NTSPP – 567 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 567

A Puzzle by Skinny

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Skinny returns with an NTSPP which started off as ‘pitched just right for lunchtime solving’ and then a couple of clues took me into ‘extra time’


6     City fashionable in the past (7)
CHICAGO We start with a chestnut – another word for fashionable and an adverb meaning in the past

7     Heads of businesses run jumble sales, with no up-front support? (7)
BRALESS The ‘heads’ of Business and Run and an anagram (jumble) of SALES

9     Slip, fall down, pass away (5)
LAPSE A triple definition clue

10     Abundant period around end of autumn providing half of haul (9)
BOUNTIFUL A period of time doing something goes around the ‘end’ of autumN, follow with a conjunction meaning providing that and the second half of haUL

11     Former pilot spilled milk (7)
EXPLOIT The two letters meaning former and an anagram (spilled) of PILOT

13     One in French letters said to be indiscreet (6)
UNWISE The French word for one and some letters near the end of the alphabet said out loud

15     Writer and poet go mainstream, I suspect (5,8)
SIMON ARMITAGE An anagram (suspect) of GO MAINSTREAM I produces the writer, poet and current Poet Laureate

19     Coat a fragment of harmful steroid (6)
ULSTER Hidden in a ‘fragment’ of harmfUL STERoid

20     Joy, perhaps a fruit? (7)
ADAMSON A (from the clue) and a small plum (fruit)

23    Appeals, in spite of almost crashing? About time. (9)
PETITIONS An anagram (crashing) of IN SPIT O (almost telling you not to use the F) ‘about’ the abbreviation for Time

24     Markets essentially supply a lot (5)
KARMA The ‘essential’ letter of marKets, a verb meaning to supply and A (from the clue)

26     Saw ewe at first, then two other farm creatures (7)
EPIGRAM Another ‘old friend’ – the first letter of Ewe and then two other farm animals

27    Part of feud revolves around being late (7)
OVERDUE Hidden in reverse (around) in part of fEUD REVOlves


1     It turns the sickest into the thickest (4)
LISP A speech impediment which makes the letter S sound like TH

2     Arrived at theatre, initially in minor role (4,2)
CAME TO The initial letter of Theatre inserted into a small role in a play or film

3     Social faux-pas on reflection could be mine (5,4)
BOOBY TRAP A reversal (on reflection) of a social event and a blunder (faux-pas) The ‘mine’ in the illustration is, of course, Pooh’s heffalump xxxx

4     Instrument revealed by what a fisherman may do (8)
CASTANET Split the solution 4, 1, 3 to reveal what a fisherman may do

5     Store less developed with cooler interior (10)
SELFRIDGES An anagram (developed) of LESS into which is inserted the short form of something in your kitchen that keeps food cool

6     24 made out to be more relaxed (6)
CALMER A homophone (made out) of the solution to 24a

7     Navy offensive (4)
BLUE Double definition

8     Cryptic lovers – are you one? (6)
SOLVER An anagram (cryptic) of LOVERS

12     23 bananas and a plant (10)
POINSETTIA An anagram (bananas) of the solution to 23a with an A (from this clue) added produces the plant I always have trouble remembering the correct name because my late mother-in-law would call it a point setter

14     Skinny’s love for fire (9)
IMPASSION How Skinny might say he was [going to do something] followed by some strong feeling (love)

16     Suggestion of clear river (8)
OVERTURE Clear or obvious followed by a river in North Yorkshire

17     Parliamentarian breaks law creating disorder (6)
RUMPLE An abbreviated parliamentarian ‘breaks’ a law

18     Had lunch next to pub? It’s natural (6)
INNATE A way of saying lunch goes next to (after) a pub

21     Drunkards exercising a dog with no lead (6)
ALKIES An informal term for exercising a dog without its first letter (no lead)

22     Flash method of communication during lockdown? (4)
ZOOM Double definition

25     A couple of notes to perform once more (4)
REDO Two notes on the tonic sol fa scale

19 comments on “NTSPP – 567

  1. Thanks to Skinny for the enjoyable lunchtime entertainment.
    I just stopped myself from writing in Bristol for 6a (thinking of Bristol fashion).
    My ticks went to 7a (LOL), 9a, 26a and 3d.

  2. The answer to 8d is a resounding YES, when they are as good as this!

    I made a mess of things at an early stage by putting in “passion” as my answer for 20a, which made 5d impossible until I realised the error of my ways. Every cloud has a silver lining – that mistake made 14d a doddle!

