NTSPP – 528 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 528

NTSPP – 528

More than enough by Mucky

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A tricky little themed number for this week’s NTSPP taking longer than the time I usually set aside on a Saturday lunchtime, but perhaps perfect for people who are either self-distancing or isolating and have more time to spare. I haven’t counted the number of times they appear, but typing the review you get the feeling that if you aren’t inserting something into something else, you are having to make an anagram to get the solution, which gives the overall impression that there isn’t a lot of variation in clue types

I was informed last night that my original theory in my draft blog with regard to the meaning of the title of this crossword was incorrect and that the reference was to (something I’d never heard of) the old joke about the English guest breakfasting at a French hotel who is asked how many eggs he wants and replies “Un oeuf is enough (un oeuf)” – so the puzzle has more than un oeuf. Just in case you are wondering, I had decided that ‘more than enough’ was “over”, a homophone of “ova” eggs, which I thought was quite clever even if probably not what Mucky intended.

Across

1a A luxury vehicle squeezes by (6)
CAVIAR A vehicle ‘squeezes’ a preposition meaning by way of

5a Small bed children ruin (6)
SCOTCH The abbreviation for Small, a bed and the abbreviation for children

10a Poke bottom layer of 21 produce (5)
GOOSE To poke someone in the bottom or the layer of the 21d themed article

11a Silvery element of cloud, a faint lining for everyone to see (9)
PALLADIUM A figurative term for a cloud of, eg, smoke or darkness, A (from the clue) and a synonym for faint lined with the letter used to indicate that a film is suitable for everyone to see

12a Painter wearing pretty dress finally manages to exhibit (7)
CURATES The usual Crosswordland abbreviation for artist (painter) ‘wearing’ a synonym for pretty, the result finished with the final letter of dress

13a Take the train in Chicago for a few cents (6)
NICKEL An informal term meaning to steal (take) and the name by which the Chicago train system is known

15a Porky kids’ favourite accompaniment to 5, some say (5)
PEPPA A character from children’s TV sounds like (some say) something often accompanying 5d

16a Disturb hornet, it’s extremely likely to prick you (9)
THORNIEST An anagram (disturb) of HORNET ITS

18a Turnover of this restaurant belongs to heiress, arbitrarily (9)
BRASSERIE Found lurking in reverse (turnover) in hEIRESS ARBitrarily

20a Musician wants something for breakfast, cycling around Rhode Island (5)
GRIEG A breakfast item has its final letter moved to the front (cycling) the result then put around the abbreviation for Rhode Island

22a Colour that’s popular like olive? Not as it happens (6)
INDIGO The two-letter word used to indicate that something is popular, a slang word meaning to like, and the first letter of Olive (you don’t need the rest of the word (not ‘as it happens’)

24a A dog’s life; ideal, oddly (7)
SPANIEL A stretch of time, especially life, and the add letters of IdEaL

26a Whisk a beer, get hiccups drinking gallons (9)
EGGBEATER An anagram (hiccups) of A BEER GET ‘drinking’ the abbreviation for Gallons

27a Small oval food item little rook cracks open wide? (5)
GRAPE A lovely definition. The chess abbreviation for Rook ‘cracks’ a verb meaning to open wide

28a High clear summit seen from the east (6)
ROTTEN A reversal (as seen from the east in an Across clue) of an adjective meaning clear and a summit of land

29a Holiday when a man rose late? (6)
EASTER A cryptic definition

Down

2d Doubtful reports of orca happy at sea (9)
APOCRYPHA An anagram (at sea) of ORCA HAPPY

3d Constipation affecting Ayrshire, reported in Liverpool? (7)
INERTIA I’m not entirely sure that someone from Liverpool would say IN AYRSHIRE in the same way as the solution word. I solved this one from definition and checking letters

4d Lie about current below on Italian river bank (10)
REPOSITORY A lie goes about the symbol for electrical current. This then goes below the two-letter word meaning on [the subject of] and Crosswordland’s most useful Italian river – it was also to be found in today’s DT Prize Puzzle

