NTSPP – 530 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 530

NTSPP – 530

Butterflies by Chalicea

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

The puzzle has a ghost theme, which means it can be solved without knowledge of the theme – but how many butterflies can you spot in the completed grid?

A perfectly pitched NTSPP crossword.   A surprising number of butterflies, not all of which were to be found in our 2004 Collins Gem Book of Butterflies; one was found in our 1981 Collins Gem Book of Butterflies and Moths, and that nice Mr Google was also of assistance with 22d, 


6a Male in state of unconsciousness for briefest interval (5)
COMMA The abbreviation for Male inserted into a state of unconsciousness

7a African ruler, losing heart for stud, one who provides relief (8)
EMBOSSER Remove the heart from an African ruler (who would have fitted the theme!) and replace with a knob or stud (While checking that solutions weren’t a rare form of butterfly I’d never heard of, I did find a butterfly xxxxxxxx but that turned out to be a craft item for making fancy decorations!)

10a Can feature everyone upset about short time in bar (4-3)
PULL-TAB A reversal (upset – an indicator surely more suited to a Down clue than an Across one??) of a synonym for everyone goes ‘about’ an abbreviation (short) for Time, and the result is then inserted into a bar

11a Let this run amok, it could become prickly (7)
THISTLE An anagram (run amok) of LET THIS (aka the Painted Lady)

12a Base promotional leaflet for one communicating by computer (7)
EMAILER The letter used in many a crossword to mean base followed by a promotion leaflet sent by post

13a Rule in government allowed long, curled hair (7)
RINGLET The legal abbreviation for Rule, IN (from the clue) and the abbreviation for government followed by part of a verb meaning allowed

14a USA’s guest or possibly a creature long extinct (11)
STEGOSAUR An anagram (possibly) of USAS GUEST OR A

19a Seed to pile into heaps for showy bird (7)
PEACOCK A seed and a verb meaning to pile hay into heaps

21a Bit of stinking fish for ship’s captain (7)
SKIPPER The first ‘bit’ of Stinking followed by a fish

23a Small cat’s an issue of pride (4,3)
LION CUB A small cat produced by a female member of a pride

25a Head of state working in procession organised in protest (7)
MONARCH An adverb meaning working inserted into a procession organised in protest

26a Alcoholic drink‘s dismal wreck (4,4)
BLUE RUIN A synonym for dismal and a wreck combine to make an alcoholic drink containing Bombay Sapphire Gin, blue curacao and tonic water with a blueberry garnish

27a Gives reasons with no evidence finally for exotic bird (5)
ARGUS Part of a verb meaning gives reasons for without the E (no evidence ‘finally’). This clue originally had a typo ‘gies’ – the BRB defines gie as a Scottish form of give, and now that sadly Myops is no longer with us, which other setter do we know who likes to include Scottish words in their crosswords? ;)


1d Wee Scottish boys taking in liberal classified publicity (5,3)
SMALL ADS Wee in the Scottish (or, indeed Northern Irish sense – I always mile when I’m asked if I want a wee receipt when I do some shopping on a visit to the family – no matter what size of shopping basket) and boys (plural) ‘taking in’ the abbreviation for liberal

2d Lament about chimneypiece (6)
MANTEL An anagram (about) of LAMENT

3d Surprisingly buck adores this composite weed (3,7)
SEA BURDOCK An anagram (surprisingly) of BUCK ADORES

4d Funeral ceremony of old girl (4)
OBIT The abbreviation for Old and an informal term for a girl

5d Fellows converse endlessly relating to the mind (6)
MENTAL Some fellows and another word for converse without the final letter

6d Small change for policeman (6)
COPPER Double definition

8d Fish lure with bit of string, pin and half a marine worm (7)
SPINNER The first letter (bit) of String, PIN (from the clue) and the first half of a six-letter marine worm

9d Former Conservative PM‘s pressure on leader of house (5)
HEATH Some pressure goes on the ‘leader’ of House

13d Taking on again circle, welcoming each small problem in addition (10)
REASSUMING A circle ‘welcoming’ the abbreviations for each and small, and a [mathematical] problem

15d Decor cheaply conceals figure with muscles stripped of skin (7)
ECORCHE Lurking (concealed by) dECOR CHEaply gives us a word for a figure used in artistic study

16d Sorted out Europe’s originally good self-critical conscience (8)
SUPEREGO An anagram (sorted out) of EUROPES and the original letter of Good

17d Waste strip of wood for lighting a candle, say (5)
SPILL Double definition, the first one being a verb, the second referring to those strips of wood for lighting candles which someone always says they’ve never heard of when they appear in a crossword

18d Persistent pains involving essentially curvy bony foot structures (6)
ARCHES Some persistent pains into which is inserted (involving) the ‘essential’ or middle letter of curvy.   This one definitely has the look of a moth rather than a butterfly

20d A recording of public opinion of Greek god (6)
APOLLO A (from the clue), a recording of public opinion and the letter that is a shortened form of ‘of’

22d Greek independence on island on Aegean’s outskirts (6)
IONIAN The abbreviation for Independence, ON (from the clue), the abbreviation for Island and the ‘outskirts’ of Aegean.  

