NTSPP – 566 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 566

A Puzzle by Shabbo

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

An enjoyable and perfectly-pitched NTSPP from Shabbo this week


1     Goes back accepting pressure to get bandaged (8)
STRAPPED A reversal of a way of saying goes back, into which is inserted (accepting) the abbreviation for Pressure

5     Self-centred individual puts England game first (6)
EGOIST The abbreviation for England, a game and a way of writing ‘first’

10     Associate with a sound business (5)
ALIGN A (from the clue) and a homophone (sound) of a business

11     Stones work with Ralph McTell initially and Munro (9)
CAIRNGORM I parsed this as something made from a heap of stones, a verb meaning to work and the initials of Ralph McTell to give us the name of one of Scotland’s Munros, even though the ‘and’ didn’t quite work with that theory– Shabbo has already apologised for his inability to spell the surname of Matt Monro leading to confusion with the solving of the clue

12    It’s a roller coaster for the stars (3,6)
BIG DIPPER Double definition

13     Rogers and Jolson duet for the Queen? (5)
ROYAL The Christian names of Mr Rogers, the singer, actor and Western star and Mr Jolson, the American singer

14     Asks about missing goals (6)
QUESTS Remove the (missing) preposition meaning about from a way of saying asks

15     Brave soldier showing nerve at the front (7)
GALLANT A synonym for nerve goes in front of one of Crosswordland’s soldiers

18     Dealer confused about Frenchman’s precious stone (7)
EMERALD An anagram (confused) of DEALER about the abbreviation for a Frenchman

20     Allocate “Danger – Poison” notice? (6) 
ASSIGN The chemical symbol for a poison followed by a notice – ‘danger’ might be considered to be padding by some – but as a surface reading, it does resemble many a sign warning of danger and then telling you what the danger is

22     Back Boris with a right to roam (5)
TRAMP A reversal of the abbreviation for Boris’s job, A (from the clue) and the two-letter abbreviation for right

24     Dens? They need to be tidied up (5,4)
LOOSE ENDS One of those clues where taking an anagram indicator and then using it to rearrange DENS will produce the solution

25     Rough bars unite city-dwellers (9)
URBANITES An anagram (rough) of BARS UNITE

26     Second class travel for newlywed (5)
BRIDE The letter used to indicate second class and a verb meaning to travel

27     Total stuffing when tired (6)
ENTIRE Hidden in (stuffing) whEN TIREd

28     Show willing at theatre dance? (4,4)
PLAY BALL A way of describing a dance that might form part of a theatrical production


1     Run down by quiet taxi driver starting late (6)
SHABBY An instruction to be quiet followed by a taxi driver without the first letter (starting late)

2     Meteorological instrument found in converted garage unit as temperature drops (4,5)
RAIN GAUGE An anagram (converted) of GARAGE UNIttemperature drops being the instruction not to use the T

3     Writer takes turns in this to make a point (6,9)
PENCIL SHARPENER A cryptic definition

4     Copies key at first and makes a getaway (7)
ESCAPE One of the keys on your computer keyboard goes before (first) a way of saying copies

6     Enlarge unruly gathering at international parliament (7,8)
GENERAL ASSEMBLY An anagram (unruly) of ENLARGE followed by a gathering

7     Sarcasm from press unknown (5)
IRONY A verb meaning to press and a mathematical unknown

8     Stand in behind model (8)
TEMPLATE An abbreviated verb meaning to stand in and an adjective meaning behind

9     Young woman at No 10 turns up on platform in the North Sea? (3,3)
OIL RIG A reversal (turns up) of a young woman and the letters that look like the number 10

16     Two articles covering renting out in the country (9)
ARGENTINA Two indefinite articles ‘covering’ an anagram (out) of RENTING

17     Scientific equipment for trial run on the Underground (4,4)
TEST TUBE A trial run and the informal way of referring to the London Underground

19     Erase notes – sandwich box has turned up (6)
DELETE Two musical notes ‘sandwich’ a reversal (another ‘turned up’) of an abbreviated ‘box’

20    Feast with no starter produces excitement… (7)
AROUSAL A feast without its first letter (no starter)

21     …and a dandy to boot (2,4)
AS WELL A (from the clue) and a dandy

23    Hopeful of eliminating debts to an extent (5)
AMBIT Remove some promissory notes (debts) from an adjective meaning hopeful

33 comments on “NTSPP – 566

  1. As Gazza said, a very pleasant and very gentle puzzle easily solved pre-caffeine on my Saturday morning.
    I really liked 10a, 3d, and 23d.
    Thanks Shabbo.

