NTSPP – 487 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 487

NTSPP – 487

A Puzzle by Exit

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.

Exit continues his appearances as a NTSPP setter with another light and enjoyable crossword.  I did not spot the ghost theme of Brother Cadfael stories.  The list is at the end of the review.


6 Japanese poem recited – Dove Calling in the Treetops? (5)
HAIKU – A homophone (recited) of HIGH COO

7 Forecasters change the props (8)
PROPHETS – An anagram (change) of THE PROPS.

10 Put Hill on duty list for Turner (7)
ROTATOR – A four letter word for a duty list followed by (put on) a three letter word for a hill.

11 True one’s upset on the way (2,5)
EN ROUTE – An anagram (upset) of TRUE ONE.

12 Fungus, not stone, in old writer’s accessory (7)
INKHORN – A nine letter word for a type of fungus with the initial ST removed (not stone).

13 Maiden hiding in old tree – that’s drastic! (7)
EXTREME – The abbreviation for maiden inside (hiding in) a two letter prefix meaning old and the tree from the clue.

14 Prudish artiste clad haphazardly (6-5)
STRAIT-LACED – An anagram (haphazardly) of ARTISTE CLAD.

19 Decide on publicity estimate? (7)
ADJUDGE – A two letter abbreviation for advert (publicity) followed by a five letter word meaning decide.

21 Bird in dispute – twice! (7)
SPARROW – A four letter word for a fight or dispute followed by a three letter word for an argument or dispute.

23 Gulp!  Rae’s backing noise abatement technology (7)
EARPLUG – Reverse (backing) the GULP RAE from the clue.

25 Setter’s enrolling unknown saint and queen to create enigma (7)
MYSTERY – A two letter word for the setter’s includes (enrolling) a letter representing an unknown quantity, the abbreviation for saint and the abbreviation for the current queen.

26 Raise a sort of party – about 8 (8)
HEIGHTEN – A female only part around the spelling of 8.

27 Irish politician crossing small river (5)
TWEED – The abbreviation for Deputy to the Dail (Irish politician) around a three letter word meaning small.


1 Awful ski team’s blunders (8)
MISTAKES – An anagram (awful) of SKI TEAMS.

2 Exactly fair?  Very! (4,2)
JUST SO – A four letter word meaning fair or equitable followed by a two letter word meaning very.

3 Program rent freeze for learner (10)
APPRENTICE – A three letter word for a program you would install on a phone followed by the RENT from the clue and a three letter word meaning freeze.

4 Warning!  This clue for the Listener (4)
FORE – A homophone (for the Listener) of the number of this clue.

5 Harmonise a tenor melody (6)
ATTUNE – The A from the clue followed by the abbreviation for tenor and a four letter word for a melody.

6 Anchorite in ruins of Mitre Hotel (6)
HERMIT – An anagram (in ruins) of MITRE H (Hotel).

8 Present credit’s short for nonconformist (7)
HERETIC – A four letter word meaning present followed by a four letter word for credit with the final letter removed (short).

9 An outcast in Perivale, perhaps … (5)
LEPER – The answer is hidden in PERIVALE PERHAPS.

13 … signing on, chewed Nestlé mint (10)
ENLISTMENT – An anagram (chewed) of NESTLE MINT.

15 Labour conference ending with blood on the pavement? (3,4)
RED FLAG – A three letter word for the colour of blood followed by a four letter word for a paving stone.

16 Challenge is to embrace Ken and daughter with lights out (8)
DARKENED – A four letter word for a challenge around the KEN from the clue followed by the abbreviation for daughter.

17 Serious note’s no good for bird (5)
RAVEN – A five letter word for serious without the G (no good) followed by the abbreviation for note.

18 Bizarre way Des rocked (6)
SWAYED – An anagram (bizarre) of WAY DES.

20 Jumper – over the moon? (6)
JERSEY – A breed of cow (the animal that jumped over the moon).

22 When prescribed, Scotch initially gives benefits (6)
ASSETS – A two letter word meaning when followed by a three letter word meaning prescribed and the initial letter of Scotch.

