NTSPP – 410 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 410

NTSPP – 410

A Puzzle by JollySwagman

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.


1 Woman’s answer to drunkenness? (11)
DISSOLUTION – The abbreviated way of saying Diana’s (woman’s) followed by an eight letter word for an answer to a problem.

7 Note: It’s not British to have a First Lady? (3)
EVE – Remove (it’s not) the abbreviation for British from a musical note.

9 Ruth’s mother-in-law gets in a mess about order (5)
NAOMI – An anagram (mess) of IN A around the abbreviation for Order of Merit.

10 Cad’s crazy about port (9)
ROTTERDAM – An six letter word for a cad followed by a reversal (about) of a word meaning crazy.

11 Statesmen are going crazy – something’s afoot (9)
GEORGIANS – An anagram (crazy) of ARE GOING followed by the final letter (afoot) of somethings.  The afoot does not work for me as afoot means in progress and even splitting it to a foot, it does not convey the sense of the foot of.

12 Essentially “his nibs” enjoys this writer (5)
IBSEN – The answer is hidden in (essentially) in NIBS ENJOYS.

13 Grandlyin the Attic style? (7)
LOFTILY – Double definition, the second fanciful (?) meaning in the style of the loft.

15 Get rid of the outhouse (4)
SHED – Double definition.

18 First of all apple-loving daydreamer acquires missus (4)
ADAM – The first letters of the final four words of the clue with the whole clue forming a definition.

20 As a tourist I pose with five men (7)
VISITOR – The Roman numeral for 5 followed by a phrase (1,3) meaning I pose followed by the abbreviation for other ranks (men).

23 What happened before May got taken in by a Frenchman’s spin (5)
APRIL – The A from the clue followed by the French for he (Frenchman’s) takes in the abbreviation for public relations (spin).  The cryptic grammar is somewhat fractured but gettable.

24 Cowboys lament – Chet’s upset – horse is missing (9)
CATTLEMEN – An anagram (upset) of LAMENT CHETS after removing the abbreviation for Heroin (horse).

26 Fantastic site – Green Park (9)
SERENGITI – An anagram (fantastic) of SITE GREEN.

27 The best oil is used in this sauce (5)
AIOLI – A two letter indication meaning the best followed ban anagram (is used!) of OIL.

28 Saw the police (3)
MET – Double definition, the second being the short form of the Metropolitan Police.

29/4 He paid 1D and in the absence of international resistance somehow he delayed their return (8,3,7)
ETHELRED THE UNREADY – An anagram (somehow) of HE DELAYED THEIR RETURN after removing the abbreviations (in the absence of) of International and Resistance.


1 If writer says not to pay this be glad – need is questionable (8)
DANEGELD – An anagram (is questionable) of GLAD NEED.  The answer is an allusion to the poem by Rudyard Kipling (the author of If).

2 Exhibitionists flaunt their legs? Quite the opposite (4-4)
SHOW OFFS – A word meaning flaunt followed by the opposite of ONS (legs in a Cricket match where exhibitionist may play in a Exhibition match).

3 Due to opinion being divided (5)
OWING – Divide the “opinion” into “o” “pinion”, retain the O and add another word for a pinion.

4 See 29 Across

5 Need to stress – these 100 dilapidated suitcases ushered in modern art in Paris (7)
ICTUSES – An anagram (dilapidated) of SUIT goes around (cases) the Roman numeral for 100 followed by (ushered in) the modern French form of the verb “to be” that would have been translation “thou art”.

6 Want to be seen? Dine out somewhere for a start (9)
NEEDINESS – An anagram (out) of SEEN DINE followed by the first letter (for a start) of somewhere.

7 Compel destiny to accept firstborn (6)
ELDEST – The answer is hidden in (to accept) COMPEL DESTINY.

8/17 Son of 29/4 – died on can in the end and mired us in conflict (6,8)
EDMUND IRONSIDE – An anagram (in conflict) of DIED ON N (can in the end) MIRED US.

14 Beyond the home counties one’s decline can be confused with laziness (9)
INDOLENCE – An anagram (can be confused) of ONES DECLINE after removing (beyond) the abbreviation for home counties.  Beyond the does not work for me as a removal indicator and you remove ES from the clue not SE.  If you are to remove an abbreviation from the anagram fodder, then it should be the actual abbreviation that has to be removed otherwise it is straying into indirect anagram territory.

16 Get squash for a politician in the grip of strong drink (5,3)
STAMP OUT – The A from the clue and the abbreviation for a Member of Parliament in (in the grid of) a type of dark strong beer.  The structure “get definition for wordplay” seems back to front.  You get the definition from the wordplay.

