NTSPP – 537 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 537

A Puzzle by Exit

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.

Exit has the art of producing crosswords that are full of variety, enjoyable to solve and not overly difficult – just the sort your blogger likes.


1 Scottish island’s popular with church (4)
INCH – A two-letter word meaning popular followed by the abbreviation for church.

4 Cut in documentation required for small office items (10)
PAPERCLIPS – A four-letter word meaning cut inside a six letter word meaning documentation.

9 Old instrument (not current) accompanying short song, say, in mountain hotspot? (7)
VOLCANO – A four-letter word for an old stringed instrument without the I (not current) followed by a five letter word for a song without the final letter (short).

10 Minotaur or Ariadne obscuring Roman goddess (6)
AURORA – The answer is hidden (obscuring) in the first three words of the clue.

11 College window (5)
ORIEL – Double definition of an Oxford college and a type of window.

12 Quickly! Grab photo for all to see Prince … (4,2)
SNAP UP – A four-letter word for a photo followed by the film classification meaning all can see it and the abbreviation for prince.

14/8/29 … Rupert chasing setter in direction of The Globe, say (4,7,2,1,4)
EXIT PURSUED BY A BEAR – If the setter (by name) was being chased by an animal of which Rupert is a fictional example, you would have this direction given in a Shakespearean play that would have been performed at the globe.  

15 Sort of avalanche devastated Middle US (8)
MUDSLIDE – An anagram (devastated) of MIDDLE US.

18 Application from Oscar in temporary accommodation housing 1000 (8)
OINTMENT – The letter represented by Oscar in the Nato phonetic alphabet followed by the IN from the clue and a four-letter for for temporary accommodation that includes the Roman numeral for 1000.

20 Artist unknown in Indian state (4)
GOYA – One of the letters indicating an unknown in algebra inside a three-letter Indian state.

22 Father’s delayed sense of taste (6)
PALATE – A two-letter word meaning father followed by a four-letter word meaning delayed.

24 Spin missing from forecast order (5)
EDICT – Remove a two letter word meaning spin (in terms of publicity) from a seven-letter word meaning forecast.

26 Little James: a jewel (6)
JASPER – The three letter abbreviation for the book of the Bible James followed by a three letter word meaning a (as in £30 a head).

27 Newton in shed on island, looking for someone? (7)
MANHUNT – The abbreviation for Newton inside a three-letter word for a shed after (on) a three letter word for an island.

28 Dessert spilt: blame following beauty (5,5)
PEACH MELBA – An anagram (split) of BLAME after (following) a five letter word for person who is a beauty.

29 See 14


2 Star car (4)
NOVA – Double definition of a bright star and make of Vauxhall car.

3 Sun follower maybe upset: hits at Leo (9)
HELIOSTAT – An anagram (upset) of HITS AT LEO.

4 After return of record, tart is calm (6)
PLACID – Reverse (return) a two-letter abbreviation for a record and follow with a four letter word meaning tart or sharp.

5 Brief investigation over moon lander difficulty (7)
PROBLEM – A five-letter word for an investigation with the final letter removed (brief) followed by a three-letter abbreviation for Lunar Excursion Module (moon lander).

6 Mercurial Bohemian music? It’s arranged in D sharp, boy, not B (8)
RHAPSODY – An anagram (its arranged) of D SHARP BOY without the B.

7 Caterpillar initially likes any red variety apple (5)
LARVA – The initial letter of the final five words of the clue.

8 See 14 Across

13 Cheer up exile welcoming, variously, Henry and a rat (10)
EXHILARATE – Insert (in separate places (welcoming variously) the abbreviation for Henry and the A RAT from the clue inside the EXILE from the clue.

16 Cry raised after stairway loses fine source of illumination (5,4)
LIGHT BULB – A six letter word for a stairway without the abbreviation for fine followed by a reversal (raised) of a four-letter word meaning cry.

17 Wire note on sheep (8)
TELEGRAM – A two-letter musical note followed by (in cricketing terms) a three-letter word describing on and a three-letter word for a male sheep.

19 Short lecture about Channel Island is a lot of hot air (7)
THERMAL – A four-letter word for a lecture without the final letter (short) around a four-letter name for one of the Channel Islands.

21 One backing pub in South Africa to produce flower … (6)
ZINNIA – The letter representing one after (backing) a three-letter word for a pub inside the IVR code for South Africa.

23 … (lavender) when Penny in charge (5)
ASPIC – A two-letter word meaning when followed by the abbreviation for Penny followed by the abbreviation for in charge.

25 Up before nine in Sicily (4)
ETNA – Reverse (up) a four-letter word meaning before.

34 comments on “NTSPP – 537

  1. A pretty gentle but enjoyable puzzle – thanks Exit.
    I expect I’ve missed a theme or Nina (I usually do).
    I think that 4a is usually 5,5 rather a single word.
    My ticks went to 14/8/29, 26a and 17d.

  2. Not too tricky and pleasant enough, though the grid is not great and I have no idea what the 14 combo actually means?
    Thanks for the entertainment Exit

      1. Thanks for the enlightenment
        I’m such a philistine – probably why I dislike names and literary references in supposedly cryptic puzzles; I was severely under-educated at the Lord Howard of Effingham Academy of Incompetence (not sure if BD had the pleasure too, but I doubt it)
        I recently test-solved a themed puzzle destined for the Indy featuring ‘Call me Ishmael’ and ‘Queequeg’ – sent it back asking what the heck he was on about! Story about a fish apparently

          1. I noticed that and nearly commented on the coincidence
            In the puzzle the Queequeg clue was fall off your chair stuff, so my feedback was fairly brief
            I’ll dig out the puzzle if you want to give it a go MP?

