NTSPP – 494 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 494

NTSPP – 494

A Puzzle by Shabbo

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.

A welcome return as Shabbo entertains us.  He shows that a crossword does not have to be fiendish to be enjoyable.  A small mistake in the cluing in 26a did not detract from the fun.


8 Report what a loaded gun has? (8)
– Split 6,2 this would describe ammunition in relation to the gun.

9 Port’s without German agreement on wines (6)
– A Brazilian port (maintaining the ’s from the clue) around (without) the German for yes (agreement).  The on does not quite work as a link word.

10 Savage found back in flat urban jungle (6)
BRUTAL – The answer is hidden (found) and reversed (back) in the fifth and sixth words of the clue.  The “jungle” is padding for the surface reading and should be ignored.

11 Old case of extortion (8)
EXACTION – A two letter prefix meaning old followed by a six letter word for a legal case.

12 Hit man gets a couple of points repeated at home (8)
– The A from the clue and the abbreviation for south twice (point) repeated followed by a two letter word meaning at home.

13 Jailer released unspecified number for Christmas lunch? (6)
– Remove (released) the abbreviation for an unspecified number from an old word for a jailor.

14 A come-hither lass awfully useful at the car wash? (7-8)
CHAMOIS LEATHER – An anagram ((awfully) of A COME HITHER LASS.

18 Look at lad endlessly in summerhouse (6)
– A four letter word meaning look at and a three letter word for a lad with the final letter word removed (endlessly).

20 Dull rucksack requiring home assembly (4-4)
– A four letter word meaning dull followed by a four letter word describing a rucksack.

23 Grip girl’s belt (8)
DISTRACT – The diminutive form of Diana’s (maintaining the ’s) followed by a five letter word for a belt or strip of land.

24 Muslim journalist tied up (6)
MOORED – A four letter word for a North African muslim followed by the abbreviation for editor (journalist).

25 Absorbed by cash; Lara Stone (6)
ASHLAR – The answer it hidden in (absorbed by) the fourth and fifth words of the clue.

26 Greek character gets money before Christian perhaps (8)
MUTINEER – A two letter word for one of the letters in the Green alphabet followed by a three letter word for money and a three letter word that has been wrongly clued as before, but is the three letters meaning ever poetically.


1 Needs engineer to withdraw papers (6)
QUIRES – An eight letter word meaning needs without (to withdraw) the two letter abbreviation for Royal Engineers.

2 Even unflappable in the doldrums? (4,4)
FLAT CALM – A four letter word meaning even or regular followed by a word letter word meaning unflappable.  The answer is given in Collins on-line.

3 Picked up long-legged bird’s tracks (6)
STALKS – A homophone `(picked up) of STORKS (long-legged bird).

4 I locate feminine fancy.  Never again! (4,2,1,8)
ONCE IN A LIFE TIME – An anagram (fancy) of I LOCATE FEMININE.

5 Macerate brew for afternoon treat (5,3)
CREAM TEA – An anagram (brew) of MACERATE.

6 Finlay Watson?  Who? (6)
DOCTOR – The appellation that could be given to each of three words as fictional characters.

7 Hunt activist‘s boast about splitting Europe in half (8)
SABOTEUR – An anagram (about) of BOAST followed by half of the word Europe.

15 Largest competes in qualifying round (8)
HEAVIEST – A four letter word meaning competed in a four letter word for a qualifying round.

16 Worship hero having a go (8)
IDOLATRY – A four letter word for a hero followed by the A from the clue and a three letter word meaning a go or attempt.

17 Trendy club might need replacing eventually? (3,5)
HIP JOINT – A three letter word meaning trendy followed by another word for a club.

19 Praises former partner with lots going wrong (6)
EXTOLS – A two letter word meaning former partner followed by an anagram (going wrong) of LOTS.

21 Pleads guilty amidst rioting (6)
ADMITS – A anagram (rioting) of ADMIST.

22 Primitive reportedly worked on board (6)
CREWED – A homophone (reportedly) of crude (primitive).

21 comments on “NTSPP – 494

  1. Thanks Shabbo for an enjoyable, fairly gentle puzzle with smooth surfaces and a pangram to boot.
    My podium selections were 14a, 26a and 6d.

