NTSPP – 391 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 391

NTSPP – 391

A Puzzle by Snape

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Snape makes a very welcome return to the Saturday afternoon spot. 

After I’d finished solving this lovely crossword, I tried to work out how many cryptic crosswords I’d solved in the last week and what with it being a particularly busy week on the test solving front, and all the newspaper cryptics to do, I think I solved getting on for forty crosswords.   Some were good and others not so good, but this particular NTSPP stands out as being one of the best of the lot for me.

As people may know I’m not a noticer of grids as I don’t tend to look at them closely until I’ve worked my way through the Acrosses and down the Downs and then, on a second go through the clues, look at any checking letters if I need to.   Snape’s clues were  both clear (and fun) so that I found I was able to solve the majority of the clues by just reading them, only needing to look at the grid to finish off my last few stragglers.  



1a           More fashionable photographer follows wife, the cheeky little blighter (14)
WHIPPERSNAPPER A way of saying more fashionable follows the abbreviation for Wife, the result then followed with an informal term for a photographer

10a         The original walls needing renovation in guest house (5)
HOTEL An anagram (needing renovation) of THE and the ‘walls’ of OriginaL

11a         Megastar “Come Dancing” rejected entertains roughly 50% of Americans (9)
DEMOCRATS These Americans can be found being entertained in reverse (rejected) in megaSTAR COME Dancing

12a         Small company books ferry, oddly neglecting to provide a means to get there (7)
SCOOTER The abbreviation for Small, the abbreviations for company and the books in the first part of the Bible, and finally the even letters (oddly neglecting) of fErRy

13a         Second kiss with the Parisian forms slight mark on the skin (7)
SPECKLE The abbreviation for Second, a perfunctory kiss and the French definite article

14a         Hanker for an unspecified time (5)
YEARN If you split this verb meaning hanker 4,1, you will get an unspecified period of time

16a         Performing tango with any northern kid’s mum (5-4)
NANNY-GOAT  An anagram (performing) of TANGO ANY and N (northern)

19a         Glorious days of summers of cricket outside church (9)
SCORCHERS People who do the sums at cricket matches go ‘outside’ the abbreviation for church.  You may or may not be surprised to learn that  many pictures of young ladies in bikinis appear in the results of searches for images of such glorious days.  

20a         Levels achieved by cycling netball team (5)
EVENS Cycle indicates the need to move the first letter of the number of people in a netball team to the end of the word

22a         Guarantees rebukes, ignoring leader (7)
ENSURES Ignore the ‘leader’ of another way of saying rebukes

25a         Lions, perhaps, in important match (3,4)
BIG GAME Lions being an example of ‘larger animals hunted’, the same expression being used about an important match

27a         Faint and sick, for example, I haemorrhaged briefly (9)
ILLEGIBLE Another way of saying sick, the abbreviation meaning for example, I (from the clue) and the first three letters (briefly) of a synonym for haemorrhaged

28a         Smell of a traveller (5)
AROMA A (from the clue) plus some travelling people

29a         Waste energy pointlessly and engage in transaction with glue factory? (4,1,4,5)
FLOG A DEAD HORSE – An expression meaning to try and create interest in a long dead subject might well sound like you were dealing with the glue factory


2d           Top hat too shabby? That’s controversial (3,6)
HOT POTATO An anagram (shabby) of TOP HAT TOO

3d           Control one involved in conspiracy (5)
PILOT I (one) involved in or inserted into a conspiracy

4d           Stamina of nude dancer, cavorting without one bit of dignity (9)
ENDURANCE An anagram (cavorting) of NUDE DANCER, without one of the D’s (without one bit of Dignity)

5d           Sluts regularly welcoming Mike Pence in pits of filth (5)
SUMPS The regular letters of SlUtS ‘welcoming’ the letter represented by Mike in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet and the abbreviation for Pence

6d           Model a right Charlie next to husband’s sports car (9)
ARCHETYPE A (from the clue), the abbreviation for Right, the letter represented by Charlie in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, the abbreviation for Husband, and a sports car made by Jaguar

7d           Idiot‘s 11th strategy? (5)
PLANK The first strategy would be xxxx A so the 11th would be …..

