NTSPP – 491 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 491

A Puzzle by Skinny

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

As part of an exercise to catch up on last week’s lost weekend, there will be two NTSPP puzzles next week.  A special 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landing puzzle from Windsurfer on Saturday and a Fluffy offering from Chalicea on Sunday.

Also, watch out for a Rookie Corner puzzle tomorrow as well as the regular Monday puzzle.


Skinny’s second appearance in the NTSPP slot – he has his first nationally-published crossword in today’s (Sunday) Independent , a ‘promotion’ which means that all future crosswords he creates for BD will be reviewed by me rather than Prolixic. While solving the NTSPP, I did think there were quite a few anagrams (turned out there were eight) and I also got involved in a discussion with Mr CS as to whether the setter was a particularly thin person or the nickname for someone called Skinner


7a They tell stories recalling island peaks (9)
NARRATORS A reversal (recalling) of a Scottish island followed by some peaks

8a Sound home rented out (5)
INLET Synonyms for home and rented out

9a The obsessive note sailing’s not posh (9)
FANATICAL A musical note and an adjective meaning of or relating to sailing without the letter that is used to indicate ‘posh’

10a Fresh turn before journey’s end (5)
WINDY Cue another discussion with Mr CS as we aren’t entirely convinced that the definition and solution match – a verb meaning to turn goes before the ‘end’ of journeY

12a Reportedly restrain drunk office-worker (6)
TYPIST Homophones (reportedly) of a verb meaning to restrain and a slang term meaning extremely drunk

13a How a cellist may prepare to receive applause (4,1,3)
TAKE A BOW A cellist may do this before starting to play

14a Tissue torn asunder in sink (4,3)
SNOT RAG A slang term for a tissue or hanky obtained from an anagram (asunder) of TORN inserted into a synonym for sink produces a solution that made many of us say ugh. There are, according to Crossword Solver eight other words with xNxTxAx that could have been used instead.

17a Blow up general explosive (7)
ENLARGE An anagram (explosive) of GENERAL

20a Contrasting work with state education at first (8)
OPPOSITE An abbreviated way of saying work with a verb meaning to state, followed by the first letter of Education

22a Shrink, one of two taking reverse course at the outset (6)
WITHER Take an adjective meaning one of two and change the first letter to the opposite direction (reverse course at outset)

24a Wimps taken aback by small worries (5)
STEWS Reverse (taken aback) some wimps and then add an S (small)

25a It’s next to a hypotenuse (9)
ALONGSIDE A from the clue followed by a description of that part of a triangle opposite the right angle (hypotenuse)

26a Assume interest’s not finished quietly (5)
USURP Remove the last letter from an illegal way of taking interest on a loan and then add the letter that is used in musical notation as an instruction to play quietly

27a Bombastic organised chaos (9)
GRANDIOSE An anagram (chaos) of ORGANISED


1d Mastitis, primarily a female complaint (6)
MALADY The primary letter of Mastitis, A (from the clue) and a female

2d Roasting nuts for a player (8)
ORGANISE An anagram (nuts) of ROASTING

3d Tough neighbourhood wanting detective (6)
STRICT Remove the abbreviation for a Detective Inspector (wanting detective) from a neighbourhood

4d Range of funds that’s cut in half (7)
BREADTH A slang term for money (funds) and the first half of THat

5d Sick again with new severe pain (6)
ANGINA An anagram (sick) of AGAIN with N (new)

6d Lust after boss without thinking (8)
HEADLONG A verb meaning to lust after something goes after a synonym for boss

11d Like a head of state who lacks gravity (4)
AKIN A (from the clue) and a head of state who ‘lacks’ the abbreviation for Gravity

15d Looking after your own pickled pimentos (8)
NEPOTISM An anagram (pickled) of PIMENTOS

16d Drug man-child’s regularly taken (4)
ACID The regular letters of mAn ChIlD

18d Creative upstart is ticking boxes (8)
ARTISTIC Boxed inside upstART IS TICking

19d Merchant’s a goon (7)
SELLERS The surname of one of the Goons could be read as “merchant’s”

21d Here a patient may be making progress (6)
ONWARD Split 2,4, this might indeed be where a hospital patient may be

22d Weak gin cocktail is on the way out (6)
WANING A word meaning weak, pale and sickly followed by an anagram (cocktail) of GIN

23d First-born of the Spanish daughter is French (6)
ELDEST The Spanish definite article, the abbreviation for Daughter and the French word for is

20 comments on “NTSPP – 491

  1. I enjoyed this – thanks Skinny. Not too many problems until I got to 22a which took me some time to parse – so that’s my favourite.
    I also ticked 8a, 25a and the well-disguised 18d.

