NTSPP – 474 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 474

NTSPP – 474

A Puzzle by Shabbo

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Many thanks to Shabbo for agreeing to postpone his debut in the NTSPP series, thus allowing Radler’s Morecambe & Wise with André Previn puzzle to be published in the week the latter sadly passed away.

A warm welcome to the halcyon halls of the NTSPP to Shabbo.  The corrections to 16d and 23 have been taken into account when preparing the review.


1 Heavy rain. Nice for feathers at first (8)
DOWNPOUR – A four letter word for soft duck feathers followed by the French (Nice) word for “for”.

5 Backing school children would be a mistake (4-2)
SLIP-UP – Reverse (backing) a six letter word for school children.

10 Expert in an item to protect clothing (5)
APRON – A three letter word for an expert inside the AN from the clue.

11 Ample cover with a hundred debts (9)
CAPACIOUS – A three letter word for a head covering followed by the A from the clue, the Roman numeral for 100 and the abbreviation for debts.

12 Demand food?  No change there! (5,4)
EXACT FARE – A five letter word meaning to demand followed by a four letter word for food.

13 Relative is pleasant outside influence finally (5)
NIECE – A four letter word meaning pleasant around (outside) the final letter of influence.

14 Struggle with soaring temperatures initially before 1ac (6)
STRAIN – The first letters (initially) of soaring temperatures followed by a four letter word for the answer to 1 across.

15 Businessman points out adjoining room (2,5)
EN SUITE – The compass directions (points) around (out) a four letter word for a businessman.  I don’t really think that “out” on its own means around.

18 Retire now for hours to spend in the garden? (7)
BEDTIME – Where you might spend hours in the garden weeding and planting.

20 Wrong for misers to reform (6)
REMISS – An anagram (to reform) of MISERS.  The structure definition for wordplay does not work for me.

22 Numbers of artillery return illegal fire (5)
ARSON – A three letter word for numbers followed by the abbreviation for Royal Artillery all reversed (return).  The of in the clue contributes to the surface reading but not to the wordplay.

24 Dear former partner lost in thought (9)
EXPENSIVE – A two letter word for a former lover or partner followed by a seven letter word meaning lost in thought.

25 Algerian urologist’s beginning to crack pain (9)
NEURALGIA – An anagram (to crack) of ALGERIAN U (first letter – beginning – of urologist).

26 Coach in quite a challenge (5)
TEACH – The answer is hidden in QUITE A CHALLENGE.

27 Doctor puts pen to paper on round (6)
DRINKS – An abbreviation for doctor followed by a four letter word meaning puts pen to paper.

28 Side with brief shot in front of goal (8)
BEFRIEND – An anagram (shot) of BRIEF followed by a three letter word for a goal or objective.


1 Cartoonist up for prize?  On the contrary! (6)
DRAWER – Reverse (up) a six letter word for a prize.

2 Justified battle cry by journalist (9)
WARRANTED – A phrase 3,4 for a battle cry followed by the abbreviation for editor (journalist).

3 It should clarify meaning, perhaps (11,4)
PUNCTUATION MARK – Definition and cryptic definition, the comma being an example of this.

4 Inside, lunch ain’t free (7)
UNCHAIN – The answer is hidden in (inside) LUNCH AINT.

6 Reportedly catch head of huge mythical creature (4,4,7)
LOCH NESS MONSTER – A homophone (reportedly) of LOCK (catch) followed by a four letter word for a head of land and a seven letter word for huge.  The “of” head contributes only to the surface reading but not to the wordplay.

7 Specialist on north east is likely to be lying (5)
PRONE – A three letter word for an expert or specialist followed by the abbreviation for north east.

8 Worried having not properly rested after exercise (8)
PESTERED – An anagram (not properly) of RESTED after the abbreviation for exercise.

9 One firearm each (6)
APEICE – The letter representing one and a five letter word for a firearm.

16 Start this month with one wicket perhaps (9)
INSTIGATE – The Latin term for this month followed by a letter representing one and a type of entrance of which wicket is an example.

17 Got to dine out after boat capsized (8)
OBTAINED An anagram (out) of DINE after an anagram (capsized) of BOAT.

19 Go awfully green on yacht launch (6)
ENERGY – An anagram (awfully) of GREEN followed by the first letter (launch) of yacht.

20 Change two fabrics (7)
REPLACE – A three letter type of corded fabric followed by a four letter type of delicate fabric.

21 Routine drug overdose (6)
METHOD – The four letter abbreviation for methadone (drug) followed by the abbreviation for overdose.

23 First sports car of the country (5)
SAUDI – The first letter of sports followed by a four letter word for a German car.

28 comments on “NTSPP – 474

  1. Very pleasant prelude to a heavy afternoon of rugby watching – thanks Shabbo.
    I liked 15a, 9d and 21d but my favourite was 28a.
    Shouldn’t nice in 1a be capitalised?

  2. Very nice if not very taxing. One or two chestnuts I thought, but nothing wrong with that. I have smileys by 3d, 21d and 12a. I did hesitate at the definition for 23d, but I suppose it’s fine. Agree that ‘nice’ should be capitalised.

    Thanks Shabbo, well done for not falling into the ‘debut NTSPP has to be excruciating’ trap.

  3. Very enjoyable, done and dusted quite quickly giving me plenty of time to load up with caffeine before settling down to watch today’s oval ball games.

