NTSPP – 505 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 505

NTSPP – 505

A Puzzle by Silvanus

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

The master of the splendid surface reading returns with an enjoyable NTSPP, with lots of sneaky d’oh moments


1a Bill from former mobile phone provider for old Rex (7,2,6)
WILLIAM OF ORANGE The name the mother of someone called Bill might use, especially when cross, a preposition meaning from in the sense of belonging to, and the name of a former mobile phone provider

9a Before headmaster’s back, trace the potentially disruptive pupil (9)
CHATTERER An anagram (potentially) of TRACE THE goes before the ‘back’ of headmasteR

10a Having nothing special, Barking looking rough reportedly (5)
BASIC Homophones (reportedly) of barking or howling (usually by large dogs) and a synonym for looking rough in the sense of unwell

11a Disperse the rioters, arresting a number (5)
ETHER Lurking (arresting) in dispersE THE Rioters

12a Controversial Swiss organisation nearly attracts recently disheartened VIP (9)
DIGNITARY Almost all of a controversial Swiss organisation ‘attracts’ the outside letters (disheartened) of RecentlY

13a One’s pressed to provide room with alternative functions next door? (5,3)
SPACE BAR Some room with a place with alternative functions – eg serving food or drink. This is a really clever clue because on a computer keyboard the keys on either side of this ‘key’ are Alternative functions!

15a Clever book title (6)
BRIGHT The abbreviation for Book and a title or legal claim

18a Bill’s daughter, out for run, getting severe reprimand (6)
ROCKET Take out the abbreviation for Daughter at the start of a bill or ticket affixed to show the contents of something and replace with R (run)

19a Napoleon, typically bit that isn’t covered during my exam (8)
CORSICAN An interjection meaning ‘my’ and the inside letter of bIt (that isn’t covered) inserted into a verb meaning to scan or examine closely

22a Wrong dish I start to eat at lunch (9)
UNETHICAL An anagram (dish) of I (from the clue) E (the ‘start’ to Eat) and AT LUNCH

24a State deducting money from German parent (5)
UTTER State here is a verb, a synonym for which can be obtained by removing the abbreviation for Money from a German mother

26a Diamond, possibly ace, being turned over is strange (5)
ALIEN Our sneaky setter has put Diamond at the start of his clue so it takes a while to realise that we need a reversal (turned over) of the Christian name of a singer with that surname plus A (ace)

27a Supermarket notice to customers exhibiting unacceptable behaviour? (3,2,4)
OUT OF LINE This unacceptable behaviour could be a very terse way of a supermarket notifying customers that the product they were hoping to buy is unavailable

28a Wooden clubs at top golf course? Crazy! (4,2,3,6)
BATS IN THE BELFRY Some wooden clubs at a well-known golf course


1d Pitches product ultimately that’s accepted by DIY chain (7)
WICKETS The ‘ultimate’ letter of product ‘accepted’ by a DIY chain, well-known in the UK but possibly not as familiar to our overseas solvers

2d Group of three, extremely loathsome when arriving at hotel (5)
LEASH I did know this term for a set of three of anything, especially animals – the ‘extreme’ letters of LoathsomE, a synonym for when and the letter represented by hotel in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

3d Step in at home and organise event, consuming beer occasionally (9)
INTERVENE The usual two-letter word meaning at home, and an anagram (organise) of EVENT ‘consuming’ the even (occasionally) letters of bEeR

4d Highest point in Greenwich, it boasts prime property (8)
MERIDIAN A very nice surface reading for this double definition clue

5d Search lasting an awfully long period (6)
FORAGE Split a synonym for search 3,3 and you’ll get a way of saying ‘lasting an awfully long period’

6d Teacher‘s pet has time off (5)
RABBI Remove the T (time off) from a pet

7d Wistful from losing cat unexpectedly (9)
NOSTALGIC An anagram (unexpectedly) of LOSING CAT

8d Scramble in vault to find space up above (7)
ENCRYPT A printer’s space goes above (in a down clue) an underground vault

14d “Rubbish”, claims the one seeking secret of eternal youth (9)
ALCHEMIST An anagram (rubbish) of CLAIMS THE

16d In May’s Government, did it involve herself replaced, posh fellow coming in? (9)
RESHUFFLE An anagram (replaced) of HERSELF into which the letter used to represent posh and the abbreviation for fellow should be inserted (coming in)

17d Game permit collected by road (8)
ROULETTE A verb meaning to permit ‘collected’ by a road

18d In conversation regret unkind remark, it’s nonsense (7)
RHUBARB A homophone (in conversation) of a verb meaning to regret, followed by an unkind remark

20d Type of school, place encouraging growth with well-rooted discipline? (7)
NURSERY A type of school or a place encouraging the growth of well-rooted plants

21d Address of firm located within current street (6)
ACCOST The abbreviation for company (firm) ‘located’ within the abbreviations for Alternating Current and street

23d Tongue, intrinsic to dolphin digestion (5)
HINDI Lurking in (intrinsic to) dolpHIN DIgestion

25d Hurry to join tail initially following criminal (5)
THIEF An archaic or poetic word meaning hurry goes after the initial letter of Tail, the result finished with the abbreviation for following

20 comments on “NTSPP – 505

  1. Excellent puzzle Silvanus, really enjoyable and pitched at just the right level. Plenty of penny-drops which is what I enjoy in a good puzzle
    Very hard to pick a favourite – nigh impossible in fact – so I’ll just say 13a merited the biggest D’oh!!
    Great fun, well done and thank you

  2. I love it when I get hooked by my first answer in and 1a in this NTSPP is a perfect example which instantly lifted my mood after completing today’s back-pager. And that gem was followed up by a collection of top class clues displaying all of Silvanus’s usual traits; smooth surface follows smooth surface.

