NTSPP – 436 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 436

NTSPP – 436

A Puzzle by Dill

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Today we welcome Dill to the NTSPP series.

A review by Prolixic follows.

Dill has crossed the great divide to join the ranks of the NTSPP.  There was a ghost theme in the solutions with the surnames of well known actresses and actors in the solutions.


9 Describing E-retailer employees as fierce women? (9)
AMAZONIAN – Double definition, the first part whimsical.

10 Sock maker loses his head to weaver (5)
OSIER – Another names for a person who makes socks or hose with the first letter removed (loses his head).

11 Very fortunate when not so much litter’s outside (7)
BLESSED – A three letter word for a litter (a place where you sleep) around (outside) a four letter word meaning not so much.

13 Fish with lobster head stuffing for celebratory decoration (7)
GARLAND – A three letter word for a type of fish and a three letter word meaning with includes (stuffing) the first letter (head) of lobster.

14 Trapped odd instrument (5,4)
SNARE DRUM – A six letter word meaning trapped followed by a three letter meaning odd.

15 Old magistrate always rejected drug-taking (5)
REEVE – A four letter word meaning always is reversed (rejected) and includes the abbreviation for ecstasy (drug-taking).

16 Time-keeper mismanages the run (6)
HUNTER – An anagram (mismanages) of THE RUN.

19 Shoots wading birds (6)
SNIPES – Double definition.

23 US college taken in by quiet forger (5)
SMITH – The abbreviation for Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US college) inside (taken in by) a two letter word meaning quiet.

25 Influence one working for love (9)
AFFECTION – A six letter meaning influence followed by the letter representing one and a two letter word meaning working.

27 Race duo touring in South America (7)
ECUADOR – An anagram (touring) of RACE DUO.

28 Tested winter transport with electrical unit on board (7)
SAMPLED – A four letter word for a type of winter transport includes (on board) the electrical unit for current.

31 Bigwig looks into Snowden? (5)
IGLOO – The answer is hidden in BIGWIG LOOKS.  I am not convinced that “into” works as a a hidden word indicator.

32 Some say that ape is an irregular fighter (9)
GUERRILLA – A homophone (some say) of gorilla (ape).


1 Upright English disqualified from French leg (4)
JAMB – Remove (disqualified) the E (English) from the French word for leg.

2 Leaders of Libya and Kuwait exploit water inland (4)
LAKE – The initial letters (leaders of) the third to seventh) words of the clue.

3 Most shy from Chairman caught docking afternoon sleep (8)
MOUSIEST – A homophone (caught) of MAO (chairman) followed by a six letter word for an afternoon sleep with the final letter removed (docking).

4 Oscar, maybe restrained initially, becomes more uncontrolled (6)
WILDER – The surname of the playwright and author named Oscar followed by the first letter (initially) of restrained.

5 Final strategies of goal sports (8)
ENDGAMES – A three letter word meaning goal followed by a five letter word for sports.

6 Shock when Personnel Dept. hires in AC/DC soldiers (6)
HORROR – The abbreviation for Human Resources (Personnel Department) includes (hires) the abbreviation for Other Ranks (soldiers) written both ways (AC/DC = either way).

7 Coming from a European city, major highway divides East (8)
MILANESE – A phrase 2-5 that might described the divisions of a motorway carriage way followed by the abbreviation for east.

8 Would-be mistresses maintain government connections (7)
BRIDGES – A five letter word meaning would be mistresses of the house following a marriage includes (maintain) the abbreviation for Government.  For the cryptic grammar you need A maintains B not A maintain B.

12 Brooklyn cheerleaders’ secret hang-up (5)
LYNCH – The answer is hidden in (secret) BROOKLYN CHEERLEADERS.

17 Only see question the other way around after Oxford perhaps (8)
UNIQUELY – The name of a diocese (see) and the abbreviation for question are swapped (the other way around) after the abbreviation for University (Oxford perhaps).

18 A rare dog goes rabid, causing anger on the street (4,4)
ROAD RAGE – An anagram (goes rabid) of A RARE DOG.

20 Eccentric American out of the public eye (2,6)
IN CAMERA – An anagram (eccentric) of AMERICAN.

21 Find fashion in the Home Counties for 14 pounds (5)
STONE – A three letter word for fashion inside the abbreviation for the area of the country where the Home Counties are to be found.

22 Gaullish character might be Mrs. Malaprop’s star sign? (7)
ASTERIX – What Mrs Malaprop might refer to as a asterisk (star sign).

24 Rock player, perhaps, recreates hot sound (6)
HUDSON – An anagram (recreated) of H (hot) SOUND.

26 Raise another’s issue with bill converting pence to francs (6)
FOSTER – A word for an advertising bill seen on a hoarding has the P (pence) changed to an F (Francs).

29 Lie about result of 50+0+2x(100/2) (4)
LOLL – The roman numeral for 50 followed by the O from the clue and 2 Roman numerals (2x) for 50 (100/2).

30 Wallowing in pride annoys church dignitary (4)
DEAN – The answer is hidden in (wallowing in) in PRIDE ANNOYS.

27 comments on “NTSPP – 436

  1. Thanks to Dill for an enjoyable and, on the whole fairly gentle, puzzle. I say ‘on the whole’ because I got stuck in the NE corner where I can’t understand 7d at all. I’m also a bit dubious about 31a where I can’t really see what’s signalling the lurker (and I think that snowden needs a question mark at least).
    Top clues for me were 23a and 6d.

