NTSPP – 387 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

NTSPP – 387

NTSPP – 387

Puzzle for Macclesfield S&B  by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

This puzzle was distributed at the S&B meeting in Macclesfieldon 8th July 2017.

A puzzle created for those spending their Saturday afternoon at the Macclesfield S&B – let’s hope they weren’t all as ‘themed’ as some of the solutions in the crossword



1a           Endlessly at it, leftie becomes exhausted (5)
  TIRED Remove the ‘ends’ of aT It and add a derogatory informal term for someone with left-leaning politics

4a           Touching mate in loo gets complicated (9)
EMOTIONAL An anagram (gets complicated) of MATE IN LOO

9a           Keen on plush elements in puzzle (7)
 NONPLUS Lurking in elements of keeN ON PLUSh

10a         Declining calls regularly during affair (7)
 FALLING The regular letters of cAlLs inserted into (during) an informal term for a brief sexual relationship (affair)

11a         Bring forth first woman to embrace well (5)
 EVOKE The first woman in the Bible embracing an informal way of saying well

12a         Communications unit oddly never goes to little room (5,4)
NERVE CELL An anagram (oddly) of NEVER plus a little room

13a         Hot maiden slips into underwear for barman (6)
 BRAHMS As in someone who composes bars of music.   The abbreviations for Hot and Maiden slip into some female underwear

15a         Andrew forced to leave Switzerland after rubbishing composer (5)
 LISZT Remove the letters of ANDREW (forced indicating that they aren’t in that order) from SWITZERLAND  and then an anagram (rubbishing) of the remaining letters gives you the composer who goes with 13a for ‘thematic purposes’

18a         To eat audibly with impudence is a typical Dutch bloomer (5)
 TULIP A homophone (audibly) of a verb meaning to eat followed by some impudence

20a         Pathetic ring in mobile phone (2-4)
 NO-HOPE The letter that is ring-shaped goes into an anagram (mobile) of PHONE

24a         Waving rag by bull, one is likely to get kicked (5,4)
 RUGBY BALL An anagram (waving) of RAG BY BALL

25a         Counter selection of Margarita chocolates (5)
 TACHO This abbreviated ‘counter’ of the mileage, speed, number and location of stops made by a commercial vehicle can be found lurking in a selection of MargariTA CHOcolates

26a         Immobilise bomb in urban area (3,4)
 TIE DOWN The abbreviation for a type of bomb inserted into an urban area

27a         Groups of geese I put in for a bit of laughter (7)
 GIGGLES I’m wondering whether ‘bit’ should have been ‘fit’ as the definition here is singular and the solution is definitely plural.  I (from the clue) replaces A in some groups of geese

28a         Slag off what Frogs might say on record (9)
 DISCREDIT A type of record is followed by a homophone of something a frog in a joke says when he lands on a book.   Round here they don’t sound like that at all, they just croak loudly night and day once the weather gets warm  :(

29a         Bound with rope, assuming Dutch went with the flow (5)
TIDED The abbreviation for Dutch is ‘assumed’ by part of a verb meaning bound with rope


1d           Refuelled and drove fast (6)
 TANKED Two informal terms one meaning refuelled and the other meaning drove at great speed; a third meaning of this word relates to the theme

2d           Managed to invite unending spite (7)
 RANCOUR A synonym for managed and almost all (unending) of a verb meaning to invite

3d           Dig date with a lot of legendary beings (5)
 DELVE The abbreviation for Date and a ‘lot of’ some small legendary beings

4d           See ass in changing facility (8)
 EASINESS An anagram (changing) of SEE ASS IN

5d           What change is needed to turn me into one doing rather well? (2,4)
 ON FORM   I shot myself in the foot with this one as I looked at the checking letters of the second word and wrote in FIRE as I thought this fitted the definition.  Once I realised that I couldn’t explain how that would work, and worked out the correct word, it is obvious that if you split your solution 2, 3, 1,  you’ll see what change is required to  turn ME into ONE

