NTSPP – 409 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 409

NTSPP – 409

A Puzzle by Silvanus

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Silvanus returns to Saturday afternoon after a three-month absence with the right level of NTSPP difficulty for a post-lunch solve, although I do wonder if he’d have quibbled about the same couple of things I’ve picked out if he’d have been wearing his solver’s rather than his setter’s hat?


1a Actions regularly embroiling twin daughters in dispute (2,4)
AT ODDS The regular letters of AcTiOnS into which are inserted (embroiling) two lots (twins) of the abbreviation for Daughters

5a Conservative promoted to enter Cabinet (8)
CUPBOARD The abbreviation for Conservative, a two-letter word meaning promoted and a verb meaning to enter (a ship, for example)

9a Cook, perhaps, one asking former partner for a million (8)
EXPLORER As I type this early on Saturday afternoon, I’m sure someone will be along later to question the “use of A to clue one” We aren’t actually removing A Million but rather the letter that looks like a one and the abbreviation for Million from someone who asks earnestly; these two letters should be replaced with the abbreviated way one might refer to a former partner

10a Modern empty theatre filling up after all (6)
LATEST Do as the clue says and ’empty’ TheatrE and the two letters you have left are used as filling for an adjective meaning after all

11a Jazz composer, beginner, indulges himself primarily in orchestrating arrangements (10)
SCHEDULING Jazz here is an indicator to tell you that you need to make an anagram of the ‘beginning’ of Composer, INDULGES and H (himself ‘primarily’)

12a Time for a new oven? It’s raised maybe to satisfy others’ curiosity (4)
KILT Replace the N for New at the end of a type of oven with the abbreviation for Time. I‘ve ever been tempted to check whether a wearer of this garment is ‘going commando’ but I’m sure there are others who have been curious enough to ask the question 😉

13a Nudist as tenant comprehends antipathy (8)
DISTASTE Comprehends in the sense of ‘takes in’ is a clear sign that we are looking for a lurker, here found in nuDIST AS TEnant

16a Trap heartless public official (6)
CORNER Remove the middle letter (heartless) from the public official who enquiries into accidental or suspicious deaths

17a Charge current copper with case of sabotage (6)
ACCUSE The abbreviation for Alternating Current, the chemical symbol for copper and the ‘case’ of SabotagE

19a Bath, for instance, said to display rare quality (8)
SPARSITY Bath is an example of a place that developed round a mineral spring (3,4)

21a Society bash (4)
CLUB Double definition time – one a noun, the other a verb

22a Bolster covering argument against enemy captive receiving injury (10)
PILLOWCASE An argument against a three-letter enemy captive ‘receiving’ an injury or ailment

25a Cross area bordering Sudan, going west, heading off to idyllic place (6)
XANADU The cross-shaped letter and the abbreviation for Area ‘bordering’ or going next to a reversal (going west in an Across clue) of SUDAN produces an idealized place idyllic magnificence and beauty

26a One can be seriously funny or clearly misunderstood (8)
OXYMORON A figure of speech by means of which contradictory terms are contained so as to form an expression, phrase or epithet such as those illustrated in this nice cryptic definition clue

27a How dwelling may be considered tidy? (4-4)
WELL-KEPT If you look at the word dwelling, and if you have the correct solution, the latter will describe what you see

28a Richest foolishly rule out discovering morality (6)
ETHICS An anagram (foolishly) of RICHEST once you have removed (out) the abbreviation for Rule


2d No drug originally in exotic cocktail is harmful (5)
TOXIC I put several few !!! on my sheet of paper because, as far I am concerned, the ‘original’ [letter] of drug is a D. What Silvanus wants you to do is remove from EXOTIC the first letter of a particular type of drug and make a cocktail of the remaining letters so perhaps he ought to have omitted the word ‘originally’ from his clue

3d Rummage in river admitting glove’s oddly missing (5)
DELVE Insert into one of Crosswordland’s useful rivers the even letters (oddly missing) of gLoVe

4d Grows vegetables (7)
SPROUTS A verb meaning grows or some vegetables we’re going to see a lot of in the next few weeks

5d Red vehicle belonging to setter (7)
CARMINE Split 3,4 you’d get a very short way our setter might use to indicate that the vehicle belongs to him

6d Marine cooked plaice to entertain head of garrison (7)
PELAGIC An adjective meaning oceanic, or living in the sea, is obtained by an anagram (cooked) of PLAICE ‘entertaining’ the ‘head’ of Garrison

7d Unfashionable clothing in areas furthest from town centre (9)
OUTSKIRTS Another way of saying unfashionable followed by some clothing

8d It’s tough seeing others capturing international story before CNN essentially (9)
RESILIENT Some others ‘capturing’ the abbreviation for International, a story and the ‘essential’ letter of CNN

14d Clue I can’t somehow fix in the mind (9)
INCULCATE An anagram (somehow) of CLUE I CANT

15d Digital coverage that’s broader than the rest to hand (9)
THUMBNAIL Look at your hand and the required ‘digital coverage’ is definitely broader on one digit than that found on the others

18d Embrace partner following conclusion of race (7)
ESPOUSE A husband or wife (partner) follows the ‘conclusion’ of racE

19d Abandon one’s principles, but trade extremely successfully? (4,3)
SELL OUT A betrayal or a successful session of trading

20d Annoyed drunk giving palliative medicine (7)
ANODYNE An anagram (drunk) of ANNOYED

23d Material fortune invested in children (5)
CLOTH A fortune (3) ‘invested’ in the abbreviation for children

24d One repressing emotion from endless criticism about love (5)
STOIC Remove the final letter (endless) of some informal criticism and insert the letter used to represent love in a tennis score




21 comments on “NTSPP – 409

  1. Great fun – thanks Silvanus. I’ll even forego my traditional moan at the 19a homophone! I particularly enjoyed 12a (LOL), 26a and 27a.

