NTSPP 604 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Starhorse

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows:

Out thanks to Starhorse for a nicely pitched lunchtime treat.


1 Very rude text? (4-6,5)
FOUR LETTER WORDS – The whole is described by a description of its constituted parts.

9 Row over French composer and Casanova? (9)
LIBERTINE – A four-letter word for a row or queue around (over) a five-letter name of a French composer.

10 One person elected by the Spanish Force (5)
IMPEL – The letter representing one followed by the abbreviation for someone elected to the House of Commons and the Spanish word for the.

11 Blue Planet ending in July (6)
EARTHY – The name of the planet we live on followed by the last letter (ending) in July.

12 This year’s mad panic (8)
HYSTERIA – An anagram (mad) of  THIS YEARS.

13 Reliable, though at first out of practice (6)
TRUSTY – The initial letter (at first) of though followed by a five-letter word meaning out of practice.

15 It’s not always working; maybe tamper with it (4-4)
PART TIME – An anagram (maybe) of TAMPER IT.

18 French wine I opened: about average (8)
MEDIOCRE – A five-letter word for a type of French wine includes (opened) the letter I followed by a two-letter word meaning about.

19 Offer from daughter could be right (6)
DANGLE – The abbreviation for daughter followed by what would be described a right if it were 90 degrees.

21 Unattractive options from Sat Nav? (4-4)
TURN OFFS – Cryptic definition of routes offered by a sat-nav.

23 Junk thus collected leads to charge (6)
STATIC – A three-letter word for junk inside (collected) a three-letter word in Latin meaning thus.

26 A fancy uniform (5)
ALIKE – The A from the clue followed by a four-letter word meaning fancy or enjoy.

27 The consequence of drinking one tiny beer when squiffy (9)
INEBRIETY – An anagram (when squiffy) of I (one) TINY BEER.

28 Turned on in bed?  It’s exciting and all-embracing (8,7)
ELECTRIC BLANKET – An eight-letter word meaning exciting followed by a seven-letter word meaning all-embracing.


1 Fellow follows London team, first half’s brilliant (7)
FULGENT – A four-letter word for a fellow after (follows) the first half of the name of a London football club whose home ground is Craven Cottage.

2 Unwanted furniture left to go brown (5)
UMBER – A six-letter word for unwanted furniture without (to go) the abbreviation for left.

3 Slowish piece altogether played with insufficient energy (9)
LARGHETTO – An anagram (played) of ALTOGETHER without one of the letters that is the abbreviation for energy.

4 Close to conflict, trouble to follow (4)
TAIL – The last letter (close to) of conflict followed by a three-letter word meaning trouble.

5 Anybody‘s play? (8)
EVERYMAN – Double definition, the second being the common name of a medieval morality play. 

6 Fiddle part?  Utter rubbish! (5)
WAIST – A homophone (utter) of waste (rubbish).

7 Broadcasting call about figure of speech from the south (9)
REPORTING – A four-letter word meaning call on the telephone around (about) a five-letter word for a figure of speech that has its letter reversed (from the south).

8 Recover from lake circumnavigated by barbarian (7)
SALVAGE – The abbreviation for lake has a six-letter word for a barbarian around it (circumnavigated).

14 Mark where to find the denominator? (9)
UNDERLINE – A description of where the number in a fraction (denominator) is written.

16 Where top class rhubarb dessert is served up? (9)
TRATTORIA – A several (served up) of the abbreviation meaning top-class, a three-letter word meaning rhubarb or rubbish and a four-letter word for a dessert.

17 Tennis champ on the attack – I see the writing on the wall (8)
GRAFFITI – The four-letter surname of a German ladies tennis champion followed by a three-letter word for an attack and the I from the clue.

18 Gas, as Macbeth might have said (7)
METHANE – Split 2,5, this might be how Macbeth would have described himself.

20 French in underground facility take action to restrict access (7)
ENCRYPT – The two-letter word in French meaning in followed by the name of an underground room or facility.

22 Short guy’s revolutionary patent (5)
OVERT – A six-letter mans name without the last letter (short) has all of the letters reversed (revolutionary).

