NTSPP – 460 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 460

NTSPP – 460

A Puzzle by Starhorse

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.

Starhorse never fails to provide an excellent crossword with tight clues, lovely surface readings and nothing that is hair-tearingly bamboozling.


1 Eagles track outlaw (9)
DESPERADO – Double definition, through if you are not old or interested enough to remember the title of records recorded by the Eagles, it might be a single definition that you had to rely on!

6 Staff continue to get the runs (5)
BATON – Split 3,2 this would indicate what a cricketer does to get runs.

9 They tell a tale of tribe lost at sea (9)
LIBRETTOS – An anagram (at sea) of TRIBE LOST.

10 Delayed briefly getting home from Italy? (5)
LATIN – A four word meaning delayed with the final letter removed (briefly) followed by a two letter word meaning home.

11 Prime Minister twice changed seat and direction (5-5-4)
NORTH-NORTH-EAST – The name of an 18th Century prime minister twice followed by an anagram (changed) of SEAT.

13 You and I are parents over fifty (7)
MAMMALS – A five letter word for female partners around (over) the Roman numeral for fifty.

15 Joy finds room for a piano that’s not so dear (7)
CHEAPER – A five letter word for joy includes (finds room for) the A from the clue and the abbreviation for piano.

17 Pieces left out, put in the shade (7)
ECLIPSE – An anagram (out) of PIECES L (left).

19 Hide in one corner of a Greek island? (7)
SECRETE – A corner in terms of a compass direction and the name of a Greek island.

21 Present a leg? (8,6)
STOCKING FILLER – Double definition, the first being small Christmas gifts and the second, cryptic for a description of a leg in terms of a pair of tights.

25 Part of church visited by one born yesterday? (5)
NAIVE – The name of the central part of a church around (visited by) the letter representing one.

26 Food from Mexico and Iceland has mostly gone off (9)
ENCHILADA – An anagram (gone off) of ICELAND HA (has mostly – ie the final letter removed).

27 Allowed to make a quick getaway? (5)
LEGIT – Split 3,2, this slang word for legal means run off quickly.

28 Those who mock took woman to see leaders (9)
SATIRISTS – A three letter word meaning took (as in took an exam) followed by a four letter woman name and the initial letters (leaders) of to see.


1 Young player caught out by Durham’s opener, the fool (4)
DOLT – A four letter word for a young sportsperson without the C (caught out) after the initial letter (opener) of Durham.

2 Standard vessel swapped – it’s inferior (9)
SUBNORMAL – A six letter word meaning standard and a three letter word for an underwater vehicle with their places swapped in the answer.

3 Choose God for Greek tragedy (7)
ELECTRA – A five letter word meaning choose followed by a two letter name of an Egyptian god.

4 Instruction to shoot I neglected to obey (3,2)
ACT ON – What a direct calls to begin shooting a film scene without (neglected) the I.

5 Former pupil almost thumped heartless teachers in bars (9)
OBSTRUCTS – A two letter abbreviation for a former pupil followed by a six letter word meaning thumped without the final letter (almost) and the outer letters (heartless) of teachers.

6 Send up good-for-nothing husband that’s unco-operative (7)
BOLSHIE – Reverse (send up) a word for a good-for-nothing person and follow with the abbreviations for husband and that it (id est).

7 Fish supper to consume together on vacation (5)
TETRA – A three letter word for supper includes (to consume) the outer letters (on vacation) of together.

8 Futile plan “N”? (3-7)
NON-STARTER – A description of a three letter word meaning no in France gives a word for a futile plan.

12 Formal emails riddled with porn (10)
IMPERSONAL – An anagram (riddled) of EMAILS PORN.

14 Back Head’s austere approach (9)
STERNNESS – A five letter word for the back of a boat followed by a four letter word for a head of land.

16 Alpines cultivated to live inside – they’re very common (9)
PLEBEIANS – An anagram (cultivated) of ALPINES includes a two letter word meaning to live.

18 Most powerful clergyman showing approval for King (7)
POKIEST – A six letter word for a clergyman or woman with a two letter word meaning approval in place of the abbreviation for king.

20 Miner runs after dog (7)
COLLIER – A breed of dog followed by the abbreviation for runs.

22 Unsettled by sport’s lack of leadership (5)
OWING – The name of a sport involving oarsmen or women without the initial letter (lack of leadership).

23 Feature expert in newspaper (5)
FACET – A three letter word for an expert inside the abbreviation for Financial Times (newspaper).

24 Plans revealed in unwanted messages from the south (4)
MAPS – Reverse (from the south) of a type of unwanted e-mail communication.

28 comments on “NTSPP – 460

  1. Pitched perfectly for the post lunch spot before Mr CS persuades me that it isn’t quite as wet and nasty as I think it is and we go out to look at new lighting options for the kitchen

    I have one clue I’ll have to wait for Prolixic to explain tomorrow but apart from that, a good mixture of ‘old friends’ and ‘thinkers’

    Thanks to Starhorse and in advance to Prolixic

  2. Very good, with a couple of chestnuts thrown in at 19 & 27a. Nicely done Starhorse, thanks for the entertainment.

  3. Good entertaining crossword; thanks Starhorse.

    I’m not sure which is Sue’s problem clue – I didn’t notice anything when solving, although I could have missed something.

    I particularly liked 6A, 18D and 22D.

