NTSPP – 366 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 366

NTSPP – 366

A Puzzle by Gazza

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows:

Classic Gazza crossword in the mould of Ray T!


1 Lying back, feet up, magistrate detains Pistorius as example (7)
AMPUTEE – The answer is hidden (detains) and reversed (lying back) in FEET UP MAGISTRATE.

5 Busty blonde, gutted, misinterpreted most tempting proposition (4,3)
BEST BUY – An anagram (misinterpreted) of BUSTY BE (blonde gutted).

9 Normally a canon is so respected (2,1,4)
AS A RULE – Double definition.

10 Tony Blair initially introduced drone network unofficially (3,4)
THE BEEB – The first letters (initially) of Tony and Blair include (introduced) a phrase 2,3 of a type of insect (by reference to its sex) otherwise referred to as a drone.

11 Old French blazer? … (4,2,3)
JOAN OF ARC – Cryptic definition of a famous French heroine burnt at the stake.

12 … said in Boulogne to be imitation (5)
DITTO – The French (in Boulogne) of the verb said followed by the TO from the clue.  I am not sure that imitation means exactly the same as answer.

13 Maybe Brownie pack are in retreat across river (3,6)
BOX CAMERA – A three letter word meaning pack and a reversal (in retreat) of the ARE from the clue around the name of a river flowing through Cambridge.

16 Following cutback Marks & Spencer heads for testing times (5)
EXAMS – Reverse (back) a word meaning cut and follow it with the initial letters (heads) of Marks & Spencer).

17 Endlessly ridicule individual inside camp (5)
GULAG – A three letter word meaning ridicule with the final letter removed (endlessly) followed by another name for an individual inside prison.

19 Leading employee’s personally related (5-4)
FIRST-HAND – A word meaning leading followed by another word for an employee.

22 Flexible cutlery producer’s based in suburbs of Texan city (5)
TURIN – The name of the spoon bender Mr Geller (flexible cutlery producer) inside (based in) the outer letters (suburbs of) TEXAN.

23 Numbers follow this jerk on view to all wearing jeans (9)
LEVITICUS – A three letter word for a spasm and the letter used in the cinema meaning all can view it inside (wearing) a name of a brand of jeans.  As the book of Numbers is a singular noun, it should really be Numbers follows this.

26 Awesome Cardinal will upstage Vatican’s ageing leaders (7)
HELLUVA – Another way of saying Cardinal (or any other man) will followed by the initial letters (leaders) of upstage, Vatican and ageing.

27 Report attempt to go after killer (7)
GUNSHOT – A four letter word for an attempt or try at something goes after the name of a weapon that kills.

28 Norman is seduced into brief flings somewhere in Italy (7)
TRIESTE – The French (Norman) verb for is inside (seduced into) another word for attempts or flings with the final letter removed (brief).

29 Boxer’s final drink when bell’s already rung (4,3)
LAST LAP – Double definition


1 Sailor on a date’s struggle to make the best of it? (1,3,3)
A BAD JOB – The abbreviation for able seaman (sailor) followed by the A from the clue, the abbreviation for date and a three letter word meaning a struggle (as I have the devil’s own *** getting here).

2 Dodgy computer discovered in rubbish by group of soldiers (7)
PHALANX – The name of the rouge computer in the film 2001 A Space Odyssey inside a three letter word meaning to rubbish or critique followed by a single letter meaning by or times. 

3 Periodically tart up room in city (5)
TRURO – The odd letters (periodically) in TART UP ROOM.

4 American troops sent north to support Spain’s preparation to evacuate (5)
ENEMA – The single letter abbreviation for American and a three letter word for army or troops all reversed (sent north) underneath (supporting) the IVR code for Spain.

5 Carriage for one can be converted bar a hitch (4,5)
BATH CHAIR – An anagram (converted) of BAR A HITCH.

6 Most sensible regular girlfriends have a modicum of taste (9)
STEADIEST – An eight letter word describing regular girlfriends followed by the initial letter (a modicum) of taste.

7 Under criticism caddy’s content supplying invalid stimulant (4,3)
BEEF TEA – A four letter word meaning criticism followed by the beverage kept in a caddy.

