NTSPP – 402 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 402

NTSPP – 402

A Puzzle by Snape

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.


A nice post-Saturday lunch solve but, for me at least, not quite as much fun as the previous Snape NTSPP – probably because I seem to have borrowed Silvanus’s repetition radar and ended up a little grumpy!


9a     It’s appalling to upset a tour guide on vacation (7)
  OUTRAGE An anagram (upset) of A TOUR followed by the outside letters (on vacation) of GuidE

10a     Substantiate what to do with Stilton (7)
 SUPPORT Split 3,4 to see something you may do when eating Stilton at the end of a good meal

11a     Primitive instincts in the unconscious mind of politician (3)
 IDS These primitive instincts happen to share the initials of a Conservative politician

12a     No-one cares, heartlessly, about right-wing Americans? (7)
 NEOCONS A term for some right-wing Americans is an anagram (about) of NO ONE and CS (no not me, the outside letters [heartlessly] of CareS)

13a     Excel as first fifty is converted to century in The Oval (7)
 ECLIPSE Misleading capitals time as we aren’t looking for the cricket ground but an oval shape in which we should change the first L (Roman numeral for 50) to the Roman numeral for 100

14a     Chills, then sleeps, in periods of wintry weather (4,5)
 COLD SNAPS Some chills nnd then some sleeps

17a     Expose yourself in cycling holidays (5)
 STRIP Cycling indicates the need to put the letter at the end of some holidays to the front of the word

18a     Sick twice over wife, leading to antipathy (3,4)
 ILL-WILL Surely hyphenated rather than 3,4? Anyway, two lots of a synonym for sick go over the abbreviation for wife

21a     Swimming trunks very meaningful and special the wrong way round (7)
 SPEEDOS A reversal (the wrong way round) of an expression meaning very meaningful and the abbreviation for Special – I wouldn’t recommend that anyone of a delicate disposition tries to search for an image of the solution as there are more unpleasant images than nice ones like this!



23a     Assist naked people? Completely naked? Avoid! (5)
 ELUDE ‘Completely naked’ is an instruction to remove the outside letters of both a verb meaning to help and some naked people

24d     Obsequious type let fart out in front of queen (9)
 FLATTERER An anagram (out) of LET FART in front of the regnal cipher of our current Queen

28d     Identify personal problem – it shouldn’t have any effect (7)
 PLACEBO A verb meaning to identify and the abbreviation for a particularly smelly personal problem

29d     Put down the phone and grin cryptically (4,3)
 RING OFF Your solution could be seen cryptically as an instruction to make an anagram with GRIN as the result

31a     By five, I advanced (3)
 VIA The Roman numeral for five, I (from the clue) and the abbreviation for advanced

32a     Always sitting back, taking rest for free (7)
 RELIEVE A reversal (sitting back) of a synonym for ever, into which is inserted (taking) a rest

33a     In children’s activity group, borrowing uniform is a nightmare (7)
INCUBUS IN (from the clue) and a children’s activity group ‘borrowing’ the letter represented by uniform in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet



1d     Charlie is able to start returning brandy (6)
 COGNAC More NATO Phonetic Alphabet – the letter represented by Charlie followed by a reversal (returning) of a way of saying ‘is able to start’

2d     Wander around central parts of Ulster and across valley (6)
 STROLL The central parts of UlSTer acROss vaLLey

3d     Costa Coffee stocks finger food (4)
 TACO ‘Stocked’ by CosTA COffee

4d     Male entertainer uncovered discrimination against old people by leading figures in Hell’s Angels (6)
 GEISHA There’s been a lot of ‘uncovering’ in this crossword and here’s another example. Remove the outside letters from some discrimination against older people and follow with the leading figures of Hell’s Angels

5d     Evaluates hard workers impounding European ship (8)
 ASSESSES Some hard-working animals ‘impounding’ the abbreviation for European and  steamship

6d     Oxygen has faint odour with many hues (10)
 OPALESCENT The chemical symbol for Oxygen and a faint odour

7d     Contrasted Commanding Officer with Mike Pence and a communist (8)
 COMPARED The abbreviation for Commanding Officer, the letter represented by Mike in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet (again!), the abbreviation for pence, A (from the clue) and a derogatory informal way of referring to a communist. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen the name of the current US Vice-President being used to mislead a crossword solver

