NTSPP – 581 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

NTSPP – 581

A Puzzle by Jaffa

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by a recently vaccinated Prolixic follows.  No ides effects other than a temptation to make anagrams.


7  Exceedingly beautiful unwritten verse of former laureate? (6,2,6)
POETRY IN MOTION – A six-letter word meaning verse followed by a phase 2, 6 meaning its in the head (unwritten) of a former poet laureate whose first name was Andrew.

9 Hidden message from underwater mobile? (7)
SUBTEXT – Cryptically this could be an SMS sent from a submarine.

10 Back last runner at ‘Aydock Park (7)
ENDORSE – A three-letter word meaning last followed by the type of animal that runs at Haydock Park without the initial H.

11 Those willing sort incomplete estate anomaly (9)
TESTATOR – An anagram (anomaly) of SORT ESTAT (incomplete estate).

12 Vagrants spend a penny and go back to cause pain (5)
SMART – A reversal (go back) of tramps (vagrants) without the letter P (spend a penny)

14 Consequence of malfunction of a striped panoply at the Globe? (4,7,4)
RAIN STOPPED PLAY – An anagram (malfunction of) A STRIPPED PANOPLY.

17 Plumbing accessory, is we hear, a protocol at the Palace (1-4)
U-BEND – A homophone (we hear) of you bend (a protocol at the Palace).

19 Dissolute made train pickled (9)
MARINATED -An anagram (dissolute) of MADE TRAIN.

21 Greeting heard in nudist colony in New York City? (7)
BUFFALO – A homophone (heard) of buff hello (greeting in a nudist colony).

23 Release a French prison guard (7)
UNSCREW – The French masculine singular for A followed by a five-letter word for a prison guard.

24 French stick with Billy to generate income (5-3-6)
BREAD AND BUTTER – A five-letter word for the type of food of which a French stick is an example followed by a three-letter word meaning with and a description of a goat (Billy).


1 American bowler’s salary for county side (10)
DERBYSHIRE – Split 6,4 you would have a description for the American name for a bowler hat (maintaining the possessive form of the ’s) and a four-letter word for salary.

2 Unrestrained gladness regularly employed by those unwilling to pay (8)
FREEGANS – A four-letter word meaning unrestrained followed by the odd letters (regularly employed) of gladness.

3 Maestro opposes riotous composition (8)
VIRTUOSO – The single letter meaning opposes followed by an anagram (composition) of RIOTOUS.

4 Almost stopped return of Cornish grockles (6)
EMMETS – A seven-letter word meaning stopped with the final letter removed (almost) and reversed (return)

5 Involvement in altercation describes a train’s location (2,4)
AT ODDS – A description of the position of the letters of “a train” in the word altercation (which is doing unfortunate double duty as wordplay and a definition).

6 Initially tyre on Rolls Royce has a low pressure reading (4)
TORR – The initial letters of the second to fifth words of the clue.

7 Supposition embodies an assumption of truth (5)
POSIT – The answer is hidden (embodies) in the first word of the clue.

8 Watch dispatched by rail (6)
SENTRY – A four-letter word meaning dispatched followed by the two-letter abbreviation for railway.

13 Do as Simple Simon says (10)
ALLITERATE – Simple Simon Says is an example of a sentence where the words all begin with the same letter.

14 Dodgy sounding degree in dance (6)
RHUMBA – A homophone (sounding) of RUM (dodgy) followed by an abbreviation for a first degree.

15  Win over and spared EU in chaos (8)
PERSUADE – An anagram (in chaos) of SPARED EU/

16 Head off trip around South America after outcry from old timer (8)
DINOSAUR – A three-letter word for an outcry followed by a four-letter word for a trip without the first letter around the abbreviations for South and America.

18 Crises created by Madras cookery? (6)
DRAMAS – An anagram (cookery) of MADRAS.

19 Cash low note for cleric (6)
MOOLAH – A three-letter word meaning low (as in an animals noise) followed by three-letter word for a musical note.

20 Duke replaced arbour’s roof for mother’s new home (5)
DOWER – A five-letter word for an arbour with the first letter (roof) replace by the abbreviation for duke.

22 Clipped gold medal winning trees (4)
FIRST – A description of the podium place of a gold medal winner without the last letter (clipped).

45 comments on “NTSPP – 581

  1. Thanks Jaffa, lovely stuff. 4D & 6D new for me. A couple I’m not quite sure of parsing so looking forward to review (thanks in advance). Homophone perhaps a little dodgy… but more than made up for by the laugh raised :-) 5D favourite from a v good bunch .
    Thanks again!

  2. Another very enjoyable ‘no caffeine required’ NTSPP.
    2d was a new word for me but easy to get from the wordplay.
    I am more familiar with the 5 letter version of 14d and the different spelling of 19d. Also, 19d almost seemed to have two definitions – first and last words.
    I really liked the oldie but goodie 10a and 13d.
    Thanks Jaffa and thanks in advance to CS or Prolixic.

  3. Many thanks, Jaffa for the entertainment. 21a brought a huge grin to the face and I also liked 9a. Like Senf, I forgot 14d could contain “H” so I spent some time looking for another dodgy degree.

