NTSPP – 404 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 404

NTSPP – 404

A Puzzle by Windsurfer

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

It’s been quite a while since we last met Windsurfer on a Saturday afternoon, but he returns with a nice themed puzzle.   He was at the George yesterday afternoon too, so a double meeting for some of us.



1a    A young woman is wrong (5)
 AMISS A (from the clue) plus a young woman

4a     Pushed and regularly endorse ends (5)
 NOSED The regular letters of eNdOrSe EnDs

9a    Type of theatre to do our plays (7)
 OUTDOOR An anagram (plays) of TO DO OUR

10a     Two graduates acquiring fringe instrument (7)
 MARIMBA Two abbreviated graduates acquiring a ‘fringe’

11a     Departure from, for example, meeting’s rule for first society (9)
 EGRESSION The abbreviation meaning for example and a meeting, the first S of which is replaced by the abbreviation for rule

12a     Sneaked around topless and lazed about (5)
 IDLED Topless indicates the need to remove the first letter of a verb meaning sneaked about

13a     Starts to select analogue interactive data port (4)
 SAID The ‘starts’ to Select Analogue Interactive Data

14a     A belle went staggering, completely hammered! (4-6)
 WELL-BEATEN An anagram (staggering) of A BELLE WENT

16a     Briefly stop Bill, reportedly drunk, hanging from the roof (10)
 STALACTITE Almost all (briefly) of a verb meaning to stop, an abbreviated bill and a homophone (reportedly) of an informal term meaning intoxicated (drunk)

19a     Comfortable cap (4)
 COSY A double definition, the second one relating to the theme

21a     Slow down, energy replaced for rest (5)
 BREAK ‘Re-place’ the E for energy in a verb meaning to slow down

22a     Poor law or duty on the face of it (9)
 OUTWARDLY An anagram (poor) of LAW OR DUTY

24a     Sex appeal involved, almost remember performance (7)
 RECITAL One of the two letter ways of referring to sex appeal ‘involved in’ or inserted into almost all of a verb meaning to remember

25a     Fruiter from the North East collects utter rubbish! (3,4)
 NUT TREE The abbreviation for North East ‘collects’ an anagram (rubbish) of UTTER

26a     Social responsibility unknown (5)
 PARTY A responsibility followed by a mathematical unknown

27a     Catholic father ignored at first is bag carrier (5)
  CADDY The abbreviation for Catholic followed by an informal way of referring to your father without (ignored) its first letter



1d     Small explosion making large waves? (1,5,2,1,6)
 STORM IN A TEACUP   A nice cryptic definition of a mighty to-do about a trifle, or a fuss about nothing

2d     Cast solid figures (5)
 IDOLS An anagram (cast) of SOLID

3d     Wrong-doing in the Home Counties without right job? (7)
 SERVICE Thank you to Kitty for pointing out that my original hint didn’t actually say what I intended it to. How about Insert R (without right) between the abbreviated way we think of the Home Counties and a wrong doing

4d     Trivial refusal before small beer’s spilled twice at the end (7)
 NOMINAL A refusal goes before a way of saying a small beer, both parts of which have lost their last letter (spilled twice at the end)

5d     One holding back, leaves small shoe (8)
 STRAINER Sneaky comma time – The abbreviation for small followed by a type of shoe

6d     I let nobody ride Epsom’s last active race (10,5)
 DEMOLITION DERBY  An anagram (active) of I LET NOBODY RIDE and M (Epsom’s ‘last’) to give a type of motor race where cars are crashed into each other, the winner being the last one running

7d     Roller perhaps to slide around (6)
 TOWELS To (from the clue) and a reversal (around) of a verb meaning to slide uncontrollably.  If the solution is plural, shouldn’t the definition be plural too?



8d    Pleasure possibly from some sugar denied (6)
 GARDEN Lurking in some suGAR DENied

15d     He sells old currency, discourage after commencement (8)
 ,span class=”hidden-content”>MARKETER The old German currency and a verb meaning to discourage after the ‘commencement’ has been taken away

16d     Returned from Irn-Bru business district (6)
 SUBURB A reversed lurker this time – hidden in Irn-BRU BUSiness

17d     It could be supermarket’s fish half-spotted (7)
 TROLLEY A verb meaning to fish with a spinning bait and half of a verb meaning spotted

18d     Huge breast can I swap (7)
 TITANIC An informal term for a breast followed by an anagram (swap) of CAN I. I share Expat Chris’s thoughts on this clue – the original clue submitted was a better one IMHO

20d     Was very unsettled from calling repeatedly on one doing revision (2-4)
 YO-YOED   Two lots of an interjection calling for attention followed by the abbreviation for a person whose job involves revision (eg of crossword clues)

23d     Censored removing communist and proceeded (5)
ACTED Remove the RED (communist) from another way of saying censored

There’s an awful lot of ‘taking something away’ in this crossword.   The following grid highlights the themed solutions   “>



25 comments on “NTSPP – 404

  1. What a lovely way to while away a wet Saturday morning: back-pager, NTSPP and next up MPP, which I suspect may take some time! I really enjoyed the back-pager and I really enjoyed this one too. For once I actually spotted there was a theme and it was one which definitely appeals to Mrs RD, who is addicted to it. I found 10 answers fitting the theme.

