NTSPP 610 – 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.

We haven’t had a Prolixic NTSPP since July and parts of this one certainly put the cryptic grey matter through its paces


1 Control displayed by half-back in jump (4-6)
TIME-SWITCH A reversal (back) of a prefix meaning half inserted into a sudden jump

6 Advance stage (4)
STEP Double definition

9 Raunchy prince gets about (10)
RESPECTING An anagram (raunchy) of PRINCE GETS

10 Holy man wants King to be reasonable (4)
FAIR Remove the chess abbreviation for King from a holy man

12 A child plays regularly with venom (6)
ACIDLY A (from the clue) and the regular letters of ChIlD pLaYs

13 Right to arrest quiet teacher over act of vengeance (8)
REPRISAL A synonym for right in the sense of true or genuine into which is inserted (to arrest) the musical abbreviation for quiet and a reversal (over) of a teacher

15 Interference of Republican contributing to international outburst (12)
INTERRUPTION A three-letter abbreviation for international and an outburst into which is inserted the abbreviation for Republican

18 Very noisy peer venting anger after advance of liberal (3-9)
EAR-SPLITTING A peer of the realm and a way of venting anger, the abbreviation for Liberal in the first word ‘advancing’ into the second

21 Associate rector leaves dirty folly (8)
INSANITY The abbreviations for Associate and Rector are omitted (leaves) from a synonym for dirty

22 Guide‘s ready to tour City (6)
RECIPE A way of saying ready to eat goes round (to tour) the area of London known as The City

24 Posh car taken from enclosure to get fuel (4)
COAL Remove the two-letter abbreviation for a particular marque of posh car from an enclosure for cattle or hunted animals

25 One tantrum thrown in Wimbledon perhaps (10)
TOURNAMENT An anagram (thrown) of ONE TANTRUM

26 Player‘s banquet starting late (4)
EAST A bridge player is obtained by removing the first letter (starting late) from a banquet

27 Heart of the cemetery? (4,6)
DEAD CENTRE Another word for the heart of something might cryptically describe a cemetary


1 Change of heart over daughter’s series of messages (6)
THREAD An anagram (change) of HEART goes over (in a Down solution) the abbreviation for Daughter

2 Picture of a great lawgiver (6)
MOSAIC A picture or an adjective relating to a great Jewish lawgiver

3 Phony dental surgeon initially treated small horse … (8,4)
SHETLAND PONY An anagram (treated) of PHONY DENTAL and S (the initial letter of Surgeon)

4 … fascinated by cutting off horse’s head (4)
INTO Cut off the ‘head’ from a piebald horse

5 Direct PA to consider vow (10)
CONSECRATE A verb meaning to direct [the steering off], an abbreviated PA and a verb meaning to consider

7 Hypnotise Spike (8)
TRANSFIX Two verbs, the second one in the clue having ‘a misleading capital’

8 Dock’s left with type of cement (8)
PORTLAND A dock, the abbreviation for Left and a conjunction meaning with

11 Peter Pan rode out to steal the spotlight? (12)
PREPONDERATE An anagram (out) of PETER PAN RODE produces a verb meaning to exceed in number, quality or influence (steal the spotlight)

14 Flower and horse painter welcomes poet (10)
HELIOTROPE The abbreviation for Horse and something for fastening a boat (painter) ‘welcomes’ the surname of a poet – one of those ‘see the flower’ ‘work out the wordplay’ clues

16 Second-rate sea god’s limitless estates (8)
MEDIOCRE An abbreviated sea, a Greek goddess*  and some measures of land or estates.  *I can’t find any reference to this lady being a goddess, just a priestess to a goddess after whom a moon of Jupiter was named

17 Graduate supports heartless attempts to sin (8)
TRESPASS A verb meaning to graduate goes after (supports) some attempts without the middle letter (heartless)

19 Remove rich man’s head of treasury (6)
DIVEST A rich man in a New Testament parable and the ‘head’ of Treasury

20 Agent left hugging Clement (6)
GENTLE The second appearance of a misleading capital – hugging indicates that a synonym for clement is found in aGENT LEft

23 Encourage head of rugby in school (4)
PROD The ‘head’ of Rugby inserted into a school of whales or seals

25 comments on “NTSPP 610

  1. Looks as though I may be first to report in on this one. Had a 10a run through until it came to the parsing of 18a plus 14&16d – typical stings in the tail from this setter!
    Nice to get a helpful chestnut in the shape of 27a and I did smile at 9&25a – who do those remind you of?!!
    Not too sure where favourites are concerned – the entire puzzle was very cleverly constructed.

