NTSPP – 503 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 503

NTSPP – 503

A Puzzle by Jaffa

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.

Jaffa entertains us with this NTSPP.  Very far from his best crossword.


1 Level crossing allowing golfers access to points (10)
STABLEFORD – A six letter word meaning level or steady followed by a four letter word for a crossing through a river.

7 Show disappointment for headless gargoyle (4)
POUT  -A five letter word for a gargoyle with the first letter removed (headless).

9 It’s spooky and really odd shadowing posh doctor (6)
UMBRAL – The odd letters in really after (shadowing) the the letter representing posh and the abbreviation for doctor.

10 Tactically sought after Twickenham pastry? (8)
TURNOVER – Double definition of a word for regaining the ball from the opposition and a type of sweet pastry product, often made with a filling of apples.

11 Spy unit found underground? (4)
MOLE – Triple definition of a spy, a chemical unit representing the number of molecules in a solution and a burrowing animal.

12 Coffins perhaps for Mr Sneezy and fellow afficionados (10)
SNUFFBOXES – A cryptic definition for the box in which powdered tobacco is stored, the contents of which can make you sneeze when inhaled.

13 Real Sociedad supporter? (6)
BASQUE – Double definition, the first being the regions of Spain where Real Sociedad play and the second being a supporting undergarment for a lady.

15 Belgian detective’s uplifting transport (8)
HERCULES – Double definition, the second being a military transport plane.

17 Both sides trimmed from wasteland but retaining breadth (8)
WIDENESS – A ten letter word for a wasteland without the L and the R (both sides trimmed).

20 It’s announced that some unknowns took shelter sensibly (6)
WISELY – A homophone of Ys (some unknowns) LEE (shelter).

22 I’m heard to intone flattery — it’s sweet (5,5)
ICING SUGAR – The I from the clue followed by a homophone (heard) of SING (intone) and a five letter word for flattery. 

23 Credit a sign of correctness (4)
TICK – Double definition with a slang word for credit or HP and the mark for a correct answer.

24  Part of 15 has safety device to get round backing storm (8)
FUSELAGE – A four letter word for an electrical safety device around a reversal (backing) of a four letter word for a stormy wind.

25 When relaxed, do cows moo in this? (3-3)
LOW KEY – Definition and cryptic definition.

26 Old revolting Irishmen lose Scotsman near the Wash (4)
FENS – A seven letter word for Irish rebels without the Ian (lose Scotsman).

27 Cleansers frighten chaps (10)
DETERGENTS – A five letter word for frighten followed by a five letter word for men.


2 A shot returned to one of three ubiquitous boys is a lottery (7)
TOMBOLA – The A from the clue and a three letter word for a shot reversed after one of the boy’s names in the phrase ???, Dick and Harry.

3 Painter falling from dam provides possible means of recovery (5)
BARGE – A seven letter word for a dam without the RA (painter).

4 Part of Canada, which French girls mislearned badly (9,6)
ELLESMERE ISLAND – The French plural pronoun for girls followed by an anagram (badly) of MISLEARNED.

5 Not in hurry to surpass teams on the gridiron (7)
OUTRUSH – A three letter word meaning not it followed by a four letter word meaning hurry.

6 Dash with car and unruly brawler to observe bird or Sir Mick? (8,7)
DARTFORD WARBLER – A four letter word meaning to dash followed by a make of car and anagram (unruly) of BRAWLER.

7 Suspends for scoundrels (9)
PROROGUES – A three letter word meaning for followed by a six letter word for scoundrels.

8 University at Staffordshire location includes student for stringed instrument (7)
UKELELE – The abbreviation for university followed by a town in Staffordshire around (includes) the abbreviation for student.

13 Minicab owner found hidden source of vibration (3)
BOW – The answer is hidden in the first two words of the clue.

14 Sovereign with bishop and baron are said to produce leading ladies (5,4)
QUEEN BEES – A five letter word for a sovereign followed by how you would say the abbreviations for baron and bishop.

16 Reported source, supposedly of Yangtze  starters (3)
SOY – The first letters (starters) of the third to fifth words of the clue.

