NTSPP – 502 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 502

NTSPP – 502

A Puzzle by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.

Following the usual convention that as a published setter, I do not blog puzzles set by other published setters, the NTSPP blogging duties are shared between Crypticsue and yours truly.  A Gazza (as shy and unassuming as ever) has not been published, I get the pleasurable task of blogging Gazza’s crossword, though I suspect that this is one occasion where Crypticsue would gladly have taken up the reins.


9 Spitting Image satirised every pompous celeb alive, attacking flaws at heart of each (7)
REPLICA – The central letters (at heart of each) of the third to ninth words of the clue.

10 Syrupy fare that could be Abba (3,4)
RUM BABA – A reverses anagram where the solution reads as a potential clue to give Abba.

11 Open University student’s absorbed in search for physics unit (7)
COULOMB – The abbreviations for Open University and a student inside (absorbed in) a four letter word for a search.

12 In bygone times articulated more like a lord? (7)
EARLIER – The solution sounds like it could mean more like a member of the aristocracy.

13 Sound familiar call to service (4,1,4)
RING A BILL – Double definition, the second being how you might summon people to church.

15 Hijab redesigned to taste of Indian (5)
BHAJI – An anagram (redesigned) of HIJAB.

16 One welcomes more eminent European in place of Central American (7)
GREETER – A word meaning more eminent or larger with the middle A (central American) replaced by the abbreviation for European.

19 A pair of buttocks cause traffic accident? (4-3)
REAR-END – Two words meaning buttocks put together create a type of collision between cars.

20 Maybe Andy Capp‘s taking off band kit (5)
STRIP – Quadruple definition, the first a short panel of cartoons, the second removing clothes, the third a band of material and the fourth another word for a football kit.

21 Initially Scotland Yard cuts out lower ranks (9)
SQUADDIES – The first letter of Scotland followed by a four letter word for a yard or square and a four letter word meaning cuts out or stops working.

25 South American country where losing last 20% of capital means having to resign (7)
ECUADOR – The South American country whose capital is Quito (where taking the final letter away (losing last 20%) gives a word meaning to resign.

26 Performed on horseback and mucked around (5,2)
ACTED UP – A five letter word meaning performed a role and a to letter word meaning on horseback or riding.

28 Menfolk occasionally see about puncture (7)
DEFLATE – The even letters (occasionally) of menfolk with a four letter word meaning see or go out with) around them.

29 Spot senior police officers at scene of high-speed collisions (7)
DISCERN – The plural definition of detective inspectors followed by the name of the European particle accelerator laboratory.


1 General retailer offering customers everyday requirements primarily (6)
GROCER – The initial letters (primarily) of the first six words of the clue.

2 Promoted routine comeback (6)
UPTURN – A two letter word meaning promoted followed by a four letter word for a stage act or routine.

3 Spooks love Florence’s intimate way of saying hello (4)
CIAO – The abbreviation for the American secret service followed by the letter representing love or nothing.

4 Advocates book that is dear to Ken (6)
BARBIE – The collective term for barristers followed by the abbreviation for book and id best (that is).

5 Drug grabbed in both hands after throbbing ulcer’s becoming more painful (8)
CRUELLER – The abbreviation for ecstasy inside the abbreviation for left and right (both hands) after an anagram (throbbing) of ulcer.

6 Lively derby, a more abrasive means to sharpen up (5,5)
EMERY BOARD – An anagram (lively) of DERBY A MORE.

7 Roundly applauded an IRA militant – a bit steep? (8)
MARINADE – The answer is reversed (roundly) and hidden in (a bit) the second to fifth words of the clue.

8 Legitimate victory over Germany is significant blow (4,4)
FAIR WIND – A four letter word meaning legitimate or reasonable followed by a three letter word meaning a victory and the IVR code for Germany.

14 Darwinian maybe against school principal sharing last morsel of food (10)
ANTIPODEAN – A four letter word meaning against followed by a three letter word for a school or fish and a four letter word for principal of an academic establishment with the final two word overlapping sharing the D (last morsel of food).

16 Date fixed following game on board (2,6)
GO STEADY – A two letter board game followed by a six letter word meaning fixed or firm.

17 In Shoreditch judge mismanages protections against rackets (8)
EARMUFFS – How a Cockney (Shoreditch) might pronounce a four letter word meaning to judge followed by a five letter word meaning mismanages.

18 Set aside day to support animal sanctuary (8)
RESERVED – A seven letter word for an animal sanctuary followed by the abbreviation for day.

22 State spelled out what’s contained in sugar (6)
UGANDA – Split 1,1,3,1, the sultan described the middle three letters (what’s contained) in sugar.

