NTSPP – 490 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 490

NTSPP – 490

A Puzzle by Gazza

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.

It is always a treat to see Gazza’s name appear on a Saturday and this was no exception.


1 Press hard for second time to get feathered friend … (6)
THRUSH – A six letter word meaning press with the second T(time) replaced by an H (hard).

5 … bird food (8)
PORRIDGE – Double definition for a prison sentence (bird) and a breakfast food.

9 Holy woman has cosmetic meant for the eye round her ear? (8)
LISTENER – A three letter abbreviation for a saint has a cosmetic for the eyes around it.

10 Level of acidity on Malta that’s brought up during cold spell (6)
PHLEGM – The indicator for acidity levels followed by a three letter cricketing term for on and the IVR code for Malta.

11 Chap having a hand in large bird facility involving a degree of mayhem (10)
HULLABALOO – The entertainer who had a large puppet emu and a three letter word for a toilet (facility) includes (involving) the A from the clue and a university degree.

12 Crude measure of drunkenness went awry (4)
NEWT – An anagram (awry) of WENT.

13 Poster’s inwardly cross to be truncated (8)
ABRIDGED – A two letter word for a poster includes (inwardly) a six letter word meaning to cross.

16 Triumph one cheers – first for island (6)
TAHITI – A three letter word for a triumph or success and the letter representing one preceded by (first) a two letter word meaning thanks.

17 Cunning recommendation to evade costs of recycling? (3-3)
FLY-TIP – A three letter word meaning cunning and a three letter word for a recommendation.

19 Somewhat pompous clergyman with floppy inside wanting small surgical procedure (8)
BLIMPISH – A clergy person who oversees a diocese includes (inside) a four letter word meaning floppy with the abbreviation (small) for operation (surgical procedure) being removed (wanting) from the end of the resulting letters.

21 Defect in communication on Titanic resulting in thinking the unthinkable (4)
LISP – With this speech defect, sinking the unsinkable would become thinking the unthinkable.

22 Role abroad for which he’s fully capitalised (10)
AMBASSADOR – The diplomat whose abbreviation is HE (he’s fully capitalised).

25 A sin? Yes (6)
AGREED – The A from the clue followed by another word for avarice.

26 High opening offer from broadcaster with no films or sport? (8)
SKYLIGHT – How you might describe a limited offering of channels from a satellite broadcaster.

27 Aretha, desperate, is after work that may be contracted in the theatre (5,3)
OPERA HAT – An anagram (desperate) of ARETHA after the abbreviation for work.

28 Woeful result for province (6)
ULSTER – An anagram (woeful) of RESULT.


2 Universal support for tramp’s spoken verse (5)
HAIKU – The abbreviation for universal goes under (support) a homophone (spoke) of hike (tramp).

3 Prior to jaunt I laugh internally (5)
UNTIL – The answer is hidden (internally) in the third to fifth words of the clue.

4 Worker’s capture that shocked Bracknell (7)
HANDBAG – A four letter word for a worker and a three letter word meaning capture.

5 Given limited freedom old thief keeps character hidden (7)
PAROLED – A three letter word for an old thief includes a four letter word for a character or part played in a play..

6 Bond, under criticism, left for the Marines (7)
RAPPORT – A three letter word for criticism followed by how a sailor (for the marines) would describe left.

7 Visit key sites one after another (6-3)
ISLAND-HOP – Cryptic definition for travelling from key to key (where key is a geographical term for land surrounded by water).

8 Missing Warne’s fourth Gatting was out, showing plenty of energy (9)
GIGAWATTS – An anagram of GATTING WAS after removing the fourth letter in Warne.

14 Clicking on security feature in new driver after Intel bug fixed (7,2)
BELTING UP – The abbreviation for someone who has just passed their driving test after an anagram (fixed) of INTEL BUG.

15 Bowling along wearing 27? (2,3,4)
IN TOP GEAR – Cryptic definition describing wearing the solution to 27a.

18 Putty-like lumps afford youngsters days of hilarity initially (4-3)
PLAY-DOH – The initial letters of the first seven words of the clue.

19 Take care of an issue not of one’s own making? (4-3)
BABY-SIT -Cryptic definition of someone who looks after another’s children allowing the parents a night out.

20 Would you believe it, your advice is needed? (1,3,3)
I ASK YOU – Double definition.

23 Sect rejecting motorised transport lacks horse on Sabbath – that’s unsatisfactory (5)
AMISS  -The name of the religious group that shuns motorised transport without (lacks) the abbreviation for horse and goes over the abbreviation for Sabbath.

