NTSPP 617 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Favourites by Chalicea

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by crypticsue follows:

Chalicea returned to Saturday lunchtime with a straight-forward crossword which didn’t involve any searching through lists this time – the Favourite Things were easy to find and the draft review prepared with lots of time to do essential pre-Christmas duties for the rest of Saturday afternoon


1 Slyly at first, Abraham’s wife returning to constantly pester (6)
HARASS A reversal (returning) of the name of the wife of Abraham followed by the first letter of slyly

5 Utensils for whipping up prepared whiskey sour you sadly rejected (8)
WHISKERS Not really an anagram (prepared) of WHISKEy SouR, just the ‘rejection’ of the  letters of YOU and the rearrangement of the S and R in SouR – if the word ‘sadly’ in the clue is to indicate the letters to be removed are not in order, it is (sadly) unnecessary

9 Fellow with queen, one mostly a person accompanying (8)
CHAPERON A fellow, the regnal cipher of our current Queen and most of ONe

10 Pale-faced mate with hat (6)
PALLID A friend (mate) and an informal term for a hat

11 Clothe oneself too simply in this garment for wearing below another, say (10)
UNDERDRESS Not choosing the right type of clothes for a special occasion or a garment worn or showing underneath another

12 Whirling motion of Merckx maybe (4)
EDDY The Christian name of a Belgian professional cyclist called Merckx

13 Firmly wraps up heart of crosswords and becomes confused (8)
SWADDLES The letters at the heart of crosSWords and part of a verb meaning becomes confused

16 Some of frozen block in a body (2,4)
Hidden in some of frozEN BLOCk

17 Bump off, we’re told, this way to travel in snow (6)
SLEIGH A homophone of a slang word meaning to kill (bump off)

19 Closest circling area where Turkey is, for example (4,4)
NEAREST A synonym for closest going round (circling) the abbreviation for Area and then split 4,4

21 Repulsive fruit we hear (4)
UGLY A homophone (we hear) of a type of fruit believed to be a cross between a grapefruit and a tangerine

22 White flowers, arctic birds and feathery bunches of frozen crystals (10)
SNOWFLAKES Chalicea’s been at the dictionary again! Some white flowers that resemble a snowdrop; another name for a particular type of buntings and/or some feathery bunches of frozen crystals

25 Get back old US President, touring Italy (6)
REGAIN Not quite the surname of a former US President (he has an A as the third letter of his surname) ‘touring’ the IVR Code for Italy

26 Permits including a fine empty line in publicity material (8)
LEAFLETS Another way of saying permits into which is inserted (including) A (from the clue), the abbreviation for Fine and the outside (empty) letters of LinE

27 Covers with grease supports surrounding small empty maisonette (8)
BESMEARS Part of a verb meaning supports ‘surrounding’ the abbreviation for Small and the outside (empty) letters of MaisonettE. The repetition radar couldn’t fail to beep here!

28 One on the fiddle; part of a racket! (6)
STRING Something that can be found on a fiddle or as part of a racket used in several sports


2 Like faint-hearted person, very pale (5)
ASHEN Another word for like and a faint-hearted person

3 Gala, perhaps, is big in New York (5)
APPLE A type of fruit, of which a Gala is an example, or when linked with ‘big’ an informal term for New York City

4 Rustled up this pastry dessert (7)
STRUDEL An anagram (up) of RUSTLED

5 Seasons to lay to rest surrounded by extremes of winds (7)
WINTERS A verb meaning to lay to rest ‘surrounded’ by the ‘extremes’ of WindS

6 Stalemate, I’m out of date (7)
IMPASSE IM (from the clue) and an adjective meaning out of date

7 Dreadfully like rebel; one that can do you in (6,3)
KILLER BEE An anagram (dreadfully) of LIKE REBEL

8 Driblets that keep falling on Burt Bacharach’s head (9)
RAINDROPS A solution that gives you two ear worms for the price of one!

