NTSPP – 552 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 552

A Puzzle by Jaffa

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.


1 Anagram laden solution for the cost of joint membership (2,3,3,1,3)
AN ARM AND A LEG – An anagram (solution) of ANAGRAM LADEN.

10 Fine detail of Union between Michigan and Iowa (7)
MINUTIA – The abbreviation for the National Union of Teachers between the state codes for Michigan and Iowa.

11 Terpsichorean spinner? (7)
WALTZER – Cryptic definition of someone who spins whilst performing a type of ballroom dance.

12 See 18

13 Healthy breakfast has organ playing at Californian venue (7)
GRANOLA – An anagram (playing) of ORGAN before the abbreviation for Los Angeles (Californian venue).

14 Auntie’s boss holds nothing against support for change of direction (6)
DOGLEG – The abbreviation for Director General (the head of the BBC (Auntie)) includes the letter representing nothing with these letters followed by a three-letter word for a support.

16 Pirate, somehow marred, has buried gold (8)
MARAUDER – An anagram (somehow) of MARRED includes (has buried) the chemical symbol for gold.

18/12 Abel on the boundary at Lord’s? (5,3)
THIRD MAN – Double definition, the first being a reference to the book of Genesis and the second a cricketer.

20 Teacher with disgruntled air collecting books (5)
RABBI – An anagram (disgruntled) of AIR includes the abbreviation for books (twice as books is in the plural).

21 French town needs insurance for its bondsmen (8)
VILLEINS – The French word for a town followed by a three letter abbreviation for insurance.

23 Wordsworth’s daffodils past unlimited herbaceous perennials (6)
HOSTAS – A description used by Wordsworth to describe a field of daffodils followed by the inner letters (unlimited) of past.

24 Hard work for Virginia hiding in shadow (7)
TRAVAIL – The state code for Virginia in a five-letter word meaning to shadow or follow.

26 The entry-level equipment initially needed for 14 (3)
TEE – The initial letters of the first three words of the clue.

27 Broadsheet and tabloid liaised haphazardly (7)
DAILIES – An anagram (haphazardly) of LIAISED.

28 Swot up about king and knight ending (7)
RELEARN – A two-letter word meaning about followed by a tragic Shakespearean king and the abbreviation for knight.

29 Church meeting for deranged grandees only (7,5)
GENERAL SYNOD – An anagram (deranged) of GRANDEES ONLY.


2 Undercover agent has hidden message about Japanese leadership (5)
NINJA – A four-letter word for a hidden message around the first letter (leadership) of Japanese.

3 Explanation for a national riot is disturbing (15)
RATIONALISATION – An anagram (disturbing`) of A NATIONAL RIOT. IS.

4 Couple who have faith in East London (4,3,3)
ADAM AND EVE – Double definition, the first being the couple in the Garden of Eden and the second being the Cockney rhyming slang (in East London) of believe.

5 Girl always heading west (4)
DAWN – Cryptic definition for a girls name by reference to sunrise that always heads west.

6 Perfumed flower girl from part of Wales (4,2,3,6)
LILY OF THE VALLEY – How you might described a girl from Wales.

7 Lazing immature lion is disturbed – it’s massively large! (9)
GAZILLION – An anagram (is disturbed) of LAZING LIO [immature = not complete lion).

8 Travel after French friend to see pal over the border (5)
AMIGO – A two-letter word meaning to travel after the French word for a friend.

9 Boat paddle regularly used for force (7)
BRIGADE – A four-letter word for a boat followed by the even letters (regularly) of paddle.

15 Three person score we hear — original thinking is needed (10)
TRILATERAL – A homophone (we hear) of TRY (score) followed by a seven-letter word describing original thinking.

17 Surprising extract of marjoram bush in garden (9)
AMBUSHING – The answer is hidden (extract) in the final four words of the clue.

19 Plants Middle-earth’s ogres keep concealed (7)
ORCHIDS – The name of the Middle earth monsters in the Lord of the Rings includes (keep) a three-letter word meaning concealed.

22 Fifth attempt to design old kite (5)
PLANE – Split 4,1 this would indicate the fifth design of something.

25 Total amount besieging old mission (5)
ALAMO – The answer is hidden (besieging) the first two words of the clue.

26 Odd test answer limits ruler (4)
TSAR – The odd letters of test followed by the outer letters (limits) of answer.

22 comments on “NTSPP – 552

  1. Thanks Jaffa. Very enjoyable and you helped me delay donating some brain cells to Prolixic’s MPP.
    I really liked the 14a, 18a/12a combo, and 4d.
    Thanks again.

  2. Thanks Jaffa, really enjoyed this puzzle, cheered me up after my disastrous performance this morning.

  3. I enjoyed that, thank you Jaffa.
    Highlights for me were 11a & the 18/12 combo along with 4&19d. The description of 29a also raised a smile!

    More soon, please!