    However, a couple of raised eyebrows particularly on 23d; not the complete name of the country, more like an informal term used by non-residents.

    I particularly liked 11a and 6d.

    Thanks and well done Shabbo.

    1. Mea culpa – Shabbo provided a minor change to 23d and a rewrite of 16d – I used the wrong file. Should now be corrected.

      1. Having cleared the cache, I can now see the changed clues. If I’d seen this version of 23d, I wouldn’t have hesitated at all.

        The rewrite of 16d has resulted in my no longer needing to say what I was going to about the ‘naughty’ part of the original clue

  4. A very nice NTSPP perfectly pitched for the post lunch solve before doing ‘weekend stuff’

    I too hesitated at the 23d definition and I’ve got another possible quibble too – I’m going to leave commenting on that until Prolixic’s review appears

    Thank you Shabbo – more like that one please

  5. I enjoyed this a lot with its brief, accurate cluing and generally good surfaces. I was going to mention 1a, which would work fine with a full stop after “rain” followed by a disguised capital N; and 16d which involved a partial indirect anagram but BD has explained this above and the clue has been changed.

    I mistakenly put “spread” in as my answer 9d which seemed to fit the definition and wordplay reasonably well but it messed up 15a until I realised the error of my ways.

    As a general thought, what ever would setters do without a intimate knowledge of drugs?

    Well done and thank you, Shabbo. Please keep them coming.

  6. Hugely enjoyed this one – what an excellent debut NTSPP.
    Like RD, I set out with ‘spread’ for 9d plus, unlike RD, I stupidly got 1d upside down – that made life interesting for a while!

    More clues with ticks than without, so rather pointless to mention them all.

    Many thanks, Shabbo, hope we can look forward to many more puzzles from you.

  7. A very enjoyable puzzle with commendably succinct clues. So nice to see another graduate from Rookie Corner reach the NTSPP ranks.

    Although necessary for the respective surfaces, the presence of “of” in 22a and 6d jarred somewhat for me, as in neither instance did it contribute to the wordplay. My favourite clue was 12a, closely followed by 18a.

    Many thanks, Shabbo, I hope this will be the first of many Saturday puzzles.

  8. Half time at Murrayfield, so time to have a quick look at the early feedback. As ever, you are all too kind – constructive criticism is always very welcome.

    Thanks to BD for promoting me to NTSPP and for making the necessary correction to 1a.

    Come on Scotland (sorry, Jane)!

  9. Thanks, Shabbo, for a very entertaining puzzle. I particularly liked “demand food” in 12a and “drug overdose” in 21d. Looking forward to your next one.

  10. Very enjoyable, nice friendly crossword, although I was held up a bit in the SE corner. Incidentally, maybe if the wordplay and definition exchanged places in 1ac the full stop would not be needed? Thanks, Shabbo!

  11. Very enjoyable, though the last few were not filled in until this morning. I had a question mark by 16D that is now cleared up with the clue re-write (Ta, BD) and I had to reveal letters for 9D. I don’t understand that one at all!

    Thanks Shabbo.

  12. Most enjoyable! Only 2 clues that I can’t parse so will wait for Prolxic’s review. And now to get ready for the arrival of the clan which now includes 3 grandchildren, 2 of which are 4 weeks old & 3 days old!

  13. Nice debut for the NTSPP, Shabbo. Really enjoyed this and was not overly taxed, although I had a blind spot for 23d and 28a that required a spousely nudge. Nice surfaces throughout. Favourites were 1a, 12a, 15a, 18a (which seemed very relevant to me!), 1d, 8d and 16d.

    Looking forward to more of the same!

  14. This was a most enjoyable crossword. Well done on your NTSPP debut, Shabbo. I hope we shall be seeing more from you again.

    I liked many of the clues, top of my selection being 1a, 12a, 24a, 28a and 8d and 21d.

    I had some very puzzling moments! I printed off the PDF before any of the amendments had been made. That made it impossible to dovetail ‘spread’ [9d] and my answer for 15a. Seeing the changes, all has fallen into place. I really like 9d as it is now. Thank you very much, Big Dave.

    I look forward to reading Prolixic’s review, for which many appreciative thanks in advance.

    And many appreciative thanks to Shabbo for the lovely puzzle.

  15. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. I can understand why Shabbo made the alterations to 16&23d but must admit that I rather liked the original clue for 9d that was in the copy I printed out earlier.

      1. My printout had the original clue also, and that’s the version I don’t understand at all. The new version of the clue would have been no trouble to solve.

        1. The answer to the original 9d was ‘sphere’ (extent). Split as ‘SP Here’ it could be a sign at a bookie’s advertising the fact that betting based on starting prices was available.

          1. Thanks so much for that explanation, Gazza. I went sadly wrong in thinking it was ‘spread’. I didn’t know the bookie’s sign.

            1. I knew the abbreviation SP and entered “spread” with the dodgy logic that you can “read” the “SP” at the bookie’s. When the penny finally dropped that the original answer was “sphere”, like Jane and Gazza, I thought it was an excellent clue and so am not at all sure why that one was changed.

  16. Many thanks again to you all for your comments. They are very much appreciated.

    Just to clear up the mystery surrounding the clue changes. BD kindly advised of a minor change required to 23d and a partial indirect anagram in 16d. Whilst changing these, I took the opportunity to change 9d, as one of my guinea pig solvers didn’t like it. I actually prefer the first iteration, so I probably should have stuck to my guns!

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