NTSPP – 521 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 521

NTSPP – 521

A Puzzle by Atrica

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Today we celebrate the start of our eleventh year of NTSPP puzzles.

A pangram from Atrica for this week’s Saturday lunchtime entertainment


1a Sullenly head off in a bad mood following party (6)
DOURLY Take the ‘head’ off an adjective meaning grumpy and put it after (following) a party

4a Bad weather before and after the end of August in Asian country (8)
THAILAND Some bad weather goes before AND (from the clue) and after the letter that is the end of August

10a Abnormally bad credit? Make payments with this! (5,4)
DEBIT CARD An anagram (abnormally) of BAD CREDIT

11a Teary Le Pen calls herself this good woman (5)
MOIST Anyone French, not just Marie Le Pen, would call themselves this. An abbreviated saint (good woman) should be added at the end

12a Indulge periodically and take a break from work (4)
IDLE The ‘periodic’ letters in InDuLgE

13a One who won’t stand firm maybe getting his just dessert (10)
BLANCMANGE Mr CS and I wondered what a modern child might make of this wobbly dessert that was regularly served during our childhoods – the recent revamping of our utility room turned up a rabbit mould in one of the cupboards but I’m not sure I’ll be using it again just yet

15a Working together might be (say) empty, leaderless enthusiasm (7)
SYNERGY Remove (empty) the middle letter from SaY and follow with some enthusiasm without its first letter (leaderless)

16a Tanker won’t go anywhere without these men aboard ship (6)
SCREWS A team of people (men) go aboard the abbreviation for a ship

19a Render a ship motionless and unreasonably blame captain at first (6)
BECALM An anagram (unreasonably) of BLAME C (the first letter of captain)

21a Both ends of the latch repaired in property (7)
CHATTEL An anagram (repaired) of TE (the ‘ends’ of ThE) and LATCH

23a Horribly adulterating tune, plucking wretched guitar, lacking any natural ability (10)
UNTALENTED An anagram (horribly) of ADULTERATING TUNE without (plucking) the letters GUITAR (wretched indicating that they don’t appear in that order)

25a Decapitated Roman emperor’s becoming a god (4)
EROS Remove the first letter (decapitated) from a Roman emperor’s name, but don’t forget to include the [‘]S to get your solution

27a Fiddle about with leads of broken electrical components (5)
REBEC The two-letter word meaning about, on the subject of, and the ‘leads’ of Broken Electrical Components

28a Those still standing said teacher announced exams (9)
SURVIVORS Homophones of a way you might address a male teacher and some oral examinations

29a Zoe’s first love returning to clubs, perhaps in gangster outfit (4,4)
ZOOT SUIT The first letter of Zoe, the letter used to indicate a score of love, a reversal (returning) of TO (from the clue) and what clubs would refer to in a pack of cards

30a Blackmail former communist after revolution (6)
EXTORT A prefix meaning former and a reversal (after revolution) of a communist


1d Most suspect ingredients of dog’s diet (8)
DODGIEST An anagram (ingredients) of DOGS DIET

2d Throw off-kilter with a French caber -essentially a long pole (9)
UNBALANCE The French indefinite article (a), the ‘essential’ letter of caBer, A (from the clue) and a long pole

3d Having kicked the bucket from behind (4)
LATE Double definition, the former more cryptic than the other one

5d Scoldings fail at first, leading to severe punishments (7)
HIDINGS Remove the first letter (fail at first) from some scoldings

6d Remain half immortal, after a fashion, in words written in stone (2,8)
IN MEMORIAM An anagram (after a fashion) of REMAIN and the first half of IMMOrtal

7d Neil Armstrong returned somewhat stranger (5)
ALIEN Lurking (somewhat) in reverse (returned) in NEIL Armstrong

8d Dorothy and Edward becoming like I can often be (6)
DOTTED Informal ways of referring to both Dorothy and Edward go together to describe what an I might often be

9d Unsound academic staff about to be fired (6)
FAULTY Remove the C (circa, about, to be fired) from the staff of a school, college or university

14d Slacker adopting odd, dishevelled hair-do (10)
DREADLOCKS An anagram (dishevelled) of SLACKER and ODD

17d People swim in this pool built for Olympic sport (5,4)
WATER POLO An element in which people swim and an anagram (built) of POLO

