NTSPP 602 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Hippogryph

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.

Excellent entertainment for a boozy Saturday from Hippogryph.


7 Liberal, say, backing common sense without a sign of hesitation (8)
GENEROUS – Reverse the abbreviation for “for example” (say) and follow with a four-letter word for common sense around (without) a t=two-letter word for a sign of hesitation.

9 Orange lady, possibly American, turned blue? (6)
SULLEN – The name of the orange seller who became the mistress of Charles II and the two-letter abbreviation for American all reversed (turned).

10 Popular Irishman escapes from loyalist disturbance (4)
RIOT – A seven-letter word for a loyalist without (escapes) a three-letter popular Irish name.

11 Gunner’s jacket, perhaps worn over sleeveless cardie (10)
BOMBARDIER – A six-letter word for a type of jacket around (worn over) the central letters (sleeveless) of cardie.

12 Person controlling enterprise succeeded following support at home (6)
BRAINS – The abbreviation for succeeded after (following) a three-letter word for a lady’s support garment and a two-letter word meaning at home.

14 Queen provided pieces of inside information about fighter (8)
SPITFIRE – The abbreviation for the current queen followed by a two-letter word meaning provided and a four-letter word for pieces of inside information all reversed (about).

15 Insect trapped in net, I’m returning from the East (7)
TERMITE – The answer is hidden (trapped in) and reversed (from the East).

17 Client’s bespoke design (7)
STENCIL – An anagram (bespoke) of CLIENTS.

20 Amusing, retrograde housing and hotel proprietor… (8)
LANDLORD – Reverse (retrograde) a five-letter word meaning amusing around (housing) the AND from the clue.

22 …set resident right following incorrect, discontented grievance (6)
BADGER – The abbreviation for right after (following – repeat of wordplay in 12a) after a three-letter word meaning incorrect and the outer letters (discontented) of grievance.

23 Lies concocted as if reality? Not I! (5,5)
FAIRY TALES – An anagram (concocted) of AS IF REALITY without the I in reality.

24 Make a copy of Sting brand (4)
BURN – Triple definition.

25 Hospital worker left ears in odd places? (6)
PORTER – The four-letter word nautical term for left followed by the odd letters of ears.

26 Dead sailor has buried chests where the sun don’t shine! (4,4)
DARK STAR – The abbreviation for dead and a three-letter word for a sailor all around (has buried) a four-letter word for chests.


1 Griped about early English lineage (8)
PEDIGREE – An anagram (about) of GRIPED followed by the abbreviation for early English.

2 Regularly consuming beers before match essentially leads to defeat (4)
BEST – The odd letters (regularly consuming) of beers followed by the central letter (essentially) of match.

3 Search with very large groups (6)
COMBOS – A four-letter word meaning search followed by the abbreviation for outsized (very large).

4 We’re told why interrupting siestas upset writer (8)
ESSAYIST – The letter Y (we’re told why) inside (interrupting) an anagram (upset) of SIESTAS.

5 Unfortunately, fed up during education with no clear purpose (3-7)
ILL-DEFINED – A three-letter word meaning unfortunately followed by a reversal (up) of FED, a two-letter word meaning during and a two-letter abbreviation for education.

6 Raven eerily disguising glossy exterior (6)
VENEER – The answer is hidden (disguising) in the first two words of the clue.

8 We need help digesting morning and afternoon snack (6)
SAMOSA – The three-letter abbreviation for the universal distress call around (digesting) the abbreviation for morning all followed by the abbreviation for afternoon.

13 Extravagant centrist’s claim? (10)
IMMODERATE – Split 2, 8, this might be the claim of someone who is middle of the road.

16 They might take you for a ride to start with, those scoundrels! (8)
TROTTERS – The first letter (to start with) of those followed by a seven-letter word meaning scoundrels.

18 Charlie is in East Mercia playing cornet accompaniment (3,5)
ICE CREAM – The letter represented by Charlie inside an anagram (playing) of E(East) MERCIA.

19 Put one’s oar in without preparation, intially getting mixed-up (6)
ADDLED – A seven-letter word meaning rowed (put one’s oar in) without the initial letter of preparation.

21 Top-rated line in River Island, fabulous! (6)
AVALON – The top-level exam grade and the abbreviation for line all inside a four-letter name of a river.

22 Cafe with monster eggs reportedly (6)
BISTRO – A homophone (reportedly) of BEAST (monster) ROE (eggs).

24 International airline has empty seats with low frequency (4)
BASS – The abbreviation for British Airways followed by the outer letters (empty) of seats.

31 comments on “NTSPP 602

  1. Very enjoyable lunchtime entertainment – thanks Hippogryph.
    I don’t know the monster bit of 22d.
    Top clues for me were 9a, 22a, 24a and 18d.

  2. Very enjoyable although quite tricky in places. I was held up a bit by 22a as I usually spell the first word with 2 Ts when it has that particular definition

    Thanks to Hippogryph and, in advance, to Prolixic

    1. Well, I’ll go to the foot of our stairs! I never knew you could spell a badger’s home with just one T. But there it is in the faithful BRB.

  3. Thanks Hippogryph. It’s probably me, and after a wet and wild disturbed night, but this was my second curate’s egg of the weekend.

