NTSPP 628 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Hippogryph

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.

Publishing this was interrupted by the grandchildren arriving earlier than expected.  Apologies for the delay.


9 Seedy product is tossed to Pauline (6,3)
PEANUT OIL – An anagram (tossed) of TO PAULINE.

10 Mass brawl on vacation leads to organiser cancelling kickabout (5)
BLOCK – The outer letters (on vacation) of brawl followed by the initial letters (leads to) of the final three words of the clue.

11 Club you and I would say is retro (5)
WEDGE – How you would abbreviate “you and I would” followed by a reversal (is retro) of the abbreviation for say.

12 Drunk student’s summer in bed (9)
BLADDERED – The abbreviation for learner (student) and a five-letter word for someone who add up (summer) inside the”bed” from the clue.

13 Oddly, clover covers motorist’s body left in old boat (7)
CORACLE – The odd letters (oddly) in clover around (covers) the abbreviations for Royal Automobile Clue (motorists’ body and the abbreviation for left.

14 Chanter is a fan of loveless fiddler? (7)
INTONER – A phrase (2,2) meaning a fan of followed by the name of the Roman Emperor who allegedly fiddled whilst Rome burned without the final O (loveless).

17 Curmudgeon swears intermittently on the main road to Leeds (5)
MISER – The odd letters (intermittently) of swears after (on) the name of the main road that runs from London to Leeds.

19 Vegetable in Indian flag (3)
SAG – Double definition of the Indian name for spinach and a word meaning to flag or falter.

20 Morgan, a buccaneer smuggling back in the Caribbean (5)
CUBAN – The answer is hidden and reversed (smuggling back) in the first three words of the clue.

21 Description of thinking found in Capri or Italy (1,6)
A PRIORI – The answer is hidden (found) in the final three words of clue.

22 Refusal to steer trawler within 2 kilometer boundary returns inadequate catch (5,2)
KNOCK ON – A two-letter word indicating a refusal and a three-letter word meaning to steer a boat such as a trawler inside the double abbreviation for kilometre all reversed (returns).

24 Suspect meets nursing women to devour confectionary (9)
SWEETMEAT – An anagram (suspect) of MEETS includes (nursing) the abbreviation for women all followed by a three-letter word meaning to devour.

26 Planet‘s health transformed after sacking leader and changing direction (5)
EARTH – Remove the first letter (sacking leader) from health and change the abbreviation for left in the letters that remain to the abbreviation for right (changing direction).

28 Odds-on, double zip line will generate wind! (5)
SPOOL – The abbreviation for starting price (odds) followed by two letters O (double zip) and the abbreviation for line.

29 Product of three by four we’re told is 50% of 24 (9)
THEREFORE – An anagram (product) of THREE followed by a homophone (we’re told) of FOUR.  The definition is half of the word that is the answer to 24d.


1 Cries over heartless cat (4)
SPEW – A five letter word meaning cries, reversed (over) without its middle letter (heartless).

2 Barnacle perhaps could spell danger (6)
GANDER – An anagram (perhaps could spell) of DANGER.

3 Ship’s goods overseer is to set off chasing a Lamborghini? (10)
SUPERCARGO – A five-letter word for an overseer followed by a two letter word meaning set off after (chasing) a three-letter word for the type of vehicle of which a Lamborghini is an example.

4 Don’t start to agitate change in Moscow (6)
ROUBLE – A seven-letter word meaning to agitate without the first letter (don’t start).

5 Repaired flagon, it is not fixed! (8)
FLOATING – An anagram (repaired) of FLAGON IT.

6 Lincoln died in comfortable surroundings (4)
ABED – The three-letter first name of president Lincoln followed by the abbreviation for died.

7 Used to leave the room, possibly cross about sex being rejected (8)
DOORKNOB – A four-letter word for a type of cross reversed (about) followed by four-letter word crude word meaning to have sex reversed (rejected).

8 Potential outcome of poor purchase by Slovakia’s papers (4)
SKID – The IVR code for Slovakia followed by a two-letter word for papers.

13 Sign of division about picking up slugs? (5)
COMMA – The single letter abbreviation for about followed by a reversal (picking up) of a word for bullets (slugs).

15 Device used to measure speed of improvised TT race around the house (10)
TACHOMETER – An anagram (improvised) of TT RACE around a four-letter word word a house.

16 Arrest and lock-up felon, terminally in a state of decline (3-2)
RUN -IN – Insert the last letter (terminally) of felon inside a four-letter word meaning decline.

18 Examiner of course, extremely deficient and very disorganised (8)
SURVEYOR – An anagram (disorganised) of OURS VERY (the OURS being the inner letters (extremely deficient) of COURSE).

19 Still yet to get rid of vacuous lackey with pointed blade (8)
STILETTO – The first three words of the clue without the outer letters (vacuous) of lackey.

22 Implements clear up for young animal (6)
KITTEN – A three-letter word for implements followed by a three-letter word meaning clear profits reversed (up).

