NTSPP – 565 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 565

A Puzzle by Exit

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Another enjoyable crossword from Exit.  The setter says that there there is a ghost theme.  It is well hidden, whatever it is!


8  Speak about fitness training work (7)
OPERATE – A five-letter word meaning to speak around a two-letter abbreviation for fitness training.

10 County where 17 might get frisky? (7)
RUTLAND – Cryptic definition based on the description of stags in the mating season.

11 13 author – that’s Oscar, essentially bitter (5)
SCOTT – The two-letter abbreviation for scilicet (Latin for namely or that is) followed by the letter represented in the phonetic alphabet by Oscar and the central letters (essentially) of bitter.

12 Curse pronounced on cad somewhere in Holland (9)
ROTTERDAM – A three-letter homophone (pronounced) of damn (curse) after (on) a six-letter word for a cad.

13 Novel Russian garden? (7)
IVANHOE – A four-letter Russian male name followed by a three-letter word meaning to garden.

14 Pain reliever needed when Greek character starts to run in November (7)
ASPIRIN – A two-letter word meaning when followed by a two-letter member of the Greek alphabet and the initial letters (starts to) of the last three words of the clue.

15 Old Roman taking refuge in Muscat, Oman (4)
CATO – The answer is hidden (taking refuge in) in the final two words of the clue.

16 Horses crop grass in field, it’s reported. (5)
GREYS – A homophone (its reported) of graze (crop grass in field).

18 An expression of regret in the style of Brahms, ultimately (4)
ALAS – A French phrase 1,2 meaning in the style of followed by the last letter (ultimately) of Brahms.

22 Island home (in Channel Islands) for Italian manager (7)
MANCINI – A three-letter island in the North Sea followed by a two-letter word meaning home inside the abbreviation for Channel Islands.

24 “In shed” – incomplete alibi for swimmer? (7)
HALIBUT – In a three-letter word fr a shed add all but the last letter (incomplete) of alibi.

26 Spooner’s paper concealed being troubled by witches (3-6)
HAG-RIDDEN – A Spoonerism of rag (paper) hidden (concealed).

27 Celebrated Dancer’s endless steps (5)
STAIR – The partner of danced with Ginger Rogers without the first and last letters (endless).

28 Tiredness some scoff at, I guess (7)
FATIGUE – The answer is hidden (some) in the final four words of the clue.

29 Missiles tracking unknown plants (7)
YARROWS – A letter representing an unknown quantity followed by the type of missiles fired from a bow.


1 Upwardly mobile snob with virtual assistant producing dwarf trees (6)
BONSAI – A reversal (upwardly mobile) the snob from the clue followed by the abbreviation for artificial intelligence (virtual assistant).

2 Echoing notes ran wild (8)
RESONANT – An anagram (wild) of NOTES RAN.

3 Captain shortly takes tea in test for robots (7)
CAPTCHA – A four-letter abbreviation for captain followed by three-letter word for tea.

4 Sea swamps rising American telecom company in part of France (8)
BRITTANY – A five-letter word for the sea around (swamps) a reversal (rising) of the three-letter name of an American telecommunications company. 

5 Try to offer inducements at first (7)
ATTEMPT – A five-letter word meaning to offer inducements after (first) the AT from the clue.

6 Look at a goose?  He might! (6)
GANDER – Double definition, the second being the name for a male goose.

7 Unusual fellows empty trays for leftovers? (8)
ODDMENTS – A three-letter word meaning unusual followed by a three-letter word for fellows and the outer letters (empty) of trays.

9 Look around Rhode Island’s rocky fortress (5)
EYRIE – A three-letter word meaning look around the abbreviation for Rhode Island.

15 Scotsman returns with rod for engine component (8)
CAMSHAFT – A three-letter word for a Scotsman is reverse (returns) and is followed by a five-letter word for a rod.

17 Animal sounds – like rain before grass springing up (8)
REINDEER – A four-letter homophone of rain followed by a reversal (springing up) of a four-letter word for grass.

19 The French support fashion house (not independent) in Eastern Canada (8)
LABRADOR – The French feminine singular for the followed by a three-letter word for an item of ladies underwear and the four-letter word for a fashion house without the I (not Independent).

20 Six family gardens cleared for TV series (7)
VIKINGS – The Roman numerals for six followed by a three-letter word for family and the outer letters (cleared) of gardens.

21 Stopper almost lost in treatment (7)
CLOSURE – All but the last letter (almost) of lost inside a four-letter word for treatment.

23 When expected information comes back, deny! (6)
NEGATE – The abbreviation for estimate time of arrival (when expected) and a three-letter word for information all reversed (comes back).

24 Olympic cyclist touring Tyneside – say, that’s sweet! (5)
HONEY – The three-letter surname of an Olympic cyclist around (tours) the abbreviation for Northeast (Tyneside).

25 Drive through American street (6)
THRUST – A four-letter American spelling of through followed by the abbreviation for street.

30 comments on “NTSPP – 565

  1. Good fun – thanks Exit.
    I liked 10a, 5d and 20d but my favourite (and last answer after some head-scratching) was 3d.

  2. This was light but fun although perhaps the GK quotient was rather on the high side.

    My joint favourites were 10a & 20d.

    Many thanks to Exit.

