NTSPP 601 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Skinny

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Skinny’s turn to provide the NTSPP which fitted nicely into the time allocated for a ‘lunchtime solve’


1 Pat takes peculiar joy revealing less glamorous source of income (3,3)
DAY JOB A light pat takes an anagram (peculiar) of JOY

5 Beautiful flower gathered for old kings (8)
PHAROAHS Homophones (gathered) of a synonym for beautiful and a flower

9 Large deer receive wrong greeting outside this city? (8)
HELSINKI A type of large deer goes outside a wrong and is then inserted into (outside) an informal greeting

10 Bar assumes barrel is stout (6)
ROTUND A bar ‘assumes’ a type of barrel

11 Vehicles pull up near London suburb (10)
CARSHALTON Some vehicles, a verb meaning to pull up and a word meaning near – anyone else remember when this London suburb was very muchpart of Surrey?

12 Drain goes in reverse (4)
SEEP A reversal of an informal way of saying urinates (goes)

13 More communicative theatric dancing (8)
CHATTIER An anagram (dancing) of THEATRIC

16 Aquarium in no way looks after fish (6)
MINNOW Hidden in (looks after) aquariuM IN NO Way

17 En-bloc, regularly approves modern publications (1-5)
E-BOOKS The regular letters of EnBlOc followed by an informal way of saying approves

19 5 relations featured in Country Life (8)
VITALITY The Roman numeral for five and a country into which a two-letter term for sexual relations is ‘featured’

21 Singer from Belgium concerned with love, primarily (4)
BREL The Belgium is doing double duty here as this Belgian singer is obtained by following the IVR code for Belgium with the two-letter ‘concerned with’ and the first letter (primarily) of Love

22 Wasted one beer, and it gets messy (10)
INEBRIATED An anagram (messy) of I (one) BEER AND IT

25 Good, like a cigarette (6)
GASPER A slang term for a cheap cigarette is obtained by follow the abbreviation for Good with an adverb meaning like, and the preposition meaning for each (a)

26 Hard to believe odd bits of corn have been chucked out – it’s not good to eat (8)
INEDIBLE Chuck out the odd letters of CoRn from an adjective meaning hard to believe

27 Move ahead of golfer, mistakenly taking a chip at last (8)
LEAPFROG An anagram (mistakenly) of GOLFER ‘taking’ A (from the clue) and the last letter of chip

28 Reliable motor essentially needs a bit of oil? (6)
TRUSTY The ‘essential’ letter of moTor and a word to describe the condition of something that might be improved with a bit of oil


2 Field of 100 square metres not available (5)
ARENA The unit of measurement of 100 sq m and the abbreviated way of saying Not Available

3 I’m in Lourdes, renouncing current Messiah (5)
JESUS The way someone in Lourdes or anywhere else in France would say I AM, without (renouncing) the symbol for electrical current

4 Displaced Belgian national (7)
BENGALI A native of part of the Indian subcontinent is obtained from an anagram (displaced) of BELGIAN

5 Playwright acquires right office equipment (7)
PRINTER The surname of a playwright ‘acquires’ the abbreviation for Right

6 HRH, for example, getting intimate in the morning (7)
ACRONYM I think that we are all agreed that HRH is not an example of the solution. Insert an intimate companion into the abbreviation for morning

7 Handcrafted painting is meticulous (9)
ARTISANAL A word to describe painting, IS (from the clue) and a word meaning extra meticulous

8 Given away how he’s spelled ‘ambiguity’ without a ‘b’ (6,3)
HANDED OUT How you spell HE (1,3,1) and some ambiguity without the B

14 Breathe in unsteadily but sleep for a long time (9)
HIBERNATE An anagram (unsteadily) of BREATHE IN

15 Spooner’s suggestion for a dog is 23 (6-3)
TOODLE-PIP An old informal interjection of farewell (just like 23d) could be how Spooner might provide a suggestion for a particular breed of dog

18 One might cause a storm in a teacup (7)
STIRRER A cryptic definition of something used to mix things up in a teacup

19 Struggle with group inspection (7)
VIEWING A verb meaning to struggle and a group

20 Most cutting assessment of bitumen? (7)
TARTEST Split 3,4, this might be an assessment of bitumen

23 Cube covered in gold for so long (5)
ADIEU A cube ‘covered’ in the chemical symbol for gold

24 Style of English mineral from the south (5)
ECLAT The abbreviation for English and a reversal (from the south in a Down solution of a type of mineral

20 comments on “NTSPP 601

  1. Very enjoyable with a number of penny drop moments – thanks Skinny.
    I’m not sure that the definition in 4d is correct. I’m also a bit doubtful that HRH is an example of 6d.
    My medals were awarded to 19a, 21a, 28a and 8d.

    1. I agree that HRH does not meet the ‘requirements’ for 6d as it cannot be ‘said’ as a word in its own right unlike, for example, one of the best known forms of 6d – scuba.

