NTSPP – 430 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 430

NTSPP – 430

A Puzzle by Jaffa

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.

Welcome back to Jaffa for his second outing in the NTSPP chair.  I think he fits the seat well with an enjoyable crossword with a good level of difficulty.


1 Madcaps from wearing caps? (8)
HOTHEADS – What people would have if wearing caps (particularly on a warm day).

5 Essential element of my stated personal debt to cleric (6)
IODINE – A homophone (stated) of I OWE DEAN (my personal debt to cleric).

10 Respected naval commander has anger about rating to port (9)
ADMIRABLE – A three letter abbreviation for a naval commander followed by a three letter word for anger around the abbreviations for an able seaman (rating) and left (port).

11 Trim specimen but still sufficient (5)
AMPLE – Remover the first letter (trim) from a word for a specimen.

12 Leaderless Latin conspirator assassinated for proverbial thief (15)
PROCRASTINATION – An anagram (assassinated) of LATIN CONSPIRATOR after removing the L (leaderless) for the word that completes the proverb X is the thief of time.

13/19 Spot phone user with danger about in vegetable patch (6,6)
MARKET GARDEN – A four letter word for a spot followed by the alien who phoned home and anagram (about) of DANGER.

14 Cambridge girl with time for a drink (6)
CLARET – The name of a girl that is also the name of a Cambridge college followed by the abbreviation for time.

18 Citrus cultivated in bucolic surroundings (6)
RUSTIC – An anagram (cultivated) of RUSTIC.

19 See 13

23 Forever the product of 13 and 19 (6-4,5)
TWENTY-FOUR SEVEN – The product of 13 and 19 is 247.  Split this 2,1 and spell out the numbers.  I would argue that the definition is slight stretched – all day is not the same as forever.

25 Reduced work time for Albert Herring perhaps (5)
OPERA – The type of artistic work of which Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring is an example comes from the abbreviation for work and a three letter word for a long period of time.

26 Poor argument for London ride (6,3)
ROTTEN ROW – A six letter word for poor followed by a three letter word for an argument gives a section of Hyde Park where horses are ridden.

27 Storage facility for radium? It’s located between Nos. 31 and 32. (6)
GARAGE – The chemical symbol for radium goes between the chemical symbols for Gallium and Germanium, respectively elements 31 and 32 in the period table.  I am not too keen on the structure definition for wordplay.

28 The Gospel, for some, goes down badly (4,4)
GOOD NEWS – An anagram (badly) of GOES DOWN.


1 The man, possibly filling up, is an energy extractor (4,4)
HEAT PUMP – A two letter word for that man followed by a phase (2,4) indicating where you would be if filling up a car with petrol.

2 Trip over a degree for embroidery (7)
TAMBOUR – A four letter word meaning a trip or journey around (over) the abbreviation for Bachelor or Medicine (a degree).  I think that over for a containment indicator does not really work in a down clue as it is used in the sense of lying across.

3 Sad loser makes mistakes and is consumed therein, now fault free (9)
ERRORLESS – An anagram (sad) of LOSER inside (and is consumed therein) a four letter word meaning makes mistakes.

4 Lower by shaking sea bed (6)
DEBASE – An anagram (shaking) of SEA BED

6 A poor actor with nothing put up in city (5)
OMAHA – The A from the clue, a three letter word for a poor actor and the letter representing nothing al reversed (put up).

7 Rascal looking back regularly in Tangier leaves mark (7)
IMPRINT – A three letter word for a rascal followed by a reversal (looking back) of the odd letters (regularly) of TANGIER

8 Cast off from stage (6)
EXEUNT – Cryptic definition of the word indicating that actors should leave the stage.

9 Accent needs discovering if French boy is not pronounced ill-advisedly (7)
CEDILLA – The answer (the accent in the French for boy) is hidden in (discovering) PRONOUNCED ILL ADVISEDLY.

15 Anchorage by the shore offers close advantage (9)
ROADSTEAD – A four letter word for a close or street followed by a five letter word for an advantage.

16 Cockney hats from inept fitters (7)
TITFERS – An anagram (inept) of FITTERS.

17 Alien persons – x, y and z (8)
UNKNOWNS – What the letters x, y and z may represent in algebra.

18 Doe reportedly came by Thames boat (3,4)
ROE DEER – A homophone (reportedly) of ROWED ‘ERE (came by Thames boat).

20 End of match in court when one becomes two (7)
DIVORCE – Cryptic definition of the civil procedure to dissolve a marriage.

21 Audibly mistaken after patron is aggressive (6)
STRONG – The abbreviation for saint (patron) followed by a homophone (audibly) of WRONG (mistaken).

22 Indeed Mr Kipling does write exceedingly good stories (4,2)
JUST SO – Double definition for a word meaning indeed and the name of a series of stories by Rudyard Kipling.

24 Old American airline, no good, like Bart’s failed musical (5)
TWANG – The abbreviation for Trans World Airlines followed by the abbreviation for no good.

19 comments on “NTSPP – 430

  1. A fun solve – thanks Jaffa. My biggest laugh came from 9d when the penny dropped. I’m not very keen on 1a and 10a is a bit odd with an abbreviation being used for a word which actually appears in full in the answer.
    My podium was populated by 26a, 1d and 8d.

