NTSPP – 377 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 377

NTSPP – 377

A Puzzle by Snape

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A welcome return to Saturday afternoons for Snape, with an enjoyable crossword, easier in some parts than others.  I picked three prize winners – 13a, 15a and 14d, although there are a number of candidates for the runners-up medals



1a           How Rab C Nesbitt appears to look after money (6)
INVEST Merge the two words you might use to describe what Rab C Nesbit is wearing

4a           For feminine sex appeal, clean up (6)
PROFIT A preposition meaning for, the abbreviation for female and the two-letter word used here to mean sex appeal

9a           Stone heart of crook’s accomplice (4)
OPAL The ‘heart’ of crOok and an informal accomplice or friend

10a         Charlie, for example, to hold back Mark (10)
CHECKPOINT A verb meaning to hold back and a small mark

11a         Reason I have to attend test (6)
MOTIVE The abbreviated way of saying I have goes after the usual way we refer to the annual test for motor vehicles

12a         It’s not totally legal I sneer about method of preserving food (8)
ENSILAGE The process of making grass, for example, into food for animals is found reversed (about) in part of (not totally) lEGAL I SNEer

13a         Words to express the magic of the osprey in flight (3,6)
HEY PRESTO An anagram (in flight) of THE OSPREY

15a         Sprinter to run like lightning (4)
BOLT  A splendid bit of surface reading in this clue –  the lovely Usain, a verb meaning to run, or like lightning

 16a         Agitates  ardent admirers (4)
FANS Part of a verb meaning agitates or some ardent admirers

17a         According to Spooner, nose of dog is so long (6-3)
TOODLE-PIP How the dreaded reverend might refer to the nose of a particular breed of dog

21a         Depict former Vice-President, with finale too soon for one audience member (8)
PLAYGOER To depict as a performer and a former Vice-President of the USA with the end letter moved up the word (finale too soon)

22a         Say “You look a state” (6)
UGANDA Homophones (say) of you and a slang word meaning to take a quick look at

24a         Embarrassing own goal: dip in a place where only paddling is allowed (6,4)
WADING POOL A shallow water-filled place for children to paddle in – an anagram (embarrassing) of OWN GOAL DIP

25a         TV cook nearly makes high quality food here (4)
DELIA Nearly all of the Christian name of a TV cook who hasn’t been on our screens for quite a while

26a         Allows 4s (6)
YIELDS A verb meaning allows or another word for the plural of the solution to 4a (as indicated by the S at the end of 4s in the clue)

27a         Understood to be naked in one’s own house (2,4)
AT HOME To be naked indicates the need to remove the ‘clothes’ or outside letters of another way of saying understood


1d           Politician’s collected wisdom appearing after I beg piteously (7)
IMPLORE The abbreviation for a Member of Parliament (politician) and some collective wisdom appear after I (from the clue)

2d           Overwhelmed by evil little hairlike growths (5)
VILLI Overwhelmed is a nice indicator for a lurker – this time found in eVIL Little

3d           Sunbathe on vacation by Greek island’s harbour (7)
SECRETE On vacation is telling you to remove the insides of SunbathE and then follow with a Greek island

5d           Quiet drink at first is profligate (6)
RAKISH An instruction to be quiet is preceded (at first) by an aniseed flavoured spirit

6d           Free to go and redistribute loot of mobster, oddly abandoned (9)
FOOTLOOSE An anagram (redistribute) LOOT OF and the even (oddly abandoned) letters of mObStEr

7d           Queen’s duty is broadcast this evening (7)
TONIGHT A homophone (broadcast) of one of the Queen’s duties at an investiture ceremony

8d           Lounge in area suitable for making mobile calls? (9,4)
RECEPTION ROOM Because you need somewhere with a good signal to make a mobile call

14d         Miserly pound foolish swine hoarding yen (5,4)
PENNY WISE A pound for pigs, an anagram (foolish) of SWINE ‘hoarding’ the abbreviation for Yen.  I particularly like this clue as it clearly references the expression meaning to be thrifty in small matters and careless in large ones

16d         Following colleague around a cemetery initially results in misconception (7)
FALLACY The abbreviation for following and a colleague ‘around’ the initial letter of Cemetery

18d         Man’s jacket is found in the middle of abattoir (7)
DOUBLET If you were asked to spell abattoir, you’d probably say that the letters in the middle were a xxxxxx x! 

