NTSPP – 448 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 448

NTSPP – 448

A Puzzle by Wire

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows:

My first and last review of a Wire NTSPP as he will shortly be a published setter and under the care of Sue’s expert reviews.  Wire is the latest of Big Dave’s protégées to make it the National Papers.  I think that his brings the total number of setters who have cut their teeth on the Rookie Corner or the NTSPPP before becoming setters in the national papers to 13 or 14, which is quite an achievement for Big Dave and all credit to him for bringing forward new talent.


1 Amphibian in Sussex coastal town church right at the back (10)
HOVERCRAFT – The name of a costal town in Sussex close to Brighton followed by the abbreviation for Roman Catholic (church), the abbreviation for right and a three letter word meaning at the back.

6 Character in Cycle finale (4)
CLEF – This musical symbol or character is hidden in CYCLE FINALE.

10 Setter had energy-efficient bulb hung around (5)
IDLED – The contraction of “I had” with the I being the setter followed by the abbreviation for an energy saving type of light.

11 Northern convert has love for orchestral piece (5,4)
TENOR HORN – An anagram (convert) around (has) the letter representing love or zero.  If convert is being used as a verb, it takes as direct object and should therefore appear before the letters to be rearranged.

12 Cover vehicle quickly (8)
CARAPACE – A three letter word for a type of vehicle followed by a five letter word meaning quickly.

13 Directions e.g. for written work (5)
ESSAY – The abbreviations for East and South (directions) followed by a three letter word meaning eg.

15 Native American daughter’s set of beliefs (5)
CREED – A four letter word for a native American followed by the abbreviation for daughter.

16 Expect here a performance involving a cloaked figure (3,6)
THE REAPER – The answer is very well hidden (involving) in EXPECT HERE A PERFORMANCE.

19 Still in a French prison next to Bordeaux? (9)
UNSTIRRED – The French masculine form of “a” followed by a four letter slang word for prison and a three letter word for the colour of some Bordeaux wines.

20 See 1 Down

21 Chancellor without a guardian, possibly (5)
ANGEL – Remove the final A from the first name of the Chancellor of Germany.

23 Districts in the middle of York shaded by branches (8)
BOROUGHS – The middle letters of York inside (shaded by) a six letter word for the branches of a tree.

25 Immature female opposed to standing in assembled line (9)
INFANTILE – The abbreviation for female and a four letter word meaning opposed to inside (standing in) an anagram (assembled) of LINE.

26 Colour of strip worn across university (5)
TAUPE – A four letter word for a strip of material around (across) the abbreviation for university.

27 Tyneside region kept peeled vegetable that’s often on Scottish menus (4)
NEEP – The abbreviation for North East (Tyneside region) followed by the inner letters (peeled) of kept.

28 Use spear, nets and guile ultimately to get beast (3,7)
SEA SERPENT – An anagram (use) of SPEAR NETS E (the last letter – ultimately – of guile)


1/20 In Spooner’s residential centres, they have teeth (4,5)
HAIR COMBS – A Spoonerism for CARE HOMES (residential centres).

2 Six large bevvies for inhabitants of settlement (9)
VILLAGERS – The Roman numerals for six followed by the abbreviation for large and a six letter word for beers or bevvies.

3 Author rapidly drunk gin, unfortunately forgetting name (7,7)
RUDYARD KIPLING – An anagram (unfortunately) of RAPIDLY DRUNK GIN after removing one of the Ns (forgetting name).

4 Theatre item about origins of Troy resonates with performer (9)
RETRACTOR – A two letter word meaning about followed by the initial letters (origins of) Troy and resonates and a five letter word for a performer.

5 Handler of hot objects? Use foil (5)
FENCE – Double definition, the first being a criminal and the second being to take part in a sport using epees.

7 Views sun rising over old Kilimanjaro’s summits (5)
LOOKS – A three letter word for the sun is reversed (rising) around (over) the first letters (summits) of old Kilimanjaro.  For use in a down clue, over implies above, not around.

8 Like the look of doctor (female, perhaps) in party outfits (5,5)
FANCY DRESS – A five letter word meaning like the look of followed by an abbreviation for doctor and the suffix that is added to a word to create the feminine form.

9 Film marshland adder chasing some food (5,9)
BRIEF ENCOUNTER – A four letter word for a French cheese (some food) followed by (chasing) a three letter word for marshland and a word for someone or tally or adds up something (adder).

14 Trade vessel in place when leader is absent (10)
OCCUPATION – A three letter word for a drinking vessel inside an eight letter word for a place with  the first letter removed (when leader is absent).

17 Final sculpture of Eros is installed by Royal Society supporters (9)
ENDORSERS – A three letter word for final followed by an anagram (sculpture of) EROS and the abbreviation for Royal Society.

