NTSPP – 582 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 582

A Puzzle by Exit

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A busy day for today’s blogger so a slimmed down review.


8 Notable large rug (6)
BIGWIG – A three-letter word meaning large followed by a three-letter word for a hairpiece (rug).

9 Arnica spread on round instrument (7)
OCARINA – An anagram (spread) of ARNICA after (on) the letter that is round.

10 Come again? Not about rotter? (3)
CUR – A five-letter word word meaning come again or repeat without the two initial letters meaning on or about.

11 Weak voice and what it could vanish into? (4,3)
THIN AIR – A four-letter word meaning weak or watery followed by a three-letter word for a voice.

13 Second tango? Composer gives reasons (7)
MOTIVES – A two-letter word meaning second followed by the letter represented by Tango in the Nato phonetic alphabet and the surname of an American composer.

14 Cross detective gets a brief call concerning 12 signs (8)
ZODIACAL – A two-letter word for a type of hybrid animal followed by the abbreviation for a police detective, the A from the clue and all but the last letter (briefly) of the call from the clue.

15 Vessel seen in taverna or taproom (5)
AORTA – The answer is hidden (seen in) the final three words of the clue.

16 Lager sent back? Courier errors! (4-3)
SLIP UPS – A reversal (sent back) of a brand of lager followed by the three letter name of a delivery company.

18 Peer, maybe, certainly accepting a bit of criticism for curl in old hairstyle (7)
EARLOCK – A four-letter word for a rank of nobility (peer maybe) followed by a two-letter word meaning certainly around (accepting) the first letter (a bit) of criticism.

21 Sheriff I ve recalled keeps note (5)
FIVER – The answer is hidden in (keeps) the first three words of the clue.

24 Of receivers crimes (8)
OFFENCES – The of from the clue followed by a six-letter word for receivers of stolen goods.

26 Neat! Court eliminating writer in bid for tree (7)
BOXWOOD – A two-letter word for a type of cow (neat) and a three-letter word meaning to court romantically replace the I (eliminating writer) in BID.

27 Prince goes in French lorry for plant (7)
CAMPION – The abbreviation for prince inside (goes in) the French word for a lorry.

30 Whiskey or old port? (3)
RYE – Double definition for a type of whiskey and one of the old Cinque ports.

31 Spot the French added to molten ingot (7)
LENTIGO – The French masculine singular for the before (added to) an anagram (molten) of INGOT.

32 Dickens hero with family cooking pot (6)
PIPKIN – The hero in Dickens’ “Great Expectations” followed by a three-letter word for family.


1 Stand by article on objection (4)
ABUT – The indefinite article followed by (on) a three-letter word for an objection.

2 Fruit’s not nice to look at, it’s said (4)
UGLI – A homophone (it’s said) of UGLY (not nice to look at).

3 Asti and rum I mixed in dessert (8)
TIRAMISU – An anagram (mixed) of ASTI RUM I.

4 Prescriptions for alum returned with last of bicarbonate (8)
FORMULAE – The FOR from the clue followed by a reversal (returned) of the ALUM from the clue and the last letter of bicarbonate.

5 Italian city clothing? (6)
MANTUA – Double definition, the second being a loose gown worn by women in the 17th Century (I reworded the explanation after originally writing a loose woman’s gown… which had an entirely different meaning).  I think that using clothing to describe an obscure word is a little unfair on the solver. 

6 Fine mud almost – very nearly – yields precious metal (6)
SILVER – A four-letter word word fine mud without the final letter (almost) followed by the very from the clue without the final letter (nearly).

7 Rick Stein’s first course after dance (8)
HAYSTACK – The first letter of Stein and a four-letter word for a course taken whilst sailing after a three-letter word for a country dance.

10 Short reptile filling most of 32 perhaps (4)
CROC – The type of earthenware of which the answer to 32a is an example without the final letter.

12 Less than half of Helston in street guide?  On the contrary, Filbert! (5)
HAZEL – The two-letter name for a street guide in the first three letters (less than half) of Helston.

