NTSPP – 347 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 347

NTSPP – 347

A Puzzle by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.


1 Never come close to seducing old fellow (2,4)
NO FEAR – A word meaning come close to includes (seducing or taking in) the abbreviations for old and fellow.

4 Unfairness kills ethnic minority’s pool of talent (5,3)
SKILL SET – The answer is hidden (minority) in UNFAIRNESS KILLS ETHNIC.

10 Split up and agreed to act (4,5)
TOOK APART – Split 4,1,4, this would suggest having accepted a role in a play.

11 Dewy-eyed new setter’s after advance (5)
NAIVE – The abbreviation for new followed by a word meaning belonging to the setter after the abbreviation for advance.

12 It stretches one to solve without Chambers initially (4)
RACK – A word meaning to solve without the initial C (Chamber’s initially).

13 Pie filling‘s puzzlingly tame (6,4)
MINCED MEAT – A reverse anagram where the answer could provide an anagram clue to give tame.

15 Reliable plug (7)
STAUNCH – A double definition for a word meaning reliable and a word meaning to stop the flow of something or plug.

16 Pa axes grasping organ scholar (6)
YEARLY – The letter used for the vertical axis in graphs twice includes the organ of listening and the abbreviation for a student or scholar.  The definition is the abbreviation per annum.

19 Unarmed German’s released except if … (6)
UNLESS – A word meaning unarmed has the initial G (German) removed (released).

21 … top soldier starts to express reservations (7)
SWEATER – A five letter word meaning to solider or work hard is followed by the initial letters (starts to) of express and reservations.

23 Create aluminium table, for example (10)
OCCASIONAL – A word meaning create followed by the chemical symbol for aluminium.

25 Regularly outspend? That’s nothing new (4)
USED – The even letters (regularly) in outspend.

27 Roughly cut down in middle of arcade (5)
CIRCA – The abbreviation (cut down) for the answer forms the middle two letters of arcade.

28 Unsettled drifter is rapidly becoming heated (4-5)
STIR FRIED – An anagram (unsettled) of DRIFTER IS.

29 Restyle in doubt after wife gets wind (8)
WESTERLY – An anagram (in doubt) of RESTYLE after the abbreviation for wife.

30 PC‘s request to carry on in section (6)
LAPTOP – The abbreviation for please turn over (request to carry on) inside another word for section.


1 North American visitor’s unloved out of habit (8)
NATURIST – The abbreviation for North American followed by a word for a visitor (perhaps on holiday) without the letter O (unloved).

2 Lunch, say, precedes tea in pecking order (4,5)
FOOD CHAIN – What you eat for lunch followed by a word for tea and the in from the clue.

3 Team having to travel a distance (4)
AWAY – The A from the clue followed by a word meaning distance.

5 Soppy young animal’s timid around callers at first (7)
KITSCHY – A three letter abbreviation for a kitten (young animal) followed by a word meaning shy around the first letter of callers.

6 Reapplied after revision, having acquired new incentive to write neatly, … (5,5)
LINED PAPER – An anagram (after revision) of REAPPLIED includes the abbreviation for new.  Unlike Gazza to reuse a wordplay indicator.

7 … lest I cocked up leg-over opportunity (5)
STILE – An anagram (cocked up) of LEST I.

8 A decent faculty would get double this score (6)
TWENTY – The answer, if doubled, gives a word used to describe excellent eyesight.

9 Generous like John? (6)
LAVISH – Expressed 3-3, this could indicate something like a toilet (john).

14 Unwilling to stomach king; that’s the American way (10)
INTERSTATE – A word meaning without a will (as a legal document) includes (to stomach) the abbreviation for king.

17 Evening work‘s behind requirement to generate capital (4,5)
LATE SHIFT – A word meaning behind time followed by the key used on a keyboard to generate a capital letter.

18 Got better cultivated pastures after daughters displaced sons (6,2)
TRADED UP – An anagram of pastures with each S replaced with a D – giving PADTURED as the letters to be rearranged.

20 I turned to Uncle Sam in wreck of a marriage (7)
SPOUSAL – A five letter word meaning wreck or mar has the I replaced (turned to) the country epitomised by Uncle Sam.

21 Former Soviet student imprisoned in disgrace (6)
STALIN – The abbreviation for a student inside (imprisoned in) a word meaning disgrace.

22 One distributing pats to a young child? (3-3)
MOO-COW – The childish way of saying the name of an animal that leaves pats in the field.

24 My partners? They’re a pain in high heels! (5)
CORNS – A word expressing surprise (my) followed by bridge partners.

26 Among footballers he’s known for his defence (4)
OFFA – A two letter word meaning among followed by the abbreviation for the Football Association.

