NTSPP 609 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Shabbo

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Shabbo provided a perfect post-lunch NTSPP Crossword, perfect for solving and blog drafting before going back outside to enjoy some lovely autumn sunshine


1 A rugby player takes large fitting (7)
APROPOS A (from the clue) and a rugby player, into which is inserted a two-letter abbreviation meaning large

5 Lot of equipment on board ship (7)
FRIGATE Some equipment ‘on board’ one’s destiny (lot)

9 Goodbye to promotion of independent European Union (5)
ADIEU An abbreviated promotion and the abbreviations for Independent and the European Union

10 Loses race and makes a meal of it (9)
CASSEROLE An anagram (makes) of LOSES RACE

11 Edits film embracing playground equipment (8,5)

13 Arab state arrests southern sycophants (3-3)
YES-MEN An Arab state ‘arrests’ the abbreviation for Southern

16 Start out tracking prisoner to make a difference (8)
CONTRAST An anagram (out) of START ‘tracking’ or going after a slang term for a prisoner

18 Roughly six draws in a row – gaps need filling! (8)
CAVITIES The Latin abbreviation meaning roughly, the Roman numeral for six and some draws, all put one after the other or ‘in a row’

19 Endless game goes from side to side (6)
ACROSS Remove the outside letters (endless) from a team game

24 Class teacher who might look after Victoria? (13)
STATION MASTER A position in life (class) and a teacher

26 Cheat appears in blue at Queens (9)
ADULTERER A mature person who could watch something indecent or blue and two lots of our current Queen’s regnal cipher

27 Experienced top division? (5)
ADEPT A letter indicating a top level and an abbreviated division

28 Esoteric misfit ignores small social circle (7)
COTERIE An anagram (misfit)of EsOTERIC “ignores small” telling you to omit the S

29 Secrecy of Bow Street wellbeing? (7)
STEALTH The abbreviation for street and how someone from Bow might refer to their wellbeing


1 Norman, perhaps, in a state of chaos (7)
ANARCHY A piece of Norman architecture inserted between A (from the clue) and an abbreviated American State

2 The essence of Madeira is in sun-dried fruit (7)
RAISINS Hidden in the essence of madeiRA IS IN Sun

3 Vertical lead protects chimney in Edinburgh (5)
PLUMB The chemical symbol for lead ‘protects’ a Scottish word for a chimney

4 Approve another inferior deputy transfer (6)
SECOND A quintuple definition clue

5 Burgers, for example, that can be eaten during Ramadan? (4,4)
FAST FOOD Something that could be eating during a time such as Ramadan when people abstain from eating

6 Lacking mobility, I lean awkwardly on short stick (9)
INELASTIC An anagram (awkwardly) of I LEAN goes on a truncated STICk

7 Nonsense to drop by unescorted (5)
BALONEY Remove the outside letters (to drop by) from a slang term for nonsense

8 These might be the odds paradoxically (5)
EVENS A cryptic definition of some betting odds

12 Queries face coverings when not married (4)
ASKS Remove the M (not married) from some face coverings that people don’t seem to be wearing as much these days

14 Style shown by antelope with no tail (4)
ELAN An antelope without its ‘tail’

15 Fan of old farm equipment? (9)
EXTRACTOR Split 2-7 this might be a way of describing a item of farm equipment that no longer works

17 Family from Scunthorpe dig reedbed (8)
PEDIGREE Found in ScunthorPE DIG REEdbed

20 Colour for AA motel refurbishment (7)
OATMEAL An anagram (refurbishment) of AA MOTEL – probably colour used in the refurbishment of many a motel!

21 Flexitime? (7)
STRETCH This particular bit of flexible time would be served by a prisoner

22 Sleeps soundly? (6)
SNORES A cryptic definition of sounds made by a noisy sleeper

23 Nice money once flowed into football club (5)
FRANC A synonym for flowed inserted into an abbreviated Football Club

24 Crazy to go back to the beginning of terrifying feat (5)
STUNT A reversal (to go back) of an informal term for crazy followed by the ‘beginning’ of Terrifying

25 Knowledgeable about a Hertfordshire town (5)
AWARE A (from the clue) and a Hertfordshire town

36 comments on “NTSPP 609

  1. What a lovely NTSPP, Shabbo! It was light and fun, with brief cluing and perfect surfaces (although I do think that “in a row” is padding in 18a), and I learnt that 1a could be used as an adjective.

    My one slight reservation is that I’m not convinced that 29a works. If I have parsed it correctly, the answer is an abbreviation of street followed by a Cockney pronunciation (indicated by Bow) of a word meaning wellbeing. Hence you’ve got all the right elements but not in quite the right order – a bit like Eric Morecambe’s piano playing.

    The pick of the bunch for me were 10a (a very creatively clued anagram), 24a, 26a, 1d, 5d, 15d, 17d & 23d, with the outstanding quintuple definition in 4d my favourite.

    Very well done, and thank you, Shabbo, and thanks too in advance to, presumably, CS.

  2. Typical no caffeine required very enjoyable Saturday morning entertainment from Shabbo.

    I am not sure that I would immediately equate 20d with colour.

    I really liked 18a, 24a (an oldie but goodie?), and 15d.

    Thanks to Shabbo and, in advance, to CS.

    1. S. Oatmeal is a pretty common colour these days; paint, clothes, soft furnishings – all sorts.

  3. Thanks Shabbo, great fun and nothing *too* tricky – although SE corner held me up for a bit. I was looking for something to do with spring, but in the end 21d turned out to be my favourite. Also particularly enjoyed 26a and the similar 19a & 7d. And 29a too – I do think it works, taking “street wellbeing” as a phrase to be, er, cocknified, (though can also see RD’s point there)

    Thanks again Shabbo, and in advance to CS

  4. RD was spot on in his description – light and fun. Thanks, Shabbo, I always enjoy re-reading your clues after solving them to better appreciate the well-crafted surfaces. Favourites today were 24a, 7d and 15d, plus the profusely-defined 4d! Parsing 1d gave me pause for thought, but brought a smile when the penny dropped!