  4. Thanks Jaffa. Much more fun than the prize puzzle. Another thumbs up for 18/12 & the golfer in me also liked 14/26. Last in was 21a which was a new term to me & Mr G was needed to confirm the plant at 23a.

  5. It is very frustratingly easy to wipe the puzzle clear halfway through by touching the revert button in error. Having done this three times with my clumsy fingers I gave up, which is a pity as I was enjoying it! Could the model be refined to stop this happening? Save doesn’t do it.

  6. thanks Jaffa. I particularly liked 19d “keep concealed”, though annoyingly i just realised it’s a cryptic grammar error. “will keep” solves it, still a nice clue and my favourite.

    I also thought 1a was rather special.

    well done

    1. Thank you Dutch. I’m afraid my grasp of cryptic grammar is perhaps not what it should be and some work is needed! 😂

  7. Oh dear – I’m now well and truly stuck.
    Seven gaps, all in the right hand side – think I might have got something wrong but can’t see what as it all makes sense, to me at least!
    I’m going to leave it all to annoy itself and look again tomorrow.
    I loved 1a and 4d.
    Thanks to Jaffa and, in advance, to CS.

  8. Really enjoyed this so far but struggling to complete 9d and 14a. Favourites were 1a, 8a and 6d. Many thanks Jaffa and we shall check with CS tomorrow.

  9. Good fun to solve. The long answers went in without too much fight and this gave us plenty of checkers to play with.
    Thanks Jaffa.

  10. Thank you for your appreciative comments so far. I’m always pleased when there is a good range of different clues chosen as favourites. Perhaps I am doing something right – well that’s what I like to think anyway.
    Having not been elevated to the dizzy heights of being published nationally I think it will be Prolixic doing tomorrow’s review. I think he might find my crossword a little more straightforward than I find his MPP 😂

  11. I thought this was a lot of fun, Jaffa – just right for the NTSPP slot.

    It’s a pity but I don’t think 1a works because arms are not joints. Legs of course can be referred to as joints in the context of a piece of meat, but that’s not the case for arms (unless you are a cannibal!)

    Also, assuming I’m parsing 7d correctly, I’m not sure about the validity of “immature” as an instruction to remove the last letter of “lion”.

    I’m happy to overlook the use of a vague girl as part of the wordplay for 6d as it such a good clue.

    As a cricketer, I loved 18/12 and, as a chess player, 28a appealed to me. 29a & 15d also make it onto my podium.

    Many thanks, Jaffa. This was great and I’m looking forward to your next one.

    1. Thank you RD for your kind comments and thoughts.

      With regard to 1a I see your point and I am not a cannibal! I think I was concentrating more on the fact that arms and legs are both members with the word joint hopefully implying two of them. In reality I was probably too pleased with myself in finding an anagram clue where the word anagram was part of the fodder.

      In 7d the word immature is listed in my Chambers Crossword Dictionary as a tail deletion indicator and I try not to argue with the BRB and its offspring.

      Sorry, I was aware of the vague girl in 6d but I too rather like the clue. I always think if you’re still smiling at a clue several weeks after you’ve written it, it can’t be too bad.

      I think the 18a/12a combination is possibly my cleverest clue and it was a lightbulb moment when I thought of it. Nobody has complained, yet, that it’s too crickety! I’ve got one for fine leg lurking somewhere…

      I too like 29a. My sister, who several years ago, was a member of this august body had a good chortle when she first solved the clue. I hope Prolixic likes it but he may be constrained professionally on commenting on it 😂

  12. This was good fun Jaffa, with some innovative cluing, I enjoyed it a lot….though there are two that I can’t parse fully so I’ll await the review for those.
    1a jumped out at me and I thought it a nice idea though I’m not sure the solution fits the definition.
    I thought the 18/12 combination was excellent, also liked 14 &28a. The rhyming slang in 4d induced a big smile, and 2&8d worth a meniton too.

  13. No complaints from me Jaffa but there again I am not a cruciverbalistic expert unlike previous commentators. 15d is the only one clue I cannot parse so will wait for Prolixic’s review. Thanks to to he & to you.

  14. Thank you for the review Prolixic and to everyone else who made this all possible. This blog is truly wonderful.

    Thank you also to the commentariat for your support. I think 16 out of 30 clues were “mentioned (favourably) in dispatches” and I, rightly or wrongly take this as a positive.

    A la prochaine as we say in Guernsey 😎🇬🇬😎

  15. Thanks again to Jaffa and thanks to Prolixic for the review.
    I assumed that the spinner in 11a was a fairground ride.

  16. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. I’m relieved to see that Jaffa confirms that he had the fairground ride in mind for 11a – it was my favourite!

    1. As in the first line of Tunnel of Love by Dire Straits! Yet another great song from their canon.

      1. Despite being a bit of a Mr Knopfler afficianado that lyric hadn’t actually registered with me. My new best friend Alexa has just played it for me. Thank you RD 🙂🎸🙂🎸

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