NTSPP – 380 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 380

NTSPP – 380

A Puzzle by Silvanus

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Silvanus had a puzzle published in the Independent back in March this year, so he now becomes one of the (lucky?) people who gets his NTSPP puzzles reviewed by me.  I’m also highly delighted that a member of the crèche will be added to the ‘transfer list’ from next week.

This for me was the perfect NTSPP as I do like it when they fit nicely into the post-lunch ‘sit down with a crossword’ period, but leave you enough time to get on with the usual weekend chores after you’ve drafted the review



1a           Peak exercise adopting popular essential dietary formula (8)
PINNACLE Insert the two-letter word meaning popular and the chemical formula for salt (essential dietary formula) into the abbreviation for exercise we did at school

5a           Ramshackle and incomplete outside workshop (6)
STUDIO An anagram (ramshackle) of OUTSIDe (incomplete telling you not to include the last letter)

10a         Feature of Blackpool   tugboat (5)
TOWER A double definition – the solution being pronounced differently for each one

11a         Fanatic following national team, something of a hard case? (6,3)
BRAZIL NUT A fanatic following a South American football team

12a         Gold involved in luring a foreign maiden (9)
INAUGURAL Nice surface reading but this maiden is an adjective rather than a noun.   The chemical symbol for gold involved in an anagram (foreign) of LURING A

13a         It’s considered excellent in America   to fill with pride (5)
SWELL A slang (especially American) term of commendation or a verb meaning to fill with pride

14a         Wasted broadcaster entertains pub (6)
SKINNY A well-known broadcaster ‘entertains’ another word for a pub

15a         Foolish student replaced by new individual on the scene (7)
WITNESS The L in a synonym for foolish is replaced by the abbreviation for New

19a         Impetuous character the heart of old tennis champion revealed (7)
HOTHEAD THE (from the clue) goes in the ‘heart’ of the surname of Lew the Australian world tennis champion.  Took me a while to work this one out too – although I was helped by the fact that I had heard of the champion in question

21a         Typically Havana tourist’s heading back very sad (6)
TRAGIC The item for which Havana is famous and the ‘heading’ of Tourist reversed (back)

23a         Trimmed lawn beside tree is covered with water (5)
AWASH The inside letters (trimmed) of lAWn and a type of tree

26a         Giving new look to politician elected having dreadfully grave exterior (9)
REVAMPING The abbreviation for a politician and a way of saying ‘elected’ go inside an anagram (having dreadfully … exterior) of GRAVE

27a         He fails to put across in conversation   he avoids draughts? (9)
ABSTAINER The wordplay for the second part of this clue was the subject of some post-lunch discussion, but we (Mr CS and I) got there in the end.   If you say ‘across’ out loud (in conversation) it sounds like ‘a cross’ and the person you are looking for is not only someone who might not vote in an election but also might not accept an alcoholic drink such as a draught beer

28a         Rear of restaurant was almost home for old writer (5)
TWAIN The ‘rear’ of restaurant, almost all of WAs and another way of saying at home

29a         Believer in a supreme architect of the Yorkshire bank robbery (6)
THEIST The Yorkshire dialect includes many examples where only the first letter of The is used; here this letter should be followed by a bank robbery

30a         Her yacht destroyed section of fish farm (8)
HATCHERY An anagram (destroyed) of HER YACHT


1d           Speak too regularly with islanders on vacation in local dialect (6)
PATOIS The regular letters of sPeAk ToO with the outside letters (on vacation) of IslanderS

2d           Type of card game sounds coarse (9)
NEWMARKET A card game in which the stakes go to those who succeed in playing out cards whose duplicates lay on the table.   It is also the name of a race course (a homophone [sounds] of coarse). 

3d           Hubris evident from suspect near cargo (9)
ARROGANCE An anagram (suspect) of NEAR CARGO

4d           London store‘s familiarity (7)
LIBERTY A famous London emporium or presumptuous, improper or undue freedom of speech or action (familiarity)

6d           Hears Turkey’s richest industrialist experienced squalid origins (5)
TRIES The ‘origins’ of Turkey’s Richest Industrialist Experienced Squalid

7d           Proficient martial arts practitioner joins church social (5)
DANCE A person who has gained a high level in Japanese martial arts ‘joins’ the abbreviation for the Church of England

8d           Eclipse a school field trip? (8)
OUTCLASS Split the solution 3,5 and it might well describe a school field trip

9d           Inexperienced chap’s first permit (6)
CALLOW The ‘first’ of Chap and a verb meaning to permit

16d         Shocking retrospective painting above posh rug I start to clean (9)
TRAUMATIC A reversal (retrospective) of painting goes above the letter used to indicate ‘posh’, a type of rug, I from the clue, and the ‘start’ to Clean

17d         Remove minute bit of apricot found in cream (9)
ELIMINATE The three-letter abbreviation for minute and a ‘bit’ (the first letter) of Apricot are found inside the cream or select part of a group

18d         Playful elephants the Spanish released for a game (8)
PHEASANT An anagram (playful) of ELEPHANTS once you have removed (released) the Spanish definite article and replaced it with A from the clue.  