8d     Tries to overwhelm short-term worker with outrageous stat (8)
 ATTEMPTS A short-term worker is ‘overwhelmed’ by an anagram (outrageous) of STAT

15d     Oddly declined social lubricant (3)
 OIL The even letters (oddly declined) of sOcIaL

16d     Infers we’ve transmitted disease (5,5)
 SWINE FEVER An anagram (transmitted) of INFERS WEVE

18d     Still accepting Express’s bungling (8)
 INEXPERT An abbreviation for express inserted into still or resistant to motion

19d     Praiseworthy EU ballad must be rewritten (8)
 LAUDABLE An anagram (must be rewritten) of EU BALLAD

20d     Mistress has once again eaten surplus (8)
 LEFTOVER A mistress has eaten an obsolete (once [used] ) adverb meaning again

22d     Comeback of 70s rock star results in single (3)
 ONE A reversal (come back) of Brian the 70’s rock star

25d     Scared of a female invasion (6)
 AFRAID A (from the clue), the abbreviation for Female and an invasion

26d     For starters, right hand opponent makes bid in diamonds (6)
 RHOMBI The starters of Right Hand Opponent Makes Bid In


27d     Turn down an electrician’s job? (6)
 REFUSE I don’t think an electrician would turn down an opportunity to replace a safety device for a piece of electrical equipment, although he’d probably put a hyphen between letters 2 and 3 of the solution

30d     Steal some organic kale (4)
NICK A slang word meaning steal is hidden in some orgaNIC Kale

33 comments on “NTSPP – 402

  1. Great stuff with loads of laughs – thanks Snape. I’ll pick out just a few of the clues I really liked – 10a, 17a, 18a (hilarious), 24a and 29a.

  2. That was brilliant, Andy – even though my first thought for 22d had more to do with the English National Opera than some random rock star whom I needed to investigate!
    A couple of new words for me and one bit of parsing I’m not sure about but almost every other clue has a big tick beside it. I did spot the odd bit of Harry H influence creeping in again!

    If really pushed, I’d nominate 10,14,17&18a plus 25&27d for podium places.

    Many thanks, Snape – your puzzles are always a delight to solve.

  3. As Jane says – brilliant!

    As you probably know, Andy, I am not generally a fan of long clues but that is only because this often leads to clunky surfaces. When the surfaces are as smooth as all yours are then wordy clues are absolutely fine with me.

    As Jane also says, almost every clue has earned a tick, and I have awarded double ticks to 10a, 13a, 17a, 18a, 24a, 4d, 19d & 25d.

    I’m not sure in 2d how “across valley” leads to the final part of the answer, but that apart everything is pretty much perfect.

    Very well done, Snape, and many thanks for the entertainment and the excuse given by 22d to include this clip:

      1. D’oh. Thanks CS and Dutch. How dumb can I get? I didn’t think any further than the central parts of Ulster.

  4. A lot of fun, though I have to say I’ve never mastered the art of eating a hard 3D without needing a fork when it inevitably splits apart. A goodly number of picks on my page, but I’ll single out 10A (my favorite), 12A (which thankfully didn’t turn out to be what I first thought it might be), 24A, 6D and 16D. Thanks Snape.

  5. Still struggling in the NE but loving it so far.
    Genuine laugh out loud at 24a I even let a little fart go at the solving moment.

  6. NE corner done too once 6d revealed itself the rest soon followed and 6d tied with 24a for my faves.

  7. Nothing further to add – **/*****.

    Too many candidates for favourite to be able to pick one.

  8. I needn’t say anything original — can just echo the comments above. It’s especially nice of the setter to give such a good puzzle away for free when he could receive a few pennies for it elsewhere.

    Many thanks to Snape (you’ll always be our Snape the Rookie to me!) and in advance to CS for the review.

  9. I really enjoyed this – not too tricky which is just as well because I’m a bit dim today. Oh dear.
    It’s just taken me goodness knows how long to see why 23a is what it had to be and I still don’t get the middle part of 20d.
    11a was my last answer – I’d almost given up on that one. :roll:
    There are so many good clues that I’m not even going to try to pick out any particular ones.
    Thanks and well done to Snape for a very good crossword and thanks, in advance, to CS for tomorrow’s review.

