NTSPP – 551 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 551

A Puzzle by Starhorse

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

It is always a joy to have a Starhorse to solve and dissect.


1 Teetotal Bishop backed composer (4)
BYRD – A three letter word meaning teetotal and the abbreviation for bishop all reversed (backed).

3 Widespread view from old Republican in Central American state (8)
PANORAMA – The abbreviations for old and Republic in a six-letter Central American country.

10 Element from which 51 coins could be produced? (7)
SILICON – An anagram (could be produced) of LI (51) COINS.

11 Listen, it’s time for King to cheer up (7)
HEARTEN – A seven-letter word meaning listen has the K (king) replaced by a T (time).

12 Reader put out by Exodus (9)
DEPARTURE – An anagram (out) of READER PUT.

13 Greek character, thus Classical perhaps? (5)
MUSIC – A two letter Greek letter of the alphabet followed by a three-letter word which means thus in Latin.

14 Cloth that forms part of a border (5)
TWEED – Double definition, the second being a border river between England and Scotland.

15 Climax of short street party (9)
CRESCENDO – An eight-letter word for a street that forms an arc with the final letter removed (short) followed by a two-letter word for a party.

17 Temporary help a mere illusion? (9)
EPHEMERAL – An anagram (illusion) of HELP A MERE.

20 Viagra invariably offers something hard and very small (5)
GRAIN – The answer is hidden (offers) in the first two words of the clue.

22 Relax, leader’s away a lot (5)
OFTEN – A six-letter word for relax with the initial letter removed (leader’s away).

23 Try to sell secret source of sweetener (5,4)
SUGAR CANE – A three-letter word meaning try to sell followed by a six-letter word meaning secret or esoteric.

24 Rank of leading player taking part (7)
NOISOME – The three letter way of saying number one (leading player) followed by a four-letter word meaning part.

25 He takes supper, consuming beer and last piece of beef (3,4)
TEA LEAF – A three-letter word for a meal also known as supper includes (consuming) a three-letter word for beer all followed by the last letter of beef.

26 Fellows spotted in Canon’s flat (8)
TENEMENT – A three-letter word for fellows inside a five-letter word word for a canon or principle.

27 Maybe stag do started with short dance – backwards (4)
DEER – The initial letter (started) of do followed by a four-letter word for a Scottish dance with the final letter removed (short) with the letters reversed (backwards).  Short streets and short dances!


1 Irrelevant, like zero in 1.0? (6,3,5)
BESIDE THE POINT – Double definition, the second being a description of the location of the 0 next to the “.”

2 Setback on trip (7)
RELAPSE – A two-letter word meaning on or about followed by a five-letter word meaning trip.

4 She introduces article with tips from narrator about large cat (9)
ANNOUNCER – The two letter indefinite article followed by the outside letters (tips) of “narrator” around a five-letter word for a large cat.

5 Iain’s expression of surprise about colour (5)
OCHRE – A three-letter word used in Scotland (Iain’s) to express surprise followed by a two-letter word meaning about.

6 Washed out maniac stupidly swallows ecstasy (7)
ANAEMIC – An anagram (stupidly) of MANIAC includes (swallows) the abbreviation for ecstasy.

7 Craftsman‘s biased, can’t keep quiet (7)
ARTISAN – An eight-letter word meaning biased without (can’t keep) the abbreviation for quiet.

8 Like a composition of 20d (6)
SCORED – A five-letter word meaning 20 followed by the D from the clue.

9 Missing out on a refund, fraudulently, hundreds taken in (11-3)
UNACCOUNTED-FOR – An anagram (fraudulently) of ON A REFUND around CC (hundreds).

16 Advise nurses to hide glare (9)
ENLIGHTEN – The abbreviation for Enrolled Nurse twice includes a five-letter word meaning glare.

18 Top 20 targets? (3,4)
HIT LIST – Double definition for the best selling records and a description of the targets for assassination.

19 Wind up old partners in daydream (7)
MONSOON – The abbreviation for old (again) and a pair of bridge players are reversed (up) in a four-letter word meaning to dream.

20 European‘s not quite relevant (6)
GERMAN – A seven-letter word meaning relevant with the final letter removed (not quite).

21 Single Dame newly introduced in the scholarly world (7)
ACADEME – A three-letter word meaning single includes (introduced) an anagram (newly) of DAME.

23 Small company power (5)
STEAM – The abbreviation for small and a four-letter word for a company or group of players.

22 comments on “NTSPP – 551

  1. The perfect accompaniment to Saturday lunchtime – thank you Starhorse – nice to see you back here again.

    I could list loads of clues for stardom but I think I’ll go for 25a as my top favourite

    Thanks in advance to Prolixic

  2. Very enjoyable with smooth surfaces throughout – thanks, Starhorse.
    I didn’t know the ‘try to sell’ bit of 23a and had to check that in the BRB.
    My ticks went to 11a, 14a, 24a, 19d and the very devious 8d.