22 comments on “NTSPP – 347

  1. I always keep a look out for Gazza’s puzzles as they never fail to be filled with humour and invention, and are a sheer delight to solve. Needless to say, this one ticked all the boxes.

    The SE corner proved the most stubborn to yield, and I’ve noticed that most of my ticks and double ticks involved Down clues, but perhaps that’s just a coincidence.

    Pick of the crop for me was the exceptionally clever 16a (brilliant!), with 14d, 20d and 21d not too far behind. The most laughs were provided by 7d, 9d, 22d and 24d.

    Superbly crafted as ever, many thanks indeed Gazza.

    1. As so often seems to be the case, Silvanus, you have taken the words right out of my mouth (or whatever the electronic equivalent is for that expression).

      Many thanks, Gazza. This was great fun – challenging and an absolute joy to solve with smooth and amusing surfaces throughout.

  2. What a joy, many thanks gazza. I like everything that silvanus has highlighted, and I also ended up struggling a bit in SE. Still not sure I’ve parsed 17d correctly. I had big ticks on 1a, 13a, 16a (my best penny drop moment by far), 27a, 7d, 9d, 14d, 22d

    Most of all I appreciate the excellent surface readings, something gazza masters – 7d is excellent.

    In a previous discussion I had thought that, strictly, Uncle Sam corresponds to two letters, and that remains my preference. At first I thought there was an extra word in the hidden fodder in 4a, now I am thinking it contributes to the hidden indicator. I wasn’t sure about section in 30a, but I can make it work with one eye closed.

    A brilliant puzzle, way better than most dailies.

    Thanks again

      1. yes, i suppose it is – i’m just not sure how much i like it – but a rather minor concern in an excellent puzzle

  3. Having just had lunch at an Asian tapas bar (don’t ask) we have just come home in a downpour which put a bit of a dampener on the event & what do I find waiting for me? An NTSPP from Gazza! On with the dance! Let joy be unconfin’d!

  4. It is not very often that we have to work that hard and at the same time get so much pleasure from a puzzle. This one ticked all the boxes for us. The stand out favourite was 16a. Even with all three checkers it took ages for the penny to drop.
    Many thanks Gazza.

  5. I’m SO delighted that everyone is giving ‘top of the shop’ to 16a – I’m sure I’ll feel the same way about it if I ever figure out the parsing! As far as I can see, there is only one possible answer that fits but, apart from the ‘organ’, I’m still floundering around in the dark.

    I would be hard pushed to name a clue that doesn’t deserve at least one tick – a superb puzzle,Gazza, that gave me one heck of a work out. Very many thanks.

  6. Many thanks Gazza for such an entertaining puzzle – I don’t know how you do it, but you always seem to put the emphasis on fun for the solver, so hats off to you, Sir!

    My favourites were 1a, 11a (which I briefly considered might have the answer ‘Maize’), 13a, 16a (cheeky use of axes to be two the same, so to speak), 19a, 29a, 30a, 2d, 9d (arf!),14d (podium spot), 18d, 20d, 22d and 26d (though I initially put in [Alan] Ball). However top of the Pops for me was the splendid 1d, which was a real pearler!

    Still stuck on the parsing for 27a (although the answer is clear enough) so shall tune in later for the review.

  7. May thanks for the review, Prolixic. Glad I stayed up to get that final 16a parsed last night – would have been kicking myself otherwise!
    Hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next one, Gazza, this one was a gem.

  8. Solved this over the weekend which was a good thing as every clue was a real penny drop moment.
    Found the definitions so well hidden and the wordplay excellent.
    Having solved 26a before 3a, I thought the latter was going to be along the same line and opted for Ajax! Trying to find out what that fellow did.
    Tried to make an anagram of Pie filling first in 13a and thought the second word in 26a would be fired.
    So many misdirections made the solving process a real joy.
    Only had to check 22d as it was a bit of a guess for me.
    Thanks to Gazza for a real cracker and to Prolixic for the review.

  9. Perhaps not surprisingly I didn’t manage to get much in when I first started this on the train home last night. Got there today but it took quite a lot of thought, especially in the SE. Wonderful stuff. I can’t possibly pick a favourite but do remember smiling at 22d.

    Many thanks to Gazza and to Prolixic for the review.

  10. Many thanks to all who commented and to Prolixic for the write-up. I’m gratified by all the favourable comments.

  11. Damned ingenious! Sterling work Gazza with some genuine grin moments.

    Now if only I could have correctly spelled the word OCCASIONAL then I might have completed the puzzle…

    Thanks to Prolixic for the enlightenment.

  12. I seem to be going through a phase of getting to puzzles late. So I’ll just say that this was well worth the wait. Thanks Gazza

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