NTSPP 621 – 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.

A good lunchtime challenge from Hippogryph with a crossword themed on 13a 2d with the theme words being HARRY POTTER, SIRIUS BLACK, PRISONER, BUCKBEAK (the HIPPOGRIFF), FIREBOLT, KNIGHT (BUS), HAGRID and WORMTAIL.


9 Make up for lunchtime? (5)
ATONE – Split 2,3 the solution would be a possible time for lunch.

10 Motors and wins the surfing competition? (9)
OUTBOARDS – Split 3,6, the solution would describe someone who performs better on a surfboard.

11 Most flexible wild thistle (7)
LITHEST – An anagram (wild) of THISTLE.

12 Hapless amnesiacs return to house all together (2,5)
EN MASSE – The answer is hidden (to house) and reversed (return) in the first two words of the clue.

13 Grass gets bishop in bother (5)
HARRY – A three-letter word for dried grass include (gets…in) a two-letter abbreviation for a bishop.

15 Mammal displaying beauty oddly (3)
BAT – The odd letters in beauty.

16 Premium bonds, out of date, replaced by something suitable for all ages (5)
BONUS – Replace the abbreviation for date with the film certificate meaning suitable for all ages in the second word of the clue.

17 Urge to drop zip and wander about (3)
GAD – A four-letter word meaning to urge without (to drop) the letter representing nothing (zip).

19 Country monk (Buddhist) giving up left-over fried rice (7)
AMERICA – A four-letter word for a Buddhist without (giving up) the abbreviation for left around (over) an anagram (fried) of RICE.

20 Free go on the dodgems finishes early (3)
RID – A four-letter word meaning go on the dodgems without the final letter (finishes early).

22 Wrestlers appeal for help without a sign of hesitation (5)
SUMOS – The morse code signal for help around (without) a two-letter word used when expressing hesitation.

He was 13st with a 38 Inch waist before lockdown

23 Support three absent personnel (3)
TEE– Remove the abbreviation for human resources (personnel) from the three in the clue.

24 Dagger revealed by Irkutsk revolutionary after street robbery (5)
KUKRI – An anagram (revolutionary) of IRKUTSK after removing (robbery) the abbreviation for street.

26 Bridle part, it’s seen on racehorses, initially in Britain (7)
RINGBIT – The it from clue after (seen on) the first letter (initially) of racehorses and the IN from the clue and the abbreviation for Great Britain.

28 Take off pants to gain information? (7)
DEBRIEF – Split 2-5 this might mean take of pants.

31 It counts supply and special manufacturing charges (4,5)
UNIT COSTS – An anagram (supply) of IT COUNTS followed by the abbreviation for special.

32 Have an aversion to Arab horse shows (5)
ABHOR – The answer is hidden (shows) in the fifth and sixth words of the clue.


1 Recounted story’s ending (4)
TAIL – A homophone of tale (story).

2 Guy Fawkes maybe no scholar but a craftsman (6)
POTTER – A seven-letter word describing Guy Fawkes without the abbreviation for learner (scholar).

3 Holiday price includes tax up-front (4)
FETE – A three-letter word for a price includes the first letter (up-front) of tax.

4 Eat too quickly and throw up Thai starter (4)
BOLT – Reverse (up) a three-letter word meaning throw and follow with the first letter (starter) of Thai.

5 Wily setters, we cryptically take one in (10)
STREETWISE – An anagram (cryptically) of SETTERS WE includes the letter representing one.

6 Argue over motorway grub (4)
WORM – Reverse (over) a three-letter word meaning argue and follow with the abbreviation for motorway,

7 Con priest with fake Renoirs (8)
PRISONER – The abbreviation for priest followed by an anagram (fake) of RENOIRS.

8 Like short, short, showy flowers (6)
ASTERS – A two-letter word meaning like followed by a five-letter word meaning short without the final letter (short).

13 Old woman with extra padding – all at the rear (3)
HAG – The last letters (all at the rear) of the third to fifth words of the clue.

14 Discontented youths have limited attention spans? (5)
YEARS – The outer letters (discontented) of youths includes (have limited) a three-letter word meaning attention.

15 Brief period of enforced inflation? (6,4)
BREATH TEST – Cryptic definition of what a police officer might ask a motorist to take.

16 Jet lag? Primarily sitting in the tail-end (5)
BLACK – The first letter (primarily) of lag inside a four-letter word meaning tail end.

18 Deterioration in intelligence of French team uplifted a small island (8)
DEMENTIA – A two-letter French word meaning of followed by a three-letter word for a team and a reversal (uplifted) of a three-letter word for a small island.

21 Gods of mine ascending (3)
DEI – A reversal (ascending) of the abbreviation for improvised explosive device (mine).

22 Star fruit peeled, cooked and eaten by little sister (6)
SIRIUS – An anagram (cooked) of the inner letters (peeled) of fruit inside the abbreviation for sister.

25 Richard Branson perhaps, poor thing chasing Musk’s tail? (6)
KNIGHT – An anagram (poor) of THING after (chasing) the final letter (tail) of Musk.

27 Throw young male a dollar (4)
BUCK – Triple definition.

28 Record find – not half! (4)
DISC – Half of the word discover (find).

29 Bill Bryson’s original English has a constant following (4)
BEAK – The first letter (original) of Bryson followed by the abbreviation for English, the A from the clue and the letter representing Boltzmann’s constant.

