NTSPP 597 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Prolixic

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A Saturday lunchtime crossword from Prolixic with a tasty teatime treat of a Nina


9 Troops surrounding old city’s arsenal (7)
ARMOURY Some troops ‘surrounding’ an old Biblical city often found in crosswords, both cryptic and otherwise

10 Single crew for old radio presenter (7)
FREEMAN A synonym for single and another for crew (a boat perhaps)

11 This will not help those who are distressed! (7)
SHAMPOO A lovely cryptic definition

12 Ponder about employing acting bar manager (7)
PADRONE An anagram (about) of PONDER around (employing) the abbreviation for acting

13 Small horse clubs sharing bachelor dances (9)
SARABANDS The abbreviation for Small, a type of horse and some clubs ‘sharing’ the abbreviation for Bachelor found at the end of one and the beginning of the other

15 Artist’s agreed to return fees (5)
RATES The usual abbreviated artist and a reversal (to return) of a synonym for agreed

16 Storm results when young conservative punches Dolly? (7)
CYCLONE The abbreviation for Young Conservative found in the middle (punches) of the type of animal Dolly the Sheep was

19 Group of people that man left working by City (7)
ECHELON Male form of the third person pronoun (that man), the abbreviation for left, and a simple way of saying working all go after (by) the post code for the City of London

20 Traded and gave drink away (5)
PLIED Remove a synonym for drink from a word meaning gave or provided

21 Water carriers see hippos wallowing (9)
HOSEPIPES An anagram (wallowing) of SEE HIPPOS

25 Punish chaplain behind sacking rector (7)
CHASTEN The abbreviation for chaplain and a word meaning behind without (sacking) the abbreviation for Rector

26 European medic’s terse specialist language leads to ban (7)
EMBARGO Abbreviations for European and a doctor and almost all of some specialist language (terse indicating that it is ‘truncated’)

28 In error a builder bent this blade (7)
TURBINE An anagram (in error) of A BUILDER BENT will produce the word BLADE and the type of blade

29 Food Light Infantry sent back making complaint (7)
AILMENT Reverse (sent back) the positions of the abbreviation for the Light Infantry in a synonym for food


1 Nice ballroom dances feature in festival session(6)
VALSES Featured in festiVAL SESsion

2 Spoil the look of Latin Empress (6)
IMPAIR The Latin abbreviation for Empress and a look or appearance

3 Priest supports Christian Union’s point (4)
CUSP The abbreviation for Priest supports, or goes under in a Down solution, the abbreviation for Christian Union, not forgetting the S

4 Fashionable people receiving Yankee commanding officer’s boss (6)
TYCOON The ‘fashionable people’ that solvers usually haven’t heard of ‘receiving’ the letter represented by Yankee in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet and an abbreviated Commanding Officer

5 Side’s united we hear on an unused path (3-5)
OFF-PISTE The side of a cricket pitch and a homophone (we hear) of part of a verb meaning put together (united)

6 Her despair about all of you? (10)
READERSHIP An anagram (about) of HER DESPAIR

7 Like God – but he could not say it (8)
IMMORTAL Split this word meaning like a god 2, 5 and you’ll see why the God couldn’t say it

8 Puppet master‘s with powerless individual (8)
ANDERSON The master of many puppets including the Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet – a conjunction meaning with and an individual without the P (powerless)

14 Possible evidence of young man’s baseless corruption (10)
BLOODSTAIN A swaggering dandy (young man) and some corruption without the final letter (baseless)

16 News story on musical mimics (8)
COPYCATS A newspaper story for printing and a musical

17 Agree with the Gunners adopting a fabulous creature (8)
CHIMAERA A verb meaning to agree with and the abbreviation for the Royal Artillery (gunners) ‘adopting’ A (from the clue)

18 Improved objective accepting risk without leader (8)
ENHANCED A risk without its leader inserted into an objective

22 Playground equipment Spooner could not confuse (6)
SEESAW A cryptic definition clue

23 Means to split distance(6)
PARSEC If you split PARS (means) into PAR and S and then taking the S to be the abbreviation for second, change this to the informal SEC

24 Iron’s gently flowing (6)
SMOOTH Double definition

27 Island rising up in Manila Bay (4)
BALI Hidden in reverse (riding up) in manILA Bay


26 comments on “NTSPP 597

  1. Thanks Prolixic – that was a tough and enjoyable challenge! I lacked the specialist knowledge for 1d & 13a but both very fairly clued. Luckily I did know the two somewhat dated personages! Unsure of parsing for 23d (got from definition only) and of definition in 28a so looking forward to the review.
    Many thanks again!

  2. Well that was a headscratcher which I needed some Reveals and the caffeine that I had fortuitously prepared to complete.