  5. Clean puzzle — I didn’t notice any parsing/surface issues. However, I was slightly surprised at the <50% checked letters in 16a and 18a (3/8). Eminently solvable nonetheless but unusual.

  6. I didn’t spot any issues either. Just a couple of points re comments above:

    18a. I reckon the clue is OK with “in a row” – without it there wouldn’t be any situation mentioned with gaps that might need filling.

    29a. I read this as how someone from Bow (a cockney) would pronounce the whole answer (split 2,5) – St ‘ealth.

    1. The wordplay for 18a is “Roughly six draws” which leads precisely and completely to the answer. That would make the definition “in a row – gaps need filling”, which you might argue at a stretch but that would be a very bizarre definition in my book.

      For 29a, we agree Bow is an operator to convert a word to how a cockney might pronounce it, so wellbeing = heatlh = (cockney) ‘ealth. The ST comes from Street which has nothing to do with a cockney pronunciation. Therefore, for the clue to work, the word order would need to be “Secrecy of Street Bow wellbeing” which would of course make utter nonsense of the surface.

      1. RD. Yes, I can see exactly what you are saying and it just goes to show how even veteran solvers can judge these things differently. I’ll reply, then you can answer if you wish and have the last say – I wouldn’t want a fight to the death about either of these clues:

        18a. I think “in a row” could be part of the word-play. Firstly as I said above, or possibly as some sort of misdirection to make you think about the Pools and thirdly maybe to indicate that the answer is a charade. Word-play padding? Or as your “bizarre definition” – anything “in a row” might well have gaps that need filling. It’s possibly superfluous to the surface, but would you then say the surface was clunky if it wasn’t there?

        29a. The word-play is suggesting how a cockney would say a phrase, not a word. How would a cockney say st health? – st ‘ealth. The fact that the “street” bit wouldn’t be “mispronounced” isn’t really pertinent.

        * I wonder why it isn’t Cockney with a capital C, like Geordie with a capital G? Do you know?

      2. RD. I have just seen the review and no problems with 18a or 29a have been reported. I was initially happy with both clues, and I still am.

  7. What a great, and most enjoyable, puzzle, Shabbo. Thanks for your efforts; my favourite was the brilliant 29A.

  8. Well that was great fun Shabbo, very enjoyable from first to last. Hard to pick out favourites as I liked them all but 24&29a plus 4&7d particularly appealed.

      1. Thank you! Shabbo actually has four sisters (he can’t work out why i only have three…) so I should really be Shabbo’s Baby Sister, but I’m the only crosswording sister 😊

  9. Just as I’ve come to expect – a joy to solve. Nowt obscure, excellently clued, some neat surfaces & plenty of humour. Absolutely spot on in my book.
    RD’s reservations notwithstanding pick for me was 29a as it made me smile – indeed I liked all the STs (24a, 21&24a). Had to look up the Norman arch at 1d & not sure I have 26a correctly parsed but otherwise all ok
    Thanks Shabbo

  10. Good evening to you all and many thanks for your very kind comments.
    I am just back from watching Saracens beat Newcastle in an entertaining match.
    I agree that there was an element of Eric Morecambe’s keyboard expertise in 29a. The cockney bit only relates to the well-being and not to the street. Apologies for that.
    In 18a, I agree that “in a row” is superfluous. I am a great fan of brevity wherever possible, but I felt at the time that it helped with the surface read and the three elements of the clue are actually put together “in a row”. In hindsight, I should have gone for brevity.
    Every day a school day and thanks to you all for taking the trouble to comment.

    1. Thanks for popping in, Shabbo. This was such good fun. Please keep them coming like this.

  11. Been away also so late doing the puzzle. Really enjoyed this but need Prolixic’s help to parse 2 of our answers. Many thanks Shabbo. We look forward to the next one from you.

  12. I didn’t get the ‘congrats’ popup when I put 27a in as shown above – it came up when I put in AGENT (which I didn’t like, but gave me the completion popup!) Having gone back today and put the right thing in, and refreshed, I see it does give me the popup, so an apparent glitch…
    An enjoyable solve, though, thanks Shabbo!

  13. Having just read the comments above we now understand 29a but we are still trying to parse 26a. Brain fade!

    1. May I give a hint for 26a. It’s a synonym for blue (films, etc) followed by 2 abbreviations for queen. I believe the capital Q is misdirection.

      1. It isn’t two abbreviations for queen – as I say in the hint, it is two lots of the regnal cipher of our current Queen

        1. Yes, that is correct of course. If I see ER in a clue or answer, I always regard it as a shortened way (or “abbreviated” way) of referring to Elizabeth 11 – but that’s just me. I assume that the surface has a misdirectional tennis theme, with Queen’s (minus its apostrophe) being the London venue?

        2. CS. After reading the review for Rookie Corner 392 (26a), it seems I’m not the only one with the habit of referring to ER as an abbreviation instead of a regnal cipher! :-)

  14. Nicely illustrated review as always – thank you CS. My pause for thought and much head scratching on 1d came up with A and NY for ‘a’ (in the clue) and ‘state’ (i.e. New York) rather than ‘ANY’ being a synonym for one (a). Perhaps Shabbo can enlighten us on the original intention…?

  15. Just the right sort of puzzle to relax with after a busy Saturday – although one or two answers eluded me till Sunday morning. Not that they were difficult, it was my brain fading at the end of the day. Great stuff – thanks, Shabbo and CS.

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