NTSPP 729 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Blog Birthday Puzzle by Prolixic

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A friendly puzzle for the blog's 15th Birthday with as the instructions say "A message appropriate to the blog and its birthday appears around the perimeter" ie a very helpful Nina SEE FIFTEEN BY FIFTEEN GRID


7    Express hesitation about composer's money making scheme (6)
EARNER An expression of hesitation goes 'about' the surname of the composer of, amongst other works, Rule, Britannia!

8     Enduring a gala performing with this angel
GUARDIAN One of Prolixic's favourite compound anagrams – an anagram (performance) ENDURING A GALA gives us the final word of the clue and the definition of someone watching over someone else

9     Row after Parisian is in break up (8)
ESTRANGE A row goes after the French word for is

10    What undertaker does with some brazen tomboys (6)
ENTOMB Hidden in the last two words of the clue

11     Double check staff (8)
STUNTMAN To check the growth of, followed by a verb meaning to staff

12     Happy to employ French cook (3-3)
AIR-FRY Happy or sprightly into which is inserted (to employ) the abbreviation for French

13    Early acting editor of American magazine? (5,2,4)
AHEAD OF TIME The abbreviation for Acting and a way of describing the editor of a particular American magazine

18     Sailor's terse summary of the problem of evil! (6)
SINBAD Split 3,3 this would be a terse summary of the problem of evil

20    What may produce favourite meadow flower originally (4,4)
SEED LEAF A favourite in, for example, a tennis competition, a meadow and the original letter of Flower

22     Menace of TV police surgeon lacking discipline (6)
DANGER Remove (lacking) a branch of study (discipline) from the name of a 1990s TV drama about a police surgeon

23     Dame Edna's favourite bloomers! (8)
GLADIOLI A cryptic definition of Dame Edna's favourite flowers

24     One sensor I designed for air purifiers (8)
IONISERS The Roman numeral for one and an anagram (designed) of SENSOR I

25     After time away share very strong joint (6)
SPLIFF Remove the abbreviation for Time for a verb meaning to share followed by the musical abbreviation meaning very stronfg


1    Untrue statement from Truro banker swiftly ignored periodically (7)
FALSITY A Cornish river (banker) that flows through Truro and the odd (ignored periodically) letters of SwIfTlY

2     Firmly establish where Tommy may be? (8)
INTRENCH Split the solution 2,6 to find a place where a First World War soldier (Tommy) was often found

3     Broken femur traps tip of nerve and ligament (6)
FRENUM A ligament restraining the motion of the body – an anagram (broken) of FEMUR 'traps' the N that is the tip of Nerve

4     Appear to accept father's right (4,4)
TAKE PART A synonym for accept, an informal father and an abbreviation for right

5    Leader of soldiers supporting revolutionary movement (6)
EDITOR Other Ranks of soldiers 'supporting' a reversal (revolutionary) of a movement

6     Set aside evidence of piercing? (7)
EARMARK Split 3,4, this could well be evidence of piercing

8    Environmental risk from faulty grease gun hose (10,3)
GREENHOUSE GAS an anagram (faulty) of GREASE GUN HOSE

14    Councillors' approve housing leader leaving Environment Agency (8)
ALDERMEN An interjection meaning so let it be (approve) 'housing' LEADER without (leaving) the abbreviation for Environment Agency

15     Many received drink from Scottish isle! (8)
MULTIPLE A homophone (received) of the name of a Scottish island and an alcoholic drink

16     Bullfighter's reverent about raised sceptre (7)
PICADOR Sanctimonious or reverent, the abbreviation for about and a reversed (raised) sceptre

17     Holy Father ignoring girl dancing in storeroom (7)
HAYLOFT An anagram (dancing) of HOLY FATher 'ignoring' the pronoun referring to a girl

19     Large rug for a VIP (6)
BIGWIG A synonym for large and the more formal name of an item of headwear also informally known as a rug

21     Apprentice's last failure to pass (6)
ELAPSE The last letter of apprenticE and a failure

15 comments on “NTSPP 729
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  1. Happy Birthday to the Blog – the 15 Year Old Dalwhinnie will be enjoyed this evening between solving and blogging Dada’s latest offering.

