NTSPP – 526 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 526

NTSPP – 526

A Puzzle by Gazza

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Short and sweet today as I have only just sat down after a busy day out and about.


1 Piece about queen’s old flame getting drawn-out divorce? (6)
BREXIT – The three letter word meaning piece around the single letter abbreviation for queen and a two letter word for an old flame.

4 Possible remedies for those suffering from pins and needles (8)
THIMBLES – Crpytic definition of what might protect a sewer from being pricked by pins and needles.

9 Scotch is able occasionally to make one convivial (6)
SOCIAL – The odd letters (occasionally) of the first three words of the clue.

10 Struggling on course, father’s overlooking first rule (5,3)
ABOVE PAR – A two letter word for father proceeded by (first) a five letter word meaning overcooking and followed by the abbreviation for rule.

12 Fitting is stored in sack with a handle (8)
BAPTISED – A three letter word meaning fitting and the is from the clue inside (stored in) a three letter word for a place to sleep (sack).

13 Peacekeeping organisation’s ever escalating needs originally kept hidden (6)
UNSEEN – The possessive form of the abbreviation for United Nations (peacekeeping organisations) followed by the initial letters (originally) of the third to fifth words fo the clue.

15 Carrier company’s justification for proposal (8,4)
BUSINESS CASE – Double definition for a type of bag (carrier) and a company’s justification for a proposal.

18 Old imperial soldier uttered rebuttal on mountain side (6,6)
BENGAL LANCER – A three letter word for a Scottish mountain followed by a four letter word for an attitude or side followed by a homophone (uttered) of answer (rebuttal).

21 A-team succeeded, embracing repeatedly proclaimed sound principles (6)
AXIOMS – The A from the clue, the Roman numerals for the number of people in a football team and the abbreviation for succeeded around (embracing) a symbol repeated in meditation.

22 Maureen’s misplaced password may be needed subsequently (8)
USERNAME – An anagram (misplaced) of MAUREENS.

24 Withdraw from English museum worried about prize being cut (8)
EVACUATE – The abbreviations for English and the Victoria and Albert Museum and a three letter word meaning worried around a three letter word for a prize with the final letter removed (being cut).

25 Generous, rather like John in Dallas (6)
LAVISH – How you might describe toilet (John in Dallas).

26 Setter’s backing king in country that’s mounted challenges (8)
GYMKHANA – A two letter word meaning belonging to the setter reversed (backing) following by the abbreviation for king inside a five letter word for a country in Africa.

27 Discriminating consumers, say, mobbed by campers? (6)
VEGANS – The abbreviation for for example (say) inside (mobbed by) a four letter word for a type of vehicle of which campers are an example.


1 Bug-eyed creature, a crawler as Dubya once was? (8)
BUSHBABY – A description of a US president before he could walk.

2 Key above forged map is pure fantasy (8)
ESCAPISM – A three letter word for a key on a keyboard followed by an anagram (forged) of MAP IS.

3 Little drink‘s found in inner city (7,8)
ITALIAN VERMOUTH – The inner letters of city give the abbreviation for this drink.

5 Surgeon’s overwhelmed by greeting in one side of Edinburgh (4)
HIBS – A two letter word for a greeting followed by the abbreviation for Bachelor of Surgery.

6 Stimulating wicked satire’s biting about effortless way to get elevated (6,9)
MOVING STAIRCASE – A six letter word meaning stimulating followed by an anagram (wicked) of SATIRES around a two letter abbreviation meaning about.

7 Bride’s pallor’s covered over no longer (6)
LAPSED – The answer is hidden (covered) and reversed (over) in the first two words of the clue.

8 Confessed, admitting initially ripping off garment (6)
SARONG – A four letter word meaning confessed around (admitting) the initial letters of ripping off.

11 Embarrassment over years of decline in Telegraph? (7)|
MESSAGE – A four letter word for an embarrassing situation followed by a three letter word for years of decline.

14 Copper, smothered in crude oil on street, is seeing specialist (7)
OCULIST – The chemical symbol for copper in an anagram (crude) of OIL all on top of the abbreviation for street.

16 Complaint from jerk in small Channel Islands group trying to keep dry (8)
SCIATICA – A three letter word for a spasm or jerk inside the abbreviation for small and the abbreviations for Channel Islands and Alcoholics Anonymous (group trying to keep dry).

17 Audibly splits trousers (8)
BREECHES – A homophone (audibly) of breaches (splits).

19 Rotter ordered goods (3,3)
BAD EGG – A four letter word meaning ordered followed by the abbreviation for good twice (goods).

20 Busy southern branch put out of action (6)
DISARM – A two letter abbreviation for a policeman (busy) followed by the abbreviation for southern and a three letter word for a branch.

