NTSPP – 547 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 547

A Puzzle by Hippogryph

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.


9 Bond baddie gets hand from occasional performer (3-3,3)
ODD-JOB MAN – The name of Goldfinger’s henchman followed by a three letter word for a worker or hand.

10 Samsonite case holds one hundred weight (5)
STONE – The outer letters (case) of Samsoninte includes a three-letter word meaning one hundred.

11 Poldark captures Demelza’s heart giving flowers (5)
ROSES – The first name of Poldark includes the middle letter (heart) of Demelza.

12 Vibration noise around poorly made exercise equipment (9)
TREADMILL – A five-letter word for the noise of a vibration includes an The  (poorly) of MADE.

13 Harps on about Romulus and Remus? (7)
ORPHANS – An anagram (about) of HARPS ON.

14 Diverse ethnic community initially applied science practice (7)
TECHNIC – An anagram (diverse) of ETHNIC C (community initially).

17 Misses faulty-sounding prophetess? (5)
SIBYL – A homophone (sounding) for Mrs Fawlty.

19 All original, not ever witnessed (3)
NEW – The initial letters (original) of the final three words of the clue.

20 Rule inter-country region without boundaries (5)
ORDER – The inner letters (without boundaries) of a word for the regions between two countries.

21 Throwing competition trophy not open to Spooner (4,3)
SHOT PUT – A Spoonerism of Pot (Trophy) Shut (not open).

22 Deranged Stalin left position in office (7)
INSTALL – An anagram (deranged) of STALIN L (left).

24 Healthy breaks but everybody else smokes? (4-5)
REST CURES – A four-letter word for everybody else followed by a five-letter word for smokes.

26 May 8th “Celebration Sandwiches” recipe produces excitement (5)
VERVE – The abbreviation for Victory In Europe (celebrated on 8 May) twice includes (sandwiches) the abbreviation for recipe.  I am not convinced that sandwiches on its own indicates repeating the  abbreviation.

28 Saint preserve us! Polytechnic Centre replaces University (5)
JAMES – A three-letter word for a preserve and the US from the clue has the abbreviation for university replaced by the central letter of polytechnic.

29 Waders tie up here? (9)
WATERSIDE – An anagram (up) of WADERS TIE.


1 Space travels around wild expanse (4)
MOOR – A four-letter word for a space is reversed (travels round).

2 Makes sense to get more drink (4,2)
ADDS UP – A three-letter word meaning to get more followed by a three-letter word for drink.

3 Rubbish and debris emptied over barrier in supermarket (10)
CODSWALLOP – The outer letters (emptied) of debris and a four-letter word meaning a barrier all inside the name of a supermarket chain.

4 Forgers miss the endless trickery (6)
SMITHS – An anagram (trickery) of MISS THE without the final letter (endless).

5 Return wave when broken down? (8)
UNDERTOW – Split 5,3, this might describe how you are when broken down and returned to the garage.

6 Employed unsteady characters – regularly absent (4)
USED – The odd letters (characters – regularly absent) of the second word of the clue.

7 Gestured and bared bottom in public. Covering it up… (8)
MOTIONED – A six-letter word meaning bared bottom in public around (covering) a reversal (up) of the IT from the clue.

8 …we’re told he will recover (4)
HEAL – A homophone (we’re told) of he’ll.

13 Refreshment area has nothing the same (5)
OASIS – The letter represented nothing followed by a phrase 2,2 meaning the same.

15 Seething about special junctions? (10)
CROSSOVERS – A five-letter word meaning seething followed nu a four-letter word meaning about and the abbreviation for special.

16 Like Pink‘s music or album covers? (5)
CORAL – The answer is hidden (covers) in the third to fifth words of the clue.

18 Angry mob limits destruction – society prospers (8)
BLOSSOMS – An anagram (angry) of mob around (limits) a four-letter word meaning destruction followed by the abbreviation for society.

19 Reminiscent of a ripe hazel, now burnt badly (8)
NUTBROWN – An anagram (badly) of NOW BURNT.

22 I re-assembled units at the designated location (2,4)
IN-SITU – The I from the clue followed by an anagram (re-assembled) of UNITS.

23 Timid leader ditched from Dambusters mission? (6)
AFRAID – Remove the first letter (leader ditched) from a phrase 3, 4 describing the Dambusters mission.

24 Prince produces a harsh discordant sound – take that back! (4)
RAJA – The A from the clue and a three-letter word meaning a harsh discordant sound all reversed (take that back).

