NTSPP – 407 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 407

NTSPP – 407

Summer Holiday by Mucky

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Mucky makes his well-deserved debut in the NTSPP slot.

Some people spend their summer holidays at the seaside swimming, sunbathing, creating magnificent sandcastles, or even crab fishing. Our Mucky obviously spends his time at the beach watching others and turning his observations into crossword clues. I don’t know whether he was at a certain North Yorkshire bay when he did this, but he’ll probably have to keep a very low profile if he goes back there again.



9a     Suggest shellfish starter’s off (5)
INKLE Remove the ‘starter’ from a small edible shellfish to get a verb meaning to suggest

10a     A coterie’s jumble? (9)
ESOTERICA An anagram (jumble) of A COTERIES gives objects owned by a select few

11a     Effect of sun and drink on very short temper? (7)
TANTRUM An effect of the sun, the first letter (very short) of Temper and an alcoholic drink.

12a     I get undressed and go in to tinkle – just a quick dip (7)
DUCKING Remove the outside letters of our setter’s pseudonym (I ‘get undressed’) and insert into the sound of a bell (tinkle)

13a     A writer with an amazing butt doesn’t let it go to waste (9)
RAINWATER An anagram (amazing) of A WRITER and AN

16a     Having a fine loaf, but not a drink (5)
BRINY Here loaf is a reference to Cockney rhyming slang (loaf of bread = head) so you need a word meaning clever (having a fine loaf) and then remove the A to get an informal term for the sea (drink)

18a     Smooth surface, except for underwater hazard (4,3)
SAND BAR A verb meaning to smooth a surface plus a preposition meaning except

20a     Grand wind to blow up half a storm (7)
BOMBAST Pompously inflated language – A verb meaning to blow up followed by half the letters of A STorm

21a    Cast producers screw before opening of show (5)
WORMS These cast producers are often found in your garden or their casts can be seen on the seashore at low tide. A verb meaning to screw goes before the opening letter of Show

23a     Stout lover’s large part sticking out (4,5)
BEER BELLY Part of the body considered to be caused by drinking excessive quantities of an alcoholic liquid of which stout is an example

26a     Area of sea guarded from shore after current’s encroachments (7)
INROADS An anchorage at sea protected by on-shore guns goes after the two-letter word meaning current or fashionable

28a     Touching light sensor, activate latrine (7)
RETINAL Referring to (touching) the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye – an anagram (activate) of LATRINE

30a     Noise and fumes cut back by one expanding airport (9)
POLLUTION A reversal (back) of a verb meaning to cut followed by I (one) expanding or being inserted in the middle of one of London’s airports

31a     No longer bathing, starts to dry off better (5)
OUTDO Follow a way of saying that you were no longer bathing in the sea with the starts to Dry and Off


1d     Chap‘s first to bathe in St Tropez (6)
MISTER ‘Bathe’ or insert an abbreviated way of writing first in the French word for sea – St Tropez probably needs at least a question mark after it to indicate that we are looking for a French word for the sea, not least because there’s a brand of self-tanning lotion with that name too!

2d     Hide what nudists totally expose (4)
SKIN Two different definitions for a bodily covering, the first mainly used for animals and so the BRB tells me sometimes used informally or derogatively with respect to humans

3d     Freshly pick painful sunburn like this? (6)
REDRAW Split your solution 3,3 to get the reference to painful sunburn

4d     Little one squatting in a rock pool (6,4)
HERMIT CRAB I liked this cryptic definition of a small creature to be found in a rock pool squatting in someone else’s shell

5d     School incorporates new home for goldfish, perhaps (4)
POND A school of whales or seals ‘incorporates’ the abbreviation for New

6d     Maybe idle surfer‘s babe getting frisky with chum (5,3)
BEACH BUM An anagram (getting frisky) of BABE with CHUM

7d/24d After endless cycling I saw British standing on the 6 here (6,6)
BIKINI BOTTOM Remove the final letter (endless) from a synonym for cycling, add I (from the clue) plus a reversal (standing) of a saw or saying and the abbreviation for British

8d     Hood‘s evil restrainer? (3,3)
BAD GUY Another way of saying bad followed by a rope used to restrain or steady something. The wordplay gives me an excuse chance to use the following illustration

14d     Hit hard in an old Tex-Mex bust-up (5)
ALAMO A verb meaning to hit hard goes between A (an) and the abbreviation for Old

15d     Call going under protection … this? (6,4)
RUBBER RING A verb meaning to call goes under an informal (mainly American) term for something that protects against conception

17d     Spacemen’s launch originally sounded through a hooter (5)

NASAL The abbreviation for the American space agency and the original letter of Launch

19d     Go flat out to see area between chest and 23 (4,1,3)

BUST A GUT The abbreviation for Area goes between the chest and the part of the body described in 23a

21d     Flexible women with pronounced joints (6)
WHIPPY The abbreviation for Women and an adjective referring to someone with particularly pronounced haunches

22d     How often is real fun to be had in Robin Hood’s Bay on vacation? (6)
RARELY I wouldn’t have thought the North Yorks tourist board would look kindly on the implications of this clue and its solution. An anagram (fun) of REAL inserted into the outside letters of Robin Hood’s BaY

24d     See 7

25d     Like sun, sand and daffodils? You’ll love Wales (at first) (6)
YELLOW An archaic way of saying you’ll, the letter that looks like love in, for example, tennis scoring, and the first letter of Wales

27d     Maybe crawl towards Cornwall on backed-up motorway (4)
SWIM The abbreviation for that part of the country where Cornwall is situated goes on top of a reversal (backed up) of a particular motorway

29d     That doesn’t apply to friends around the 5 (4)
NATO Here it helps to remember that the Americans refer to the Atlantic as the solution to 5d. An abbreviated way of saying ‘that doesn’t apply’ followed by TO (from the clue)

23 comments on “NTSPP – 407

  1. Welcome to Saturday afternoons Mucky. Thank you for the right amount of difficulty for a post-lunch diversion.

    A nice theme, which did help with some of the ones where I had to scratch my head a bit to work out what was required. Lots to enjoy, I particularly liked 4d.