  2. I really liked this. It was light and a lot of fun with accurate cluing and smooth surfaces.

    I would have said that cabby was the American spelling – Collins agrees with me but Chambers doesn’t. If I’ve parsed 20a correctly, I don’t think it quite works. Turns up turned up twice. But these are all very minor points and certainly didn’t detract from my enjoyment.

    I loved the thought of an eclectic super group comprising the Rolling Stones, Ralph McTell and Matt Monro. :smile:

    My crowded podium comprises 11a, 14a, 24a, 4d & 21d.

    Well done and thank you, Shabbo.

    1. I’ve just realised that 11a doesn’t work. It needs to use “Monro” to make sense of the surface whereas “Munro” is the definition. Perhaps the definition could be “… Monro, we hear”?

      1. Would 11a not work if for was substituted instead of and. It was my favourite clue nevertheless.

        1. It wouldn’t make any difference, Huntsman. The definition is MUNRO (Scottish mountain over 3,000 feet high) and the surface of the clue relies on (The Rolling) Stones, Ralph McTell and (Matt) MONRO all being performers.

    2. Not sure I understand your query with 20a – the only thing I thought was that ‘danger’ is padding?

        1. Ah I see – sorry, I thought that what followed related to that clue! No wonder I was confused…

  3. Good afternoon all and thank you for your kind remarks.
    Regarding the comments so far…
    11a – I could pretend that I am too young to remember how to spell Matt Monro’s surname, but it is a mistake, pure and simple. Mea culpa.
    20a – danger is indeed padding and should not be there, albeit it does help the surface read.
    I am also old enough to remember turn-ups in trousers. Two, one on each leg, would be perfectly acceptable in one’s apparel, but two in one crossword are not acceptable!

    1. :-)

      Thanks for popping in, Shabbo, and for a giving us a very enjoyable puzzle. Please keep them coming.

      Thanks too for reminding me of turn-ups. I seem to recall those in my school trousers were always full of dirt and crumbs, much to my long-suffering mother’s chagrin.

  4. I did enjoy this though I confess to getting some help with 11A and I still don’t see where Munro comes in. Thanks Shabbo.

    1. All hills/mountains over 3,000 ft in Scotland are classified as Munros. Cairngorm at 4,084 ft comes into this category.

  5. What a great puzzle! I had a thoroughly enjoyable hour solving it. Like Rabbit Dave, I loved the thought of those artists performing together. “Have You Seen the Streets of London Fighting Man? Walk Away”.

    Many thanks for the entertainment, Shabbo.

  6. Thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle – took us longer than an hour. Thank you Shabbo. SE corner was last to give and still can’t parse 20a. Favourites include 24a, 3d and 21d. We look forward to your next one.

    1. Re 20a Chemical symbol of arsenic plus a synonym of notice. The “danger” is surface padding

  7. A most enjoyable solved for me – ticks went to 12,15& 26a plus 3,4,8,9&21d. I did also have to smile at the almost self-referential 1d!

    Many thanks,Shabbo, please keep them coming.

    1. Well spotted, Jane!
      This is a nickname (don’t ask) dating all the way back to University rugby days over 40 years ago.

  8. Luckily we remembered Munro from the time when we had to look up what a Corbett was. This meant that we could solve 11a without too much head scratching despite not being familiar with Ralph McTell.
    A very pleasant Sunday morning solve for us.
    Thanks Shabbo.

  9. Very accomplished and very enjoyable Shabbo. I liked 1,3& 8d plus 10,24&28a in particular.
    Many thanks.

  10. Many thanks for the review, CS, and thanks again to Shabbo for a most entertaining NTSPP – hope you’ll be up again soon!

  11. As Kath, I kept this one to solve in the early evening.
    Very enjoyable solve.
    Thanks to Shabbo and to CS.

  12. Most enjoyable. I didn’t have any problems with 11ac – I suppose I just saw what I wanted to see. The only thing I did notice was that the name of the key in 4dn is short for the answer, but that’s a minor issue. Thanks, Shabbo.

  13. I am always late to comment so apologies, but I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this ntspp. It was lots of fun- but still difficult for me but it was a challenge that I really enjoyed. Thank you Shabbo and I look forward to seeing more crosswords from you in future.

  14. Hello, Shabbo. I am having a blitz on old NTSPPs and was delighted to find this elegant puzzle. My top marks for elegance went to 11a (I failed to notice the Munro/Monro slip-up that other commentators pointed out), 24a, 2d, 3d, and 23d. As others have said, ‘danger’ in 20a was a bit of a distraction, and I mis-interpreted the first 2 letters of the answer as A and perhaps a snake symbol – although a skull and crossbones is customary. Thanks to CS for directing me toward the chemical notation.

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