16 Faint cry audible in game (8)
SOFTBALL – A four-letter word meaning faint followed by a homophone (audible) of bawl (cry)

17 Flower avalanche? (8)
SNOWDROP – The solution (if split 4,4) might be a a description of an avalanche.

19 Grim Nina ripped out wiring (4,4)
RING MAIN – An anagram (ripped out) of GRIM NINA.

20 Fish is half-cold after starter of crudités (5)
CISCO – The IS from the clue and half of the word cold after the initial letter (starter) of crudities.

22 Team no good following day of victory celebration – that’s annoying! (6)
VEXING – The Roman numerals for the number of people in a football team and the abbreviation for no good after the abbreviation for Victory in Europe.

23 Greek character twitchy about correct pronunciation of ‘Hercules’? (6)
RHOTIC – A three-letter Greek letter followed by a three-letter word for a twitch.

25 Mug has nothing on Church (4)
FACE – A two-letter abbreviation meaning nothing followed by the abbreviation for Church of England.

28 Small model car, without doubt originally black (4)
INKY – A maker of small model cars without the initial D (doubt originally).

29 A square popular in central Annecy (4)
NINE – A two-letter word meaning popular inside the inner letters of Annecy.

32 comments on “NTSPP – 582

  1. Very enjoyable – thanks Exit.
    I didn’t know the 5d clothing or the 18a curl but both were gettable. In 23d ‘twitchy’ seems to be the wrong part of speech unless I’m missing something.
    My ticks were assigned to 26a, 7d and 16d.

  2. Just right for a post lunch diversion (even if it is too blooming cold to even think of going outside to do anything useful in the garden), thank you Exit

  3. I agree, a most enjoyable puzzle. I entered “scrabble” for 16d, which held me up for a while (note to self – read the clue!). My favourite clue was the nostalgic, for me, 28d.

    Many thanks Exit for the entertainment.

  4. A post lunch diversion for CS, a pre-breakfast, including pre-caffeine, diversion for me.
    I agree with Gazza on the 23d ‘twitchy’ as ‘twitch’ seems to be more appropriate.
    I really liked the 13a and 21a/24a combo.
    Thanks to Exit and in advance to Prolixic(?) for the review.

  5. Really enjoyed this, filled the grid but couldn’t parse 4 clues, await review with interest.
    Old port? When i last visited there was still significant commercial activity.
    Thanks Exit.

    1. Thanks Exit… quite a few unknown words (for me} but all fairly clued and gettable – except 5D defeated me (knowing neither of the required bits!) Faves 21/24 and 26.

  6. My comments have largely been made above and I agree that it was a pleasing distraction on a cold day here in Hertfordshire. It’s going to be sunny tomorrow, apparently.
    A few new words for me, but all were fairly clued.
    Ticks for the first and last clues at 8a and 29d.
    Many thanks, Exit.

  7. I always expect a fair old dollop of GK in Exit’s puzzles and today’s clues provided those – about 6 that were either new to me or needed confirming with the BRB.
    23d made me smile and think of Gazza and I also particularly liked the flower avalanche and the weak voice.

    Thanks to Exit for a very enjoyable NTSPP.

  8. I can go one better than Jane as there were 7 words either completely new to me or needing Mr G to confirm but thankfully the wordplay was sympathetic. Sadly 1 short of an unaided finish as I resorted to revealing the first letter of 5d having mentally travelled up & down the country a couple of times – needless to say the clothing was unknown too.
    Very enjoyable & I’ve learnt a new plant, fish, skin blemish, cooking pot & dialectical term.
    Can’t parse 6d & not sure I really understand 23d either. Really liked 22&28d among plenty of others.
    Thanks Exit

  9. Before starting solving, Mrs RD was playing Scrabble on her iPad and asked me if I had ever heard of the word “Zo”. Then my 5-year-old granddaughter wanted me to tell her about different fruits and roared with laughter when I mentioned 2d. Then, lo and behold, both turned up in the puzzle!

    I enjoyed this and learnt three new things (which I will probably end up forgetting in short order): 18a, 5d & 20d.

