NTSPP – 497 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 497

NTSPP – 497

A Puzzle by Atrica

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.

Welcome back to Atrica with an enjoyable and diverting crossword with the added bonus that all of the solutions include only the vowels A and I.


1 Pint is hidden by crazy Christian fundamentalists (8)
BAPTISTS – The abbreviation for pint and the iS from the clue inside Is hidden by) a four letter word meaning crazy.  Most of the Baptists I know would be horrified to be described as fundamentalists.

5 Intensify in speech, coming to blows (6)
WHACKS – A homophone (in speech) of WAX (intensify)

10 Telling assessment after monarch seen divested of two layers of clothing (9)
NARRATING – The MONARCH from the clue after removing the first and last pair of letters (divested of two layers of clothing) followed by a six letter word meaning assessment.

11 Beginnings of Greek Zoroastrian interfaith reconciliation activities in Maltese port (5)
GZIRA – The initial letters (beginnings) of the third to seventh words of the clue.  I have corrected the misspelling reconcilation in the clue.

12 A “yes” to the Germans given by former Greek leader (4)
AJAX – The A from the blue followed by the German for Yes and the letter representing by or times.

13 Before the conclusion of Brexit I can be found in Berlin and Paris, possibly, as profiteer (10)
CAPITALIST – The last letter (conclusion of) Brexit preceded by (before) the I from the clue in side (can be found in) the status of cities such as Berlin or Paris.

15 Humming in a prison (5)
ASTIR – The A from the clue followed by a four letter slang word for prison.

16 Thugs at first said to be mixed up in Nazi group — this is the kind of people they are (7)
SADISTS – An anagram (mixed up) of he first letter (at first) of thugs and SAID inside (in) the abbreviation for Schutzstaffel(Nazi group).

18 In exchange for your rubbish, take this — idiot! (3)
TIT – The word that proceeds the “for tat” (in exchange for your rubbish).

19 Requires undisciplined narcissist to give up clapped-out car (7)
INSISTS – An anagram (undisciplined) of NARCISSIST after removing (to give up) the rearranged letters (clapped-out) of CAR.

21 King given drink, reportedly, in first-century cup (5)
GRAIL – The regnal cypher for King George followed by a homophone (reportedly) of ALE (drink).

25 Eyesore behind screen produces unconscious response (10)
BLINDSIGHT – A five letter word for an eyesore after (behind) a five letter word for a screen.

26 Complain about someone with trousers set alight? (4)
LIAR – Reverse (about) a four letter word meaning complain.

28 In decline, top lawyer drinks strong liquor (5)
AGING – The abbreviation for Attorney General includes (drinks) a three letter word for a strong type of liquor.

29 Drummer‘s eardrum, I’m thinking, has been removed first (9)
TYMPANIST – An eight letter word for the eardrum without a two letter word meaning I’m thinking followed by1st (first).

30 Garment near empty tallboy (6)
NIGHTY – A four letter word meaning near followed by the outer letters (empty) of tallboy.

31 Places where cows may be kept (8)
INSTALLS – Split 2, 6, this might describe where cows may be kept.


1 Bar mat on the counter for feisty customer (6)
BANTAM – A three letter word meaning bar followed by a reversal (on the counter) of the MAT from the clue.

2 Undesirables emerging from a parish dance (7)
PARIAHS – An anagram (dance) of A PARISH.

3 Quatrain occasionally read from right to left in Semitic region (4)
IRAQ – A reversal (read from right to left) of the odd letters (occasionally) of the first word of the clue.

4 Litigation involving blockhead loyal to group (6)
TRIBAL – A five letter word for litigation includes (involving) the first letter (head) of block.

6 Abandoned, intoxicated — in addition, thirsty! (4,3,3)
HIGH AND DRY – Synonyms of the intoxicated, “in addition” and “thirsty”.

7 Jerk in crisis is at last fleeing those passing judgement (7)
CRITICS – A three letter word for a jerk or twitch inside (in) the crisis from the clue after removing the final IS (IS at last fleeing).

8 Well-dressed nincompoop is impertinent to a New Yorker (5-3)
SMART-ASS – A five letter word meaning well-dressed followed by a three letter word for a nincompoop.

9 In contact with controversial centre (7)
AGAINST – The central letter of controversial gives an abbreviation of the solution.

14 Anatomically, the thumb of one in a hundred (5,5)
FIRST DIGIT – A positional description of the 1 in 100.

17 A bundle of nerves, disoriented in dim bar (8)
MIDBRAIN – An anagram (disorientated) of IN DIM BAR.

18 Haplessly thirsts for things to wear (1-6)
T-SHIRTS – An anagram (haplessly) of THIRSTS.

20 At the mercy of wind, feeling sick after the last of oysters (7)
SAILING -A six letter word meaning feeling sick after the final letter (the last) of oysters.

