NTSPP – 363 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

NTSPP – 363

NTSPP – 363

Apprentice USA by Vigo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Although this puzzle features the names of several Apprentice USA and Celebrity Apprentice USA teams, no knowledge of the TV program is required in order to complete the puzzle.

Vigo returns to Saturday afternoons with a ghost-themed crossword which, if it hadn’t had the title at the top, none of us would have ever noticed that there was a theme, particularly those who have never watched The Apprentice in the UK, let alone the US version.


1a           Success of Spring fete announced (7)
WELFARE Homophones (announced) of a spring and a fete

5a           A time to change course before first of serious charges (7)
ATTACKS A (from the clue) the abbreviation for Time, a verb meaning to change course (particularly when you are on a sailing ship) and the ‘first’ of Serious

10a         Successor of man leading international resistance (4)
HEIR The masculine third person pronoun (man) leading or going before the abbreviations for International and Resistance

11a         Honouring of French company sailor (10)
DECORATING The French word for of, the abbreviation for company and a sailor

12a         Deity advanced after that American (6)
ATHENA The abbreviation for Advanced, an adverb meaning after that, and the abbreviation for American

13a         Popular Yankee money provided returns and there’s no end to it (8)
INFINITY The handy two letter word meaning popular and the letter represented by Yankee in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, between which are inserted reversals (returns) of a conjunction meaning provided and a slang term for money

14a         Trial for stronghold missing section (9)
PROBATION Another way of saying in favour of (for) and a kind of tower at the end a fortification (stronghold) missing the abbreviation for Section

16a         Shares in company cost around a thousand (5)
STOCK An anagram (around) of COST followed by the letter used to indicate a thousand

17a         Total crackpot loses head (5)
UTTER Simply remove the first letter (loses head) from a crackpot

19a         Brazen, taking mass for pastor lacking form (9)
SHAPELESS There’s an M (mass) in a word meaning brazen and you need to take it out and replace it with the abbreviation for Pastor

23a         Resolve wager with British individual (8)
BACKBONE A verb meaning to wager, the abbreviation for British and an individual

24a         Concoct a nebulized extract that can be found in petrol (6)
OCTANE Found in an extract of concOCT A NEbulized

26a         Pointing to a deviant dancing around disco regularly (10)
INDICATIVE –  I (a, one) plus an anagram (dancing) of DEVIANT that  goes round the regular letters of dIsCo

27a         Argue over end of bulk trade (4)
WORK A reversal (over) of a verb meaning to argue goes over or before the ‘end’ of bulK

28a         Victor cried uncontrollably before tense conclusion (7)
VERDICT The letter represented by Victor in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, an anagram (uncontrollably) of CRIED and the abbreviation for Tense

29a         Sells out of empty blue salvers (7)
BETRAYS Empty of remove the middle letters from BluE and add some salvers


2d           One picking end of nose in front of university reader (7)
ELECTOR The ‘end’ of nosE goes before a university reader

3d           Retrofitting components returned strength (5)
FORTE A reversed (returned) lurker this time – it is hidden in rETROFitting

4d           Short broadcast worker is brilliant (7)
RADIANT Almost all (short) of a broadcast medium plus one of crosswordland’s favourite workers

6d           Disagreement involving rear admiral’s return to duty (6)
TARIFF A minor disagreement involving or having inserted a reversal (return) of the abbreviation for Rear Admiral

7d           Article on talent development to include year before birth (9)
ANTENATAL One of the two choices for indefinite article goes on an anagram (developed) of TALENT which includes an A (annus, year)

8d           Family with drug habit is moving (7)
KINETIC Another word for family, the letter by which a certain drug is known, and a nervous twitching habit

9d           Mentally ill person welcoming unknown work personnel in beautiful surroundings (13)
SCHIZOPHRENIC A mathematical unknown, the abbreviation for work, the two letters personnel departments used to be known by, all put into another word for beautiful surroundings

15d         Money secures start of killer victory for Trump (5,4)
BREAK WIND No, not him we can’t escape hearing about, but a slang expression for a bodily function.   A slang term for money ‘secures’ the start or first letter of Killer and another word for victory

18d         Apprentice making a hash of Aintree (7)
TRAINEE An anagram (making a hash of) AINTREE

20d         Professional support includes government mentee (7)
PROTEGE An abbreviated way of saying professional and a golf support, the latter including the abbreviation for Government

21d         Somebody taking guts to replace head of power in spirit of cooperation (7)
taking guts indicates the need to remove the inside letters of SomebodY, and then you use the two outside letters to replace the first letter of power required for doing work

22d         Doctor has it with endlessly ill hybrid (6)
MOSAIC One of the abbreviations we use for a doctor, the two letters used to indicate sexual attraction (it) and another word for ill from which the outside letters have been removed (endlessly)

25d         Barbican drag queen (5)
TOWER A verb meaning to drag and the regnal cipher of our current Queen

Clues for answers which are names of Celebrity Apprentice USA teams are highlighted in green while those for Apprentice USA are highlighted in blue.