17 See 8

19 Principally May has numbers man Hammond up front on gamble to avoid a tragedy (7)
MACBETH – The first letter (principally) of May followed by the abbreviation for an associate of chartered accountants and the first letter (up front) of Hammond on a three letter word for a bet and removing (to avoid) the final A from the clue.  Apart from winning the “otter” of the year for cluing, the “on” in a down clue indicates that the the H goes on top of the word for gamble, not the reverse.

20 Oil spilled below French window nearly causes angry response (7)
VITRIOL – A French word for window with the final letter removed (nearly) followed by an anagram (spilled) of OIL.  As the French word means a pane of glass rather than a window and English solvers may think of Fenetre as the window, this was perhaps a step too far.  Also does the wordplay cause the definition?  Perhaps creates would be better.

21 After maiden peels off maybe friars will get wood (6)
BALSAM – Friars is an example of this type of ointment which (if you remove the M (after maiden peels off) gives a type of lightweight wood used to make rafts or models.  I cannot help that this clue would have been much fairer if it was “Maybe Friars will get wood after maiden peels off” so that the definition was in its traditional place.  As the definition is a definition by example and maybe not that well known, it would give the solver more of a fighting chance of getting to the bottom of the clue.

22 A river running through a desert leads to a mountain (6)
ARARAT – The A from the clue and a three letter word meaning desert, abandon or betray includes the second A from the clue and the abbreviation for river.

25 Holiday the French ‘ave (5)
LEAVE – The French for “the” followed by the AVE from the clue.  The whole clue also alludes to a type of holiday taken without permission (which I was sorely tempted to take today from blogging duties as Andrex are currently doing a roaring business from my repeated use of it).

34 comments on “NTSPP – 410

  1. Very entertaining with some very inventive clueing – thanks JS. I can’t parse 23a and although I can see all the necessary bits in 19d I can’t make them fit together according to the clue. I think that 21d contains a word needing a capital letter (and an apostrophe?).
    I liked lots of clues – I’ll pick out 18a, 1d and 3d.

      1. Not sure I like the Frenchman. I speak French, but surely not everyone does. Same for window. Art in Paris has become a regular thing in crosswords, so maybe it’s ok, but I have never liked that the archaic art is nor indicated.

    1. 19d if you have all the components then yes, it’s an unfortunate use of “on” in a down clue, and avoiding “a” seems unnecessary.

  2. Got there eventually although there are some of the ‘war and peace’ clues that I haven’t thus far been able to fully parse. As for 5d – I resorted to trawling through the BRB. Thank goodness I didn’t have to go too far!

    Not really my cup of tea I’m sorry to say but I did like 1&13a.

    Thanks to JS – I shall look forward to CS’s decryption.

  3. Presuming that JollySwagman is an Aussie … this was yet another humiliation … after the events at the WACA earlier today.

    Filled the grid but have little idea why in many cases.

    The ones I don’t understand are far too many to mention.

    Favourite: 1a

    1. I’m not – I’m a British expat – I just live here.

      My youngest went to the Adelaide game – I haven’t asked him which side he barracked for (NB not “rooted for” – here that is a different pastime) – myself I would fail a local equivalent of the Norman Tebbit cricket test.

      He did say that the England fans were all complaining about the beer – well you would – it’s dreadful – probably even worse than usual in plastic cups at the cricket.

  4. Last time I said it wasn’t an NTSPP I had to review, it turned out it was. I hope I’m right this time as, not only have I a lot of things to achieve before 6.30 pm, I have question marks by some of the clues, including, like Jane, a couple of the War and Peace ones. I’ve also got a couple of ‘not quite rights’, a couple of ‘ch’ for chestnuts and some *s by clues I really liked – so a proper mixture of responses to this week’s post Saturday lunch crossword

    Thanks to Jolly Swagman for the brain mangling and in advance to the rarely spotted one for the review.

  5. For me this was the ultimate curate’s egg. There were a lot of excellent clues and a lot of clues that I either didn’t like or didn’t and still understand even though I’ve got a completed grid – as stanXYZ says there are too many of the latter to list them all.

    I won’t comment any further until I’ve seen CS’s review tomorrow except to say that overall, like Jane, this wasn’t my cup of tea.

    Thanks JS. I am sure others will have enjoyed this.

    1. I don’t think JS is yet a nationally published setter so it will be Prolixic rather than me doing all the working out and explaining :phew:

  6. Some pretty odd wordy surfaces and some pretty odd parsing, which became a struggle that I didn’t find very satisfying.
    Nice to see some different takes here and there, but overall it didn’t do much for me, sorry to say.
    Thanks JS, I can’t really fault the cluing so well done.