14 Turbulent wee glides for these feral fliers (4,5)
WILD GEESE An anagram (turbulent) of WEE GLIDES

15 Farmyard I sorted out as scene of milk production (5,4)
DAIRY FARM An anagram (sorted out) of FARMYARD I – although again, all you are really sorting out iis the YARD and I

18 Expression of joy of US street women with bit of old money (7)
HOSANNAS An American slang term for ladies of the night and a former Indian coin

19 Pasta for airheads? (7)
NOODLES Some pasta or an informal term for airheads

20 A few words announced in breaches of the peace (7)
AFFRAYS A (from the clue) and a homophone (announced) of a group of words

23 Comparatively skilful storyteller drops folio (5)
ABLER A storyteller without (drops) the abbreviation for Folio

24 Battered with top chopped off and consumed (5)
EATEN Chop off the top or first letter from a synonym for battered

I don’t see why I should be the only one still suffering from the ear worm, so here are the lyrics so you can join in the sing-a-long:

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream-colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles

Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites, when the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad

16 comments on “NTSPP 617

  1. This must be a first for the first Saturday of the month – the NTSPP and MPP (not the riddle) both completed pre-caffeine on my Saturday morning! And, I even ‘get’ the ‘source’ of the Favourites – cue Julie Andrews.

    However, I do believe that there is a letter missing from the old US President in 25a.

    Thanks to Chalicea and in advance to CS.

  2. Most enjoyable and I sussed out the “favourites”. I agree with Senf regarding the president.

    Many thanks, Chalicea for the entertainment. You continue to be my favourite setter. :good:

  3. Oh dear yes! Sorry about that old president, the clue should have something like ‘not accepted once’ (as the letter appears twice in his name). Thanks Senf for all the hard work, and Steve Cowling for the prompt.

  4. Really enjoyable puzzle which has left me with an earworm! Concur with the view re former president.

    Many thanks Chalicea – and CS for review.

  5. Puzzle number two from Chalicea today! And just like puzzle number one, this was light and fun too, with an easy to spot theme – even though it’s likely to bring dear Kath out in a rash. :wink:

    Perhaps I am feeling a bit curmudgeonly today on account of a very heavy cold, but I did have a very few little hmms:
    – Why split the infinitive in 1a when it is unnecessary for the wordplay? “To pester constantly” would have been fine.
    – After removing the letters YOU from the fodder (which appear in the correct order thereby rendering “sadly” unnecessary), the anagram itself is simply switching the final two letters.
    – In 15d, the second word of the answer appears unaltered in the anagram fodder.

    BUT none of those prevented this from being very enjoyable indeed. I had lots of ticks on my page, with 28a, 3d & 6d making it to the top of My Favourite Things list.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and in advance presumably to CS.

  6. Thank you Chalicea, very enjoyable. We hesitated re 25a but then decided it was a very unusual slight error. We look forward to your next one. Now to attack the MPP!

  7. Thanks Chalicea, very clever theme, which in all honesty would have passed me by if it hadn’t been hinted at.
    I was a little surprised to see how close the fodder was to the solution in a couple of the anagrams, but that apart an enjoyable solve. I liked 1&28a plus 3d the best.
    Thanks in advance to CS I presume.

  8. I do like that term for the little Arctic birds although I don’t think I’ve ever been lucky enough to see more than three of them together over here. Thematic earworm now firmly lodged!

    Thanks to Chalicea for her second puzzle of the weekend.

  9. Sheer delight and a real pleasure to solve. The after effect of a happy tune to accompany us on our walk is an added bonus.
    Thanks Chalicea.

  10. Not ‘pre-caffeine’ for me as we were away from home overnight, but solved over a cup of afternoon tea. Wondered if there was another president I didn’t know for 25a but couldn’t find him – however, I see Chalicea has ‘owned up’ on that one. I have tried to qualify my answer for 18d but failed to find the references I was seeking. Either I am off track or I haven’t looked in the right places. CS will no doubt set me straight. My clue of the day was 28a; and although the answer to 4d leapt out at me even as I read the clue, a second reading helped me appreciate the clever wordplay. Nice to see a theme that didn’t require encyclopaedic knowledge! Thanks, Chalicea.

    1. 18d – right answer but definitely off track and looking in the wrong places. I hadn’t come across this American slang term before. Thanks, CS, for setting me straight!

  11. A nice gentle pre lights out solve after a long day. Very enjoyable & even I got the theme. Thanks Chalicea.

  12. Many thanks crypticsue. I always love your illustrations. Apologies for the old president. I should have used Lear’s evil daughter, and the rather over-wordy and clumsy ‘whiskey’ clue.

  13. Many thanks for the review, CS. I’d just about managed to rid myself of the earworm but now it’s back again full force!

  14. A quick, easy and enjoyable solve, although I didn’t bother checking out all the favourites. I did have a minor niggle about the former President’s name, too – had I been test solving I’d have suggested replacing “old US President” with “Lear’s daughter”.
    Thanks, Chalicea – and thanks too to CS for illustrating the favourites.

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