18 Turn up speed on river to find building at waterworks (4,5)
PUMP HOUSE – Reverse (turn) the UP from the clue and add the abbreviation for miles per hour (speed) and a four letter name of a river.

22 Foreman lost footing, causing slip (5)
GAFFE – Remove the final letter (lost footing) from a six letter word for a boss or foreman.

23 British jockey who needs a groom (5)
BRIDE – The single letter abbreviation for British followed by a four letter word for a jockey.

24 Digitally experienced material (4)
FELT – Double definition, the first meaning touched (digitally experienced) and the second a type of material.

I have to head out this afternoon but will hopefully be back later to add illustrations.

20 comments on “NTSPP – 448

  1. A very enjoyable puzzle – thanks Wire. I liked 19a, 9d and 18d but my favourite was the extremely well disguised 16a.

  2. Wow – that was a rapid leap from Rookie Corner to NTSPP but I really enjoyed this one.
    Hard to play favourites but I think 9d just had the edge for me.

    Many thanks, Wire.

  3. A very enjoyable solve for a Saturday lunchtime, many thanks Wire. Did I miss your promotion from Rookie Corner? If so, belated congratulations.

    I had plenty of ticks on my printed page – 16a, 19a, 23a, 3d, 4d, 9d and 22d were all extremely well-clued I thought. Not sure you needed “coastal” in 1a, but it doesn’t do any harm I suppose.

    Look forward to your next one.

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed this. 12A, 9D, and 24D (my last one in) are my favorites, with special mention for 16A.Thanks Wire.

  5. That was fun – thanks Wire. I liked 3d and 24d particularly, though there were several others I could have chosen :-)

  6. Thanks Wire. Solving merged well with watching one of the two antipodean rugby internationals on offer today (I was probably watching a ‘tape delayed’ transmission that I had then recorded).

    Joint favourites 23a and 8d.

  7. Thanks Wire; lots to like. I ticked 16a, 19a, 23a, 3d, 5d, 8d & 9d, I also thought the Spoonerism was particularly good – often these just result in a meaningless phrase.

    I’m not very keen on ‘has’ as a container in 11, but others do it. I think Kilimanjaro only needs one summit as old = O.

    Good surfaces throughout and a very enjoyable solve.

  8. Well done Wire, excellent crossword.

    16a is brilliant. I also really liked 27a and 3d, and plenty more.

    8d is quirky, though some editors might not allow it – doctors can already be female of course, just one of those gender sensitivities.

    enjoyed this immensely, congratulations

  9. Oh – just wrote lots and it’s all disappeared somewhere or other – it hasn’t done that for ages.
    What a good crossword – I found it quite tricky but it’s kept me happily occupied for most of the afternoon.
    My last two were 23a/23d – just couldn’t see them but I now know the names of lots of jockeys, not that I needed to.
    As usual I missed the (very good) lurker for far too long.
    Lots of good clues and plenty of humour too.
    Clues that stood out for me included 16, 19 and 27a and 5, 8, 23 and 24d and my favourite was either 9 or 18d.
    With thanks to Wire for the entertainment and, in advance, to whoever is doing the review.

  10. Really good fun that we thoroughly enjoyed. Our last too in were 16a and 9d, both of which had us scratching our heads for quite some time.
    Thanks Wire, well done.

  11. Hello everyone! Thanks to you all for spending time this weekend on my first NTSPP puzzle and for providing such helpful feedback. The whole puzzle was built around 9d which I’d scribbled down somewhere months ago for some reason…not my favourite film though, I must say!

    And thanks in advance to whoever is doing the review.

    I’m in the Indy on Tuesday, I believe. The editor very kindly has accepted a themed puzzle of mine so I will be nervously awaiting the outcome of that!

    See you all next time! W

    1. Prolixic will be providing the review – after Tuesday, you will, as a nationally published setter (congratulations) transfer to my side of the NTSPP Review rota

  12. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic and well done to Wire for a most enjoyable puzzle and congratulations on your promotion to the ranks of published setters.

  13. Thanks Wire, really enjoyed that. Looking forward to trying your puzzle in the Indy on Tuesday. Thanks also to Prolix for the review.

  14. I had an incredibly busy weekend (watching cricket at The Oval and playing cricket on Sunday!) so I am very late getting round to this but I am very pleased that I did. It helped me while away the time while stuck on the tarmac at Stansted airport this morning.

    This puzzle was right up my street. Nice surfaces, precise cluing, clever misdirections and humour plus one of the best Spoonerisms I have ever seen. 16a was a brilliant lurker but 9d takes the laurels.

    Very well done, Wire, and thank you. Thanks too to Prolixic for the review.

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