NTSPP – 523 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 523

NTSPP – 523

Saturday Night Takeaway by Chameleon

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.

The presenters of Saturday Night Takeaway are Ant and Dec.  These two names appear in 10 of the solution without being indicated in the clues.


8 Calls for soldiers to evacuate city (8)
WARRANTS – An eight letter word for soldier without RIO (to evacuate city).  ANT appears in the solution.

9 Shakespeare’s art is present in one of these (6)
TENSES – Art is an example of of a verbal form used by Shakespeare of which present is an example.

10 Show of exhaustion from major character in Pride and Prejudice (4)
PANT – The major character of both Pride and Prejudice is the first letter.  Follow this with ANT.

11 Caught with a pair of organs? It’s easily done when romping (4,4,2)
LAID EYES ON – An anagram (when romping) of EASILY DONE.

12 Tool has two trees cut from different ends (6)
PINCER – A combination of PINE AND ACER (two trees) without the last and first letters (cut from different ends).

14 Like a dictator, Jacob may cheer once legislature closes (2,6)
BY DECREE – The last letters (closes) of the fourth to eighth words of the clue.  DEC appears in the solution.

15 One Geordie potentially backing broadcaster (7)
ANTENNA – The two letter indefinite article (one) followed by the abbreviation for the region of the UK where Geordies potentially live all reversed (backing).  ANT appears in the solution.

17 Crown king in London institution’s upper chamber (3,4)
TOP DECK – A three letter word for the crown or summit of something and the abbreviation for king.  DEC appears in the solution.

20 New series of I’m A Celeb takes Chameleon for a plonker (8)
IMBECILE – An anagram (new series of) IM A CELEB – with an I (Chameleon) for the A.

22 They’re ever so thick, US presidents (6)
BUSHES – Double definition of thick vegetation and father and son US Presidents.

23 Calculated question provided by newspaper editor (10)
QUANTIFIED – A two letter abbreviation for questions followed by a two letter word meaning provided, the single letter for a newspaper and the abbreviation for editor.  ANT appears in the solution.

24 Retro hip-hop piece secures No. 1 for duo (4)
PAIR – The three letter word for hip-hop music is reversed (retro) and includes an I (No 1).

25 Some blokes who are troublemakers through the earpiece (6)
MESSRS – A homophone (through the earpiece) of messers (troublemakers).

26 Man on the left meets monarch – one may supply the booze (8)
DECANTER – The name of the first of our duo (man on the left) followed by the two letter abbreviation for the current queen.  DEC appears in the solution.


1 Government action sees US hacker stop Nato IT working (8)
TAXATION – The American spelling of axe (US hacker) in (stops) an anagram (working) of NATO IT.

2 Britain’s Got Talent finalist coming after a spoilt kid (4)
BRAT – The abbreviation for Britain followed by the final letters (finalist) of talent after the A from the clue

3 Clerical error has duplicated yearly projection (6)
ANTLER – The three consecutive letters that are duplicated in clerical error.  ANT appears in the solution.

4 Flower emerges after roof of old prison comes down over one wing (7)
ASTILBE – The name of the old French prison has the first letter moving down and replacing (over) one of the letters that looks like a wing of a building.

5 Tackle and hot drink without a lid don’t mix (6,2)
ATTEND TO – A type of coffee without the first letter (without a lid) followed by an anagram (mix) of DONT.

6 Following season with no win, delivery of Root’s is appealing (10)
INTERCEDES – A season of the year without the W (no win) followed by a homophone (delivery) of seed (root).

7 Unscramble noodles now and again (6)
DECODE – The even letters (now and then) of noodles.  DEC appears in the solution.

13 Genius French writer’s cracking clues heartlessly (10)
CLEVERNESS – The name of a French author Jules in (cracking) the out pairs of letters (heartlessly) of clues.

16 Like the most intrusive neighbour, perhaps, installing another speaker? (8)
NOISIEST – The most intrusive neighbour is the nosiest.  It needs another I within in it but I cannot see how the I is properly indicated.  The speaker does not mean I.  The setter is a writer not a speaker.

18 Extras aren’t normally so badly directed (8)
CREDITED – An anagram (badly) of DIRECTED.

19 Bed I constructed with NHS seats (7)
BEHINDS – An anagram (constructed) of BED I NHS.

21 Flash person practising Killer Queen? (6)
MOUSER – A two letter word meaning a flash or instant followed by a four letter word for a person practicing.

22 Moneylender swaps a note for European ornament (6)
BEDECK – The name of a financial institution has the A N (note) replace by an E (European).  DEC appears in the solution.

24 Legs with sensitive digits (4)
PINS – Double definition – the second by sensitive numbers your type in a ATMs.

18 comments on “NTSPP – 523

  1. Having been told quite politely that it would be nice if I didn’t spend another whole Saturday afternoon on an NTSPP, especially as this week I don’t have to provide the review which is what took up my time last Saturday, but instead help with a bit of DIY, I did reveal several letters to help me finish the crossword.