24 Old reservists in, for example, returning crowd (4)
GATE – The abbreviation for Territorial Army (old reservists) inside the abbreviation for “for example” with all the letters reversed (returning).

The ghost theme comprises:

The Sanctuary SPARROW (21ac)
An Excellent MYSTERY (25ac)
The HERMIT of Eyton Forest (6dn)
The HERETIC’s APPRENTICE (8dn & 3dn)
The LEPER of St Giles (9dn)
The RAVEN in the FOREGATE (17dn & 4dn+24dn)

20 comments on “NTSPP – 487

  1. Lovely puzzle with nothing obscure and with smooth clues throughout – thanks Exit.
    My ticks went to 6a, 2d, 4d and 15d.
    I particularly appreciated the correct (and rare in crossword puzzles) inclusion of ‘old’ in 24d.

  2. Mild and pleasant, I particularly liked the device in 26a.
    I thought 23a was a bit of a gimme and 20d slightly two-step.

    Enjoyable puzzle, thanks Exit.

  3. My comments on this perfectly pitched NTSPP echo those of Gazza

    Thanks Exit – more like this please

  4. Very enjoyable, my top two matched two of Gazza’s ticks, i.e. 6a and 15d.

    Many thanks, Exit.

  5. What a pleasurable solve for a Saturday afternoon.
    Top marks went to 6a & 15d, both of which seem to be in the running for clue of the day.

    Many thanks to Exit and I echo the request from CS – more like this please.

    PS For anyone who hasn’t come across the 12a fungus – it well and truly lives up to its name!

  6. A very pleasant solve, although I got (unnecessarily) ‘bogged down’ in the SW.

    I had no idea about the Japanese poem; I presume it is a word that I will have to find room in my memory for – grandchildren’s names could be at risk!

    Favourite – a toss-up between 3d and 15d.

    Thanks to Exit and tomorrow’s reviewer.

  7. I really enjoyed that and, having got off to a very good start, thought it was going to be a doddle – I was wrong.
    Like Senf I got terribly stuck in the bottom left corner – the rest of the crossword was finished before I had a single answer there.
    Even if LBR thought 23a was a gimme it certainly wasn’t for me, but then they never are.
    Lots of very good clues including 12a and the 14a anagram and 15 and 20d. My favourite was 6a.
    With thanks to Exit and, in advance, to whoever is doing the review tomorrow.

  8. The one that held us the longest was 26a, we spent too long looking at our answer to 8d. An enjoyable romp.
    Thanks Exit.

  9. According to the setters notes:

    “There is a ghost theme of some of the Brother Cadfael stories by Ellis Peters:
    21a, 25a, 6d, 8d & 3d, 9d, 17d & 4d+24d
    Knowledge of the theme is not necessary for solving the puzzle.”

    1. It is a good thirty years or more since I read those stories so the ghost theme passed me by completely.

  10. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. Just as well it was only a ghost theme – I hadn’t heard of the stories! Yet another gap in the education………

  11. Thank you to everyone for your kind comments, to Kath for the Japanese-style verse, and to Prolixic for the review.

  12. An excellent puzzle — I spent more time on 17d than any other five put together, probably! Of course I didn’t spot the theme…

  13. Thanks exit

    I was well mislead by 26a, nice one. I liked 4d and I also really liked “jumper – over the moon”, though jumper i suppose is used twice.

    Forgive me, never heard of brother cadfael so the theme went over my head.

    Thanks for a very nice puzzle

  14. Sorry I’m late to the party but I thought that was great fun. Many thanks, Exit – keep ’em coming!

  15. ………and having enjoyed this one so much, I tackled your earlier contribution (NTSPP 457) and found that one equally enjoyable.

    For me, a good crossword is one that makes me smile. Both of your puzzles certainly did that.

    Many thanks, Exit.

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