6d           Sickness will heal through hugs (3,6)
 ILL HEALTH  ‘Hugs’ is a nice lurker indicator – the solution is found in wILL HEAL THrough

7d           Ships changing direction primarily to find those of a tacky old profession? (7)
 NAILERS Change the compass direction that is the first letter of some particular type of ships and you’ll get a historical term for makers of tacks

8d           Support revision of Italy’s constitutionality? (8)
 LEGALITY Something that supports you and/or a table, followed by an anagram (revision of) ITALY

14d         A time for cheap shots (5,4)
 HAPPY HOUR A themed cryptic definition

16d         Repeated sex, time and time again, with journalist (8)
 ITERATED The informal term for sex, a long period of time, the abbreviation for Time and the abbreviation for a particular journalist

17d         Popular escape provided during an aeroplane journey (2-6)
 IN-FLIGHT  A short way of saying ‘popular’ and an escape

19d         Snakelike German meets the French among the French? (7)
 LEGLESS Take the plural French definite article and insert the abbreviation for German and the French plural definite article

21d         Cured tricky problem with date (7)
 PICKLED A tricky situation plus the second appearance of  the abbreviation for Date

22d         Preserved recording describing old queen (6)
 CANNED An abbreviated recording ‘describing’ or going round an old British Queen

23d         Very wet turf restricts practice (6)
 SOUSED A piece of turf ‘restricts’ a practice

25d         At first, the instant gratification hijacks the penny-pinching (5)
  TIGHT The first letters of The Instant Gratification Hijacks The



44 comments on “NTSPP – 387

  1. Lovely puzzle, not too tricky with a happy theme – thanks Dutch. I particularly liked 13a, 5d, 14d, 16d (and 18a for the great laugh when I twigged the homophone). I hope that the session in Macclesfield is living up to the theme.

  2. I was thinking that this puzzle was something of nothing until I spotted the theme, and then I perked up considerably. I did check my answer for 29A (I was right) because I thought it was very odd. Still working on fully parsing 28A. My favorites are 13 & 15, 5D and 16D. Thanks Dutch.

  3. I have tried to load it repeatedly and get “This site can’t be reached”

  4. A very pleasant solve indeed with some delightful surfaces.

    My favourite clue was 13a, closely followed by 15a, 24a, 16d and 23d. My repetition radar gave a little bleep when seeing “date” twice used to indicate “d”, but one repetition is still fewer than each of Giovanni’s last two Friday backpagers!

    Many thanks, Dutch, hope you and the others are having a great time in Macclesfield.

  5. Very nice puzzle Dutch, I enjoyed it a lot! As ever my theme-blindness was on form – I had to re-read the puzzle when I’d completed it and then felt a right idiot. Superb surfaces throughout and some lovely misdirection in definitions, too :-)

    Looks like you have given the S&B crowd plenty of scope to emulate some of the entries too – have a great time!


  6. Thanks for the help Gazza but I get the same result there as I do if I click on the abvove grid
    “This site can’t be reached”

    1. I’ve sent you an email with a pdf that works on my computer so should work on yours so that you can print it off and solve it

  7. Thank you, Dutch, for a hugely enjoyable puzzle that was over far too soon! I’m looking forward to the blog tomorrow to see why 5d is what I think it must be. Other than that, smooth sailing for me.

    1. I don’t get 5d either and I don’t understand the 18a homophone and I can’t find the theme. 0/10 for me. :sad:

      1. Split your 5d answer 2,3,1 and see how that answers the question in 5d. The homophone in 18a is for a verb to eat or masticate.

        1. I expect everyone, like me, had the wrong word in the second part of the solution, although I think the ‘wrong’ word fits the definition better IMHO.

        2. Thanks Gazza – I now, at last, understand 18a but I’d never pronounce the spring flowering bulb like that.
          I still don’t get 5d – obviously having a really dim day today.
          Thanks for trying and for your patience.

      2. The theme …

        1a & 4a

        13a & 15a

        … to name but two! Hic!

        (i don’t understand 5d either.)