    My only reservation is that I don’t like the use of the abbreviation for the profanity meaning “nothing” in 25d. It’s no justification to say that there is a non-rude alternative for the same two letters as the latter was coined as a way of saying the original phrase without swearing.

    Like Jane, 23d made me smile and think of Gazza. 7d was my favourite.

    Thanks to Exit and in advance to Prolixic.

    1. I’d completely forgotten about 25d. Did wonder if there was an alternative parsing.

      1. Thanks for that, Smylers. The information in the link is very interesting but, looking at the further link within that Guardian article to Green’s Dictionary of Slang, it appears to suggest that the non-profane usage was first noted in 1889 (around 20 years after the atrocity) and it goes on to describe that phrase as a euphemism for the profanity, which may imply that the profanity came first.

        Whatever the chronology, although I still dislike the potential allusion to the profanity being used in crosswords, I think it is rather preferable to what was done to that poor young girl in 1867!

  10. 26a I think I have all the constituent parts … neat=ox … court=woo … bid without the “i” … but I have no idea why they are in that particular order?

  11. ox/woo replaces(eliminates) the ”I” (ie the writer referring to self) in “bId”

  12. We needed Mr G for a few answers new to us – 18a, 31a, 5d, and 23d. Favourites were 8a, 16a and 7d. Thank you Exit for keeping us entertained on a cold afternoon in East Sussex. We look forward to the review with CS to clarify some answers.

  13. A few that I had to Google for comfirmation, and a couple that I had to think about re the parsing but very enjoyable nonetheless.
    I liked the whimsical 8&11a, the contemporary 16a plus the amusing 25d in particular.
    Thanks Exit and in advance to the reviewer, who I presume will be CS.

  14. Lots to like here and we did have to make quite extensive use of references but we did get it all sorted in the end.
    Thanks Exit

  15. A very pleasant diversion so thanks to Exit. I have ?s against several of my answers so I await the review with interest although I may not get chance as we are having an Easter 🐣 hunt this afternoon with the grandchildren. Is it too early for a livener?

  16. Thank you to all for your appreciative comments and to Prolixic for the review.
    I take the point about 5dn; in fact my test solver wasn’t too happy with it. In retrospect it might have been clued better – perhaps someting like “Italian city gent, reversing car, lacks nothing”
    Sorry if 25dn offended some sensibilities although my test solver didn’t comment on it – again, a little thought might have come up with a different clue.
    But it looks as if no-one has spotted the ghost theme. Hint: although it’s quite fortuitous that the puzzle should appear at Easter weekend it’s quite appropriate if you think of furry friends.
    Thanks once again, and Happy Easter!

      1. Yes, that’s it. My original list was 8, 21, 26, 27, and 32 across; 6, 7, and 12 down. I might have been able to add a few more but I wanted to avoid too many flower or plant names. In fact one more did creep in – 17dn, suggested by Crossword Compiler.

  17. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. Relieved to see that my parsing was OK even if I did have to resort to the reference books to verify some of the answers!

  18. Thanks to Prolixic for the review.
    I’m still not convinced by 23d even allowing for BD’s suggestion that we have to interpret the clue to be ‘Greek character with twitch’ (even though there’s no ‘with’ in the clue) so that we can translate an adjective in the clue to a noun in the answer. If we can dream up a spurious ‘with’ in parsing then all sorts of mismatches might be allowed. For example a clue for ‘leg slip’ might be ‘Supports cheeky field position’ where ‘cheeky’ is ‘with lip’.

  19. A vocabulary lesson from exit! Seven new terms either as answers or within clues, eight if you include the double meaning in 5d (which I confess to looking up having heard of neither). Ticks for five of the down clues: 6, 7, 17, 22 and 29 – the latter because it continued the theme of Alchemi’s MPP. I had exclamation marks for 25d, but since reading the comments above I have learned the full story of poor Fanny and the macabre humour of the navy in the 19th century. It was a surprise to learn that the IT company’s name is also that of a fish! Thanks exit, I enjoyed your take on home schooling… :smile:

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