30 Naked hero provided rising passion (4)
FIRE – The inner letters (naked) of hero and a two-letter word meaning provided all reversed (rising).

21 comments on “NTSPP 621

  1. A bit tricky in places but a nice post-lunch solve

    Thanks to Hippogryph and, in advance, to Prolixic

  2. Enjoyable with smooth surfaces throughout and some smiles – thanks Hippogryph.
    My ticks went to 10a, 16a, 13d and 15d.

  3. I found this pleasant on the whole but not my favourite Hippogryph puzzle, perhaps due to the constraints of the ghost theme. Even with all the checking letters in place, I needed to reveal the missing bits of 26a, and, although I knew both, I thought that 21d and 29d were possibly a bit unfair, in the first case reversing an unusual abbreviation to give a Latin answer, and in the latter case using a very specialised constant.

    On my podium were 10a, 15d & 27d.

    Many thanks to Hippogryph and in advance to Prolixic.

  4. Enjoyable but challenging in places, not helped by us putting in the wrong answer (amend) for 9a! Still one or two that we can’t parse so shall look forward to Prolixic’s review tomorrow. Thank you Hippogryph.

  5. Many thanks Hippogryph for a very entertaining puzzle. A particular name leapt out, and I found another character too, some vaguely familiar possibles, and a couple of titular words – but I’m afraid I’m not familiar enough with the theme to really appreciate it Looking forward to review (thanks in advance) to discover all those I’ve missed. Faves 16a, 17a, 13d, 14d & 27d. Thanks again!

  6. We had to work hard but eventually it all came together with a good smattering of smiles along the way.
    Thank Hippogryph.

  7. A swift solve this was not and in fact needed one or two reveals. I’d sum it up as fresh, innovative and enjoyable but quite tricky. Not helped by knowing zilch about the theme.
    I’ve ticked 9,10,16& 22a plus 2,4&13d with a nod to the triple definition at 27d as it reminds me of Mr Dharma of the mighty BOC.
    Many thanks Hippogryph for the entertainment and in advance to Prolixic.

  8. Not easy by any means and I did need to consult my friend, Mr Google, concerning the particular piece of equestrian equipment and the dagger.
    Podium places awarded to 10,16 &28a plus 15d.
    Haven’t got a clue when it comes to the theme Fez mentioned – no doubt all will be revealed in the review!

    Thanks to Hippogryph for a fair old challenge and a very Happy New Year to you.

  9. Didn’t get the theme until I’d finished, but that’s not unusual for me. Knew the dagger and didn’t need any reveals, though took a while to parse everything even when I’d finished the grid. But I think I’ve got it all sorted in my head now.

  10. Very tricky indeed. Pleased to complete without a letter reveal though unable to parse a few. Knew the horsey thingy but had to confirm the knife & didn’t realise there was a theme until reading the comments.
    Thanks Hippogryph

  11. Thanks, Hippogryph, your puzzle has already made my New Year Happy :smile:
    A very enjoyable solve, with some polished and witty surfaces, yielding no less than 16 ticked clues of which my favourites were 5d, 16d and 22d. I particularly appreciated the well-worked three and four letter words which mopped up 6 of my ticks.
    As for a theme… :unsure: However, I’m sure all will be revealed later!

    1. Jane’s comment caused me to look anew. I am one of those folk who have ‘Never Seen Star Wars’ and I now suspect the theme may fall into the same category…

  12. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, which cleared up my missing bits of parsing in 13&21d.
    Now then, if you could just give me the odd nudge with the theme of the MPP………….

    Thanks again to Hippogryph for the wizard challenge!

  13. Thanks for the enlightenment, Prolixic. As expected, the only character I knew was the eponymous one!

  14. Thank goodness solving the puzzle was not contingent on being conversant with the theme as I was in the same boat as Spartacus. Pleased that Prolixic has confirmed all my thoughts on the parsings so thanks to him for the review.

  15. Sorry for being late to report in today but we’ve just come back from spending an enjoyable couple of days in Lincolnshire over the New Year, mainly birdwatching and a bit of sight-seeing. Thanks to everyone for your comments, I’m really pleased that you enjoyed it, and thanks to Prolixic for the review. This puzzle did take a long time to get into a state that I was relatively happy with and, as Rabbit Dave accurately points out, the thematic material did leave me with a lot of tricky 3 and 4 letter words to clue. The theme is quite specialised but for those not aware the book/film does feature a Hippogriff so I always felt a bit of a connection to it 😊, plus my daughters grew up reading the books and watching the films.

    Just one comment on the review. In 24a the “revolutionary” was intended to indicate a reversal rather than an anagram.

    Happy New Year to everyone and thanks again for taking the time to solve and review the puzzle and posting your comments. Hope to be back soon

    1. Thanks for popping in, Hippogryph, but let’s be honest – you rather enjoyed the books and films yourself didn’t you?

  16. I must have been half asleep – I connected 13ac, 2dn with 22dn 16dn and 7dn but failed to join up other answers to see the other references – d’oh! But thanks, Hippogryph, for the entertainment and to Prolixic for the review.

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