23 Old army shooter is clearing up (4)
STEN – A four letter word for making a profit (clearing) reversed (up).

18 comments on “NTSPP – 526

  1. That was really quite hard Gazza, but also excellent
    Thanks for the challenge

  2. A wonderful puzzle. We are very fortunate to have setters of Gazza’s quality to provide such quality entertainment for us in the NTSPP slot.
    Smiles and ticks all over the place, including 1a, 4a, 22a, 25a. 27a, 1d and 14d. 1a was a great start with a good surface read and a topical definition.
    The SW corner was last to fall for me and I’m still not sure that I fully understand 21a.
    Great fun, Gazza. Please keep them coming!

    1. Hi Shabbo – 21a = A from the clue XI – 11 [team] S(ucceeded) containing a meditation mantra, OM

  3. I would heartily echo Shabbo’s opening comments.

    Another superb puzzle with some lovely disguised definitions like 12a and 26a. 1d, 17d and 19d sit proudly on my podium, but almost any of the other clues could have edged them out.

    Many thanks, Gazza.

  4. I rarely find the time to do the NTSPP but I did today and have to admit that I really should find the time in future. I found it particularly difficult, and a couple of the answers have left me scratching my head as I failed to fully parse them, but it was a terrific challenge and rewarding to see the “congratulations” banner appear at the end. Many thanks Gazza; I am now a convert.

  5. I’m getting a bit stuck now and will have to leave the rest, mainly ones in the bottom left corner, until tomorrow as we’re going out later this evening.
    Even if I manage to finish it (?) I know that my favourite will be 25a – really made me laugh!
    Thanks so much Gazza for such a good and, I thought anyway, jolly difficult crossword.

  6. That was quite a toughie – still have a couple of bits of parsing to sort out but at least the grid is filled and I very much enjoyed the challenge.
    Top marks here for 1&26a with honourable mentions for 4&12a.

    Many thanks, Gazza, your puzzles are always worth the wait!

  7. Got there eventually! Struggled more than I should have with pins and needles and the side of Edinburgh. There’s another side I’m not sure I understand yet. Loved seeing specialist.

    Would prefer “after this” to “subsequently” as the answer is a thing, not a time.

    Another Gazza super puzzle, made my day.
    Many, many thanks.

  8. Excellent fun.
    With 3d, although we twigged the possible answer quite early on we had to come back to it later to twig the wordplay. Still chuckling over 25a.
    Thanks Gazza.

  9. My goodness that was Toughie strength but very well worth the effort. Following on from the trauma of watching my recording of England nearly throwing away today’s game at Twickenham, I am now utterly exhausted.

    A handful of clues took some time to parse fully and my only doubt finally was the OM in 21a but I see LbR @2 above has explained this. I have just done what I should have done earlier and found it in my BRB!

    I echo Shabbo’s opening remarks. I have too many ticks to mention them all but my podium selection is 1a, 26a, 1d & 19d.

    Many thanks, Gazza. This was great fun; a very enjoyable challenge.

  10. What a wonderful puzzle – thank you, Gazza. 19d is my favourite of many candidates!

  11. Quite a challenge but I finished eventually, the NE and SW corners holding out longest. Last in was 24ac which I originally got wrong with an L instead of the C; it would parse taking ‘prize’ as a verb meaning ‘value’ but then the ‘museum’ bit didn’t make sense, nor did the definition. A real facepalm moment when I realised what the correct answer was.

  12. :phew: – I never did manage to finish this one – way too difficult to me.
    I’m sticking by my original comment – 25a was my favourite.
    There are some that I still don’t understand but I expect I’ll either work it out or will live without having done so.
    Thanks to Prolixic and, again, to Gazza, especially if you promise to make your next NTSPP soon and just a little bit less tricky.

  13. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. Freely admit that I was very grateful for LbR’s input regarding the parsing of 21a and that I did ‘phone a friend’ about the parsing of 3d – I’d been looking for something far more complicated!
    Thanks again to Gazza for the workout.

  14. Thanks for the review Prolixic

    Spurred by 21a, I sat the good lady down opposite me on the floor in lotus position on Saturday night and said, ‘Right, let’s try meditation’
    When I told her ‘You have to say ‘OM’ repeatedly with your eyes shut’… after a minute or two, she said ‘Homm, I think you need medication M’dear, not meditation’ and then went to check I hadn’t drunk all the Glenmorangie
    Then she watched Masterchef. Oh well

  15. At least there’s a good side to all that confinement:
    I can catch up with all these wonderful NTSPPs starting with yours Gazza.
    Also printed Prolixic, Mucky and Hippogryph.
    Really enjoyed n• 526.
    Didn’t know the side of Edinburgh nor G Bush nickname but easily checked.
    Thanks for the great fun and thanks to Prolixic for the review.
    You shall be next.

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