NTSPP – 584 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 584

A Puzzle by Windsurfer

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.


Windsurfer stirs with score in half

Mr CS, my friend and I have been doing a lot of talking about people we haven’t seen and things we haven’t done since before Lockdown 1 and here’s another one. We last had a crossword from Windsurfer at the 2019 Blog Birthday Bash. This one has ten (score in half) instances of a slang word with the same meaning as the slang word stir


1     Popular church following advert for William maybe (6)
PRINCE An abbreviated press release (advert) is followed by a synonym for popular and the abbreviation for the Church of England

4     Delivered fish of Russian player (6)
KARPOV A homophone (delivered) of a type of fish and of (from the clue)

9     One of WW1 soldiers‘ policemen bottled, leaving base in disarray (3,12)
OLD CONTEMPTIBLE Omit one of the E’s (leaving base) and an anagram (in disarray) of POLICEMEN BOTTLeD will produce the solution

10     Ancient fort, self- contained in the past (6)
SCONCE The abbreviation for self-contained and an adverb meaning in the past

11     Doll is allowed to hearing in arts centre (8)
BARBICAN A homophone (hearing) of a famous doll and a way of saying ‘is allowed to’

12     Posh close to Sherrin, that’s not deserved (8)
UNEARNED The letter indicating something is upper class or posh, an adjective meaning close and the abbreviated Christian name of a broadcaster (Sherrin) who died in 2007

14     Surprise as one conceals fall (6)
SEASON Hidden in surpriSE AS ONe is the term for the natural divisions of the year, one of which the North Americans would call ‘fall’

15     Aim for the top after advance (6)
ASPIRE The abbreviation for Advance and the top of a tree or building

18     Boxer given jail, note, in romantic port (8)
ALICANTE A famous boxer, a jail and a musical note

21     Number of prayers are able to delight when reading aloud (8)
CANTICLE A way of saying ‘are able to’ and a homophone of a verb meaning to delight

22     Tax-collecting ladies unoccupied (6)
VACANT A type of tax ‘collecting’ a slang term for a toilet (ladies)

24     Guardian’s view of one detail or supply line (9,6)
EDITORIAL COLUMN An anagram (supply) of ONE DETAIL OR followed by a line

25    At first, lanyard that is half-stowed becomes mainly stationary (4,2)
LIES TO The first letter of Lanyard, the abbreviation meaning that is, and the first half of STOwed

26     Bird (rook perhaps) scratching the head after short caress (6)
TOUCAN Truncate (short) a caress and then remove the head from a chess piece (rook perhaps)


1     Aged footballer may be announced as winger (7)
PELICAN Homophone (announced) of the name of a famous old footballer and a way of saying ‘may be’

2     Where to put naughty South American? (5)
INCAN Split this South American 2, 3 and you’ll see where to put someone naughty

3     Is it possible for adolescent to eat here? (7)
CANTEEN Another split-the-solution clue – the first part meaning is it possible and the second an adolescent

5     A redcap, mounted, to look around Republican units (7)
AMPERES A (from the clue) the abbreviation for a Military Policeman (redcap) and a reversal (mounted) of a verb meaning to look ‘around’ the abbreviation for Republican

6     Maria Piper lacks energy unfortunately as new mum (9)
PRIMIPARA An anagram (unfortunately) of MARIA PIPeR without the E (lacks energy)

7     Short book about number of smokers (just one) (7)
VOLCANO An abbreviated book, the Latin abbreviation meaning about, and an abbreviation for number

8     Sailor encased in stone found at the bottom of the ocean (6)
SEABED An abbreviated sailor ‘encased’ or inserted into something found inside a fruit (stone)

13     “Toilets are briefly out of order” reveals old teacher (9)
ARISTOTLE An anagram (out of order) of TOILETS ARe (briefly telling you that you don’t need the final E)

16     Shoe pinching top of calcaneus making black mark (7)
SCANDAL A type of shoe ‘pinching’ the top of Calcaneus

17     Former chancellor with report showing passage (7)
EXCERPT The two letters meaning former, the abbreviation for the Chancellor of the Exchequer and an abbreviation of report

18     Ancient primate becomes a trainer maybe (6)
APEMAN Split this ancient primate 1,2,3 and you’ll ‘see’ the possible trainer!

19     Ordinary vicuna wandered without reference to something related (2,5)
IN VACUO An anagram (wandered) of O (ordinary) VICUNA

20     Knight meant to train mobile soldiers (4,3)
TANKMEN An anagram (to train) of KN (knight) and MEANT – the KN is apparently a chess thing – see comment thread 6

23     Entertaining lecturer for months produces uncomfortable feeling (5)
COLIC Change the M (months) in the middle of a synonym for entertaining with the abbreviation for Lecturer

28 comments on “NTSPP – 584

  1. Many thanks Windsurfer, can say that was v enjoyable – had several vacant for a while, with some arcane words, but canny use of the theme enabled significant progress with scant use of the check button.
    Thanks again!

      1. Thanks crypticsue – and in advance for review.
        Forgot to add… 14a, 3d and 13d faves. The homophone in 1d didn’t work for me (although it was gettable, so I guess ok!), and I wondered if 24a needs a def-by-example indicator? But minor points in a v nice puzzle, thanks Windsurfer

  2. A curate’s egg for me.

    A superb homophone in 4a and one with a clumsy surface in 11a.

