NTSPP – 383 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 383

NTSPP – 383

A Puzzle by Drummond

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.

Once again Drummond shows commendable skill in setting a fiendish crossword.  Some of the clue took longer to parse correctly than actually filling the grid.


1 We liquidised parts of the kidneys for refreshment (7)
RENEWAL – An anagram (liquidised) of WE (yes an anagram of two letters) inside a word meaning “of the kidneys”.

5 Sleep around in empty search for brotherly love (7)
KINSHIP – A three letter word meaning sleep around the IN from the clue and the outer letters (empty) of search.

9 Ideal shape (5)
MODEL – Double definition, the first meaning the epitome of something and the second to form something into a shape.

10 Speed – gripping saga about large ape (9)
REPLICATE – A Russian doll clue.  Put a word meaning a saga around the abbreviation for large and put all of these letter inside a word meaning speed.

11 Where even being ditched can be fixed (10)
ENTRENCHED – The even letters in being followed by a word meaning ditched.

12 Clot leads to trouble with intestinal tract (4)
TWIT – The initial letters (leads to) of the final four words of the clue.

14 Coming soon – sensation involving a beautiful singer (11)
NIGHTINGALE – A four letter word meaning coming soon followed by a a six letter word for a sensation or thrill around (involving) the A from the clue.

18 Tangled parts ENT nurses managed to get clear (11)
TRANSPARENT – An anagram (tangled) of PARTS ENT includes (nurses) a three letter word meaning managed.

21 Drop in centre’s volunteers shift table (4)
ROTA – The central letters of drop followed by the abbreviation for the former Territorial Army.

22 Deciding to fool around, bad back restricts us (10)
CONCLUSIVE – A three letter word meaning to fool or dupe someone followed by the single letter abbreviation for about and a reversal (back) of a four letter word meaning bad around (restricts) the  US from the clue.

25 Borrow money without interest? (9)
INCURIOUS – A five letter word meaning take on or borrow and the abbreviation for debts or money.

26 A Society Times cover – ‘Duke’s Latest Mouthful!’ (5)
TASTE – The A from the clue and the abbreviation for society inside (cover) the repeated abbreviation for time followed by the final letter (latest) of duke.

27 Helps to run bible classes with talks about… (7)
GREASES – An informal word meaning talks around (about) the abbreviation for Religious Education (bible classes).  As the editor of the Church Times crossword keeps reminding people, the relevant subject has not been  “bible classes” for about 30 years.  It is now interfaith studies.

28 …grave yard abandoned, ten years after refurbishment (7)
EARNEST – Remove (abandoned) the abbreviation for yard from TEN YEARS and make an anagram (after refurbishment) of the letters that remain.


1 Stuffed sheep’s heads from Middle Eastern delicatessen (6)
RAMMED – A three letter word for a male sheep followed by the initial letter (heads from) the final three words of the clue.

2 Latest song on the radio getting maximum exposure? (6)
NUDITY – A homophone (on the radio) of NEW DITTY (latest song).

3 Against the odds, Princesses gets an Oscar before Badlands (10)
WILDERNESS – Begin (before) with the surname of the playwright and poet Oscar and follow with the odd letters of princesses.

4 Words in the air, insensitively put by rich hosts (5)
LYRIC – The answer is hidden in (hosts) INSENSITIVELY RICH.  As you can have A hidden in B and C with the AND being ignored, I don’t see anything wrong with A in B put by C.

5 Something smoked – a draw or a bit of gear (6,3)
KIPPER TIE – The name of a fish that is smoked followed by a draw or match.

6 It’s based on a quick fix (4)
NAIL – Double definition of part of the body that grows over the quick on the fingers and a word meaning to fix.

7 Marshal Wade – a hero with no love for the Crown? (8)
HEADWEAR – An anagram (marshal) of WADE A HERO after removing the O (with no love).

8 ‘Appealing to a higher level‘ – phrase that lifer has half forgotten? (8)
PRETTIER – … more appealing.  Remove the letters in HAS HALF from the words “PHRASE THAT LIFER”

13 Back put out, due to parcel lorry having rear ended coach (10)
INSTRUCTOR – Remove the final letter (back put out) for a phrase 2, 5 meaning due or coming up and put the letters around (to parcel) a word for a lorry with the final letter removed (having rear ended).

15 Attractive girl stripped inside a changing room – just inside (9)
GLAMOROUS – Remove (stripped inside) the inner letter of girl and follow this with the A from the clue and an anagram (changing) of ROOM and the inner letters (inside) of just.

16 Hungry and very intense looking guards (8)
STARVING – A word for looking intensely around (guards) the abbreviation for very.

17 A little bit 10, but not completely mad (8)
PARTICLE – An anagram (mad) of the answer to 10a without the final letter (but not completely)

19 Sit up and beg for something to absorb the blow? (6)
TISSUE – Reverse (up) the SIT from the clue and follow it with a word meaning beg or plead for something.

20 Half off everything in fire sale – don’t give quarter! (6)
RELENT – The second half of the words fire sale don’t.

23 Gets a coronary, climbing walls in class (5)
CASTE – The answer is hidden and reversed (climbing, walls in) in GETS A CORONARY.

24 Legendary warrior’s leader drops 2 down weapons (4)
ARMS – The name of the Roman god of war has the first letter (leader) moved down 2 places.

24 comments on “NTSPP – 383

  1. Thanks Drummond – I found the top half, especially the NW corner, quite a bit more tricky than the bottom. There’s lots to enjoy here with many well-disguised definitions and some really good surfaces. I particularly liked 5a, 6d, 7d and 16d.
    I’m not very keen on the construct (i.e. the interrupted lurker) in 4d and I don’t understand how the start of 11a works.

