NTSPP – 482 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 482

NTSPP – 482

A Puzzle by Marg

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.

Welcome back to Marg from across the pond with another crossword to entertain us.  This was decidedly trickier than his previous appearances.


1 Planner‘s way to assess idea (10)
STRATEGIST – The abbreviation for street (way) followed by a four letter word meaning to assess and a four letter word meaning an idea.

6 Stupid feature removed by Amazon? (4)
BOOB – Double definition for an American term for a stupid person and a part of the anatomy removed by Amazon women.  Marg has succumbed to fake news.  it is a myth that these warriors removed part of their anatomy to enable them to better use their bows and arrows.  More importantly, as the noun for a stupid person is an Americanism, this perhaps should have been indicated.

10 Consumed by row with Democrat (5)
DRANK – The abbreviation for Democrat followed by a four letter word for a row or line.

11 Playful lionesses must be quiet (9)
NOISELESS – An anagram (playful) of LIONESSES.

12 Singer to lie desperately in court (4,3)
COLE TIT – An anagram (desperately) of TO LIE inside the abbreviation for court.

13 Spy cat frequently? (7)
SLEEPER – Double definition.  The second part of the definition is a little tenuous not being a defining characteristic of a cat – proverbially, sleeping is associated with a dog.

14 My daughter is asked to be sympathetic (4-8)
WELL DISPOSED – A four letter interjection meaning my followed by the abbreviation for daughter, the IS from the clue and a five letter word meaning asked.

18 Shrink underwear and it might reveal more than intended? (8,4)
FREUDIAN SLIP – The type of female underwear that Sigmund Freud might have worn had he been so inclined.

21 Nobody else has ailing Cockney’s concern (7)
ONESELF – How someone from the East End of London (Cockney) might say one’s health.

23 Cute American writing article about Russian doll companies (7)
RACCOON – The one letter abbreviation for writing in educational speak followed by the two letter word for an article around two abbreviations for company (one inside the other – Russian doll).  Unless it is a American usage, I am not aware of any particular association between cute and this animal.

24 Stress from last stages of wildfire damaged conifer (9)
REINFORCE – The final two letters (last stages) of wildfire followed by an anagram (damaged) of CONIFER.

25 Analyze standards before introduction of exams (5)
PARSE – An four letter word for standards or norms followed by the first letter (introduction) of exams.  Our setter reveals his American roots again with the spelling of analyse.

26 Sheep like the sound of exercise (4)
EWES – A homophone (the sound of) of USE (exercise).

27 Few eat here yearning to keep watch for trouble (7,3)
WEATHER EYE – The answer is very well hidden in FEW EAT HERE YEARNING.


1 Corrupt opponents crushing foreign leader (6)
SEDUCE – Two opposing Bridge players followed by the Italian for leader.

2 Truly are without a friend (6)
REALLY – Remove the A from are and follow with a four letter word for a friend.

3 Weaken a U2 performance? (4,3,4,3)
TAKE THE EDGE OFF – How you might weaken the a performance by U2 by removing one of the band members.

4 Bits of info on EU country written by a local (9)
GENITALIA – A three letter word for info followed by how an Italian would refer to their country (written by a local).

5 Knock back prunes, get runs (5)
SPINS – Reverse (knock back) a five letter word for prunes or cuts.

7 Superior hand in bridge (8)
OVERPASS – A four letter word meaning superior to or above followed by a four letter word meaning to hand something to someone.

8 First trip to get leg over? (8)
BESTRIDE – A four letter word meaning first or top followed by a four letter word meaning a trip or journey.

9 After EP backfired, Prince let rip about theory predicting outcome of promotions (5,9)
PETER PRINCIPLE – Revers (backfired) the EP from the clue and follow with an anagram (about) of PRINCE LET RIP.

15 Revolutionary ginger nuts manfactured without one bit of ginger (9)
INSURGENT – An anagram (manufactured – watch spellings as there is a typo in the clue) of GINGER NUTS without the  one of the Gs (without one bit of ginger).

16 Old French route turns out as expected (2,6)
OF COURSE – The abbreviations for Old and French followed by another word for a route.

17 Put on casual top over jeans (8)
TELEVISE – A three letter word for a causal top (usually followed by shirt) around (over) another word for jeans (from the name of the manufacturer).  I never really like using over in a down clue to indicate containment.

19 Lord who ran resistance to European Community turned up pressure (6)
COERCE – The name of the Olympic runner who became a Lord followed by the abbreviation for resistance and a reversal (turned up) of the abbreviation for European Community.

20 Princess catching former lover’s bit on the side? (6)
ANNEXE – The name of the Queen’s daughter around (catching) a two letter word for a former lover.

22 Strength comes from self or team? (5)
FORTE – The answer is hidden (comes from) SELF OR TEAM.

19 comments on “NTSPP – 482

  1. Tremendous fun – thanks Marg,
    The SW corner took me longer than the rest – due to my having written ‘hisself’ for 21a (having checked that it is in the BRB).
    With S?I?S written in for 5d I did wonder for a moment what sort of runs we might be talking about!
    I’m not sure that the answer to 6a works as an adjective and I didn’t know, without the help of Google, the U2 reference in 3d.
    I’ve far too many ticks to list them all – I’ll just go with 18a, 27a, 1d, 2d, 4d and 8d

  2. Trickier than most NTSPPs but I got started in the SE corner and made steady progress – I’d agree with Gazza’s thoughts on the solution to 6a. I also didn’t know the alternative spelling for the first part of 12a

    Thanks to Marg for the brain stretching and, in advance, to Prolixic for the review

  3. A very entertaining puzzle, as one would expect from this setter.

    Top clues for me were 18a, 3d and 17d. I was also unaware of the alternative spelling of 12a.