8 Pair of bespectacled bishops beset by right young tearaways (7)
YOBBOES – Two letters (pair of) that are an abbreviation for a bishop inside two Os (bespectacled) all inside (beset by) a three letter word meaning OK or right.

14 Untethered goats ran around German boat crew on a mission (9)
ARGONAUTS – An anagram (untethered) of GOATS RAN around the letter used to describe a German boat.

15 Make oneself a smoothie? (9)
EXFOLIATE – Another word meaning to shave (make oneself a smoothie).

17 Comes close to have injection (4,3)
GETS HOT – A three letter word meaning to have followed by a four letter word for an injection.

18 Legendary rock singer (7)
LORELEI – The name of the legendary singer on a rock in the river Rhine.

20 Everybody’s  pinching company head office’s booze (7)
ALCOHOL – A three letter word meaning everybody includes (pinching) the abbreviations for company and head office.

21 Sat up nursing knight in screened area (7)
DESKTOP – Another word meaning sat or modelled is reversed (up) around a two letter abbreviation for knight.

24 Wake most of base to guard soldier (5)
VIGIL – A four letter word meaning base or evil around (to guard) a two letter abbreviation for an American soldier.

25 Expression of appreciation in Limerick falls flat (5)
TANKS – How an Irish person might say thank you.

40 comments on “NTSPP – 366

  1. Thanks Gazza, lots to like.

    I ticked 4,10,11,22,23 & 25.

    I’m not sure I’ve parsed 17 correctly, should it be (3,4?)

    1. I took comes close as the definition in the sense of becoming humid or muggy with the wordplay split as 4,3 and the solution as 4,3.

      1. I think that just about works but I intended ‘comes close’ to mean gets near the object sought (playing hide & seek, for example).

  2. What a treat! I loved every minute of the solve and my page is littered with ticks. So hard to pick just one favorite, but I’m going with 11A which made me wince and laugh at the same time. Thanks, Gazza. You’ve done it again!

    P.S. Still haven’t parsed 1A though.

  3. huge fun, enormously entertaining, non-PC in places- what’s not to like?
    No idea how 2d works.
    Thanks to Gazza.

    public service announcement:
    Tune in to the Indy on Monday; new setter alert

    1. The dodgy computer in a sci-film inside a three letter word meaning to rubbish or criticise followed by a single letter meaning by or times

  4. Always fun to solve a Gazza puzzle. The clues make you smile and the answers make you laugh.
    Many thanks G.

  5. I always love Gazza’s crosswords – more than enough to make me think and plenty to laugh at.
    I’ve still got a few answers that I don’t quite understand – 12, 17 and 28a and 25d – but I think they’re probably right – oh dear – dim.
    It took me ages to ‘see’ the middle bit of 10a and the ‘flexible cutlery producer’ in 22a.
    I don’t think I’ve ever seen 26a written down.
    I needed the earlier comments to understand 2d and always get fooled by 18a.
    I liked 11, 13, 22, 23 and 26a and 6 and 8d and several others too. My favourite was 15d.
    With thanks and :good: to Gazza for cheering up a cold, grey and sleety Oxford afternoon.

  6. Most enjoyable & a typical gazzapuzzle. Talking about non pc I had to look at 11a twice. Brilliant & irreverent as is usual from the gazmeister.

    I haven’t finished it yet as I have to get ready for the rugby from Cardiff. Roof on or not? It makes a massive difference to the noise levels coming from the Taffs.

  7. it made my day to see the NTSPP was by Gazza. enjoyed this thoroughly, though i still haven’t parsed 17a and 28a.

    I particularly liked 10a, 11a, 22a, 2d, 4d, 15d. But it was all fun.

    I did struggle with the definition for 21d, hm.

    Congratulations Gazza, a mighty fine piece of work that has brought enjoyment to us all. Many thanks

  8. A huge amount of fun but certainly not a walk in the park. The SW held out for the longest time and, like others, I’m still not sure of the full parsing of 17&28a.
    As Chris said, 11a was one to cause some wincing – still not sure that I’m completely comfortable with it.

