NTSPP – 388 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 388

NTSPP – 288

A Puzzle by Gazza

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.  A rare sighting from Gazza in the pages of the NTSPP and a welcome break for CrypticSue from blogging duties and another minor appendage in the pantheon of bloggers has the pleasure of reviewing the crossword.


9 One may suffer injury from such ramshackle thrones … (7)
HORNETS – An anagram (ramshackle) of THRONES.

10 … by once more putting on weight (7)
AGAINST – A five letter word meaning once more followed by the abbreviation for stone (weight).

11 Firefighters are so organised and vigilant (2,5)
ON WATCH – Double definition, the first being a phrase for a fireman’s shift and the second being what a vigilant sentry would be doing.

12 Looks up relative by name (5,2)
CALLS ON – A four letter word meaning name followed by a three letter word for a child or male relative.

13 Top director’s after comfortable place to chill out (4,5)
EASY CHAIR – A four letter word meaning comfortable followed by a five letter word for the position held by the top director on a board of directors.

15 Ford Corsair’s rear boot (5)
WADER – A four letter word meaning to ford or cross a river followed by the final letter (rear) of Corsair.

16 Union men on board getting into row with wider corporation (7)
TUBBIER – The abbreviation for union and then the abbreviation for bishop (twice) (men on board) inside a four letter word for a row.

19 See 1 Down

20 Highnecked? (5)
DRUNK – Double definition, the first being high on alcohol and the second what the boozer has done to get into that state!

21 The Color Purple‘s spirit pervades a cab company’s head of ethics (9)
AUBERGINE – A type of alcoholic drink (spirit) inside (pervades) the A from the clue and the name of the modern cab company followed by the first letter (head of) ethics.

25 Everyone’s outflanked by head’s unanticipated extras (2-5)
NO-BALLS – An informal word for head with the S from the ‘s in the clue around (outflanked by) a three letter word for everyone.

26 Two generations in charge of secret society (7)
MASONIC – A two letter word for mother followed by a three letter for one of her children (two generations) followed by the abbreviation for in charge.

28 Beduin lunch host regularly entertains 25 men (7)
EUNUCHS – The even letters (regularly) in BEDUIN LUNCH HOST.

29 Device fitting in a revolutionary US firearm (7)
ADAPTOR – A three letter word meaning fitting goes inside the A from the clue and a reversal (revolutionary) of a three letter American slang term for a firearm.


1/19 It’s a toss-up whether it’s in February or March (6,7)
SHROVE TUESDAY – Cryptic definition of the day on which pancakes are traditionally tossed before the beginning of Lent, which day can be in February or March depending on the lunar calendar.

2 Gloat over partners’ awards (6)
CROWNS – A four letter word meaning to gloat followed by the abbreviation for a pair of bridge partners.

3 Legless old scientist tailed creature (4)
NEWT – The name of the scientist who formulated the laws of motion without the ON (legless).

4 With Ken away ask the man reason for having a puff (6)
ASTHMA – Remove (with … away) the letters in KEN from ASK THE MAN.

5 One vehicle after another’s tipped over playing game (8)
BACCARAT – Reverse (tipped over) a three letter word for a taxi and follow this with a three letter word for another vehicle and a two letter word for playing.

6 Possibly does get bottom pinched in Three Rivers … (6,4)
FALLOW DEER – A three letter word meaning bottom inside (pinched) a three letter word for a river in Cornwall, a three letter word for the river that flows through Chester and the abbreviation for river (Three Rivers).

7 … pathetic indeed, so just left? (3-5)
ONE-SIDED – An anagram (pathetic) of INDEED SO.

8 Keep smothering nervous grin in model transport (8)
STINGRAY – A four letter word meaning keep around (smothering) an anagram (nervous) of GRIN.

14 Family viewing at hen party? (5,5)
CHICK FLICK – A cryptic definition of the type of film that might be viewed by girls or hens at a party?

16 Set course in company for Lewis? (2,6)
TV DINNER – Cryptic definition of the type of meal that might accompany watching a programme such as Lewis.

17 After picking up onion, say, crooner gives us Crying (8)
BLUBBING – The type of structure of which onion is an example (say) reversed (after picking up) followed by the old crooner Mr Cosby’s first name.

18 Think again about touching Virginia’s behind – curvy character! (8)
REASSESS – The two letter abbreviation for about followed by the American (Virginia’s) expression for the behind followed by the phonetic spelling of a curvy letter.

22 Good-for-nothing slovenly woman’s a carrier (6)
– A three letter word for a good-for-nothing person followed by a derogatory term for a slovenly woman.

23 Untaught prisoner loses money to Pole (6)
INNATE – A six letter word for a prisoner has the M (money) replaced by an N (pole).

24 Space Centre’s additional request (6)
ENCORE – A two letter word for a printer’s space followed by a word meaning centre.

27 Swimmer with apparent nonchalance on first viewing (4)
SWAN – The initial letters (on first viewing) of the first four words in the clue.

21 comments on “NTSPP – 388

  1. Hi Gazza,

    What a great puzzle – congratulations! Loved it! Very accurate clueing throughout :-)


    A few notes…
    4d clever
    27 nice
    24 I like it
    21a love it!
    17d ah, THAT crooner
    29a LOI. Managed to parse it only after revealing – should have got it!