22 First show that you approve (7)
INITIAL – Double definition.

23 Non-kosher food in hospital for holy man (6)
SHAMAN – A three letter pork product (non-Kosher food) inside a three letter word for a hospital.

24 Disgusting rat is parading on the house (6)
GRATIS – The answer is hidden (parading) in the first three words of the clue.

27 Huge walrus finally stuffed into tank (4)
VAST – The final letter of walrus inside (stuffed into) a three letter for a tank.

22 comments on “NTSPP – 497

  1. Very enjoyable indeed and not too onerous (pleasing on a day when there’s rugby to be watched) – thanks Atrica.
    My ticks went to 1d, 7d and 9d.

    1. But did you notice something special about the solution words once you’d finished?

      1. No – I never do, but now that I’ve had a look I see what you mean. A very impressive feat without needing to resort to obscurities.

  2. Very enjoyable and at a nice level of difficulty. I thought there might be something else going on but solved it online so can’t go back and look again. Ne’er mind.

    Thanks Atrica

  3. Wow! That was absolutely brilliant from start to finish.
    After entering only six answers I had found J, Q, X & Z so I felt fairly certain that a pangram would be on the cards. How wrong could I be? Not a pangram with three letters missing – but what a veritable tour de force!
    My page is littered with ticks and choosing a favourite is impossible so I’ll simply nominate 10a, 18a, 26a, 7d & 9d for a very crowded podium.
    Very well done indeed, Atrica, and a special thank you from me for indicating the American usage in 8d!

  4. That was fantastic, Atrica – and I hope you notice that both RD and I have chosen adjectives to fit in with the puzzle’s constraints!
    No way I can pick a favourite as I can’t even think of one entry that would be left out of a final line-up.

    Question, if I may, do you find it easier to set a puzzle if you’ve given yourself boundaries to operate within or is it just something that appeals? It’s certainly not something that you need to employ in order to impress a solver!

    I do hope that we have the pleasure of getting more NTSPPs from you although I fear that ‘greater things’ may beckon.
    Many thanks.

    1. Thanks Jane, for your kind comments. This one actually started out as a themed puzzle called “Artificial Intelligence”. Then it occurred to me that if every word contained only the vowels “A” and “I” I could use that fact to clue the theme phrase. Unfortunately, though, “intelligence” contains three very annoying letters and I couldn’t think of a way to deal with them. I do like constraints (such as themes) but I suspect that if I had to set a crossword every week I would probably ditch them!

  5. An outstanding effort, Atrica!

    I would like to think that I would have spotted the constraints that you put yourself under without reading the blog, but I am normally rubbish at spotting these things, so probably not.

    A very good crossword in its own right, but it is elevated to outstanding by the self-imposed limitations (which is perhaps an appropriate word with which to finish my blog!).

    1. Oops, sorry! Ignore my comment on “limitations”. Clearly a touch of irritable vowel syndrome!

  6. We thoroughly enjoyed the solve but it was not until we came here and read the comment from CS that we went back and looked more closely at the grid. What cleverness! A real pleasure to solve.
    Thanks Atrica.

  7. To everyone who solved the puzzle and commented, I can say “many thanks” but not “thank you”!

  8. Terrific! So much fun to solve. Still pondering the parsing of 9D though, and the ‘constraints” are totally escaping me. Thanks, Atrica.

  9. Thank you for the review, Prolixic, shame that your correction to the spelling of the clue for 11a contained another spelling error!
    Definitions I’ve found for Christian fundamentalists would seem to include Baptists, maybe it has a rather broader meaning than is actually used these days?
    26a – I thought this was a reference to the childish rhyme of ‘liar, liar, your bum’s on fire’ – perhaps Atrica will tell us what he had in mind.

    Once again, many thanks to Atrica – such a delightful puzzle to solve.

    1. We use the word ‘ pants ‘ in this expression which works with the trousers in the clue

      1. Umm – doesn’t that mean that you have to use ‘pants are’ to make sense? Destroys the meter, surely!

    2. With you on 11a & 26a, but I am with CS re ‘pants on fire’
      Liar, liar, pants on fire
      Thanks Prolixic

  10. Is it harder to set a puzzle with constraints? I guess it depends on the constraints; if they are something like we have here then I would say ‘yes’ but if you simply have a ghost theme you can always abandon one of your theme words if things get too tricky.
    As for this puzzle, I struggled in places but got there in the end; probably because of that I failed to spot the constraints. Nevertheless it was satisfying to finish.

  11. Thanks to Prolixic for the (as ever) excellent analysis. Re. Baptists, I live in the USA and I had in mind the Southern variety. However, on doing a little research I see that I have been quite mistaken in the view that they would consider themselves fundamentalists. My apologies to any whom I might have offended! As to the “liar” clue, I did have in mind the childish taunt (the “pants” variation).

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