24 Pigment obtained from river in missile launch site (5)
– The abbreviation for river inside the word for the line from which a darts player throws darts (missile launch site).

18 comments on “NTSPP – 490

  1. Excellent puzzle that gave me plenty to think about – some lovely tea-tray moments

    Thanks Gazza

  2. Best puzzle of the week! Completed pre-caffeine on my Saturday morning.

    There were a couple of parsings (10a and 19a) that I thought I might have to wait for tomorrow’s review for but after several read-throughs the pennies dropped.

    Favourites – 11a and 22a.

    Thanks Gazza.

  3. Most enjoyable for a hot sunny afternoon while nursing a chilled libation. Thank you Gazza.

  4. What a delightful NTSPP to herald my return following the retreat of the family invasion force from IOW.

    So much to enjoy in this one – the ‘missile launch site’ in particular made me smile – but I think my favourite was the mayhem in 11a.

    Many thanks, Gazza, love your puzzles.

  5. Thanks Gazza – what an excellent puzzle. I took me a while to get going, but it was well worth it. There is so much clever clueing but my favourite was 19 across.

  6. Yes, Jane is absolutely spot-on. This was indeed delighful with so much to enjoy. The level of humour injected raises this offering way above some of the humdrum puzzles which appear in the daily papers.

    I only needed to reach for my BRB once to find the old thief in 5d.

    My crowded podium comprises: 11a, 12a, 21a, 26a & 24d.

    Great stuff, Gazza, for which many thanks.

  7. My favourite was the defect in communication in 21a. Great fun – thank you, Gazza.

  8. An excellent puzzle as one would expect from such a talented setter, my pick of the clues were 17a, 24d, and, because I was watching the Cricket World Cup during the solve, 8d.

    Many thanks, Gazza. More soon, please!

  9. Excellent fun and much appreciated. It took us a long time to twig the wordplay for 11a, (not so well known here) and we still need a bit more thought on the wordplay for 1a. The one that still has us chuckling is 21a but there were chuckles all the way through.
    Many thanks Gazza.

    Ps. Decided we would not mention the cricket this week. Bloody Aussies!

    1. No wonder we could not sort out 1a. We needed to shoot the CHOUGH we were trying to justify and find another bird to fit.

  10. Very witty and inventive throughout. I laughed out loud at 21a. Was going to make a pedantic comment about power versus energy in 8d but decided not to. Thanks, Gazza, this was brilliant.

  11. Absolutely wonderful and, as always with a Gazza crossword, not without its problems – I mean for me, not with the crossword.
    Most of the top right corner took ages and, like the Kiwis, I couldn’t get the wrong 1a bird out of my head.
    In all the time I’ve been doing crosswords I don’t think I’ve ever met the three letter female saint or the old thief.
    Too many brilliant clues to mention all of them so I’ll break my rule of having only one favourite and say that 11 and 19a are joint favourites – the ‘ishy’ ones always make me laugh.
    With thanks and admiration to Gazza for the crossword and to Prolixic for the review.

  12. I really enjoyed this. Always great to see jokes in a crossword. Previous commenters have covered many highlights; I won’t parrot them, but do want to add some applause for 9a and 14d.

    I wondered if there should be an ing on the end of afford in 18a, but that’s being very picky.

    Like the Kiwis, I spend too long staring at a CHOUGH in 1a. The trick was to shoo him away (easy for a kitty) and wait. Out of the blue, the correct bird fluttered into the light. Lovely!

    Lisped sanks to Gazza for the wonderful entertainment and to Prolixic for the review.

  13. Many sanks for the review, Prolixic – such a brilliant offering from Gazza.
    If only 5a had contained one more letter – it was crying out to be ‘polyfilla’!

    Thanks again to Gazza for the fun.

  14. Many thanks to all who commented (I’m glad that you all seemed to enjoy the puzzle) and specially to Prolixic for the review. Thanks, as always, to BD for hosting the NTSPP series.

  15. Almost completed – in fact I did fill all the grid but must have had a blind spot for 1ac as all I could think of with the checking letters was ‘chough’ – no wonder I couldn’t parse it. Elsewhere, all very enjoyable. I particularly liked 12ac, 27ac and 4dn.

    Thanks, Gazza and Prolixic.

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