NTSPP – 398 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 398

NTSPP – 398

A Puzzle by Starhorse

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A well-deserved NTSPP debut for Starhorse.

What a joy to have Starhorse on the roster for the NTSPP.  Congratulations on a super crossword.


1 Perhaps P Diddy heard Sweet cover (7)
WRAPPER – A homophone (heard) of the type of musician of whom P Diddy is an example (perhaps).

5 Boxes stuffed with half-torn shorts (3-4)
CUT-OFFS – A five letter word meaning boxes or hits around (stuffed with) the first two letters (half) of torn.

9 Murder of two idiots by prisoner – no mark visible (11)
ASSASSINATE – A word for an idiot repeated (two idiots) followed by a six letter word for a prisoner with the M removed (no mark visible).

10 He’s one to talk! (3)
GAS – Double definition of Helium (He) and to talk.

11 Typed by journalist: anything from A to G (5)
KEYED – What the musical notes A to G could represent followed by the abbreviation for editor (journalist).

12 Danes plan a detour – not entirely a suitable place for a stroll (9)
ESPLANADE – The answer is hidden in (not entirely) DANES PLAN A DETOUR.

13 Approved of, and impressed by, safety product (6-7)
RUBBER STAMPED – A colloquial word for a condom (safety product) followed by a word meaning impressed.

17 First player on board: a trumpeter that’s not much use (5,8)
WHITE ELEPHANT – The player who makes the first move in chess followed by the name of an animal that trumpets.

21 Fighter misappropriating gold tiara (9)
GLADIATOR – An anagram (misappropriating) of GOLD TIARA.

24 Article by gutless feminist gives offence (5)
THEFT – The definite article followed by the outer letters (gutless) of feminist.

25 Right answer, but incomplete (3)
AYE – The abbreviation for answer followed by a three letter word meaning but with the final letter removed (incomplete).

26 Gambler of little use to the Rifle Corps? (11)
CRAPSHOOTER – Split 4, 7, this would describe a rifleman who could not hit the target.

27 Killings left out in Proverbs (7)
SAYINGS – Remove the abbreviation for left from a word meaning killings.

28 Something that’s left or right, starts to evolve slowly and is long-awaited (7)
RESIDUE – The abbreviation for right followed by the initial letters (starts to) evolve, slowly and it followed by a word meaning long-awaited.


1 Shares Welsh chops (6)
WHACKS – The abbreviation for Welsh follows by a word meaning chops or cuts.

2 One judging purity (like, for example, Her Majesty) (7)
ASSAYER – A two letter word meaning like followed by a three letter word meaning say and the abbreviation for the queen.

3 Father boos daughter performing the French dance… (4,5)
PASO DOBLE – A two letter word for father followed by an anagram (performing) of BOOS D (daughter) and followed by the French for the.

4 … upset, her allies protest furiously (5,4)
RAISE HELL – An anagram (upset) of HER ALLIES.

5 Squeeze head of pimple – it’s very painful (5)
CRAMP – A four letter word meaning squeeze or stuff followed by the first letter (head of) of pimple.

6 So, briefly, an expression of gratitude for Greek character (5)
THETA – A four letter meaning so with the final letter removed (briefly) followed by a two letter word meaning thanks.

7 Out of confusion and inspiration comes the light (3,4)
FOG LAMP – A three letter word meaning confusion and four letter word meaning inspiration.

8 Shelves and posts incorporating distinctive feature (8)
SUSPENDS – A five letter word meaning posts or mails around (incorporating) the abbreviation for unique selling point (distinctive feature).

14 Plan concealed by outstanding administrator with extensive powers (9)
SUPERUSER – A four letter word for a plan or trick inside (concealed by) five letter word meaning outstanding.

15 Convert particles producing different models (9)
ADAPTIONS – A five letter word meaning convert followed by a four letter word for charged particles.

16 What a football club needs to do yet tries to avoid (3,5)
OWN GOALS – A football club needs to have these to avoid relegation but if scored in their own net, they count for the other side.

18 Pictures of Good Queen Bess captured in one month (7)
IMAGERY – The abbreviation for good and the regnal cypher for Queen Bess in the letter representing one and one of the months of the year.

19 Made time for cold to be cured (7)
TREATED – A word meaning made with the C (cold) replaced by a T (time).

20 Fast roads crossing river (6)
STARVE – The abbreviations for street and avenue around (crossing) the abbreviation for river.

22 South American about to be accommodated in pub (5)
INCAN – A two letter abbreviation for about inside a three letter word for a pub.

23 Outspoken couples who used to be Siamese? (5)
THAIS – A homophone (outspoken) of ties (couples).

25 comments on “NTSPP – 398

  1. Great fun – thanks Starhorse. I’m particularly impressed by the excellent surface readings. I’ve got 10a and 13a on the podium but the gold medal goes to the laugh-out-loud 26a.

  2. I wanted to say exactly what Gazza has said. Brilliant surfaces and 26a is an absolute classic!

    I would only add that I messed up with my first answer – as soon as I saw 11a I wrote “notes” in, but fortunately I soon saw the error of my ways.

    Excellent stuff, Starhorse. Many thanks indeed.