    1. 7d – I took the first two letters of the answer to be the ‘major highway’ followed by a synonym for ‘divides’ as a plural noun with ‘east’ popped on the end. Is that OK?
      Agree with you over 31a but it still made me smile.

      1. Yes – that’s how I wanted to parse it, Jane but I thought the last letter didn’t match what I had written for 19a – I now see that I had the wrong answer for 19a (wrong sort of bird!).

  2. Hi Dill and welcome to the NTSPP slot. I enjoyed your debut here and well done on creating a pangram without resorting to obscurities.

    Plenty to enjoy and I’ll go along with Gazza in the choice of top clues. 6d in particular gave me quite a chuckle.

    Many thanks for the puzzle – hope you’ve waved goodbye to the builders by now!

  3. Welcome from me too, Dill. I hope this will be the first of many.

    I also enjoyed the solve, there was a good range of clue types and, as Jane says, a pleasing lack of obscurities to accommodate the less frequent letters.

    My ticks went to 9a, 15a, 17d and 18d.

    Congratulations on your NTSPP debut and many thanks.

  4. Slightly surprised that if even I can notice a ghost theme, no-one else so far appears to have done so

  5. That’s the second time today that I’ve missed the pangram – oh well, why change the habits of a life time?
    I enjoyed this and thought it was reasonably straightforward apart from a few answers.
    Lots of good clues including 15 and 19a and 6 and 26d. My favourite was probably 31a – loved the ‘Snowden’ but agree it needed a question mark.
    Thanks to Dill for the crossword and, in advance, to CS for tomorrow’s review.

    1. Not me tomorrow – Dill isn’t yet a nationally published setter so Prolixic will be doing the review

  6. Enjoyed that, done in several stints between football and cooking. The bottom half went in well before the top and NW held out the longest. As with the SPP the fact that it was a pangram helped with my LOI 1d. I say LOI but I haven’t filled 3d yet. I have an answer but not yet fully understood it and will wait for revue.
    22d my fave clue.
    Looking at the completedish grid I do notice a lot of American Actors/actresses is that the theme Sue refers to?

  7. A few non Americans too Oscar and Brian too.
    Not forgetting Veronica all in the NW.

  8. We totally missed the ghost theme but we did note the pangram. Our last two in were 3d and 24d. If we had spotted the theme it would have helped a lot with 24d. Very clever and really good fun.
    Thanks Dill.

  9. Missed the theme, missed the pangram, only got 3dn with wordfinder help then checking with the reveal button but can’t see how to parse it apart from the afternoon sleep bit. Oh well, have to come back tomorrow for the review.
    Otherwise an enjoyable solve if challenging in places.

  10. Another pangram and another enjoyable puzzle. This was a great NTSPP debut and I hope we will see more from this setter in the future.

    I wasn’t keen on 31a even with the later addition of a question mark, and I don’t think “would-be mistresses” in 8d is synonymous with “brides”. But, apart from those, I thought this was a very accomplished puzzle.

    My favourite was 6d but there were many other potential candidates.

    Many thanks, Dill and very well done.

  11. Out all day yesterday (Bletchley Park, looking for themes for future puzzles, if you’re asking) so only just had a chance to solve. Great fun Dill – well done! I saw the pangram fairly quickly but failed miserably on the ghost theme until completion. And was that a spoof (Gina) Lollobrigida hiding in 29 and 8d?

    [If all goes as planned then next Saturday’s Listener crossword in the Times Review section is one of mine, if you’d like to try one of the thematic puzzles for a change!]

    cheers all


  12. Thanks to everyone who looked at the puzzle and to those who gave comments-very encouraging! Thank you too to Prolixic and the useful remarks how some clues could have been cryptically tighter. Loved the way you showcased the ghost theme!

    BTW Mrs is a contraction of mistress so I am pleading not guilty on that one!
    Enjoy your Sunday everyone and I’ll get moving on my next offering!

    1. Hi Dill. Thanks very much for popping in and even bigger thanks for such a good puzzle.

      I agree about the derivation of Mrs. However I think the link between Mrs and Mistress was severed several hundred years ago when Miss started to be used as the term for unmarried women. However that certainly didn’t spoil a very entertaining puzzle even for an old pedant like me.

      1. You are quite right that Mrs for mistress is pretty archaic. I was too smug about the surface reading of Christine Keller types keeping government links, to question how fair the synonym was these days.

        Please don’t stop being a ‘pedant’ ( although I wouldn’t call you that). Your attention to detail and your generosity in sharing your observations are really helpful.

  13. Great fun, although I did not get the first part of 3D. And the ghost theme flew right by me! Thanks Dill and Prolixic.

  14. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic and for going to the trouble to showcase the theme.
    I was quite happy with mistress as in ‘the mistress of the house’ rather than just Mrs.

    Thanks again to Dill for a most enjoyable solve.

  15. Congratulations to Dill on his promotion.
    Next step is to have CS as a reviewer.
    Enjoyed the theme which I spotted when 12d fell.
    Got Stilts in 19a and 7d became impossible to solve. Had to wait for the review for that last one.
    Thanks for the great fun and to Prolixic for the review.

Comments are closed.