NTSPP – 416 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 416

NTSPP – 416

A Puzzle by Prolixic

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This puzzle has been distributed to guests at today’s big event, and has a message related to that event.

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

I think the introduction – This crossword was composed with 29 for 21’s 8 16 18 30 at 6 14 in 28 3 – says it all, so I will just say thank you to Prolixic for the crossword and for his company yesterday afternoon.


8a Report of key mathematical operation (4)
BLOG A musical key and an abbreviated mathematical operation

9a Get away to join group exercises (5)
ELOPE A 1970s rock group and some school exercises

10a Part left in fish eggs (4)
ROLE The abbreviation for left inside some fish eggs

11a Pretentious person comes back with sloth in tree (6)
BONSAI A reversal (comes back in an Across clue) of a pretentious person followed by a three-toed sloth

12a Jailed dons went on a rampage (4,4)
SENT DOWN An anagram (on a rampage) of DONS WENT

13a Most pure members of flock abruptly take a break (8)
SHEEREST Abruptly indicates the need to remove the last letter of some animals who are members of a flock and then add a brief respite (break)

15a Group of politicians in Brussels? (6)
GREENS A group of politicians or the vegetables of which Brussels are an example

17a Song composed bilingually after putting away one gin cocktail (7)
LULLABY An anagram (composed) of BILINGUALLY once you have ‘put away’ or removed I (one) and GIN (cocktail indicating that the letters aren’t in that order)

19a Advice given in remit for soldier’s pay (7)
STIPEND Some advice (as often given on our blog) inserted into a verb meaning to remit

22a Something glowing on male part of the body (6)
MEMBER Something that glows put on or after the abbreviation for Male

24a Complains bitterly given his horsing around (8)
INVEIGHS An anagram (horsing around) of GIVEN HIS

26a Weapon discarded in garden hut (8)
TOOLSHED A weapon and a verb meaning discarded

28a Small mail order company loses golf clubs (6)
LITTLE Remove some golf clubs from the name of a mail order company

30a Crash graduate’s quiet party (4)
BASH An abbreviated graduate and an instruction to be quiet. Let’s hope the event for which this crossword was created is more of a party than a crash!

31a Block of Georgian Villas (5)
ANVIL Lurking in GeorgiAN VILlas

32a Jack loses his head in middle of church (4)
NAVE Remove the first letter (loses his head) from another word from Jack, the playing card


1d Frequently dropping old singer (4)
ALTO Take an expression meaning frequently (1, 3) and drop the abbreviation for Old to the end

2d Encourage petroleum company to produce type of paint (8)
EGGSHELL A verb meaning to encourage and a well-known petroleum company

3d Once in Italy I came upon church in old republic (6)
VENICE The Latin (as once used in Italy) way of saying I came followed by one of the usual abbreviations for church

4d Escorts arranged to get underwear (7)
CORSETS An anagram (arranged) of ESCORTS

5d Summit hosts Nationalists’ party (3,5)
HEN NIGHT Two lots of the abbreviation for Nationalist (note the s at the end) are hosted by or inserted into a summit

6d Couple support game (6)
BRIDGE A triple definition clue

7d Problem with report of defeat (4)
FLAW A homophone (with report of) a verb meaning to defeat

14d Audience for type of music (5)
HOUSE – Double definition time to give us a word we should put with 6d to get our venue

16d Phony hymn isn’t involved in this symphony (5)
NINTH An anagram (involved) of PHONY HYMN ISNT will give you the words THIS SYMPHONY plus five other letters which, when rearranged, give you the name of a Beethoven symphony

18d Moor, by the sound of it, has time for celebration (8)
BIRTHDAY A homophone (by the sound of it) of a verb meaning to moor a ship plus a period of time

20d Desperate to include independent art form (8)
PAINTING Having a frantic desire for (desperate) ‘including’ the abbreviation for Independent

21d Editor of Tom Hanks’ film channel (3,4)
BIG DAVE The title of a film starring Tom Hanks and a Freeview television channel

23d Throw over attempt to become Marxist (6)
BOLSHY A reversal (over in a Down clue) of a verb meaning to throw followed by an attempt to throw something with a sideways motion

25d Infamously takes 6:50 to see… (6)
VILELY The Roman numerals for six and fifty followed by a diocese (see) that’s a favourite with crossword setters

27d … topless lady in Arab country (4)
OMAN Remove the ‘top’ from a lady

29d Be fond of nothing (4)
LOVE A nice straight-forward double definition to finish

20 comments on “NTSPP – 416

  1. i do hope everybody is enjoying themselves while i suffer from one of the most serious cases of manflu ever recorded by the medical profession.
    this puzzle along with the backpager has alleviated that suffering somewhat but now it’s time to get back under the duvet. It’s handy that mrs spindrift used to be a nurse as her sympathy for me knows no bounds…..yeah, right!

    thanks to prolixic & mr ron

    1. Oh, you have a cold. So sorry. Get outside of a few hot toddies. That should make you feel better.

  2. Well that was enjoyably gentle, or was it gently enjoyable, whatever way round, it was very pleasant especially the decoding of the ‘headline’ which did help with a couple of clues.

