NTSPP 677 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View comments 


A Puzzle by Prolixic

Today is the Blog’s 14th birthday. Prolixic has created this special puzzle to mark the occasion.

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Prolixic has set a special crossword for the 14th birthday of Big Dave’s Blog. There’s a Nina referring to this around the perimeter of the solved grid, starting with the first letter of 7d and proceeding in an anti-clockwise direction


8 Take in composer’s riddle (8)
STRAINER The Latin abbreviation used in prescriptions to mean take inserted into an English composer

9 Mixed with nurse after buffet (6)
BEATEN The abbreviation for an Enrolled Nurse goes after a verb meaning to buffet

10 Cabinet function welcoming House of Representatives (6)
SHRINE A trigonometrical function of an angle ‘welcoming’ the abbreviation for the House of Representatives

11 Dutch car’s more peculiar (7)
DROLLER The abbreviation for Dutch and an informal name for a particular car

12 Tutor‘s vulgar reflection about Clouseau’s manservant (8)
EDUCATOR A reversal (reflection) of a synonym for vulgar goes about the name of Inspector Clouseau’s manservant

13 Venue oddly overlooked tie with our neighbours? (6)
EUROPE The even (oddly overlooked) letters of vEnUe followed by a synonym for tie

14 Assign group to fix television (3)
SET Quadruple definitions

15 Leave queen out of defeat (6)
VANISH Remove an abbreviation for queen (2) from a verb meaning to defeat

18 Animal trapped by copper miners (6)
ERMINE Hidden in (trapped by) coppER MINErs

20 Mischievous child gives gifts away (3)
IMP Remove some skill or knowledge (gifts) from part of a verb meaning to give in the sense of communicate

22 Soldiers may be marshalled by this stand (6)
EGGCUP A very nice cryptic definition, especially for those of us who always forget this meaning of soldiers

24 Mysterious island embodies strangeness for antiquarian (8)
ARCHAIST An adjective meaning mysterious and a small island, the latter having inserted (embodies) an abbreviation used in physics for a strangeness (this has a really long definition in the BRB so I’ll let you look it up for yourselves!

27 Prohibition on journey in troika (7)
TRIPLET A prohibition or obstruction goes after (on) a journey

28 Return food including a large cake (6)
ECLAIR A reversal (return) of a staple food into which is inserted (including) A from the clue) and the abbreviation for Large

29 Breaking news stories! (6)
NOVELS Break ‘news’ into a synonym for new and the S

30 Kelvin and I played with Anjou King’s honey bear (8)
KINKAJOU The abbreviation for the SI Unit of Thermodynamic Temperature (Kelvin) and an anagram (played) of I ANJOU K (king)


1 Chased heartless writer abandoning poor … (6)
ETCHED Chased in the sense of decorated metal by engraving. Remove the inside letters of WriteR and then take the remaining letters away (abandoning) a synonym for poor, unfortunate, pitiful

2 … group of musicians to wed young prince it’s said (8)
MARIACHI A group playing Mexican music is obtained from homophones (it’s said) of a verb meaning to wed and a young royal prince

3 Make up two-thirds of list (6)
INVENT Two-thirds of a list of articles

4 Following transactions reads about shopkeepers (7)
TRADERS The abbreviation for transactions and an anagram (about) of READS

5 Old medal incorporating individual piece of topaz (8)
OBSOLETE A medal into which is inserted (incorporating) an adjective meaning individual and the first letter (piece) of Topaz

6 Captain Ahab maybe heard one crying (6)
WAILER A homophone (heard) of someone following the profession of Captain Ahab in Moby Dick by Herman Melville

7 Earthling eats very good turtle (8)
TERRAPIN A term used in science fiction for an inhabitant of the planet Earth into which is inserted an adjective meaning very good

16 Worry over short letter to physicist (8)
ANGSTROM A feeling of anxiety (worry) goes over the shortened name of one of the addresses of a letter from St Paul

17 Container of fluid within cool lead free cover (3,5)
HIP FLASK An informal word for trendy, fashionable (hip), an abbreviation for fluid and one of those ‘covers’ we’ve worn a lot in the last three years without its first letter (lead free)

19 Police head arresting amateur singer (4,4)
MEAT LOAF The abbreviation for the police force in London and the Cockney rhyming slang word for head, the abbreviation for Amateur being inserted (arrested) by the former

21 Share role overlapping with escort (7)
PARTAKE A theatrical role and a verb meaning to escort, ‘overlapping’ referring to the fact that the first word ends in a T and the second one begins with a T and you only need to use one of them

23 Serious wrong committed suppressing a region of Ukraine (6)
CRIMEA A serious wrong ‘suppressing’ or going over in a Down solution, A (from the clue)

25 Washes tins containing heads of lamprey eels (6)
CLEANS Some tins ‘containing’ the ‘heads’ of Lamprey Eels

26 Small child loves snowmobile (6)
SKIDOO The abbreviation for small, an informal term for a child, and two of the letters representing love

25 comments on “NTSPP 677
Leave your own comment 

  1. What a lovely puzzle to celebrate BD’s Blog Birthday! It wasn’t as tough as Prolixic’s puzzles can be, although I can’t parse 20a, and it was great fun to solve with an appropriate Nina to boot.

