NTSPP – 457 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 457

NTSPP – 457

A Puzzle by Exit

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.

Welcome to Exit with his first foray into the NTSPP.  This was a good crossword with a nice variety of clues.  Perhaps a couple fewer anagrams and not relying so much on taking a word for the clue and using it letter for letter in the solution might have increased the difficulty level a little.

I am having trouble getting the new WordPress editor to behave so there are no pictures and no reveal buttons for the answers.  [I have added the spoilers, which are now working for me – let me know if there are any problems.  BD]


1 Spoil, with 50% bleach, stone with coloured streaks? (6)
MARBLE – A three letter word meaning spoil followed by one-half (50%) of bleach.  Perhaps capitalising the Stone to suggest Sharon Stone with a bad hair do might have added something to the clue.

5 To some extent, wages cap is muddled wishful thinking (8)
ESCAPISM – The answer is hidden in (to some extent) WAGES CAP IS MUDDLED.

10 Wretched state of fellow (or lord) nearly at North Cape (11)
FORLORNNESS – The abbreviation for fellow followed by the OR from the clue and the LORD with the final letter missing (to some extent) and then the abbreviation for North and a four letter word for a cape or headland.

11 Scottish Church’s endless liqueur (3)
KIR – Remove the final letter (endless) from the Scottish word for a church.

12 Die, covered in gold – farewell … (5)
ADIEU – The DIE from the clue inside (covered in) the chemical symbol for gold.

13 … to her ma, suffering with a cyst (8)
ATHEROMA – An anagram (suffering) of TO HER MA followed by the A from the clue.

14 Toff copies letters needing sorting here? (4,6)
POST OFFICE – An anagram (letters needing sorting) of TOFF COPIES.

16 Afterthought about, for example, cloakroom fittings? (4)
PEGS – The abbreviation for an afterthought added to the end of a letter around the abbreviation for for example.

17 Former Spanish XI (4)
ONCE – Double definition.

19 Class pen as office equipment (10)
TYPEWRITER – A four letter word meaning class or sort followed by a description of a pen.

23 Poison in outlandish beliefs (8)
OPINIONS – An anagram (outlandish) of POISON IN.

24 Pupils’ day offpart of the bigger picture? (5)
INSET – Double definition, the first being a training day for teachers derived from IN SErvice Training.  My son used to called them bug days because he thought his teacher called them Insect days.

25 Money in first instalment (3)
TIN – The answer is hidden in (in) FIRST INSTALMENT.

26 Revolutionary heathen plan could be put in mothballs (11)
NAPHTHALENE – An anagram (revolutionary) of HEATHEN PLAN.

27 Writhing twin embracing one saint (George, initially) (8)
TWISTING – The TWIN from the clue around the letter representing one and the abbreviation for saint, all followed by the first letter (initially) of George.

28 Romeo, alone at last, poses questions to be faced a second time? (6)
RESITS -The letter in the NATO phonetic alphabet represented by Romeo followed by the last letter (at last) of alone and a four letter word meaning poses.


2 Almost eloquent in recent times, old fruit! (7)
AVOCADO – A word meaning eloquent with the final letter removed (almost) inside the abbreviation for Anno Domini (recent times), all followed by the abbreviation for old

3 It’s a label: “devilish old weapons” (9)
BALLISTAE – An anagram (devilish) of ITS A LABEL.

4 Each maiden in a frilly collar offers listener protection (7)
EARMUFF – The abbreviation for each followed by the abbreviation for maiden inside (in) a four letter word for a frilly collar.

6 Brief: design modified cleat for performance (9)
SPECTACLE – A shortened form (brief) of specification (design) followed by an anagram (modified) of CLEAT.

7 One Australian state starts to exterminate rabbits: that’s what’s needed here (6)
ANSWER – A letter representing one followed by the abbreviation for New South Wales (Australian State) and the initial letters (starts to) of exterminate and rabbits.

8 Enterprise captain fails to start – rather annoying (7)
IRKSOME – The name of the captain of the USS Enterprise in the original series with the first letter removed (fails to start) followed by a four letter word meaning rather.  I am not sure whether rather and some are synonymous –  I would have expected somewhat to mean rather.

9 First person found on the outskirts of Reading before half seven with queen gets bird (9)
MERGANSER – A two letter word meaning the first person followed by the outer letters (outskirts) of Reading, one half of the solution to 7d and the two letter abbreviation for the current queen.

14 Host to tap out “facsimile” (9)
PHOTOSTAT – An anagram (out) of HOST TO TAP.

15 Young Ian hiding new doctor’s kitchen utensil (6,3)
FRYING PAN – The name for young fish followed by the IAN from the clue around (hiding) the abbreviation for New and the abbreviation for a doctor.

