NTSPP – 580 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 580

A Puzzle by Chalicea

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

As is the norm with Chalicea’s puzzles there is a ghost theme – the nine thematic answers should be easy to find.


An extremely rare sighting of a Chalicea ghost-themed crossword where no reference books whatsoever were required. I even knew the nest-builder in 17d!


6     Worried, I daren’t exchange old car for another (5,2)
TRADE IN An anagram (worried) of I DARENT

7     Love‘s protective covering losing reason primarily (5)
AMOUR A form of protective covering losing the first appearance of the primary letter of Reason

9     Go by public transport hard in large wilderness area (4)
BUSH Go on a form of public transport plus the abbreviation for Hard

10     With bit of paint, he dabbles haphazardly creating coating for house wall (10)
PEBBLEDASH The first letter (bit) of Paint and an anagram (haphazardly) of HE DABBLES

11     Boundless hope – its limit finally is glum – seeing your glass half full (8)
OPTIMISM The inside (boundless) letters of hOPe iTs lIMIt and the final letters of iS and gluM

13     About skill centrally powering person driving farm vehicle (6)
CARTER The Latin abbreviation for about, some skill and the central letters of powering

15     Behold publicity for cargo (4)
LOAD An archaic interjection meaning look (behold) and some abbreviated publicity

17     Dispiriting experience, but not initially, for possessor (5)
OWNER Remove the initial letter from a dispiriting experience

18     Quiet folk (not female) perform a Bohemian dance (4)
POLK The musical abbreviation for quiet and fOLK without the F for Female.  Interestingly, having solved 13a, this strange verb was the one that put me onto the ghost theme

19     Penetrate theatrical production clutching opening of role (6)
PIERCE A theatrical production ‘clutching’ the opening of Role

20     Mother with John, dancing on child’s horse in Chinese game (3-5)
MAH-JONGG An informal word for mother, an anagram (dancing) of JOHN on the two-letters which sound like a child’s name for a horse

23     Uproar to pierce body with a missile – a bear in India (10)
HULLABALOO A verb meaning to pierce a body with a missile, A (from the clue) and an Indian bear (from which the one in the Jungle Book gets his name)

26     Crack fellow (4)
CHAP Double definition – a verb meaning to crack or a fellow

27     Person laying roofing material to retrospectively depend on technique principally (5)
TYLER A reversal (retrospectively) of a verb meaning to depend on goes after the principal letter of Technique

28     At that place – theatre possibly (7)
THEREAT An anagram (possibly) of THEATRE


1     Fantastic fine art PhD produces a pioneer (10)
PATHFINDER An anagram (fantastic) of FINE ART PHD

2     Earthenware originally in site of Greek oracle (6)
DELPHI An alternative spelling for a type of Dutch earthenware and the original letter of In

3     Singular wealthy man, a pretentious prig (4)
SNOB The abbreviation for Singular and an informal term for a wealthy man

4     Little Charles chasing telegram in alpine resort’s transport (5,3)
CABLE CAR An abbreviation (little) for the Latin form of Charles goes after (chasing in a Down clue) a telegram

5     Crossing point beneficial to Germany (4)
FORD A preposition meaning beneficial to and the IVR Code for Germany

6     Winning card for good trusty person (some say) (5)
TRUMP A winning playing card or a good trusty person, the ‘some say’ referring to the man we are all trying to forget

8     Adopt new orthography with regard to special English lines (7)
RESPELL The two-letter word meaning with regard to, the abbreviation for special, the abbreviation for English and two lots (lines plural) of the abbreviation for line

12     Small Roman coin – one way or another it’s just half a note (5)
MINIM This palindromic word (one way or another) can be either a small Roman coin or half a musical note

14     Reproofs concerning essentially decomposing fishes (10)
REPROACHES The second use of the two-letter word meaning concerning, the essential letter of decomPosing and some fishes

16     Roman poet sadly cut tube along which eggs pass (7)
OVIDUCT A Roman poet and an anagram (sadly) of CUT

17     Christmas turkey maybe or bird that builds a domed nest (8)
OVENBIRD This bird sounds like a description of a Christmas turkey – shame that the word bird appears both in the clue and the solution

21    Linger nervously around old vacuum cleaner (6)
HOOVER A verb meaning to linger nervously goes around the abbreviation for Old

22     Bestow good bombastic tirade (5)
GRANT The abbreviation for Good and a bombastic tirade

24     Plainly now and then with time speak with swinging rhythm (4)
LILT The even (now and then) letters of pLaInLy with the abbreviation for Time

25     Frothy milky coffee losing hint of taste towards the end (4)
LATE Lose one of the Ts (hint of taste) from a frothy milky coffee


26 comments on “NTSPP – 580

  1. Thanks Chalicea for some fun before caffeine, breakfast, and a rugby marathon. I even managed to spot the nine ‘ghosts.’
    The first time I have seen the repeated letter at the end of 20a game and the concept of to **** a ***** for 19a raised a smile.
    Thanks again and thanks in advance to CS for the review.