24d Squander belauded from time to time (4)
BLUE The alternate (from time to time) letters of BeLaUdEd

It is lovely and sunny and warm outside so, once I’ve published this crossword and the mist has lifted a bit over the marshes, I’m going to be off out to see if I can spot more butterflies than I did yesterday afternoon.

Update: 1 kestrel, 2 rheas, numerous singing skylarks and hedgerow birds, and yes – one butterfly!

20 comments on “NTSPP – 530

  1. A friendly offering, not difficult but pleasant enough
    Thanks Chalicea – there is a typo in 27a though

    1. I thought that, but it is in the BRB and is typical of words beloved by our setter

  2. My heart sank when I tried to access the site a little while ago only to get a message saying something like “database not accessible”. Thankfully it seems OK again now. Living without Big Dave’s Blog would be bad at any time but unimaginable at the moment.

    What a lovely puzzle for a lovely day. This was light but great fun.

    I found 14 butterflies, several of whom I hadn’t heard of, but Mrs Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Lists provided invaluable help after I’d completed the puzzle. I needed my BRB to check my answer to 15d, which was a new word for me.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and in advance to, I assume, CS.

    1. Is something slightly odd going on with the blog?
      Maybe there aren’t going to be any hints for today’s back page cryptic but I certainly can’t see anything about them and there are no comments down the right hand side.
      I also couldn’t download a PDF for the NTSPP in the way that I normally do it.
      Maybe I’m being dim, again?

  3. I was proud to find 10, but I see RD has found some more.

    Many thanks Chalicea, great gentle fun, though not without some new words!

  4. A nice fluttery puzzle to brighten up the day – many thanks, Chalicea.
    Managed to count 12 themed entries from my own knowledge so then went back through to look for RD’s other two. I did wonder whether our setter had included the odd moth – all will doubtless be revealed tomorrow!

  5. Very pleasant and enjoyable, thanks Chalicea.
    Not being a lepidopterist, other than I can recognise a Monarch, I will leave it to the experts to find them for us.
    I almost thought that 26a was going to be the dismal wreck of a German wine but one too many letters ruled it out!
    Thanks in advance to CS for tomorrow’s review.

  6. I’m excited that RabbitDave found 14. I’ve just looked back at my solution grid and seem to have been able to justify only 11 though I suspect a moth or two surreptitiously flew in. I’ll await Crypticsue’s verdict with trepidation. We are on day 17 of total lockdown with fines if we are caught out without documents justifying our leaving home so I have spent the day on the terrace, facing Mont Blanc in the sun and working on one to replace this in Big Dave’s file. (Another where there will be doubt about how many items are thematic – even I am not sure). Do stay at home and keep well.

    1. Thanks again, Chalicea. What a lovely puzzle this was. Thanks too to CS for her review, in the light of which I revise my total to 13 plus one moth!

  7. I fell four short of this mainly straightforward and enjoyable puzzle, two in the South and two in the North. I could have resorted to electronic help but “revealed” instead!
    I’m still not sure of the parsing of 24d where I understand the solution is obtained from every other letter of “belauded” but is it (belauded) also a homophone indicator? And if so, shouldn’t the definition be “squandered” . Probably me being thick.

    Thanks to Chalicea for a fun puzzle and to the reviewer in advance.

  8. We wrote a comment earlier but must have forgotten to send it.
    Good fun. We did need to use the list from Mrs B as we do not see many of the listed ones on our regular walks here.
    Thanks Chalicea.

  9. I think I’d have liked to spot the theme myself, without the benefit of a title! But no worries, Chalicea! Very enjoyable, albeit not really difficult. I’d never heard of 15d (who had?) but the clueing was fair.

    I know most of those butterflies but not the moths – there are too many moths, hard to learn them all! You’ve posted a picture of the very rare Large Copper for 6d, instead of the much commoner Small Copper – never seen the large version. And I’ve not come across the name THISTLE for Painted Lady – although its latin name is Vanessa cardui – and carduus is Latin for thistle.

    I pride myself as being one of those who’s seen an Apollo in the wild – but it was many years ago, in Andorra. Another very rare species, although locally common. And I’ve seen Monarchs in southern Spain as well as the USA – though never in Britain.

  10. Many thanks for the review, CS, and for going to the trouble to find all the pics to accompany the review.
    Can’t be many folk who find rheas on their ‘permitted’ walks!

    1. A cyclist stopped me yesterday (safely 2 m away) and asked me what the strange booming noise was. I was able to tell her that it is the noise made by the male rhea to try and persuade her to mate with him. He was doing lots of wing flapping last week, I wonder what he’ll try next – she seems deeply unimpressed so far :)

  11. Many thanks crypticsue. I loved your butterflies (and moths).I don’t think I’ve ever heard a rhea. Our total lockdown calm is punctuated by the delicate sound of mating bombina bombina (yellow-bellied singing toads – ‘sonneurs’ in France) who honestly sang in tune to the music my computer was playing (Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring) as I worked out on the terrace yesterday. I have two large toads too, both booming and waiting for the much larger lady to arrive as it gets warmer.

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