NTSPP – 374 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 374

NTSPP – 374

Let Me Entertain You by Prolixic

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Prolixic provided this crossword at the birthday bash back in January.   He’s very cleverly added lots of blog-related content!



3a           The French king’s currency (3)
LEK The French definite article (The French) and the abbreviation for King gives us the standard monetary unit of Albania

9a           Quick to take offence when Bash Street Kid loses his head (5)
MIFFY Remove the ‘head’ or first letter of one of the Bash Street Kids

10a         One who makes comparisons with drunken nostalgia (9)
ANALOGIST An anagram (drunken) of NOSTALGIA

11a         Leave cat to eat a bit of uncooked stew (7)
GOULASH Another way of saying leave and  cat in the sense of whip ‘eats’ the first letter (a bit of) uncooked

12a         Where heretics may be small insignificant people (7)
INSECTS Merge the two words you might use to describe where heretics may be gathered

13a         Fees Penny returned in fraud (5)
PSEUD A reversal (returned) of monies to be paid to another (fees) and the abbreviation for Penny

16a         Note of West Coast hospital (3)
LAH The sixth note of the tonic sol-fa scale can be created from the initials of an American West Coast city and the abbreviation for Hospital

17a         Make amends hugging Notabilis (3)
KEA Lurking in maKE Amends is a large parrot found in the forests of the South Island of New Zealand.   Its Latin name is Nestor Notabilis and all three of these names are used by one of my favourite setters – Notabilis in the DT, Nestor in the Independent, and the parrot in The Listener

18a         Supplied   agent (3)
FED Part of a verb meaning supplied or an abbreviation for an agent of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation

20a         Transport around capital is not quick enough? (3,4)
TOO SLOW To pull along (transport) around the capitalcity  of Norway

21a         Man, I’ll catch it dropping a bit of Ecstasy (3)
TOM Remove the E (dropping a bit of Ecstasy) from a two-word expression meaning I’ll catch it, although I always associate it with part of a  Chuckle Brothers catchphrase!!

24a         American in Belize makes expression of contempt (3)
BAH The abbreviation for American goes into the IVR code for Belize, the two letters of which reflect the time when the country was called British Honduras

25a         Source of colour fade we hear (3)
DYE A homophone (we hear) of a verb meaning to fade

26a         A series of clues for small coin (5)
SCENT The abbreviation for Small and a coin

28a         What successful actor may take as a weapon (7)
LONGBOW Split the solution 4,3 and you’ll understand the reference to a successful actor

30a         Credit for holy man in drawing together this crossword! (7)
CRYPTIC Take an adjective meaning drawing together and replace the ST (holy man) at the front with the abbreviation for credit

33a         Maybe additional stands for Wolves playing (9)
OVERFLOWS An anagram (playing) of FOR WOLVES

34a         Cat‘s pot (5)
KITTY Another double definition which needs no explanation from me, especially when you remember that the crossword contains some blog-related content!

35a         Small Pacific trees seen in West Island (3)
TIS These trees can be seen WesT ISland


1d           Sticks up for superior (4)
SMUG A reversal (up) of part of a verb meaning ‘sticks’

2d           Swear profit has spread (6)
EFFUSE A euphemistic swear word and a verb meaning to profit

3d           Group of stars regularly seen in play area (4)
LYRA The regular letters of pLaY aReA

4d           Woman standing during oath-taking (4)
KATH  A perfect clue for the lady who never sees lurkers – she’s to be found reversed and hiding in oatHTAKing

5d           Cheese Hindu’s able to churn (6,4)
DANISH BLUE An anagram (to churn) of HINDUS ABLE

6d           Father’s explosive noises (4)
POPS An informal way of saying father’s

7d           Maybe one held by SAS has to show cunning (8)
AIRCRAFT Something held by Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) – synonyms of show and cunning

8d           Leader of Soviet news agency describes India’s inactivity (6)
STASIS The ‘leader’ of Soviet and a news agency, the latter ‘describing’ the letter represented by India in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

14d         Charge David, for one, getting rid of rubbish (3)
SUE David is an example (for one) of a famous work of art – remove the TAT (getting rid of rubbish) to get a verb meaning to prosecute or charge

15d         Clumsy wife (5)
DUTCH An adjective meaning heavy or clumsy; Cockney slang for a wife

16d         Despise county side following appearance (4,4,2)
LOOK DOWN ON An Irish county and one of the sides on a cricket pitch follow a synonym for appearance

17d         Fruit in distilled whiskies he’s overlooked (5)
KIWIS An anagram (distilled) of WHISKIES once you’ve removed the letters HES (he’s overlooked)

19d         Call on to obtain drink (8)
DUBONNET To confirm a name (call) ON (from the clue) and a verb meaning to obtain

22d         Have community leader removed (3)
OWN Remove the ‘leader’ from an urban community

23d         First person leaves flamenco dancing with hunter (6)
FALCON Remove ME (first person leaves) from FLAMENCO and make an anagram (dancing) of the letters you have left

27d         Car from Spain, say (6)
ESTATE The IVR code for Spain and a verb meaning to say

29d         Expert scratching bottom of toad (4)
BUFO ‘scratch’ the bottom or last letter of an expert and replace with a shortened form of ‘of’

30d         Function over time gives rate (4)
COST A trigonometrical function goes over the abbreviation for Time

31d         Talks of nameless Americans (4)
YAKS Remove the N (name less) from an informal term for inhabitants of the United States

32d         Embassy acts to lock up keys (4)
CAYS  Keys here being islands – locked up or lurking in embasSY ACts


22 comments on “NTSPP – 374

  1. No, I haven’t completed this in record time – I was one of those who obtained a copy at the birthday bash!
    It certainly took me some time to complete but I enjoyed the battle and the discovery of the blog-related answers.
    Very hard to select a favourite – 28a &27d probably produced the widest smiles.

