NTSPP – 480 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 480

NTSPP – 480

A Puzzle by Harold

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.

A very happy Easter to all followers of the blog and a warm welcome to Harold who has risen to the ranks of the NTSPP.  I enjoyed this crossword and particularly welcomed some of the innovative wordplay in the clues.


1 Site of sensitive transmitter picking up bird on meadow (7)
COCHLEA – A homophone (picking up) of a male bird followed by a three letter word for a meadow.

5 Chinese giant reputedly hiding diamonds is looking guilty (7)
HANGDOG – A three letter word for the Chinese followed by a three letter word for a giant around (hiding) the abbreviation for diamonds.

9 Withdraw protection from force trailing an Italian (5)
UNARM – The Italian indefinite article followed by (trailing) a three letter word meaning force.

10 Irregular, having abandoned right, allied with left in revolution? (9)
GUERRILLA – An anagram (in revolution) of IRREGULAR without one of the Rs (having abandoned right) L (allied with left).

11 Characters in Orwell novel represent socialist madmen (8,7)
DOMESTIC ANIMALS – An anagram (represent) of SOCIALIST MADMEN.

13 Letter from Athens on irrational representation of religious art (5)
PIETA – The irrational number representing the ration of the circumference of a circle to its diameter followed by a three letter Greek letter.

15 Digital stores? Devious sharks ensnaring kiddies, in essence (4,5)
HARD DISKS – An anagram (devious) of SHARKS around the central (in essence) three letters of kiddies.

18 Old part of Asia rejecting assistance fools advanced after cessation of trade (4,5)
EAST INDIA – The final letter (cessation of) of trade followed by a reversal (rejecting) of a three letter word for assistance, a four letter letter word for fools and the abbreviation for advanced.

19 Seb’s enthralling ten directors of racing (5)
COXES – The surname of the Olympian Seb (maintaining the ’s from the clue around (enthralling) the roman numeral for ten.

21 Scupper dictator’s airbrushed photographic record (7,8)
PICTURE POSTCARD – An anagram (airbrushed) of SCUPPER DICTATOR.

25 Kindle passion in argument (3,4,2)
SET FIRE TO – A four letter word for passion inside a phrase (3,2) for an argument.

27 Breed is first class, within limits of regulations, and English (5)
RAISE – Two letters meaning first class inside (within) the outer letters (limits) of representation followed by the abbreviation for English.

28 Locum possibly copying. Matter for suspension? (7)
DRAPERY – The abbreviation for doctor (locum possibly) followed by a five letter word meaning copying.

29 Colours fabrics and is bound to meet with approval (3-4)
TIE-DYES – A four letter word meaning bound followed by (to meet with) a three letter word meaning approval.


1 Setter provided misdirection here, being on the ball (5-2)
CLUED-UP – How the setter might provide misdirection in a down clue by reversing the meaning.

2 Lacking allure of impotent witch? (9)
CHARMLESS – An impotent witch would be unable to cast such a spell.

3 Lights from farm animals (not British) found to contain phosphorus (5)
LAMPS – The name for young sheep (farm animals) without the abbreviation for British around the chemical symbol for phosphorus.

4 Made no progress, having started late, and suffered greatly (9)
ANGUISHED – A ten letter word meaning made no progress without the first letter (having started late).

5 Man trapping tail of some rampant beast (5)
HYENA – A two letter word for a man overlaps (trapping tail) with a reversal (rampant) of a three letter word meaning some.

6 Which of p and q is selected from set of consecutive letters? Neither! (3)
NOR – Remove the PQ from NOPQR (set of consecutive letters.

7 Poor mark recklessly altered without sign of hesitation (5)
DELTA – An anagram (recklessly) of ALTERED without the ER (sign of hesitation.

8 They may help one discern the commonest factor of giggling girls (7)
GLASSES – The most frequent letter in giggling followed by a six letter word for girls.

12 Description of something in periodic table (5)
IODIC – The answer is poorly hidden in PERIODIC TABLE.

14 Gilded scorer when shaken is said to take leave in Cannes (5)
ADIEU – Something used to score or mould something is covered (gilded) in the chemical symbol for gold.

16 Determine wordplay for senator wasting time (6,3)
REASON OUT – A reverse anagram that gives the letters in Senator without the T (wasting time).

17 Pervert! Not even your latex is a personal preference (9)
SEXUALITY – An anagram (pervert) of YU (the odd letters of your) LATEX IS

18 Way out – lacking appeal, affected, and naked (7)
EXPOSED – A four letter word for a way out without a two letter word meaning sex appeal followed by a five letter word meaning affected.