    21d was my last one in, and I admit to being quite surprised to find it in the BRB.

    My page is littered with ticks, and I’ll give special mentions to 6a, 7a, 9a, 26a & 7d, with 3d my favourite.

    Many thanks, Skinny. This was a lot of fun.

  3. Very enjoyable and another NTSPP that I was able to solve pre-caffeine on my Saturday morning.
    I don’t think I have come across the usage of saw in 26a before.
    I really liked 6a, 11a, and the 24a/6d combo.
    However, I did have to wonder if 4d is really an instrument.
    Thanks Skinny.

  4. Another Saturday where the NTSPP was more fun than the Prize. Excellent throughout & delightfully clued. My last in too was 21d & laughed when the penny dropped. Ashamed to admit I didn’t know who 15a was & don’t understand the parsing of 24a but liked the 6d link to it. If I did ticks it’d be quicker to highlight the few, if any, not to get one.
    Thanks Skinny

    1. 24a – the essential (i.e. centre) letter of marKets, a synonym of supply (with weapons), and A from the clue gives a synonym of lot. I will leave you, or anyone else, to comment on the ‘stretchiness’ of the synonym of supply.

      1. Cheers Senf. Got the k bit but not the supply synonym & was confused as a,r & m were also in markets. All clear now.

  5. Tried to get the fisherman in 4d to buy a net until the penny dropped.
    Last ones were the 6/24 combo along with 9a and 21d. The latter did make me laugh and has become my favourite.
    Other ticks in 7a,9a,26a and 3d.
    Didn’t know 15a but he went straight in regardless.
    Thanks to Skinny for the fun.

  6. Just the ticket for a most enjoyable NTSPP – nothing too easy but equally nothing impossible, although like Huntsman I’m not particularly au fait with our Poet Laureate.
    Crowded podium hosts 6,7,11&20a plus 2,5,7&21d.

    Many thanks, Skinny, and the best of seasonal wishes to you and yours.

  7. An excellent puzzle that had us head-scratching and chuckling all the way through. Felt very clever when we got 15a, who was new to us, with just one checking letter in place. Last two in were 21d and 1d.
    Thanks Skinny.

  8. I’ve enjoyed this but still have four that I can’t do which is going to drive me mad!
    Never mind – can’t win ’em all – but it will drive me mad!!
    Thanks to Skinny for the crossword and, in advance, to Prolixic? If I’ve got that right it’ll be the first time in many weeks!

      1. Grrrrr – not at you, Sue, but at me for being wrong, yet again. I didn’t know that Skinny was a nationally published setter.

        1. I sometimes forget who is or isn’t nationally published. I have three ways of checking – search this site to see if I’ve blogged them before; do a site search on 15sq as most of the newer setters appear in the Independent; and if all else fails, ask Prolixic!

  9. Excellent early Sunday morning entertainment Skinny. There’s one in the North that I’ve yet to parse but other than that I managed to unravel and understand it all and thoroughly enjoyed doing so.
    I’ve ticked 6,7,11,13&24a plus 2,5&6d for special mention.
    Thanks Skinny and in advance to CS.

  10. Thanks to all for comments, and to Crypticsue for the excellent blog. I really enjoyed putting this one together, and pleased you all enjoyed it too.

    Quick note on 9a – original intention was to to have COL (pass) removed from COLLAPSE to give LAPSE, but it’s good either way. I live a few miles away from SIMON ARMITAGE, and wanted to get the (only just) West Yorkshire resident in.

    Thanks to all again, and the very best to you and yours for the festive season.

  11. Many thanks for the review, CS, I think the ‘point setter’ was perhaps a generational issue – my mother-in-law said exactly the same!
    Glad you enjoyed putting this one together, Skinny, we certainly enjoyed solving it.

    1. One of the presenters on Radio Kent was discussing his inability to keep a point setter alive so I think the ‘issue’ has carried on to other generations ;)

  12. A very pleasant solve with just the right amount of challenge. Thanks, Skinny – and thanks, CS, for the review and illustrations.

  13. Thank you, Skinny, for an entertaining challenge. I had many ticks alongside the clues, my favourites being 9a (I did spot col :-) ), 1d, 6d, 8d, 21d and the clever 24a/6d combo. Frustratingly, 20a had me stumped, even though I proposed A-DAMSON (also A-RAISIN) I didn’t recognise this as a word. I didn’t write it down, at which point I would have changed intonation and read ADAM-SON :roll: Having just completed NTSPP-568 with its 13 authors, perhaps I wasn’t ready to recognise another one!

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