NTSPP 703 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 


Choice of Colours by Phibs

+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

I didn't have to get as far as 19/20/21a to spot the theme  – the title and the first clue made it clear from the start.

Thanks Phibs – that was a most enjoyable accompaniment to Saturday lunch – however, it is only when I prepared the hints that I realised how many times you wanted us to do something with a single letter!


6a Take some bloke's Cortina (6)
ESCORT: Hidden in the last two words of the clue

8a In uniform, entering area of Tower Hamlets (7)
POPULAR: The letter represented by Uniform in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet inserted into the area of London also known as Tower Hamlets

11a Press husband to sort out rear escapes (5)
HORDE: The abbreviation for Husband and a verb meaning to sort out without its final letter (rear escapes)

12a One wearing no undies flirting with numerous brothers? (9)
UNIONISED: I (one) 'wearing' an anagram (flirting) of NO UNDIES

13a Whole bunch of struggling people denied credit (3)
SUM: Remove (denied) the abbreviation for credit from a bunch of struggling people

14a What's in centre of large oven? (5)
ROAST: The letter in the centre of laRge and a type of kiln (oven)

15a Everyone I see consuming a lot of hooch awfully drunk (9)
ALCOHOLIC: A synonym for everyone and I (from the clue) C (see) consuming an anagram (drunk) of HOOCh (a lot of indicating that you don't need the final letter

19a Crossing either side of field (4)
FORD: Picking the letters at either side of FielD could be written as x xx x

20a Shift tie up, covering spot of tomato (5)
MOTOR: Shift and the solution are informal ways of driving fast – a verb meaning to tie up 'covering' the first letter (a spot) of Tomato

21a Mark getting son to finish bangers? (4)
CARS: Take a mark and move the abbreviation for Son from the start to the finish

23a Secure employment, needing support initially with grant cut (9)
ENSCONCED: The initial letters of Employment Needing Support with a truncated verb meaning to grant or allow

28a Home in France where Parisian society takes cocaine (5)
FOCUS: The IVR Code for France, the French word for where (as used in Paris) and the abbreviation for Society, into which is inserted (takes) the abbreviation for Cocaine

30a A group of you mercilessly backed Parkinson's assailant (3)
EMU: Hidden in reverse (backed) in yoU MErcilessly

31a Whistler about to crush Oscar thus? (9)
THEREFORE: A two-word way of referring to a match whistleblower and the usual two-letter 'about, on the subject of' into which is inserted (to crush) the letter represented by Oscar in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

32a Meaning to get boxing tips from nuns (5)
SENSE: To get or understand 'boxing' the tips or outside letters of NunS

33a Trusted student to consider giving up Latin following pressure (7)
PREFECT: A verb meaning to consider without (giving up) the abbreviation for Latin, go after (following) the abbreviation for Pressure

34a Government agent - awful scoundrel, but not raving red (6)
CONSUL: An anagram (awful) of SCOUNdreL without RED (raving telling you that the letters aren't in that order in the anagram fodder


1d Wind unknown grass from the south round Daphne's middle (6)
ZEPHYR: A mathematical unknown followed by a reversal (from the south) of a type of grass into which is inserted the letters in the middle of daPHne

2d Engage support for member losing millions (6)
ARREST: A support for an upper limb without (losing) the abbreviation for Millions

3d Piling up a hundred to help Australia? All the signs are there (6)
ZODIAC: A reversal (piling up) of the Roman numeral for 100, a verb meaning to help and the informal abbreviation for Australia

4d Put out piece featuring just one European choir (6)
QUENCH: A chess piece featuring just one abbreviation for European followed by an abbreviation for choir

5d Lads will appear with me in distress (6)
DAMSEL: An anagram (in distress) of LADS with ME

7d Pirate caught with gold mostly remarked "Ar" (7)
CORSAIR: The cricket abbreviation for Caught, the heraldic term for gold, most of a synonym for remarked and the sound you hear when you say "Ar"

9d American at college rearing big cat (4)
PUMA: An abbreviation for American and the usual two-letter word meaning at college, especially a university

10d Orders English dictionary, the latest from Chambers (6)
EDICTS: The abbreviation for English, an abbreviated dictionary and the latest or final letter of ChamberS

16d Turner uses this to produce foam that's thrown over stern of Minotaur (5)
LATHE: Some foam without (that's thrown over) the 'stern' or back of MinotauR

17d Giant duck got bigger (all except tail) (4)
OGRE: The letter used to indicate a score of a duck in cricket and a way of saying got bigger without (all except) the 'tail'

18d Warning sign outside ladies' changing room? Initial note torn off (4)
OMEN: The initial letter removed from a sign you might find outside a ladies' changing room saying that only ladies would be admitted [xx xxx]

19d A1 blocked by closure of large section over a holiday (6)
FIESTA: Something that is A1 would be excellent or meeting the required standards, a simple way of saying this is 'blocked' by the letter at the end (closure) of largE and the abbreviation for Section, the result finished with A (from the clue)

22d Camilla ultimately dispatches clothing Charlie takes off (7)
ASCENDS: The ultimate letter of camillA and a synonym of sends 'clothing' the letter represented by Charlie in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

24d Shuffle is rare precursor to tango (6)
SIERRA: An anagram (shuffle) of IS RARE – more NATO Phonetic Alphabet!