16 Mole slips carelessly into soft shoes (9)
PLIMSOLES – An anagram (carelessly) of MOLE SLIIPS.

18 Greek character opposed to Italian wine (7)
CHIANTI – A three letter character in the Greek alphabet followed by a four letter word meaning opposed to.

20 Henry’s in white, beginning to roam – where to? (7)
WHITHER – The abbreviation for Henry inside the WHITE from the clue followed by the first letter (beginning to) of roam.  There have been three or four instances of simply taking the word from the clue and using it in the solution.  The use of suitable synonym would help increase the enjoyment.

21 Old colour with trace of cyan in it, now obsolete? (7)
EXTINCT – A two letter prefix meaning old followed by a four letter word for colour with the first letter (trace of) of cyan inside it.

22 Singer’s allowed in pub?  No, the opposite! (6)
LINNET – A three letter word for a pub inside a three letter word for allowed.

22 comments on “NTSPP – 457

  1. Good, fairly straightforward puzzle; thanks Exit.

    I particularly liked 7d. There seems to be an issue in the grid at 16a where one letter seems to be wrong in the given answer.

    I’m not sure I understand 11; is there a definition? Perhaps I’m missing something (probably a few screws!)

    One or two clues (eg 20d) might have been improved if the word in the clue did not appear in the answer.

  2. Nice puzzle Exit. Not tricky, so a comfortable solve before beer o’clock.

    I would query 16a – the clue leads to an answer with G, not T unless I’m missing something?

  3. Mea culpa! Windsurfer and Letterbox Roy are both correct! (How embarrassing on one’s NTSPP debut.)

    1. It didn’t bother this paper solver! I’ve emailed BD about it so I’m sure it will change as if by magic quite soon

      A very nice NTSPP debut, if I may say so

      1. It has now. I was having lunch at the time (leftovers from yesterday’s Chinese takeaway which was our celebration of our 51st wedding anniversary!).

  4. Very enjoyable and fitting perfectly into the post lunch solve period – I’ve got to start baking cakes now so didn’t have a lot of time to spare

    Thanks to Exit and in advance to Prolixic

  5. Many thanks, Exit. This was light but great fun.

    Much as I liked 7d, I really must protest on behalf of rabbits everywhere. A few days ago we had a setter who wanted to execute them and now Exit wants to exterminate them. :wink:

    I was very puzzled by the comments about 16a until I saw CS’s comment above. However there is a problem with the anagram fodder for 16d which leads to a common but incorrect spelling of the answer. Changing from a “mole” to a “moll” would fix this. Also, the definition is underlined in 11a (at least in the PDF version).

    Very well done, Exit. This was a very assured and enjoyable NTSPP debut.

  6. A very enjoyable solve over rather too soon, although I did think it was spoiled slightly by the relatively high number of anagrams.

    I really liked 26a; it’s not very often we see four consonants in a row in a crossword, and then, there are three in a row in 10a, both with double unches I have just noticed.

    I support RD’s sentiment on the spelling of 16d, Samuel of that ilk must turn in his grave every time he sees it spelt this way.

    Thanks Exit and well done on your NTSPP debut.

  7. Most enjoyable, Exit. As Senf mentioned, it was perhaps a little too heavy on anagrams (I think the DT draws the line at 6) but I admit to being very grateful for a couple of them! Still a few issues with surface reads – 27a & 9d for example – but overall a very good NTSPP debut.

    I had 16,19 &26a plus 7,18 & 22d earmarked for the podium.

    Thank you for bringing us this one, hope we have many more to come.

    1. i’ve never seen a hard rule for the number of anagrams, i reckon you’d easily get away with eight – though possibly more if there are partial anagrams.

      it’s just respect for the solvers – ideally, you would offer a variety of clue types

  8. A delightfully enjoyable puzzle, Exit. Best congratulations on your debut to the NTSPP.

    I did notice rather a heavy load of anagrams, but that didn’t spoil anything for me.

    My fave clue is 7d — although I have to agree with RD’s protest on behalf of all rabbits!

    Appreciative thanks to Exit and to Prolixic in advance.

  9. A very pleasant Sunday morning solve for us. 13a was a new word for us but easily checked.
    Thanks Exit.

  10. enjoyed this Exit, well done!

    a solid puzzle

    wasn’t sure about the ellipses in 12/13a – guessing it was surface related only

  11. This was extremely good fun to solve, many thanks Exit and congratulations on joining the NTSPP ranks.

    Like Jane, I did think that one or two surfaces were a little, ahem, exotic, but there were far more that were excellent. I also learned a new word with the answer to 13a. When I saw the wordplay for 7d I knew that RD would register a protest!

    My ticks went to 5a, 17a, 7d and 15d. More, please.

  12. Thank you to all for your encouraging comments and to Prolixic for an equally encouraging review. And apologies to the early solvers for those glitches which Big Dave kindly sorted out – thanks, BD.
    I’ll hope to be back before too long.

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