    Thanks again to you for the puzzle and to whomsoever will provide the review.

  4. Good fun – thanks Jaffa.
    Both 2d and 6d were new for me and needed verification. I wasn’t too keen on some of the nouns used as anagram indicators (e.g. anomaly, cookery).
    My podium contenders were 7a, 9a and 4d.

  5. Really enjoyed this Jaffa, not overly difficult but did require some head scratching, giving some nice PDMs Like Senf 6d a new word but I seem to remember coming across the portmanteau at 2d before. Anyway both sympathetically clued.
    7,10,14,17&21a plus 13,19& 22d all floated my boat, though not sure of the need for NYC in 21a.
    Thanks Jaffa and in advance the reviewer.

  6. A curate’s egg for me today with too many clues which didn’t quite work mixed in with some very good stuff.

    I don’t understand the wordplay for 5d; I can’t quite make sense of 7a; and the surface of 14a is very strange – what is a striped panoply? 2d is an American term (and I think the spelling “rhumba” in 14d is much more common on the other side of the pond too); 6d is a pressure unit not a low pressure reading; and 20d is a widow’s new home not necessarily a mother’s (although she might be that as well). Is the construction “wordplay” from “definition” OK in 16d? 19d appears to be definition/wordplay/definition which comes across as a bit odd.

    I’m sorry if that all sounds a bit grumpy but the list was rather long. On the positive side, I really liked 9a, 11a, 21a, 4d & 13d.

    Thanks to Jaffa and in advance Prolixic (?).

    1. I took 7a to be saying that the poet has the verse in him (in his head perhaps) but he hasn’t yet written it down.

      1. Thanks, Gazza. That was more or less the conclusion I came to but I was less than convinced by it.

    2. RD, 14a. I think there’s a typo here. The striped should be stripped. The stripped panoply (removed protective covering or roof) lets the rain in. But, I could be wrong.

      1. And yes, I am wrong. It’s an anagram of striped panoply – which is presumably the striped canopy having a malfunction and letting the rain in.

        1. That should read an anagram of “a striped panoply”. Stick with me, I’ll get it right eventually. :-)

        1. I think the “striped panoply” is one of those striped canopies you see actors performing under at open-air festivals.

        2. To be pedantic, it’s actually an anagram of “a striped panoply”. :wink:

          Interestingly the usual British meaning of panoply is a range/array or a figurative covering. In addition there is a specific meaning of a physical covering in the context of a suit of armour. Collins does however cite the use of panoply to mean a general physical covering as an American usage whereas Chambers doesn’t.

          1. I pre-pedanticked you with the full anagram fodder at 7.23, above. :-) I’m only guessing at the setter’s meaning of striped panoply. I’m assuming it’s a whimsical reference to those striped canopies used for outdoor performances, or possibly in settings on stage inside theatres. Are you there to help, Jaffa?

            1. Don’t forget The Globe Theatre is open-air. It has no roof, canopy or panoply, and rain never stops play there even though Covid-19 does …

              1. But if the rain was biblical I guess it might unless they were performing The Tempest…..😎
                Sorry gentlemen, I hadn’t spotted your debate when I commented at 10 below. I don’t think my ramblings at much to your thoughts really.

              2. But Jaffa was obviously referencing that other famous venue, The Globe Theatre, Stockton-on-Tees! :-)

  7. We can’t parse part of 5d and 6d was a new word (along with grockles) but lots of enjoyment and lots of ticks – 7a, 10a, 14a, 21a, and 24a. Thank you Jaffa. Great puzzle. We look forward to your next one. Thanks to Prolixic in advance.

    1. In 5d the answer describes the location(s) of the letters ‘a train’ within altercation…

      1. Thank you, Ruth. I couldn’t parse 5d either, but, given your explanation, I can now happily add it to my list of ticked clues.

          1. I think the whole of “involvement in altercation”is both definition and part of wordplay – this was my favourite clue!

            1. Fez, I don’t think that is conventionally considered acceptable. You can have an all-in-one (“&lit”) clue where the entire clue is both the definition and the wordplay, or a “semi &lit” clue where part of the clue is the definition and the entire clue is the wordplay, but not a clue where the whole clue is the definition and only part is the wordplay, which is the case here.

              We will see what Prolixic’s view is tomorrow.

              1. I think it fits that semi-&lit: Part of the clue is definition (involvement in altercation) & entire clue is wordplay. The whole clue is not a definition (it has nowt to do with trains). Well we’ll see what Prolixic says… I still like it, although I do solve mainly Grauniad puzzles and all sorts of dodgy stuff goes on there!

                1. Sorry, Fez. I typed that the wrong way round in my previous comment. In a “semi &lit” clue the entire clue is the definition but only a part of the clue is the wordplay. So 5d would not be OK for the Telegraph (but perhaps OK for the Grauniad?). BD’s rules and Prolixic’s guidance apply on this site!

                  1. OK that makes sense… a bit of a relief as I’ve just written a clue that is part-wordplay and whole-definition, I was getting worried! (I still like the clue though!)
                    Thanks for clarification

      2. 5d Thanks for the explanation, Ruth.