19d         I lunged indecently to gratify a desire (7)
INDULGE An anagram (indecently) of I LUNGED

20d         Party the head of the BBC and journalist avoided (6)
DODGED A party, the abbreviated title of the head of the BBC and the (so useful to setters) abbreviation for the top journalist at a paper

23d         I love following topless Norwegian Queen, making accompanying sounds (5)
AUDIO Remove the first letter (topless) from a Queen of Norway and follow with I (from the clue) and the number used to represent ‘love’ in a tennis score, for example

34 comments on “NTSPP – 377

  1. Thanks Snape; entertaining puzzle.

    I think 24 is a largely American expression, so maybe an indicator could have been used.

    I liked old Nesbitt, although you need to have seen him to get the answer. I also liked 7, 13 & 17.

  2. Hi Snape, good to see you back again.
    Enjoyed this one but did have to check on a few bits of ‘general ignorance’. Couldn’t decide whether 2d was something I’d actually come across before or if I’d invented it to fit the bill, hadn’t met 12a with those two first letters previously and am not well versed in the Norwegian royal family!
    Like Windsurfer, I guessed that 24a had to be an Amercanism – not a familiar term for me – and, as always, the Rev. Spooner was the last to yield. I can never decide which way round to enter the answer and the grid gave me no help at all!

    Plenty of ticks on the page from which I settled on a top three of 13a plus 8&18d.

    Many thanks and hope it’s not too long to wait for the next one.

  3. Hi Big Dave,
    Great blog! I live abroad and buy a newspaper only occasionally so I don’t see the solutions in the next day’s edition. This blog has spared me the frustration of unsolved clues and I like the way that the analysis of the clue gives me a final chance to work it out for myself without revealing the solution . It’s also useful when I’m pretty sure I’ve got the answer but can’t quite see how the cryptic part of the clue works.
    An appeal: I’m an amateur compiler and enjoy the challenge of inventing a slick clue but I’m still doing it the old fashioned way with pen and paper. Could you recommend a free download of compiler’s software?
    Keep up the good work.

    Big Dave
    Welcome to the blog Bryan

    I’m not the best person to ask – repeat your question on today’s NTSPP post, which is coming up at midday.

    1. Hello Bryan,
      Hopefully that means you will appear on Rookie Corner at some point in the future. I am afraid it isn’t free, but investing in the software really is well worth it if you can afford it. Crossword Compiler has a trial option, so you can try it a few times for free. The other is Sympathy, which I don’t have, but is also supposed to be very good. For CC, I would get the grid filler – I’ve never done it by hand, but I am confident I would quickly get bored.

      1. Thanks for the info. I’ll have a look at Rookie Corner. I’m new to this site and didn’t know about it.

  4. Hi Snape
    Nice puzzle, all v smooth.
    10 and 13ac my favourites, & 1ac
    A couple of unfamiliar terms, but no problem as instructions so clear

  5. Thanks, Snape.

    The North-east corner made me look like a right Charlie.

    Last two in were 10a and 12a.

    I remember crossing from East Berlin to West Berlin in the 60’s. Totally different cities.

    Somehow I knew the Norwegian Queen

  6. Love it – please note the present tense which means I haven’t quite finished it yet – i.e. I’m stuck!
    I have four gaps and they’re all in the top right corner which isn’t helpful.
    Lots of these have made me laugh which is probably why I love it.
    Back later or tomorrow but, in the meantime, thank you and well done to Snape and, in advance, to the overworked CS.

    1. Finished! :smile:
      How can I be so dim sometimes?
      My last two answers were 12a – oh dear, and :roll: and 15a.
      My first attempt at 15a was wrong and totally messed up any chance of getting 6d etc etc . . .
      Whatever – really good fun.
      I’m going to mention only the ones that made me laugh because there were several of them – 1a (even though I’d never heard of Rab C Nesbitt) 4 and 22a and 5 and 7d. My standout favourite was 17a – I know that lots of people don’t like Spoonerisms but they alway make me laugh.
      I wonder what Gazza will have to say about the homophone at 22a – I think it’s fine but . . .
      Thanks again to Snape.

  7. I will always try to make time to attempt a Snape puzzle because I know that one is guaranteed a fun solve. Today was naturally no exception!

    There were four particular gems for me that all earned double ticks, namely 1a, 3d, 17d and 18d. 2d and 12a both needed checking in the BRB.

    Another great effort, Snape, many thanks and congratulations.