23 Firmly entrenched at home? Went climbing! (2,4)
IN DEEP – A two letter word meaning at home followed by a four letter word meaning urinated (went) reversed (climbing).

24 Useless being upset long after listless … (6)
SUPINE – A two letter abbreviation meaning unserviceable reversed (being upset) followed by a four letter word meaning long after or desire.

27 …  apathetic person doesn’t give one tip (4)
TOSS – Double definition.

44 comments on “NTSPP – 502

  1. Thanks Gazza, completed while watching the first half of BD’s favourite team in action. I did have to use the ‘Reveal’ to confirm one answer and it took me a while to see 7d.
    I really liked 4d and 14d – a big clang when the penny dropped on the latter.
    Thanks again.

  2. Nice one, Gazza!

    I especially liked (14d – the Darwinian one) and (25a – the South American one) but my favourite was (22d – … what’s contained in sugar). Nearly went for 23d as favourite … very Gazza-esque but I’m sure I’ve seen it before.

    The only one I don’t understand is 16a – another geographical one.

  3. What a positive joy – I’m even prepared to forgive 11a & 23d!
    Everything else qualifies for podium places with the medals going to 10,19 & 29a. Highly Commended goes to 9a – bet that took a bit of pencil-chewing.

    Many thanks, Gazza – thought you might have added a personal name-check to the 20a clue for an extra definition!

  4. really liked 14d, with only two checkers in i had three possible answers but solving 25a sorted it out.

  5. A really good puzzle, loads of smiles. You can probably guess my favourites…
    A positive joy indeed, I could do one of these every day and not get bored, love the humour
    Thanks for the entertainment Gazza, thoroughly enjoyable

  6. *bump* Am I the only one who finds the lack of attention these puzzles get a bit disappointing?

      1. Maybe either BD or Mr K could tell us how many people have ‘clicked’ to obtain the various NTSPPs in whichever form they prefer – I’m not sure on that one. Total computer moron here!

        1. Even though I worked in IT for 30 years I have no idea what is possible these days.

          I also don’t know if *bump* has a meaning or is just a typo.

          1. I have a feeling that LbR may have tried to use an emoticon that isn’t supported on the BD site. It can also causes problems when people who are presumably using mobile devices try to add emoticons – I’ve spent several interesting moments trying to figure out what that ‘little square’ or some-such was intended to represent!

            1. Not an error
              I used to code html, css, js, php etc and *bump* is intended to be a nudge to draw attention to a thread on a blog, which it did :smile:

                1. I think the origin of bump here is where many online discussion forums tend to display threads with the most recently active listed first. Posting a new reply “bumps” the thread back to the top of the list where it is more likely to be noticed by browsing users.

                  1. Thank you, Owdoo, makes far more sense now. I can see it in terms of ‘having friends in high places can get you bumped up the queue’.

  7. Haven’t finished this one yet but I have to say the creativity that went into 9a is something else!

  8. We found the bottom half much slower going than the top half and it was all delightful fun. Penny-drop moments all over the place and chuckles everywhere.
    Thanks Gazza.

  9. Like Stephen L I haven’t finished yet. I am still stuck in the SW where the only clue I have worked out is 25a.
    I will perseverate a bit longer but wanted to say I loved loads of these. I agree 9a is v impressive but would include 11a 29a and the very amusing 23d which caused a genuine LOL moment when I went climbing.

  10. Late to tackle this, but I will always find time to experience the delights offered by a Gazza puzzle.

    Naturally this was a joy to solve from start to finish, my double ticks went to 9a, 16a, 21a, 29a, 27d and 22d, my overall favourite.

    Many thanks, Gazza.

  11. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. Think predictive text might have let you down a little with 4&23d.
    Hadn’t heard of Anita Ward previously – that persistent electronic sound could drive you round the bend in very short order!

    Thanks again to Gazza – always worth the wait for one of your puzzles.

  12. Prolixic is certainly right when he says that I’d love to be able to review Gazza crosswords – mind you, I do get the pleasure of seeing his crosswords before anyone else which is a bonus

  13. Absolutely wonderful, as always, and I even managed to keep my sticky little paws away from it until today.
    I think Gazza manages, somehow, to get the level of difficulty absolutely right – not easy but with some persistence ‘doable’.
    The bottom left corner took me the longest.
    17d was my last one in mainly because I didn’t know where Shoreditch is – suppose I should have looked it up.
    I’m in a bit of a dither about which clues to pick out because there isn’t a dud in the whole crossword so I’m just going to say that my favourite was 12a because it made me laugh.
    Thanks to Prolixic for the review and thanks and :good: to Gazza.
    Perhaps we should start a petition for Gazza to become a published setter?

    1. Trouble is, Kath, that you’d need to have the compiler on side. Personal research, complete with application of alcohol, leads me to believe that he prefers to remain ‘unpublished’!

