NTSPP – 382 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 382

NTSPP – 382

Think by JollySwagman

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

JollySwagman makes his long-overdue debut appearance in the NTSPP slot.

A review will by Prolixic follows.

Welcome to JS to the pages of the NTSPP.  This was an enjoyable crossword with a theme.  As usual with NTSPP crosswords, I will not dissect each clue in the same detail that I would for a Rookie crossword.  However, one thing that struck me here was the extraordinary number of repetitions in wordplay indicators which will not have been to everyone’s taste.


1 Old lady has a pint to knock back. First she’s going for an Indian (8)
MAHARAJA – A two letter word for an old lady with the “has” from the clue with the S removed (first she) followed by a reversal (to knock back) of the A from the clue and another word for a pint as in a pint or *** of ale.

5 Maybe Sweeney Todd made an offensive remark to the Queen (6)
BARBER – A four letter word for an offensive or pointed remark followed by a two letter abbreviation for the Queen.

10 Optimistic – like a typical Englishman (7)
BULLISH – A cryptic definition, literally someone who is like John Bull (typical Englishman).

11 Taught you French and German by rote? That’s unusual! (7)
TUTORED – The signal French pronoun for you followed by an anagram (that’s unusual) of ROTE and the IVR code for Germany.  The dictionaries give G for German.  To make the wordplay work, this would have to be Germany.

12 See anger in French valley … (5)
LOIRE – A two letter word meaning see followed by a three letter word for anger.

13 … where Sun King also cavorted about (5)
SOLAR – An anagram (cavorted about) of R (King) ALSO.

14 Drink and drugs on trains (3)
RYE – A two letter abbreviation for railway (trains) and the abbreviation for Ecstasy.

15 Sound gent 17d is going out with a cutie (4,9)
GIVE UTTERANCE – An anagram (is going out) of GENT A CUTIE and the answer to 17d.

19 Beginning golfer? (7,6)
LEARNER DRIVER – Cryptic definition by reference to a shot that a new golfer would have to master.

21 Return first prize (3)
POT – A reversal (return) of a word meaning first.

22 Charlie’s bullets ricochet around Mark (5)
COMMA – The letter represented by Charlie in the NATO phonetic alphabet followed a reversal (ricochet around) of a four letter word for bullets or other munitions.

23 An occasional sherry with a group of women might make one better informed (5)
WISER – The abbreviation for Women’s Institute (group of women) and the odd letters (an occasional) in sherry.

24 It’s a drag entertaining exceptionally rich English composer (7)
PURCELL – Another word for a drag (as on a cigarette) includes (entertaining) the odd letters (exceptionally) an the abbreviation for English.  I am not sure that exceptionally means every other letter.  If anything, it means irregularly rather than regularly.

25 Routine operation at the pre-natal stage (2,5)
IN UTERO – An anagram (operation) of ROUTINE.

26 A bit of a fry-up for a sheriff to tuck into (6)
RASHER – The answer is hidden (to tuck into) in FOR A SHERIFF.

27 Runner‘s more complacent about first loss (8)
SMUGGLER – A seven letter word meaning more complacent around (about) the first letter of loss..  As first has already been used as an initial letter indicator in 1a, perhaps a different indicator should have been used here.


1 American cell for gangsters found on French island (6)
MOBILE – A three letter word for a group of gangsters followed by the French word for Island.

2 Stacks of models have interest up front (7,8)
HOLDING PATTERNS – … stacks of aircraft awaiting a landing slot.  Another word for a financial interest in a company followed by a word meaning models or templates.

3 Setting for Wagner’s Ring principally – first hit in English (5)
RHINE – The first letter (principally) of Ring followed by the first letter (first) of hit, the IN from the clue and the abbreviation for English.  This clue repeats so many elements of wordplay used in other parts of the crossword, first, English and possibly (although it could be a generic setting for Wagner) has the Ring doing double duty, that it really does not pass muster.

4 Philosopher:”After Major’s blunder with tart I mull.” (4,6,4)
JOHN STUART MILL – The first name of the former Prime Minister, Mr Major, followed by an anagram (blunder) of ART I MULL.

6 Perhaps George Clooney‘s account’s a bit steep – it might be (5)
ACTOR – The abbreviation for account followed by a three letter word for a hill that might (or might not be steep).

7 With one abstention EU accepts the Queen’s right over Article 50. Donald’s beginning to come on board. He’s done the maths (8,7)
BERTRAND RUSSELL – Hold on to you hats and listen carefully, for I will only type this once.  The first letter (beginning) of Donald inside  word (named for the city where it has its seat of power) for the EU with the final letter removed (with one abstention) inside which you have the abbreviation for the Queen a reversal (over) of the two letter abbreviation for right and a two letter article) all followed by the Latin for 50.

8 Saved – right where English river meets the sea (8)
REDEEMED – The single letter for right followed by the abbreviation for English (third time) the name of the river that flows through Chester and the shortened form of Mediterranean (sea).