5d Sailor covered in barnacles? (4)
SALT Hidden ‘covered’ in barNACLes is the chemical symbol for a particular substance, the name of which is also given to an experienced sailor

6d Hand eggs your mother carries in to Dicky (7)
OVATION Eggs carried by a mother plus an anagram (dicky) of IN TO

7d Initially coy country boy who just came out of his shell? (5)
CHICK The initial letter of Coy and a country boy

8d Small container, say, the size of a large jug? (6)
EGGCUP An abbreviation meaning say, and the size of a large woman’s breast (jug)

9d My place in Albert Square granted option for an American diner (6)
OMELET How someone from EastEnders might refer to his place plus a synonym for granted

14d Quietly swore, breaking egg on spike (5,5)
POWER SURGE The musical abbreviation meaning to play quietly and an anagram (breaking) of SWORE plus a synonym for egg on

17d Get rid of cream walls at home in Massachusetts (9)
ELIMINATE A synonym for cream in the sense of the best of something ‘walls’ the abbreviation for Massachusetts into which has been inserted AT (from the clue) and the two letters meaning home

18d Pub’s closing drunk was furious (6)
BOILED The closing letter of puB and a slang term meaning tipsy (drunk)

19d Recommend paring cruciverbalist’s egg usage, on reflection (7)
SUGGEST Lurking in reverse (on reflection) in cruciverbalisTS EGG USage

20d Farms were quick to get into free-range eggs (7)
GRANGES Part of a verb meaning were quick inserted into an anagram (free-range) of EGGS

21d Doctor longed to be successful (6)
GOLDEN An anagram (doctor) of LONGED

23d Cook eggs you shelled without being spotted (5)
DOGGO A verb meaning to cook in the sense of manipulate and the inside letters (shelled) of eGGs yOu

25d Bowl over food with shells turned upside down (4)
STUN A reversal (turned upside down) of some food with shells


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23 comments on “NTSPP – 528
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  1. Well that was a tricky little Saturday crossword – took me all my macaroni cheese eating time, Mr CS doing the washing up and more.

    However, I’m delighted to say that I spotted the theme fairly early on (yes – me – I spotted a theme!). Lots to enjoy with 15a, and 8d making me smile, and I’d add 27a for the definition, and 5d to the list.

    Thanks Mucky and, in advance (we think) to Prolixic

  2. Superb puzzle with a commendable number of themed entries and an excellent punning title.
    My only criticism is that 15a should say 5d rather than 5 (because I spent some time trying to link it to 5a).
    I have loads of ticks – I’ll mention 10a, 12a, 14d and 23d but my favourite for the guffaw when the penny dropped is 8d.
    Many thanks, Mucky. We need as many laughs as we can get in these difficult times.

    1. I meant to say earlier that I applaud Mucky for qualifying his ‘homophones’ in 15a and 3d with ‘some say’ and ‘in Liverpool’ respectively. I wish that other setters would recognise that pronunciation varies across different regions and countries and follow his example.

  3. With a lot of eggs and shells around, Jean-Luc might be tempted to say “un oeuf is more than enough”.

    I couldn’t get started in the NW corner and worked my way steadily round the other three quarters, which were moderately challenging. The NW however stubbornly refused to fall for a very long time. This was partly because I have no idea how a Liverpudlian might pronounce Ayrshire and, although I am finally happy with my answer based on the definition and checking letters, I can’t parse 4d (apart from the usual Italian river). In addition I thought it was unfair in 15a not to refer to 5D.

    Some of the surfaces were rather strained, possibly as a result of the theme, and I think that “shells” in 25a is too big a stretch for “nuts”.

    On balance I did enjoy it, but overall it was a bit of a curate’s egg. :wink: 17d was my favourite.

    Many thanks, Mucky, for the challenge and for taking my mind off this wretched virus for a while.

