NTSPP – 461 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 461

NTSPP – 461

A Puzzle by Marg

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.


1 Player misread a sitter (7)
ARTISTE – An anagram (misread) of A SITTER.

5 Pet rodent retreated under the covers (7)
BELOVED – Reverse (retreat) a four letter species of rodent and put inside a three letter word for a stepping place (under the covers = in ???).

9 She’ll explain rule on non-standard double contributions by NATO (9)
ANNOTATOR – The abbreviation for rule after (on) an anagram (non-standard) of NATO NATO.

10 Small push causing big wave (5)
SURGE – The abbreviation for small followed by a four letter word meaning push or encourage.

11 Troubled by dirt? Sanitise right away (2,4,7)
IN DIRE STRAITS – An anagram (away) of DIRT SANITISE R (right).

13 Madonna’s first choice haunt occasionally plays “Like a Virgin” (8)
MAIDENLY – The first letter of Madonna followed by a two letter word meaning choice or top -class, a three letter word for a haunt or familiar place and the even letters (occasionally) of play.

15 Pat, a stern man holding a blade? (6)
STROKE – Double definition, the first being a form of touch and the second an oarsman.

17 Plaster reportedly adhered to nothing (6)
STUCCO – A homophone (reportedly) of STUCK (adhered) followed by the letter representing nothing.

19 Slyly uses nous to get rich (8)
SENSUOUS – An anagram (slyly) of USES NOUS.

22 Looking back, Melba reviled nudity in part that’s impossible to perform (13)
UNDELIVERABLE – The answer is hidden in (in part) and reversed (looking back) in MELBA REVILED NUDITY.

25 Renowned auctioneer’s original catalogue (1-4)
A-LIST – The first letter (original) of auctioneer followed by a four letter word for a catalogue.

26 City roads not ready?  It’s unbearable! (4,5)
LAST STRAW – The abbreviation for Los Angeles (city) followed by two abbreviation for street (streets being in the plural) and a three letter word meaning not ready or unripe.

27 Grow large English fruit having no core (7)
ENGORGE – A three letter abbreviation for English followed by a type of citrus fruit without its central letter (having no core).

28 Former clubs in New York showing potential (7)
LATENCY – A four letter word meaning former followed by the abbreviation for clubs inside the abbreviation for New York.


1 Like a quiet request to get moving (4)
ASAP – A two letter word meaning like followed by the A from the clue and the abbreviation for quiet.

2 Sunbathe on Family Island in this? (7)
TANKINI – A three letter word meaning sunbathe followed by a three letter word for family and the abbreviation for island.

3 At the end of the day, pursuing second is OK (5)
SATED – The abbreviation for second followed by the AT from the clue, the final letter of (the end of) the and the abbreviation for day.

4 Completely new flag adopted by cathedral (8)
ENTIRELY – The abbreviation for new and a four letter word meaning flag or lose energy inside (adopted by) the name of a Fenland cathedral.

5 Most basic airline holiday (6)
BAREST – The abbreviation for British Airways followed by a four letter word for a holiday.

6 Girl bored by dull leaving speech? (4,5)
LAST RITES – A four letter word for a girl includes (bored by) a five letter word meaning dull or banal.

7 Dizzy sensation before I turn green (7)
VERTIGO – A four letter word for green followed by the I from the clue and two letter word meaning a turn.

8 Feel for great ensemble‘s livery tenor (5,5)
DRESS SENSE – A five letter word for livery or clothing an a five letter word meaning tenor or drift of something.

12 Take balls of minced meat, sauce, and a bit of lemon (10)
EMASCULATE – An anagram (minced) of MEAT SAUCE L (a bit of lemon).

14 It might raise your standing to the next level? (9)
ESCALATOR – Cryptic definition of a moving staircase.

16 Supply rare Pils as compensation (8)
REPRISAL – An anagram (supply) of RARE PILS.

18 Abiding zombification? (7)
UNDYING – Double definition, the first being a word meaning ending and the second whimsically the process of reanimating a corpse as a zombie.

20 Topless fan’s conduct is going too far (7)
OVERRUN – A five letter word for a fan without the first letter (topless) and a three letter word meaning conduct or manage.

21 Advance, gun exposed (6)
EVOLVE – Remove the outer letters (exposed) from revolver (gun).

23 Fate of jelly attacked from all sides (5)
BESET – The fate of jelly is to be set.

24 A worry leaving men twisted (4)
AWRY – Remove the abbreviation for other ranks (men) from the A WORRY in the clue.

27 comments on “NTSPP – 461

  1. Perfect Saturday lunchtime fare. Fitted nicely into the time I have available and with some splendid d’oh moments too

    Thanks to Marg and, in advance, to Prolixic

  2. Very good, some nice clangs. Not sure I really understand 15a, sure I’m missing something.

    Enjoyable puzzle, thanks Marg

  3. Congratulations on the promotion, Marg – and thank you for a very good first puzzle in your new slot.
    I had a couple of queries that Prolixic will doubtless set me straight on but there was so much to enjoy here.

    Top three for me were 5&26a plus 7d although I have to give a nod to 11a for reasons other than those that could claim to be crossword related!

