NTSPP – 588 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 588

A Puzzle by Skinny

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

We haven’t had an NTSPP from Skinny since December 2019. I took a while to get going on this one so I’d describe it as a lunchtime diversion for a day when it is too rainy to want to go outside and do anything else!


1     Reported discontent of those from Kuala Lumpur? (6)
MALAYS A homophone (reported) of a feeling of discontent

5     Undertaking “Private Lives” perhaps shows wit (8)
WORDPLAY An undertaking or promise and the type of work such as “Private Lives”

9     Backing trade organisation for driver? (4-4)
GOLF-CLUB A reversal backing of an informal word meaning to trade followed by an organisation

10     Photo finish of Ferrari feels fixed (6)
SELFIE An anagram (fixed) of the ‘finish’ of FerrarI and FEELS

11     Shop‘s wrong to stock a lot of insects (3,7)
OFF LICENCE A wrong doing into which is inserted (to stock) three of the four letters of the name of some insects

12     These days it’s good being ill (4)
SICK The first definition relates to one of those expressions used by the ‘young’ to indicate that something is good. The second is the traditional one we all know!

13     Computer programmer’s taking on Poles, I believe (8)
CONSIDER A computer programmer is ‘taking’ on (or even in) both the earth’s poles and I (from the clue)

16     Surprise most of group with potential setter? (4,2)
TRIP UP Most of a three-part group and a young animal that might grow up to be a setter (or other type of dog)

17     A hooker’s revolutionary beds (6)
STRATA A reversal (revolutionary) of A (from the clue) and a slang term for a lady of the night (hooker) plus the S (hooker’s)

19     Tease bit of rice out of rissole (8)
COQUETTE Remove (out) the first bit of Rice from a type of rissole

21    Filter paper is turned over to begin with (4)
SIFT The two-letters used to refer to the ‘pink’ newspaper go after a reversal (turned) of IS (from the clue)

22     Coppers take steps to reveal sickness (10)
PESTILENCE Coins known as coppers into which is inserted (to take) a set of steps built into a wall or fence

25     Result of hitting buffer? (6)
SHINER An informal term for something that might result from being hit in the eye or something used as a buffer or polisher

26     Routinely back up cars on short tree-lined street (8)
AUTOSAVE Some cars and an abbreviated (short) tree-lined street

27     Trainees on board ship express disapproval about study (8)
STUDENTS ‘On board ship’ indicates the need to take the two letters used to mean steam ship and then insert a verb meaning to express disapproval, which in turn goes ‘about’ a study

28     Identify bishop missing start of prayers (6)
RELATE Omit (missing) the P (start of prayers) from a churchman of high rank such as a bishop


2     A gull flying North gets cold (5)
ALOOF A (from the clue) and a reversal (flying north) of a gull or dupe

3     It’s distressing just being topless (5)
AWFUL Remove the first letter (being topless) from a synonym for just in the sense of according to justice

4     Supported being tied-up like this? (7)
SOLACED A two-letter word meaning like this and a verb meaning tied up

5     Meeting in winebar, drunk (7)
WEBINAR An anagram (drunk) of WINEBAR

6     Remains in resort on vacation? That’s most careless (7)
RASHEST Some remains left after burning inserted into the outside (on vacation) letters of ResorT

7     State of thirst broken by drinks trolley’s introduction (9)
PALESTINE A verb meaning to thirst or long for something ‘broken’ by some drinks and the ‘introduction’ to Trolley

8     Finding spirit in a bar is a battle (9)
AGINCOURT Some alcoholic spirit inserted between A (from the clue) and a bar

14     Unfashionable? Fashionable? You have to tell me! (3,4,2)
OUT WITH IT A word meaning unfashionable plus two words meaning fashionable

15     Messy tradesmen tidied up (9)
SMARTENED An anagram (messy) of TRADESMEN

18     A jaunt around the Royal Institution to find some medication (7)
ASPIRIN A (from the clue) and a short trip in a motor vehicle go ‘around’ the abbreviation for the Royal Institution

19     Shares the bill – comes to about a tenner in the end (2-5)
CO-STARS – What something amounts to in monetary terms goes ‘about’ A (from the clue) and the letter at the end of tenneR

20     Dropout‘s absolutely right to take time (7)
QUITTER An adverb meaning absolutely and the abbreviation for Right ‘take’ or have inserted the abbreviation for Time

23     Frame some grandee as elitist (5)
EASEL Hidden in some grandeE AS Elitist

24     Long for check-up with someone else? (5)
COVET Inserting a hyphen to make the solution 2-3 would change the meaning to a way of saying check-up with someone else

25 comments on “NTSPP – 588

  1. An enjoyable lunchtime solve – thanks Skinny.
    I wasn’t aware of the modern meaning of 12a so needed the BRB to confirm.
    My ticks went to 11a, 16a, 14d and 19d.

  2. An enjoyable pre-caffeine solve on my Saturday morning but I did sneak in some ginger biscuits complicatedly called English Style Gingersnaps over here.

    I really liked 11a, 26a, and 27a.

    Thanks to Skinny and in advance to CS.