24 Modify tug? (5)
TWEAK – Double definition.

25 Wetherby, home to Rosemary? (4)
HERB – The answer is hidden (home to) in the first word of the clue.

16 comments on “NTSPP 604

  1. An enjoyable, perfect for lunchtime, crossword – thank you Starhorse and in advance to Prolixic (I hope it isn’t me because I’m in full on peach jam production mode this afternoon!)

  2. thanks Starhorse! I found this moderately straightforward — clean and fair clueing and I did need to consult our favourite online resource beginning with W a couple of times (9a, 5d to confirm the play).

    Fav clue was of course 1a.

  3. Enjoyable stuff – thanks Starhorse.
    I didn’t know the 9a French composer but Mrs Google did.
    My ticks went to 11a,16d and 17d with my favourite being 1a.

  4. This must be a historic first Saturday of the month – both the MPP and the NTSPP completed pre-caffeine!

    I did have to seek Google confirmation of 27a and 6d after deciding I had solved them. And, a RD Hmm for the ‘guess a guy’ in 22d.

    I really liked 1a, 11a, 16d, and 1d – it’s good to see the Cottagers from SW6 appearing in a crossword. The first Football League ground I ever went to – I won’t say when but Johnny Haynes was the team captain.

    Thanks Starhorse and thanks in advance to Prolixic.

    Now, I do need that caffeine!

  5. Really enjoyed this puzzle, thanks Starhorse. I particularly liked some of the smooth surfaces, such as 12a, 13a and 6d. However, I will award podium places to 18a, 28a and 16d. 18a gave me the cheeky 18d as last one in! Had to check 4 elements I had not come across before (with 2 credible options for the French composer!), but all were accessible from the wordplay. I now look forward to the review by Prolixic tomorrow…

  6. Enjoyed this one. Found the east pretty straightforward but there was head scratching aplenty in the west. 22d&26a were my last 2 & just couldn’t see them until I revealed the checker & promptly kicked myself hard. Mr G required for the composer & to confirm the musical term so no unaided finish.
    Some lovely clues & great surfaces. Love both 1a & 18d though I’ve seen both before so for that reason I’ll plump for a 3 way photo between 18&28a along with 16d
    Thanks Starhorse

  7. How nice to see you back again, Starhorse. Really appreciated the solve albeit a bit of head-scratching and couple of prompts from Mr Google required along the way.
    Long list of ticks including 10,11,12,13,18&28a plus 4,14,16&17d – guess that says it all when it comes to enjoyment factor!

    Well done indeed, hope it’s not too long before we see you again.

  8. Evening all.

    I’ve been out golfing all afternoon so hadn’t realised I was in the hot seat until I got back. Glad you enjoyed it. I guessed the French composer is not so well known. It’s rumoured he had a brother Ted who wrote a song called “Picnic” (“If you go down in the woods today you’re sure of a big surprise…”)

    1. I’m not sure about Ted, but a member of my music circle always referred to the composer as Jackie Bear!

  9. A really enjoyable Sunday morning solve for us. Lots of ticks and lots of chuckles with an extra one from your comment above.
    Thanks Starhorse.

  10. Excellent Starhorse, lots of PDMs throughout the grid. I did need to refer to Mr Google to confirm a couple in the North but otherwise teased them all out alone.
    Lots of cleverly constructed clues, my ticks go to 13,15,21&28a plus 16,17&20d.
    Many thanks and to Prolixic in advance.

  11. Thanks Starhorse, very enjoyable. Lots of great clues so tough to pick a fave … liked all those picked out by others above, but I’ll highlight 15a as I don’t think it’s been mentioned yet.
    [Edit: as I submitted, Stephen L did pick 15a … good choice!]

  12. Having been out all day, I came to this late and very enjoyable it was too, but, oh dear, what a shame to spoil such an excellent puzzle with the inclusion of a vague guy in 22d. 👎

    My podium comprises 1a, 11a & 18d.

    Thanks to Starhorse.

  13. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, always appreciated. Excellent flautist playing in the clip but can’t pretend that the piece of music did a great deal for me!

  14. Thanks, Prolixic. I agree with Jane about the music clip. Ibert’s work has apparently been described as ‘eclectic’, perhaps this is why he may not be widely recognised outside a circle of afficionados…?

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