NTSPP – 393 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 393

NTSPP – 393

Highfliers by Chalicea

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Prompted by a comment from Jane!

Chalicea returns with a nice post-Saturday lunch solve with a hidden theme* which one of our most prolific commenters will have enjoyed so much I’m hoping she’ll have forgotten all about her fine-toothed comb.

When I typed this review and in particular the opening sentence some time ago, I hadn’t see the introduction to the NTSPP letting everyone know that eleven of the solutions are also birds. I wonder whether I had more fun finding all the ‘oh that’s a bird too’ solutions than those people who knew exactly what they and/or Mr Google were looking for?



9a    English reason for acting arousing intense feeling (7)
EMOTIVE The abbreviation for English and a reason for acting

10a    Meadow with fine mature foliage (7)
LEAFAGE A meadow, the abbreviation for fine and a verb meaning to mature

11a    Abandoned doctrine – principles of socialists
LEFTISM A synonym for abandoned and a three-letter informal word for a doctrine, system or practice

12a    Most of urban area welcoming Hindi for international soldier (7)
CHINDIT Almost all of an urban area ‘welcoming’ HINDI (from the clue)

13a    Granny with old time measurement, a very small one (9)
NANOMETRE Another name for a granny, the abbreviation for old and a musical word for time

15a    Underground worker‘s inferior in importance, we’re told (5)
MINER A homophone (we’re told) of a word meaning inferior in importance


16a    Losing line, making dull flags for street decoration (7)
BUNTING Remove the abbreviation for Line from a verb meaning making dull

19a    French stars; performing old elites (7)
ETOILES An anagram (performing) of O (old) and ELITES

20a    Fast-moving author of Gulliver’s Travels (5)
SWIFT A double definition, one an adjective and the other an author


21a    Blithely at first wandering, gathering blackberries (9)
BRAMBLING The first letter of Blithely and another way of saying wandering

25a    Ridiculous alibi about tax not essentially settled having two imaginary lines (7)
BIAXIAL An anagram (about) of ALIBI tAX- the instruction not to use the T being contained in the phrase ‘not essentially settled

26a    Brings about party, manages with inadequate means (5,2)
MAKES DO Another way of saying brings about and an alternative word for a party

28a    Reading desk the French court ultimately use for condemnation (7)
LECTERN The French definite article, the abbreviation for court and the final (ultimately) letters of usE foR condemnatioN

29a    Upheavals of fit of illness puncturing periods of good fortune (7)
UPTURNS A fit of illness ‘puncturing’ UPS


1d    King Arthur’s magician manipulating 15ac with skill finally (6)
MERLIN An anagram (manipulating) of the solution to 15a and L (skilL ‘finally’)

2d    Intellectual US fellow, very loud and fashionable (6)
BOFFIN A two-letter US familiar term of address for a man, the musical abbreviation for very loud and the two-letter word so beloved of crossword setters when they need to indicate ‘fashionable’

3d    Fruit of Wiki being revamped (4)
KIWI An anagram (being revamped) of WIKI

4d    US institute of higher education supporting female recluse (6)
HERMIT The abbreviation for a US institute of higher education goes after (supporting) the female possessive pronoun


5d    Be involving male servant in bruise resulting from blow (5,3)
BLACK EYE BE (from the clue) involving a male servant. The person for whom this crossword was created should note that her friend Mr Google had lots of different ‘themed’ things with this name so I went for the prettiest.

6d    Intricately bombard adopting leaders of industry’s up-to-date medical radiation apparatus (6,4)
RADIUM BOMB An anagram (intricately) of BOMBARD ‘adopting’ the leaders of Industry Up-to-date and Medical

7d    Vivid red colour of part of scratchcard in a lottery (8)
CARDINAL Lurking in part of scratchCARD IN A Lottery

8d    New beginnings of skills after pause for relaxation (8)
RESTARTS Another word for skills goes after a pause for relaxation

14d    Preserved from deterioration ocean, thanks in the end occasionally (10)
MAINTAINED Another word for the ocean, an informal way of saying thanks, IN (from the clue) and the occasional letters of EnD

16d    Sport of ignoble social gathering for dancing (8)
BASEBALL A synonym for ignoble and a social gathering for dancing

17d    Annoying thing is involved in subtle difference in opinion (8)
NUISANCE IS (from the clue) involved in a subtle difference in meaning

18d    Talking unintelligibly about big bang including drivel ultimately (8)
GABBLING An anagram (about) of BIG BANG including the ultimate letter of drivel

