NTSPP 623 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Skinny

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

The first time we’ve had an NTSPP from Skinny since last August – this one was a bit of a mixed bag and quite tricky in places but went down well with a mid-afternoon cup of tea and a sultana scone


9 Imitation transport made out to be a traditional craft (4,3)
FOLK ART Homophones (made out) of a word meaning false (imitation) and a mode of transport

10 Divert explorer out exploring, to some extent (7)
REROUTE Hidden (to some extent) in exploRER OUT EXploring

11 Bed and Breakfast in difficulty – landlord, in conclusion, is staggered (7)
HOBBLED Staggered in the sense of walked awkwardly – the abbreviation for Bed and Breakfast inserted into a difficult situation, the result finished with the ‘conclusion’ of landlord

12 Covering what a high-yielding hen may do? (7)
OVERLAY A surface covering or what a high-yielding hen may be said to do

13 Awful experience of migrant – he’s abandoned (9)
NIGHTMARE An anagram (abandoned) of MIGRANT HE

15 Not very nice to install republican representative (5)
PROXY An informal adjective meaning not very nice into which is inserted (to install) the abbreviation for Republican

16/22 Lancaster – drab, ramshackle place for an eye-test? (7,6)
BARNARD CASTLE I’d hoped we’d forgotten about Dominic Cummings and the place he visited to ‘test his eyesight’ – it’s an anagram (ramshackle) of LANCASTER DRAB

19 Erudite poet – Edward, in short (7)
LEARNED Split, 4, 3 this could be a way of referring (possibly in an alphabetical list) to apoet (who just happens to be called Edward and a diminutive (in short) form of his Christian name

20 Fishy compound, one belonging to me (5)
AMINE A (one) and a pronoun meaning belonging to me

21 Doctor cared about stopping farm animal becoming another beyond reproach (6,3)
SACRED COW  An anagram (doctor) of CARED and the Latin abbreviation meaning about ‘stopping’ or going inside a farm animal

25 Bloody right to get back edited copy (7)
REDRAFT A colour associated with something bloody, the abbreviation for Right and the back of a vessel or aircraft

26 Rogue traders took a lead role (7)
STARRED An anagram (rogue) of TRADERS

28 Detailed picture put under lock and key (5,2)
CLOSE UP At first sight, this looked like a double definition, but the detailed picture is a 5-2

29 Jumper kept back inside lounge, though it’s an essential in the bathroom (3,4)
LOO ROLL An abbreviated jumping marsupial is inserted in reverse (kept back inside) a verb meaning to lounge


1 Good and hot wearing a cooler type of coat (6)
AFGHAN The abbreviations for Good and Hot ‘wearing’ A (from the clue) and something that cools

2 Go bald, sadly, creating fury (3,3)
OLD BAG An anagram (sadly) of GO BALD

3 Weary chap, we’re told (4)
PALL A verb meaning to weary sounds like (we’re told) a man’s name

4 Partially resist a diagnosis – on what grounds? (6)
STADIA Hidden in part of resiST A DIAgnosis

5 Wild boar on a hill, finally living in a tree (8)
ARBOREAL An anagram (wild) of BOAR followed by the two-letters used to mean on [the subject of], A (from the clue) and the final letter of hilL

6 Eco warriors are first to nurture vegetable in EU country (10)
GREENPEACE The first letter of Nurture and a vegetable inserted into an EU country

7 Crowded show behind monthly event (4,4)
FULL MOON A synonym for crowded and a slang term for showing one’s behind

8 Naive banker unknown in document (4-4)
DEWY-EYED A river (banker) and a mathematical unknown inserted into a document

14 Makes drama tense in performance (10)
TRADENAMES An anagram (in performance) of DRAMA TENSE

16 Eastender’s profile of a sporting institution (4-4)
BOAT RACE Neither the Cockney rhyming slang for the ‘profile’ of someone from the East End of London or the event that’s been a sporting institution since 1856 appear to have a hyphen in the middle of the two words

17 Give up under command that’s said to be a bit of a shower (8)
RAINDROP A verb meaning to give up goes under (in a Down solution) a homophone (that’s said) of a verb meaning to command

18 Where documents are found posted, with first parts of keynote speech tweaked (8)
DESKTOP An anagram (tweaked) of POSTED and the first ‘parts’ of Keynote and Speech

22 See 16

23 Element of vehicle blown, oddly (6)
CARBON A vehicle and the odd letters of BlOwN

24 Wee dude regularly caught in deceit (6)
WIDDLE A childish verb meaning to urinate (wee) – the regular letters of DuDe ‘caught’ in a deceit

27 You over there – I see you almost standing (4)
AHOY An interjection meaning ‘I see’ and a reversal (standing) of almost all of YOu

17 comments on “NTSPP 623

  1. Thanks Skinny – but I did find this to be somewhat of a curate’s egg.

    As far as I can recall, it is probably the first time that I have seen the particular river in 8d.