    Many thanks, Prolixic – what a cunning setter you are!

  2. Thanks, Prolixic! All done…I think. I have an answer to 21A but my parsing is a bit off the wall. My biggest hold-up was putting a line between the two words in 5D in the wrong place, which made for some interesting guesses until I saw the error of my ways. I have quite a few blog-related answers but I’m betting I’ve missed one or two. I’ll have to come back later and have another look. Off to lunch with my daughter-in-law on this beautiful Spring day.

  3. Very nice Prolixic, and an extremely user-friendly piece of setting – in every sense.
    One of these days I really must make it to one of these get-togethers!

  4. Our last one in and we are still not sure we have the parsing correct was 21a. Nice to meet lots of people we knew in the grid and feel honoured that we shared a letter with one of our favourite setters and fellow countryman. We laughed out loud when we noted the type of clue used for 4d. Good Sunday morning fun before our regular walk.
    Thanks Prolixic.

    1. The clue for 21a in the version that was handed out on the day says “Man, I‘ll catch it” ……. rather than ‘Man I catch it’ which may help with your parsing problems. If not you’ll have to wait until I’ve had breakfast in the morning

  5. Many thanks for the review, CS. I hadn’t quite figured out the airline in 7d or the ‘O’ in 29d so was grateful for your input.

  6. Thanks, CS. This fool completely missed 29D, thinking that the expert was a boffin so I ended up with boff that for all I know could be another of those British slang words I’ve never heard of. Now I understand the significance of that gentleman’s avatar. I had also included 17A in my count, thinking that perhaps it was another pseudonym of Notabilis. I also did wonder if 13A was a sly allusion. My favorites were 28A and 14D. Pity there weren’t more takers on this lovely puzzle.

  7. Didn’t get a chance to solve this at the bash as Prolixic gave us another one to play with.
    Nice to see our friends again.
    Favourite is definitely 30a. How fitting.
    Thanks to Prolixic and to CS especially for explaining 21a.

  8. I was indeed happily entertained by this yesterday but didn’t get round to putting pixels to blog then.

    I avoided puzzles at the birthday bash, and neglected to take any paper copies with me (must have had my attention taken up by other things) so I’m grateful that this has now been published here.

    A nice level of difficulty which enabled me to get a good start and then stand awhile by the tumtum tree to engage in some thought (which I wouldn’t, however, describe as “uffish”). A couple of parses held out until I consulted Mr 34a (21a).

    I didn’t know that the word 15d could mean clumsy (and will make no further comment thereon out of respect for my friend!). I also had to verify the 35a trees though they had to be, and checked the Bash Street Kid, though he was obvious too.

    As JL has just said, 30a was brilliant and apt. 30a.

    Many thanks Prolixic and CS.

  9. I didn’t see this one at the Bash, so it was a lovely surprise when I found it that it would be a new one from Prolixic for me to enjoy. And I did enjoy it very much, with lots of Prolixic’s inventive and generally concise cluing.

    21a was the only one I had a problem with, and reading CS’s review I don’t think it works as written – surely it needs to be “I’ll catch it”?

    Lots of potentials for favourite, but the excellent 30a wins the prize.

    Many thanks to Prolixic and to CS.

    1. Having now read the previous comments I see that 21a has been debated further in #4 above, and it seems the clue may have been intended to be “I’ll” rather than “I”.

      1. You know how you lie in bed and think ‘I must …’ – in my case, check that I’d changed the clue for 21a in my draft review – well after breakfast I went for a 2.5 mile walk in the glorious sunshine and naturally, by the time I turned the computer on, I’d forgotten all about it.

        As to your having ‘now read the comments’, doesn’t BD always say ‘please read the comments before posting your own comment’ ? :)

        1. There was a small mistake in the revision to 21a, which I corrected last night, along with the typo in 28a.

          For those who solved the puzzle at the Birthday Bash, the following clues were revised:

          21a Man, I’ll catch it losing drugs (3) – TO M[E]

          14d David, for one, getting rid of rubbish for Peggy? (3) S[TAT]UE

          22d Have university’s leader removed (3) G[OWN]

        2. CS, I am always very willing to obey BD’s rules but aren’t you perhaps thinking about his edict to read his comments in red before posting comments about the weekend prize puzzles? I prefer to comment before reading the others so as not to be influenced, although most days it is not an issue as I am usually among the first to post.

  10. Many thanks to CS for the review and to all for the comments. Apologies for the mix-up with 21a. Dave asked for a change to the clue and when retyping it, I obviously omitted the necessary ‘ll from the clue.

  11. Hi All – thanks for not being too devious, Prolixic. Enjoyed that, even though I’m not entirely sure about some of the parsing… I’ll work on it.
    Many thanks to you and to CS.

  12. I was one of those who didn’t get this at the birthday do.
    As always a great crossword from Prolixic – I really enjoyed it so thanks to him and to CS for explaining my gaps – mainly 21a.

  13. Apologies for yet another late comment. One day I might catch up…?

    I found this most entertaining. There were only two clues which gave me trouble. I never did see the lurker in 17a, and consequently couldn’t appreciate the reference to Notabilis. Reading CS’s explanation, it was a brilliant clue. I got as far as ‘to-‘ in 21a and am therefore grateful to CS for her enlightenment of that as well.

    Many thanks to Prolixic for a super puzzle and to CS for the explanations and delightful illustrations.

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