20 Fighters defending elevated post in distress (7)
SADNESS – The abbreviation for Special Air Services (fighters) around a reversal (elevated) of a four letter word meaning to post.

22 Accountant engaging too much clerical cover (5)
COTTA – The abbreviation for a chartered accountant around (engaging) the abbreviation for over the top (to much).

23 Every so often, well-fed guy produces some serious writing (5)
ELEGY – The even letters (every so often) of WELL FED GUY.

24 Become exhausted before the end of Love Island (5)
TIREE – A four letter word meaning become exhausted before the final letter (end of) of love.

26 Reserve selection is 50% down (3)
ICE – A six letter word meaning selection with the first three letters removed (50% down).

An a little season cheer to close

14 comments on “NTSPP – 480

  1. I enjoyed this – thanks Harold. My ticks went to 5d, 8d and 14d. I particularly liked ‘airbrushed’ as an anagram indicator.

  2. I enjoyed this too although I do have a couple of ?s waiting for Prolixic’s review tomorrow

    Welcome to Saturday afternoons Harold and thank you

  3. Found this one slightly less of a challenge than previous crosswords from this setter and more enjoyable as a result.
    Still a couple of bits of parsing that I’m not sure about – will keep working on them.

    Favourite without a doubt was 11a – very neatly done.

    Thanks, Harold and congratulations on the promotion to the NTSPP slot.

  4. Thanks Harold. Good fun.
    I was looking for any pun to complement the Nina if such it is

  5. I agree with Jane that this one thankfully wasn’t quite as challenging as the setter’s Rookie puzzle last month, but it still posed a number of problems.

    Some very clever wordplay in evidence, my favourite clue was 21a. My least favourite was 12d.

    Many thanks to Harold, and may I also congratulate the setter on his promotion.

  6. It took us a while to get started but once we were up and running it flowed nicely for us.
    In the Goldilocks zone for level of difficulty.
    Good fun to solve.
    Thanks Harold, much appreciated.

  7. For the second time …

    What a lovely day! I have been out all day playing cricket (plus the traditional après cricket!) so have been unable to comment earlier.

    I found this much more accessible than Harold’s Rookie puzzle but still at Toughie level. Nevertheless it was very enjoyable. I wasn’t keen on 6d & 12d but, those aside, this was a very high quality offering with 5a & 11a my joint favourites.

    Many thanks, Harold, for the entertainment.

    1. Many thanks to Prolixic for the decryption. Now I’ve seen the correct parsing for 6d, I am very happy to withdraw my reservation.

  8. A very creative puzzle pitched at exactly the right level of difficulty for me. Bravo, Harold!

  9. Did this yesterday. I thought it was excellent. 11a is wonderful, and so is 21a except I made my life hard by entering Picture Portrait for some reason – leaving me confused about the parsing and 20d.

    12d – very clever – not every day you see a semi-all-in-one involving a hidden. Pity the hidden doesn’t use the last word. 10a, another lovely all-in-one.

    I enjoyed 6d. must have been tempting to get the “mind your p’s and q’s” in there somehow.

    16d nice clue, but do people really say the answer? Feels odd to me. I didn’t find it in a dictionary.

    Anyway, top puzzle! And thank you Prolixic.

  10. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, and particularly for sorting out the ‘irrational’ part of 13a – well outside of my comfort zone!
    I had a somewhat different take on 14d, thinking that the ‘scorer when shaken’ was a die/dice. Does that work?

    Thanks again to Harold for a much more solver-friendly puzzle.

  11. Thank you very much to Prolixic for the excellent analysis and to everyone else who has commented so encouragingly. I’m so pleased that this puzzle seems to have been pitched at the right level, and that it’s proved to be an enjoyable solve. I had submitted it for the Rookie Corner and was pleasantly surprised when Big Dave suggested it should appear here instead. On 12D, I do, of course, agree that it’s a pity that “Table” wasn’t necessary for the wordplay, but, given that the definition of the answer was provided by the whole clue, and that “Periodic Table” is a well-established entity, I had hoped to be able to get away with it. On “reason out”, the expression appears as a phrasal verb in some dictionaries (see Macmillan and Merriam-Webster online), but, alas, not in Collins, the ODE, or Chambers – I should have checked this, but didn’t because I thought it was familiar usage.

    I hope to appear here again one day.

  12. A very enjoyable solve only very slightly marred by the ‘poorly hidden’ answer to 12dn. It took a while (overnight, actually) for the penny to drop about the irrational bit in 13ac; thus that and 1dn were my last ones in – but also my favourites. Thanks, Harold, I’ll look forward to your next appearance.

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