9 4d’s view of Ilium:”It’s a train-crash.” (14)

16 Soldier leaves the front line in a vehicle (3)
VAN – Remove a five letter word for a soldier from a word meaning the front line.

17 Priest‘s over is over – but it’s not over! (3)
REV – A reversal (over) of OVER after removing the abbreviation for over.

18 This may fix bugs in air traveller’s defective app (8)
FLYPAPER – An anagram (defective) of APP inside another word for an air traveller.

20 The king’s lover’s coming over for the night – we’re told it’s an old habit (6)
ARMOUR – Another word for a lover around the abbreviation for King (again) to give something once worn by a knight (night we’re told).

22 American sandwiches – a bit of pasta – or a French snack? (5)
CREPE – The name of a Native American around (sandwiches) the first letter (a bit of) pasta.

23 Forced to flee Gateshead after one week (5)
WRUNG – The abbreviation for week followed by a word meaning to flee and the first letter (head) of gates.

13 comments on “NTSPP – 382

  1. Long overdue Saturday appearance indeed – although this puzzle will be the subject of the rarely-spotted Prolixic NTSPP review, I have a feeling that if any future puzzles are as good as this one, it won’t be long before the Jolly Swagman will be transferring to my ‘side’ of the Saturday afternoon puzzle blogging rota

    I have lots of clues with stars by them, but I think top place has to go to 19a. I also like the images conjured up by linking the solutions to 1a/5a, 1d/18d and, especially, 26a/27a

    Thanks to JS for a lovely bit of post Saturday lunch entertainment and, in advance, to Prolixic for the review.

  2. Lots to enjoy here – thanks JS. Top clues for me included 10a, 26a, 1d and 22d but my favourite was the very clever 17d.
    I don’t believe that the abbreviation in 11a can stand for German (as opposed to Germany).

  3. Splendid stuff indeed. Not too difficult but just tricky enough to make it worthwhile.

    I’ll agree with CS at #1 that 19a was favourite but 17d and 18d are on the podium.

    Thanks to JollySwagman, I’m already looking forward to your next one.

  4. I thought this was a wonderful puzzle, and thank you JollySwagman. 19a ac was my first in, and it kept me chuckling for the rest of the puzzle. I was fortunate to get 9d which led me in turn to 4d, and then to left half of the puzzle. Looking forward to the next one!

  5. Thanks JS; very entertaining.

    The ones I enjoyed the most were 17, 18, 19 & 20. I had to look up 4d’s view.

  6. Was it entertaining? – yes. Was it erudite – yes. Could I finish it in reasonable time? – yes again. Did it follow the strictest rules of non-Libertarian setting? Who cares, this is JollySwagman!

    Many thanks JS, enjoyed myself immensely. And congratulations on the promotion. :)

  7. Really good fun. The puzzle title was a big help as it pointed us towards some of the long clues that gave us plenty of checkers to work with.
    Thanks JS.

  8. I’m pleased to see that so many people enjoyed this puzzle, but am sorry to say that I’m not one of them.
    Maybe it’s just a style of cluing that doesn’t chime with me?
    My apologies, JS – I’ll try harder to ‘get’ your wavelength next time!

  9. Well, I’ve just finished, and it was a struggle. 4D was my big hold up. The first name was easy and I eventually took a stab at the surname and went to Google. Finding the right person gave me 9D. 7D was recognition from the checkers (eventually) rather than any parsing attempt. The only long clue I didn’t have to work for was the lovely 19A. I think I would had seen 23A earlier had the clue been the other way around. Anyhoo, I have a feeling of satisfaction at filling the grid. Thanks JS.

  10. Many thanks, Prolixic, particularly for the parsing of 7d which had rather defeated me and also the ‘exceptionally rich’ part of 24a.
    Just looked back at the comment I wrote following JS’s last Rookie puzzle – virtually the same as my comment on this one. I suppose it at least shows consistency!

    PS Lovely piece of music at 5a.

  11. Hi JS

    Just got around to this, having been away for a week. I enjoyed it very much and it wasn’t overly hard, thank you very much and congratulations.

  12. Phew. That seemed to go quite well.

    Many thanks for trying the puzzle and also for taking the trouble to comment.

    I think my original intention with this one was to pack the grid with philosophers or references to them but it’s amazing how hard it can be to fill a grid – frustrating too – going back and redoing things when you thought you were almost there. But you don’t really need themes to be comprehensively worked – a few related clues can be interesting enough – so I contented myself with what you saw here.

    Thanks as ever to Prolixic for the review and to BD for hosting.

    In 3d the definition is just “Setting for Wagner” – the rest of the clue can be added to give an “extended definition” without committing the heinous sin of double duty. And the story’s not even a fudge. It was actually Wagner’s wish that his operas, when performed away from Germany, should be translated into the local language – and this has indeed happened.

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