8d           Appreciation of muscle in rump (7)
RESPECT An informal term for the pectoral muscle inserted into a remnant (rump)

9d           Drink, like a mixer? (6)
WHISKY This particular spirit does have a name which might indicate something being ‘like a mixer’

15d         Touring Guiana, collecting vehicle in another country (9)
NICARAGUA ‘Collecting’ indicates the need to insert a vehicle into an anagram (touring) of GUIANA

17d         On the contrary: Coe was in front, taking heart from Ovett’s minor injury (9)
NOSEBLEED The simplest way of saying ‘on the contrary’, the informal way we refer to Lord Coe, and the middle letter (heart) of OvEtt inserted into a part of a verb meaning was in front

18d         They provided connections from musical drama to rock show, primarily (9)
OPERATORS A musical drama, a rocky height and the first (primarily) letter of Show

19d         Law enforcement officer that woman notes repeatedly (7)
SHERIFF ‘That woman’ followed by a musical phrase played repeatedly

21d         Makes out a wicket that is up and down (6)
SEESAW Another way of saying ‘makes out’ followed by A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for Wicket

23d         Ovals deformed, becoming round (5)
SALVO A round of artillery, applause, criticism or insults is obtained from an anagram (deformed) of OVALS

24d         It is used to fence in wild bears (5)
SABRE An anagram (wild) of BEARS

26d         Pingu: another providing this? (5)
GUANO Pingu the Penguin and other birds provide this material used as manure – it is hidden in pinGU ANOther

Thank you to Snape for the Saturday afternoon treat – more like this soon, please.


30 comments on “NTSPP – 391

  1. Lovely stuff with lots of chuckles – thanks Snape. The clues I liked best were 1a (for which coincidentally Susie Dent provides the derivation in this week’s Radio Times), 14a, 19a and my favourite 9d.

  2. Fantastic stuff, everything went in fairly rapidly – it probably would have been even quicker had I not been chuckling so much! The setter’s humour always makes his creations, like Gazza’s, a must to make time for. I hope that Hoofit will give this one a go too.

    A great week for Snape – a superb puzzle today and another excellent Eccles crossword in the Independent last Wednesday, please do check it out if you haven’t already.

    Just to be different from Gazza, I’ll pick 16a, 29a, 7d, 17d and 24d as my stand-out clues.

    Many thanks, Andy.

    P.S. The Like stars have gone too, thankfully! Was it Jane’s birthday wish, I wonder, that has come true?!

    1. It was certainly my birthday wish, Silvanus, but it would appear that other reasons were responsible for their disappearance. Who cares – at least they’ve gone!

  3. OK – I want to also add 25a and 17&21d to the leader board so there could be a full house for the young 1a by the end of the day!
    Many thanks to Andy and I’ll second the urging from Silvanus for folk to try his Indy Eccles – still available online.

    1. Belated but very many happy birthday wishes, Jane. I hope you had a great day and that you you’re having a lovely weekend.

      1. I certainly did have a great day, thank you Catnap. Today has been frittered away on crosswords which is equally as good!

  4. Brilliant – thanks, Snape – it’s kept me happy and occupied while it’s raining – I’ve now finished it and it’s still raining.
    I’m being a bit dim about 10a – I don’t quite see why it’s what it is – or what I think it has to be at least.
    Too many good clues to write them all down so just a few are 1a and 6 and 26d. My last answer, and favourite because it made me laugh, was 9d.
    Thanks again, Snape.

    1. Re 10a. Kath I took it to be an anagram (‘needing renovation’) of ‘The’ and the first and last letters of ‘original’. Whether that’s correct or not, time will tell.

    2. Thank you Catnap and Jane – see, I told you I was being dim. It nearly drove me mad. :roll:
      Does either of you fancy a go at doing hints?

  5. That’s the ticket! Lots of smiles. Lots of ticks. If I had to pick just a handful it would be my favorite 1A, followed by16A, 29A, 6D, 17D and 19D. Thanks Snape. You brightened up my day.