    I’m not sure about “dish” in 22a as an anagram indicator – “dish out” would work but would ruin the surface, and I can’t parse the second word in 13a. 2d was a new meaning for me. I thought the setter had gone barking mad by using BA as an abbreviation for Barking in 10a, but I should have known better. The penny finally dropped.

    My page is, as ever with this setter, littered with ticks with my double ticks awarded to 1a, 15a, 24a & 18d with a special mention of course for 6d.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and in advance to CS.

  3. Completed at a steady pace while watching a somewhat uninspiring confrontation between Swindon Town and Plymouth Argyle (the best that was on offer over here on an ‘international break’ weekend).
    Final completion was slowed down by choosing the ‘other’ three letter word in 13a which did not help with 4d.
    Favourite – 28a.
    Is 18a a favourite word for Silvanus?
    Thanks to Silvanus.

  4. If ever you need to check a regular solver for symptoms of delayed concussion, try sitting them in front of a crossword puzzle!
    Not to worry, back to something approaching normal now with nothing beyond the cuts, bruises and mega black eye to show for it.
    Utterly determined not to miss out on this one and thoroughly enjoyed it, despite it taking the better part of the day to complete.
    Have to admit to not knowing the group of three and needed LbR’s help to decipher 13a – never touch the ones on my PC because I don’t actually know what they do.

    Podium places went to 1,15,18 & 28a with a mention for 26a because if RD’s allowed to have a pet favourite then so am I!

    Many thanks to Silvanus for a great NTSPP.

    1. Press alt gr and any vowel and see what happens, there are lots of them
      Alt and shift etc reveal even more

  5. Well that had us working very hard. We ended up searching the grid for a toe-hold which we found in the SE and slowly and surely worked from there and eventually got everything sorted. 2d new to us but got it from the wordplay. Really appreciated the puzzle.
    Thanks Silvanus.

  6. Great fun with super-smooth clues as always from this setter – many thanks to Silvanus. I didn’t know the ‘group of three’ meaning of the 2d answer but the wordplay was so clear it couldn’t be anything else.
    I could have listed at least half the clues as potential favourites but I’ll restrict myself to 24a, 26a, 28a and 4d with my actual favourite being the brilliant 13a.

  7. Many thanks to CS for her decryptions and excellent selection of illustrations, as always.

    Thanks also to everyone else for their comments, I do hope Jane is recovering well after her apparent tumble.

  8. Thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle. As expected from this setter, clues were concise with lovely surfaces. I had to look up the alternative meaning of the solution to 2d and relied on Sue’s review to explain the parsing of 22a. Last one in was 13a, which, despite Sue’s explanation, I don’t think has anything to do with a room in a hotel, it was just an extremely clever keyboard-related clue.

    Favourites were 1a, 13a, 18a, 26a and 23d.

    Thanks Silvanus and Sue.

    1. Hi Kelotoph,

      Yes, the surface for 13a was intended to make solvers think of a hotel or similar, but it was purely keyboard-related.

      1. I knew it was purely keyboard-related but worked on the theory that if I had to explain the ‘room’, then I also ought to explain the ‘bar’

  9. Many thanks for the review, CS. I had to smile at your comment about 1a – when I was really cross with my girls, they got addressed not only by their full forenames but their middle names as well!

  10. Thanks for the review CS – I tried really hard not to give a spoiler for 13a but I failed to resist the temptation
    Well done again to Silvanus for a corker, up there with Virgilius and Jay in my book

  11. Thanks to Silvanus for such a good crossword and to CS for several hints and, I’m ashamed to admit, a couple of answers too.
    I thought it was quite difficult and it all went horribly wrong in the top right corner.
    Thanks again to the setter and to CS.
    Now on to today’s crossword – and then maybe a bit of the crossword backlog I’ve accumulated over the last week – it’s pouring with rain so why not . . . ?

  12. Quite a challenge – two sessions needed (last night and this morning) but I got there in the end with no assistance required apart from checking that particular meaning of 2dn which I was fairly certain I’d come across before. No real favourites – it was all good, so thanks to Silvanus and crypticsue.

  13. Sorry I’m so late to the party, but it was well worth turning up!
    Great surface reads throughout and plenty of ticks for me.
    12a, 13a, 28a and my favourite, 16d.
    A couple of trade names which non-Brits might struggle with, but Jean-Luc and the 2 Kiwis seem to have had no problem with them.
    Thank you Silvanus and CS.

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