NTSPP 622 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Jaffa

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A quick review – off to lead two services and then to celebrate a belated Christmas.


1 Undressed Scot before the Queen is not in good shape (3,2,6)
OUT OF KILTER – A phrase 3,24 suggesting that Scot is not wearing an tradition item of clothing followed by the two-letter regnal cipher of the current Queen.

8 Unrestricted menu leads to seventh heaven – bon appetit! (5)
ENJOY – The inner letters (unrestricted) of menu followed by a three-letter word meaning seventh heaven.

10 Clairvoyancy reportedly can be a question of paternity (9)
PALMISTRY – A homophone (reportedly) of PA MYSTERY (question of paternity).

11 Almost replete after old Spanish wine – Santa’s ready for work (7)
SACKFUL – A four-letter word meaning replete without its last letter (almost) after a four-letter word for an old Spanish wine.

12 Hoods, not northern – Morecambe & Wise perhaps (8)
GAGSTERS – A nine-letter word for organised criminals without (not) the abbreviation for Northern.

13 Onesie worn by one on trunk route? (7)
UNITARD – A four-letter word meaning one followed by an abbreviation of A Road (trunk route).

14 Dilapidated pitiable decor in the chemistry lab. (8,5)
PERIODIC TABLE – An anagram (dilapidated) of PITIABLE DECOR.

18 Hot dance scores one and leads to greater rewards? (3,4)
RED BALL – A three-letter word meaning hot followed by a four-letter word for a dance.

22 Hear a gun shot? It’s a loud rocket (8)
HARANGUE – An anagram (shot) of HEAR A GUN.

23 Changing trousers – no right for Scottish cobblers (7)
SOUTERS – An anagram (changing) of TROUSERS without the abbreviation for right.

25 I correct manic son who is perhaps too woke (9)
INSOMNIAC – The I from the clue followed by an anagram (three in row!) (correct) of MANIC SON.

26 Seaside ale bottling perfection (5)
IDEAL – The answer is hidden (bottling) inside the first two words of the clue.

27 Order ignored by the Titanic’s musicians? (7,4)
ABANDON SHIP – Split 1,4,2,4, this would describe the musicians on the Titanic.


1 Criticize by putting up poster with rebellious content (6)
OPPUGN – The answer is hidden (content) and reversed (rebellious) in the third to fifth words of the clue.

2 Damage to exit requires a payment to proceed (8)
TOLLGATE – A four-letter word meaning damage followed by a four-letter word for an exit.

3 Hard rocks found in lease free Welsh county (6)
FLINTS – The ten-letter name of a Welsh county without (free) a four-letter word meaning to lease.

4 Neither up nor down in the main (10)
INTERTIDAL – A word meaning the point between the tide coming in and going out.

5 Alternatively say nowt about boys’ gadgets (4)
TOYS – The odd letter (alternatively) in the second and third words of the clue reversed (about).

6 Revolutionary read hiding feature of the People’s Republic (3,5)
RED CHINA – An anagram (revolutionary) of READ includes (hiding) a four-letter word for a facial feature.

7 Can those able to bat also control good and bad light? (7)
EYELIDS – Cryptic definition of the covering for the organ of vision.

9 Orange ball seen at Lord‘s (5)
JAFFA – Double definition, the second being a well-bowled cricket ball.

13 Relative, having scaled rocky Andes, had not bathed (10)
UNCLEANSED – A five-letter word for a male relative followed by an anagram (rocky) of ANDES.

15 Is third man the French girl from Spain? (8)
ISABELLA – The IS from the the clue followed by the name of the third man in the story of creation in the book of Genesis and the French feminine singular form of the.

16 Faint from agony following last ball (8)
LANGUISH – A seven-letter word meaning anguish after (following) the last letter of ball.

17 Club that is after money (7)
BRASSIE – A five-letter word for money followed by the abbreviation for that is (id est).

19 Fourscore divided evenly for the Devil (5)
DEUCE – Fourscore is 80.  Divided evenly gives 40-40.  The answer is how this is referred to in a game of tennis.

20 Gutless Oval opener is found in service (6)
BATMAN – A seven-letter word for a person who opens in a game of cricket without the central letter (gutless).

21 Verbal support for scrumpy regularly sampled in China? (6)
TEACUP – A homophone (verbal) of TEE (support) followed by the even letters (regularly sampled) of scrumpy.

24 Deity is upset, when lavish surroundings are lost (4)
SIVA – A reversal (upset) of lavish without the outer letters (surroundings are lost).

19 comments on “NTSPP 622

  1. I thought this was pretty tricky, especially in the NW corner, but I did enjoy it – thanks to Jaffa.
    If I’ve understood 10a correctly I don’t much like it and I don’t understand 19d.
    I did like very much 1a, 18a and 27a.

    1. If I have understood it correctly, 19d is a bit tortuous, Gazza. Fourscore is eighty which, when divided, is 40-40, which is “deuce” in tennis. There may well be a simpler explanation …

      1. Thanks RD & LbR – I couldn’t parse 19d at all. I did like 10a though! 18a was my favourite – thanks for the tough workout, Jaffa!

  2. This was a curate’s egg for me, with some straightforward clues and some very tricky; and some satisfying clues but with a few hmms along the way.