    Apart from 4d, which I thought was a bit of a clumsy construction, this was a joy to solve. My only query is the parsing of 17d. 6d was my favourite.

    Many thanks for the entertainment, Windsurfer.

    1. I’m missing 7d. For 17d, there a 5letter verb to fish plus half of a word meaning spotted or saw

      1. Thanks, Dutch.

        7d = “to” + a word to “slide” reversed (“around”). “Roller” is one type of the answer, although I can’t quite get my head round the answer being plural.

        1. ta – i wouldn’t ever have seen this, the answer + reference are unfamiliar to me. there must have been other options for the definition?

  2. Thanks windsurfer- I needed a bit of help from RD.

    Very impressed with the theme. I found some of the definitions mildly oblique, but got there (well, until i hit 7d).

    I liked 27a, 14a, 6d (but is it a race?), 18d made me laugh, and more

    Thanks for the entertainment

  3. Thanks for the enjoyable puzzle, Windsurfer. I’d have totally missed the theme had I not read Rabbit Dave’s comment – now that I’ve found it the puzzle’s become even more enjoyable.
    I liked 16a, 18d and 20d.

  4. A challenging puzzle that took some time to complete, but spoiled for me by the crude word for breast in the 18D answer.

    1. I requested some changes to the puzzle: a couple of dodgy definitions and the use of an internet domain supported only by Collins and not usually found in Telegraph puzzes. While providing these changes, Windsurfer also altered a couple of other clues. The original clue for this one was “Monster’s vessel (7)”. I can understand why he felt the need to change it, but it is unfortunate that many regard the original as better.

  5. All done except for 7d which I would never have got for all the tea in China.

    Thanks to Windsurfer & especially to CS for the explanations to some of my answers.

  6. Many thanks for your review, CS, and many congratulations on your wonderful success yesterday. Here’s a little prize from me:

    1. Thank you RD – there was a school of thought expressed at the pub later, that I should have finished higher in the Grand Final, but I’m quite happy with how I did, as my solving was a considerable improvement on last year, and should I be lucky enough to make the GF session next year, I know exactly what I have to do to get further up the results table.

      1. Cryptic Sue, we were delighted to see that you were in the top 25. You and our friend Helen Ogham do a sterling job of keeping the ladies’ foot (feet) in the door of crosswords. What a wonderful achievement. We’ll be watching the results with great anticipation next year.

  7. A little late to tackle this one, but I’m glad I did. Lots to enjoy and some great anagrams such as 9a, 22a and 6d. My LOI was 7d. It was very clever indeed to include so many themed answers that I suspect I would have missed had they not been referred to.

    My PDF print out shows “acquire” as the containment indicator for 10a instead of “entertaining”, which I assume was a late change by the setter when spotting that the original cryptic grammar was faulty? “(Instrument” also featured as the definition instead of “player”).

    Many thanks, Windsurfer and congratulations too to CS, where did you finish in the end?

    1. Apologies re 10a – I thought I’d incorporated all the changed clues but I missed that one. I have amended the review accordingly

      I finished 24th in the final which caused a bit of muttering amongst the ‘but you came 2nd in your heat’ people, but I was pleased because I put in a much better performance than when I came 24th last year, if that makes sense.

      1. Some notable solvers did not even make it to the final – Tony Sever (winner in 1981) and Neil Talbot (runner-up in 2015), to name but two – which demonstrates what an achievement it was. Well done Sue.

      2. Indeed, a great achievement. Well done, Sue, it makes it even more satisfying to the rest of us knowing that you are “one of our own”!

  8. Thanks Sue for a lovely pictorial blog, and congrats on a sterling performance yesterday. Not many people are good enough solvers to make the final. I’ll have to have a closer look at the constructions in my clues next time to avoid too many repetitions.

    Thanks to all for your kind comments. I was going to title it something like ‘Windsurfer’s meal,’ but decided to leave it as a ghost theme with 1d giving a nod in the right direction.

    Thanks also to BD for the explanation above. I apologise for any offence caused by the rewrite of 18d; it was just a rather misplaced attempt at bawdy humour. I seemed to have too many double definitions in my first draft, so tried to change this one.

    Great to see some of you at The George yesterday; a very enjoyable meeting!

  9. I enjoyed this, finding it a little trickier than the average back pager — except for 7d which beat me.

    Missed the theme too. Some things never change.

    Thanks to Windsurfer — lovely to chat to you in London yesterday — and thanks (and congratulations again) to CS for the review and all the pictures.

    (P.S. I think the hint for 3d needs amending: isn’t it SE-R-VICE?)

    1. 7d must be some kind of record:

      1. Only 6 letters
      2. 2 of those in the clue
      3. 2 others available from the checking letters
      4. part of a ghost theme

      and yet it still fooled several of us.

    2. Yes I really meant ‘Wrong doing in the Home Counties’ to mean SE VICE, with R inserted. The 7d ‘Roller perhaps’ was a DBE, which, I think could be for towel or towels. I’m not sure that ‘rollers’ would work as it’s not really a synonym for towels.

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