      1. Dead right, Jane. Flattering as Kath’s suggestion is, an occasional outing in the NTSPP slot remains the height of my ambition.

  14. Perfect entertainment for a Soggy Sunday in the Vale of Belvoir. Last one in was 7d while 29a was my favourite. Thanks to Gazza & to Prolixic .

  15. Just for Jane:
    HTML = hypertext markup language. It tells a browser the basic structure of a page including the title and description you see appearing in search results – heading, paragraph, line breaks etc using ‘tags’ which can be customised
    CSS = cascading style sheet. This tells the browser how you want the page displayed, ie font, colour, text size, positioning of elements etc; the bugbear of web administrators, because different browsers interpret and therefore display pages differently, and can be a total nightmare. This is why we always ask which operating system and browser you are using (and why BD gave up on IE11)
    JS = JavaScript, code that performs functions such as asking you your name, and then generating output that says “Hello Jane”
    PHP = a server language that personalises a page for you etc etc etc… I shan’t go on!

    Right click on a blank space on this page and then select ‘view page source’ and you will see how it all fits together to produces web pages
    Bet you’re glad you asked now :smile:

    1. Dear goodness, LbR, I clicked as you suggested and the results frightened the bejesus out of me. I’m relieved to learn that the gobbledygook makes sense to some of us but have to admit that I’m happy to remain in blissful ignorance. Fortunately, at my age, the lack of skills in that direction isn’t likely to impinge too greatly on my future prospects!
      It may amuse you to learn that, in my younger years, I was for a time PA to the European sales director of ICL.

  16. Many thanks to all who commented and to Prolixic (am I the only one who has to stop himself from capitalising the X these days due to the influence of Mr X, the Telegraph setter?) for the review.

    I was a bit concerned that 25a would be criticised for having “too much GK” (so much so that I added “South American” at the start of the clue at a fairly late stage to make the clue a bit easier). I’m happy to see that there were no objections.

    1. Hi Gazza,
      No, I have the same problem where that ‘X’ is concerned – drives me mad every time I have to correct my computer’s insistence on the spelling of the ‘other’ setter!

      25a didn’t cause a problem here as South America was the main foreign topic of my geography GCE syllabus. I remember being told at the time that Quito was the highest capital city in the world – wonder how La Paz got missed out?

  17. I normally don’t attempt these puzzles because the iPad layout is not particularly solver friendly, but I’ve just bought a new printer so used this crossword as a test print and oh my goodness am I glad I did. This puzzle was full of humour and ingenuity. I needed a fair bit more electronic help than for a normal DT back pager and needed to do “test a letter and check” for 11a (I was filling it in on the iPad as I was solving it on the paper) as it was a word I’d never heard of and would never have guessed.

    I don’t understand the explanation for 23d in the hint above and think I might be missing something. To what does the word “unrelated” in the hint refer? I’m a bit reluctant, in case I’m way off the mark, to say that I parsed the second word as a reversal of “went”.

    Anyway, whatever, I loved it. Thanks to Gazza and hinter

    1. I think unrelated is definitely unrelated to the explanation. What you need is a reversal (climbing) of PEED (went in the sense of urinated)

        1. Now corrected. Apologies for the delay. I posted this early on Sunday and then was out until late and did not have time to catch up with comments.

  18. Here I am all alone in the late evening of the 23rd having just (well, almost..7D defeated me until I revealed the first letter) completed the puzzle but I was compelled to stop by and say how much I enjoyed the tussle. Your offerings are always such a pleasure Gazza. 11A and 25A tickled my fancy most today. Thanks to Prolixic for the review.

  19. Encouraged by the recommendations I decided to have a go at this on my journey home last night. I thoroughly enjoyed it so far, but still have the SE corner to complete so will revisit it later and report back when finished.

    1. All done now. This was only my second NTSPP and they’ve both been brilliant. I should visit more often!
      So many good clues but I think 9a just gets my vote for favourite.
      Thanks very much for the excellent entertainment and challenge Gazza, and to Prolixic for the review.

  20. Sorry I’m late – at a family wedding in Suffolk over the weekend and busy yesterday, so I have only just done this quite outstanding puzzle.
    I love crosswords that make me laugh and this did so in spades.
    11a, 19a, 21a, 25a, 29a, 4d, 22d, 23d, 27d were all ticked on my paper. There could, probably should, have been more.
    A great effort, Gazza. I am in awe.

  21. Finally got around to this, and it was certainly well worth waiting for. It was a joy from start to finish but I found an incredible difference in difficulty between the top half, which went in very quickly, and the bottom half, which needed a lot of thought.
    Brilliant Gazza, many thanks. Thanks too to Prolixic for the review.

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