NTSPP – 412 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 412

NTSPP – 412

2017 by Prolixic

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Prolixic has given us an excellent review of those who sadly passed away during 2017.

Prolixic has produced an end-of-year special crossword giving us a chance to remember some of those we’ve lost in 2017.

Seventeen solutions are the names of famous people who have died in 2017 and one solution is in memory of Tstrummer. Only the wordplay is given for these solutions


1a Pecking order in Iceland? (4,5)
FOOD CHAIN The order in which organisms eat each other (pecking order) or a description of Iceland, the frozen food store

6a Character‘s currently in Cornwall with blockbuster movie’s finale (4-5)
SNOW-WHITE Another way of saying currently inserted into the abbreviation for the part of the UK where Cornwall is situated; a blockbuster and the ‘finale’ of moviE

14a Field of study covered by Montreal museum (5)
REALM Lurking in (covered by) MontREAL Museum

15a A French man involved in affairs embraces old birds (9)
FLAMINGOS A (from the clue) and the French abbreviation for Mr (man) involved in some brief relationships (affairs) ’embraces’ the abbreviation for Old

16a In the last month artist becomes extremist (5)
ULTRA The abbreviated way of saying in the last month followed by the usual abbreviation for artist

17a One may be charged in Jerusalem after killing Zulu (3)
ION Remove (killing) the Z for Zulu from another name for Jerusalem

18a Exert an influence over division in part of West London (3, 2)
ACTON Split part of West London 3, 2

19a Old Prime Minister meets sugar magnate with very few teeth(8)
EDENTATE A very clear piece of wordplay – the surname of an old Prime Minister meets a sugar magnate

20a Report of unauthorised disclosure about queen (6)
KEELER A reversal (about) of a homophone (report) of an unauthorised disclosure, followed by the regnal cipher of our current Queen

22a Person touring Norway (4)
BOND An originally military slang term for a person goes round (touring) the IVR Code for Norway

24a Academic expert on visible signs of electronic interference (7)
SNOWDON Specks on a tv or radar screen as a result of electronic interference followed by an academic expert

26a Votes against imprisoning a king (6)
NOAKES Insert (imprisoning) A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for King in a chess game into some votes against

33a Vauxhall car run down about beaded mouldings (9)
ASTRAGALS A Vauxhall car followed by a reversal of a slang verb meaning to criticise (run down)

34a Doctor passport? That’s hard (5)
RIGID A verb meaning to doctor in the sense of manipulate) followed by the abbreviation for the type of document a passport represents

35a Second source of natural materials (5)
MOORE A short period of time (second) and a source of natural materials

36a Reportedly sinks beer in large quantities (9)
WHOLESALE A homophone (reportedly) of some ‘sinks’ plus some beer

37a Northern Cyprus has to come out before crisis (9)
EMERGENCY A verb meaning to come out goes before the abbreviation for Northern and the IVR Code for Cyprus

43a Chinese units capturing European women (5)
LEWIS Chinese units of distance ‘capturing’ the abbreviations for European and women

45a Welshman meets King and Emperor in Japanese imperial residence (7)
DAIRI A Welshman’s name meets the two letters one might put after the name of a king and emperor to give the Japanese Imperial family’s residence in Kyoto which isn’t in the BRB but Jane’s friend Mr Google knew all about it!

47a Broken green tin holds a variety of orange (9)
TANGERINE An anagram (broken) of GREEN TIN ‘holds’ A (from the clue)

48a Dutch city losing second point (6)
DEXTER The abbreviation for Dutch followed by a city in Devon losing its second E (compass point)

50a Heartless agent seen in river (7)
FORSYTH Remove the middle letter (heartless) from a secret agent and insert in a Scottish River. The second picture is to ‘help’ with part of 39d ;)

51a It’s worn in South American state (4)
SARI The abbreviations for South and American followed by the abbreviation for one of the states found on the East Coast of America

54a Agree redhead briefly needs makeover (6)
ADHERE An anagram (needs makeover) of almost all (briefly) of REDHEAd