    I’m with Gazza on the 22d monster and I consider that 9a is a little more than blue. And, slightly difficult but not impossible with the ellipses, shouldn’t 20a be a definition by example?

    But I did like 9a (notwithstanding my comment on blue), 11a, 14a, and 13d.

    Thanks again and thanks in advance to Prolixic.

  4. Have to say that I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as our setter’s previous NTSPP offering but it did nevertheless have a lot of good points.
    Although I didn’t care for the overall definition, the orange lady in 9a made me smile, and my podium housed 1,14&24a along with 13d.

    Thank you, Hippogryph, when are we going to see you join the ranks of published (and paid) setters?

    1. Thanks for the comments Jane. Well I’m certainly trying to get published, but one of the consequences of the various lockdowns is that compilers have been busy, so editors are overwhelmed with puzzles and have very few openings to take on new compilers. I’ll keep trying…

  5. Very entertaining – the surface of 25a raised a smile
    I’m familiar with D for died or deceased but can’t think where it would mean simply dead
    Thanks Hippogryph

      1. Thanks for checking for me RD – I’m back at my desk now checking a few things, I can cross that one off!
        Where would that abbreviation be used though? Is it a military thing?

  6. This made for a very pleasant diversion when my cricket match was called off for this afternoon.

    As others have mentioned, I don’t think that 9a means blue.

    14a was my favourite with a special mention for the triple definition in 24a.

    Many thanks to Hippogryph and in advance to Prolixic.

  7. Well if ever there was a ghost theme I was bound to spot it was here & I still didn’t twig it until after I’d finished the puzzle. Reckon Miffs would have clocked it after 1d &11a. Quick scan & I reckon I’ve quaffed 10 of them (favourite is 20a) but there’s probably more.
    Enjoyable puzzle with some nice clues though I agree 9a is tenuous & no idea about the monster at 22d. Pick for me was 13d.
    Many thanks Hippogryph

    1. Monster is a homophone of the first syllable of the solution, though for some it may not work.

      1. It does work perfectly for me but wouldn’t have twigged it without you pointing it out.

  8. 9a. If the setter used Collins for reference then the clue seems to be OK:
    unwilling to talk or be sociable
    The offenders lapsed into a sullen silence.
    out of humour

    depressed or unhappy
    There’s no earthly reason for me to feel so blue.
    fed up
    down in the dumps (informal)
    down in the mouth

    Also in the BRB:
    BLUE: livid, greyish, dismal, depressed.
    SULLEN: baleful, dull, dismal.

    So, in certain contexts they both mean greyish, dull, dismal.

      1. The first 2 sets above are from Collins Online Thesaurus. But I would have thought the examples from the BRB would be equally dependable.

  9. Great stuff Hippogryph, really enjoyed it. Plenty of smiles including the clever 9&23a along with 13d.
    Well done Huntsman spotting the ghost theme.
    Thank you and thanks in advance to Prolixic.

  10. Thanks Hippogryph I found that quite tough for a while but all fell into place. Favourites for me, 8d and 21d, though many other good’uns to choose from. Quite fancy a pint now.
    Thanks again!

  11. Excellent fun for us before our Sunday morning walk. Our heads were also scratched on most of the clues already mentioned in the comments but eventually it all came together. Lots of ticks on our pages.
    Thanks Hippogryph.

  12. Sunday morning fun after a day watching cricket on Saturday. Sorry your match was called off RD, unfortunately I stopped playing many years ago :sad:
    Well done, Huntsman, on spotting the theme – I can’t believe I overlooked it as I am pretty familiar with the topic area! I particularly enjoyed the homophone in 22d, with 14a, 22a, 26a and 18d being my other top picks. As well as being a good local brew, 14a is also a favourite because we get a fly-by almost daily in our part of Kent – the sound of the engine overhead is unmistakable and it is always a thrill to watch. Thank you, Hippogryph!

  13. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. Whilst it wasn’t necessary to nail the theme in order to solve the puzzle, I’ve no doubt it added to the enjoyment for those who are beer quaffers – can’t even stand the smell of it myself!
    Thanks again to Hippogryph – or should I say ‘bottoms up’?

  14. Thanks for the review, Prolixic, and your illustrations of the theme – a few of which I have yet to sample. I shall look out for them!

  15. Thanks for the review Prolixic. Suspected Trotters & Avalon were beers but wouldn’t have guessed Riot & Sullen. I wonder if a few jars of Sullen lifts the blues or makes them worse.

  16. As CS said, very enjoyable although quite tricky in places. Failed to spot the theme even though 1dn is brewed on my doorstep (give or take a few miles) but I did remember the alternative spelling in 22ac.
    Thanks, Hippogryph and Prolixic.

  17. Thanks very much to everyone for giving the puzzle a go and posting your comments – all of the feedback is incredibly valuable and is very much appreciated. I’m glad that you enjoyed the puzzle and I hope that the theme didn’t result in too many hangovers!

    Special thanks to Prolixic for the excellent review and for tracking down all of the images of the different beers – even a couple that were unintended theme words such as Riot, Trotters and Sullen (I can’t believe anyone would brand their beer with that name) so I’ll be joining Spartacus on the look-out for those going forward.

    Hope to be back with another one soon

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