NTSPP – 467 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 467

NTSPP – 467

Somewhat Blue by Chalicea

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Somewhat Blue

Did you spot the ghost theme? The title and ten of the words (I’ve marked the clues) in the solution grid share a definition in the Chambers Dictionary.


1 Force way into unusual recipe (6)
PIERCE An anagram (unusual) of RECIPE

4 Singular girl, Hebrew princess, returning to constantly trouble (6)
HARRAS – The abbreviation for singular and a reversal (returning) the girl’s name, the meaning of which in Hebrew is princess

8 Braised, cooked marine flier (7)
SEABIRD An anagram (cooked) of BRAISED

9 Scottish speciality to prohibit pinking sound of combustion engines, we’re told (7)
BANNOCK A verb meaning to prohibit and a homophone of the pinking sound of combustion engines

11 Surrounded by gaseous burps, lady’s maid from time to time complains whiningly (10)
BELLYACHES The alternative letters (from time to time) of LadYs mAid inserted into some gaseous burps

12 Use knife on wheeling flying mammals (4)
STAB A reversal (wheeling) of some flying mammals

13 Characters among ninjitsus hid their delicacy (5)
SUSHI Lurking among ninjitSUS HId

14 Musical composition of buff beginning to tour largest continent (8)
FANTASIA A buff or enthusiast, the letter at the beginning of Tour and the largest continent – a change to this clue from the original version of this crossword will, once he got to the Downs, have set a certain person’s repetition radar beeping!

16 He and I welcoming revolutionary links in capital city (8)
HELSINKI HE and I (from the clue) ‘welcoming’ an anagram (revolutionary) of LINKS

18 Foremost tree on street (5)
FIRST A type of tree followed by the abbreviation for street

20 Furtive look in both directions (4)
PEEP This furtive look is a palindrome (in both directions)

21 Central American‘s peculiar lingua franca (not originally Latin or French) (10)
NICARAGUAN An anagram (peculiar) of lINGUA fRANCA (you don’t need the ‘original’ letters of Latin and French)

23 Be aware beforehand of fixed charge involving mineral aggregates (7)
FORESEE A fixed charge into which is inserted (involving) some mineral aggregates

24 What gives colour to tissues of hog, humans and beetles essentially (7)
PIGMENT Another word for a hog, some humans and the ‘essential’ letter of beeTles

25 Affirmative vote expressed to permit very small hole (6)
EYELET A homophone (expressed) of an affirmative vote followed by a verb meaning to permit

26 Short time these days for little fish (6)
MINNOW A short time and a way of saying ‘these days’


1 Portion of pastry dish with starters of Camembert and egg (5)
PIECE A pastry dish plus the ‘starters’ of Camembert and Egg

2 Following end of game, doctor with charity preserves state of body (7)
EMBALMS Follow the ‘end’ of gamE with one of the abbreviations for doctor and some charity

3 Flower of automobile pursued by great number (9)
CARNATION An automobile followed by (pursued) a great number of people

5 Gather together in a religious service (5)
AMASS A (from the clue) and a religious service

6 Memory loss of men wandering in the largest continent (7)
AMNESIA An anagram (wandering) of MEN inserted into the largest continent

7 Left winger, thus on US intelligence agency register (9)
SOCIALIST A synonym for thus, the US Intelligence agency and a register

10 Corn husks in bits of cast-off handfuls for little songbird (9)
CHAFFINCH Wheat husks, IN (from the clue) and the first letters (bits) of Cast and Handfuls

13 Dock worker‘s nerve ends oddly disregarded in warehouse (9)
STEVEDORE Another word for warehouse goes round the even (oddly disregarded) letters of nErVe EnDs

15 New fashion I enter, fit for Egyptian queen (9)
NEFERTITI An anagram (new fashion) of I ENTER FIT

17 Most excellent meat dish served in rich cream sauce (7)
SUPREME Double definition

19 System of government of engineers, US private and ordinary soldiers (7)
REGIMEN The abbreviation for the Royal Engineers, a US private soldier and some ordinary soldiers

21 Young relative‘s base in heart of French Riviera city (5)
NIECE Well there had to be one chestnut – E (base) inserted into the middle (heart) of a French Riviera city

22 About wintery precipitation just like at the present moment (2, 3)
AS NOW The abbreviation for about and some wintery precipitation


Thank you to Chalicea for the crossword which was, in my view, perfect for the NTSPP slot, not to mention being ideal for my 800th blog post – hasn’t time flown while I’ve been enjoying myself!