57a Write guidebook I put forward on group of teachers (8)
SCRIBBLE A group of teachers may be known by the three initials of the room where they meet. Follow this with a guidebook, the name of which should have the I moved further up the word (put forward)

59a Vietnamese painter originally left early picture with prostitute (2,3)
LE PHO I hadn’t heard of this Vietnamese painter but the wordplay is very helpful. The original letters of Left Early and Picture with an informal US term for a prostitute

62a A little lad thanks duke (3)
TAD Hands up if you too didn’t know this word could refer to a little lad. An informal way of saying thank you followed by the abbreviation for duke

63a Turkish official houses bishop (5)
BERRY Insert the abbreviation for bishop (not the chess one, the church one) into a Turkish official

64a Gangster’s incredibly wealthy to the very end (3,3,3)
All THE WAY Crosswordland’s favourite gangster plus an anagram (incredibly) of wealthy

65a Old architect‘s declaration on entering building! (5)
INIGO Split the Christian name of an old architect 2, 1, 2 and you’ll see why the second half of the clue made me smile

66a Maybe Svengali‘s hypothesis isn’t first (9)
HYPNOTIST The abbreviation for hypothesis followed by a way of writing ‘isn’t first’

67a Those being tested having spots on bottoms (9)
ASSESSEES A verb meaning spots goes after (on) some bottoms


2d Oscar’s role in form of abstractionism (2,3)
OP ART The letter represented by Oscar in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet followed by a role

3d Party member elected before the middle of October (6)
DOMINO A party, the abbreviation for Member, a way of saying elected and the middle letter of OctOber

4d Organisation of free-thinkers dismissing wildcat strike (6)
HEFNER An anagram (organisation of) FREE THINKERS without (dismissing) the letters of STRIKE (wildcat telling you that they aren’t in this order in free-thinkers)

5d Picture of India carried by warlock (5)
IMAGE The letter represented by India in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet carried by (on top of in a Down solution) a warlock

7d Man reported itch from dusk to dawn (9)
NIGHTLONG A homophone of a man (chess piece) and another way of saying itch for something

8d Liberal Tories seeing drop in support at last (4)
WEST Take a way of referring to liberal-thinking members of the Tory party and drop the T (drop in supporT ‘at last’ to the end of the word


9d Dwelling hard by river (5)
HOUSE The abbreviation for Hard ‘by’ a Yorkshire river

10d Come to a petrol company (7)
TOTAL A double definition clue, the second part of which was a d’oh moment for me

11d Travelling abroad met attractive person (9)
DREAMBOAT An anagram (travelling) of ABROAD MET

12d Four star indication of what Europe is to Nigel Farage (5,4)
DIRTY WORD You might replace part of a written down swear word with four stars; the solution probably describes Mr Farage’s view of Europe

13d Growth of rock musical (4)
HAIR A double definition

21d Time when husband leaves Olympian queen (3)
ERA Remove the H for Husband (leaves) from a Queen of Olympia

23d Score selection of Pinot and Chablis (5)
NOTCH Hidden in a selection of PiNOT and CHablis

25d Nosy group of astronauts on lunar surface (5)
NASAL The American ‘group’ of astronauts on the ‘surface’ of Lunar

27d Mother and Mechanical Engineer originally redesigned electrical instrument (8)
OHMMETER An anagram (redesigned) of MOTHER AND ME (Mechanical Engineer ‘originally’)

28d King ducks seeing Prince Andrew’s ex (3)
KOO The chess abbreviation for King and two of the letters/numbers used to indicate a duck in cricket scoring

29d Look for Bridge player’s expression of surprise (4)
SEEK The single letter representing one of the players in a game of bridge followed by an expression of surprise

30d Consular agent hands key to Cumbrian town (8)
CARLISLE The abbreviation for Consular Agent, abbreviations by which your hands might be known and a key in the sense of a piece of land

31d Donkey and fish hidden by wings of canary (7)
CASSIDY A donkey and a type of fish are ‘hidden by’ or inserted between the wings of CanarY

32d Loving a group holding party (7)
ADORING A (from the clue) and a group ‘holding’ an informal term for a party