18 Allow for nuclide transmutation (7)
INCLUDE – An anagram (transmutation) of NUCLIDE.

19 Propose realignment of gusset with good restraint (7)
SUGGEST – An anagram (realignment) of GUSSET with the abbreviation for good included.

21  Despite playing around, St Celia, is stated to be most holy (7)
LACIEST – An anagram (playing around) of ST CELIA.

23 It’s a belter thanks to three Cardinals (5)
TAWSE – A two letter word meaning thanks followed by three directions of the compass (cardinals).

33 comments on “NTSPP – 503

  1. Wow – that was a GK fest! Surprised myself by managing more on my own than I’d expected but Mr Google still had to come to my rescue on several occasions – 26a in particular springs to mind.
    Spent ages trying to make ‘belle’ the first word of 22a and am not completely convinced that I’ve correctly parsed 10a.
    6d made me smile – can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent vainly searching moorlands for that Sir Mick!

    Favourite – the jury’s still out but I thoroughly enjoyed battling with this one, many thanks, Jaffa.

    1. Hi Jane
      Busy over the weekend so have only just looked at this.
      Really enjoyed it, especially the sporting bits! Failed to get 26a.
      Sorry to gloat, but I saw several Sir Micks on Dunwich Heath in Suffolk earlier this year!!

  2. An enjoyable puzzle with a few good laughs – thanks, Jaffa.
    There were a couple of GK terms I didn’t know (the baseball word and the part of Canada) but I got them from the wordplay. I don’t know what ‘after’ is doing in 10a.
    My ticks went to 10a (LOL), 17a, 6d and the very topical 7d.

    1. Gazza, I think “after” is fine in 10a as part of the phrase “sought after”. I was mildly surprised not to see it hyphenated as it is in Collins but not Chambers.

        1. Thank you, Gazza. I have had a look back to see what I missed while I was away and was delighted to find your NTSPP which I have printed off and am now looking forward to tackling.

  3. Like the back pager, a bit of a head scratcher with, I thought, some slightly ‘stretched’ synonyms and a furrowed brow to finish. Some parsings have eluded me and I will have to wait for tomorrow’s review for those explanations.
    I did like – 1a, 22a, and 4d (of course!).
    Thanks Jaffa and in advance to whoever is on deck for reviewing duty.

  4. This was a Curate’s Egg for me, albeit one where the good parts were in the majority. I did find it over-egged :wink: with GK although I was lucky enough to know a fair bit of what was needed and Mr Google helped me with the rest.
    There are a few clues about which I remain unsure although I can see the intention, and I will be very interested to see the reviewer’s interpretation, e.g. 20a, 3d, 19d & 21d.
    My ticks went to 10a, 12a, 27a, 6d & 7d.
    Many thanks to Jaffa and, in advance to Prolixic (?)

    1. Nice to see you back RD. I agree, a curate’s egg. 16d for example is a homophone and an initial letter clue, but no actual definition which is a bit odd and probably a no-no. We’ll see
      Thanks Jaffa, enjoyed it anyway

      1. I think that 16d is meant to be an all-in-one suggesting that starters in Chinese meals are made from a homophone (to some people!) of this type of “source”.

        1. Hmm, doesn’t work for me – perhaps I’m being picky or grumpy

          Fixed my wobbly wing mirror today. Dismantled it, and felt smug that I’d fixed it by sticking a bit of broken plastic back into place – then I realised I’d also super-glued it to my leg. Stupid boy

          1. Must admit it didn’t cause me any problems. I took the definition to be ‘reported source (sauce)’ and the remainder of the clue to be just the wordplay.

            Had to laugh about your wing mirror incident – wish I’d been there to see it!

    2. Hi RD, I agree with you on your questionable ones except 20a, which I think is a fine clue, the two homophones giving the definition. Was going to list it “my likes” but now you’ve made me doubt it!

      1. Stephen, no need for you to doubt yourself.

        Your comment regarding 20a puzzled me as I couldn’t see anything resembling a homophone on the version I printed out early today. The clue on my print out is: “Magi progressing westward prudently”. I see that has now been changed to something which makes sense!

