NTSPP 607 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Alchemi

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Big Dave follows:

The clues with thematic answers (satellites / moons) are highlighted in blue.


1a Bunch of stars dozing off, interrupted by active crime scene investigation (6,4)
ZODIAC SIGN: A(ctive) and CSI (crime scene investigation) inside an anagram (off) of DOZING

6a Very eccentric satellite shortly to arrive (4)
COME: most of a satellite with a very eccentric orbit

9a Orders sailor to drop large satellite (7)
TELSTAR: a verb meaning orders followed by a sailor, with an L(arge) dropped

10a Some number of sick people they aim to hit on the head (7)
NAILERS: the letter that represents any number followed by some sick people

12 Alien moon forest perhaps inhabited by male egg-layers (10)
MONOTREMES: an anagram (alien) of MOON followed by what you might find in a forest around M(ale)

13a/23a Look at complaint and stop using computer (3,3)
LOG OUT: look (2) followed by a complaint

15a Time they explode small moon (6)
TETHYS: T(ime) followed by an anagram (explode) of THEY and S(mall)

16a Heard shabby-looking cricketer maybe listened to one of these? (2,6)
CD PLAYER: sounds like (heard) shabby-looking (2) followed by someone who could (maybe) be a cricketer

18a Detective falls down and gets off (8)
DETRAINS: Det(ective) followed by a verb meaning falls down from the sky

20a Piece of glass on a table (6)
SONATA: hidden (of) inside the clue

23a See 13 Across

24a One following rock band is near death (2,8)
IN EXTREMIS: I (one), a word meaning following, a rock band and IS from the clue

26a Cavities maybe sloth exploits (7)
SINUSES: the moral offence of which sin is an example (maybe again!) followed by a verb meaning exploits

27a Phalanger‘s work needs large amount of money (7)
OPOSSUM: a musical work followed by a large size and an amount of money

28a Beam carrying energy reflecting orbital period (4)
YEAR: a beam around (carrying) E(nergy) all reversed (reflecting)

29a Series about graffiti artist, first of several who astonish other people? (10)
STAGGERERS: SER(ies) around a graffiti artist followed by the initial letter (first) of S[everal]


1d Pasta spot north of Italy (4)
ZITI: a spot followed by the IVR code for Italy – did you know that, from 2021, the IVR code for the UK is now UK not GB?

2d Issue tool due for replacement (4,3)
DOLE OUT: an anagram (for replacement) of TOOL DUE

3d Study of moving bodies crashes cars – it’s Monday! (13)
ASTRODYNAMICS: an anagram (crashes) of CARS IT’S MONDAY

4d Existentialist pictures framed by senior European (6)
SARTRE: some pictures inside (framed by) S(enio)R and E(uropean)

5d Satellite guide’s user interface some setter replaces (8)
GANYMEDE: start with GUIDE and replace UI (user interface) with a word meaning some and the setter of this puzzle

7d Covering gets adult in too (7)
OVERLAY: A(dult) inside a word meaning too

8d Someone from Soviet satellite confuses ET’s manager (4,6)
EAST GERMAN: someone from a former soviet satellite state is derived from an anagram (confuses) of ET’S MANAGER

11d Satellite? Moon? Somehow I’m not bothered (3,3,3,2,2)
IT’S ALL ONE TO ME: an anagram (Somehow) of SATELLITE MOON

14d Workplace American laboratory cleared out methodically (10)
STUDIOUSLY: an artist’s workplace followed by an abbreviation of American and L[aborator]Y without its inner letters (cleared out)

17d Satellite isn’t late rotating (8)
INTELSAT: an anagram (rotating) of ISN’T LATE

19d Liar exposed under giant moon (7)
TITANIA: [L]IA[R] without its outer letters (exposed) preceded by a giant

21d Argued about a thin fabric (2,5)
AT ISSUE: the A from the clue followed by a thin fabric

22d Tough track around Turkey (6)
STRONG: a music track around the IVR code for Turkey

25d Writer, for instance, crossing motorway (4)
AMIS: father or son (both were writers) comes from a two-letter word meaning for instance around the UK’s main motorway

24 comments on “NTSPP 607

  1. Excellent puzzle. In the context, 8d raised a big smile. Many thanks to Alchemi, especially for choosing reasonably well known objects.

  2. When I saw that Alchemi was the setter I decided that caffeine was required on my Saturday morning and it certainly helped.

    A very enjoyable and educational solve. I don’t think I had come across 24a in the context of near death before and I certainly had not heard of 12a before – after several ‘looks’ at it, it was it has to be which required both BRB and on-line verification.

    Should 16a be (1,1,6) rather than (2,6), I get confused about these things?

    I really liked 24a, 26a, and 19d.