  8. We started off by Googling Rab C Nesbitt to see if it was an invented name as we had never heard of him. Wikipedia soon sorted that one and we were underway with a really good fun romp of a puzzle. Our last one is was 18d, we did so want to put in a place on the Isle of Man but it would not fit with our 27a. Laughs out loud when we eventually twigged it.
    Many thanks Snape.

  9. Glad people seem to have enjoyed this – it was an old one from Rookie Corner days that I revisited and changed 6 or 7 of to get it into shape. Fair comment about the unindicated Americanism – I guess RD might be seething somewhere, although he might be doing the same as me and trying to recover from early season wicketkeeping duties.

    1. I didn’t get around to solving this until late yesterday evening, but, as often seems to be the case, I agree completely with Silvanus both in terms of it being good fun and in my choice of top clues. Many thanks, Snape, for a very enjoyable diversion.

      My first game of cricket is this afternoon, so I will be suffering tomorrow morning with my leg muscles which affliction inevitably heralds the start of the season for us wicketkeepers!

      Many thanks too to CS for your review, although I still can’t decode the first word of 27a. How many letters need to be stripped from the synonym of understood?

        1. D’oh! Many thanks CS and Jane. I understood the construction as soon as I looked at the clue but stupidly became fixated that the parsing was “remove the first and last letter of a four letter word meaning understood followed by synonym of in”, which of course means “in” would be doing double duty. In frustration I even went as far as putting “?at?” into a crossword solver, which of course didn’t help at all.

  10. Very entertaining – thanks Snape. I had big ticks against 10a, 13a, 27a and 18d (and a big cross against the ‘homophone’ in 22a!).

      1. I say the homophone and the relevant part of the solution in exactly the same way :scratch:

    1. I was aware you wouldn’t be a fan! I justify it by thinking of it in the way you wrote it: ‘homophone’, with the punctuation important. I prefer not to call them that at all, as many quite clearly aren’t. ‘Bad puns’ I prefer.

      Probably best all round that I didn’t use an early ‘homophone’ clue for 16d – a clue that only Kitty would approve.

      Many thanks to CS for the excellent review.

  11. Many thanks for the review, CS, and apologies for overlapping on your answer to RD. Rather thought you might have been involved in getting out the Sunday lunch!

    Shame that I didn’t know Rab C – otherwise 1a would have earned a podium place. However, having looked up the gentleman, I doubt that I would have wanted to watch the programmes.

    Thanks again to Snape – see you on the ‘dark side’ soon!

    1. I’m sure CS being a lady can multi-task. Cooking with the right hand and blogging with the left simultaneously. :wink:

  12. Thanks to CS for the review.
    My 14d was right for the wrong reasons – it did work but only if ‘P’ can be the ‘pound’.
    I knew that Gazza wouldn’t go along with the 22a homophone.

  13. Thoroughly amusing clues in abundance – as we’ve come to expect from Snape. Many thanks for the free entertainment, and also to Big Dave and Cryptic Sue.
    Ticks all over the place and podium finishes for 1a, 13a and 17a. All the clues watertight of course (including 14d(!)) – even if I was flummoxed by the lurker at 12a, needing to be saved by a wordsearch – argh! You got me!

  14. Thanks snape – quality stuff as per usual. Consistently good cluing with few outliers either way, but special mention goes to 4a, 13a, 27a, 3d, 18d and 7d. I got a bit stuck in the northeast, needing Stan’s comment as a hint for 10a to get me going again. To my embarrassment I had to cheat on 8d – alas. Thanks again, and thanks to CS for the review.

  15. Hi Snape, greetings from Brecon in Wales. I just saw this today and enjoyed it very much. Great to see you back on NTSPP. Hope to see you soon in Nottingham

    Many thanks CS for review

  16. Big thanks for a thoroughly entertaining puzzle, Snape. I really enjoyed it and had some delightful ‘d’oh’ moments. My fave was 17a, followed by 13a, 15a and 18d. There were others besides…

    Big thanks, too, to CS for the review. I did manage to complete the puzzle myself, but couldn’t quite work out the parsings of 21a and 27a. I much appreciate your explanations, CS.

  17. Most enjoyable stuff. 2d really tickled me. 27a is probably my favourite, but I did enjoy the moment of twiggage at 18d – and more besides.

    Snape, I have no idea what homophonic mischief you could possibly have had in mind for 16d …

    Thanks for the puzzle, and thanks to CS for the review.

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