NTSPP – 425 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

NTSPP – 425

NTSPP – 425

A Puzzle by Snape

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Please accept my apologies for the late publication of this puzzle, but a disk error last night has meant that I have had to reload Windows and all of my programs, a task that will take the whole of this weekend and a bit longer.  BD


Snape returns with a nice crossword perfectly pitched for the Saturday afternoon slot which was good as I was able to fit both the solve and the review in between other Easter Sunday activities, as due to BD’s computer woes, I’d gone to bed with my book before the puzzle was published on Saturday evening.


6a With a slip of the tongue, criticise a prophet’s cure-all (7)
PANACEA With a slip of the tongue indicating that we need to follow a verb meaning to criticise and A (from the clue) with a homophone of another word for prophet

7a On reflection, nookie, beer, and drop of rum reduces tension (7)
RELAXES A reversal (on reflection) of some nookie, beer and the first letter (drop) of Rum

9a Hatred of element (not sulphur) (5)
ODIUM Remove the S for Sulphur from another chemical element

10a Moderate anger towards Spain (9)
TEMPERATE Another word for anger, a preposition meaning towards (I agree with both Gazza and Mrs Bradford) and the IVR code for Spain

11a Mark sneaks out of Games to get food (7)
PASTIES Once you realise that the capital G is there to mislead, simply remove (sneaks out) the M (Mark) from some hobbies or games

13a Vandal posed for Spooner in protective headgear (6)
SUNHAT How the dreaded Reverend might have said that a savage nomad of Asia (vandal) posed for an artist


15a An icy landmass is corrupt tax haven (6,7)
CAYMAN ISLANDS An anagram (is corrupt) of AN ICY LANDMASS. Doesn’t look particularly icy to me

19a Sick of not reaching your goals? Start to flounce off (6)
AILING Remove the ‘start’ to Flounce from another way of saying not reaching your goals

20a Let out, and let out again (7)
RELEASE To set free or to re-let a property for example

23a Repeatedly hit on music producer (9)
BOMBARDON Another word for the bass tuba is obtained by following a verb meaning to attack repeatedly with ON (from the clue)

24a Harry loves crack (5)
SOLVE An anagram (harry) of LOVES – I wonder whether this clue was referring to another setter who does like to include crack and other substances in his crosswords?

26a Magnificent win encourages hosts to embrace (7)
ENTWINE – Lurking in (hosts) magnificENT WIN Encourages

27a Fine English support worker (7)
ELEGANT The abbreviation for English, a support for a table, or indeed a person, and one of crosswordland’s workers. Jane may wish to note Chambers Crossword Dictionary lists fine and the solution together (under both words) but Mrs Bradford doesn’t.


1d Opposed to section of European timetable (4)
ANTI Found n a section of EuropeAN TImetable

2d Fiddle with really good seafood dish (6) SCAMPI I wonder if I can get away with referring to this as an ‘old friend’ as we quite often have to put that two-letter word that so many people regularly enquire as to why it means ‘really good’ after a synonym for fiddle in the sense of swindle

3d Raves without ecstasy are not suitable, initially, for fanatics (9)
PARTISANS Remove the E (without Ecstasy) from some raves and follow with the initial letters of Are Not Suitable

4d Ms Fitzgerald’s comeback album oddly ignored single’s ace, praise the Lord (8)
ALLELUIA One of those words you are never quite sure how to spell (so thank you to Snape for the helpful wordplay) and which will have been sung in many hymns this morning is obtained by reversing (comeback) the Christian name of Ms Fitzgerald (the jazz singer) and then adding the even letters (oddly ignored) letters of aLbUm, I (single) and the abbreviation for Ace

5d He taxed car, after arrangement with authority (2,8)
EX CATHEDRA Authoritatively – originally from the chair of office of a Pope – An anagram (after arrangement) of HE TAXED CAR

6d Cue for Mike Pence to go over Trump’s head (6)
PROMPT To supply forgotten words (cue) – another way of saying for, the letter represented by Mike in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, the abbreviation for Pence ‘go over’ (in a Down clue) the head (first letter) of Trump. Both Mrs B and the CCD agree that the solution is a synonym for cue and vice-versa.

7d Strange priest displaying bottom (4)
RUMP Another way of saying strange followed by the abbreviation for Priest

8d Private Eye‘s dodgy hustle (6)
SLEUTH An anagram (dodgy) of HUSTLE

12d Britain in deadlock with member of the same organisation (10)
STABLEMATE The abbreviation for Britain inserted into a synonym for deadlock

14d Alienated Parisian is called Edouard (9)
ESTRANGED The French word for ‘is’, a way of saying called on the telephone and the abbreviation for Edward (Do the French abbreviate Edouard in this way?)

16d Chap brave to ignore German language (8)
MANDARIN A chap and a way of saying brave without its last letter (ignore the G for German)

17d Canadian singer describes beginning of album as ‘A way to brighten up Christmas’ (6)
BAUBLE A well-known Canadian singer describes or goes round the ‘beginning’ of Album

18d Perhaps Freud rejecting last piece of maternal bond (6)
CEMENT – Not Sigmund but his grandson known for his writing and broadcasting. Removing the L (last piece of materiaL) from his Christian name will give you the required bond

21d Take heed of false statement about Roman numerals (6)
LISTEN Split your solution 1, 2, 3 and, if you know your Roman numerals you’ll know that the first letter of this false statement is the Roman numeral for 50,

22d Border of borders lacking borders (4)
EDGE Remove the borders or outside letters of some bushes serving as a fence (borders)

25d See a knight advance (4)
LOAN An archaic way of saying behold (see) A (from the clue) and a knight in chess notation

19 comments on “NTSPP – 425

  1. No need at all to apologise, BD. I am sure that the vast majority of the people who use this site would agree with me that we are extremely grateful for your unstinting efforts which help us all get even more enjoyment than we otherwise might from crosswords. Thank you so much for all that you do for us.