    I really liked 9a, 28a, and, dare I say it, 24d.

    Thanks again and thanks in advance to CS.

    1. Coming to this several days late, but the river in question features in the names of at least a couple of place names in the UK (Ross-on-Wye, Hay-on-Wye), which probably makes it better known than many British rivers that don’t get equivalent publicity. The latter is on the Wales–England border, and home to a leading book festival.

  2. Some smooth surfaces and several chuckles along the way – a most enjoyable puzzle. My favourite clue was the 16/22 combo, but good luck to anyone in a few year’s time delving into the archive! 21a and 6d were close behind on my podium. Talking of ‘behind’, 7d brought a smile, as did 24d. I also enjoyed the homophones in 9a and 3d.
    Thanks, Skinny – just how I like my NTSPPs. [Actually I like all the NTSPPs, whatever flavour :smile: ]

  3. Thanks Skinny, lots to enjoy. Not sure about a couple of ‘links’ – 29a, 4d – but more than made up for by the laughs, in particular 16/22, 7d and 24d. Thanks again!

  4. We were beaten by 3d. Could not get past MAIL as the answer but none of the 6 definitions in BRB fitted our purpose.
    Some tricky wordplay to work through along the way and we enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks Skinny.

  5. A real mixed bag here, plenty of which I thought was very good – such as 9a, the tongue in cheek 16/22 & 7d. Conversely, I wasn’t a fan of 24d and found the likes of 27d somewhat convoluted.
    You can’t please all of the people etc and it did all add up to a most enjoyable NTSPP – many thanks, Skinny.

  6. Thanks Skinny for an enjoyable puzzle.
    16/22 made me laugh. Other clues that I liked were 19a and 7d.

  7. Beaten also by 3d. Much like the SPP I had few problems on the right but found the LHS somewhat tricky.
    Thanks Skinny for an enjoyable puzzle.

  8. Many thanks for the illustrated review, CS. Didn’t you once report that you can’t bake scones? I think it unlikely that you will have bought them, so perhaps you have now mastered the art. We don’t attempt scones in our household, the cheese version from our local farm shop would be hard to beat! Perhaps you have now inspired us…

  9. Many thanks for the review, CS, I hadn’t realised it was quite such a long time since we last had the pleasure of a Skinny compilation.
    Think something’s gone a little awry with the answer to 21a but the illustration should be enough to get it across.

    Thanks again to Skinny – hope to see more of your puzzles in future.

  10. Very enjoyable, thank you, Skinny. Favourites were 12a, 16/22, 29a and 8d. Still a tad unsure as to how to parse 27d. We look forward to more from you. Thanks also to CS.

  11. Despite the solver-unfriendly grid, effectively four mini-puzzles, I had no real problems with this although a few clues took a while to work out, such as 28ac and 3dn. On the other hand 16/22 was a write-in and gave me a bit of a chuckle – although we now seem to have moved on from eye tests to work events.
    Thanks, Skinny, for the challenge, and CS for the illustrations.

  12. I enjoyed most of this e.g. 5 and 6 Down. I am not from the UK, so although I did get 16/22 Across I did not know why until the explanation. I have never heard of the castle and had no idea what it had to do with an eye test. This was probably a nice clue for UK residents now I understand the political reference, but I can’t say I liked it. The cockney one was not a favourite for the same reason. There were some nice, satisfying penny-drop clues.

  13. Thought I’d got it all right, and the e-version said I’d completed the puzzle, but couldn’t parse 9a for the life of me. It’s only now that I’ve checked the hint, that I realise I’d put the wrong answer in. Felt art just doesn’t parse, though the picture fooled me for a bit …
    Otherwise nicely challenging, so thanks Skinny.

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