  3. Started smiling at the 1a/d combo, giggled my way through 13&17a and completely cracked up by the time I reached 26a.
    What a brilliant NTSPP debut, Starhorse – worth every bit of effort that must have gone into it.

    I hadn’t heard of 14d – although I don’t doubt we’ve got at least one close at hand – and slightly queried 19d but those were very minor issues in an altogether exceptional puzzle.

    Thank you so much, Starhorse – 26a must qualify for clue of the year!
    Can’t wait to read comments from others on this one.

    1. Jane, I wasn’t sure about 19d about first until I twigged it was an excellent substitution clue.

      1. I can see where you’re ‘coming from’ but am still a little hesitant about it. Won’t say any more so early in the day for fear of spoiling the solve for others.

        1. Now that the review’s up – my hesitation was that I thought 19d should perhaps have had a question mark. Many things that get ‘treated’ are not necessarily ‘cured’. As I said, it was only a minor niggle.

    2. Forgot to add that I thought both of the potentially pesky 3-letter answers were extremely well clued.

  4. Excellent thank you Starhorse – I too laughed at 26a and several others too

    Keep up this level of clue/surface readings and you’ll soon be transferring to my side of the Saturday afternoon blogging duty list

  5. As a self-confessed Starhorse fan, I was wondering when he would finally make his NTSPP debut, but, wow, this one was certainly worth the long wait.

    A great mix of clues, superb surfaces, lots of humour and an ideal standard of difficulty in my opinion.

    As ever with a Starhorse puzzle, I had to abandon my normal policy of ticking favoured clues, as virtually every single one was worthy of at least one tick, so I’ll merely list below those that received two ticks, i.e. 10a, 26a (of course), 5d and 8d.

    Many congratulations, Starhorse, excellent work. Please promise not to make us wait quite so long for the next one, agreed?

  6. Hi Starhorse
    Thanks, great puzzle. Apart from 26a, I thought the two little ones were particularly good, and my last one in, 20d. Also 1d and 13a.

  7. I agree with everything so far said above … a really enjoyable crossword from Starhorse.

    There were many contenders for a place on the podium – 28a, 10a & 23a to name but three.

    But the star of the show has to be the wonderful 26a!

    Many Thanks to Starhorse for such a great treat on a miserable Saturday afternoon.

    ps. 3d made me think … haven’t seen them for quite some time on the blog .

  8. Many thanks Starhorse – very nice puzzle

    i really liked 11a, 13a, 26a,19d.

    I was less keen on the 3-letter clues, but others seem to like them

    well done, and congrats on your first ntspp which is clearly where you belong

  9. Most enjoyable with very good clueing throughout.

    I think 1a is one of the best homophones ever but 10a takes the gold medal for me.

    Thanks to Starhorse.

  10. Evening all

    Only just come in from an afternoon of golf to find this had gone up. Glad those who’ve had a go so far enjoyed it. I’ll come back tomorrow and see the review and answer any points then.

    Thanks everyone for your comments.

  11. A great crossword – going by previous comments I think I found this trickier than everyone else.
    There were lots of laughs and an equal number of words that I didn’t know which complicated things – my fault, rather than the setter’s.
    I have a few answers that I don’t quite ‘get’ so look forward to tomorrow’s review.
    Thank you very much to our not very tall setter for the crossword and, in advance, to CS for tomorrow’s review.

  12. Thanks Starhorse – as everyone has said, this was great! Every clue was good in its own way but 10a has to take the top spot for me. 19d very good as well – didn’t get it until Gazza’s comment – I always fail to spot this clue type, you’d think I’d have learned by now.

    Thanks again for the fun!

  13. That was a lot of fun and agree that 26a was the stand out favourite. It took us a while to understand the roads in 20d but the penny eventually dropped.
    Thanks Starhorse.

  14. I loved it, but admit I had the devil of a job finishing off the SE quadrant, not helped by having initially plugged in hero as the last four letters of 14d. I got there in the end, but I did hesitate over 26A because I’ve always thought the gambling game in question had an S on the end. I also had to drag the definition of 1d from distant memory. 10A and 13A earned double ticks from me and, S or no S, 26A did make me laugh. Splendid puzzle, Starhorse.

  15. Thanks for the review Prolixic, and again to everyone for their comments; also to Snape for test-solving. The appreciation from such an appreciative audience is, er, much appreciated.

  16. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic and for making it every bit as good as this NTSPP richly deserved.

    Well done again, Starhorse – you’ve given yourself a tough act to follow but I’ve no doubt that you’re up to the challenge!

  17. Thanks Starhorse, that was tricky and fun at the same time – no mean feat. A definite smile from me for 26a too.
    Very pleased to see an NTSPP from you – a well deserved slot!


  18. Having read the blog and not yet attempted this, I turned quickly to 26a and wrote it straight in. Very funny and looking forward to enjoying the rest of it based on everyone’s recommendation.
    Many thanks Starhourse

  19. Bit late to this one, super puzzle, doable and amusing. What more could a chap want.

    Thanks Starhorse. and Prolixic for a review which revealed subtlety that had passed me by.

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