  2. Hi Jaffa,

    A very enjoyable solve with a good range of clue types and some true “homogroans”. If I’m honest though, I didn’t feel it was quite as good as your debut NTSPP, as the occasional surface failed to convince. I think the inclusion of “such” after “write” in 22d would have been very beneficial. 17d was a tad underwhelming. Perhaps surprisingly, the BRB gives the enumeration for 23a as (6-4-5).

    Favourite clue for me was 28a. There are a couple I still can’t parse, but I’ll await the review for those.

    Many thanks, Jaffa.

  3. OK – I’m probably being stupid here but I can’t make the sums add up in 23a, enlightenment would be appreciated.

    Needed to look up Albert Herring and the failed musical and am still pondering some of the nuances in 12a & 9d – otherwise I didn’t do too badly!

    A few of the surface reads would have benefitted from a bit more work but there were some clever ideas on show here.

    26,27&28a are sharing today’s honours along with 22d.

    Thank you Jaffa – must look back for your debut puzzle which it would seem that I managed to miss.

  4. As Gazza said, a fun solve although there was a furrowed brow here and there.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 14a and 18d.

    Thanks Jaffa.

    Now, caffeine and the MPP!

  5. Thank you for all the comments so far. It’s very interesting (and a little frightening) to see what others think of your “baby”.
    I have to accept the criticism of 1a. Ever since I’ve submitted the crossword to BD I’ve been looking at that clue thinking “I can do better than that”. I guess it being on pole at 1a makes it worse.
    I revised 17d as the original clue was probably too abstruse and now it’s possibly too simple.
    Frustratingly in 23a my BRB online Thesaurus gives one hyphen, the Dictionary two. Guess which one I checked. I guess the Dictionary takes precedence…

  6. Some head scratching times and some laugh out loud moments. Just what we like for our Sunday morning entertainment. The NE corner was the last to yield. All good fun.
    Thanks Jaffa.

  7. This was an unusual but very enjoyable diversion in which several clues benefitted from the wearing of a madcap. It took me some time to get onto the right wavelength and hence quite a while to solve. Some of the surfaces were a little strained but there were a lot of interesting ideas here. I agree with Gazza that 10a is a little strange.

    My favourite is a toss up between 26a, 27a. & 22d.

    Many thanks, Jaffa.

    1. I think with 10a it’s a case of “not seeing the wood from the trees”. It too was a revised clue and having got it to “work”, in my mind at least, I lost a bit of objectivity and moved on without being my own Devil’s advocate. I think strange is a good word to describe it 😂

  8. Thanks Jaffa
    Really enjoyed this, particularly Mr Kipling at 22 and the French boy at 9. Thought there might have been a Nina with four letter words in the West! and south…. but maybe not

    1. Sorry, no Nina. I haven’t added that to my armoury yet. I did include a couple of puns in my last offering but they were either too well hidden or just so unremarkable nobody commented on them.
      Glad you enjoyed it. I was quite pleased with the lurker in 9d.

  9. Enjoyable puzzle, thanks Jaffa. Had to look up 15d and can’t properly parse it, but that’s probably me being thick. Favourites were 23a, 28a (which had me reaching for my periodic table), 8d and 18d. I was about to accuse you of using padding in 9d until the penny dropped and I saw what you’d done – very clever.

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Despite having retired six years ago I’m afraid my inner Chemistry teacher keeps escaping. I think I’m on a campaign to counteract the often required knowledge of Roman and Greek mythology with scientific fact.
      Surely when solving a crossword, as well as the obligatory dictionary and thesaurus, one should be armed with a calculator and Periodic Table as well? 😂😎

  10. I enjoyed this very much. I got a little stuck in the SW corner for a while – I was not familiar with the London ride in 26a, the musical in 24d and the Cockney hat in 16d. (I am looking forward to the review to fully understand 27a). However, eventually I had it all sorted out – I thought (once the penny dropped) that 23a was a wonderful, clue!

  11. I enjoyed this, particularly as a (retired) chemist, 5ac and 27ac. And I don’t have any problem with 1ac.

    The device of bringing the linked 13 and 19 into 23ac was really great – a well-spotted opportunity!

    14ac was my penultimate entry after some lateral thinking, but I needed help for my last one in, 9dn, and thought ‘doh!’ when I got it – but I might quibble that according to the BRB an accent is a mark placed above a letter.

    Thanks, Jaffa

    1. My inner devious self was hoping that when solving 23a everyone would be thinking vegetables – how cruel.
      It’s always good to have a Periodic Table to hand, isn’t it? 😎

  12. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic – finally registered that the French word for boy has a 9d in it!
    Sorry to read that you weren’t too keen on the format of 27a, it was one of my favourites.

    Well done again to Jaffa.

  13. Thank you very much Prolixic for your wonderfully colourful review, your kind words and not too many italics.
    In 23a I see your point about the definition and if I’m honest I can’t fully remember how and why I chose to use the word forever. If I can clutch at straws my BRB Thesaurus does give both twenty-four seven and forever as synonyms of constantly but perhaps there were better alternatives.
    In 2d I agree with your comment on the use of over as the containment indicator. I guess it’s the penalty of writing a down clue out horizontally and not thinking ahead enough.
    I always find it quite fascinating when people choose their favourite clues. From the comments above about a third of the clues have made different people’s podia so I guess I must be pleasing some of the people some of the time.
    A big thank you to those people who have helped with their comments about this puzzle in it’s construction, to Prolixic again and of course BD, without whom none of this would be possible.

    I’m now off to see if I can find a few more chemical elements to squeeze into the next offering….😎

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