    Thanks Alchemi and our reviewer (I think BD has reviewed the recent Alchemi NTSPPs). Now it’s time for more caffeine and my version of a Full Monty.

    1. Interesting question Senf about 16a. Do two letter/word abbreviations need to be punctuated? Like B.C. or BC? I suppose the first might be British Columbia for example.

      A question for the reviewer perhaps?

      P.S. A “Fully Monty”?!!

      1. From that ultra-reliable(?) source, Wikipedia – one hypothesised origin of the phrase is ‘Field Marshal Montgomery’s preference for a large breakfast, even while on campaign.’

        And, this is my version (because I knew someone would ask) – something any ‘Transport Caff’ on the A1 (do they still exist?) would be proud of.

        1. Eggs-cellant! Thought it might be a little cool over there for the other meaning.

          Only looking at the Ipad (including this) to have a break from the frustration of a few bad European shots in the Ryder Cup, and to keep an eye on Hurricane Sam!

        2. We used to use Jayne’s Place at Blyth near Bawtry as a stop off for breakfast on our way North. It served a breakfast for champions & had ample parking spaces. I can’t vouch for it now as it’s at least 3 years since we ventured further than the the end of the drive (or so it seems).

  3. Got there without using any ‘reveals’ but there were a few guesses and new words encountered along the way. Any clue containing the likes of ‘user interface’ has me almost running for the hills!
    A very different NTSPP but as Senf says – educational. Thank you for the lessons, Alchemi.

  4. Thanks Alchemi, very enjoyable and a nice theme. I think I was lucky to be on just the right wavelength today – several possibly ‘obscure’ ones (both thematic and non-thematic) were familiar for various reasons. 1a and 12a favourites.
    Thanks again!

  5. I printed this off to enjoy whilst eating lunch, so it turned out to be a long lunch! An excellent puzzle, as one might expect from Alchemi, nothing too easy but all just about within reach. 1d and 12a were new to me, but accessible from the wordplay. I ‘guessed’ 24a when I had just a couple of checking letters, and I have a rock band in mind, but haven’t succeeded in piecing it all together, so I look forward to the reviewer putting me straight. Given the recurrent theme, 11d gets my vote as best clue of the day. My other favourites were 16a, 26a and 5d. Thanks, Alchemi!
    P.S. Just figured out 24a! It was a different rock band… Add 24a to my list of favourites! :good:

  6. Thanks all.

    I had another theme vaguely in mind which would have used 11d a different way as the “key”, but wondering how I was going to clue it and finding that anagram changed my mind, and thus arose this collection of heavenly bodies.

  7. thanks Alchemi! I thought this was well-constructed puzzle with an accessible theme (found myself reading several wikipedia pages of course as a result and learnt that INTELSAT went bankrupt last year — you’d think that Intel would snap them up if only for the name).

    Since it was my LOI I think the best clue was 20a — extremely well hidden in plain sight.

  8. It took us a little time to get a toehold but once we were underway and had twigged the theme it flowed much more smoothly.
    Thoroughly enjoyable.
    Thanks Alchemi.

  9. I came to this late in the day, and very enjoyable it was too with a fun theme.

    12a, 1d & 17d were new to me, but all fairly clued, and I had to look up “phalanger”. I don’t like 18a as a word even though it is in the BRB, and I can’t believe how often it seems to crop up. I also think 29a is a pretty ghastly word.

    I had lots of ticks on my page, with 24a my favourite plus a special mention for 16a.

    Many thanks to Alchemi and in advance to whomever reviews it tomorrow.

  10. A stellar puzzle – thanks Alchemi.
    There were a few new words for me that I needed to verify but everything was very fairly clued.
    My podium features 9a, 16a and 24a.

  11. I have to admit to several reveals before I could complete this puzzle. I’m with Gazza concerning several new words & will wait for the review for a full explanation. Thanks Alchemi & thanks to our reviewer.

  12. Needed a few reveals but got the theme early on which helped. On the whole an enjoyable solve though I’m with Senf on the numeration of 16a. Thanks Alchemi and in advance to whoever is doing the review.

  13. Very enjoyable, although well out of my comfort zone on the theme.
    Huge credit for cramming so many themed words into a single puzzle. I don’t know how you found the space for them all!

  14. As with Shabbo this was out of our comfort range but enjoyable nonetheless. We needed a couple of reveals and some help from Google to complete. Thank you Alchemi and also to the reviewer.

  15. I keep coming back here to look for a review, but none so far … am I missing something or is the person doing it just over-busy with ‘life, the universe etc.’ to have been able to do it yet? It’s usually posted the next day…

      1. Thanks Jane, not just me then…

        Not complaining, as I know people are doing this in their ‘spare’ time, but I don’t want to miss it when it does turn up!

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