            1. I do have BRB and I just checked. That is absolutely new to me, as is a lot of the post-1980s jargon. Sounds like an excuse someone would make after having a rant on Facebook. I shall have to remember it. It may well come in handy.

              On the plus side, I did have the correct second word for 5D and I even parsed the clue all by myself.

                1. Thanks! After that, I couldn’t resist doing a bit of Googling myself. I’ve honestly never heard it before. Back then, we were much too busy behaving like newts or generally getting wasted to pay attention to politicians’ misbehavior . Seems like for teens and twenty-somethings, little has changed!

        1. Ah – thanks stanXYZ – so the theme is the general state that all those in Macclesfield will be in by now. Oh dear!

  8. A good crossword – thank you, Dutch.
    Not too tricky apart from a few I don’t quite understand.
    I liked 28a and 6 and 19d. My favourite was 13a.
    Thanks again and hope that everyone is having fun in Macclesfield.

  9. Loved it…. very percise clueing..well incorporated anagrams…good variety..elegant surfaces…couldn’t fault it even if I wanted to ….Thanks

  10. Excellent stuff as we always expect from Dutch. Didn’t spot the theme until about 3/4 of the way through – getting both 1a and 5a made it pop. The slang meaning of 13a + 15a was new to me, and I wouldn’t have picked up on it if not for Stan’s comment – makes me wonder if there are any others I missed. 5d was my favourite – always hard to make this kind of clue read well, but this was managed with aplomb. Thanks for the fun as always!

  11. Most enjoyable, thank you Dutch.
    Great grid fill, plenty of good clues and a few real corkers.
    Both hiddens were cracking as well as 26a, 2d, 22d and 23d but top of the crop for me was 5d – brilliant!

  12. We did not spot the theme until we had finished the puzzle so that gave us a chance to laugh all over again. Good fun that we really enjoyed.
    Thanks Dutch.

  13. I thought this was just brilliant. I did need the BRApp to find a couple and I had to verify that 29a is a real word. Like the 2Ks, I only spotted the theme once the grid was filled, and then had more fun searching out all the synonyms. My favourite was 20a. Many thanks to Dutch.

  14. Absolutely loved it spotted theme early on. 1 and 4a reminded me of Reggie Bosanquet, 13 and 15a of louche sounding establishment that some men at work visited at lunchtime got 5d without quite seeing why – thanks Sue. Thanks to Dutch for including so many suitable ideas on a great theme hope weekend lived up to it. :yahoo:

  15. Many thanks everyone for the kind comments.

    Oops, yes, I reverted to a previous version of a clue which meant Date was slipped in again, my error. I originally had “dig date with most of dwarfs”, since elf has dwarf as a definition in brb, then i remembered there was a discussion on this web site that elves were pretty tall in Lord of the Rings and I changed it to “Dig into origins of dinosaurs and legendary beings for the most part”. But, “dig into” translates to “delve into” so that was wrong and i couldn’t see how to fix it. So i changed it back, forgetting date had cropped up elsewhere in the interim. Well spotted Silvanus. Perhaps I need you as a test solver.

    I think ON FORM and NAILERS were quite hard, harder than i wanted them to be. When I did the grid fill, i thought nailers were people hammering in nails, doh. I liked “Copper perhaps securing guns” (where securing gins are nail guns) but ruled it out as too hard as it didn’t cover the main dictionary definition, and it didn’t have word play.

    I can say that the Macclesfield meeting was brilliant – an excellent Q&A session in the afternoon which I liked mostly because it brought the whole meeting together, instead of everyone sitting at tables in groups of two or three. Loads of my favourite people were there. And to top it all off, Kitty and Elkamere are right now on their way now to come and meet me at my local pub – perfect weekend! (though perhaps Kitty’s main reason is to come and see the pub cat, Vodka)

    I think the giggles can be a bit of laughter – but interestingly enough, I did consider fit.

    My next Indy puzzle appears this coming thursday (June 13) – that’s my Indy number three. This NTSPP/ Macc S&B was only the 7th puzzle i’ve ever written – I will eventually gain some more experience. A massive learning curve and a wonderful journey. And I want to thank my test solvers.


