NTSPP – 350 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 350

NTSPP – 350

A Puzzle by Maize

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Another triple-pangram feast from Maize.  This has been a busy weekend so a shorter review today but this is no slight on another superb crossword.


1 River Dart about to go around middle-sized restaurant (8)

PIZZERIA – The name of a major Yorkshire river (four letters) and a three letter word meaning to dart all reversed (about) around the middle letter of sized.

5 ‘Silence in court’ game (6)

SQUASH – Double definition of a word meaning to silence and a racquet game.

10 Writer going west joined holidaymaker there (5)

EMMET – Reversed (going west) a two letter word for the writer followed by a word meaning joined.  The answer is a word for a holiday maker in the West Country.

11 Outlaws ransacked British Post Office (9)

PROHIBITS – An anagram (ransacked) of BRITISH PO (Post Office).

12 Former president’s wife, almost afraid to be rejected for copying him? (9)

IMITATIVE – The name of Juan Peron’s wife and a word meaning afraid with the final letter removed (almost) all reversed (to be rejected).

13 Cut half of other people’s words (5)

QUOTA – Half a ten letter word for reports of what other people have said.

14 Maybe monitor, with 15 for Latin, will be an expert speller? (6)

WIZARD – The type of animal that may be a monitor with the initial L (Latin) replaced by W (with).  The answer to 15a gives the instruction to exchange the letters.

15 Changed and hurried over with a bit of pudding (7)

SWAPPED – A word meaning hurried goes around (over) W (with – again, see 14a) A P (bit of pudding).

18 Bloody communist food! (7)

REDDISH – The colour associated with a communist followed by a generic word for food.

20 First person over the Channel? Second person’s valet (6)

JEEVES – The French for I (first person) followed by the name of the second person in the Book of Genesis with the ’s added from the clue.

22 Extraction of obscene material (5)

ENEMA – The answer is hidden in (extraction of) OBSCENE MATERIAL.

24 Fun of book reduced through language skills lacking reflective care (9)

JOVIALITY – The name of a book of the bible associated with a patient man with the last letter removed (reduced) followed by a word meaning through (as in travelling through or by somewhere) and the word literacy (language skills) with a reversal (reflective) of the word care removed.

25 Packs of rugby players in groups, holding fire (9)

RUCKSACKS – The name give to groups of rugby players around (holding) a word meaning to fire or make redundant.

26 Middle Eastern intelligence, even in Bahrain, follows their scriptural direction (5)

IRAQI – Reverse (following their scriptural direction) the abbreviation for intelligence quotient and the even letters in Bahrain.

27 Host, happy to entertain in a casual manner (6)

GALAXY – A word meaning blithe or happy includes (to entertain) a word meaning in a casual manner.

28 Overhead scaffolding – home to north-eastern seabird colony (8)

GANNETRY – Include the abbreviation for north-eastern inside a word for overhead scaffolding.


1 A bird to go wag (6)

PEEWIT – A word meaning to urinate (to go) followed by a word for a wag.

2 Being extremely sleepy, if I doze off get doctor involved (9)

ZOMBIFIED – An anagram (off) of IF I DOZE includes an abbreviation for a doctor.

3 Two-timing liar, smart at switching between two old flames (12,3)

EXTRAMARITAL SEX – An anagram (switching) of LIAR SMART AT) between two lots of a word for an old flame.

4 I’m given to being given (7)

IMPLIED – The I’m from the clue followed by a word meaning given.

6 Middle-aged pair of queens featuring in period song during the news (15)

QUINQUAGENARIAN – The abbreviation for queen twice includes (featuring) the IN from the clue followed by a three letter word for a period of time and a word for a song inside two abbreviation for news.

7 American self-confidence on Radio China (5)

AMIGO – A two letter abbreviation for American followed by a homophone (on radio) of a word for self-confidence.

8 Partners of sailors welcome in port (8)

HUSBANDS – A five letter word for sailors includes (welcome in) a type of computer port.

9 For stand-ups it’s run-of-the-mill to be beset by heartless catcalls (6)

JOKERS – A two letter abbreviation for run-of-the-mill has a word for catcalls with its middle letter removed (heartless).

16 Preacher, get me out of deep water! (9)

PREDICANT – Remove the ME from a word meaning a problem or deep water.

17 Amphibious species go right up around coral ridge (4,4)

TREE FROG – The Go from the clue and the abbreviation for right are reversed (up) and go around another word for a coral ridge.

19 Seize control of account held by four followers of golf (6)

HIJACK – The abbreviation for account inside the four letters of the Alphabet following G (golf).

