NTSPP 619 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 


A Puzzle by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Apologies for the late publication  BD.

Season salutations solvers and setters.  This comes to you on Christmas morning from a house in lockdown as my son chose yesterday evening to test positive to Covid – Goodbye Christmas services and sermons and hello to visits to PCR test site!


7 Anticipated warning’s understood (8)
FORESEEN – A four-letter word for a warning shout given by golfers followed by a four-letter word meaning understood.

8 Challenging valiantly yet infuriatingly not gaining initially (5)
VYING – The initial letters of the second to sixth words of the clue.

10 Corporation ring-fences large surplus (4)
GLUT – A three-letter word for a tummy (corporation) around (fences) the abbreviation for large.

11 Blackburn attorney regularly … (4)
TONY – The even letters (regularly) in attorney.

12 … found skulking in Portaloo filthy cold (5)
ALOOF – The answer is hidden (found skulking) in the fourth and fifth words of the clue.

14 Fixer appoints working party (8)
SETSCREW – A four-letter word meaning appoints followed by a four-letter word meaning a working party.

16 Separated shopgirl’s pretty (6)
RATHER – Split (separated) shopgirl’s to give shop and girl’s.  The solution is a three-letter word meaning shop and a three-letter word meaning girls.

18 What’s reportedly essential to amazing film? (4)
ZULU – The word used in the NATO phonetic alphabet for the middle letter (essential to) in amazing.

20 Smart scam (5)
STING – Double definition.

21 Setter getting green light to tackle a stage role (4)
IAGO – A single letter representing the setter and a two-letter word meaning green light around (to tackle) the A from the clue.

22 Foreign water meters having certificate the wrong way up (6)
GANGES – A six-letter word for meters has the U (certificate) inverted (the wrong way up) to give an “n”.

23 Romeo‘s hair ruined in heartless game (8)
LOTHARIO – An anagram (ruined) of HAIR inside a five letter game also known as bingo with the central letter removed (heartless).

26 Husband’s passion produces headache (5)
HITCH – The abbreviation for husband followed by a four-letter word meaning passion or longing.

28 Devil‘s at the heart of advancement (4)
OGRE – The inner letters (at the heart of) of a six-letter word meaning advancement.

30 Premier League denounces hugs (4)
EDEN – The answer is hidden (hugs) in the second and third words of the clue.

32 Belgian who’s invested in recording rig (5)
EQUIP – The French word (French is spoken in parts of Belgium) for who inside (invested in) a two letter abbreviation for a record.

33 European expert on scrap’s prepared to provide transport (8)
RIDEABLE – The abbreviation for European and a four-letter word meaning expert after (on) a three-letter word meaning scrap. 


1 Keeper shot a whopper (6)
GOALIE – A two-letter word for a shot or try followed by the A from the clue and a three-letter word for a whopper or fib.

2 Billionaire‘s American town address (10)
GETTYSBURG – A six-letter name (with the ‘s) of an American billionaire followed by a four-letter word for a town.

3 Fabled Greek bully (6)
HECTOR – Double definition of a Trojan in the Greek mythology and a word meaning to bully.

4 A negative reaction abroad for publicity-shy author? (4)
ANON – The A from the clue followed by the French word for NO (refusal abroad).

5 Cockney’s own historic greeting (3)
AVE – A four-letter word meaning to own or possess without the initial H (Cockney’s).

6 Prince: I’m lacking resolve (4)
WILL – The name of on of Prince Charles’ sons without (lacking) the I AM.

9 Fine chap‘s healthy urge (4,3)
GOOD EGG – A four-letter word meaning healthy followed by a three-letter word meaning to urge.

13 Bore that’s often seen on TV (4)
DRAG – Double definition, the second being what a transvestite (TV) wears.

15 Eddy‘s welcome in Welsh reference library (5)
WHIRL – A two-letter word meaning welcome inside the abbreviations for Welsh and Reference Library.

17 Succeeding in case involving multiple parties (10)
TRILATERAL – A five-letter word meaning succeeding or coming after inside a five-letter word for a legal case.

19 Painting alternative picture in the style of Stubbs? (7)
UNALIKE – Split 3, 4 this could meaning in the style of Una Stubbs.

20 Sides of stomach pinch on account of girdle … (4)
SASH – The outer letters (sides) of stomach include (pinch) a two-letter word meaning on account of.

24 … in attempt to squeeze in butt (6)
TRENDY – A three-letter word meaning an attempt incudes (to squeeze in) a three-letter word for a butt.

25 Promiscuous ladies are what perfectionist hopes for (6)
IDEALS – An anagram (promiscuous) of LADIES.

27 Exploit empty vessel (4)
COUP – The three-letter word for a drinking vessel includes a O (empty meaning nothing in it).

29 Match on deserted runway is brutal (4)
GORY – A two-letter word meaning match on the outer letters (deserted) of runway.

31 Tunbridge Wells is one such place to send out disgusting mail endlessly (3)
SPA – A four-letter word meaning to send out junk e-mail without the final letter (endlessly).