    Particularly liked 13,16&22a plus 15&18d.

    Many thanks, Gazza – hope you’re already hard at work putting the next one together!

  9. Hi Gazza,

    Thank you for that – very enjoyable! Lots of fun throughout – I particularly liked:

    4d leaves far too little to the imagination :-)
    23a nice definition!
    21d deceptive +
    22a flexible cutler producer ++
    2d love it – esp ‘dodgy computer’!!
    10a drone – ho ho!

    Had my first Listener puzzle published today, so feeling rather chuffed!


  10. A good day to have my hockey match frozen off, so filled the time with this. Had to cheat to finish (SW being the main problem) but as good as always. The definitions were superb, and 15d was my favourite clue, and I also particularly liked 25d, 1a, 4d, and 22a (although I had cheated by this point). Isn’t Numbers singular in 23a?

    Thanks Gazza, always a treat.

          1. It was meant as a question, not a criticism, btw! I’d always considered it to be a thing, but maybe it is a collection? I think Psalms, say, could work either way.

  11. What a gem for our Sunday morning treat. We were chuckling all the way through. It took us a little time to get the first couple of answers but once we were away it all went together smoothly. Excellent fun.
    Many thanks Gazza.

  12. For me this was exactly as Dutch said. I have one slight difference though in that, absolutely brilliant though this puzzle was, the rugby took pride of place today – nail-biting, exciting and exhausting.

    My page is littered with ticks, and I had lots of laughs and penny-drop moments. I’ll just select three clues for a special mention. 1d is an impeccable example of that type of construction. 10a needed a mad hat on to solve it, and it also reminded me of Kenny Everett’s wonderful pastiche of the Bee Gees. 11a – succinct and perfect!

    I thought the SW corner was particularly tough and, like Dutch, I can’t yet parse 17a & 28a. Before I sorted 17d out, I toyed with some interesting interpretations involving a (3,4) enumeration with a different vowel in the second word.

    I agree with the Dutch that the definition for 21d is slightly dodgy, and I’m not 100% sure but I think 25d is an American term. Maybe it is one of those expressions that has now made it across the pond – but not in my house!

    No praise could be too high for this offering, Gazza. Well done and many thanks for the fun.

  13. Great stuff as ever, I always try to find the time to tackle a Gazza puzzle, even if I am a day late!

    I thought that the LHS was harder than the right, and the SW corner was the last to yield. It’s difficult to choose a favourite amongst so many excellent clues, but I’ll go for 22a because I absolutely loved the “flexible cutlery producer”!

    Huge thanks, Gazza, it was a joy to solve.

    1. Hi Silvanus, having read your comment I looked again at all the ticks on my page and saw that I had two ticks by 22a, but omitted to mention it in my short list of the best of the best. What a wonderful clue!

  14. Such a pleasure to see the NSTPP was from Gazza when I came home last night.
    Still struggling with NW as I am not too sure about 1d as I can’t find that expression even if I think 11a is right (naughty Gazza).
    Can’t see 13a and I hesitate on the first 2 letters in 15d.
    Can’t see the soldiers either in 2d.
    All that to say that I am totally stuck and will have to wait for the review.
    Had some good laughs along the way.
    Loved definition like “crew on a mission” in 14d, “numbers follow this” in 23a, “testing times” in 16a, “French blazer” of course and many more.
    Thanks for the great fun.

  15. Many thanks Prolixic for your review and particularly for the parsing of 17a (I always forget that meaning of guy) and 28a (very cunning device, Gazza!).

  16. Many thanks, Prolixic – I was completely deceived both by Norman and the gull that wasn’t! Fortunately, it would seem that I wasn’t the only one.
    Bet you got fun out of watching us make fools of ourselves with those, Gazza – you naughty/clever knight!!!

  17. Many thanks to all who commented and to Prolixic for the review. Sorry about the boob with ‘Numbers’ in 23a (I was thinking about Jeremy Clarkson when I wrote that clue!).

  18. Thanks to Prolixic for sorting out the ones that I couldn’t sort out for myself and thanks again to Gazza.

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