18d Finish a series of games not far apart (5-3)
CLOSE-SET A verb meaning to finish and a series of games

20d Specimen I scientifically look inside to find liquid interfaces (7)
MENISCI Lurking inside speciMEN I SCIentifically

21d Toast lifts the spirits (6)
CHEERS Double definition

22d Jasper, for example, mentioned at least four pints (6)
QUARTZ You’d need at least four pints to get a plural amount of this liquid measure, a homophone (mentioned) of which gives us a rock-forming mineral of which Jasper is an example

24d Don’t discuss this, thank you — I don’t approve (5)
TABOO Informal ways of saying thank you and expressing disapproval

26d Japan in Axis? This may bring bad luck (4)
JINX The IVR code for Japan, IN (from the clue) and one of the axes on a graph

22 comments on “NTSPP – 521

  1. Great puzzle. My favourite two were 4a and 8d – with their excellent wordplay and surface mixtures!


  2. Some easy starters then a few to think about but the pennies finally dropped
    A sprinkling of nice subtleties which I enjoyed
    Thanks Atrica

  3. This pangram was nicely challenging and a lot of fun.

    I’m not wholly convinced by 28a, the answer to 27a was a new word for me, and I can’t parse 14d. (Oxford comma!)

    Lots to like here, with 4a my favourite. 8d ran it very close.

    Many thanks to Atrica and (presumably) to CS.

  4. Very pleasant and enjoyable (while feeling sorry for Italy during the first half). I missed the pangram (as usual).
    I really liked 15a and18d.
    Like RD, I had a bit of a Hmm over 28a but, after consulting the BRB, I think it works OK.
    Thanks Atrica and CS(?).

  5. Lulled into a false sense of security and then brought up short by a few tricky numbers.
    Didn’t know either 27 or 29a so had to rely on following the wordplay and then consulting Mr G.
    I’ll go with Gazza today and put 4a plus 8&9d as my top three.

    Thanks to Atrica – wish I’d registered the pangram earlier in the solve!

  6. I’ve almost finished now but this seems to have taken me quite a long time.
    Several of my answers are ‘bung-ins” that I think are right and I don’t even have a “bung-in” for 29a but can guess the second word – whatever it is I suspect it’s something I’ve never heard of.
    Needless to say I missed the pangram, as I always do.
    I particularly liked 1 and 28a and 7d. I thought 19a and 14d were good anagrams and my favourite was 8d.
    Thanks to Atrica for the crossword and, in advance, to CS for the review tomorrow.

      1. Thanks LBR – so it does! How didn’t I get that, apart from never having heard of it and missing the ‘returning to’. Oh, and assuming that the ‘outfit’ was some kind of gangster organisation. Oh dear, oh dear! :oops:

  7. Much easier than today’s back pager for me – just had to consult the thesarus for 9d (right idea, wrong word to start with!), and look up 27a to confirm my workings.

  8. I enjoyed this though it took me a long time on and off Saturday Evening /Sunday morning. I’d read in the comments first that it was a pangram and that helped but like Kath I had a few bung ins so will be interested to see the review.
    I thought 4a and 8d were incredibly clever, and I liked 24d a lot too so they make up a strong podium.
    Thanks Atria and in advance the reviewer.

    1. Meant to say that I’d not heard of 21a until that pompous twit Bercow used it in the House of Commons..so he wasn’t completely useless during his tenure.

  9. Thanks to everyone who commented, to CS for the review, and to Dave for hosting this wonderful site.

  10. Many thanks for the review, CS, and thanks again to Atrica for a most enjoyable NTSPP. Hope you’ll be back again ‘ere long.

  11. Thanks, Atrica for an enjoyable solve (but by no means a write-in). I puzzled over the parsing of 9dn, my last one in, though the answer couldn’t be anything else if the whole was a pangram but eventually saw it. And I liked 8dn.
    Thanks too to CS for the review (and the illustration for 29ac).

  12. I completed this on Saturday but haven’t had an opportunity to say how much I enjoyed it until now. Thank you very much Atrica for the fun and mental stretching. Plenty to like about this pangram. Clues I enjoyed most include 4a, 11a, 13a and 24d.

    Thank you very much, too, crypticsue for your excellent review. I wasn’t certain about the parsing for 9a, so much appreciate the enlightenment. In retrospect, I really should have known it!!!

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