        Definitely one of those that I would never have solved by myself … no matter how long I looked at it.

  8. Think I’m in RD’s camp today, there seemed to be quite a few ‘close, but no cigar’ elements in this one. I’ll be very interested to read what Prolixic (?) has to say about it.
    Top of my pile were 9&10a with a slightly hesitant tick for 7a.

    Thanks to Jaffa for bringing us another NTSPP.

  9. I enjoyed this.
    I only needed extra help for one, though reading a few of the above comments helped direct my thoughts in the right direction for a couple of other of the answers.


  10. Thank you for the comments. I do at least seem to have generated some debate amongst you. To try to answer some of your queries…

    19d I think I originally envisaged this as a triple definition (too clever by half) but did end up with definition/wordplay/definition

    5d Yes, I was hoping the position of “a train” would be spotted in “altercation”. Thank you Ruth. I must confess that I had worried about the accusation of double duty (and ignored it) but being “a compiler of little brain” I think the Fez/ RD debate is above my pay grade ….yes, that is somewhat of a Saturday night cop out! The Judgement of Prolixic will undoubtedly resolve the issue.

    7a My intended interpretation agrees with that of Gazza as in “he has another poem/book etc. left in him”

    14a Yes RD, what is a striped panoply? In my mind it’s a decorated cover for possibly keeping the rain out. When I set the clue I trawled through various dictionaries to justify my definition. It’s not in the BRB but in the deeper depths of Collins Online it is defined as “any protective covering” (albeit in America…). Does this justify the clue or is it that over the years I’ve simply confused panoply with canopy? It did after all take nearly 30 years for me to stop talking about “intensive purposes”…..how sad.

    2d and 14d Whilst talking of America, neither answer is listed in the BRB as being Americanisms although 2d definitely is. I’m not sure how it works. Do Americanisms get adopted into English and are then, after a certain time, accepted? Presumably moccasin, for example, wouldn’t need to be attributed?

    6d Guilty as charged. Sloppy science – unforgivable

    20d My “logic” was as follows? Unless the Duke is freshly ennobled, which I suppose is possible, he will presumably have inherited his title on his father’s death. His mother therefore will be widowed and will be the Dowager Duchess who lives in the Dower house.

    Once again, thank you to you all for your insights. This blog is truly wonderful.

  11. Very late to this & found it quite a tussle. Eyelids drooping so have admitted defeat & revealed 4d – now see the wordplay but wasn’t familiar either with a grockle or the synonym. 2&6d were also new to me but sympathetically clued & the alternative spelling of 14d was a bit of a curve ball. Was nowhere near parsing 5d (thanks Ruth) & was only vaguely with Jaffa’s thinking for 20d.
    I’m always a bit disappointed to see how comparatively few comments the NTSPP slot attracts so was surprised to see 30+ until I read through & realised it was still not many contributors.
    I enjoyed the puzzle & technically correct or otherwise really liked 7&14a. My podium was 3d plus 17&21a with 13d & 24a just missing out.
    Thanks Jaffa & for popping in & sharing your thought processes.
    Ps – crikey had forgotten the clocks go forward. Noticed the time on the iPad so just as well it matters not a jot what time I get up.

  12. I’ve been left with quite a few “lights” & on reading all of the previous comments I’m not surprised given the number of esoteric & obscure words in the answers. Thanks anyway Jaffa & I await the review with interest.

  13. Another late in the day solve, but fell asleep still pondering the construction of 5d. Thanks to Ruth Allen for putting my mind at rest today! Otherwise some unknowns at 2d, 6d and 19d made accessible by the wordplay. Not so many ticks (although 5d now added) but my favourite was the simple but elegant 22d. Thanks Jaffa.

  14. Well, I’ll be jiggered! Well done, Jaffa – not a single italicised word in the review. That’s some achievement!

  15. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. I’d been hoping for rather more in-depth comments from you but I suppose it is the NTSPP slot, not Rookie Corner.
    The clip for 7a made me smile – I remember buying those obligatory white boots back in the day!

  16. Many thanks to all of you for the comments and discussion. I seem to have stimulated some lively debate and new words have been learned with roughly half of the clues being mentioned favourably in dispatches. I think I actually learned the meaning 4d myself through crossword solving. Thank you of course to BD and to Prolixic for the review and the opportunity to hear Johnny Tillotson again. I think my parents thought that civilisation, as they knew it, was ending. It now looks so innocent.

    I think Jose that the absence of italics is Prolixic being kind. I think I deserved a few. Perhaps his vaccination has had a mellowing effect…😂

  17. A rather late comment from me. I did enjoy this a lot, Jaffa. Some of the clues I thought were quite tricky, and took me a while to untangle. Just to be at variance, I really liked 7a, and thought it quite clever. No problem with that poet laureate nor the allusion to the ‘unwritten verse’. I enjoyed many other clues as well, including 12a, 1d, the 3d anagram, 19d and 20d. A special place for 4d because I have learned two Cornish words.
    Well done Jaffa and many thanks for a very good crossword. Many appreciative thanks to Prolixic for the review.

Comments are closed.