NTSPP – 441 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 441

NTSPP – 441

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.  I have to confess that I did not find this as good as Jaffa’s previous crosswords.  Although there were many excellent clues, there were a large number of niggles and comments on some of the clues that reduced the enjoyment factor.


1 Tom Cruise is dressed by this person (9)
COSTUMIER – An anagram (is dressed) of Tom Cruise.

6 Cutback for flyers (4)
BATS – Reverse (back) a word meaning to cut or puncture with a knife.

8 Quiet peacekeepers confront revolutionary’s strikes (7)
PUNCHES – The abbreviations for quite and United Nations (peacekeepers) followed by (confronts) the name of a well known revolutionary (with the S from the ’s in the clue).

9 Ridicule about terminated aid (7)
SUPPORT – A five letter word meaning ridicule about a two letter word meaning terminated.

11 Threatened man captures tailless bird to display resourcefulness (10)
ENTERPRISE – A French phrase (2,5) denoting a threatened chess piece around (capturing) a four letter name of a bird with the last letter removed (tailless).

12 Taking heed of ingredient in Asian recipe (4)
GHEE – The answer is hidden in (of) in TAKING HEED.

14 Barney relocated and found Fred and Wilma here (6)
NEARBY – An anagram (relocated) of BARNEY.

16 Reluctant Marion lost her inhibitions for a seducer (8)
LOTHARIO – An four letter word meaning reluctant followed by the inner letters of Marion (lost her inhibitions).

19 Familiar PM with time and energy manufactures old Roman pixels? (8)
TESSERAE – A shortened form of Theresa (familiar PM) followed by a three letter word for a period of time and the abbreviation for energy.

20 Iceland employs retired king to found another state (6)
ISRAEL – The IVR code for Iceland follows by a reversal (retired) of the name of a Shakespearean king.

22 Samurai collects cutback flower (4)
ARUM – The answer is hidden (collects) and reversed (cutback) in SAMURAI.

24 Getting pickled when northern rebels are setback in game victory (10)
MARINATING – The abbreviations for North and Irish Republican Army are reversed (setback) inside the chess term for game victory (only potentially as the victory requires check before the required letters).

27 Indefinite number covered in bubbly lather will delight (7)
ENTHRAL – The abbreviation for an indefinite number inside an anagram (bubbly) of LATHER.

28 Quartets that drive golfers round the bend (7)
DOGLEGS – Something a canine has four of (quartets).

29 Weighty Greek cruise destination (4)
TROY – A place you might visit on a cruise around the Greek coast is also a measure of weight used by jewellers.

30 Good men pursue Delaware warning about what the feller does (9)
DEFOREST – The state code for Delaware and a warning given in golf followed by the plural abbreviation for saints (good men).


1 Compound payment, said to be for policeman’s late duty (6,7)
COPPER NITRATE – A six letter word for a policeman followed by a homophone (said to be) of night rate (payment for late duty).

2 One deserts but five hundred join warring partisans to build bunkers (4,5)
SAND TRAPS – Remove the I from PARTISANS and add a D (five hundred) and make an anagram (warring) of the letters that remain.

3 He shows the way with drug dealer tip-off (5)
USHER – Remove the first letter (tip-off) from a six letter word for a drug dealer.

4 Protect by reportedly keeping close to the beach (6)
INSURE – A homophone (reportedly) of INSHORE (keeping close to the beach).

5 Roisters about but ineffectual without 13 (8)
RESISTOR – An anagram (about) of ROISTERS.


6 Metal supplement present in rolls (4)
BAPS – The chemical symbol for Barium follows by the abbreviation for a note added as a supplement at the end of a letter.

7 Reflection of murmuring H2O, with time, yields wisdom maybe (5)
TOOTH – Reverse (reflection) the H, a homophone (murmuring) of two, the O and the abbreviation for time.

10 A peer filibusters but loses direction for a largely inert group (3,5,5)
THE NOBEL GASES – The definite article followed by another name of a peer followed by a six letter word meaning filibusters or talks incessantly with one of the Ss removed (loses direction).

13 The current ebbing may be due to these increasing (4)
OHMS – Cryptic definition of a scientific electrical unit of measurement that when increasing reduce the amount of current or amperes in an electrical circuit.

15 Opening bowler certainly will deliver extras (4)
BYES – The first letter (opening) of bowler followed by a three letter word meaning certainly.

17 Poorly aired on promontory but showing aptitude (9)
READINESS – An anagram (poorly) of AIRED on a four letter word for a promontory.

18 Little sea with a salt content has restricted movement (8)
MANACLED – The shortened from of Mediterranean includes the A from the clue and the chemical formula for sodium chloride (salt).

21/26 Huntress perhaps or non-PC announcement about a nun (4,2,4)
BIRD OF PREY – A non-PC description for a nun might be a bird of pray.  Make a homophone about this (announcement).

23 Pure state (5)
UTTER – Double definition.

25 Sibyl, we hear, is a bit boring (5)
AUGER – A homophone (we hear) of AUGUR (Sibyl).

26 See 21

27 comments on “NTSPP – 441

  1. Enjoyable stuff – thanks Jaffa. I would have finished it sooner if I hadn’t initially written in ‘pyrites’ as the second word of 1d (thinking, even as I did so that it was a rather poor homophone of ‘pay rates’). I don’t understand the ‘loses direction’ bit of 10d.
    Top clues for me were 16a and 21/26d (LOL).

    [Both 28a and 1d seem to have two different enumerations].

        1. Chambers and Collins actually give 28a as (7) while the ODE gives (3-4). I’ve gone with the former.

          I’ve changed both 1d and 28a – the .ccw file provided by the setter had overides in the clue which led to the confusion.

