NTSPP – 370 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 370

NTSPP – 370

A Puzzle by Silvanus

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows:

Wonderful to have Silvanus back in the chair for this week’s NTSPP.  A review follows with some very minor comments on a couple of the clues.


1 Very small surface flaw may identify setter perhaps (9)
MICROCHIP – A five letter word meaning very small followed by a four letter word for a surface flaw give us a device that can be used to tag setters and other dogs to identify them.

6 Animal everyone rejected needs mother (5)
LLAMA – Reverse (rejected) a three letter word meaning everyone and add (needs) a two letter word for a mother.

9 Sample of carpet in genuine colour (5)
TINGE – The answer is hidden (sample of) in CARPET IN GENUINE.

10 Longing for the past is again lost in confusion (9)
NOSTALGIA – An anagram (in confusion) of LOST AGAIN.

11 Within design chosen by European, style protective metal plate (10)
ESCUTCHEON – By the abbreviation for European add an anagram (design, as an imperative verb) of CHOSEN and include inside (within) another word (in hairdressing terms) for a style.  The cryptic grammar is convoluted but just about works.

12 Drink a half of beer meeting voluntary limits (4)
BEVY – The first half of the word beer followed by the outer letters (limits) of voluntary.

14 Knocked down and said to be broken (7)
FLOORED – A homophone (said) of flawed (to be broken).  I don’t have a problem with the homophone here and Chambers gives the two roots the same pronunciation.

15 Commotion resulting from German storm heading off towards Greece reportedly (7)
TURMOIL – The German for storm with the first letter removed (heading off) followed by a two step (with which not all would approve) word play to from a homophone (reportedly) of GREECE with a synonym required for the resulting homophone.  I wondered about the degree of knowledge required for the German for storm but it is used in English in the form of literature known as “sturm und drang”.

17 Denies broadcast is at the centre of rows (7)
DISOWNS – In the middle (centre) of a word meaning noises or rows include a three letter word meaning broadcast.

19 Force simple touts to give up pre-arranged place (7)
IMPETUS – Remover from the letters in SLOT (pre-arranged place) from SIMPLE TOUTS.  Very well spotted word play.

20 Associates lacking in clothing accessories? It’s a blow (4)
CUFF – Remove a four letter word meaning associates or joins from an item used to join shirt-sleeves instead of a button (clothing accessories).

22 Dish composer consumes excessively, attracting endless support (7,3)
COTTAGE PIE – Inside a four letter word for a 20th Century composer include the abbreviation for over the top (excessively) and then add (attracting) another word for a support with the final letter removed (endless).

25 Criticise shadow politician, possibly, one displaying aggression against opponents (6,3)
ATTACK DOG – A word meaning criticise followed by a three letter word meaning to shadow or follow.  I think the possibly is here because the answer can also be the description of a person who is not a politician.

26 Sentimental daughter following river (5)
TWEED – A four letter word meaning sentimental followed by the abbreviation for daughter.

27 Desire greatly a period at home with no one present (5)
YEARN – A period of 365 days followed by a word meaning at home without the I (no one (I) present).

28 Leave strip of land for sweetheart’s Christmas Day game? (9)
PARTRIDGE – A four letter word meaning leave and a word for a strip of land to give a game bird that was a gift in the song, Twelve Days of Christmas.


1 Substance mostly used as a mask in film-making (5)
MATTE – Remove the final letter (mostly) from another word for substance.

2 Aware of carbon monoxide above scatter cushions husband removed (9)
CONSCIOUS – The chemical formula for carbon-monoxide followed by (above in a down clue) an anagram (scatter) of CUSHIONS after removing the abbreviation for husband.

3 Subverted ceremonial position of monarch one hears? (10)
OVERTHROWN – A homophone (one hears) of the spatial position of monarch when sitting on the seat that represents their power.

4 Hint journalist has a crooked manner (7)
HUNCHED – A five letter word for a hint followed (has) by the abbreviation for editor (journalist).

5 Complete training and faint (4,3)
PASS OUT – Double definition, the first being what soldier do at the end of their training.

6 Some over-familiarity exposes storyteller (4)
LIAR – The answer is hidden (some) in OVER-FAMILIARITY.

7 Absence of English flower from region of France generates debate (5)
ARGUE – Remove the three letter name of an English river from an region in Southern France famous for its horses and wildlife.

8 Old woman held in Arkansas over foolish bloomer (9)
AMARYLLIS – A two letter word for an old woman inside (held in) the abbreviation for the state of Arkansas followed by a reversal (over) of a word meaning foolish.  The use of over before the word to be reversed does not work in the cryptic grammar.

