NTSPP – 428 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 428

NTSPP – 428

A Puzzle by Italicus

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.

A rare appearance from your reviewer.  As Italicus is not a published setter, I get the pleasure of blogging this crossword – though with such quality clues, it may not be long before I have to hand over the reins to Crypticsue.


1 Old testament figures – a mixed bunch taken as a whole (3,3)
JOB LOT – The names of two characters from the Old Testament, the first noted for his patient suffering and the second whose wife was turned into a pillar of salt.

4 Various articles about popular revolutionary; Plato, say (8)
ATHENIAN – Three articles (two indefinite and one definite) around a reversal (revolutionary) of a two letter word meaning popular.

9 Alien tracking asteroid in spacecraft (6)
ROCKET – The world’s favourite alien follows (tracking a four letter word for what an astroid may be made from.

10 City’s large Greek amphitheatre originally maintained by venerable fellow (8)
BELGRADE – The abbreviation for large and Greek and the initial letter (originally) of amphitheatre inside the name of an early church historian given the designation venerable.

12 Stole from maiden with tattoos (4)
MINK – The abbreviation for maiden followed by a three letter word for tattoos.

13 A second layer is greyish-white (5)
ASHEN – The A from the clue followed by the abbreviation for second and the name of an animal that lays eggs.

14 Little boy’s initially worried sick (4)
WILL – The word letter (initially) of worried followed by a three letter word for sick.

17 Clans even managed to capture retreating enemy’s queen (4,2,6)
ANNE OF CLEVES – An anagram (managed) of CLANS EVEN includes a reversal (retreating) of a three letter word for an enemy.

20 Ordering doubles with a sago pudding (5,7)
BLOOD SAUSAGE – An anagram (ordering) of DOUBLES A SAGO.

23 Greek character takes centre stage in chariot arena (4)
IOTA – The answer is hidden (takes centre stage) in CHARIOT ARENA.

24 Notes resistance to renewable source of energy (5)
SOLAR – Two notes in the musical scale followed by the abbreviation for resistance.

25 Set a limit on electronic cloaking device (4)
CAPE -A  three letter word meaning set a list on followed by the abbreviation for electronic.

28 Scrupulous journalist opposed to hacking into computer (8)
PEDANTIC – A two letter word for a journalist and a word meaning opposed to inside (hacking into) a two letter abbreviation for a computer.

29 Temple father is filled with a divine presence (6)
PAGODA – A two letter word for a father includes (is filled with) the A from the clue and a three letter word for a divine presence.

30 Sprawling tree; it’s stood in New York for a long time (8)
ETERNITY – An anagram (sprawling) of TREE followed by the IT from the clue inside the (stood in) the abbreviation for New York. 

31 Argument young lady scoffed at (6)
DEBATE – A three letter word for a young society lady followed by a word meaning scoffed.  The only real issue in this crossword is that the “at” is redundant and changes the meaning of “scoffed at”.  As noted, “Argument young lady swallowed” would have worked better.


1 Book I penned in French, I set in exotic harem (8)
JEREMIAH – The French for I followed by the I from the clue in an anagram (exotic) of HAREM.

2/6 Rotters eating barbarian for breakfast (5,3,4)
BACON AND EGGS – A phrase (3,3) for rotters includes (eating) a five letter name for a noted barbarian.

3 Livestock rounded up in Egyptian exodus (4)
OXEN – The answer is hidden (in) and reversed (rounded up) in EGYPTIAN EXODUS.

5 Steve has seen troubled parts of planet (3,5,4)
THE SEVEN SEAS – An anagram (troubled) of STEVE HAS SEEN.

6 See 2

7 Setter abandons American style of writing (6)
ITALIC – Remove (abandons) the abbreviation for American from the pseudonym of our setter.

8 Depend on the French to be provocative (6)
NEEDLE – A four letter word meaning depend on followed by the French masculine for “the”.

11 Mental health visitor confused school with pigsty (12)
PSYCHOLOGIST – An anagram (confused) of SCHOOL PIGSTY.

15 Butts of swords (5)
FOILS – Double definition, the first being the target of a joke or scam and the second being another name of a fencing sword.

16 Popular symbol of London has died out – it’s a puzzle! (5)
REBUS – A type of transport used in London (3,3) without (our) the abbreviation for died.

18 Soldier guarding Scottish Island reflected sense of foreboding (8)
PARANOIA – A four letter word for an airborne soldier around (guarding) a reversal (reflected) of a holy Scottish island.

19 Influence of party mounting over period of time (8)
LEVERAGE – Reverse (mounting) a five letter word for a party and follow it (over) with a three letter word for a period of time.

21 Faint uneven pulse is a fairly common feature (6)
DIMPLE – A three letter word meaning faint or not bright followed by the odd letter (uneven) of PULSE.

22 Filling fare, say, Dorothy’s served up (6)
STODGE – A reversal (served up) of the the abbreviation for “for example” or say and the diminutive form of Dorothy’s.

26 Presently unknown (4)
ANON – A double definition, the first meaning in a moment and the second the shorted form of anonymous.

27 Posh girl on ecstasy gets violent wind (4)
GALE – A three letter upper class word for a girl followed by the abbreviation for ecstasy.

28 comments on “NTSPP – 428

  1. Lovely puzzle with exceptionally smooth surfaces throughout. It’s a fine example of how a puzzle doesn’t have to be fiendishly difficult to be entertaining. I ticked lots of clues including 10a, 28a and 2/6d but my favourite has to be 16d.
    Thanks Italicus.

  2. Straightforward (and that’s fine with me on a busy Saturday) and most enjoyable. My top spots go to 28A, 2/6D, 21D and 22D. Thanks, Italicus.