27 comments on “NTSPP – 363

  1. Just as well we didn’t need to know the TV programme – wouldn’t have had a clue!
    I enjoyed sorting this one out and would have completed it much sooner had I not fallen into the trap of picking the wrong definition at 19a which made 20d the last to fall.
    Rather liked 23a but 15d wins hands down!

    Many thanks, Vigo.

  2. Just as well the preamble said that no knowledge of the TV programme was required since I’ve never seen the UK version let alone the USA one and, having filled the grid, I’m no further forward with what these ‘teams’ are. I enjoyed the puzzle – thanks Vigo. Best clue by far for me is the laugh-out-loud 15d. I can’t make the 26a anagram quite work, but that may be because I solved the puzzle whilst watching the rugby on TV.

    1. This puzzle was new to me (I have tested Vigo’s UK Apprentice one) so I’ve only pointed out this afternoon, while preparing the review, that the anagram doesn’t work. I think the clue may change!!

      1. I assumed that the anagram was of ‘deviant’ plus ‘IC’ from disco and that the first ‘I’ (one) stood for the ‘A’ in the clue.
        Is that not acceptable?

        1. That could be the intention I suppose but I don’t like it much. A can be 1 (one) but you need two steps to get from A to 1(one) and then from one to it’s Roman numeral I.

          1. From MPP 052:

            Nassau perhaps has a lake with beach around (6)
            ISLAND – I (a, one) plus SAND (beach) into which is inserted L, the abbreviation for lake.

            I figured if it was good enough for Prolixic …

            Feel free to change it to one deviant if you prefer…

            For anyone who is remotely interested the team names were: 12a, 23a, 24a, 3d, 8d, 20d, 21d and 22d. Normally I try and get at least ten of a kind in but once I had 15d I couldn’t bring myself to lose it and I also (quite rightly) suspected that nobody would ever spot the team names even if they made up half the answers.

            FYI Piers Morgan’s Celebrity Apprentice USA team name was Hydra

            Thanks to all for taking time to comment.


  3. Thanks Vigo; entertaining with trademark smooth surfaces.

    I can’t get the 7d anagram to work either, missing an ‘a’ before year? 26a would work if you substitute ‘i’ for ‘a’ as in one (although that would be rather naughty.)

    Yes, another nice Trump bash at 15; he deserves them all!

  4. My heart sank when I saw the title on my print out (the preamble was not included. In fact, I never noticed it until I read Gazza’s comment.) I thought “Oh, no!. Not a Trump bashing crossword.” But it wasn’t that at all. I thought 12A, 14A and 21D were really good, but the prize goes to the wonderful 15D. Thanks Vigo!

    P.S. I have never seen the programme so I have no idea about the teams either.

  5. I enjoyed this.
    I couldn’t get the anagrams 26a and 7d to work but gather from the comments that I’m not the only one – will read those comments properly later or tomorrow – no time now.
    I’ve still got three gaps all in the top left corner but they’ll have to wait too.
    My favourite is, along with everyone else, 15d but there were some others that I really liked as well.
    With thanks to Vigo for such a good crossword.

  6. Having never seen either the UK or US versions of The Apprentice we approached this with some apprehension. Having now finished it we still have no ideas for any of the themed answers. That did not take away anything from what was a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle to solve and agree with Gazza that 15d was a real laugh out loud moment. It seems a long time since we last had a Vigo puzzle to enjoy, let’s hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next one. They have always been great fun.
    Many thanks Vigo.

  7. It’s so disappointing that only a few stalwarts take the opportunity to have a conversation about the NTSPP. They’re often so much fun. These setters deserve recognition, too, Perhaps we happy few should talk it up on the other side.

    P.S. Aren’t we overdue for another Gazza puzzle?

      1. Definitely – his crosswords are such fun.
        One of his clues that I remember particularly and still makes me laugh is, “Looks like Gregory’s after a nibble”. :smile:

  8. I’ve always liked Vigo’s crosswords, and this one was good fun. I had no idea of the USA Apprentice teams, but that didn’t detract from the enjoyment. My fave clue was definitely 15d. Had a very big chuckle.
    Like others, I had a bit of bother trying to sort out the anagram for 26a, and took the ‘a’ to be ‘one’ or ‘i’.
    Many thanks to Vigo and to Crypticsue.

  9. Many thanks, CS. It continues to amaze me that so many words have accepted first letter abbs. S for section, T for tense, etc.
    At least I’m getting more familiar with the A=one=I=1 scenario!

    Thanks again to Vigo – much enjoyed.

  10. Thank you again to everyone who took the time to comment and to CS for writing the review. I’m not at all surprised that nobody has ever watched the Apprentice USA which is a dreadful programme usually shown in the early hours of the morning. Great diversion when up with a restless baby and you’re too tired to concentrate on anything worth while though (how I first came across the USA version – the UK version I record and save for ironing). I do like to find lists of words which might make good crossword answers it helps to have some words I want to try and fit in when I start filling the grid. Hopefully the word list doesn’t matter as the clues are unthemed.

    Have a good week – I have a puzzle on the Indy site tomorrow if anyone fancies a look…


Comments are closed.