  2. Not too tricky and pretty smooth throughout, making for a pleasant solve.
    Thanks Shabbo

  3. Entertaining crossword, although the grid is a bit unfriendly – this type is often used for NINAs, but I guess it’s also useful for hiding a few ‘nasty’ letters for a pangram.

    I ticked 8A, 14A, 1D and 4D.

    With respect to 10A, the usual convention is not to add extraneous words to a hidden.

    Thanks Shabbo.

  4. Hi Shabbo,

    A very enjoyable solve, with many smooth surfaces and excellent anagrams. The clues I liked most were 13a and 14a.

    Like Windsurfer, I felt the inclusion of “jungle” in 10a was a pity (clearly necessary for the surface though), and, unless I’m missing something, “before” in 26a clues ERE rather than EER, no? Wordplay of definition (as in 11a) jarred somewhat too.

    Well done on creating another NTSPP, many thanks.

  5. How nice to see another NTSPP from Shabbo, I always find them such good fun to solve. There may well have been a couple of technical hitches – same could be said of most puzzles – but it was only the ending of 26a that bothered me unduly.
    I won’t embarrass either of us by listing all my podium contenders but neither will I forget the come-hither lass at the car wash in a hurry!

    Your style puts me in mind of another erstwhile Rookie who has gone on to achieve greatness – can’t give you any higher praise than that!

  6. Well done shabbo

    Great anagram in 14a. 20a is a reminder of what i should be doing instead of this crossword. I was surprised to see lunch instead of dinner in 13a, I’ll never get the hang of that. In 23a, the definition would seem to be the opposite at first, though i think i can see how it works. 2d sounds believable, but I couldn’t find it in chambers or collins which should be a setter’s warning (like red sky in the morning)

    congratulations on an enjoyable crossword

  7. A perfect pangram pitched just right for the post Saturday lunch solve. I enjoyed myself very much, my top favourite was 6d. Anyone else spend quite a while trying to get the letters left over after putting in the second work to try and spell ‘shammy’?

    Thanks to Shabbo for the crossword and, in advance, to Prolixic for the review

  8. Hi All
    Many thanks for your very kind words and your helpful comments. They are hugely appreciated, as ever.
    I am annoyed with myself about the error at the end of 26a. Mea culpa!
    Thanks also to BD for providing the platform and the opportunity for novices like me to get some air time.
    Time for you to get on with your 20a, Dutch………and I bet you have bits left over at the end!

    1. all done and dusted, complete with ceremonial burial of bits left over at the end

  9. I came to this one late today and am very glad I decided to tackle it as it proved to be a lot of fun.
    Shame about the “jungle” padding in 10a, nebulous girl in 23a (we haven’t had many of these recently, I’m pleased to say) and the ending of 26a.
    Those apart this was a delight, just right for the NTSPP slot, with 13a, 14a & 6d on my podium.
    Many thanks to Shabbo and in advance to Prolixic.

  10. Excellent fun and very much enjoyed. We spotted the pangram quite early on.
    Thanks Shabbo.

  11. Very enjoyable indeed and such a relief that it was not too torturous. Several clues referenced the word “flat” but I don’t know whether it was a mini-theme.

  12. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. I’m sure that Shabbo will be delighted by your summary of his puzzle and I hope we see many more from him in the future.

  13. Thanks from me as well for the review, Prolixic. Thanks also for your kind and very encouraging words.

  14. Thanks, Shabbo. This was a very quick solve for me, but none the less enjoyable. I thought it would make an excellent puzzle for newbie solvers, with just two reservations: the error in 26a; and in 23ac I thought that ‘belt’ was a rather loose synonym and certainly don’t think ‘grip’ is an accurate definition – I only got the answer because from the crossing letters it couldn’t be anything else.

    1. Surely ‘a belt of land’ is a good synonym for ‘a tract of land’? As for the definition, I think that the BRB rather disagrees with you.

      1. I’ve checked the BRB (13th ed) and I can’t say that any of the definitions given there really suggest ‘grip’ to me.

  15. I was very late starting this, Shabbo. Sometimes, however, the best things are kept for last! This was a lovely crossword which I have much enjoyed. I ticked several clues for special mention — 11a, 13a, 14a, 25a, 26a, 6d, 5d and 17d. Of these, 6d is my fave. Thank you very much. Really good work so ‘well done’!

    I have much enjoyed the beautifully illustrated and excellent review, too. Very appreciative thanks to Prolixic.

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