32 comments on “NTSPP 619

  1. When we saw who the setter was we just had to give it a go.
    We had to work very hard and delay our bedtime but we did eventually get it all sorted.
    Lots of cleverness and lots of chuckles.
    Thanks Gazza.

  2. No need to apologise, BD. I am sure everyone understands the reason for the delay and wishes you well.

    What a treat this was! I was thinking of giving it a miss as I’ve got three other puzzles I want to tackle today but, like the 2Kiwis, as soon as I saw who the setter was, I simply had to give it a go.

    At first I thought it was going to be quite light when a handful of answers went straight in. Then the challenges started and the whole thing took quite a bit of teasing out before it finally all came together. It was very well worth the effort, and I can’t put it better than the 2Ks: lots of cleverness and lots of chuckles.

    Wasn’t the fabled person in 3d Trojan not Greek?

    I’ve got too many ticks to list them all. The whole puzzle was one big favourite.

    Many thanks to Gazza and in advance to Prolixic.

  3. Well worth the wait! Thank you Gazza & to BD for making the effort provide us with this puzzle notwithstanding his injuries.

  4. The usual excellence from this setter, like RD I was lulled into a false sense of security by some of the easier clues before struggling in the SW corner. My pick of an excellent crop of clues consisted of 30a, 13d and 19d.

    Many thanks as always, Gazza, and best wishes to BD after his tumble.

  5. Thanks for making this puzzle available, BD, and I hope your condition is steadily improving. Like others have reported, the first few answers went in quickly – but it was not long before my progress became snail-like. My printout is already littered with ticks marking favourite clues, yet my grid is only 3/4 full at this point in time. I’ll take a time-out and hopefully return inspired…

    1. There is something extra in the grid which may help you – my original title for the puzzle was “Seven across”.

      1. My 3/4 grid carries me 4/7 across… :smile:
        Hopefully your nudge will provide the inspiration I have been lacking! Many thanks!

      2. Phew, finally made it all the way across (and down)! That was quite a challenge. 22a was LOI and is awarded top podium place now I’ve figured it out!!! Runners-up with double ticks were 16a, 18a, 23a and 32a. I also enjoyed the down clues provided for the short 3 or 4 letter words. Given that there was so much about it that was bad :wink: this was a very good puzzle! Thanks, Gazza.

  6. Crikey, I’m struggling here but certainly not prepared to throw in the towel. Where’s my mojo gone when I need it most………

  7. Excellent puzzle, Gazza, but I still can’t get 19d and 22a. Your cryptic message doesn’t seem to help either, or perhaps I am just being stupid.
    Loved the 20d/24d combo and plenty of ticks and smiles throughout.
    A couple of queries, but I’ll wait for the review.
    Now, back to that tricky SW corner…

      1. Brilliant!
        I have also now got the two that I was missing. I was looking for the wrong Stubbs, of course!!

      2. We needed that pointer Gazza. We had totally failed to notice them.
        Could suggest that is a reflection on the saintly lives we lead…….But maybe not.

  8. Finally got there thanks to the big hint from Gazza but still got a couple of parsing issues. Probably best to look again in the morning!

    1. Morning didn’t bring further enlightenment so my parsing problems await the review.
      Top spots here went to 10&20a plus 25d.
      Many thanks for the challenge, Gazza, and the best of festive wishes to both you and young Bonnie.

      1. Thanks, Jane, and the same to you.
        I seem to have made this puzzle trickier than I intended – sorry about that.

  9. What a challenge! We certainly had to reveal letters but at least we have found the hidden words – but only after Gazza directed us there. Thank you, Gazza, and we wish BD a very speedy recovery.

  10. Thanks Gazza, a most enjoyable puzzle. Ticks aplenty and tough to choose a favourite – though I did particularly enjoy 31d (an amusingly long clue for such a short word) Not so sure about 22a – if I’ve parsed it correctly, wordplay is clever but needs ‘lower-case thinking’, will be interesting to see if any comments on this in review (for which, thanks in advance). That said, it was certainly satisfying when the penny dropped so perhaps it takes top spot after all!
    Thanks again Gazza

  11. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, although I’m extremely sorry to hear about the circumstances under which it was written. I do hope your son only has a very mild ‘dose’ and that nobody else in the family falls by the wayside.

    Thanks again to dear Gazza for the puzzle and for teaching me that there actually is a recognised abbreviation for a transvestite!

  12. Thank you for the review, Prolixic, and I’m sorry to read of your family and congregation woes. I can sympathise as both my son and daughter’s households also just tested positive and are in isolation for Christmas :sad:
    Thanks also for posting the Angels’ Carol, a lovely choral piece that I was not familiar with.
    Thank you once again to Gazza for this excellent puzzle, and a Happy Christmas to all. :bye:

  13. Many thanks to all who commented and thanks (and commiserations) to Prolixic for the explanations.

    Merry Christmas to everyone.

    1. It’s something that go wrong when the ntspp review isn’t published on the Sunday. It happened once before and BD fixed it

Comments are closed.