20 Germany’s agreed to escort a vessel into Indonesian waters (4,3)

JAVA SEA – The German for yes (agreed) around (to escort) the A from the clue and a vessel into which you might put flowers.

21 Demonstrate unexpected pity for your leaders (6)

TYPIFY – An anagram (unexpected) of PITY followed by the first letters (leaders) of for your.

23 Top Essex celebrities’ homes (5)

EXCEL – The answer is hidden in (homes) ESSEX CELEBRITIES.

36 comments on “NTSPP – 350

  1. Brilliant – thanks Maize. To produce a triple pangram without any obscurities is a great feat. I liked lots of clues but I’ll just mention 10a, 11a, 3d and 6d, with my favourite being 19d.

  2. Jesus. I guess it had to happen. Genius. Tour de force.

    I like the many extended definitions as well.

    Speechless. Gobsmacked. Don’t know what to say.

    1. Ok favourites include 5a, 12a, 11a, 12a, 14a, 15a, 20a, 22a – oh what’s the point, most of them.

  3. Excellent stuff, Maize!
    Still a couple that I haven’t fully parsed and I’m wondering whether I’ve slipped up somewhere as, try as I may, I can only find two ‘W’s.
    I think that between us we’ll have given a tick to every clue. My own contenders are 11,13,20,24,27&28a plus 6,16&17d.

    Many thanks – that was so much fun.

      1. Talking of three Ws, it took me back to the wonderful West Indies cricket team in the 50s which included Walcott, Weekes and Worrell!

        1. I remember them well, together with those two little friends of mine, Ramadhin and Valentine.

      2. Why is it that you always know what I’ve done wrong, Gazza?!!!
        The answer was clear in my head – just didn’t make the jump to the grid………

  4. :phew:
    Wow! That was aMAIZEing, Maize. I found it really tough, particularly in the NW corner but, wonderfully enjoyable. Using the BD rating scale, that was a 5*/5* puzzle.

    I suspected a double pangram might be on the cards when I had solved about a third of the clues and I had already found 24 letters with most of them duplicated. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it could possibly end up as a triple – but it did!

    The cluing was immaculate with excellent surfaces and inventive constructions throughout. Some of the parsing took me a while to unravel, but it was well worth the effort to do so and the only element still proving elusive is nailing the last four letters of 24a.

    10a and 28a across were new words for me, but both were easily derived from the clues and confirmed in the BRB.

    Picking a favourite is nearly as tough as doing the puzzle, but 14a, 20a, 26a, 8d & 19d deserve extra special mentions with 6d getting the gold medal.

    Many, many thanks Maize, and extraordinarily well done.

      1. D’oh! Thanks Dutch. I did actually try that but rejected it on the grounds that LERACITY didn’t make sense!

  5. I’m stuck. :sad:
    The left hand side is fine but I’ve still got lots of gaps on the right.
    Having read the comments I think I need to go on a hunt for all the letters I’m missing.
    Back later – still trying to prune the blasted Tayberries – very prickly.

    1. Still stuck.
      I’ve really enjoyed what I could do but have a long way to go and now need to go and get tarted up as we’re going to friends this evening.
      So far my favourite is 19d.
      Thanks and well done to Maize and thanks in advance to whoever is doing the honours tomorrow.

  6. Most definitely a tour de force by Maize. I had the pleasure of test-solving this a while back, and was suitably impressed. When’s he going to graduate to the broadsheets?

  7. I’m with Jon_S, this crossword deserves a wider audience. A top end Toughie and yet totally enjoyable and fair. Thanks Maize for this splendid challenge.

  8. What an incredible contrast between last Saturday’s puzzle and today’s.

    I was really looking forward to tackling this, Maize, until I realised you had cranked up the difficulty level considerably from last time. I found it Toughie Plus standard, and I just don’t have the time needed to unravel all of the intricate wordplay, excellent as I’m sure it is. Of the ones I have solved, I gave double ticks to 14a, 26a, 28a, 6d and 19d.

    Regrettably therefore, after spending several hours already and only getting barely half-way, I’m going to throw in the towel, something I very rarely do. 6d has unfortunately left a lingering image in my brain of Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi from that execrable ITV “comedy” series, but I’m hoping a good lie down will dispel that.

    Well done on maintaining such a high quality of product, Maize.

  9. Many thanks for the comments and to everyone who has tackled what is admittedly a puzzle at the tough end of my range.