  2. We’re going to have more puzzles than you shake a snake at! Mrs S is not going to be best pleased when I disappear into the study tomorrow afternoon only emerging for refreshing hop based libations. Thanks BD & Skinny & to tomorrow & Monday’s contributors.

    1. I read the message about the two NTSPPs as referring to next weekend. I sincerely hope so as I do have some non-crosswordy life to fit in this weekend!

        1. Ah I hadn’t read that bit. Trying too hard to get reviews of today’s puzzles drafted before the Ladies Final

        2. A NTSPP and two rookies to review. Does anyone know where Hermione Granger left her time turner, please?

          1. Skinny is now a nationally published setter so that’s one less job for you – I’ve already drafted the review

          2. Yes, it’s under Harry’s invisibility cloak. Perhaps Silvanus could help out? He did a good job last time, though I would always rather hear from you, sir.

  3. Not too taxing and very enjoyable, thanks Skinny. Couple of smilers in there.

  4. Like Gazza, I had trouble parsing 22a. Unlike Gazza, I’m still struggling with it now!
    Hard to believe that the BRB recognises the dreadful 14a – yuck.

    Several that I really enjoyed in this one – 8,12 & 25a taking top places with a nod to 18 & 23d.

    Thanks for the puzzle, Skinny.

  5. Thanks Skinny. I got held up in the NW and had to do some revealing to confirm my answers, well guesses.

    There are one or two parsings that elude me so I will have to wait for tomorrow’s review.

    Thankfully, I haven’t seen or heard 14a for quite a while and I would be quite happy if it disappeared for a similar length of time.

    Favourite – 25a.

    Thanks again.

  6. Very well done, Skinny. On my page I have listed Surfaces, Brevity & Cluing Accuracy and put double ticks by all three of those parameters.

    What a shame to have spoiled such a good puzzle with a hideous answer like 14a. I think the “The” in 9a is unecessary but that apart your cluing is immaculate. What a coincidence that 17a should appear today.

    Many clues come into consideration as favourite, and my podium comprises 8a, 12a & 25a., with the last of these getting the nod.

    Many thanks, Skinny. This was a high class puzzle and great fun. Thanks too in advance to CS.

  7. Many thanks to all for commenting – it means a lot to me to see how the puzzle was received, and I’m grateful for all inputs.

    Apologies for the offence caused by 14a. It’s one of those things where you look to the BRB for a certain word pattern, and then you see a possible clue…but I take the point that there are a lot of words in the dictionary you wouldn’t necessarily want to see in a puzzle.

    Regarding 22a – it’s looking at the first letter of the answer for opposites, in this case W for E.

    Thanks again for all comments, which are gratefully received, and I wish you all a terrific remainder of the weekend.

    All the best from industrial West Yorkshire,


  8. By the way, I just wanted to say that with 1d, I very much had Arachne’s magnificent clue for ‘mastitis’ in mind, one of the greatest clues ever written.

  9. Many thanks for the review, CS, and the most amusing illustration for 15d!

    Congratulations to Skinny on his national debut.

  10. Many thanks to CS for the review. My name is Skinny because I was a skinny kid, and since then, that’s what everyone but workmates and family call me. These days it’s a struggle.

  11. Thanks, Skinny, for an excellent puzzle. Like others, I struggled to parse 22, though the answer was clear enough. Enjoyed the nod to Arachne, too!

  12. Bit of a cruciverbal overload at the moment as it’s been a busy week, so not much time for comment – just to say this was an enjoyable (except for 14ac) challenge. Thanks, Skinny and CS

  13. Enjoyable solve with some nice, fresh ideas.

    I didn’t mind 14A – it’s commonly used, I believe.

    My ticks went to 22A, 25A, 1D and 18D (nicely hidden.)

    Thanks Skinny and CS.

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