22d    Protective clothing when love, in France involves bit of rough-and-tumble (6)
ARMOUR The French word for love ‘involves’ the first letter (bit of) Rough

23d    Protect against contingency in foremost of Shetland’s historical land area (6)
INSURE IN (from the clue), the ‘foremost’ letter of Shetland and a historical area of land in Orkney & Shetland  URE

24d    Good old feast producing bellyache (6)
GROUSE The abbreviation for Good and an archaic term for a feast

27d    Little furry animal with energy for a lightweight plaything (4)
KITE A young (little) furry animal (eg polecat, ferret, fox) and the abbreviation for Energy


I’m sure everyone spotted the ghost theme* but if you didn’t and haven’t worked it out from the illustrations then


22 comments on “NTSPP – 393

  1. Thank you very much, Chalicea, I really enjoyed finding the birds. Nine of them were easy enough, one needed verifying and I’m still a little unsure about no. 11. I’ve got two ‘possibles’ in mind but both appear to need a bit adding on! Will keep looking.

    So glad that my ‘prompt’ brought this one about – many of the themed puzzles I attempt seem to concern things I know absolutely nothing about!

    Hope we get a pictorial review (hint, hint).

  2. After Chalicea did a NTSPP especially for me I always have a go to see how I get on. Really enjoyed this one and think I have found nine of the birds ten if one of the missing ones is a homophone. Gardener just arrived a bit later than expected front lawn under attack. His lovely black Labrador is gazing adoringly out of van window.

  3. I have a full grid and 10 confirmed birds. I have a couple of candidates for the last one but I can’t find anything to back them up. I can see another bird as part of an answer, but I don’t think that works with the hint. Nice to see my State bird in there.

    1. I think you might be thinking of the same one as me – is there a ‘definite’ to either side of it?

      1. What’s in the grid is the second word of a two-word name. The full name fits the puzzle title perfectly!

        1. Ah – I think you may well be looking at a different entry! If so, then look-up your ‘second word’ – you might be surprised.

          1. Oops! Just spotted your previous comment about your state bird. Perhaps you weren’t referring to the clue I’d thought about!

            1. Actually, I was talking rubbish. Where was my head! It’s not my State bird! But it’s one of my favorites and a frequent visitor to my feeder.

  4. That was good fun.
    I need two more birds or, like Orphan Annie, if one is a homophone then I only need one more – think the homophone is probably pushing our luck a bit.
    Now about to start googling everything – could be some time – perhaps I should get out more!
    Thanks to Chalicea.

  5. We got all the puzzle solved without too much trouble but finding all the birds took a lot of Googling and we are still not sure we have got everything right yet.
    We are absolutely certain about 3d though.
    Thanks Chalicea

  6. Thank you for the review, in the end I had got all 11 thanks as always to Mr Google. Thanks also to Chalicea for much enjoyment.

  7. Many thanks for the review CS and thanks also to Chalicea whom I neglected to mention yesterday. I did enjoy this. I knew most of the birds but had to confirm a couple. In 5D, I saw the answer as a specific bird name (Mountain Blackeye) rather than a marker common to a range of different birds. I’m also puzzled by 2D. I’m familiar the “Bro” as a common term of address, but not Bo, though I see it’s in the BRB. 12A was a new word for me and I made more work of solving it that really needed.

  8. Many thanks for the review, CS and for going to the trouble of including pictures of all the birds. The only problem I had was with 4d – the bird is specifically a Hermit Thrush and I can’t find any reference to it being known simply as a Hermit. Perhaps you did?

    I did have to check on the soldier – one to remember for the future.

    So clever of you to produce this lovely themed puzzle, Chalicea. It was very much appreciated.

    1. Many apologies – just found another 4d in the BRB. A variety of Hummingbird, apparently. I certainly didn’t know that one!

    2. If Chalicea said they were birds and I could find pictures of them, that was enough for me.

  9. Thanks to CS for the review and pics especially on such a busy weekend.
    I failed on the Black Eye – he doesn’t seem to have made it into the BRB or, if he has, I couldn’t find him.
    Thanks again to Chalicea.

  10. Such a shame that a lovely puzzle like this only draws a handful of individual commenters.

  11. Expat Chris and Jane, the real shame is that all the enchanting work that Crypticsue does to produce her beautiful blogs earns so little comment, but I am sure that it is enjoyed by lots of people who say nothing. The situation is dire on Fifteen Squared where the bloggers must work for hours solving really tough EV crosswords and sometimes there are only two comments. BLACK EYE was a little bit obscure, I agree, but Mr Google does indeed produce several examples and the one Crypticsue opted for is a lovely little fellow. Many thanks.

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