  3. Definitely a bit heavy on the GK but I would have forgiven our setter a lot if the island home had been for a composer rather than another wretched ‘manager’! For once, a Spoonerism that I got relatively easily – thanks to Harry Potter’s friends – and I’m now reasonably familiar with 3d’s so that was OK.
    Quite liked 20d despite being unfamiliar with the series, enjoyed the celebrated dancer and my favourite was the 10a county which is also one of my favourite counties.

    Thanks to Exit for the latest in his NTSPP series.

    1. For 22ac I was in two minds about whether to have the composer or the manager; on balance I thought the manager might be better known – but it was a near thing.

  4. Thanks Exit I really enjoyed this. Delightfully clued throughout & with some good surfaces. Other than 3d, which was new to me but easily gettable from the wordplay, the other GK wasn’t an issue. For a change the Rev didn’t stall me at 26a but my last 2 in, 4d&16a took longer than they ought for the penny to drop. Lots of great clues – 10a/17d combo plus 19d were my picks. Notice 13a made an appearance in the Prize.

  5. All compete, though I did check that I was correct on 4D since I can’t parse it. Thanks, Exit. That was fun. 10A is my top pick, too.

  6. Thanks to Exit for an entertaining puzzle.

    Unfortunately, I am still puzzled by 11a. I know the author … and I presume that “essentially bitter” = TT?

    But a gentle nudge would be most welcome as to how to parse this clue. Thanks!

      1. Thanks from me too, Gazza – I should know that one by now.
        Oh, and by the way, have you got any crosswords in the pipeline? I think that a Gazza NTSPP or MPP might be just what we all need.

  7. Quite straightforward and very enjoyable which was appreciated as I was trying to keep one eye on the Ireland – Scotland third place match.
    I really liked the 17d/10a combo, 24a, and 26a.
    Thanks Exit.

  8. I thought this was brilliant and am now regretting that I didn’t keep it up my sleeve to do tomorrow.
    I’m not sure what a couple of previous comments are meaning by the amount of GK – maybe it’s because whatever it was I just happened to know – lucky then!
    The bottom right corner caused the biggest hold-up and everything intersected everything else so that took me a while.
    Being the rarity that loves Spoonerisms I enjoyed 26a and I also loved the 10a and 17d combination.
    Lots of other really good stuff too so thank you very much to Exit for occupying a fair bit of a miserable cold day very pleasurably.
    Thanks also, in advance, to CS (I presume) for the review tomorrow.

    1. Tomorrow you should try today’s Guardian Prize Puzzle by Brendan a.k.a Virgilius.

      I wish I had waited until tomorrow … always loved his Sunday puzzles.

      Thanks to Tilsit for the info.

  9. An enjoyable Sunday morning romp before our beach walk. our vote for favourite goes to the 17/10 combo.
    Thanks Exit.

  10. Very pleasant crossword. Thanks to Exit.
    Favourite 4d. Although this sounds more like a natural disaster, it reminded me of the times when Breton separatists were blowing up communication pylons.

  11. Pretty rapid solve over two early morning cups of tea for me, enjoyable but sometimes felt more like a cryptic quizword than a crossword though luckily most of it was sympathetically clued.
    I particularly liked the 13a and the clever 17/10 combo but my favourite was probably 3d. I can’t decide whether I loved or loathed the Spoonerism but I do know that he is a very useful device for setters.
    Thanks to Exit and the reviewer.

  12. Loved the Spoonerism and 17/10 combination. Last in was 3d and although we had the answer for 11a we couldn’t parse it until we read Gazza’s explanation, sc new to us. Very enjoyable. Thank you Exit.

  13. Great fun, needed Gazza’s explanation for 11a. I enjoy spoonerisms too. No particular favourite but lots that were really good. Are working my way through back numbers of NTSPPs so plenty to do.

  14. Thank you to everyone for your appreciative comments – a nice lift on a day when I’m feeling under the weather.
    And there’s a ghost theme which no-one seems to have found. Prolixic may comment on it in the review so I won’t reveal it now.

    1. To end the suspense, the ghost theme is drawn from Nevil Shute’s 1948 novel, No Highway. The answers at 6, 10, 11, 13, 15ac, 17, 19, 24dn and 28 are thematic.
      And thank you to Prolixic for the review.

  15. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. Glad I didn’t spend too much time looking for the ghost theme as I haven’t read the book!
    Went to see all those horseshoes in Oakham Castle a few years ago – amazingly, entry to the small ‘castle’ is/was completely free.
    I’ve always hung horseshoes with the open end facing upwards to keep all the luck in, at the castle they hang them the other way round to stop the devil getting in!
    Thanks again to Exit for the puzzle.

    1. I was a student at the Rutland Sixth Form College and we staged a production of Trial By Jury in the Castle for the 800th (I think) anniversary of the castle using the court fixtures for the scenery- it was also the local court at the time. It was very atmospheric.

  16. Sorry to be late yet again! This was great fun, Exit. I enjoyed it all, especially 10a, 13a, 2d and 20d — although I could add others as well … Thank you very much indeed for the entertainment.
    Much appreciation to Proixic for the beautifully illustrated review.

  17. Completed a few NTSPPs from the archive recently and found this to be gentler than most. But I’m not complaining, I’ve got lots more to get through so don’t want too many tough ones :-) ! Of the many nice clues my favourites were 10, 13, 6, 20 and 23. It is also worth a dip into the archive to enjoy the delightful reviews and comments. Thanks to all.

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