13 Sound, accepted US reptile breeder (10)
PROPAGATOR – A homophone (sound) of proper (accepted) (not the most exact of homophones) followed by the diminutive form of alligator (US reptile).  I think that you need sound of… to indicate a homophone or perhaps “Sound out accepted US reptile breeder”

14 After Anglo-Japanese capital withdrawals, afraid juicy settlement’s held in trust (9)
FIDUCIARY – An anagram (settlement) of AFRAID JUICY after removing (withdrawals) the first letters (capital) in Anglo and Japanese.

16 Extend lavish picnic? (9)
OUTSPREAD – A double definition, the second by a cryptic description of a picnic.

18 Rose failed to meet another’s expectations (5,2)
STOOD UP – A double definition.

19 A number, for example, penned in Italian club (7)
INTEGER – The abbreviation of for example inside (penned by) the name of an Italian football club in Milan.

21 Islamic ruling disclosed from note on old airline (5)
FATWA – A two letter musical note on the abbreviation for trans-world airlines.

23 Drop of rum disappearing from last supply (5)
ENDUE – A six letter word meaning last or hold out with the first letter (drop of) rum removed from it.

24 International company adds new image (4)
ICON – The abbreviations for International, company and new.

20 comments on “NTSPP – 370

  1. Nice one – thanks Silvanus. Very enjoyable with all the surfaces making sense and with nothing very obscure (although I had to verify the 1d meaning). I particularily liked 1a, 28a and 18d. Predictably I tutted at the 14a and 13d homophones.

  2. Perfect NTSPP – solved after lunch and as it is a rare sighting of an NTSPP that I don’t have to review, I’ll have lots of time to enjoy the lovely warm sunshine in the garden

    I thought the RH side was easier than the left (but it is all relative) – I too liked 1a and 28a and I did know that a certain person would be tutting away in Devon!

    Thanks to Silvanus and to Prolixic in advance

  3. Very good, though I never did get 8d. What a good week of puzzles this has been.
    Many thanks Silvanus.

  4. Very well done, Silvanus. Unlike our experts, I learned a few new things in 25a plus 14&23d, but that didn’t detract from the pleasure.
    My podium places went to 1&17a along with 3&18d.

    Right, that’s all my excuses used up – back to the baby blanket knitting…………..

  5. This was a great joy to solve from start to finish. Like a good book, it’s great to have an opening hook to reel you in and 1a is a perfect start to a brilliant puzzle.

    Silvanus is a very talented setter with great attention throughout to detail combined with technical excellence and smooth surfaces (apart perhaps from 11a) in his cluing. Overlaid on all that are nice touches of humour and misdirection.

    I was going to comment that the wordplay for 17a seemed uncharacteristically poor until I realised that I had parsed it incorrectly by trying to put “is” (not quite) in the centre of a word which might at a horrible stretch mean “rows” in a crossword. Knowing Silvanus well, I kept thinking that was an utterly improbable explanation, and so it proved to be when the penny finally dropped.

    1d was a new meaning for me, but confirmed in my BRB.

    My one concern is how fair “German storm” in 15a will be for some solvers.

    There were so many good clues I am not going to attempt to pick a favourite.

    Many thanks Silvanus and very well done,

  6. :yahoo: I did it. My first look sent me into panic mode but spotted a few ideas so sent it to printer. Loved 1a which helped my mood, gradually worked my way up and down to find nearly all the little squares were complete. Thanks RD for hint for 1d in BRB. Am I getting braver or was it just luck, what ever it was I am happy old person? Nice cup of tea then thinking cap on for GK.

  7. Thanks Silvanus – an excellent puzzle

    I thought the surface of 1a was absolute magic – a great (or rather absolutely brilliant) start to the puzzle. 6a and 9a weren’t disappointing followers either. Many many other good surfaces, and precious little to fault cryptically. Well done, very impressive

    Assuming that you want me to (I hope I’m right!), I’ll share some of my thoughts, many of which amount to personal preference, so you are completely free to ignore:

    11a I don’t think ‘within design chosen’ reads at all well cryptically, with design being an imperative.
    (also i wasn’t aware the answer meant a protective covering as well as the heraldic shield, but that’s completely legit)

    14a – I share gazza’s homophone concern

    15a not sure it’s fair to expect the solver to know the german word for storm. Also (something i’ve been wondering about) i don’t think it is usual to have a homophone in the wordplay – i’ve never seen this in the dailies, but maybe you can correct me.

    20a personal preference – i don’t really like it when the deleted bit is bigger than the answer

    22a I really liked this clue. however ‘dish composer’ is strange in the surface – like a chef, i guess, but reads funny.