38d Tribute to Mozart includes revolutionary musical work (5)
MOTET The words ‘includes revolutionary’ tell you that the solution can be found lurking in reverse in tribuTE TO Mozart

39d Feature of 50 on a friend (5)
CHINA A facial feature for which the solution to 50a was well known ‘on’ A (from the clue) gives us a Cockney’s friend

40d Thick ground cut of ox meat (4)
CLOD A triple definition – although I have to say the third one was new to me

41d Metal workers mint this special alloy (9)
TINSMITHS An anagram (alloy) of MINT THIS and S (special)

42d Working to support house on mountain pass for Mark (9)
SEMICOLON Misleading capitals time for the definition. A way of saying working (2) ‘supports’ a type of house and a mountain pass

44d Remove hair with American tool (3)
WAX The abbreviation for with and the American spelling of a particular tool

46d This triangle categorises lines’ length in a new form (9)
ISOSCELES An anagram (in a new form) of CATEGORISES LINES L (Length) produces both the word TRIANGLE and the solution

49d Join game (3)
TIE A nice simple double definition

52d Take expensive car and produce new version (6)
RETYPE The single letter used, on prescriptions for example, to mean take followed by an expensive (Jaguar) car

53d Store on steamship (6)
ALDISS A well-known discount supermarket chain followed by the abbreviation for steamship

54d Sylvester Stallone’s character loses head in pulpit (4)
AMBO Remove the first letter (loses head) from one of characters played by Mr Stallone

55d Difficult year (5)
HARDY A synonym for difficult and the abbreviation for year

56d Material in lead-free pencil (5)
RAYON Remove the lead from a colouring pencil

58d British sheep (5)
BEWES The abbreviation for British and some female sheep

60d Leaders of printworkers running in democratic elections (5)
PRIDE The name of one of our own sadly lost just before Christmas is obtained from the leaders of Printworkers Running In Democratic Elections

61d One in court (4)
CANT Insert an indefinite article (one) in the abbreviation for court

20 comments on “NTSPP – 412

  1. That was tricky and took quite a while, even with a couple of bung-ins and one or two reveals. Lots of penny-drop moments which made for a very enjoyable puzzle – also some very inspiring ideas that I would not have thought of in a hundred years!
    Thanks Prolixic

  2. Many thanks Prolixic for brightening up my Saturday afternoon with a search for lots of dead people. I found them all, having to correct KNOWHOW (which I couldn’t parse anyway) to get the last one.

    Having printed out the puzzle, I think I am now suffering from eye squint.

    Thanks for keeping it fairly easy, the large grid put me off initially but progress was fairly rapid.

    My answer to 45a doesn’t seem to appear in any dictionaries which is never a good sign – I look forward to the review.

    Favourites are 56a and 67a.

    Happy new year

  3. Thanks Prolixic; masterful setting.

    It was great fun as the names gradually revealed themselves.

    One or two unknowns – the pulpit and cut of ox meat.

    I liked ‘Those being tested having spots on bottoms’ among others.

  4. Well – that kept me out of mischief for quite a while Like Dutch, my eyes are definitely troubling me now!

    I’ve found 17 poor souls, remains to be seen whether they’re the required ones. My top three are, of course, the ones that made me laugh the most – 24&65a plus 12d.

    Thank you for the ‘torture’ Prolixic and also for your very kind tribute to Tstrummer.

  5. Industrious elves have spotted that the crossword has a theme of Noel in that the clue for 46d is missing one. The revised clue is:

    This triangle categorises lines’ length in a new form

    Apologies to those who have been confused by the omission.

  6. Phew, that wasn’t a quick solve by any means and was accomplished over two separate sessions (with a longish break between them), but it was so, so enjoyable.

    I think I have all seventeen famous names, it was a lovely touch to add Tstrummer as an eighteenth.

    In addition to not knowing 45a (glad I wasn’t alone), 33a and the second definition of 40d were also new to me. My knowledge of Vietnamese painters has increased by 100% after today too! There are still a couple of answers that are stubbornly defying my parsing attempts, but I’ll await the review for those I think.