    I liked 13a, 25a, and 18d.

    Thanks Prolixic and ? for the review tomorrow – who does review a Prolixic NTSPP?

  3. Completed whilst sitting in glorious sunshine yet without risking sunburn! Thank you, Prolixic, for providing another very enjoyable puzzle**. I spotted a potential Nina after solving the first few down clues and so it turned out to be. I’m not sure of the relevance unless it is an urgent plea being sent to CS?! The Nina also helped to confirm 23d, but like Fez I haven’t yet figured out the last bit of parsing. [Fez – 28a definition involves part of the clue.] Of many fine clues, my favourite was 5d.
    **By coincidence I also enjoyed your NTSPP-478 yesterday evening. It had clearly been set in recognition of a significant BD anniversary as there was an excellent Nina there too. Thanks again!

    1. Nicely spotted Nina, Spartacus, I’d missed that … fancy a cup of tea now 28 I thought what I assume to be the definition to be only one component of the item, so wondered if I’d missed something (more likely I’m just wrong). Thanks in advance for review CS!

  4. That was quite a tough cookie! Managed to avoid using the ‘reveal’ button but I was rather relieved when the Nina started to show itself. Not totally convinced by a couple of my parsing attempts but no doubt CS will have everything in hand for tomorrow’s review.
    Thanks to Prolixic for the ‘afternoon tea’.

  5. My goodness that was true Toughie standard but very enjoyable. I was held up slightly by the unusual spelling (for me) of 17d, and I entered both 28a & 23d from the definitions and checkers with no idea of the wordplay in either instance.

    It’s nice to see Spooner featuring again in a very unusual way and 22d makes it onto my podium alongside 5d (a perfect homophone for me!) and 7d.

    Is Nina available in the naughty corner for anyone transgressing with comments for the back-pager?

    Many thanks to Prolixic and in advance to CS.

    1. No but there is a chocolate courgette cake in the tin – I’m definitely working on my twenty thousand things you can make with a courgette or several!

  6. A very tasty challenge with a fair bit of thought required to sort out the parsing
    Very nice of Prolixic to provide a cake to celebrate his 100th puzzle(?)
    Thanks for the entertainment and in advance to CS

            1. 58 Radlers? Good grief and good luck! I’d suggest you spread them out over a long period of time – otherwise the men in white coats will be coming for you!

  7. I was delayed a little by the alternative spelling of 17d too, and also needed a reveal to get 28d – but only the one letter in each and I realised what 28d must be. I wondered if the Nina had anything to do with this weekend’s Open?

  8. Relieved to see it’s not just the heat that’s addled my brain. Very tough indeed. 15 answers in & I’ve ground to a halt. Will have another stab at it later but with little expectation of progress. Odds on I’ll be resorting to some strategic letter reveals & CS’s hints if that doesn’t do the trick.
    One for A team solvers I suspect but thanks anyway Prolixic

  9. Very tough, but completed, eventually, in two sittings.
    The comments above about a Nina definitely helped.
    A very accomplished puzzle, as one would expect.
    Thank you, Prolixic and in advance to CS.

  10. I agree with others here that this was by no means easy, but despite having a handful still unparsed I really enjoyed the challenge. 13a and 28a get honourable mentions but my favourite has to be 22d. Many thanks for the entertainment Prolixic, and in advance to CS.

  11. Agree entirely with the comments from Huntsman above but had a good crack at it before coming to a halt.
    Many thanks to Prolixic and CS

  12. Many thanks for the review, CS. I’d obviously been looking for something that simply wasn’t there in 22d but anything to do with the reverend always troubles me! However, I have to say that I remain very dubious about 23d despite the explanation.

      1. Didn’t twig that, thought it was a dubious cryptic def!
        Should have known better

      2. I understand the theory, Gazza, but it doesn’t seem quite right. For one thing, I haven’t seen ‘par’ pluralised and for another, with no further information given, we have to assume that the residual ‘s’ stands for ‘second’ which then has to be abbreviated. Think I’d be querying it over in Rookie Corner!

        1. Par doesn’t need to be pluralised. Split the word MEANS into MEAN and S – then take a synonym of MEAN, i.e. PAR and add what S is an abbreviation of, i.e. SEC.

  13. Thanks for your review, CS, and the reminder of Thunderbirds, which was a favourite show all those years ago!
    For 23d I had made life complicated for myself by having PARS for ‘means’ followed by EC, which my dictionary informs me is a prefix meaning ‘away from’ (aka ‘to split’?). Oh well… :wacko:

  14. Didn’t get very far with this late on Saturday, but after sleeping on it managed to complete quite quickly, helped by the nina. Thanks, Prolixic and CS.

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