        1. No, I didn’t move to Bookham until 1970, but our Richard spent two years there (1974-76) before we moved to Worcestershire.

          1. That would be around the same time as my eldest brother, Andrew. Did the drought drive you away or was it the local kids? :smile:
            FYI that entire area is planned to be demolished, including the tomato nursery across the road and all the way up to Rectory Lane opposite Dobbe’s Garden Centre and redeveloped into housing
            No extra infrastructure, just an extra 600 houses – understandably, the locals are not too happy about it

            1. Richard disliked the school so much that he went to Sheephatch, a year-group school for 13-year olds which was situated up on the Hogs Back, and then to Hanley Castle High School when we moved here 43 years ago!

  3. A perfect NTSPP, even allowing for the solver to know a couple of bits of ‘stuff’. A solver and blogger’s dream – straightforward solving, a couple of nice d’oh moments, easy to parse and explain without an extensive dictionary trawl – and even the ability to use a personal photograph taken on 25d. As far as I can tell, however, Exit is still on Prolixic’s side of the blogging duty rota and so he’ll have the fun.

    Thanks very much to Exit and, in advance (unless of course I’m wrong) to Prolixic

  4. Although this was light, it was great fun and an excellent antidote to the back-pager. My favourite was 14/8/29 although perhaps it gave away too much too quickly.

    Many thanks Exit, and I’ll be looking forward very much to your next one.

  5. Another NTSPP solved pre-caffeine on my Saturday morning. Very enjoyable with 4a (although, like Gazza, I would expect to see it as (5,5)), 18a, and 28a as candidates for favourite.
    One minor grumble – as it is pointing to 9a, shouldn’t the ‘nine’ in 25d be 9?
    Thanks Exit.

    1. I just looked in for enlightenment on 9a and 25d … still confused.

      Thanks, Exit.

      Hopefully the bear didn’t catch you.

      1. In 9a, the old instrument is a four letter stringed instrument, usually with 6 strings, with the symbol for (electrical) current removed and the song, also known as a round, is five letters with the last letter removed.

        1. Thanks, Senf.

          I know that there are no rules as such in cryptic crosswords … but is “nine” in 25d strictly “verboten”.

          Exit stage left.

          1. I’m trying to think where i saw it recently – was it in the dailies or on this site? I haven’t seen any rules that suggest you should not use nine, though it is a little indirect in that obviously the clues use numbers. I would not expect to see it unless the surface (like here) is asking for it.

            1. I read something recently on this site saying that a reference to another clue should be in the form of a number rather than a word and if the clue number was ambiguous it should be qualified by ‘a’ or ‘d’.

  6. An enjoyable puzzle and quite refreshing. I did like the 14/18/29 combination. I agree with Gaza regarding 4a. It has never crossed my mind that it was a single word.
    Many thanks, Exit.

  7. An enjoyable workout while Mr T is busy in the kitchen preparing my birthday dinner. I hope he will be able to 13d my 22a and he doesn’t have a 5d!

    Favourite 14/8/29. Many thanks Exit

  8. My GK wasn’t sufficiently up to the mark for the full parsing of a couple so I did ask Mr G for confirmation of those but most of this presented very little 5d.
    Thanks to Exit for the challenge – nice to see you back again.

  9. Thanks exit, much fun. I feel like i should have spotted a theme with some interesting names, but the only thing I ended up wondering about was whether the grid had 4 H’s before a minor modification.
    nice touch getting the setter’s name in there

  10. I enjoyed the solve , all clues were logical and no obscurities,
    Agree with RD on the favourite, took a while to get the setter!-never mind.
    If this was a back pager I would say a **/***-well done.
    Last in was 21d ,which I got wrong, having used SA rather than ZA as the outside letters . One for the memory bank.

  11. That was great stuff Exit, I wish I’d taken note of your name before solving, would have helped with 14a etc (instead of looking at the first person pronouns). There were a couple in the South I wasn’t sure of the parsing of, one of which was clarified by Senf’s comment re 25d, and I tend to agree the nine should be 9.
    Lot’s to like including 4, 24, &28a plus 6d.

    Many thanks to Exit and in advance to Prolixic.

  12. Thank you for all your comments – glad you enjoyed the puzzle.
    The dictionaries vary on the enumeration of 4ac – it’s one word in Collins but two in the BRB. Incidentally I wasn’t sure about enumerating 16dn – both my dictionaries have it as two words but I often think of it as one word.
    As far as the ‘nine’ is concerned it looks as if it’s analogous to the use of initial capitals; in this case one can use a numeral instead of a word but not – in referring to another clue – vice-versa. I’ll have to remember that.

    1. Thanks for popping in, Exit, and thanks again for a very enjoyable puzzle.

  13. An enjoyable Sunday morning solve for us. 27a was our last one in, mainly because we were looking to put a Q with the U that we had as a checking letter. Will try to remember the ‘new to us’ Channel Island too.
    Thanks Exit.

  14. I, too, enjoyed this especially the Rupert bit.
    I am asking about 26a. I always expect it to be the name of a Victorian villain twirling his moustache. I know Jas and Jem are short for James. Am I missing something? (I do know it is also used in jewellery)
    Thank you Exit and BD

  15. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic – and the very funny cartoon!
    Thanks again to Exit, hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next one.

  16. Thank you all once again for your appreciative comments, and to Prolixic for the review and finding appropriate illustrations. I hope my next one will be as good.

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