  3. A contest of two halves, the left hand side went in quite quickly but the right side proved a bit trickier – so, for me, a nicely balanced puzzle. Penny-drops on 19d then 19a unlocked the SE corner – both great clues, as were 25a and 14d. Like Gazza, I had to confirm a novel meaning for 12a, although I doubt I’ll be using it in conversation! Thank you, Skinny, for a welcome distraction from today’s rather bleak weather.

  4. As Spartacus has said this was definitely a puzzle of two halves: the LHS went in almost non-stop and the RHS took a lot of teasing out. One thing the two sides did have in common is that they were both a lot of fun.

    Like most oldies, I expect, I too was perplexed by 12a until I looked it up. A bizarre modern meaning. :wacko:

    I had a lot of ticks making a podium selection quite tricky, but I’ll settle on 11a, 17a, and, probably my favourite, 19d.

    Is it just a coincidence that the bottom four letters of column 1 are the same, as are the bottom four letters of column 15?

    Many thanks to Skinny and in advance to CS.

  5. Agree with others that the RHS was where the potential problems lay and I got caught out by several of them along the way although, strangely enough, I had previously heard of that horrible use of 12a.
    Leader board here hosts 16a along with 14&19d.

    Thanks to Skinny for a very enjoyable NTSPP – nice to see you back again.

  6. Thanks Skinny, also a game of two halves for me – but both very good indeed! 14d favourite, also 19d & 26a which both helped – eventually! – to get that tricky RHS going.
    Thanks again!

  7. Many thanks for the enjoyable puzzle, Skinny. We did struggle with several answers and had to uncover some starting letters to be able to complete the crossword. Favourite clues were 14d and 1a. We still need to parse a couple so thanks in advance to CS or Prolixic.

  8. Our Sunday morning walk has been considerably delayed by this but we did eventually get everything sorted.
    Excellent cluing throughout and much appreciated.
    Thanks Skinny.

  9. I really liked this Skinny, quite tricky in places but had a fresh, contemporary feel and the wordplay was excellent, so all in all enjoyable and satisfying to solve. Could have easily graced the back page on Friday.
    I’ve ticked 11,16&22a but top spot is shared by 14d and the really excellent 19d.
    Many thanks, and to the reviewer in advance .

  10. Well the LHS was certainly a darn sight easier of the the two sides but still tricky enough for the likes of me. The right needed 2 visits & 2 letter reveals to get me to the finish line & there are 3 I’m unable to parse satisfactorily. Really enjoyed it despite never feeling I quite got on the right wavelength. Fully agree with Stephen’s thoughts above.
    Thanks Skinny

  11. Hello all, and thanks for the kind comments. The left/right split certainly wasn’t intentional, neither was 4 identical letters in the first and last columns at the bottom – there’s nothing going on there!

    Thanks in advance to CS.

  12. Thanks to CS for the review.
    I don’t think the answer to 4d is correct. I’ve got ‘like this’ (2) + ‘tied like shoelaces’.

    1. So it is – memo to self, however busy your Saturday afternoon is, make sure you double-check your solutions with the online grid. I’ve rewritten the hint and removed the picture

  13. Ah, my left hand side obviously went in too quickly! I don’t know what CS had originally reviewed for 4d, subsequently corrected by Gazza, but I had entered SPLICED – the logic being using a splice to support something and spliced/tied-up as in being married :oops: Was I alone down that rabbit hole…?

    Thanks CS for your nicely illustrated review, and again to Skinny for the entertainment. I will look forward to your next puzzle and seeing if I can score full marks!

    1. I was down the same rabbit hole as you. I wonder if anyone else kept us company?

      1. CS, you and Spartacus obviously hopped into my rabbit hole to join me. I did think “spliced” was a bit same-sidey for a DD.

      2. I did too & only corrected it when the you have successfully completed banner wasn’t there at the finish.

    2. That was my first answer there too! and putting my hand up as another who filled the LH side quite quickly, and then took quite a while – and several ‘timeouts’ – before I finished the RH side – 19d being the last one in.

  14. Plus 1 for “spliced”. Fortunately it didn’t affect the outcome. Enjoyed this, though it took me ages, and I needed one teeny-weeny bit of help.

  15. Many thanks for the review, CS. Fortunately, I hadn’t spotted the rabbit hole by 4d, no doubt if I had done then I’d have been straight down it!
    By the way, CS, I finished reading ‘Three Women and a Boat’ last night and must thank you for the recommendation. Started off thinking of it as being deliciously implausible but by the end I was seriously considering buying a canal boat!

    1. I was disappointed when it ended as I want to know what happened to all of them next. I wonder if there’ll be a sequel?

      1. I do hope so! Towards the end, I was thinking that they might go hunting for the empty house they’d passed on their canal journey – seemed like an ideal base for all of them.

  16. I found this quite a challenge, needing three sessions and a bit of wordfinder help to complete. 1ac went in at once, though, being reminiscent of 5dn in Friday’s Indy. I didn’t know that use of 12ac – when our kids were growing up 20 years ago it was ‘wicked’ they used for ‘good’. Not sure why 9ac was enumerated with a hyphen – I would write it as two words (4,4) for both the implement and the organisation.
    But a very satisfying solve once completed. Favourite was 21ac. Thanks, Skinny and CS.

  17. Only just got round to this and enjoyed it with a bit of chin-rubbing – nowt wrong with that
    Thanks Skinny & CS

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