  10. We’re back in Delhi now from our trip to Simla and managed to find time to print out and solve this one. So glad we did as it was a delight from start to finish.
    Thanks Snape.

    1. Surprised that you’re finding enough time and energy for the crosswords, 2Ks! Glad that you didn’t miss out on this one and hope that you’re having a wonderful holiday.

  11. Thank you for the comments, I am glad people seem to have enjoyed it – at least, those who commented – and thanks too for the plugs on other pages. Delighted, too, that BD has got his vision sorted.
    Nice to see new commenters, and the responses my clues elicit (John Bee!). Hopefully some might be tempted to dabble at the Indy puzzles (as well, not instead of!) where lots of contributors to this site have puzzles (many, like me, coming up through Rookie Corner and NTSPP). It’s free, but you will have to watch an advert – hence number of visitors is important. Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday tend to be the gentler days. Prolixic is Kairos there, and I am Eccles, the others have the same name as on here.

    1. Good of you to pop in, Andy, and thank you again for another excellent puzzle. As Kitty said, it’s very generous of you to continue to produce NTSPPs for us when you could be getting paid for them elsewhere. I suspect that it’s your way of thanking BD, Prolixic et al for giving you a helping hand up the first few rungs of the ladder – you’ve done them proud!

      PS I have no objection to watching the short ads on the Indy site but, all too often, you have to repeat the same performance over and over again before gaining access to the puzzle. Perhaps someone there needs to get a bit of work done on the site?

      1. In order to pay the setters their pittance, the ads are a necessity.

        If they don’t get the clicks, the crosswords may not be there and a vital outlet is lost.

        Incidentally it was my GK Jumbo yesterday.

        1. I understand and fully appreciate that, Tilsit, but it seems to me that watching the advert once through should be quite sufficient for any one visit to the site. Apart from the annoyance factor, by the time you’ve watched the same advert three or four times over, you start to think that the site simply isn’t working. I’ve just given up on it on many occasions which presumably doesn’t benefit the Indy at all.

  12. Thanks for the review, CS – I’m sorry that this one didn’t appeal to you as much as it did to many of us. Must admit, I was far too busy enjoying the puzzle to pay much attention to any bleeps from Silvanus’s repetition radar!

    By the way, I don’t think that 14a has an ‘insertion’ element to it.

    Thanks again to Snape – more please, when you can spare the time.

    1. There’s no mention of any insertion in the hint now, so it looks like it’s been stealthily changed since your comment.

  13. Apologies for the late comment, firstly I was busy yesterday, and then secondly I had assumed that I had already seen this in an earlier incarnation, but I was delighted to find out I hadn’t!

    Snape’s puzzles are always such fun, and this one was certainly no exception, I thoroughly enjoyed it as I knew I would.

    Huge thanks to my fellow Independent setter and to CS, I forgot to tell Sue when loaning her my repetition radar that it has a special setting for Snape puzzles, so multiple mentions of bodily functions or excruciating puns should also produce bleeps!!

  14. Cheers for the review, Sue – nothing gets past you! I knew there were a few use/discard the outer letters, but hadn’t noticed so many phonetic alphabet uses. Hopefully they didn’t cause too many grumps for others.
    Ill will is in Collins unhyphenated, but 3-4 would have satisfied both – I just didn’t check both.
    Note for grid aficionados – I didn’t notice at first what an awful grid this was, and nearly binned it when it was pointed out (it had 4 barely linked corners) but luckily I could add 4 lights to link the corners and find words to fit – so there were 4 ‘bonus’ 3-letter answers.

  15. I thought that this was just brilliant! If Snape’s previous NTSPP was even better then I will definitely have to check that out. I found more smiles among these smooth surfaces than I did on today’s acclaimed back-pager. I ticked 11a, 12a, 17a, 18a, 21a, 24a, 28a, 29a, 33a, 2d, 4d, 7d, 20d, and 26d. Of that long list my favourite was 4d for the penny drop upon realizing that I wasn’t looking for an entertainer who is male. Many thanks to Snape for the solving pleasure and thanks to CS for the review.

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