    Now the question is ‘what am I to do now on a rare “Saturday afternoon off”?

  2. Well, I found that one a real challenge and have quite a few question marks awaiting CS’s review tomorrow. Not sure just how much I enjoyed it as a result but certainly discovered a few goodies. Like CS, my favourite was 4d but I also picked out 18a & 5d.

    Thanks, Mucky, although I think you may be getting out of my league!

    1. Mucky isn’t a nationally-published setter so as I say in my comment, I’ve got this afternoon off

        1. Now you come to mention it, I do remember that. I just read the ‘debut in the NTSPP’ bit and didn’t think any further as Mr CS wanted help with the honey.

  3. I must admit that I still don’t understand quite a few of these clues.

    However, with the help of the “Reveal Letter” button, I managed to winkle out most of them.

    But, of course, 18 has to be my favourite for its “smooth surface”.

  4. This was quite hard i thought, I also had to use the reveal button to finish. I liked the 6d/ 7d combination. Also enjoyed 29d, 25d. took me a while to see what needed vacation in 22d. I liked 15d, took me a while to realise the all-in-one character

    wasn’t keen on the translation to st tropez, and there were a few more esoteric synonyms and allusions, but got there in the end.

    Many thanks Mucky for the entertainment and i look forward to the review

  5. I rather enjoyed this, and some clues definitely raised a smile. I do have a couple where I’m not clear on the parsing, though. Hold that thought…12 just clicked so only one question left. Thanks, Mucky. That was fun.

  6. Thanks Mucky; good to see you aboard.

    Some nice ideas here. I did like 13a, 6d, 19d & 25d.

    Id was nearly a good clue, but like Dutch I don’t think there was enough information for an average solver. If water or sea had been added, it would have improved things, I think. I don’t really pronounce the ‘h’ in 21d, a problem with homophones generally. I’ve been staring at 26a for ages, but I still can’t parse it.

    Personally, I don’t like grids with consecutive unches (unchecked letters) like 13a, 18a, 20a, 23a. I realise this is allowable in the Telegraph but most other broadsheets would not allow it, so I think it’s better avoided if possible.

    1. Road
      6.An anchorage in an area of sea protected by guns, etc

      3.[often in place names] (usually roads) a partly sheltered stretch of water near the shore in which ships can ride at anchor:

      1. Here in Cornwall we have ‘Carrick Roads’ – the stretch of water forming the mouth of the estuary at Falmouth. Mighty fine mussels in there…

    2. And 21d hasn’t a homophone anywhere in sight. If you follow the advice I normally give Brian ….

    3. i don’t think 21d is a homophone

      oops did’t realise CS had already mentioned. I confess to hunting for a homophone though, good misdirection

  7. Congratulations Mucky. An enjoyable theme for a day when the hailstones are covering the lawn, with some cracking good clues in there. 10a, 11a, 13a, 30a, 7d, 25d, 27d and my favourite 19d.
    A few I couldn’t parse or am unsure about, but all will be revealed tomorrow.
    Klingsor’s puzzle in the i on Friday had 6 double unchecked letters (unches), so I presume the Independent is fine with them… Mind you, none of them had more unches than checked letters, so maybe that’s a requirement and also what Windsurfer means.

  8. Nice puzzle, thanks Mucky. Just the right level of difficulty for me, although I cannot parse 12a. Favourites were 13a and 7/24d.

  9. Thanks crypticsue, what a lovely illustrated review (a particularly cute crab), and what a relief not to have to explain myself any further. Thanks for picking up on the guy of gisborne ref – I don’t recognise the one in the picture, but google ‘Guy of Gisborne’ and all the pictures are of him.
    On double unches, they’re seen in the Times, Telegraph, Indy, though not sure about the Graun. However, I should have avoided them in the seven letter solutions with only three checked. I could have put a couple of three letter words in to fill in the gaps.
    Fair criticism on the St Tropez point; I think I was in a pretty relaxed state of mind when I wrote it all – not in Yorkshire (apologies to Robin Hood’s Bay, which is of course delightful) but in Devon, mostly on Putsborough beach.
    Thanks, all who’ve commented and had a go.

  10. Many thanks for the review, CS, and sorry that you missed out on part of your afternoon off!
    I needed your words of wisdom to confirm that 9a exists (only familiar with ‘inkling’), to explain what I should have spotted to nail three of the letters in 12a and the required meaning of ‘roads’. I was also a bit confused by 29d having only seen the abbreviation spelled with an ‘H’ on the end.
    PS Extra thanks for the picture of the 8d!

    1. Are you thinking of a dialect way of saying No rather than the abbreviation for Not Applicable?

  11. I thought that the clueing was very clever. However, I found this just a tad too difficult for me to be really enjoyable or satisfying. I got about three-quarters unaided, with most of my blanks in the NW corner. Of the ones I didn’t get, there was about a 50:50 split between things should have got, and things I would never have. (I didn’t know either the synonym for ‘suggest’, and I’m not sure I know the shellfish, in 1a for instance. 15d is descriptive but not a term I am familiar with. Again, 3d is descriptive but not a term that I have come across). Many thanks to all.

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