also included Titmouse, Wizard, Goblin, Teasel, Scarab, Sea Bear, Speedy, Firefly, Flash and Imp.



27 comments on “NTSPP – 341

  1. Thanks to Vigo for a very pleasant puzzle. I didn’t know the sci-fi series but the wordplay was clear. I liked 28a, 5d and 20d but my favourite was Vigo’s heavenly body in 8a.
    In 11d should it not be ‘eggs’ rather than ‘egg’?

  2. Very pleasant puzzle indeed. I did wonder what Gazza was on about but now it’s clear that the correction had been made before I got to the puzzle.

    8a also my fav.

    Ta muchly to Vigo for an enjoyable pre-lunch diversion.

  3. Thanks Vigo for a pleasant puzzle with trademark smooth surfaces.

    I liked the heavenly body and also 26d. I’m not sure why 4d had a rather obscure definition rather than one of the more usual ones.

  4. Lovely puzzle – thanks Vigo.

    I liked 4d as that takes me back to uni days, watching it with housemates.

    The 1d idiot made me smile after yesterday’s Toughie – a clue for Jane! :)

    Can’t disagree with others as to the favourite.

    Thanks also in advance to whoever does the review.

  5. Some good stuff in this one with podium places going to 8,12&26a.

    A few niggles but some of them purely personal. I’ve never heard of the sci-fi series, although it was fairly clued and I really didn’t care for the lavatorial references, particularly the one in 5d. Mind you, my impulsive answer for 9a was hardly any more politically correct!
    I suspect that 22d should be two words and I thought that ‘seagoing’ was a little too specific for 27a.

    I just KNEW that 1d would cause great glee amongst those who read my faux pas in yesterday’s Toughie comments!

    Many thanks, Vigo – I’ll look forward to the next one.

  6. That was fun.
    Not too many problems apart from self-inflicted ones.
    I missed the anagram in 9a so had the second bit wrong for a while. :roll:
    I’ve never heard of the 4d sci-fi series but once I’d sorted out my 9a, it was possible to work it out and look it up.
    7a took me almost forever to work out.
    I think my 25d has to be right but I don’t get the ‘drive’ bit of the clue – probably being dim here but I’ve gone through the whole alphabet mentally – oh well, too bad.
    I liked 8, 9 and 13a and 2d.
    Thanks to Vigo and, in advance to CS.

  7. Pleasant enough and not too taxing for a busy Saturday morning, but if I’m correct on 7A I didn’t like the use of the same college twice and calling one American and the other U.S. Like Kath, I don’t get the ‘drive’ part of the clue in 25D. Thanks to Vigo and I will await CS’s review for clarification.

    1. Just got the ‘drive’ bit having gone through the whole alphabet again in my head. I knew I’d heard it somewhere but never knew what it was – it’s a ‘techie thingy’ – not an IT ‘techie thingy’ but a silly little useful ‘thingy’ to do with video and audio systems – its fifth letter is a T. Phew – now I’ll be able to sleep!

      1. I don’t want to be responsible for giving you a sleepless night, Kath, but I think the techie thing you’re thinking of is a connector or cable rather than a drive. I thought that we had to think of drive in a verbal sense as in ‘drive off’ or ‘drive away’.

        1. Oh – what a good thing I didn’t read this until now. I never thought of ‘drive off’ or ‘drive away’. One chance to be right and I was still wrong. :sad:

  8. 4d was also unknown to us and needed a Google check and that made it the last one in. Enjoyed the lavatorial humour and there were lots of other chuckles as well. All good fun.
    Thanks Vigo.

  9. A pleasant diversion that was within my capabilities, thank you Vigo.
    8a was entertaining, but I just assumed Vigo was bragging. I also liked 11d, 2d and 26d.
    I had never heard of a 22d, and am none the wiser after looking on Google, unless ‘Creature on Spongebob Squarepants’ is the same as ‘Polar mammal’. I look forward to being enlightened!

  10. I did notice the enumeration error in 22 Down while test-solving, but forgot to correct it when setting up the puzzle. It is now correct.

  11. Many thanks for the review, CS. Should have picked up on Swallows and Amazons but didn’t remember the names of any of the boats (note to self to re-read the books). I do seem to recall that one of the children was called Titty as I think there was a bit of a storm in a teacup about having to change the name for the film in order to make it more PC!
    Small wonder that I queried ‘seagoing’ in 27a – I had the answer as ‘kayak’. Ford Ka was the reversal of the transport but as for the gangster I can only think that my aged brain translated Kray as Kay. More concentration required in future.

  12. Thanks CS. I completely missed the theme, and it was a favorite book when I was a young ‘un. I had no idea it had been made into a movie. Even if I’d made the connection between the title clues, it wouldn’t have helped me since I don’t recall the details (it was a few decades ago after all) but I do remember being madly envious of those children and that that was the first time I’d ever seen the word pemmican.

    I was way off on 22D. Suffice to say, my one word answer made no sense but fit the checkers. Thanks again to Vigo. Now knowing there was a theme has raised my appreciation of the puzzle quite a few notches.

  13. Thanks again to Vigo for the crossword which kept me out of trouble on a rainy afternoon and thanks to CS for the review. I don’t think that I ever read Swallows and Amazons, or if I did I’ve forgotten all about it – I’d quite like to see the film.

  14. Thanks to Sue for the review and to everyone who took the time to solve and comment. I haven’t seen the Swallows and Amazons film yet but I may reread the book first as I don’t remember the spying plot that appeared in the trailer…

    Am so pleased Kitty enjoyed 4d. A great series from Joss Whedon (creator of the equally fabulous Buffy the Vampire Slayer) which never found the audience it deserved at the time but looks set to live forever on the SyFy channel.

    Hope everyone enjoys the rest of the weekend – lovely weather for sailing (or watching Firefly)


    1. Thanks for looking in on us, Vigo. I’d like to bet that there’s a small surge in the sales of Swallows & Amazons over the next few days!

    2. The spying plot has been added to make the film more ‘interesting for modern audiences’. I can’t tell you here what my sister thinks of that!

  15. I’m in the same boat as most others – couldn’t do 4d – and I missed the theme completely.

    Thanks to Vigo for the puzzle and CS for the review.

    Arthur Ransome – what an interesting life he led – his second wife was once Trotsky’s personal secretary.

  16. Neither the Sci-fi series nor any of the theme meant anything to me alas, but I still found this very enjoyable.
    Apart from 4d and despite all the unches I found it very quick solve ( by my own plodding standards) with my favourites being 8a, 9a, 28a, 5d, 14d and 24d.
    Many thanks to Vigo and to Cryptic Sue.

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