  2. A very pleasant accompaniment to my first caffeine of the day (needed for the after effects of last night’s tonic and gin).

    I am not sure of the parsing of 9a but I am sure that CS will make that clear tomorrow.

    I really liked 26a, 5d, and 7d.

    Thanks Skinny and in advance to the aforesaid CS.

    1. 9a has a large type of deer – the European equivalent of a moose – with a wrong inside it and a greeting on the outside of all that

  3. Most enjoyable, Skinny, thank you. I liked the rather cheeky 12a but my favourite was 28a.

  4. This is the sort of cryptic I really enjoy, where you can build the answers from the clues and with satisfying word plays. It had a nice mix of answers I could build, and ones where I got the entire answer and worked out the parsing afterwards. I liked many of the clues, especially 17a, 26a and 14d. As I am not from the UK, I thought I was going to have trouble with 11a. However, with a few of the checking letters in, and a correct guess about the type of vehicle, Google helped me identify the London suburb. I can’t comment on the correctness or structure of the clues as I am not an expert on the compilation of puzzles. However, I know I would be very pleased to do one of Skinny’s cryptics again.

  5. Nice to see you back in the NTSPP slot, Skinny. Couple in this one that I thought might be more at home in ‘the other place’ but there was plenty to enjoy. My top three were 19,25&28a but several others came into contention.

    Many thanks for the puzzle.

  6. Thanks for the comments all, just relaxing before the start of the rugby here.

    This, I have to be honest with you, is lost in the mists of time, though I do have a recollection of wrestling with HRH – acronym or abbreviation – I think I did a lot of looking around before deciding it was OK, but I’ll defer to the collective knowledge base on this. 12a was a nod to Paul/Dada, I think I recall something similar years ago.

    Anyhoo, glad you liked it, have a great rest of the weekend, I’ll be on the hills burning lard

  7. Very enjoyable Skinny, I don’t mind a bit of risque cluing as long as it’s not crude and I don’t think you overstepped the mark here.
    I liked plently including 9,12,19,22&28a plus 2,3,7,15d with top spot going to the “incredibly” good 26a
    Thanks for the fun.

  8. Thank you Skinny. That was a very pleasant accompaniment to Mr Root et al. Lots of nice logical clues. I rather liked 3d and 15d and 23d appealed to my inner chemist. I also learned a new word, DELF, for 12a but it wasn’t needed 😂

  9. Having just spent the last 4 days slowly chipping away at an Elgar NTSPP from October 2018, this puzzle provided a welcome break from my struggles. In addition to some crafty wordplays there are some very nice surface readings – a real treat to accompany a glass of Rosé in the evening sunshine. The NE corner held me up for a while until I realised I had written in an incorrect spelling for 5a! 21a was new to me but straightforward from the wordplay. My favourite of the day was 8d, with 5a, 26a, 3d and 7d not far behind. Thanks, Skinny! Now back to Elgar, but I don’t think it will be long before I wave the white flag and turn to the review. I suspect a few other commentators may still bear the scars of this puzzle… :scratch:

  10. Splendid puzzle & so much more fun than today’s SPP. Too many good clues to single one or two out though Stephen highlighted most of my ticks.
    Many thanks Skinny.

  11. We needed Google to confirm that the answer for the place in 11a actually did exist but the rest all slotted into place with lots of penny-drop moments and a couple of chuckles at 12a and the last part of 7d.
    Thanks Skinny.

  12. Thanks Skinny, very enjoyable. I had Bono as the singer at first (which would work, without the ‘primarily’). Favourites maybe 19a, 25a & 3d … but really too many good clues to choose from.
    Thanks again!

  13. Very good puzzle; I particularly liked the device used at 5a. Likewise 19a was surprisingly amusing (with its use of 5). Don’t want to stir anything up, but not sure about 18d.

  14. Thanks, Skinny. We enjoyed the struggle, helped by spelling 5a incorrectly! That certainly held us up! We were also slow to complete the SE corner. First in was 11a and favourites were 9a, 12a and 23d. Still don’t understand 8d even though we wrote in the correct answer. We look forward to your next puzzle. Thanks also to CS

  15. Thanks for the review CS. I had 25a as G for good plus the phrase “as per” for like and the definition “a cigarette” but I bow to your superior knowledge!

  16. Many thanks for the review, CS, which reconciled me to the workings of 8d. I really don’t like the use of ‘on’ for ‘near’ as the words mean rather different locations to me but I know setters use it on a fairly regular basis.
    Thanks again to Skinny for the puzzle.

    PS Think there’s a typo in the answer for 7d?

  17. As others have said, an enjoyable puzzle, very slightly spoilt by 6dn but that was more than compensated for by my favourites, 5ac and 8dn. Thanks, Skinny and CS.

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