  2. A Gazza puzzle always guarantees an immensely enjoyable solve and today’s was another superb effort to savour.

    Great surfaces as ever and plenty of fun in evidence, my biggest smile came from 28a. My overall favourite was the 1/19 combo, but honourable mentions too for 13a, 26a, 14d, 17d and 27d. Tricky in places, but I’ve known them trickier!

    Many thanks Gazza.

  3. Brilliant! Many thanks gazza!

    I liked the ellipses especially 9/10a. The ford corsair is brilliant. The most outstanding clue for me of course was the Beduin lunch, Lol. 16d was a great penny drop moment that should please one of our bloggers.

    A joy to solve

  4. I found some of this quite tricky, and I still can’t get 16d. As Silvanus says this was immensely enjoyable with great surfaces and it was a lot of fun to solve. My favourite was 28a but many other clues came into contention with 21a & 1d/19a deserving special mentions too.

    Many thanks Gazza.

    1. Hi RD,

      For 16d, think of how Kath’s eyes might light up when reading the final word of the clue?

      1. Thanks for the hint Silvanus, but that particular Lewis was the first thing that came to my mind when I read the clue. I must be being stupid but I still don’t get it even with all the checkers and assuming that the first word is an abbreviation :sad:

        I’ll need to wait for the review tomorrow for enlightenment.

        1. I’ve got it now having worried away at it overnight like a dog with a bone. I considered the answer whilst I was solving but rejected it as being utterly improbable. I’ve never heard of the expression before and I suspect the provenance is from our friends across the pond – although I was astonished this morning to find it in my BRB.

          Memo to self – when in doubt consult the BRB!

  5. Smashing. So much fun and particularly welcome after my abject failure with yesterday’s Elgar toughie. My “tick” list is long, and includes 21A, 25A, 26A,28A, 29A, 4D,14D and 16D ( I think, because I’m still not sure of the parsing). However the gold goes to a combo this week. 25/28A had me in hysterics! Gazza, you hit that one out of the ball-park!

  6. Thank you Gazza for a quite wonderful puzzle. I’m joining the majority in awarding favourite status to 28a/25a. That particular penny drop was a laugh out loud moment. In addition I ticked 15a, the topical 21a, 29a, 1d/19a, 4d, 17d, and 24d. I’m looking forward to the review for explanations of a few that I feel that I haven’t parsed 100%, and I’m expecting a second round of smiles there.

  7. Another cracking puzzle from Gazza – the beating heart of the Big Dave website. Along with BD himself of course… Or is he the head? Well, whatever, this peripheral appendage thoroughly enjoyed himself.
    Tickers for me were: 10a, 12a, 13a, 20a, 21a, 25a, 26a, 29a, 1d/19a, 2d, 6d, 8d, 14d, 17d, 23d and 27d. Double tickers were 4d (I love that sort of clue) and the universally applauded 28a. That’s quite a lot, isn’t it?

  8. As entertaining as ever! Thanks, Gazza.

    It was a toss up as to which clue was my favourite … but after much consideration … the swimmer in 27d gets my vote.

    Nice to see an alternative to initially in this type of clue!

  9. Thanks to Gazza and the ‘Minor Appendage’ :roll: – it was certainly very strange yesterday afternoon not having to either solve or blog the NTSPP.

    Looking back at my notes, , I see that, back in February, I enjoyed the solve very much and had more *s by clues than Kath would approve of.

  10. Back on-line just in time to enjoy this treat from Gazza – would have hated to miss it.
    RD will be proud of me for sussing the cricket clue but whilst that combo definitely earned one of my many ticks the outright winner was the outstanding 1/19 pancake.
    Made rather a mess of parsing 29a being unfamiliar with the US term. I had the correct fitting but slotted it into the ‘A’ from the clue and a ‘RED’ for the revolutionary, which left me somewhat lacking a reversal indicator for the latter but did give me the US spelling for the device!
    Confess that I wasn’t too keen on 16d but many thanks to my shining knight for including a variation of ‘our’ clue at 6d – got that one nailed in very short order.

    Brilliant stuff, Gazza, thanks both to you for the puzzle and to Prolixic for the review.

  11. Fantastic and wonderful but what else would we expect from Gazza – I loved it but was defeated by the last few – so what’s new?
    I didn’t care for the 9a picture – they make me go a bit funny.
    Two ‘crickety’ clues and I got them both, and understood them. :smile:
    I loved 20a and 4d but the two that made me laugh most were the 1d/19a combination and 22d so one of those two was my favourite.
    Thank you and :good: to Gazza yet again and thanks to Prolixic too.

      1. 3d

        25a is not only a cricket clue but the answer might also be an unintended but topical reference to the new Dr Who.

        1. Oh dear, I obviously need more lessons, RD – I just chopped both legs off the scientist!
          As for 25a and the new Doctor Who, I gave up watching the show when the first Dr. Who departed, rather like the way I gave up on Bond films when they tried to pretend that someone other than Sean Connery could really be 007.

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