    Caffeine and e-help required, and some parsings that elude me.

    Smiles for 12a, 18a, 15d, 19d, and 21d.

    Thanks Prolixic and thanks in advance to CS

  2. This was very enjoyable and remarkably straightforward for a Prolixic puzzle with only relatively few answers needing a bit of teasing out. I just needed to check that the alternative spelling for 2d did exist.

    My top picks were 8a, 13a, 18a, 15d, 17d & 19d.

    Happy Birthday to the blog, with grateful thanks to the much missed Big Dave for his legacy. Many thanks to Prolixic for an excellent puzzle with an appropriate Nina, and thanks too in advance to CS.

  3. We didn’t find it easy but we struggled on and enjoyed the challenge – more so than usual. We did eventually succumb and revealed a couple of first letters to finish the puzzle. We shall, however, need to check in with CS tomorrow to clarify some answers. Happy birthday to the blog and many thanks to those who keep it going.

  4. Happy Birthday.
    Hard work and ultimately all sorted. Knowing there was a Nina around the perimeter was certainly a help with the last few answers.
    Thanks Prolixic.

  5. A very happy birthday to BD’s blog and appreciative thanks to those who have toiled to keep it going for us all following the sad demise of our founding father. I was slightly disappointed that today’s NTSPP didn’t have more of a celebratory tone to it but I’m certainly grateful for everything I’ve learnt about cryptic crosswords since BD had his ‘good idea’!
    Let’s hope we can look forward to many more years of BD fun.

    Thanks to Prolixic for marking the occasion.

  6. I found this quite tricky but enjoyed it a lot, twigging some of the perimeter Nina certainly helped the final few to drop. I will have to come back to check a couple of parsings
    Thanks to Prolixic and in advance to Sue – a pleasant way to spend a while but I would rather have been in Little Venice again

    1. Happy birthday Rahmat. Saw your comment when we just popped in to check answers on CS’s review. Hope you are having an enjoyable day.

      1. Thank you so much, Hilton, for your good wishes. I pray to the Almighty for your good health, prosperity and happiness. It was really an enjoyable day. In the morning, after breakfast, I went to teach Portuguese at Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture. There were two sessions of the class from 10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. After that, I visited a physiotherapy centre for my own treatment of spondylitis, followed by lunch at home. Then I went to a study centre of Indira Gandhi National Open University to enquire about the non-updated status of my project marks for M.A. (Arabic) in the system. Back home, I became engrossed in writing the review for Sunday cryptic of the past week. The last enjoyable moment for the day was after ‘isha’ prayers and dinner when I found that more than 30 of my Facebook friends had wished me on my birthday. I thanked them individually with a prayer to the Almighty for their well-being. Today, the enjoyment continued. One of my colleagues, who already wished me yesterday over mobile as it was Sunday and a holiday, again wished me today at office and gave me a milkbar which he had brought for me.

      1. Thank you so much, AgentB, for your good wishes. I pray to the Almighty for your good health, prosperity and happiness.

  7. The blog’s 15th birthday weekend co-incided with a family member’s 40th so I made it on time to her party but am ‘late to this party’!
    Thank you to Prolixic for a fun crossword puzzle and appropriate dedication to this fine blog and it’s founder. My favourite clues were 7a, 11a (nice PDM!), 5d, 8d, 15d (hah!) and 17d. I started out wanting 23a to be BLOSSOMS, but none of the checkers complied… I didn’t know the 22a surgeon, but it just had to be, and I was unfamiliar with the 20a description of cotyledon, but again the wordplay was clear.
    Once again, my thanks to Prolixic and thanks also to CS.

  8. A late comment from me to say how very much I enjoyed this tribute to the Blog’s 15th Birthday. My deepest appreciation to all who continue to keep Big’ Dave’s wonderful creation flourishing. Thank you all.
    Prolixic is a master of Ninas! Thought this one was rather clever. My favourite clues were 11a, 18a, 2d, 15d and 19d.
    Big thanks to Prolixic for an excellent birthday puzzle. Big thanks too to Crypticsue for a beautifully illustrated review. 20a was new to me, and I had the second word but guessed the first from the checking letters.

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