  7. We had a very slow start but then picked up steam considerably once we had sorted out the 29/4, 8d/17d, and 1d collection. It appears from the comments above that we were not alone with the ones where we could not get a complete parsing. Certainly quite a challenge but one that we really enjoyed.
    Thanks JS.

  8. I approached this with some misgiving, remembering that I had not fared well in a previous JollySwagman crossword. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this, and was able to finish it comfortably – and learned a little history on the way!

  9. I think i’ve got most of this, just not sure of the first bit of 1d. Some unusual constructs e.g. 21d with a definition in the middle? I enjoyed it, though i don’t find it easy to get onto JS’s wavelength. But the puzzle was peppered with sufficient easy clues to prevent deadlock.

    Well done, many thanks JS and I look forward the review.

  10. Thanks JS and Prolixic.

    I wondered why I couldn’t get 29/4 to fit in until I realised I was trying to put it into 29/1, doh!

    Some good clues with a few reservations that Prolixic has noted.

    I liked 1a among others.

  11. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, which sorted out which fodder I should have used to arrive at the parsing for Ethelred and his son, the reasoning behind 1d (I didn’t know the Kipling poem) and the relevance of the cricket term in 2d.
    Must admit that I don’t understand why the ‘A’ was included in 19d in the first place!

    With such obvious talent at his disposal, I feel it to be a shame that JS doesn’t produce puzzles with wider appeal – I wonder which market he is aiming to reach?

    1. In England and Wales a qualified chartered accountant (numbers man) puts the letters ACA (Associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) after his/her name. After some years they can trade up to FCA (Fellow…).

      In both cases they are read out loud as an initialism – not an acronym.

      The more common crossword appearance of: accountant (summer etc) = CA, is really only found elsewhere – possibly Scotland.

  12. Given the problems I had with parts of this crossword, I am extremely grateful to Prolific for rising from his sickbed to produce the review. Get well soon

  13. Thanks JS and Prolixic for sorting it out.
    I enjoyed it and managed to get all the answers without much trouble, even if I couldn’t figure out some of the details.
    I liked the interconnected ones, and was delighted to discover the dying on the can bit is at least apocryphal, even if not quite nailed down.

  14. Thanks for the review prolixic, hope you get over it soon. Spinach, oranges and whisky is my tip.

  15. I usually start out with an idea, otherwise I can’t be motivated to do a gridfill – which is probably the most arduous and least rewarding aspect of creating a crossword. Cluing is easy enough and can be quite fun.

    Here I was surprised that the Brexit negotiations (sic) hadn’t produced in the papers a comparison with Danegeld – ie you give us loads of money or else we’ll wage war against you – here economic war obviously – despite Kipling’s warning that “… once you have paid him the Dane-geld [sic] You never get rid of the Dane”. Many on the leave side suspect that is Mrs May’s secret aim anyway but they don’t seem to have linked it to the concept of Danegeld.

    My belief is that with political issues on which people are divided leg-pull without revealing a clear position works best in crosswords.You might compare the DT’s little Matt cartoons (which usually do that – and which I never miss) with other ones that are more explicit, but for me less satisfactory, even when I agree with their point of view.

    If you don’t know any Kipling (least of all If (1d) – surely everyone’s heard of that one) you will have lost some of the goodness.

  16. Some clarifications:

    11a something’s afoot – afoot (Oxford dictionary online – henceforth ODO) = beginning to happen
    something is beginning to happen – so S.
    23a “taken in by a Frenchman’s spin” = taken in by A IL is PR
    14d beyond = (ODO #5) apart from; except – not clear how that can’t work as a removal indicator
    16d “for” can indicate equivalence (eg ten for a pound) so it should work as a linkword in either direction
    19d on can mean beside – eg Southend-on-Sea – in any case a down clue can be solver horizontally on a scribble pad and then inserted into a light of either orientation. I don’t know what an otter award is – some sort of gratuitous insult I suppose.
    20d In French a car window is “une vitre”. Fenêtres are mainly in houses – confusingly they are also in the carriages of railway trains – but the driver has a vitre at the front. Shop windows are vitrines.
    21d Yes. I think the original one works but I prefer that casting. I thought the smut might be controversial – evidently not – nobody wants to cast themselves as a prude these days.
    25d I was mainly just having a bit of fun with the way French people don’t pronounce the letter H when speaking English. I hadn’t thought of “French leave” – an extra “layer” – I like that.

    Thanks all for taking part, commenting, and blogging – and to BD for hosting.

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