20d         Bold pet lacking control ultimately (6)
DARING Remove the ‘ultimate’ letter of control from someone dearly loved (pet)

21d         Tax tip to declare turnover of an overseas restaurant (7)
TAVERNA The ‘tip’ or first letter of Tax, a verb meaning to declare, and a reversal (turnover) of AN (from the clue)

22d         Business information seen during a confidentiality case (6)
AGENCY An informal term for information seen ‘during’ or between A (from the clue) and the ‘case’ of Confidentiality

24d         Dogs possibly chasing adult in passageway (5)
AISLE The word that goes before ‘of Dogs’ when talking about an area of the East End of London goes after (chasing) the abbreviation for Adult

25d         At end of each path, before tea, sweep leaves into piles (5)
HEAPS The ‘ends’ of patH beforE teA sweeP leaveS.   The clue reads as if you need the end of ‘each’ but obviously you don’t.

29 comments on “NTSPP – 380

  1. Rats, I’ve just lost the comment I wrote. Never mind, I’ll copy this one just in case …

    Thanks Silvanus; very enjoyable. My favourite was 17D but I also ticked 1A, 12A, 15A, 21A, 26A, 8D and 20D.

    Luckily, I remembered the tennis champion in 19A, but only after I BIFD it.

  2. Thanks to Silvanus for a very entertaining crossword.

    How strange that your clues to 1a and 10a appear to be somewhat déjà vu after doing today’s back-pager?

    My favourites were the “school field trip” one and the “martial arts” one.

  3. I have a stack of things I ought to be doing today bit when I saw who had set today’s NTSPP this had to take priority. And what a good decision that turned out to be!

    Congratulations Silvanus and many thanks for yet another first rate puzzle. I found this very enjoyable from start to finish although not particularly difficult as I tend to find I land on your wavelength from the off. It would be shorter to list the clues which had no ticks rather than those which I had ticked. In fact really the only one which I am not sure works fully is 19a – all the elements are there but I can’t quite unscramble how the wordplay combines to arrive at the answer.

    My favourite is 12a but 8d & 15a ran it close.

  4. Many thanks Silvanus for sharing and congratulations on putting this together. A very enjoyable solve pitch at the right difficulty level, methinks. Plenty to like, my favourites were 12a &17d and some easier ones that worked well (e.g. 24d, 1d).

    for two clues I wasn’t sure about the cryptic instruction, i hope you’ll appreciate if i elaborate:

    19a feels odd to me, i’m thinking it needs ‘accepted’ or similar instead of ‘revealed’. Not sure the heart of the tennis champ is revealing anything. i might be missing something. even with accepted, it’s still a bit yoda like.

    25d not sure that ‘At the end of each (word list) into (def)’ reads well as a cryptic instruction, as opposed to something like ‘ends of (word list) provide (def)’. and wouldn’t it need to be ‘each of’? again I could be missing something of course. point is the link needs to match the cryptic grammar as well.

    did anyone else try to reverse VAT in 21d?

    Many thanks and congratulations again,

  5. What a good crossword – I really enjoyed it a lot.
    Apart from a few I didn’t find it too tricky.
    It took me ages to remember the 7d martial arts chap and I fell straight into various other sneaky little traps.
    I don’t quite ‘get’ my answer to 19a although I think it’s probably right and, after the comment from dutch, I’m now wondering about 21d.
    I liked 29a and 16d. I loved the image conjured up by the clue for 18d and my favourite, if only because of the weather today, was 23a.
    With thanks and :good: to Silvanus and, in advance, to Prolixic, or maybe CS?

    1. Silvanus is now a nationally-published setter so it will be a review from me

  6. Many thanks for another most enjoyable puzzle, Silvanus. I had to work a bit to tease out the parsing of a few and am still in the dark on that score when it comes to 5a but thought that the level of difficulty was exactly right – I fully expect to kick myself over 5a!

    I particularly liked 2d (my Gran’s favourite card game) and 8d but top marks go to 14a for the wonderful image it conjures up.

    Hope you’re hard at work on the next one!

      1. Oh balderdash – the kicking of myself will now commence!
        Thank you, Windsurfer.

  7. We had to dig deep into our memories to find the tennis player in 19a but he was there. We needed to check BRB to confirm the card game in 2d. A very enjoyable puzzle and a good level of difficulty for us. Lots of clues have ticks beside them.
    Thanks Silvanus.