    Thank you all, you are wonderful.

  16. I completed this puzzle in the train on my way home from the event, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    I wasn’t sure of 1d TANKED, and I didn’t spot the hidden word (a common failing of mine) in 9a NONPLUS. I note Dutch’s comments on 5d ON FORM and 7d NAILERS, but I had no trouble with either of them, although NAILERS didn’t go in until I had all the crossers. I thought ON FORM was a very good example of an unusual type of clue where the answer forms the wordplay but is of course defined properly as well.
    Of several very neat clues I particularly liked the following, not least for their surfaces:
    12a NERVE CELL
    20a NO-HOPE
    24a RUGBY BALL (an excellent diversionary surface)
    26a TIE DOWN
    16d ITERATED
    22d CANNED
    23d SOUSED
    I didn’t spot the theme.
    Thanks to Dutch for an entertaining puzzle, and thanks to crypticsue for the blog.
    I agree with what Dutch says about the Q&A session at the event. It was my highlight of the day, and I got a lot out of it. Also, for me, it was good to meet new faces.

  17. Thanks for the review, CS.
    I don’t know what the abbreviated recording in 22d is and I hardly dare to admit it but I still don’t get 5d.
    Thanks again to Dutch and to CS.

    1. Kath, in 22d it’s the 2 letters which compact disc is usually abbreviated.

      For 5D, you can turn the word “me” into the word “one”, by removing the “m” and substituting the letters “on”. So what you’ve then done is substituted “on’ for m”. If you separate letters into 2 and 4, you get on form.

      1. Thanks – I really am a bit dim today. I finally ‘saw’ ‘5d but it took forever and the reason I didn’t understand 22d was that I had ‘tanned’, as in leather. Oh dear!

  18. Did this today as a solo effort, with one eye on the test match, just to prove I can, indeed, operate independently of Mrs Sheffieldsy. QED, then. 🙂

    Thank you Dutch, highly enjoyable. I spotted the theme early, probably something to do with a misspent youth and adulthood. I’m surprised, nay, astonished, that some people have lived without knowing 13a & 15a. I thought 10a was one of the theme clues too, but you don’t show it in blue? 21, 23 and 25d remind me of a Fawlty Towers episode – the one where the chef gets drunk.

    Good to hear the S&B went so well. Will make an effort next year.

  19. This was the first one I tackled at the event, and it all went very smoothly – as did the event (and I managed not to get 13ac and 15ac even if I did get them, if you know what I mean).

    I liked 26ac for the inventive use of the euphemism for (home-made) bomb.

    Thanks, Dutch, and I’ll look forward to your imminent appearance in the Indy. And thanks to crypticsue for the blog.

  20. Another ejoyable crossword, Dutch!
    But what I find even more impressive is that after you’ve written not even ten puzzles, there’s such a natural flow in your style.
    Smooth, elegant, accessible for relative newbies and having enough ‘bite’ for those who think they’ve seen it all.

    28ac was one I couldn’t parse as I was not familiar with the ‘redit’ bit.
    Surely because I am what you are in name.

    The clues I liked most were 15ac (LISZT) and 5d (ON FORM), even if I needed your help for understanding what was going on in the latter.
    Yes, Sue, Dutch’s help – but your blog is really well-appreciated!

    To everyone, here, there and everywhere, I would say: do look forward to Thursday!

    As to the theme, I saw it early on but there’s no connection with the Macclesfield event as far as I know.
    But what do I know? :-)

  21. I did most of this on the train back from Macclesfield on Saturday night after rather too many beers, but have not yet found time to polish off the last few. Enjoyed what I did manage – mostly fairly straightforward but very pleasant.

    Thanks to Dutch and crypticsue, and to Anax and everyone else who made Macclesfield a great weekend – Dean has posted a few photos on Twitter (anaxcrosswords)…

  22. Solved this great crossword at silly o’clock after work on Saturday night.
    A real joy which allowed me to go to bed with a big smile on my face.
    Thanks to Dutch and to CS for the review.

Comments are closed.