    I’m not sure that either 11a or 25a quite work and I think the definition for 16a leads to “languid” rather than the answer. There were a couple of odd surfaces, notably 15d.

    My top clues were 1a, 27a & 9d. I was also delighted to see the unashamed appearance of a now sadly non-PC cricketing term in 20d.

    Thanks to Jaffa and in advance to Prolixic.

  3. Thanks Jaffa. Definitely tricky in the NW which needed some Reveals for confirmation and a few Hmms scattered around the grid.

    I did like 1a and 21d.

    Thanks again and thanks in advance to Prolixic.

  4. I thought I was off to a flyer with 1a (nice clue), but then the NW corner held me up until I figured out 1d, which was a new word to me. There were a few sporting references in the puzzle which I always appreciate, although I failed to get the tennis connection in 19d until reading the comments above. 18a gave me pause for thought, but then got my vote for clue of the day. I also enjoyed the 10a homophone, despite the silent ‘e’!
    Thank you, 9d, for the fun and games – all done and dusted in time to enjoy the afternoon’s rugby :smile:

  5. Really enjoyed this one and with apologies to Gazza 10a made my leader-board and I also rather liked11a (ditto apologies to RD). I did, however, suck my teeth in a little over 25a which elicited a real ‘ouch’.
    Tops for me were 1,10&18a plus 4d with another mention for my gorgeous granddaughter at 15d – second appearance she’s made this week!

    Thank you, Jaffa, that was great fun.

  6. Very enjoyable puzzle. Particular favourite was the very clever 10A. Many thanks to setter

  7. Thank you for the challenge, Jaffa. The southern half went in comfortably, then we slowed down and then came to a full stop until we revealed some letters. Favourites were 10a – once we had the answer – and 27a. Thank you in advance to Prolixic.

  8. That had us working very hard in places. 1d was one of those clues where we forgot our rule about what to do when all else fails. Eventually saw it.
    Thanks Jaffa.

  9. I thought this a tremendous puzzle packed with very clever clues. The NW took me 3 stabs to crack but as I’d enjoyed it so much for once I resisted the temptation of a letter reveal. Glad that I did for the satisfaction of a correct completion albeit 19d, last in, was a bung in. The big ticks for me are 1,10,18,25&27a plus 7&21d.
    Clear favourite was 18a. In my case greater rewards didn’t necessarily follow as remember once potting 13 of the 15 without a single colour.
    Thanks Jaffa

  10. Thank you for all of the comments. I started writing this and remembered that there was some cricket to be watched from down under. My various pills and potions seem to have successfully kept my heart rate and blood pressure under control.When has a scraped draw ever given so much pleasure? Phew!
    Meanwhile back in CrosswordLand there’s nothing like a homophone (10a), is there, to generate debate? I think they are often seen as cruciverbal Marmite ( or is that title reserved for the Spoonerism?). I, rightly or wrongly, assume that a little poetic licence is given to the setter. Thank you to those of you who agree.
    RD’s analysis of 19d is, I’m afraid, exactly the same as my reasoning. I think tortuous is a good description. It’s a clue that I’ve been sitting on for some time. I’m afraid that I do like to introduce a bit of maths into crosswords…
    I’m glad that 18a was popular. It’s sporty but apparently not too obscure. I feel your pain Huntsman. My own limited snooker “career” seemed to oscillate between the inspired (rarely) to the totally inept, with little in between.
    With 16d, RD, my BRB Thesaurus gives languish as a synonym of faint when used as a verb. Languid is given as the adjectival synonym so I’m hoping the clue works.
    I agree that 15d doesn’t have the smoothest of surfaces but what’s wrong with the idea of a French girl, living in Spain, playing cricket? It would seem to me to be the ICC’s dream scenario! I’m not certain however if in the women’s game they have a third man. Is it a third person? That of course is Cain not Abel and the clue doesn’t work….I’ll stop now 😂

    1. Last September’s official adoption by the MCC of the term ‘batter’ instead of ‘batsman’ (or batswoman) had indeed passed me by, but apparently the accepted(?) term for the fielding position is now just ‘third’ and we have either ‘nightwatch’ or ‘nightwatcher’. It all seemed to come in following the advent of ‘The Hundred’ – but that’s not a form of the game that should require the latter term!
      Thanks again, Jaffa, for an enjoyable solve – and to Prolixic for fitting the review into his busy schedule.

  11. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. Reading through it made me appreciate the puzzle all over again. Many thanks, Jaffa.

  12. A bit tricky in places but I got there in the end. Held up for a while by 14ac as I was trying to think of a substance or a piece of apparatus – a real D’oh! moment when a few crossing letters suggested how to unscramble the anagram.
    Thanks, Jaffa, for the challenge – and Prolixic for the review.

  13. Once again, all of your insightful comments and encouragement are greatly appreciated. Many thanks to the very busy Prolixic for the review (only about 50 Sundays left until next Christmas!) and to BD of course for masterminding this wonderful blog.
    Hopefully I learn each time. Last time it was the sin of repetition, this time duplication of clue type. Choosing to put three anagrams, out of five, in three consecutive clues wasn’t my finest hour – something else to file away and be aware of I guess.

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