    I took it that Knight, 20d, had to be abbreviated to Kn but that is not supported by the BRB. Perhaps there should have been an indication that abbreviations for chancellor and report were required in 17d.

    However, I really liked the aforementioned 4a, 18a, 26a, and 13d.

    Thanks Windsurfer and in advance to CS.

  3. I’ll go along with Senf’s curate’s egg and, like him, I don’t think 20d works as Kn is not a authentic abbreviation for Knight, and in addition I can’t find any reference to substantiate the answer a valid phrase.

    I agree that 4a is an excellent homophone as is 11a, but sadly these are offset by what to me is a dreadful non-homophone in 1d.

    Parts of this were very tough indeed, and, as I have found before with this setter’s puzzles, his title/preamble remains a complete mystery to me.

    6d was a new word for me but fairly clued, and 13d was my runaway favourite.

    Thanks to Windsurfer. I did enjoy most of this. Thanks too in advance to CS.

  4. Ditto RD – the Curate of Canterbury’s egg
    Thanks for the entertainment Windsurfer

  5. Thanks to all for the comments so far. Some of the homophones were a bit pun-ny. KN is an abbreviation for King’s knight in chess. It is in Collins but not the BRB. 20D is in the OED.

    Yes, it is a bit canny.

    1. Sorry, but I cannot agree that KN has ever been King’s Knight – KKt in the obsolete notation; N for Knight is the algebraic notation
      KKt – KB3 is now simply Nf3 and if both Knights could move to f3, Ndf3 (for example)
      Not that I play chess, much… anything to add, RD?
      I did enjoy the puzzle Windsurfer, thanks again

      1. Our emails crossed!

        My understanding, LbR, is that Kt was the original abbreviation but N was introduced post-war to simplify writing it. The traditionalists (of whom I would undoubtedly have been one) howled their protests this change! So P-KN4 would have been a valid move in descriptive notation which, if played by White, could be written much more succinctly in algebraic notation as simply g4. (In algebraic if you are moving a pawn you don’t need to write P, as the absence of a piece letter implies it is a pawn move).

        One of the key differences between the two forms of notation is that descriptive is based from the point of view of the player playing the move, so White’s KN4 square is Black’s KN5, but in algebraic that square is identified much more simply by the coordinates g4, where the files are designated a-h and the ranks 1-8.

        I could go on, but I’ll stop there.

    2. Crikey, I thought descriptive notation in chess died out over 50 years ago, although of course it is still necessary to understand it if you want to read historic chess books.

  6. Well I really enjoyed it Windsurfer. Cottoning on to the canny theme certainly helped at the end with 7d & 26a which were 2 of my last 4 in. I had no clue as to what the stirs score in half preamble meant – not sure if I do now but guessed it may have something to do with can might make 10 appearances.
    6&19d were new words to me & wasn’t aware 10a was also a fort but the wordplay was clear. 13d,24a& best of all 4a were my picks.
    Many thanks

  7. I invariably struggle to get onto this setter’s wavelength and have to admit that this didn’t really ‘float my boat’ despite all the cans in evidence. Not to worry, just my problem I’m sure!
    Apologies to Windsurfer and thanks for all your efforts in constructing the puzzle.

  8. After a gloriously sunny day, an enjoyable start to the evening with a glass of wine and a manageable crossword. The number of homophones was a surprise, but 21a was a favourite. 18d and 23d completed my check list. Thanks, Windsurfer, for a puzzle that would not feel out-of-place in the Folies Bergère! Now for another glass of wine… :smile:

  9. Thanks, Windsurfer. The top half went in more quickly than the bottom half for us. 6d and 19d were new words. Favourites were 11a, 14a and 16d and we ‘can’ also say we enjoyed your puzzle after watching a sad occasion on the television this afternoon. We can’t parse 26a and 20d at the moment so will check with crypticsue tomorrow. More, please.

  10. Having read the above comments we now understand the intention with 20d. We were still head-scratching on that.
    Nicely challenging and good fun to solve.
    Thanks Windsurfer.

  11. Not sure that I completely understand the preamble apart from can (= prison = stir) occurring in several answers – and I was a little bit dubious about the ‘knight’ reference. But a very enjoyable crossword nevertheless, and finished in one session. Thanks, Windsurfer.

      1. Perfectly explained. Doh! In my comment today on Dada’s prize I said that I often feel like a plank trying to make sense of crosswords. Missed the MP abbreviation for redcap so thanks for that explanation & for the review.

      2. Yes, you did – perfectly, but I posted my comment before I’d seen the review. And thanks for the review, especially the bird pictures.

  12. Many thanks for the review, CS, it had taken me a while to make any sense of Windsurfer’s preamble.

  13. just got around to this. A pleasure to “see” you again, windsurfer, thanks for the puzzle.

  14. Late to the game but while I see that there are 10 “CAN”s in the answers, only some of them are indicated in wordplay (as “jail”, “may be”, …) — what am I missing?

    1. Welcome to the blog

      Windsurfer included ten references to synonyms for jail – stir, can etc – in the crossword

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