          1. Oops, sorry – mea culpa and all that.
            1d was an oversight on my part and then I confused the issue with 28a by wrongly interpreting the BRB to hyphenate it…😩😜

    1. Gazza – when used as a verb (third person singular present?), I think there is an option for an ‘extra’ direction in the last word of the answer, so, loses direction indicates a deletion.

      1. Thanks Senf – that must be it. I was trying to replace a letter with ‘a’ (loses direction for a).

  2. Very enjoyable. I had an extended chuckle over the ‘correctness’ (largely inert) of 10d after the brouhaha of three weeks ago when almost this answer appeared in the Sunday puzzle.

    So 10d has to be my favourite.

    Thanks Jaffa.

    1. I’m glad you liked 10d. I’ve had this clue for some time and I’ve been trying to fit it in for a while. I have to confess that in my alter ego of Faraday I did contribute quite heavily to the brouhaha, probably because I knew that this clue and crossword were already with BD 😂

      1. But was ‘largely’ in your clue before the brouhaha or was it edited in after that event? :smile:

        1. No, today’s clue is as I wrote it originally. We chemists try to be rigorous – Scout’s honour 😂

  3. This was great fun and right up my street with golf, chemistry, cricket and chess references.

    Like Gazza, I don’t understand “loses direction” in 10d.

    Although the answer fell into place from the checkers and the wordplay, I didn’t know the answer to 19a and needed to look it up in my BRB.

    I have lots of ticks all over my page but 21/26d gets my vote as favourite, although 1d ran it pretty close.

    Many thanks, Jaffa, for such splendid entertainment.

    1. Glad you liked it. I think we’ve led parallel lives although my cricket career onlty lasted a mere 40 years so it pales into insignificance compared to yours. I can add about 30 years of hockey but who knows anything about that so how can I ever think up a hockey clue? 😂

      1. Something about bully off – although that procedure disappeared from the game quite a time ago.

  4. Hi Jaffa,

    Much as I enjoyed this, I did think you slightly overdid the homophones (homogroans in a couple of cases) and, even more than last time, the chemistry and science references. Yes, I know you’ve previously stated that you were a chemistry teacher etc., but, a little like Giovanni and his religious references, I think a puzzle is better for their occasional inclusion rather than inserting too many at one time (unless it’s a specific theme, of course).

    Quite apart from the fact that my repetition radar noticed that you used “cutback” twice and “setback” once as reversal indicators, they are nouns and not verbs, so in 22a and 24a they should each be two words, not one, to make grammatical sense in the surface readings.

    My top two clues were 1a and 16a.

    Many thanks, Jaffa.

    1. P.S.
      On reflection, perhaps a case can be made for “setback” in 24a being a noun, “…are setback” still raises a question about the cryptic grammar though. “…must be setback” would avoid any such doubts.

  5. Hi Jaffa,
    After your last puzzle I was on alert for scientific references but not some of the other GK – certainly wouldn’t have got 11a without checkers and RD’s comment about the inclusion of some of his favourite things. I think perhaps you need to take more care to ensure that solvers who may not share your interests can arrive at the correct answers through wordplay alone.

    Top marks from me went to 1&16a plus 1d and the 21/26 combo.

    Thank you, Jaffa.

  6. Thank you for all the comments. Generally speaking it seems to have been well received. When BD told me that it was going to be published I looked at my 5/6 week old hard copy and had to look up two of the answers as I couldn’t solve the clues…..that probably says a lot about the way my ageing brain works nowadays.

    To answer some queries.

    I fully accept Sivanus’ criticisms of my grammar regarding nouns and verbs. I guess that’s what happens when you get a scientist trying to be literate – the annoying thing is that in 22a I originally had a different reversal indicator and I didn’t spot the duplication when I replaced it.

    I have used five homophones (and five anagrams) which might be excessive but I find that I often generate humour from them. I’ll try to curb my natural instincts next time.

    Yes, there are five clues with a chemistry content but two, if not three, require no knowledge of chemistry to solve them. It’s three if you accept everyone knows the formula for salt. Is this specialised GK or just GK? Having spent most of my teaching career being painfully aware that my expectations exceeded the knowledge of my students I fear that it may be the former…. It is however very flattering to be compared to Giovanni, if somewhat negatively. I’m just playing Devil’s Advocate for myself – I’m sure he’d approve of that phrase.

    Which brings me onto the subject of GK in crosswords. About seven or eight of my clues (out of 32) require some general knowledge. I appreciate that some people want every clue to be solvable from the wordplay alone and I would generally adhere to that principle but within living memory I can recall clues that required a knowledge of Icarus and Hero and Lysander. If Greek mythology is acceptable, why not scientific fact? Perhaps it not – I’m still learning as I still think of myself as very much a Rookie in this dark art of compilation.

    Once again, thank you for all the comments and especially to BD for making this all possible.

  7. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. I was eagerly awaiting your in-depth analysis having completely forgotten that this was an NTSPP puzzle and therefore not subject to the same scrutiny.
    At least I’ve been able to reassure myself that my parsing was accurate!

  8. I struggled with several clues and had to resort to wordfinder help. But, being a retired chemist, no problems with the chemical references!

  9. Thank you Prolixic for the review and I’m sorry that the crossword wasn’t totally your cup of tea. Many congratulations however for finding a picture of a Bird of Pray holding a Bird of Prey 😂

  10. This went in quite steadily, but with a fair amount of head-scratching, on Sat afternoon and then ground to a halt with 5 clues unanswered. I finished on Sun evening after a few short return visits, some cogitation and a little research. A decent challenge, fine clues and very entertaining/enjoyable.

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