NTSPP – 549 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 549

A Puzzle by Gazza

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.


1 Pre-union function in Philadelphia that’s trouble-free? (8,5)
BACHELOR PARTY – The American (in Philadelphia) term of a stag do at which no wives (trouble – as in trouble and strife) are present.

10 Spat in auditorium brought about further application of tracking device (5)
RETAG – Reverse (brought about) a homophone of “gaiter” (spat).

11 Quick on Trigger? He was doubly so (3,6)
ROY ROGERS – The actor, star of Westerns and singer who rode a horse called Trigger and was a fast gunman so quick on the trigger.

12 Last house on left when only four remain standing? (9)
SEMIFINAL – A four-letter word for a house followed by a five-letter word for last.  The “on left” tells use that the word for house become first.

13 Antigua notably hosts production of ‘The Seagull’ (5)
GUANO – The answer is hidden in (hosts) the first two words of the clue.

14 Case involving spoiled vote settled a score (3,4)
GOT EVEN – The abbreviation for genitive (case) includes (involving) an anagram (spoiled) of vote.

16 Inspiring compiler’s getting a round in? It’s not unknown (7)
IMBUING – A phrase 2,6 saying that the compilers getting people a round of drinks without the Y (not unknown).

18 Counters Sierra’s further attempts to pass on the outside (7)
RESISTS – The letter represented by Sierra in the phonetic alphabet has a six-letter word meaning further attempt to pass exams around it (on the outside).

20 Confronts rumours about retired barrister (7)
TACKLES – A four letter for rumours around a reversal for the abbreviation for a barrister who has taken silk during the the reign of a king.  As the abbreviation is not the current term for a barrister, this could perhaps have been indicated.

22 Dicky Mandela (no relation) is horny African (5)
ELAND – An anagram (dicky) of MANDELA after removing a two letter word for mother (no relation).

24 Drives off jerk with influence over associate (5,4)
PULLS AWAY – A four-letter word meaning jerk followed by a four-letter word for influence around (over) the abbreviation for associate.

26 Italian novelist’s special present that’s life-supporting (9)
ECOSPHERE – The three letter surname of an Italian novelist followed by a two letter abbreviation for special and a four-letter word meaning present.

27 Lover‘s right out of protection (5)
AMOUR – A six-letter word for the type of protection worn by soldiers without the first R (right out`)

28 Chess player’s big game that’s inconvenient but  hard to shift (5,8)
WHITE ELEPHANT – A five-letter word for one of the colours of a chess player followed by a large African or Indian game animal.


2 Have a go at finishing off flat, bringing in casual labour (7)
ATTEMPT – The AT from the clue and the last letter (finishing off) of flat include a four-letter word for a casual worker.

3 Slap-up celebrations! (4,5)
HIGH FIVES – Cryptic definition of the slapping of hands to celebrate a success.

4 Allegedly violinist from Rome (50) knocked up old actress (5)
LOREN – The name of the Emperor who allegedly fiddled whilst Rome burned (violins having not being invented then, this is an allegation!) and the Roman numeral for 50 all reversed (knocked up).

5 Maybe Prince Harry’s brand-new establishment making change … (5,4)
ROYAL MINT – A five-letter word describing Prince Harry followed by a four-letter word meaning new.

6 … in the midst of antagonistic machinations of newspaper group leaders (5)
AMONG – The initial letters (leaders) of the fifth to ninth words of the clue.

7 Each half might have unpredictable outcome for visiting team from Orient (3,4)
THE MAGI – An anagram (have an unpredictable outcome) of EA (each half) MIGHT.

8 Malvolio appeared so grumpy with great red wound … (5-8)
CROSS-GARTERED – A five-letter word meaning grumpy followed by an anagram (wound) of GREAT RED.

9 … seeing that setter’s weapon is far-reaching (2,4,2,2,3)
AS LONG AS MY ARM – A phrase 2,4,2 meaning seeing that followed by a phrase 2,4 meaning the setter’s weapon.

15 Price acted occasionally in supporting bill as minder for ‘Schnozzle’ (9)
NOSEPIECE – The odd letters (occasionally) in price acted underneath (supporting) a four-letter word meaning a bill.

17 Regressive character favours corporal punishment (9)
BACKSLASH – A five-letter word meaning favoured followed by a four-letter word for a form of corporal punishment.

19 Aquatic creature that’s a surprise in Dundee’s narrow inlet (3,4)
SEA LOCH – A four-letter word for an aquatic mammal followed by a three letter Scottish (in Dundee) exclamation of surprise.