    1. I made life difficult by stupidly spelling the homophone answer with a C – took me ages to correct

  2. Thanks Silvanus; good puzzle.

    I actually enjoyed 19a, as well as particularly 12a and 27a.

    I’m not sure the ‘originally’ is needed in 2d.

  3. Loved it, Silvanus – thank you so much. Still got a couple of parsings to sort out but the podium is already fairly full – 1&26a along with 5,14&18d all jockeying for position.

    What high praise from Gazza – forgiving a homophone – make the most of it!

  4. Good stuff, lots to like in a steady solve with 11a last in. Loved 26a – very good indeed and the pick of some great clues for me.
    Thanks for the fun Silvanus

  5. Very pleasant and not too taxing. Fav was 6d, mainly because I have a friend who used to have a yacht called that. He did sail it to the West Indies and back so it wasn’t just an idle boast.

    LOI was the bolster cover – I’d never have got that without the checkers.

    Thanks to Silvanus and in advance to whoever does the review.

  6. Thanks Silvanus, very enjoyable, although I did have to ‘phone-a-friend’ to help me finish off in the NE corner which all hinged on an incorrect answer to 16a.

    Favourite has to be 19a.

  7. Thanks Silvanus
    Faves 5a, 19a and 6a (neat clue and very nice solution)
    A bit surprised to see ‘a’ used to clue ‘I’

    1. Ha! Terrible to be so predictable. I suppose I thought that as Silvanus is such a stickler, he wouldn’t mind a bit of stickle himself.
      I liked CS’s comment on 27a, because actually I didn’t, so when I did, it didn’t.

  8. Many thanks Silvanus! Always nice to have a puzzle from you.

    I enjoyed 5a, 9a, 26a (very nice) and 14d (very nice).

    6d was a new word for me.

    I was less keen on 15d, 22d, 25d, 8d and 11a (where I haven’t bothered to parse the wordplay) – these clues are pretty busy – but perhaps this is not a recent puzzle.

    18d Thought there might have been some more interesting scenarios to embrace a partner ending in e!

    2d i found the originally misleading, i first took it to mean d(rug)

    Many thanks again for sharing, and i look forward to the review

    1. 18d. I suppose the clue could be more amusing/risque by using Ray T’s old chestnut as: Embrace partner following sweetheart.

  9. Our last one in was 11a. We eventually got it from definition and checkers and then it still took some time to sort out the wordplay. We liked 9a as it involves our part of the world and laughed out loud at 19a. Really good fun throughout.
    Thanks Silvanus.

  10. All really good fun – thank you, Silvanus – you’ve cheered up an otherwise somewhat miserable and grumpy day.
    When I first looked I couldn’t do any of it – well, maybe a couple of answers went in but not many more.
    Then things picked up a bit.
    Then it all sort of ‘went together’.
    I have an answer for 11a but don’t see why although I think it has to be OK – fits the definition but . . .
    I loved 12 and 26a and several others too.
    Thank you again for the entertainment and, in advance, to CS for tomorrow’s review.
    Now I’m grumpy that I couldn’t wait until tomorrow to get my sticky little paws on this one! :sad:

  11. Many thanks as ever to everyone who took the trouble to tackle the puzzle, and especially to those who left such typically kind and generous comments. They are always much appreciated.

    I’m always very self-critical, and didn’t feel that this puzzle quite scaled the heights of others I’ve unleashed on you, but I felt it was still more than worthy of publication, and I’m certainly glad BD agreed with me! Thanks to him for setting everything up of course.

    I decided to put “originally” in 2d, when realising that “c” (cocaine) also occurred in the anagram fodder. Apologies if my attempt to be scrupulously fair to solvers actually caused unintended misdirection!

    Finally, a big thanks to Snape, Beet, Sprocker and RD for their invaluable test solving skills and loyal support, and to CS in advance for tomorrow’s review.

  12. Very enjoyable indeed.
    I just did this on line (rather than having to be bothered to walk ALL the way over to the printer) accompanied by a nice glass of Malbec which suited it very well indeed – smooth on the surface, with a rich vein spice running through.
    My personal favourite were 12, 22 and 26 across.
    Many thanks Silvanus. :)

  13. Many thanks for the well-illustrated review, CS. Took me a while to sort out the wordplay in 9&11a and have to admit to looking up some jazz composers to possibly help with the latter. At least Silvanus has the satisfaction of knowing that one of us trotted off down his garden path!
    Pleased to note that Gazza forgave the homophone in 19a – made me giggle again when I read the review.

    Thanks again to Silvanus – I’m very glad that both you and BD decided it was worth publishing.

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