25d Coming from behind enemy lines on foot, never to be seen again (3-3)
ONE-OFF: A reversal (coming from behind) of an enemy inserted into (lines) ON (from the clue) and an abbreviation for Foot

26d Squat right after onset of cramp - that hurts! (6)
CROUCH: The abbreviation for Right goes after the 'onset' of Cramp, followed by an expression of pain (that hurts!)

27d Hated deleting test document (4)
DEED: Delete TEST from another way of saying hated

28d Amalgamation of Sun and i going horribly wrong (6)
FUSION: An anagram (going horribly wrong) of OF SUN I

29d Phibs left foxy nurses with an impressive bouquet (6)
SMELLY: An informal word for cunning (foxy) 'nurses' how Phibs would refer to himself and the abbreviation for Left

28 comments on “NTSPP 703

  1. Superb puzzle with a theme (which I only noticed just in time to get my final answer 21a) – many thanks to Phibs.
    There are too many great clues to list them all – I’ll just nominate 8a, 13a, 14a, 2d, 3d and 4d.

  2. Goodness, I’d almost forgotten some of them – thanks for the reminders, Phibs, and an excellent puzzle complete with both theme and Nina.
    The title you chose really made me laugh!

    1. Mr CS has just played ‘cars I owned in my youth’ while I was solving the crossword :D

  3. Caffeine required but it usually is for a Phibs NTSPP. Unusually for me, the theme of ‘Dagenham Dustbins’ (19a, 20a, and 21a) leapt off the page very early on. The only one I almost didn’t recognise was 28d in my total of 11 (unless I missed one or two others).

    Smiles for non-theme clues – 30a, 32a, 4d, and 18d.

    Phanks Phibs and thanks in advance to CS.

      1. I missed 9d, more familiar to me as a helicopter, ‘found’ with the help of an e-search, a Europe only model produced after I emigrated. So, now 12.

          1. That’s one of my theories blown out of the water – it seems that Nurse Crane drove a Morris Minor!

        1. I also took 12a to be thematic given the company’s torrid history, and the Sally Hawkins film etc.

  4. Excellent puzzle with a lot of clever and intricate letter indicators, all completely watertight as you’d expect from the Clue Clinician himself!
    It didn’t take too long to spot the theme with so many related answers. I remember an Orense puzzle along similar lines, but with a different source (that one was a triumph, nudge nudge), but I don’t think he squeezed quite so many examples into his grid.
    I could mention almost every clue as outstanding, but I’ll pick out 12a, 18d, 22d & 29d for the combination of amusing surfaces and ingenious wordplay.
    Thank you, Phibs.

  5. Very enjoyable, thanks, Phibs. Indeed, we had more one of those in days long gone. (Mostly black!)

  6. Here’s a story about 8a or 33a. One summer, when I was just about out of short trousers, I had a summer job in a hospital laundry. One of my temporary co-workers was a student at Loughborough University. For her drive home to Surrey, in her 8a or 33a, it was 4 gallons of petrol and one gallon of oil! Ah, side valve engines as low tech as they come.

  7. This was absolutely excellent with a NINA, a theme, and a walk down memory lane. At one point I suspected a pangram but that didn’t materialise.

    I can’t completely parse 19d and I also can’t make any sense of its surface (which is a first for me with this setter whose clues are unfailingly impressively smooth).

    Many thanks to Phibs for the fun.

    1. Ah! I’ve just looked at 19a on the website and can see it actually starts with A1 whereas on the PDF it looks like AI, which I took to be Artificial Intelligence.

    2. That one took me a while, distracted by A1 coincidentally appearing separately in the solution. (There’s a containment involved, but you’ve probably sussed that much out anyway.)
      The surface makes sense to me, especially if you read ‘over’ as meaning ‘due to’.

      EDIT: Just missed your second post RD – that definitely explains why you were so confused!

  8. Oh, if only we had noticed the Nina and theme before we got to the end of the solve, we would have saved ourselves such a lot of blood, sweat and tears.
    Such cleverness and a delight to solve.
    Thanks Phibs.

  9. Many thanks for the review, CS. I trust that Mr CS enjoyed looking at all the old photo’s!
    Thanks again to Phibs for a most enjoyable NTSPP.

  10. Most enjoyable – but where was the Anglia? I had two of them in the dim and distant past; a ‘flat box’ shape one and then swept-back rear window one.
    Thanks, Phibs – and to CS for the pics.

  11. Very enjoyable, thank you Phibs. We did struggle towards the end and although we had the answer to 31a we couldn’t parse it until we read CS’s review. Like the 2Kiwis we wish we had noticed the Nina and the theme earlier! I remember with pleasure my first 2 cars as a 8a and then a 33a, both black. We look forward to your next one, Phibs.

  12. Perhaps it’s obvious (it’s not mentioned in the review) but 16d refers to Turner’s painting ‘The Shipwreck of The Minotaur’. Super clue.

  13. My thanks to CS for the review, and to all those who have tackled (and, in particular, commented on) the puzzle. It was one that I enjoyed setting (apart, perhaps, from having to write clues for the two ‘Z-cars’!) – I’m glad that it seems to have been generally enjoyed and to have prompted a few memories along the way.

    The first car that my parents bought new (in 1964) was a grey Ford Anglia, so it would have been nice to include one in the puzzle, but I really wanted to use only model names which were not proper nouns, thus sadly ruling out Anglias, Capris, Granadas and the like.

    1. …and here it is, Ford Anglia Estate CWP 203B, pictured in both its bonnet down and its (more normal) bonnet up configuration.

Comments are closed.