    Many thanks, Marg.

  4. Completed at a steady plod, partly because I was multi-tasking watching a thoroughly entertaining Pro 14 play-off game between Munster and Benetton in which the latter team nearly surprised the home team.

    Same for me on 6a and 12a, with a slightly raised eyebrow on 4d.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 18a and 1d.

    Thanks to Marg and advance thanks to Prolixic.

  5. Lots to like with smiles aplenty.

    Yes, feature seems to be doing double-duty in 6A.

    I ticked 18A, 27A and 3,4,5 downs.

    Thanks Marg and in advance to Prolixic.

  6. Thanks to everyone who has commented so far.

    My intention with 6a was that in the cryptic reading of the clue “stupid” should be interpreted as a noun.

  7. I didn’t have a chance to look at this until late yesterday evening but I’m very glad I made the effort. It was certainly very challenging, much more so than Marg’s previous offerings, but nevertheless very enjoyable as ever.

    I didn’t know the alternative spelling for 12a and I don’t think “stupid” works as a noun in 6a (although the ? nicely covers the fake news aspect). Regarding Prolixic’s comment about 13a, doesn’t the expression “cat nap” illustrate that the answer applies equally to felines and canines?

    I’m not particularly keen on U2 with or without their guitarist but 3d is a stunning clue and my favourite, with 18a & 17d joining it on my podium. I tried so hard to fit in “denim” in some way for 17d.

    Many thanks to Marg and to Prolixic. Please keep them coming, Marg.

  8. Well, color me embarrassed :) I did check that stupid wasn’t an Americanism, but I didn’t do the same for the answer. A shame, because I think “Stupid American feature removed by Amazon?” would have been a better clue. Apologies also for the spelling of 25a and for the typo in 15d that were both missed by me and by my (UK) test solvers.

    Thanks for the review, Prolixic, and thanks again for all of the helpful advice that you have given this novice setter here and in your Guide. Are you by any chance a dog person?

    1. You might be able to get away with it anyway as Amazon is an American company and the Amazon race came from South America.

  9. I thought it was clear that marg has spent quite some time here polishing the surfaces, which are all exquisite. Superior hand in bridge is a favourite, first thing I saw when I looked at the puzzle (just this morning, since I was at the Leicester s&b yesterday).

    I was glad when I had enough checkers to get birthday suit out of my head for 18a. Bit of a stretch to use shrink as an adjective, but it sort of works.

    Thanks Prolixic for review and the parsing of 21a, which I missed

    I really liked the U2 clue (and I think they are sufficiently well known!) though weaken i think is doing double duty. Sometimes people get away with that, though to be correct I’d prefer something like “weaken, as one might a u2 performance”, even though it might end up reading less smoothly

    “Like the sound of ” seemed a stretch for a homophone indicator ( a homophone of a homophone) but I think it works

    Isn’t F the IVR for France and Fr the abbreviation for French? Ah. I see online Collins lists F for French in its American list

    Overall an excellent puzzle, not easy, but engaging, and a joy to solve. Well done that man.

    1. I also thought “put on casual top over jeans” was a great surface (the simple things are the best) – though Prolixic is right that it would work better in an across clue.

    2. Thanks, Dutch, that means a lot.

      I was thinking of shrink functioning as an adjective like the cowboy in cowboy hat. I had in mind that 3d have the entire clue as one definition and just weaken as the other, in a sort of semi-&lit construction, although I agree that it’s marginal. The BRB has OF as an abbreviation for Old French.

      1. Old French – ah, thanks. One to remember.

        yes, i agree shrink can work like that.

        yes, exactly, the problem is “weaken” is part of both definitions, hence the double duty (in my view). But no doubt you’ll find people doing exactly that. In an &lit there are not two definitions: the entire clue is definition plus all, or part, is wordplay, so i don’t think the &littish angle works.

        Anyway, all great stuff.

  10. Thanks Marg, cracking puzzle full of excellent clues.
    Aren’t the Amazons themselves mythical? In which case, to describe their self-mutilation as a myth is, er, mything the point?

  11. We’ve been away for a couple of days so had a backlog of puzzles to catch up on.
    Really appreciated and enjoyed this one.
    Thanks Marg and Prolixic.

  12. Quite late (Sunday evening) getting round to this, but it was worth waiting for. Knowing the setter’s location helped in that I was aware of possible Americanisms.
    18ac was my first one in as the clue caught my eye while I was printing the puzzle to solve on paper. Last one in was 6ac, after something about Amazons rang a faint bell and sent me scurrying to Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable and all was made plain.
    Thanks, Marg and Prolixic.

  13. Thanks to everyone who has commented above. I appreciate the appreciation.

    For any solvers just arriving here, minor changes have now been made to the puzzle to correct the typo in 15d and the Americanisms in 6a and 25a mentioned in Prolixic’s review.

Comments are closed.