  8. May thanks Silvanus. We four musketeers – You, Snape, Dutch and me – have all tracked similar paths over the last few months from Rookie Corner to the Independent via NTSPP – my apologies if I’ve missed anyone out!
    I admire your ability, Silvanus, to be still producing puzzles for our alma mater – and your generosity too. Many thanks for giving us all some delightful entertainment this fine spring day.
    Loads to enjoy, with smiles and invention aplenty. My favourites were 1a and 24a, with plenty of evocative surfaces and solid wordplay throughout. I think I’m missing something in the wordplay of 27a though…

      1. If the young lady is who I think it is that’s brilliant news and much deserved.

  9. He’s also forgotten Prolixic, Hieroglyph, Donk, Rorschach and Vigo and probably a couple more

    Edit: Wiglaf, Alchemi – the list just goes on and on

    1. I don’t think Rorschach was published here first (perhaps you meant eXternal), and Maize’s list was of those who had graduated from Rookie Corner via NTSPP.

  10. Many thanks as ever to all those who took the time to solve the puzzle and especially to those who left such typically generous comments. Thanks also of course to BD, and in advance to Crypticsue for her review.

    To answer Jane’s comment, I’m pleased to say there are many more in the pipeline, in fact this one was created well over a year ago now. Another will be wending its way to Big Dave’s NTSPP queue shortly and my third Independent puzzle should air at the end of this month. I’m very conscious of the demand that all this is putting on my loyal band of test solvers, and its to them that I owe my greatest thanks.

    As BD has alluded, Maize may be interested to know that there will be yet another musketeer very soon indeed!

  11. Excellent workout, Silvanus. Tougher than I was expecting. All clues had very slick surfaces, I thought, and I liked the strong imagery that they created. 11A and 18D were my favourites, I think. (Hadn’t heard of 2D – definitely need to play more cards!)

  12. Many thanks for the review, CS. The wordplay on ‘across’ in 27a had passed me by – no wonder I’d put a question mark by the clue!
    With 18d – surely if the ‘A’ is removed from the clue there is a letter missing from the anagram fodder?

    Thanks again to Silvanus – pleased to hear that you have plenty more puzzles in store for us!

    1. Thanks to CS for the review. In 18d the A is needed to replace the EL for the anagram fodder.

    2. Coming home from a lovely walk in the woods, I said to my friend ‘I’ll have to look and see what Jane has found wrong with my review this morning’

      Once Mrs BD has cast the sacred runes, I’ll be back with the MPP review which will, I’m sure, give Jane even more chances of finding another of my Mainwaring moments

      1. To be honest, CS, I’m just grateful to discover that even you can suffer from ‘Mainwaring moments’. It’s encouraging to realise that one isn’t alone!

  13. I came late to this after cheering on the mighty Exeter Chiefs to a last gasp victory against the European champions yesterday (and losing my voice in the process).
    I thought it was fairly gentle but very enjoyable – thanks Silvanus. Because I’m fairly ancient I do remember the Aussie tennis champion of the 1950s but I think it might be tricky for some younger solvers. It’s difficult to pick out out top clues from such a rich assortment but I’ll go with 21a, 8d and18d.

  14. I had to complete this in two halves due to the arrival of my grandson who required all of my attention in the tickling department and making up different voices for his soft toy collection.

    Both he & the crossword were most enjoyable so thank-you to Silvanus & to CS as per.

  15. Thanks for the review, CS.
    I would never have understood 19a and I was totally wrong with my reasoning for 21d – it was a bit dodgy anyway.

  16. I thought this a great puzzle, Silvanus. When I was solving it I felt that a good deal of care and attention had been paid to each clue. I particularly liked the anagram 12a, and I also marked 15a, 27a and 17d. There were many others as well.

    Big thanks, Silvanus for an excellent, NTSPP that was fun and kept me well entertained.

    Big thanks, too, to CS for a lovely clear review. I had all the correct answers, but I didn’t know who the tennis champ was in 19a. I confess to having had to look up the card game in 2d. Haven’t ever come across it and I didn’t twig onto the homophone, I regret to admit!

  17. I agree this was a nice, smooth, witty puzzle – without being at all convoluted. A nice blend of interesting devices, all worded rather neatly. 27a is probably fave, but I liked many for different reasons.

    My only small gripe is the reference to some ancient Aussie tennis player from ten years before I was born – not a hope in hell of knowing that. However that is a minor niggle; a fine puzzle overall which I very much enjoyed.

    Thanks Silvanus, and thanks to CS for the review.

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