  6. I think I have finished it, must be a first as I don’t usually do anything other than the Saturday crossword. Only attempted it because I spotted 1a which kick started me down the rocky road. Brain tired off to make the tea.

  7. I agree with the previous commenters. This was a truly lovely puzzle, brimming with fun. My fave was 1a — I haven’t heard that word for years. It reminds me of my late father! I also picked out 16a, 25a, 29a, and 6d, 7d and 17d. I thought the lurkers were very good, too.

    To anyone toying with the idea of attempting this NTSPP, I can thoroughly recommend it.

    Thanks to Snape for the super entertainment. :yahoo: :lol:

  8. A lot to like here with good surfaces, variety and humour..a couple I can’t parse yet…:)

  9. 1a started us chuckling and the chuckles kept up right to the end and the transaction with the glue factory. Great entertainment.
    Thanks Snape.

  10. Having been running in and out of the garden all day to avoid the showers and having done both the excellent back-pager and excellent MPP, I decided not to look at the NTSPP until I saw the name of the setter. I’m very glad I changed my mind, because this one was also excellent, although excellence was the only similarity given the very different styles of all three.

    I echo Silvanus’ remarks. It was a quick solve and very humorous with remarkably smooth surfaces throughout. My double ticks were awarded to 1a (great opener!), 16a, 29a, 7d, 17d & 24d.

    Many thanks and very well done, Snape. Superb.

  11. Very similar to RD, I almost didn’t get around to the NTSPP this week – and then noticed it was you Snape, so my plans changed.

    Great fun – thank you! With some witty definitions throughout – e.g. 1, 9 and 29, plus some excellent ‘Ooh, matron’ surfaces – 4d and 5d, and other fabulous surfaces, too – e.g. 17 and 24. Delightful, loved it :-)


  12. re:6D – where does the letter H come from? Or am I being thicker than normal.
    Good puzzle & review as usual.

    1. That’s the ‘one I left for Jane to find’ but for some reason she’s not turned up yet with her fine-toothed comb. I’ve corrected it now

      1. Thank-you. of course if i’d looked at the clue more closely i may have worked it out myself. what a muppet!

        1. I know exactly why I forgot to include it – I said the name of the vehicle out loud while typing and was treated by Mr CS to an extremely long diatribe on the various Jaguar sports cars.. That’ll learn me to keep my mutterings silent.

  13. Don’t often look at the NTSSP but really enjoyed this offering from Snape although I have to say I didn’t somehow quite feel on the setter’s wavelength. Needed CS’ help in parsing 7d and 21d (not helped by stupidly bunging in “cats” for 25a). Fav 16a. Personal experience leads me to query description of 17d as a “minor injury”! Wonder whether the “young” are aware of context for 18d. CS – it seems 27a, 28a and 29a have acquired “d” by mistake. Thank you Snape and CS.

    1. Thank you. Now corrected.

      Most of the illustrations for 18d are from the ‘black and white’ era of photography :)

  14. Many thanks for the comments and to CS for the lovely review. Forty puzzles! I managed to do 3 this week and I think that is my record!

  15. Many thanks for the review, CS, and apologies for being late in to undertake the proofreading!
    I enjoyed this one all over again whilst reading your blog and am so pleased to see that you also found this one a pleasure to solve.

    Thanks again to Snape – as CS said, please come back soon.

  16. This was my first go at the NTSPP, which I decided to look after reading positive mentions in yesterday’s DT cryptic blog. Lovely clues, and although I did not get them all I really enjoyed this puzzle. Nothing too obscure and really I should have got them all if I had applied myself. Thanks Snape and Cryptic Sue for the hints.

  17. I know that Snape/ Eccles is a massive admirer of Arachne – possibly the most consistently entertaining setter currently working. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that this new kid on the block is only bettered by her when it comes to consistently, reliably entertaining crosswords. Another terrific addition to the Snape canon – can anyone else detect the subtle differences in character between his two sobriquets?

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