    25a not sure you need ‘possibly one’, if i’ve understood the clue correctly

    27a i know it’s in chambers, though you may not need ‘greatly’ – all about aspiring to shorter clues – but the main oddity is ‘at home with no one present’ for N – verbose and i’m not sure i like deletions of one letter from a two letter word – personal preference again

    28a – overly complicated definition when just game would have worked, or bird (again, personal preference)

    1d I thought the answer was obscure, but i am aware that my obscurities are not the same as other peoples’

    4d I don’t think ‘has’ works – if it is part of the definition, ‘having’ might be better, though you’d have to adjust the wordplay

    8d I’ve just been reprimanded for trying to use ‘over’ before fodder – it doesn’t work, has to come after – in this case, there are plenty of other reversal indicators that you can use

    13d not sure sound as an imperative works as a homophone indicator, but maybe i’m wrong – anyway, the comma would have to go – sounded perhaps, sounds like, etc – I also don’t understand how sound fits into the surface so there must be plenty of other homophone options to choose from

    18d I think this is a brilliant first word capitalisation to suggest a lady called Rose

    21d i am not sure why you need ‘disclosed’, and the surface is a little surreal

    23d is this an obsolete word? chambers says Spencer, whatever that suggests. should that be indicated?

    That is the sum total of my scribblings, not intended as criticism, just to share thoughts in the hope you find that interesting and useful.

    btw i also liked 19a, for surface and beautiful extraction of letters in correct order


  8. I found this quite challenging and needed BRB for a few such as 1d,12a and 14d but did get it all sorted eventually. Enjoyable to solve.
    Thanks Silvanus.

  9. All done, and very enjoyable it was. 11A was my last in, and I had to really think about the parsing. I also liked 1A and 18D, but 17A, 20A, 28A, too. I’m still pondering the parsing of 22A. Thanks Silvanus. Great fun.

    1. 22a: ‘over the top’ inside a composer, plus a seaside support without the last letter

      1. Thanks, Dutch, but I wasn’t looking for help, just noting that I hadn’t yet resolved it. Soon after my post, I had worked it out by myself.

  10. Very enjoyable – a good crossword all round with no complaints from me at all. Unless, that is, I’m allowed to grumble at 25a, 3d and 14a all being split across two columns. Grr!
    Personally I was more than happy with the homophones.
    Many thanks Silvanus.

  11. good stuff with only one exception which was 11a – i’ll wait for the review.
    all competed before the trouncing of scotland.
    Mrs S & i are going to watch our 6 month old grandson at his swimming lesson this afternoon followed by tea & cakes with my youngest son. most enjoyable i’m sure.

  12. Thanks Silvanus, a very pleasurable solve, with only a couple of concerns. No objection to the German word in 15a – as a non-teutophone I’d consider that one at least semi-well-known due to “…und Drang” – but the reverse homophone in the same clue did set my teeth on edge a little (personal preference). I’d echo dutch’s comment about the grammar of 11a, and suggest that ‘scatter’ in 2d has the same issue. 25a is somewhat same-both-sides-y if I’m reading it correctly, and I’m not convinced that the initialism in 22a means ‘excessively’ as opposed to ‘excessive’ – but I’d be happy to be put right on that one. Those minor issues aside I thought it was very good!

    The ‘over’ in 6d was a nice bit of misdirection. I take more pleasure than most in rococo constructions – especially when the surface benefits – so I enjoyed the six words of clue for one letter of solution in 27a. The elaborate definition in 28a, my favourite clue overall, was also a nice flourish. Thanks again, and I look forward to the review.

  13. Thanks Silvanus; good puzzle.

    I usually spell 12 with five letters but this is an alternative, so no complaints.

    I did particularly like 18 and 19d.

  14. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic – particularly the full parsing of 15a&13d which had me scratching my head.
    An excellent puzzle, appreciated all over again whilst reading the review.

  15. Many thanks to everyone who tackled the puzzle, especially those who took the time to comment, it’s always interesting to know which clues were liked best by which individuals, and it’s immensely gratifying to hear that the solve was an enjoyable one.

    Thanks too to BD for setting everything up, my test-solvers, and to Prolixic for his comprehensive review. The inclusion of “possibly” in 25a is as he correctly surmised. I’m very glad that 19a worked as well as it did, as it was a very late change for considerably inferior wordplay. I feel less irritated allowing 8d to slip through the net for knowing that Dutch had the same issue too recently, so I feel in good company!

  16. Hi Silvanus, a late comment as just back from a 600 mile round-trip drive to and from Gateshead over the weekend. A very enjoyable puzzle to relax to, with some excellent misdirection in indicators and wordplay used: in particular 17ac’s ‘broadcast’, ‘setter’ in 1ac wordplay, ‘scatter cushions’ and ‘for example’ in 19d. Great fun, thank you!

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