    My ticks went to 17a, 34a, 64a, 65a, 4d, 11d and 56d. My repetition radar did bleep several times, but in a grid of that magnitude it required a different calibration to be honest. A couple of small quibbles: 30d is a city, not a town and the Freudian slip of a typo in Mr Stallone’s first name did amuse me.

    Huge thanks to Prolixic not just for this amazing magnum opus, but for all his other puzzles during 2017 and for his continued and invaluable help to aspiring setters in Rookie Corner.

    1. 30d is the ‘county town’ of Cumbria

      Had the usual macro worked to give me the template for the blog, I’d have seen the Freudian typo as the Word spellchecker wouldn’t have liked it. I had to type out all the clues individually for my draft review and so missed the typo altogether.

      1. Thanks, CS.

        It might make a good riddle then, i.e. “When is a city also a town?”!

        Typing out all the clues manually for a 15×15 grid is hard work in itself, but for a 21×21 grid, I imagine you needed a good lie down when you’d finished! Well done, indeed.

    2. OK – whilst we’re all admitting to what we didn’t know – I’m with you on the ones you mentioned, Silvanus, and would add the toothless chap, the warlock and the item of church furniture to the list. I also suspect there’ll be another one in 46d – can’t parse it for the life of me!

      1. Hi Jane,

        Yes, 46d is on my list to check up on tomorrow! It’s ironic that Giovanni used it yesterday too. I remember trying to find a satisfactory clue for it in one of my puzzles ages ago, but gave up and have made a mental note to try to avoid it in the future! Well done to both Giovanni and Prolixic for not shirking the challenge.

  7. The third member of our team, a certain Mr Google, had to work very hard over a long period of time to eventually get us across the line. Such cleverness and such fun and very satisfying to work through.
    Thanks Prolixic.

  8. :phew: This is difficult but I’m giving myself an excuse by saying that I’m deliberately saving it up for tomorrow.
    Strange how a very big crossword i.e. 21 x21 instead of the usual 15 x 15 looks so daunting. It’ll be fine . . . . or not!!
    Thanks in advance to Prolixic, Mr Google and CS?

  9. Many thanks for the well-illustrated review, CS, and – yes – I was another who didn’t realise 62a could apply to a young boy!

    No wonder I couldn’t parse 46d – that type of clue invariably fools me. Is it referred to as a subtractive anagram, I keep forgetting.

    Thanks again to Prolixic as well – I wonder how long it took you to compile that one?

  10. Under normal circumstances I find a Prolixic puzzle just a fraction beyond my ability level. Added to this, and looking at the photos in CS’s review, I only recognized a handful of the famous people, and of those I recognized, I could only name two. Then, add to that the bigger grid . . . . . . In the end I got the top half (I did have to cheat on 8d – I don’t think I had met the Tories in question) and ground to a halt by being unable to untangle the small group attached to 40d. There were several clues I was disappointed with myself not to have solved (46d for instance – I had the right answer penciled in but I did not recognize the (very clever) word play). I am not sure I know the context where ‘s’ is the abbreviation for ‘special’ (41d). There were other things I had not heard of (the ox cut, the Chinese units, the Japanese imperial residence, etc). I did enjoy this, but on balance felt disappointed in not being able to enjoy it a little more completely. Many thanks to CS and Prolixic.

  11. Very seasonally appropriate. Great clueing as usual by Prolixic, but not so great solving by me: I must admit to taking many shortcuts to get to the end.

    Thanks Prolixic — especially for including TS — and thanks to CS.

  12. Thanks Prolixic for the crossword and thanks CS for all the sorting out.
    I didn’t finish it but nearly did and Mr Google has been doing overtime.
    Thanks again for the work not to mention the time that must have gone into this great production.

  13. Thanks to all for the comments and to Crypticsue for the review. I set this over the course of a few evenings in early December and, having sent it to Big Dave, saw in the news that another handful of well known personalities had died. Therefore Keith Chegwin did not make an appearance in the crossword. When Dave told me that Tom Pride (Tstrummer) had died, I looked again at the grid and, with changes to three or four clues, was able to add his name to the roll call.

    Wishing everyone the happiest and healthiest New Year.


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