    I have found the required number of ignored duo members. However, I do have ? by five clues where I’m not entirely sure how I arrived at the solution. I look forward to reading Prolixic’s explanations tomorrow

    Thanks Chameleon – interestingly it wasn’t finding the ‘ignored’ that held me up, more parsing the clues

  2. I very nearly gave this one a miss completely because puzzles with complicated additional instructions tend to put me off, but I’m glad that I had a go because I enjoyed it.
    I got 9a wrong initially because I assumed (without checking in my wallet) that a banknote was involved. I thought that 26a was very sneaky and presumably the reason for the ‘one and only one’ in the preamble.
    My podium selections are 10a, 1d and 21d.
    Thanks Chameleon.

    1. I too nearly gave it a miss for the same reason but once a crossword addict, always a crossword addict. I’d agree that 26a is a nice piece of sneakiness

  3. Crikey, that was very tough! I don’t feel quite so bad that I needed to reveal several letters to complete this now I know I am in such illustrious company. I also struggled with some of the parsing but have finally given up with only 8a unparsed. Interestingly 3d took me a very long time to parse, and then, after I’d finished the puzzle and was trying to order my thoughts, it took me ages to remember again how I’d worked that one out!

    I found all ten duo references but there is an ambiguity with one of them. Both members of the duo appeared in one answer and “man on the left”, which is part of the wordplay, could have referred to either of them depending on whether it is taken from their perspective or from the viewer’s. However, two things led me to the correct choice: the wrong one would have meant 6 + 4 rather than 5 + 5; and, very cleverly, all the references to each member were on their own side of the puzzle from the viewer’s perspective – 5 on the LHS and 5 on the RHS.

    Many thanks, Chameleon, for a real challenge. There were a lot of clever constructions, cunning disguises, and humour to appreciate. 21d was my favourite (I love the song too!). I need to go and lie down now.

    1. Ah.. it hadn’t crossed my mind that “man on the left” could be ambiguous as I was thinking of them as viewers see them. Glad you were able to reason your way through the ambiguity.

  4. I’m afraid I had to reveal quite a few letters to complete this one and have several left unparsed which I don’t think I can be bothered to spend any more time mulling over. Possibly doesn’t help that I can’t abide the duo concerned and avoid any programme involving them!

    Sorry, Chameleon, I’m sure you worked very hard on this compilation.

    1. I avoid the TV altogether, have never owned one in my life. I assume the pair of talentless pillocks ‘celebrities’ are 3,3,3 but either way I couldn’t care less!
      Apologies to Chameleon from me too

  5. I was quite looking forward to this week’s NTSPP but having read the above comments I don’t know whether I’ll give it a go or not. If CS and RD had to reveal letters it could be “a tough day at the office”!
    Probably will have look…..out of curiosity, and the fact that it’s such foul weather I can’t be bothered to go out.

  6. Very hard. I revealed a few letters plus the whole of the flower (strange word, few crossers, fiendish clue, no chance). I’d agree with CS that it wasn’t necessarily the missing slebs that gave the trouble. Very nice idea, and some admirably clever clues.
    Thanks, Chameleon

    1. Sorry. My enthusiasm for 4d (11th one in, solved from wp, in my notes) might’ve been enough to persuade Chameleon to go for it. I did say it was hard though. Expected him to follow his initial inclination and pull it.
      I agree there are some great clues here. And the idea behind the puzzle is brilliantly exploited.

  7. Thanks for the review, Prolixic. The “wing” in 4d was intended as L as in left-wing, not as a reference to an architectural “ell”. In 16d my justification for “speaker”=”I” was that any hypothetical speaker using the word “I” is referring to their own person – no reference to myself as the crossword setter was intended. I see it as similar to using “that man” or “fellow” to clue “he”; “he” will always refer to a man, “I” will always refer to whichever individual speaks or writes it. I don’t think these sorts of indicators need necessarily to refer to a particular person. I’m interested to hear solvers’ thoughts.

    Many thanks also to those who have solved and enjoyed parts of the puzzle, and apologies to those who were turned off it. Believe it or not I thought I was working with a mainstream theme that most people would feel positive or neutral towards! I’ve chucked my Mel and Sue puzzle into the fire (joke).

  8. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, I certainly needed it to sort out a couple of bits of parsing – 1&3d spring to mind. Fancy spelling axe without an ‘e’!

  9. This was a triple non-starter for me because the “famous duo” aren’t famous in my part of the world, I’ve never seen the show, and I’m another one who shies away from puzzles with complicated instructions. Well, there’s always next week to look forward to.

  10. A little late tackling this one, but thoroughly enjoyed it as it was most definitely a challenge. The duo concerned revealed themselves early on in 10a which helped and the rest of the puzzle was tough but fair, I thought. It did take the combined brainpower of Mrs K and me to complete some of the clues, and like Gazza initially opted for a banknote in 9a. Favourite clues were 23a and 6d. Thanks to both Chameleon and Prolixic.

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