    Many thanks to Prolixic for a most enjoyable NTSPP
    Oops, I was wrong, a couple of other contributors nipped in whilst I was typing!

  2. I don’t normally comment on puzzles that I’ve test-solved but since I first saw this puzzle more than nine years ago and had forgotten most of the clues I feel it’s ok to make an exception!

    I really enjoyed it – thanks Prolixic.
    My ticks went to 10a, 24a, 27a and 14d.

    1. Given the number of crosswords I solve/test solve, I have trouble remembering ones from a couple of weeks ago, never mind nine years. Add to that the fact that at that time I had a different email address and saved my ‘testers’ on a different computer, it is no wonder that solving this one today felt like an entirely new experience

  3. Fair and clever puzzle — not a quibble to be found. My favourite was 27a (not realizing it’s a chestnut… so much for my pedigree :)

  4. This was good fun, with a few challenges along the way. I’ve managed to get everything sorted except for 16d, which, if I’ve parsed it correctly, would require “io” to be a god and I can’t find any justification for that.

    My top two were 27a & 14d.

    Many thanks to Prolixic and in advance to CS.

    1. Same here re Io (in mythology, a mortal lover of Zeus who was turned into a cow) but perhaps we’ve missed something

  5. The caffeine I mentioned in my SPP comment certainly helped in the solving.

    A few Hmms along the way; for example, a ‘made up’ abbreviation in 21a? And, assuming I have parsed it correctly, I am not sure that the god(dess) in 16d is one, she might have been mortal (but, you never know, Wikipedia could be wrong).

    I liked 1a, 27a, 2d, and 5d.

    Thanks to Prolixic and, in advance, to CS.

      1. The caffeine must have started to wear off. I was thinking of it as a two word phrase rather than two separate words.

  6. Thanks Prolixic, top stuff – I did find it quite tough but very enjoyable. Just a couple of minor quibbles, the god as mentioned by RD & Send – and 4d’s horse maybe needing a US indicator?
    Thanks again!

  7. Jolly tough for the likes of me. Slow progress to within 3 of an unaided finish – 19&20d plus 22a. Only completed after revealing the 2 missing checkers but of the three can only parse 20d. Am also unable to understand 14d (can see Eliot) & 16d (other than Med for sea) so well beaten really. 1,18,21&27a were my picks. Enjoyed the challenge nevertheless.
    Thanks Prolixic

    1. H. For 14d, I’ve got the poet you know inside an abbrev. for horse plus a 4-letter synonym of painter (a simple device for tethering a boat). I Haven’t fully sussed the parsing for 16d yet.

  8. A real challenge for us but slowly and surely it all came together.
    A plethora of excellent clues.
    Thanks Prolixic.

  9. Kept coming back to this intermittently during the day whenever a busy schedule allowed, but each visit resulted in a few more solved clues and by the end of the day it all came together. Perhaps the piecemeal approach helped me to maintain a fresh outlook and avoid getting bogged down in what was a tricky and challenging puzzle. Favourites of many excellent clues today were 1a, 18a and 17d. Thanks, Prolixic!

  10. Thanks CS (& Jose) – had quite forgotten painter was boat & the new testament parable didn’t remotely occur.

  11. Thanks to CS for the review.
    I believe that Io is the chief deity (top god) in the fantasy role-playing game “Dungeons and Dragons”.

    1. That would come under the classification of (very) obscure GK for me.

      Thanks to CS for the review.

  12. Many thanks for the review, CS, which confirmed that I had eventually sorted out all the parsing correctly.
    Quite happy to take Gazza’s word for it regarding the ‘top god’ – perhaps Prolixic assumed that rather more of us would have played Dungeons & Dragons than would seem to be the case!

  13. Thanks to CrypticSue for the review and to all for the comments. Apologies for Io, I owe you one!

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