NTSPP – 578 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 578

A Puzzle by Simon

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.


Simon has produced an NTSPP with a difference as 

Nine clues are to be taken literally and have no definitions


1     ROVE (4,4)
MOVE OVER The first word is an anagram indicator which tells you what to do with the ROVE to get the solution

9     Sieve had become sticky (8)
ADHESIVE An anagram (become) of SIEVE HAD

10     The French female in command is not clerical (4)
LAIC The French female definite article and the abbrevipan clasation for In Command

11     SHORE (5-7)
HORSE-TRADING Here the second word is the anagram indicator that tells you what to do with SHORE

13     Island train did come off the rails (8)
TRINIDAD An anagram (come off the rails) of TRAIN DID

15     Counter work by model (6)
OPPOSE An abbreviated work and a verb meaning to model

16     (E) (4)
NOTE If you split your solution 3,1, then you get what the brackets round the E are trying to tell you

17     MISTRUST (5)
STRUT ‘MIS’ telling you to rearrange the TRUST to get the solution

18     Ben returned with Rex from industrial Germany (4)
RUHR A reversal (returned) of Ben xxx from the epic film, followed by the abbreviation for Rex

20     It will not pass the acid test (6)
ALKALI A cryptic definition of something that isn’t an acid but might show up by testing with litmus paper

21     Costume for all musicians together (8)
ENSEMBLE Double definition

23    ROELAS (4,2,6)
SALE OR RETURN Here the third word is a reversal indicator

26     Tall leaves producer (4)
TREE Cryptic definition

27     Squirming adder trapped Peter, colourful beast (3,5)
RED PANDA An anagram (squirming) of ADDER trapped the second name of JM Barrie’s Peter

28     Elementary light? (4,4)
NEON LAMP A cryptic definition


2     Tenth speaker in musical work (8)
ORATORIO Split this musical work 6, 2 and you can see how you might describe the tenth speaker

3     TEAR (8,4)
EXCHANGE RATE The first word is the anagram indicator that tells you what to do with TEAR

4     Parson came up round the east before Edmund changed direction (6)
VEERED A reversal (came up) of an abbreviated parson put round the abbreviation for east, a short form of Edmund is then added at the end

5     Not wholly courageous during storm (4)
RAGE Hidden in part of (not wholly) couRAGEous

6     HEARS (5-3)
SHARE-OUT By now you should know what to do with this clue – the second word is the anagram indicator

7     Cut 50% of religious studies (4)
DIVI The first half of an eight-letter synonym for religious studies

8     Feudal lord cooked meringues after Frenchman left (8)
SEIGNEUR An anagram (cooked) of mERINGUES after M the Frenchman ‘left’

12     GOMAD (12)
DEPARTMENTAL Split the clue word 2,3 and then synonyms of those two words will provide your solution

14     Air of sadness (5)
DIRGE – Cryptic definition

16     No surprised exclamation reaching island boat (5,3)
NOAHS ARK NO (from the clue), an exclamation of surprise, and one of the Channel Islands

17     Making the drink go round (8)
STIRRING A cryptic definition

19     TE (4-4)
HALF-TERM Here I needed the checking letters before I could see that the first word describes what TE is in the second word

22     Boss takes leading industrialist round workroom (6)
STUDIO A type of boss, the leading letter of Industrialist and the ’round’ letter

24     Female not starting, sadly out of sorts (4)
LADY An anagram (out of sorts) of sADLY without its first letter (not starting)

25     Vivacity of tailless animal (4)
ELAN A South African antelope without its ‘tail’

27 comments on “NTSPP – 578

  1. Well…I have a filled grid, but I must say I found this frustrating. Frustrating in the sense that the puzzle clearly has some excellent ideas, but the extra mile wasn’t travelled for me, and it felt like the gimmick was at the expense of missing definitions, not just in the capitalised clues, but elsewhere, such as 26a and 17d. Indicators sometimes didn’t work for me either, such as 9a. That said, I have ticks for 15a, 21a, 22d.

    Thanks to Simon and in advance, the reviewer

  2. Hmmm… I got halfway through then got stuck & had to revert to revealing a few letters. There are a quite a few unches which will not please a lot of solvers I’m sure. Grumble over & thanks to Simon for a distraction from a boring grey Saturday.