21 Whispered sad information (3-4)
LOW-DOWN – A three-letter word meaning whispered followed by a four-letter word meaning sad.

23 Senior newspaper boss chucked up in garage (5)
DEPOT – A three-letter word meaning senior and the abbreviation for editor (journalist) all reversed (chucked up).

25 Loyal subject, say, detected in falsehood (5)
LIEGE – The abbreviation for “for example” (say) inside a three-letter word for a falsehood.

24 comments on “NTSPP – 549

  1. Very pleasant solve for a dull wet afternoon. Many thanks, Gazza. 8d was my first one in, as I played that part in my school play many years ago. I wonder if there will be a musical answer to 11a!

  2. I studied The Seagull for Russian “A” level many, many years ago.

    My teacher (in the mock) and the examiner (in the real thing) both thought that my answers on the subject were total shit.

    Favourite: 13a

    Lots of other great clues – thanks, Gazza.

  3. What a delight to get a Gazza puzzle to solve. Set off laughing at 1a – the functions may well be free of the Cockney rhyming ‘strife’ but I think there are often plenty of troubles that arise from them. Just as well our setter included the question mark!
    Took all the checkers in place before the penny dropped over 7d – silly girl……..
    My top three were all chosen for their humour – 16&28a plus 5d, with 16a taking the gold medal.

    Many thanks, Gazza, thoroughly enjoyable.

  4. Absolutely loved it Gazza. Pleased to say I managed to complete without using the reveal letter function though did use the check facility for a couple (8&15d) Thought some of the clues very witty – particularly 10,13 & 16a. Hard to pick a favourite with so many to choose from but I’ll plump for 26a over 7(can’t parse satisfactorily) & 17d. More please……

  5. An absolute pleasure to solve as always, thank you Gazza.

    An almost impossible task to pick a favourite clue, so I won’t even attempt to!

    1. My thoughts exactly. Thank you for finding the right words, Silvanus, and many thanks to Gazza for a wonderful and challenging puzzle.

  6. Thanks Gazza, that was very enjoyable with some head scratching. I had to think long and hard about a few answers before deciding they were correct and writing them in.
    Joint favourites 16a and 18a.
    Thanks again.

  7. Very witty and imaginative, thoroughly enjoyable and just tough enough – perfect fare for a Saturday afternoon
    Thanks Gazza

  8. What a wonderful puzzle. Thanks so much, Gazza. (I think 7d is hard to beat as my favourite)

  9. Quite tricky and excellent fun. We haven’t fully sorted the parsing for 16a yet so will keep working on that.
    Many thanks Gazza.

    1. A walk solved the problem.
      We forgot about pugilism and went to the pub instead. Figuratively that is.

  10. Thanks Gazza for a quality puzzle (I felt Tuesday Toughie level) that I fell just short of completing, 7d beating me, with one reveal needed in the South West too. I guessed 8d from the wordplay and checkers but not sure I understand it fully but all the rest I think I’ve fully parsed. Lot’s to like, my favourite was 16a (very clever), 3,17& 21d podium contenders too.

  11. Solved but not fully parsed so I ‘ll wait for the review. Thanks Gazza for providing a distraction from looking after 3 Under 4 grandchildren.

    1. JB, 16a – inspiring = a phrase (2,6) meaning the Setter is getting a round (of drinks) in, minus a letter that represents a mathematical unknown

      1. Thanks, I got this but, it giving the last letter to 7d to be an “i” I thought I must be wrong. The answer to 7 d, when it came, showed I was looking for the wrong sort of team. For once, the answer wasn’t sports orientated .

    2. 7d beat me but it’s an anagram of half of the word ‘each’ plus ‘might’ to give a biblical reference.

  12. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, especially the parsing of 12a where ‘on left’ had slightly thrown me.
    Also, thanks again to Gazza for a most enjoyable Saturday afternoon diversion.

  13. Many thanks to everyone who commented and especially to Prolixic for the well-illustrated review.

  14. Gazza
    Sorry you missed my “thank you”. You beat me in SW corner ( 7d) but it gave me as much pleasure as I have had from a puzzle for some time.
    It is the first time I have tried an NTSPP. I didn’t realise what I was missing!
    Thanks also to Prolixic for the enlightenment.

  15. Sorry I am late to the party, but this cannot be allowed to pass without comment. I loved it!
    Like others, 7d was my last one in and I needed some help from the current Mrs Shabbo.
    1a, 3d, 5d and 17d all got ticks from me, but in honesty I could have ticked them all.
    First class. Please keep them coming, Gazza.

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