        1. Good to know RD.
          And a belated thanks thanks to Jaffa, which for some reason I omitted on my main post.

  5. Two fine NTSPPs on the bounce. I got a lot further into this than I thought I would do on first reading. I particularly liked the sport related clues (especially the Ray T like 13a) but specialist knowledge of these sports was required to fully parse them.
    Other podium contenders were 27a, 20a and my COTD, the brilliant and very topical 7d.

  6. Thank you for all of the comments so far. For one who still considers himself to be a bit of a Rookie it is quite humbling and very beneficial to see what you all think about my latest baby. I’m sorry for the perceived GK overdose. I’m obviously someone who doesn’t mind the odd GK clue (as long as I know it!) but perhaps 9/30 is a bit much. I’m glad however that I managed to raise a few smiles.

    To answer a few queries.

    Gazza, for 10a, I have to agree with RD’s interpretation and LBR, for 16d, I have to agree with Gazza’s and Jane’s interpretations as these were my intentions. “Well, I would say that, wouldn’t I? ” to slightly misquote another piece of old GK. With 16d, having a cryptic definition involving the word source, followed by Yangtze, I suppose I was hoping for a little misdirection. RD, your reservations about 20a, are probably well founded. It was a very late substitution, composed whilst Ireland’s and Japan’s rugger chappies were distracting me, so I’ll plead extenuating circumstances.

    Thank you once again – just the Judgement of Prolixic to survive now 😂

    P.S. RD – I was writing the above explanation before I had seen your reply to Stephen. My comment is making excuses for the replacement clue! If your now fine with it, so am I!! We lapsed chemists need to stick together! 😂🤣

  7. Been away so late getting on to this one. Yes there were some bits of GK that stretched us but nothing that we could not work out and then check.
    Good fun with a generous helping of chuckles along the way.
    Thanks Jaffa.

  8. I needed reveal letter help with 1A and 12A and still haven’t solved 3D. I was also slower than I should have been to solve 5D. I don’t follow the game but I did know the rushing term. My faves are 25A and 21D. Thanks Jaffa.

  9. Thanks Jaffa for an entertaining solve, although my GK didn’t stretch to 1A, 4D, 5D & 6D.

    I was once told off for using a homophone as a definition because it is a two-step process: find the synonym and then the homophone. I think that applies to 16D and 21D (I don’t really think 16D is an &lit.)

    I ticked 25A and 7D, although there were a number of other good clues.

    1. Yes, probably guilty as charged. Thank you for the advice and I’m sure Prolixic will have views on the matter.
      One hopefully lives and learns 🤔

  10. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. You may not have thought this puzzle to be one of Jaffa’s best but I doubt that you actually intended to refer to 11a as a ‘tripe’ definition!
    I didn’t know the first definition you gave of 10a – I was dwelling on thoughts of the ‘urn’ containing the Ashes.
    I had different clues for both 20a & 13d.

    Thanks again to Jaffa for the puzzle.

    1. These two clues Jane were late substitutions on Saturday morning. I think you and RD somehow got the originals. Sorry.

  11. I found this a bit of a struggle but got there eventually. I was thrown by the spelling of 8dn and had to check the BRB; I would normally spell it with a second U in place of that first E, but the BRB gave the version here as an alternative. And I had to trawl the atlas for 4dn, though I guessed the second word correctly.
    But I liked 15ac, 24ac and 6dn.

  12. Thank you for the review Prolixic and I’m sorry that you found the crossword so disappointing. I guess that I’ve been hoisted by my own GK petard.
    On a more positive note I think from many of the comments above, which are greatly appreciated, I have at least provided some amusement and entertainment and possibly even expanded some people’s knowledge of a few things. Once a teacher, always a teacher, I guess 😂
    I have definitely learned from the comments myself which makes the exercise, in my opinion, very worthwhile.
    Thank you to everyone involved but especially BD for his unstinting encouragement and of course for making this all possible.

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