  3. If I remember correctly, Simon, the general conclusion from your previous NTSPP was that it was something different and good fun, worth repeating but not too often. For me the same applies this time. I found it easier than your last one but still enjoyable with 2d my favourite and a special mention for 21a. 7d was my last one in.

    I got wrong answers to start with for two of the non-defined clues with MAKE OVER and HALF-TIME, although I was suspicious of both as the former would be a single word and for the latter the TE was split. However, the checking letters from subsequent crossing answers soon put me right.

    Many thanks, Simon, and in advance to CS.

  4. I don’t really like gimmicks in cryptic crosswords and this didn’t float my boat at all. As Skinny says some of the ‘normal’ clues (e.g. 20a, 26a, 17d) appear to be ‘quick crossword’ clues rather than cryptic.
    Thanks to Simon – sorry I couldn’t be more positive about it.

  5. With nine painfully obvious clues plus the ‘straight’ clues, there isn’t actually much of a cryptic crossword here at all
    The likes of 26a reminded me of the Two Ronnies’ sketch
    Not really my chalice of cha Simon, but thanks anyway

  6. Still trying to decide whether I enjoyed this one, there were certainly a few that caught my eye. Out of the undefined clues, I smiled at 23a & 12d and I quite liked 16&22d in the remainder.
    Not sure that it’s really my ‘thing’ but once in a while is OK!

    Thanks for the novelty, Simon.

  7. I quite liked this puzzle, pleasant but not particularly difficult.
    I found 7D a bit odd, but I liked 16D. Passed a pleasant afternoon as there is no football to watch.

  8. Thanks Simon, I thought it was very enjoyable!
    Not convinced by 26a. And not keen on 23a from the undefineds; 19d had too many possibilities but ok from crossers. Like the rest… favourite 14d :-)

  9. Must say I enjoyed this rather more than others did. Certainly agree that 20&26a plus 17d were hardly cryptic but there were some good clues – 18,21&27a plus 16&22d were all ticks in my book. Seem to recall a Graun puzzle from Paul that had a lot of undefined clues. Of the ones here 12d & 23a were my clear picks. 7d was my last in but no successful completion message indicated so pressed reveal mistakes & had V for G at 5d which seemed plausible enough.
    Thanks Simon

  10. We tackled this by solving all the normal clues first and then had lots of useful checkers when we tackled ‘The Nine’. Something a bit different and we enjoyed the process of getting it all sorted.
    Thanks Simon.

  11. I thought the nine were very clever and all of them made me smile. I agree with some of the criticisms above, but solving was a pleasant diversion, so thanks Simon.

  12. Solved over two early Sunday morning cups of tea I rather enjoyed this.. It took me a little while to see how the non defined clues actually worked, I then sailed through it. As a once in a while novelty puzzle I found it good fun.
    I’ve ticked 23a plus 3&12d for podium places, with 21a my favourite of the conventional clues.
    Thanks Simon for the entertainment.

  13. Many thanks for the review, CS. Pleased to see that I did almost get it all correct – opting for (b)RAVE in 5d was my downfall.

  14. I recently solved NTSPP-555 whilst working back through the archive, so didn’t enjoy this so much as the novelty had not yet worn off. Maybe with more time separation I would have had more fun. Even so, I still quite liked 23ac. Like a few others I had RAVE for 5d (prefer it to RAGE anyway :wink: ). Thanks Simon, and also CS for the usual beautifully illustrated review, especially the picture of the ark.

    1. Yes, I really liked that particular depiction of the ark – perhaps CS can tell us more about it?

      1. I put Noah’s ark into Google images UK and that was the one I liked the best. It’s apparently a jigsaw

        1. Thank you, CS, I’ll try to find it. Could be something the grandchildren will enjoy when they’re somewhat older.

          1. Found it, jane – 500 piece jigsaw with lots of look-alike timbers and clouds. Bit much for my grandchildren, but perhaps something I might enjoy when I’m somewhat older…! :scratch:

            1. I found a 300 piece version on Amazon for £9.99. Think I’ll get it and keep it in stock until the time’s right.
              That’s assuming my son-in-law doesn’t get his hands on it – he’s a jigsaw addict!

  15. Couldn’t make head nor tail of this haha. Makes a bit more sense now I’ve read the answers, but at the time i managed about 3 clues…!

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