NTSPP 745 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Silvanus

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Please join me in wishing today's setter a Happy Birthday!


Happy Birthday Silvanus and thank you for an enjoyable lunchtime diversion

If you look very carefully at your solved grid, you should spot a hidden theme:  abbreviated months of the year 


1a  Endlessly sick patient struggling to be germ-free (10)
ANTISEPTIC:  An anagram (struggling) of SICk PATIENT (‘endlessly’ telling you to omit the K)

6a  Turn over article about very old star (4)
NOVA: Put an indefinite article ‘about’ the abbreviations for Very and Old and then turn over

10a  Fancy Bill after Bill retired (7)
CAPRICE: A reversal (retired) of an abbreviated bill followed by the cost of something (bill)

11a  Languid rogue is celebrating (7)
LAUDING: An anagram (rogue) of LANGUID

12a  Short-distance telephone system printer company installs (8)
INTERCOM: Hidden (installed) in prINTER COMpany

13a  Publish material without amendment ultimately (5)
ISSUE: Some material without the ultimate letter of amendmenT

15a  Stupid individual requires help to catch bird... (7)
AIRHEAD: Some help ‘catches’ a bird

17a  ...kid turned up, reportedly having plan (7)
CONCOCT: Trick or kid followed by a homophone (reportedly) of a synonym for turned up

19a  In front of college Jack's planted a shrub (7)
JUNIPER: The abbreviation for Jack in a suit of cards, an abbreviated college and the preposition meaning for each (a)

21a  Mollify Europeans visiting West Brompton area? (7)
SWEETEN: Two abbreviations for Europeans ‘visiting’ the area of London where West Brompton is situated

22a  Titles sailor rejected one American brushed aside (5)
NAMES: Reverse a sailor and reject (brushed aside) one of the abbreviations for American

24a  PM and nation excited seeing soldier leading patrol (5,3)
POINT MAN: An anagram (excited) of PM and NATION

27a  Concerning school grades generating comments (7)
REMARKS: Concerning or on the subject of and some school grades

28a  Feverish rumour's beginning to feed crazy belief (7)
FEBRILE: The ‘beginning’ of Rumour ‘feeds’ an anagram (crazy) of BELIEF

29a  Sauce former BBC radio presenter (4)
MAYO: Double definition – a type of sauce or a former BBC radio presenter

30a  Not quite finding smell is gradually reducing (10)
DECRESCENT: Almost all of a finding or judicial decision and a smell


1d  Length cut from tree to make bow (4)
ARCH: Cut the abbreviation for Length from a type of tree

2d  Criticise day before game money surrounding form of cricket (3,3,3)
TIP AND RUN: An informal word meaning to criticise harshly, the abbreviations for Day and Rugby Union) game inserted into (surrounding) a slang term for money

3d  Rasher kind of tennis shot (5)
SLICE: A rasher of bacon or a type of tennis shot

4d  Base in Cleveland's outskirts mole previously penetrated (7)
PIERCED: A mole or breakwater goes before the ‘outskirts’ of ClevelanD into which is inserted the base of the natural system of logarithms

5d  One probing outlandish claims relating to religion (7)
ISLAMIC: The Roman numeral for one ‘probing’ an anagram (outlandish) of CLAIMS

7d  Leaves out for main Test regular selections, dropped (5)
OMITS: The even (regular selections dropped) of fOr MaIn TeSt

8d  Extending time taken by nun Maggie to travel (10)
AUGMENTING: The abbreviation for Time ‘taken’ by an anagram (to travel) of NUN MAGGIE

9d  Soup that's right for girl to consume (8)
JULIENNE: A legal right inserted into (to consume) a girl’s name

14d  Face head of judiciary plus strange self-important official (10)
PANJANDRUM: A slang word for the face, the ‘head’ of Judiciary, a conjunction meaning plus and a synonym for strange or peculiar

16d  Revelation certainly that supports former Italian banker (8)
EXPOSURE: A synonym for certainly supports (in a Down solution) the usual two-letter ‘former’ and an Italian river

18d  Boycott piece of geodesic art Southampton put up (9)
OSTRACISE: Hidden in reverse (put up) in geodESIC ART SOuthampton

20d  Cycling advert essentially mystifies Sally (7)
RIPOSTE: ‘Cycle’ the essential letter of mystifies and a large printed advertisement

21d  Sort of dog that gets smack? (7)
SNIFFER: A dog that finds smack and other drugs

23d  Female having issue with horror movie character (5)
MUMMY:  A mother (female having issue) or a character in a horror movie

25d  Macaroni, maybe it bubbles occasionally over saucepan's lid (5)
TUBES: The occasional letters of iT bUbBlEs over (in a Down solution) the lid of Saucepan

26d  Fulfil broadcast of game, say (4)
MEET:  A homophone (broadcast) of game as a type of food



23 comments on “NTSPP 745
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  1. What an absolute delight from the Master of Smooth – no caffeine required!