  4. SW corner gave me the most trouble, and I don’t understand 18D at all! Good fun, though. Thanks Starhorse.

  5. That was fun, completed while watching the first half from Maine Road (or whatever it’s called these days), thank you Starhorse.

    Assisted by a couple, or more, of oldies but goodies.

    Standout joint favourites – 11a and 21a.

    Thanks in advance to Prolixic.

  6. That had us working quite hard. The music allusion in 1a was outside our ken but we got it from the other definition. The other one to give trouble was 18d which we worked out from the wordplay but can’t quite see how it fits the definition. (Have just rechecked BRB and found an informal use of the word, new to us, that fits the bill.)
    Thanks for the fun Starhorse.

  7. A most enjoyable solve that eventually submitted gracefully and I only had an issue with 18d. I vaguely recall having come across its use in that context but feel that our setter might have been better advised to use an alternative clue. Each to their own, as they say!

    Many clues that I liked with 21a coming out on top of the pile.

    Thanks to Starhorse for an excellent puzzle – nice to tackle another one of your NTSPP offerings.

  8. Hi Starhorse – I enjoyed this much earlier today but haven’t had a chance to comment yet. Many thanks! I thought it was a kind puzzle, just right for a saturday morning. Like others, I wasn’t quite sure i had the answer to 18d right, but seems so. well done and thank you. Quite liked 5d

  9. Hi Starhorse,

    I can’t praise this one highly enough, the surfaces in particular I thought were flawless. I really do wish your puzzles weren’t quite so infrequent though.

    My picks of a truly excellent crop were 1a, 21a, 4d, 7d and 22d, but almost every clue was vying for contention.

    Congratulations on a superbly crafted crossword. Many thanks.

  10. Belated thanks for the feedback – I was out on choral duty yesterday afternoon and evening so wasn’t able to reply.

    18d was the hardest word to clue – you can probably tell. I was scrabbling around trying to work something around the cramped meaning for ages. I’ve heard this other sense of the word in relation to cars, though maybe it’s not used so much now.

  11. I really enjoyed this, thanks Starhorse. By the way, did I spy you in a Countdown audience recently?

    Likes are numerous, and I didn’t note them down when I solved. A quick look back now and I’ll pick 1a, 21a (though don’t remind me!), 4d and 22d, but that’s not an exclusive list.

    Many thanks again to Starhorse and in advance to Prolixic for the review.

    1. Hi Kitty

      Glad you enjoyed the puzzle. It wasn’t specifically a seasonal one but it did seem a good time for 21a to appear – along with, as has been pointed out, several chestnuts….

      Yes, I was in the Countdown audience winning a mug for unravelling the unsolved conundrum!

      If you’re a regular watcher look out for the final week of a Champion of Champions series that they are showing in January; we saw the last 5 shows and there are some cracking performances – and certainly no unsolved conundrums.

      1. Hi. :)

        I’m only an occasional viewer, mainly when I keep the parents (both mammals over 50) company, but will be sure to catch the Champion of Champions.

        I was actually watching that particular one because one of the contestants is a twittererer and I was curious to see how he did. Pretty well. But I was a little surprised when I recognised Starhorse in the audience with the conundrum! (Ooh, that sounds like something from a less deadly version of Cluedo …)

  12. Nice work. A pleasant alternative to the Sunday ordeal (which wasn’t quite the ordeal of late). Most trouble in the NE 7d needs checking against Prolixic’s review. Knowing it is a substitution helps understanding of 18d. A few oldies but goodies but overall a fair balance of 14d.
    Thanks Starhorse and Prolixic in advance of the review.

  13. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. Only needed to check that my 18d answer was correct but it was pleasure to read through this puzzle again.

  14. Thanks Prolixic you have explained a few I was struggling with and made the same spelling mistake as I did with 16d (where is the 2nd e?) Thanks again for the review and thanks to Starhorse for the puzzle. Those fish at 7d made a repeat appearance this weekend and I struggled with them both times. Never to be forgot I hope.

    1. Deja vu! Some time after I wrote these clues I revisited them and set up a document with the parsing on – I find this a very useful sanity check, and normally leads to one or two corrections/rewrites. Trouble was that I did exactly the same with 16d and put the answer down with the second E missing, so set about rewriting the clue on the grounds it didn’t work. Fortunately in time I realised from the numeration what I’d done and that it was actually fine all along.

      Thanks Prolixic for the review and the fine selection of illustrations.

  15. I’m going to disqualify the runner in 6a unless he gets those fingers behind the line.🏃‍♂️🏃‍♂️🏃‍♂️

  16. A bit late to comment now but just to say that I enjoyed this one lots and, to Prolixic, re the hint for 1a, “Who are you calling old?”
    18d caused a spot of bother as did 22d for no real reason, specially having two daughters who took part in the sport.
    Too many good clues to pick out any particular ones so thanks very much to Starhorse for the crossword and to Prolixic for the review, hints, picccies and answers.

  17. Very much what Kath said. My only problems were with 18dn as I didn’t know that meaning of ‘poky’ (but soon found it in the BRB) and wasn’t familiar with the Eagles’ track in 1ac – my last one in. So thanks to setter and reviewer.

  18. I’m coming very late to the party but I have to applaud the superbly smooth clues with their excellent surfaces – thanks Starhorse.
    I particularly liked 9a, 21a, 4d, 5d and 22d.
    Thanks also to Prolixic for the review.

  19. Same praise from me.
    Loved the surface and the construction of so many clues.
    Thanks to Starhorse and to Prolixic for the review.

Comments are closed.