      1. I was just about to reply to CS – I did manage to work that one out – eventually!

        1. It’s the innovative nature of many of Drummond’s clues that make his puzzles such fun to solve. He even had me looking up words for ME delicatessens until the penny dropped.

  2. I thought this was likely to be quite tough and I was right!
    Very good surface reads again from Drummond with just a couple that I thought fell short of the mark – 5&24d.
    Some complex wordplay that took time to work out and I still have a few bits of parsing to deal with.
    Like Gazza, I wasn’t sure that 4d was quite ‘playing the game’ – it will be interesting to read CS’s comment on that one.

    Top three for me were 5,14&25a with a mention for the clever use of one of Mr. T’s trademarks in 12a.

    Many thanks, Drummond – I really enjoy your puzzles.

  3. Sorry to disappoint Jane, but she won’t be getting many comments from me because it will be Prolixic’s review that she’ll be going through with her fine-toothed comb some time tomorrow as Drummond has not yet, as far as I can see, had a crossword published in a national newspaper.

    I found this very tough, and had it not been for Mr CS’s listening to my muttering and saying ‘what about…’ this puzzle would have come very close to my ‘three separate goes and in the bin rule’.

    I have the same ‘I don’t understand’ as Gazza and would agree with both him and Jane with regards to 4d.

    Thanks Drummond – good thing I’d allocated this afternoon for sitting in the sunshine rather than chores as this NTSPP was far more than a post-lunch diversion

    1. Hi Crypticsue, no I haven’t had anything published in the national press. I think this puzzle is about as difficult as I’d ever want to go, but there were some bits of wordplay that I just couldn’t resist. I’m working on another two at the moment which will be a little more tempered with mercy.

  4. Phew, that was tough, but for the most part a pleasant tussle rather than a slog.

    Fewer, if any, stretched synonyms this time around, but no less difficult for that, with lots of head scratching from this solver. I had plenty of ticks on my printed page, with 25a and 5d deserving of double ticks I felt, and I thought 8d was an exceptionally clever construction.

    Like others, I wasn’t convinced by the interrupted lurker, and my repetition radar picked up “about” twice used as a containment indicator, but there was much else to enjoy, admire and smile about.

    Many thanks and congratulations, Drummond.

  5. I thought that was brilliant. One of my favourite puzzles in a long time. I liked 4d as much as the rest, in fact, but did write ‘hard’ in the margin. In fact the only thing that’s hard about it is that we don’t see it very often… maybe we should!
    Loads of brilliant clues – my jaw dropped at 8d, for example, but there were loads more.
    Bravo Drummond – you have a fan!

  6. Wow, that was tough – but very enjoyable. I think I have it all right, but there are one or two that I will need the blog to understand exactly why they are what they are. The NW corner took me a long time.

  7. yes, this was hard and moved kinda slowly – but a lot of fun and a lot of appreciation for clever clues. I have a full grid, though i’m not super confident on a few entries – eagerly awaiting prolixic’s review.

    I was completely happy with 4d, the cryptic reading works perfectly – as it does throughout the puzzle.

    i admit I ended up chasing quite a few red herrings.

    10a, 12a,14a,1d, 3d, 16d, 23d were among my favourites, plenty more to like

    An excellent puzzle, congratulations Drummond

    I was happy to see you suggesting you might temper with mercy – an art in itself.

    Well done, this is great stuff

  8. I’m another one who found this difficult but I did really enjoy it.
    Completely stuck with most of the bottom left corner – maybe it will all come to me while I’m asleep which is what I intend to be very soon.
    I did particularly like the Ray T(esque) 12a – also 14a and 20 and 23d.
    Back in the morning but, in the meantime, thanks to Drummond.

  9. Granted that on this busy Saturday I have not had much time to devote to this, but I found it very hard to get into and in the end I lost interest and applied Sue’s “three strikes and you’re out rule.”

  10. Ah many thanks prolixic – I had the right answers but I missed ‘quick’ in 6d (again!) and I missed the subtraction in 8d, very nice, right order and all.

    I did think it was a male sheep in 1d, but I knew what you meant ; )

    thanks again Drummond

  11. Yup – I missed the ‘quick’ in 6d too, Dutch – very clever and many thanks Prolixic.

    Was 7d ‘for the Crown’ as a cryptic definition, or just ‘Crown?’ as definition by example, I wonder?

    I would love to know how a setter can compose a clue like 8d – I just wouldn’t know where to start!

    1. Hi Maize, thanks for your earlier comment, you made my day!
      ‘the Crown’ was intended as a definition by example, and 8d took about 3 days to concoct, which is one of the reasons why I could never be a professional setter.

  12. Thank you for the review Prolixic, and I apologise for taking so much of your time!
    Could I just clarify a couple of points – in 3d ‘Against the odds’ was intended to indicate the even letters, and in 5d ‘a draw’ and ‘a bit of gear’ are both slang terms for a small quantity of cannabis – possibly not your field of expertise!

    Thanks again to Prolixic, Big Dave, and everyone who took the trouble to comment.

  13. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. Remarkably, I had sorted out all the parsing although obviously not completely now that I see Drummond’s comment about 5d! It certainly took me a while to get everything squared away – particularly 3,8&13d – I’m rather relieved to learn that it took Drummond 3 days to construct 8d!

    Well done again, Drummond – I’m looking forward to the ‘tempered with mercy’ puzzle coming up soon.

  14. I’m dead impressed. For some reason I always seem to miss Drummond puzzles, but I did go through this with clues and answers and was astounded by the quality of clueing. (Tricky enough so sort out with the answers actually! – I needed Prolixic to explain 8d and 13d.) I’ll be sure to catch the next one.

    Thanks/apologies to Drummond and to Prolixic.

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