25 Throw up in parents’ acacia (4)
CAST – The answer is hidden and reversed (up in) the final two words of the clue.

27 One would be heard and seen (4)
EYED – A homophone (would be heard) of I’d (one would).

21 comments on “NTSPP – 547

  1. A very pleasant puzzle with very smooth clues – thanks Hippogryph.
    I liked 3d, 13d and 23d but my favourite was the excellent 17a.

  2. Thank you to Hippogryph for a nice perfectly-pitched Saturday lunchtime crossword. I would agree with Gazza that the favourite has to be the excellent 17a

    Thanks in advance to Prolixic

  3. I loved this, Hippogryph – just right for the NTSPP slot. As Gazza says, it was very pleasant with lovely surfaces; and there were some original constructions and definitions on show. You have also succeeded in cluing a three-letter answer very creatively.

    My only query relates to 26a as I can’t see how the VE is clued twice. Doesn’t it need to be ‘”May 8th ‘Celebrations Sandwich’ recipe …”?

    I’ve got a page full of ticks, with double ticks going to 13a, 3d, 13d & 23d plus my favourite 17d.

    Many thanks, Hippogryph, and very well done.

  4. Plenty to enjoy here and needless to say my favourite is 11a – lucky Demelza!
    I also particularly liked 24a & 3d. Would love to add the popular 17a to my list but as yet the parsing penny hasn’t dropped. Oh – penny duly obliged so 17a can now go on the podium although won’t replace 11a in my affections.

    Many thanks to Hippogryph for an excellent NTSPP.

  5. Hi RD, I’m really pleased that you enjoyed this, thanks for your generous comments. On 26a, my thinking is that the definition of sandwich is to lay between two layers or to squeeze between two of another kind so the word sandwich itself implies two VEs. However, you are in very good company in querying this so I’m interested to see what Prolixic and others think. Thanks again

  6. Ticks all over the place on our pages and extra big ones beside 17a.
    Thanks Hippogryph.

  7. I thoroughly enjoyed this and solved it unaided. Clues were logical and precise.
    Many thanks, Hippogryph.

  8. I’ll join the chorus of praise Hippogryph. I thought this was a real cracker & thoroughly enjoyed it. It was well clued throughout with some great surfaces & reminded me of a Ray T production in places. Other than 26a, where I’m inclined to agree with RD’s suggestion, don’t think there’s anything to pick holes in. 17a was the big smile but I’d also single out 3,4,7,13&23d along with 11&13a.
    Many thanks.

  9. I too enjoyed this greatly. Special likes among many are 17a, 13a, 3d, 26a, and 23d. Many appreciatve thanks to Hippogryph and to Prolixic in advance.

  10. Good fun. Thanks Hippogryph! And I’ve only just got 17a – very good! Reminds me of one of my favourite lines, “Snagged her cardie, did you …?”

  11. Thanks to all for the positive comments – glad you’ve enjoyed it. As with most of my puzzles to-date there is a ghost theme – just wondered if anyone had spotted it yet??

    1. Spot the ghost theme – you must be joking!
      But who needs a ghost theme in a crossword as good as this?

  12. Many thanks, Prolixic, for the review of this enjoyable puzzle from Hippogryph. Very much a ‘ghost’ theme – still haven’t got it. Perhaps our setter will pop back in to enlighten the thickies amongst us!

  13. Assume it’s bands – Verve, New Order, Stone Roses, Smiths, Oasis & James. Can’t believe I was oblivious.

    1. Not only that Huntsman, all “Manchester scene” bands. I wonder if Hippogryph is a fan, I certainly am. Perhaps he’ll let us know.

      1. Yes well spotted both, Also Blossoms and a couple of Liverpool indie bands – Cast and The Coral. All feature on my favourite playlists

        1. Oh dear – I worked in Manchester for more years than I care to remember and absolutely loved James ‘Sit down’ even though I didn’t have a clue when it came to the words, just adored the tune. Can’t say that I cared for either of the Gallagher brothers but I should certainly have been able to spot the theme – apologies, Hippogryph!

          1. Yes that’s a great song. I was also hoping to get Doves and Elbow in to the grid but couldn’t manage it…

  14. Only just had the chance to do this but if it’d had been on the back page I’d have rated it
    Excellent all round, with some really inventive cluing and smooth surfaces. To top it all a super ghost theme. Thanks Hyppogryph and Prolixic.

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