22 comments on “NTSPP – 467

  1. This was all over in a flash, but it proves the point that a puzzle doesn’t have to be difficult to be enjoyable, and this proved to be extremely entertaining thanks to the consistently smooth surfaces and precisely accurate wordplay throughout. It was just a shame to have used “largest continent” twice.

    I spent an age however trying (and failing miserably!) to identify the ghost theme. It is certainly very well hidden.

    4a is a bit of an oddball in my book. On the one hand, it wasn’t necessary to use a split infinitive (putting “to trouble constantly” wouldn’t have affected the definition), and, on the other, full marks to the setter for qualifying the required girl’s name.

    It’s a tough task to pick a favourite from such an excellent selection but 21a particularly appealed to me.

    Many thanks, Chalicea, this was great fun. I’d be interested please to know the logic behind your unusual enumeration of 22d.

      1. Thanks very much for trying, Dave. Having racked my brains and also having searched for everything I can think of in relation to your hint to no avail, I have been forced to give up and will wait for tomorrow’s review for enlightenment.

        1. Crikey.

          Respect to you CS for identifying the theme (which I would never have got in a month of Sundays), and even more respect to Chalicea, firstly, for knowing how many different and very diverse meanings exist for that word, and, secondly, for building most of them into a brilliant puzzle!

          I have to say that even seeing the answers highlighted in the grid didn’t help me to work it out until I finally twigged a link between 3d & 7d which I looked up in the BRB and bingo …

  2. Must disappoint the experts if it’s a bit easy, but fine for me!
    I think that’s the first NTSPP I have completed.
    Like Prolix I struggled with 4a a bit.
    No idea about the theme, but when I do the Guardian crosswords I have no idea about the themes there either, beginners eh!

  3. As RD rightly said, a puzzle doesn’t have to be difficult to be enjoyable and this was a fine example.
    Found several connections to the title but not necessarily the ones our setter intended so I’ll keep quiet for now!

    Thanks to Chalicea for the fun – hope to see you again next Saturday.

  4. My very first NTSSP and solved over brekky this grey, dank and dreich Sunday morning. Perfect for the hour with much to enjoy. I too am finding it hard to come up with a theme contained within this puzzle. Thanks Chalicea – nice one.

  5. Many thanks for the review, CS, but despite the highlighting, I’m none the wiser as to the theme. Please can you enlighten the dunce at the back!

    1. There are many different dictionary definitions for the word which most people would think of as the colour used in the grid and the relevant clues I’ve marked with the same colour

  6. Delightful puzzle, and really interesting to see the number and variety of definitions of pink! Pretty sure I’d never have seen the theme without the helpfully supplied grid. Thanks Chalicea, and to Sue for the review – congratulations on the milestone.

  7. Thanks Chalicea; somewhat blue, eh, I didn’t know that. Interesting crossword, although I failed on the theme.

    Thanks Sue for revealing all and congrats on your 800th.

  8. Congratulations Cryptic Sue, what an achievement and thank you as always for the delightful illustrations in your great blog. I particularly liked the puffin. This puzzle was submitted some time ago and I was entertained on finding that the ‘ghost theme’ word has been chosen as the word to clue in the clue-writing competition’s January challenge. For me it has had significance since, about ten years ago, I received the ‘rules’ for compiling Enigmatic Variations crosswords’ (the EV in the Sunday Telegraph) from the editor at the time, James Leonard. He used this word to explain that we could use any of the eight headwords as a pair in a double-definition clue but must not use two definitions that come under the same bold printed headword.

  9. Excellent puzzle, huge enjoyment, though I failed miserably on the theme and needed CS’s detailed explanation to get it.
    I’m so glad I saved this for today. Now, why would I choose 11a as fave?Really, no taste at all!
    Thanks to Chalicea and to CrypticSue for the blog. 800th? Blimey, that’s quite an achievement.
    I think I’ll just pop over to the other side to see what I’ve been missing – not!

  10. We solved this one as soon as we could get access to the site yesterday but put off commenting until we could sort out the ghost theme. We never did. Amazed to find that there are so many meanings of the word that we had never heard of. Well done setter in putting it all together.
    Thanks Chalicea and CS. We were wondering Sue whether you twigged the theme cold or had a little nudge or two in the right direction.

    1. I did know I was looking for ten words on one theme – my mum always got annoyed with people who called flowers 3d when what they meant was a pink so I then went off to the BRB as per the ‘structions. Then I remembered this like the fact that we have a chaffinch that pink pinks a lot in the summer; I knew about engines pinking (Mr CS does all our car repairs). I found it quite interesting that the 24a is apparently yellow!

  11. Solved very quickly in a few spare minutes, but still very enjoyable, so didn’t bother trying to find the theme. Thanks, Chalicea and crypticsue.

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