    1. 25d I think ‘food with shells’ is fair enough for ‘nuts’. 4d is a lie containing the symbol for electric current all following ‘on’ and our favourite Italian river.

      1. Thanks very much, Gazza. I missed the “food with …” for 25d, which is, as you suggest, absolutely fine. I think I spent so long on the NW corner that I got parsing blindness with 4d; at various times I spotted “RE”, “PO”, and “I” but I missed the lie completely.

  4. Excellent puzzle which kept me occupied for quite a while with plenty of penny-drops and smiles along the way
    Great fun, thanks Mucky

  5. This proving to be a bit of a struggle, but I thought I would chip in now with a couple of comments and a question.
    Best clue so far and by far – 17d!
    The BRB has 26a as (3,6) rather than (9) and not even (3-6).
    Is 20a at least bordering on an indirect anagram?
    Thanks so far Mucky and to CS for tomorrow’s review which I am sure I will have to refer to.

  6. Got there, finally. Theme helped. loads to like! I particularly liked the egg in 14d, which took me too long to see.

    only just now spotted that the anagram indicator in 20d is not free, but free-range, duh, that makes parsing easier.

    struggled with the liverpudlian

    some great misleads, luxury vehicle etc.

    the “to” seems odd in 12a – manages exhibition, maybe
    is the thing in 28 really a summit, or the hill?
    I liked olive
    I had a clue similar to 8d in my first indy puzzle, though this one is a smoother story. Great minds etc.
    ‘extremely’ is cute for superlatives, yet somehow in 16a it seems to want ‘most’ instead
    didn’t know the word for not being spotted which held me up – got it from wordplay and checked.

    Got the significance of the title fairly quickly – though I’ll admit that initially i thought it referred to the well-qualified definitions, “food with shells”, “small oval food item”, “eggs your mother carries”, etc!

    Great fun and many thanks. Almost makes up for not going to the pub.

  7. Lots of time.
    Lots of effort.
    Lots of guffaws.
    Lots of enjoyment.
    Many thanks Mucky, that was great fun for a dampish Sunday morning.

  8. Had to leave a couple of clues and come back to them later but all now safely in the box.
    Did I enjoy it – umm, not sure. Favourite was 13a followed by 1a.

    Thanks to Mucky for the eggstravaganza.

    1. Aargh, Jane… and to think I resisted the temptation to say ‘one for the albumen’ and ovoid all the other dubious yokes

  9. Many thanks to everyone who had a go or commented, and thanks to crypticsue for the blog, which, thorough as it is, fails to answer the question that everyone must be thinking: where on earth did you get macaroni?

    1. The simple answer is “From a packet in the cupboard in the corner of the kitchen”! Living 5 miles away from the nearest shop and somewhere that can get cut off quite easily when it snows, we have to make sure that we have all the essentials just in case. No insane panic buying here – I will say I’m surprised there aren’t more behavioural psychologists looking at what people are buying – interestingly in one aisle of our local Sainsburys on Friday afternoon, all the pies, pizzas, quiches, coleslaws etc had vanished leaving blank shelves apart from the area where the pots of different types of olives reside which was left completely full but in isolation.

  10. Many thanks for the review, CS, and the explanation of the puzzle’s title which had defeated me.
    Loved your picture for 21d.

  11. A bit tricky in places but an enjoyable and satisfying solve, although I did wonder if 15ac was going to be something to go with 5ac (as a drink) rather than 5dn. And I spotted the theme for once, although there were so many references in both clues and answers that I thought Mucky might have over-egged (sorry!) the pudding.
    Thanks, both.

  12. Just a general quibble for future setters’ reference: cities here in the States can be particular about how our trains are called. If you call it the “el” in Chicago people will know you are an out of towner. Chicagoans ride the “L.” We say “El” in Philadelphia even when it’s underground. New York is the opposite. And in Boston it’s The T wherever it is.

    1. Welcome to the blog

      That’s very useful information – apart from crossword setters, it will be helpful for travellers, if we ever get to travel that far again!

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