    Smiles for 10a, 30a, 7d, and 23d with the biggest smile going to 10a.

    Thanks to Silvanus and in advance to CS.

      1. Thank you very much, Senf!

        I promise there won’t be a puzzle tomorrow – three days in a row is quite enough!

  2. We’re being spoilt – this is the third day in a row that we’ve had a Silvanus puzzle to enjoy. Many thanks to him (and Happy Birthday!). I did wonder whether the occasion would mean that there would be a Nina but I can’t spot one.
    It’s a very enjoyable puzzle (slightly trickier on the right-hand side).
    I have loads of ticks including 10a, 15a, 17a, 30a and 14d with my favourite being 23d.

    1. That’s very kind of you, Gazza. Thank you very much!

      No Nina, but there is a theme hidden in some of the solutions!

  3. How nice that we get to join in with the celebrations for the birthday boy – 21 again is it, Silvanus?
    I did have a few tricky moments during the solve but there’s always the security of knowing that, with this setter, everything will eventually become clear if you stick at it.
    Rosettes handed out to 15&27a plus 14&21d. 14d gets included simply for being a delightful word and 21d probably takes the biscuit!

    Many thanks to Silvanus for sharing his day with us.

  4. What an absolute joy to have three Silvanus puzzles on the trot. This was nothing like as tough as Thursday’s Toughie and Friday’s back-pager but they were all equally enjoyable. I suspected a pangram today but it proved to be a couple of letters short. I did notice the theme and found 12 items.

    2d took me back to the school playground and 21d was my favourite of many ticked clues.

    Very unusually with this setter, a raised eyebrow for the vague girl in 9d. I would have preferred Ms Whitfield (or perhaps Ms Brown) instead of “girl”. They are the only two famous Junes I can think of but, as both are sadly no longer with us, neither is in any state to consume soup. I suspect June may have gone the way of Nigel, which I see in today’s paper became extinct as a name in 2022.

    Many thanks to SIlvanus for keeping us so royally entertained. I hope you have a very Happy Birthday.

    1. Thank you very much, RD.

      Had this been a Telegraph puzzle, I would have almost certainly tried to clue the “vague girl” in a more imaginative way!

  5. Happy Birthday, Silvanus, and many thanks for this enjoyable puzzle. We want to clarify a couple of answers with CS tomorrow. We look forward to your next one.

  6. We came to strife in the mid west region. The GK required for 21a was beyond us which didn’t help and it took a long time to parse 17a.
    Good fun as ever.
    Thanks and happy birthday Silvanus.

  7. A very pleasant solve, with some lateral thinking required. I didn’t know the postcode for West Brompton but it was easily guessed, and it’s a long time since I encountered the self-important individual at 14dn.
    Thanks and belated birthday greetings, Silvanus; thanks also to CS.

  8. Many thanks to CS for her review and to all those kind enough to solve the puzzle and leave comments together with birthday greetings.

    My thanks also to Mr K for scheduling the puzzle when he did and for setting everything up. I’m very grateful.

  9. A lovely puzzle which took me through morning tea and beyond! Enough entries to provide a foothold with the tougher challenges being fairly clued – and no obscurities, albeit the ‘self-important official’ took some rummaging amongst dormant brain cells. I did have to check out where West Brompton is to confirm my answer for 21a once the checkers had pointed the way forward. 17a was my best penny-drop moment after some alphabet juggling and that helped me get the 9d ‘soup’, which was my last one in. Across and down podium places went to 1, 10 & 15 and 5, 20 & 23 respectively. As usual, I failed to spot the theme!
    Thanks for the puzzle, Silvanus, and belated happy birthday wishes. Thanks also to CS for her customary first-rate review.

  10. Many thanks for the beautifully illustrated review, CS, a worthy accompaniment to a most enjoyable birthday puzzle.

  11. Thanks for the review Sue and for identifying the theme which, needless to say, I missed completely (Chalicea’s themes are much easier to spot) – I have found 8 of the 12 months, have I missed any?

  12. Thank you, Silvanus and a happy birthday for yesterday. I was on county rugby duty yesterday, so apologies for being late to the party!
    Lovely puzzle.
    I would never have spotted the hidden words without being prompted. It was hard enough finding them when I knew what I was looking for!
    Thanks also to CS for the review.

  13. My apologies for the tardiness of this comment. Belated but warmest birthday greetings to you for Saturday, Sylvanus. I hope you had a most enjoyable day and weekend.
    What a super NTSPP! Alas, I would never have spotted the theme either. Very subtle and rather clever.
    Its always difficult to make a special selection from so many excellent clues. I have singled out the following: 10a, 15a, 9d, 14d, 21d, and last but not least, my favourite 23d.
    Many appreciative thanks to Sylvanus for a delightful puzzle and to crypticsue for her excellent review. I did enjoy the illustrations, especially 9d (from your kitchen, of course :lol: ) and 23d.

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