  2. As always, I find puzzles by Chalicea a real treat. This was no exception and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I did not spot the ghost theme but never do. No real favourites, I just enjoyed the solve.

    Many thanks, Chalicea for the entertainment. Thanks in advance to Crypticsue.

  3. Thanks Chalicea, good fun… I only spotted the theme very late. Started fairly quickly but had a few head-scratchers towards the end. I think I may have missed something in the parsing of 4d? (17d shame about word in clue repeated in solution but a v minor quibble in an excellent puzzle)

    Thanks again!

      1. Thanks BD that’s a new one for me, good to know. The “chasing” was also (to me) not clear… it looks like little Chas is the one being chased? (though I guess chasing = “going after”?) Perhaps I’m just having one of those days – I’m also in a muddle (elsewhere) about “fed” as container or contents :-/

        Anyway thanks for clarification, thanks again Chalicea for a great puzzle, and thanks in advance to crypticsue for review!

        1. If you are chasing someone, you are going after them so Little Charles goes after the telegram

  4. Thank you Chalicea for a pleasant distraction before Mini the Minx ( 2 year old granddaughter) arrives to create mayhem. I’m staring at the puzzle to see if I can spot the theme. Thanks in advance to CS.

  5. Didn’t get the theme to start with though have found it now after solving. Thank you Chalicea for a pleasant diversion.

  6. Enjoyed the puzzle and aware of the theme. Last one in was 17d as we didn’t expect the second part of the word to be what it is. Favourites were 28a, 15a and 5d. Thank you Chalicea and to CS in advance.

  7. I’m another who didn’t know the alternative spelling of 20a but it was fairly clued so didn’t create a problem. As is often the way, the theme didn’t jump out at me along the way but it was easy enough to spot once the grid was filled.
    Think my favourite was probably 28a – simple but effective.

    Thanks to Chalicea for another enjoyable NTSPP – you must be setting at a great rate of knots these days!

  8. A gentle but enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Chalicea.

    I’m hopeless at spotting themes, have to wait till tomorrow.

  9. Steve said it – a treat as always & a really enjoyable solve. Not particularly tricky but a couple of crafty curve balls. Never seen 20a spelt that way & similarly with the 27a roofer who was also my missing fella in the ghost theme (reckoned it was probably him but needed Mr G to confirm)
    Last in was 17d, the only clue I wasn’t overly keen on, but I’m not confident I’ve got 23a parsed correctly.
    Thanks Chalicea

  10. A most enjoyable Sunday morning diversion for us. Managed to find all the themed answers too.
    Thanks Chalicea.

    1. Despite being theoretically aware of time zones, the rotation of the earth, and so on, I still struggle to get my brain to comprehend your already having had a Sunday morning diversion before we’ve even started our Saturday evening!

      No matter how many times I explain it to myself, apparently I still don’t believe it …

  11. Not so much a ghost theme but a hit you right between the eyes theme that I spotted after about two minutes.
    My favourite was probably 20a in this light and pleasant puzzle.
    Thanks Chalicea and in advance to CS.

    1. Cancel that. All is now revealed! Thanks, Jane. How could I have missed that?!
      I’m going for a lie down!!

  12. Many thanks for the review and the rogues gallery, CS. As you said, it was rare to get a Chalicea theme that didn’t require recourse to reference books – much appreciated!

  13. Bedtime solve for me after a morning of grandchildren, afternoon of cricket and evening of rugby. The theme quickly became apparent and for the first time in a Chalicea crossword I was able identify all the ghosts! I still needed my dictionary this morning to confirm some obscure meanings and spellings, and having worked in Delft at one time in my career I was dissapointed to find out that the name had apparently become anglicised by someone unable to enunciate correctly…? :unsure:
    Thank you Chalicea and CS.

  14. Thanks to all. It was good to see that this theme ‘hit you right between the eyes’ and especial thanks to crypticsue for showing us what they looked like. Apologies to all for including 6d but it was difficult to overlook him in view of the theme, and that word in the clue and in the Christmas oven was just plain carelessness so more apologies (I had no idea his nest looked like that – thanks again CS). I’m working on a replacement for the NTSPP file, where the ghost theme will send you back to Mrs Bradford’s lists again – sorry!

  15. Enjoyed this, needed the hints for a few for which,Thanks;
    I now know what a ghost theme is, I think.

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