    Thanks again – perhaps you’ll be able to join us for the 10th Birthday Bash?

    1. Thank you, Jane, for your nice words about the puzzle and for your invitation to the Birthday Bash. It would be nice to have an opportunity to thank in person the commenters here who have provided feedback and encouragement for my setting efforts. Would a fringe newcomer like me fit in?

      1. You would be welcomed with open arms. I started out as a fringe newcomer at one of the get togethers and look what happened to me!

  4. I thought that this was absolutely wonderful, Marg. Lovely surfaces, some devious definitions, nice touches of humour and generally very smooth cluing. It was definitely a puzzle of two halves in terms of difficultly, I got almost no answers in the top half on my first pass. The bottom half fell into place smoothly and then I had quite a fight to complete the top half.

    12a is a great clue but it made me wince. I have never heard of 2d nor is it in my BRB, but it is in Collins online. I originally assumed the answer had to be “mankini” but I couldn’t parse the first three letters. I finally guessed the right answer after I completed 1a.

    Sometimes I think Jane and I must be related as we so often think alike, and today I have put a big star by 11a presumably for the same reason as her “nod”. My podium is over-crowded comprising 5a, 22a, 26a & 18d.

    Many thanks Marg, and very well done.

    1. 2d is in my chambers. I had come across it before (can’t remember why!) and remember thinking I’d love to use it in a crossword!

    2. Many thanks too to Prolixic for the review and particularly for the video accompaniment for 11a, which would be without doubt one of my Desert Island discs. Mark Knopfler = guitar and song-writing genius!

      P.S. I delayed posting this for 11 minutes while listening to the track.

    3. Thank you, Rabbit Dave, for those very complimentary comments. Feedback like that encourages me to keep trying to improve.

  5. Very entertaining crossword, thanks Marg; I also particularly enjoyed 11.

    Perhaps Prolixic can produce the relevant picture for 2.

    12 brought tears to my eyes!

  6. I thought this was a really good crossword – it seems to have taken me quite a long time somehow and I got a bit stuck with some clues that I now think were among the easier ones.
    What a long lurker 22a was!
    I managed to convince myself that 26a had to begin with ‘ex’ because it so often does – that wasn’t very helpful.
    Lots of good clues so I think I’ll just write them all down rather than try to weed out any in particular – 5, 11, 13 and 15a and 2, 7 and 12d.
    With thanks to Marg and, in advance, to whoever is doing the review tomorrow.

  7. Some real head scratching moments here for us. The very last one to get sorted was 3d. We tried all sorts of options for 22a before spotting how it worked. Really good fun.
    Thanks Marg.

  8. Very late on parade, but I thoroughly enjoyed this.

    My ticks went to the popular 11a as well as 6d and 12d.

    Many thanks, Marg.

  9. My goodness, that took me some time over the course of the day! I don’t think I ever really got on wavelength but did eventually cross the finish line. I did enjoy the tussle, though. Thanks Marg.

  10. Excellent puzzle with loads of fun – thanks Marg.
    A 13-letter lurker that’s hard to spot is really good.
    My ticks went to 5a, 13a, 26a, 6d and 12d.

  11. Got there in the end. I have a couple to check on the review as I have a couple of bung ins to parse. As already voted for by others 11a and 12d my faves. 11a because I was able to listen to the excellent “axe” work of Mr M Knopfler again. The collective intake of breath from male solvers of 12d is probably responsible for the low pressure weather systems we are under.

  12. Most enjoyable. I have ? marks against 3d, 6d, 8d & 20d. Looking forward to Prolixic’s review. Thanks to he & to Marg.

  13. Thanks to Prolixic for the review. The few I had unparaed are now clear. 20d was a bit of a guess at the final vowel but I picked the right one. 3d was another that was a bung in now explained. The enumeration of 1d was a query too but BRB has it as (4) when I was a bit worried that it might be (1,1,1,1)
    Thanks again to Prolixic for the music too even tho the 11a song I was listening to was Telegraph Road the one chosen was just as good. I still remember the first time I heard sultans was on a geography field trip to Whitby. Thanks too to Marg for a great puzzle as I (and others) said before 11a and 12d stood out for me but I must say 22a was a fine long rekrul that was still a great clue.

    1. Thank you, John. When Crossword Compiler included the answer above in its list of possibilities for 11a, my first thought was something along the lines of “Troubled like Mark Knopfler was once”, but I abandoned that direction after discovering the anagram. Perhaps that was a mistake?

      I’m pleased that you liked the reverse hidden. That clue was the starting point for this puzzle.

      1. No the anagram was better, the Knopfler clue would require a bit too much GK in my opinion. And please do come to the birthday bash. I’m a newbie too but have been to a couple of Dave’s do’s and they are v welcoming.

  14. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic – and the hoped for Sultans of Swing to accompany 11a. What a guitarist!
    Also thanks again to Marg for an extremely good NTSPP.

  15. An enjoyable solve with no real problems except that I started it so late I had to finish it after a night’s sleep. Thanks, Marg, and Prolixic.

  16. Thank you to Prolixic for the review, to everyone above for their kind words and for reporting their favourite clues, and to BD for the opportunity to share my puzzle.

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