  2. Well, that was worth waiting for, very enjoyable.

    Favourite – a dead heat between 7a and 20a.

    Thanks Snape and grateful thanks to BD for all of his herculean efforts.

  3. Had to work quite hard to get the full parsing of a few of the clues and learned a couple of new things in 23a & 5d.
    4d must have an incredible number of alternative spellings and none of them are straightforward!

    Thought there were one or two slightly stretched synonyms – 27a and part of 6d – but the setter’s intention was clear enough and the puzzle was a pleasure to solve.

    Podium places went to 7,11&20a plus 12&14d.

    Many thanks to Snape and to BD for all his behind the scenes efforts – always very much appreciated.

  4. Lots of grandparental duties got in the way but we did manage eventually to get on to this.
    Thoroughly enjoyable and much appreciated.
    Thanks Snape

  5. Great puzzle full of lovely smooth clues – thanks Snape. I had to do a bit of Googling in the SW corner where I didn’t know either the music producer or the Canadian singer.
    My ticks went to 7a, 13a, 20a and 20d.

  6. As Senf says, this was well worth waiting for – very enjoyable, just the right level of difficulty, lovely cluing and smooth surfaces.

    I’m not quite sure about “towards” cluing “at” in 10a, but I am sure that Gazza will be able to provide me an example! 23a was a new word for me, and I can’t I fully parse 21d.

    My ticks were awarded to 7a, 13a, 20a, 4d, 7d & 22d.

    Many thanks, Snape. Great stuff.

      1. Mmm…

        Thanks, Gazza. Very nice try, but the pedant in me thinks that “at” is absolutely precise whereas “towards” is much more general. Still it’s probably much less of a stretch than some setters use!

        21d – very clever. I was transfixed by “false statement” = “lie”.

      2. Ho hum – that’s just knocked my parsing attempt on the head. I found St Roman, surrounded him with a ‘lie’ and finished it off with an ‘N’. Must admit, I did wonder a bit about the accuracy of using the latter to represent a plural!
        Thanks, Gazza.

  7. An excellent puzzle Snape, loved the homophone indicator at 6a, learned a new word at 23a, podium place to the very neat 6d.
    Many thanks to BD for his perseverance-Saturday must have been hugely frustrating.
    Thanks in advance to Gazza – I enjoyed his explanation of 21d

  8. Excellent puzzle but I had to reveal a few letters to finish😶 mainly to solve23a which was a new word for me. I concur that the many different spellings of 4d could have tripped me up but fortunately the clue led me to the correct one and my nemesis the spoonerism was solved with barely a sound from the penny drop.
    5d my fave clue but reading the other comments and parsing 21d reveals a beauty of a clue. 14d worthy of mention too.

  9. Scuse my manners many thanks to Snape and Sue for the review and good luck To BD with his PC rebuild. Been there a few times and lost hours watching progress bars creep eastwards. You need an award for managing this site so well perhaps Sue could bake you a Cake 😉🎂

  10. A great puzzle Snape, with just the right level of difficulty :-)
    I ‘bunged in’ 21d from the definition and it took me a while to get the wordplay, even with C.Sue’s 100% clear explanation. And a new ‘music producer’ word for me, too.

    Thanks again!

    And of course many thanks to B.Dave for making this the excellent site that it is!

    Cheers all,


  11. Many thanks for the review, CS, and the bit of GK about 5d.
    My word – that 23a looks to be extremely capable of producing the noise its name suggests!

    Have to say that I only looked in the BRB for fine = elegant, I obviously should have looked further but didn’t give it another thought. I sometimes wonder just how far a solver should be expected to go in this respect?

    Thanks again to Snape and to CS for giving up her time on Easter Sunday.

    PS The hint for 10a could perhaps do with a tweak to avoid the use of the first part of the answer.

  12. Delightful puzzle from Snape.
    He puts me to shame by finding enough extra creativity to set for NTSPP as well as producing more puzzles for the Indy than I can manage.
    I have to agree with Gordon that 6d was an absolute cracker – getting Mike Pence and Trump into the same clue – brilliant!

  13. All nice and accessible apart from (for me) 17dn as I have to admit to ignorance of the singer or his album. But I worked out the answer and confirmed it, at the same time expanding my general knowledge, by googling. And that made it one of my two stand-out clues, the other being 21dn.

    Thanks, Snape and CS

  14. Many thanks to CS for the review, and for Dave for all his hard work, not the ideal way to spend Easter.

    There was a certain Harry who came to mind when writing 24a, and a certain Gazza who came to mind when writing the ‘homophone’ indicator in 6a.

    For 14d, I did keep changing between Edward and Edouard, for the reason listed, but decided to take a possible liberty that allowed a more plausible surface as I thought it would be reasonably obvious.

    As for Jane’s question as to how far a synonym can go, I think you can’t just use the words listed in a dictionary, although admittedly a thesaurus sometimes really does stretch things a long way. If the two words are defined in pretty much the same way, I tend to consider it fair enough.

    If you haven’t had too much of my puzzles, there’s an Eccles in the Indy on Wednesday.

  15. That was great fun.
    Only had a bit of trouble in the SW having spelled 17d Baulbe which made me look if a Lambaston in 23a was an instrument. D’oh.
    7a made me laugh.
    Thanks to Snape and to CS for the review.

Comments are closed.