    Thanks to Prolixic.

  3. Just back from the Birthday Bash, and what fun it was too. Lovely to meet everybody there.

    This puzzle was also great fun. It was not as taxing as Prolixic’s puzzles can be and it was made easier by the very appropriate theme.

    Many thanks to Prolixic both for the entertainment and for the helpful hint given to me in person in the pub to allow me solve 5d, which was my last one in.

  4. We thought of you all and the fun you must be having while we worked through this. When we first looked at the grid we felt sure there must be a Nina around the edge. Fooled again! Good fun and deciphering the message in the preamble certainly was a help.
    Thanks Prolixic.

  5. It’s become a tradition now for a Prolixic puzzle to grace the Birthday Bash, and this year’s was as enjoyable as always, although I agree with RD that others have been more challenging. The themed solutions obviously contributed to the solver-friendly nature of the puzzle.

    There was some nice misdirection, having noticed a “report” already in 7d, I was expecting my repetition radar to bleep when solving 8a, but of course it wasn’t a homophone after all! My top clues were 15a, 1d and 16d.

    Great to see so many setters, bloggers and commenters in attendance today. Thanks to Prolixic for the anniversary puzzle, CS for her delicious cake, and to BD for nine glorious years.

  6. A comfortable solve, helped of course by the message though that did not detract from the enjoyment. I do have a couple of parsing questions. I/m sure everyone had a great time at the celebration. I am envious, but perhaps one of the days I will be that strange lady poking her head around the door.

  7. This was lots of fun and pitched just right for an occasion with free-flowing happy juice and great company providing myriad distractions.

    I had a wonderful time chatting to all the lovely people at the bash. Sharing food, drinks and conversation with friends – is there anything better?

    Thanks Prolixic, and thanks in advance to CS for the review.

  8. Once I had one or two of the headline words, the rest was fairly straightforward to work out, so the solve wasn’t a overly tough one. Very nice message from Prolixic.
    A good day out by all accounts so I’m pleased to hear all went well.
    Thanks to Prolixic and in anticipation, to CS

  9. A lovely crossword even if I have done it a day late – thanks to Prolixic for this and also for his company yesterday.
    I agree with others that it wasn’t as fiendish as his usual offerings!
    I admit defeat in managing to untangle why my 16d was right although it had to be what it was – too clever for me.
    I think my favourite has to be 23d although all the themed answers were pretty good too.
    Thank again to Prolixic and to CS for sorting out my 16d – oh, I also failed with the mail order company in 28a.

  10. I also thought this a lovely crossword and not as difficult as Prolixic can often be.
    Plenty of fun in these clues. It is always difficult to select a fave from Prolixic because his clues are always excellent. The one that gave me the biggest chuckle, though, was the superb 15a. It is my fave for that reason and for its subtle double entendre.
    Big thanks to Prolixic and to CS. Beautiful birthday tributes from you both. What a delicious-looking Birthday cake, CS! Bet it tasted as yummy as it looks and there’s not a crumb left!

  11. What a lovely way to round off the birthday weekend. Many thanks, Prolixic, and thanks to CS for posting the blog along with pics of our leader, the glorious cake and our venue for the big day.

    28a made me smile the most.

          1. I did try to find a more up to date picture but had so many crossword- and uncrossword-related things to do yesterday, that I went for the tried-and-tested option

  12. It was great to catch up with people on Saturday to celebrate the ninth year of the blog and thanks for all the comments on the crossword.

    As it happens, NTSPP 416 also marks the eighth anniversary of the NTSPP that began with a crossword by Anax (Elkemere in the Toughie) to which it is a joy to contribute alongside many other setters.

    Particular thanks go to Crypticsue who shoulders the responsibility for blogging many of the NTSPP crosswords these days as many of us are now published setters and the usual convention is that setters should not blog other setters’ crosswords.

    Congratulation to BD for another great milestone and for allowing many new setters to achieve fame (if not fortune!)

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