    I think 6d is ambiguous and can only be resolved after 9a has been entered to provide the second letter.

    With plenty of excellent clues to choose from, my favourite is 14a. It’s no mean feat to formulate a quadruple definition for a three-letter word!

    Many thanks to Prolixic and in advance to the very hard working CS.

    1. RD – 20a – a synonym of gives which includes a, perhaps, less than obvious synonym of gifts (it is a Prolixic puzzle) which is removed (away).

      1. Thanks, Senf. I see what you are driving at but I can’t think of a suitable sentence where the two words are interchangeable. Can you?

        1. I am just going on the BRB definition of the synonym – ‘vt to give (something abstract)’ – and I would put my winnings from identifying Cephas as today’s SPP setter on that being Prolixic’s intention. Although, something like ‘He gives knowledge . . .’ doesn’t seem to flow very well.

          1. Now you’ve confused me, Senf.

            I am OK with the synonym for “gives”, it’s the synonym for “gifts” that has to be taken away that I am struggling with.

            1. As nouns both gift and a*t can mean a skill/talent. You could interchange them in a sentence but probably wouldn’t because one of them would be considered way too unconventional/non-standard.

  2. Not surprisingly for a Prolixic NTSPP, especially the Birthday one, some e-help required.

    I had enough letters to pencil in the Ordinal number for the number of years which slowed me down in the NE until I realised that the Nina actually was actually based on Cardinal numbers which helped with overall completion.

    Smiles for 15a, 23a (those soldiers!), 1d, 3d, and 26d.

    Thanks to Prolixic and in advance to CS.

  3. Great stuff from Prolixic!

    Finding the Nina early on certainly helped with solving the left-hand side of the puzzle.

    Still missing how some of the clues parse. Looking forward to the review.

  4. Thank you, Prolixic, for a very enjoyable puzzle, full of smooth surface readings and carrying a nice tribute to the Blog’s 14th birthday. There were some tricky clues to unravel, but the Nina was useful after I had filled in enough letters to comprehend it. Several of the parsings kept me busy, with pleasing PDMs for 8a (a device not seen for a while!) and 20a. I will look forward to the review to qualify abbreviations I needed for 11a and 24a, and also my take on the last bit of the physicist. I had never heard of the honey bear but having the checkers and the end letter put me on course. Favourite clues today were evenly split between the two directions: 9, 14 & 20 across and 2, 5 & 19 down.

  5. Definitely a challenge and I can’t pretend to have nailed every bit of parsing – will keep working at it.
    Don’t remember seeing 30a in a puzzle previously but it’s a word that’s always fascinated me.

    Many thanks for bringing us the birthday tribute, Prolixic.

  6. Will definitely be popping back for clairty on a couple of parsings and abbreviations. The Nina certainly helped. Thanks to Prolixic.

  7. That had us working very hard and we are very grateful to the Nina for supplying some starting or finishing letters in the tricky places.
    A fitting tribute to the longevity of this magnificent site.
    Thanks Prolixic.

  8. I got the end of the Nina first, which helped get the east sorted. Trying to put the blogs founder on the bottom row held me up but I got there in the end. I will have to pop back to get some final parsings too. Thanks to Prolixic and CS

  9. From previous experience that anything starts from the 2k’s, “That had us working very hard . . . ” tells me that this is too much for me . . .
    I will have another go tomorrow but in the meantime thanks to Prolixic for the crossword and to CS who must have been working jolly hard this weekend.

  10. Quite a challenge for us and we needed to reveal some letters in the end. We shall definitely need CS’s parsing to understand a few of the clues. Favourites were 26d, 28a, and 15a. Thank you Prolixic and CS and BD for the great site.

  11. Nice one, Prolixic. No surprise to find a Nina and like stanXYZ says, working it out early proved useful on the left hand side of the grid. Tricky in places but all came together nicely in the end.

    I liked 15a but confused myself briefly by thinking of a different abbreviation for Queen and wondered why that word meant defeat.

  12. Many thanks for the review, CS, which clearly explained how I should have arrived at some of my answers. How I actually did get there is something I shall probably keep to myself to avoid embarrassment!

  13. Thank you for the review, CS, and explaining the ‘S’. The world of quantum physics is indeed strange! The other abbreviation I was unsure of was the ‘D’, but I have now found that it appears in Collins as being an American English abbreviation for Dutch – not sure the Netherlanders would approve? And yes, you did confirm my take on the last bit of the physicist :good:

    My thanks again to Prolixic!

  14. P.S. Your picture of the 30a bear makes me wonder if this animal was the inspiration for Makka Pakka… (that’s perhaps something only grandparents of a certain era would understand!)

  15. Beyond me, I’m afraid. Maybe I just wasn’t on Prolixic’s wavelength but I only got about half of this before giving up. I had most of the right hand side but the left was almost blank. Of the ones I did get I liked 12ac and 30ac. Thanks, though, Prolixic and CS.

Join the Conversation, Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.