    Some time ago Monk wrote the following words in the comments section to one of his puzzles on the Fifteensquared website:

    ‘to wit: is a triple pangram possible in a standard grid with an a.w.l. of greater than 7 using, to quote Beermagnet, only “interesting but mostly accessible words”? I can’t help thinking that the late Mike Laws may have done this on the QT.’

    So this is my answer to him really. I’m glad to say he’s seen it and liked it – but I would be very interested to hear if anyone on this site knew Mike Laws or knows what the QT is!

  10. Maize, as far as I know “on the QT” means anonymously or quietly.

    P.S. I thought I’d posted that as a reply to Maize’s comment but obviously not.

  11. Wow! This took me a good while and was (almost) completed in fits and starts. I am still puzzling over 10A (no hints, please. I want to see if I can get there before the review). I also can’t fully parse 15A. And I was held up by trying to fit quarto in 6D . I should have realized 50 is the new 40 long before I did. The NE corner was the last to fall. So many ticks on my page but right now 12A. 20A, 22A, 4D and 19D top my list. Tremendous puzzle, Maize. Congratulations!

  12. Many thanks for getting the review up after a busy weekend, Prolixic. If you’re still around, a couple of things that need altering:-
    1a – ‘a three letter word’
    24a – ‘the last letter’.

    Ridiculously proud of myself for completing both puzzle and parsing on this occasion – fingers crossed for your next one, Maize!

  13. Thank you Prolixic for a virtually (thanks Jane!) flawless review after a busy weekend. Well spotted on the repetition of ‘with’ in two consecutive clues – wish I’d noticed that myself…

    I look forward to hearing about the Times Crossword Championship – if that’s where you were too.

  14. Thanks, Prolixic. Well, I was correct on my parsing of 10A and came up with the right answer but still have no idea why that answer means a holiday maker in the West Country. Is it slang I’m not aware of?

      1. Sorry Chris. I’m from Cornwall and it’s not the first time on this website that I’ve been unfair to our overseas solvers.
        For future reference a tourist in Cornwall is called (by the Cornish) a 10a, and a tourist in Devon is called a Grockle.

        1. That’s OK. I fully accept that this is a forum for primarily British setters and solvers. I’m British too, but long an expat so often behind the eight ball regarding local expressions and slang. My feeling is that since I choose to be here, I have to accept that there are clues I simply will not understand. At least your clue was solvable from the wordplay!

  15. A bit late now but I just thought I’d say I thought this was a brilliant crossword even though I have to admit that it was, to quote Brian from the other side, rather beyond my pay grade – in other words I didn’t quite finish it.
    So many good clues but I’m sticking to my earlier comment – my favourite was 19d.
    Thanks again to Maize and thanks too to Prolixic for sorting out my numerous problems.

  16. A tour de force – it was a struggle for me even though I knew some of the missing letters to try to fit in, and in the end 16d thwarted me as I didn’t know the word but I should have worked it out. Really wonderful grid, coupled with a high standard of clue throughout and very enjoyable. Favourites were 22a (although ewww), 26 a “following their scriptural direction”, 27a, 2d is a great word, 3d “between two old flames” is excellent, and 8d. Very well done Maize.

  17. Thanks Beet.
    22a is on the Times’ banned words list, apparently, so maybe I should change it to EDEMA somehow…
    16d was tricky, as were 8d, 24a and probably a few others, so well done you!

  18. Hi Maize,

    At The George last Saturday Big Dave alerted me to the fact there was something special in the NTSPP this week – and he wasn’t wrong…

    Fabulous – simply fabulous! Not just the letter content / word selection – that’s impressive enough – but the subtle misdirection in so many of the clues. I am tempted to list them all: instead I will simply highlight 8d as the one where I could see it from the definition relatively early on but the Penny took the longest to Drop!

    Did I mention Fabulous? This is a real gem of which I am hoping you are feeling rightfully proud!


    PS Very interested in your mention of a ‘Times banned words list’ – what is this please?

  19. Thanks Encota – I hope you all had a good time at The George.

    Monk, who inspired this puzzle (see my comment @10 above) sets for a number of papers including the Times and told me that ENEMA is on their banned words list, although he also said that he has used it (defined as ‘fundamental procedure’) in the Independent.

    Other things I’ve picked up here and there about The Times’ rules:
    No living people except the Queen.
    Maximum 5 full anagrams (partial anagrams count as half an anagram).
    Only one hidden per puzzle (or is it two if one’s reversed? Not sure…)
    No rude words. Where do they draw the line? Somewhere around enema it would seem!
    Grids to be chosen by setters from pre-selected list.
    All puzzles to be anonymous.

    Others may know more!.

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