  3. A perfect NTSPP – a joy to solve and fitting nicely into the space between eating lunch and I really must get on with something in the garden (which may, in my case, be sitting in a garden chair with more crosswords)

    Like Gazza, I have marked lots of ‘clues I liked’ but it is too difficult to select just one for favouritism so I won’t

    Thanks to Italicus and, in advance, to Prolixic

  4. Thanks Italicus, very enjoyable and completed before infusion of and without assistance of caffeine.

    As BD suggested, a complete contrast to today’s back pager.

    Candidates for favourite – 28a, the 2d/6d combo, and 18d – and the winner is the combo.

    Thanks again.

  5. Loved it – many thanks Italicus. And I think I may succumb to Cryptic Sue’s approach to tackling the garden: I’m sure I have the most recent edition of the excellent Crossnumber Quarterly lying around somewhere!

  6. Thanks Italicus, super throughout, looks like a lot of care went into it. Favourites were 5, 21, 28.

  7. Excellent yet again, Italicus. Your attention to surface reads gladdens my heart.
    Masses of ticks on the page but I’ll restrict myself to mentioning 1,17,28 &30a plus 2/6d & 16d.

    Have to confess to forgetting your favourite barbarian again despite promising myself that I’d remember him from your last NTSPP but I found him in time to enjoy breakfast!
    My absolute favourite hasn’t thus far been mentioned by anyone else – 1a had me laughing out loud.

    Couple of question marks – I thought 12a needed a ‘perhaps’ inserted to allow for coat, jacket etc and the ‘at’ in 31a seems to be somewhat redundant. Minor points but maybe worth making.

    Thank you so much for bringing us another NTSPP – already looking forward to your next one.

    1. Argument young lady swallowed (6)

      Ah – you beat me to it Jane – great minds and all that

  8. Italicus, well done, I too thought this was very good with fun surfaces. Lots to like but i particularly enjoyed 9a, 12a, 2d/6d, 5d, 7d, 3d, 11d

    last ones in were 25a and 15d, they weren’t forthcoming for a while but got there in the end.

    Keep it up

  9. Took me a long time to untangle the anagram in 20a – I was looking for a sweet pudding.

    Favourite: the wonderful 16d.

    Thanks to Italicus

  10. Just off to try this and discovered I have sent it to the printer which was loaded with fancy glossy photo paper which is a bugger to write on.

  11. A puzzle of five quarters. They went in top left, top right, bottom left, middle diamond and finally the bottom right. 18 and 19d last ones in. I dont think I have fully understood 19d but have an answer and 18d I got the soldier early doors but struggled to find the right island.
    I agree with the BirthDay boy that this was a much nicer offering than the back page today.
    Many faves but special mention to 7d 16d and 20a. Thanks to Italicus.

  12. Glad that you all enjoyed this, and very flattered by the positive comparison to today’s Telegraph back pager! If any of you would would like to try something else of mine before my next NTSPP offering, there is a puzzle on the Alberich Crossword site. I am also having a puzzle published in the June edition of 1 across magazine.
    Happy Birthday to the various people celebrating – especially the big man himself!
    Many thanks once again for all your encouragement and help. And thanks in advance to Prolixic for the review

  13. Thanks Italicus; good, entertaining crossword.

    For 14, I thought at the beginning it was the same word, but starting with ‘b’.

    Lots to like; I ticked 25a, 30a, 2/6, 27d and, of course, as other have noted, the great 16d.

  14. Exactly what Gazza said. It was a great relief to find some humour injected into a puzzle after two dull back-pagers on the trot.

    One question, why is 20a a pudding?

    Many thanks for an excellent puzzle, Italicus.

    1. In 20a I was thinking of the black (or sometimes white) pudding you get with a fried breakfast

        1. Black pudding is a great treat oop north. I have fond memories of helping grandad emm make it for his Ashington butchers shop.

  15. Superb stuff, and as usual my printed page is littered with ticks. Difficult to pick out a favourite, but possibly 16a might just get the nod. Immaculate surfaces as always.

    My repetition radar did produce a little bleep with “up” twice used as a reversal indicator, but did it diminish the entertainment? Absolutely not!

    Congratulations and many thanks, Italicus.

  16. We have family staying so printed out multiple copies and then solved it as a team. A perfect puzzle to do in this way and thoroughly enjoyed by all involved.
    Thanks Italicus.

  17. Terrific. Great definitions, clever, succinct wordplay, excellent surfaces. 1a and 4a set the tone as real crackers, but frankly I could have ticked almost every clue here. Very accomplished indeed, and a reminder of why we come to NTSPP with more excitement than for many a standard newspaper puzzle.

  18. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, and how nice to see one of our erstwhile Rookies making such good progress. As Maize said, the NTSPP series never fails to whet the appetite.

    One question if I may – can someone explain to me why 12a doesn’t need something to indicate a definition by example?

    Keep up the good work, Italicus and maybe you would feel like joining us at the S&B in London on 15th May? Always assuming that you can book your train ticket for the correct day this time!

    1. I did think about using ‘stole material’, but then I thought if you take the entire creature in question and drape it round your neck….
      That’s my story anyway and I’m sticking to it!

    2. If you were using mink to define a stole, you would need a definition by example indicator as you are using a particular example to define the answer. In this clue, stole is not a type of mink, so a definition by example indicator is not necessary.

  19. Lots of fun, delivered with a light touch. 4a, 25a, 28a, 2d/6d and 16d particularly impressed.

    Thanks to Italicus and Prolixic.

Comments are closed.