  3. Thoroughly enjoyed this one, Starhorse, so pleased to see that it impressed as much as your last NTSPP. I did have to look up the first part of 23a but everything else slotted neatly into place.
    Plenty of ‘ticks’ on my sheet but 8d came out on top simply because of the neat misdirection. Other podium places awarded to 13&25a plus 1d.

    Many thanks, hope we see you again soon.

  4. Sterling work & most enjoyable for a bank holiday weekend with the temperature hovering at a tropical 10° in the Vale of Belvoir. Many thanks to Starhorse & to Prolixic in advance.

  5. This was excellent. My only query relates to the use of “illusion” as an anagram indicator.

    My favourite was 1d.

    Very well done, Starhorse, and thank you for the fun.

  6. Thanks Starhorse for a straightforward puzzle that allowed me to keep one eye on the Oz Super Rugby.
    I had a raised eyebrow at the use of illusion as an anagram indicator so that probably equates to RD’s query.
    I really liked 13a, 14a, and 16d.
    Thanks again.

  7. Lovely puzzle.Thanks, Starhorse. I do like clear straightforward cluing rather than having to hop all over the place to make sense of the one I’m trying to solve. Stuck on parsing 23A, but I see from previous comments that I should look on line, so that’s next.

  8. Thanks Starhorse. I enjoyed that so much I’ll seek out your previous contribution(s) in the archive now that I’ve discovered it. Great surfaces throughout. Favourites were 5d, 15a & 18d though there wasn’t one I didn’t like or perhaps more surprisingly didn’t understand.

  9. Thank you Starhorse, I enjoyed that. I too didn’t know the first part of 23a and 8d used up a lot of brain cells – I think I now understand it and hopefully Prolixic will confirm my musings tomorrow. I initially wondered where we were going with 20a but then the penny dropped and I smiled 😂

  10. Add us to the list of those who had to look up the first part of 23a.
    Most enjoyable clever puzzle that we really appreciated.
    Thanks Starhorse.

  11. Evening all, thank you very much for the kind comments, I’m glad you enjoyed the puzzle.

    When I was clueing 23a I was fairly sure the first 3 letters were a word, but I wouldn’t have been able to say exactly what it meant. Having spent the afternoon zig-zagging around a golf course I probably ought to apply it to my clubs….

    The 20d device was the starting point for the puzzle – probably the trickiest bit was making sure that the grid included a 20a clue (so as to require the supposed distinction of 20d) and also making sure the answer to the 20d clue was the name of a composer.

  12. Having seen the early favourable comments, I thought I had to give this a go and I am very pleased that I did. A very enjoyable and high class puzzle.
    Ticks from me all over the place!
    I suspected that you might have created the puzzle around the excellent 20d idea.
    Great stuff, Starhorse. Please keep them coming!

  13. Very enjoyable Starhorse, this would have graced the back page any day of the week
    I’d never heard of the composer but he was easily derivable from the checkers.
    I thought your surfaces were very good, particularly for the anagrams. I liked 15, 17 &24a plus 9d but my favourite was probably 25a.
    Thanks for the early Sunday entertainment.

  14. Really enjoyed this Starhorse. SW corner was last to complete. 1d was our favourite. We look forward to your next puzzle. Thanks to Prolixic for explanations where needed.

  15. Am sure that I’m being thick but don’t really understand Starhorse’s comment/Shabbo’s hunch re 20d (like Stephen didn’t know he was a composer). Can someone please join the dots for me.
    Thanks for the review Prolixic
    Ps I sought out & completed 5 more of his past NTSPPs while watching Rory struggle on the course last night & while not particularly taxing they’re all a joy to do & well worth a dip into for any, like me, new to his crosswords.

    1. Morning Huntsman

      Yes, Edward German was a composer, though only really remembered now for one piece (see the link above in Prolixic’s review). The idea was that faced with 8d folks would believe they needed to solve 20d first, and having discovered it was a composer’s name look for one of his pieces. However, such is the solving prowess of contributors here it takes something far more devious than that to fool anybody!

      Glad you enjoyed the other puzzles, and whilst I’m here thanks to Prolixic for the review (two uses of “short”, oops, surprised nobody else picked that up).

  16. Many thanks for the review and the added extras, Prolixic. Must admit that’s the first time I’ve knowingly heard any of Sir German’s work!

  17. Rather a late comment to say I hought this a lovely enjoyable puzzle. The clues I liked most were 10a, 1d, 13a, 14a, 15a, and 25a, but I had several other ticks as well.

    Many thanks Starhorse for the entertainment and well done! Many thanks too, to Prolixic for the review which I much appreciated. I had a bit of a hiccup on 23a, getting the first word but unsure of the second. Oh dear! Should have got that…

  18. Thanks Starhorse for an entertaining and absorbing puzzle. Needed help to fully parse 23a & 2d a new word for me but otherwise right in my range.
    Thanks also to Prolixic for the review.
    Having just “found” the NTSPP this puzzle again made me realise what I have been missing all this time.

  19. Late to the party after a busy weekend (Bank Holiday? What Bank Holiday) but I did manage to squeeze in a few crosswords. This one was most enjoyable, perfect for relaxing in the evening.
    Thanks, Starhorse and Prolixic.

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