23 Russian world champion in Spooner’s vehicle-positioning competition? (6)
KARPOV – A Spoonerism of PARK OFF (vehicle positioning competition.

24 Zero follow-up to emergency call is distinctly average (2-2)
SO-SO – The letter representing zero after (follow up to) the three-letter international distress signal.

25 Strike tax? (4)
TOLL – Double definition of the strike of a bell and a tax payable to use a road.

27 The French pardon revolutionary, a despicable person (4)
HEEL – The French masculine singular for the and a two-letter verbal way of saying pardon all reversed (revolutionary).

24 comments on “NTSPP 628

  1. Excellent puzzle with a great mixture of clues – thanks Hippogryph.
    I needed the assistance of Mr Chambers in the NW corner.
    My medals were awarded to 14a, 7d and 13d.

  2. Nice lunchtime diversion – although 1d wasn’t the best accompaniment to my meal

    Thanks to Hippogryph and, in advance, to Prolixic

  3. Still dealing with the aftermath of storm Eunice, however rain has intervened and this puzzle has provided a welcome diversion alongside my cup of coffee. I learned a new meaning for the word ‘cat’ and had a chuckle over the bawdy 7d. My podium three were the rather wordy but nicely-surfaced 10a, 22a and 26a – until I filled in my last answer, 29a, which then leapfrogged to top spot. Thank you, Hippogryph!

    1. Thanks Spartacus – I hope that you didn’t suffer too badly from Eunice? Sadly our allotment shed was turned to firewood after a large branch from an overhanging oak tree fell on it.

      I’m glad that 7d raised a smile and also that you enjoyed 29a. I was really pleased working on 29a when both the wordplay and the maths were in synch – amazing coincidence!

      1. A coincidence!
        And there I was thinking it was a really clever, well-constructed clue :wink:

        I failed to spot the phantasmal theme, I’m not half a mule when it comes to finding themes and Ninas!

        Sorry to hear you lost your shed. Eunice removed a fence post together with 2 attached panels and whipped off a dozen or so hanging tiles that had been happily attached to the side of our house for over 120 years. The same gusts peeled away large strips of lead from the roof ridges of 3 neighbours so maybe we were lucky! Today’s job is clearing the garden of tree debris – we’re looking forward to a cheerful blaze in the fireplace tonight…

  4. Good pre-caffeine fun but I did get held up in the SE and needed a Reveal to ‘escape.’

    Smiles at 13a and 26a.

    Thanks to Hippogryph and in advance to Prolixic.

  5. Thanks Hippogryph, enjoyable with some nice misdirections and a few tricky definitions (eg 1d). 12a, 29a, 8d & 13d my favourites amongst plenty of contenders. Thanks again!

  6. For some strange reason I always expect this setter’s puzzles to be on the gentle side – no idea why because they never are!
    Another enjoyable tussle but a slapped wrist for 1d which has made a few appearances recently in various places and I just hate it.
    Couple of not satisfactorily parsed clues one of which is the Spooner – no surprise there! The other is 22a where I suspect I’m short of the required vernacular.
    Top three for me were in ‘easy street’ – 11&14a plus 8d.

    Thanks to Hippogryph – watched any good films with your girls recently?

    1. My apologies for 1 down, but I’m glad that you enjoyed the puzzle Jane. We haven’t been to any films recently but did visit the Museum of Fashion in Bath recently which provided the inspiration for the ghost theme in this puzzle….

  7. Great crossword, thank you Hippogryph. Favourites are 12a, 29a, and 7d. We weren’t sure about 19a as we could only find it with another a. Still need to parse 10a so will check with Prolixic tomorrow. 3d was a new word for us but Google clarified the definition. Much enjoyed on this wet and windy afternoon. We look forward to your next one

  8. Didn’t find this easy in the least so it kept me entertained while watching the racing while it hosed it down outside. Nearly threw in the towel at half way but soldiered on & am chuffed to complete without a letter reveal. 1&23d plus 29a the last 3 to yield & real head scratchers. Loads of clever clues but if pressed I’d select 12&29a plus 7 (though did think over might have been better than about),19&23d.
    Thanks Hippogryph

  9. I really enjoyed doing battle with this very clever puzzle Hippogryph, provided some nice early evening entertainment over a cool beer. A couple I’ve yet to parse satisfactorily but no one else has mentioned them so can’t be that obscure….I’ll keep at it.
    Difficult to highlight clues, I liked several including the smooth 11a along with the amusing 12a&3d but sharing top spot are the very innovative 14a&7d.
    Thanks and thanks to Prolixic in advance.

  10. Thanks for all of the kind comments, I’m really pleased that you enjoyed this one despite a relatively obscure word at 3 down and the less common meaning at 1 down (apologies). It’s heartening to see the range of clues which made it to your podiums. As with the majority of my puzzles there is a ghost theme in this one which is a little bit specialist in nature.

    Thanks again for taking the time to have a go at the puzzle and sending in your comments. Also thanks in advance to Prolixic for the review (I hope that your allotment survived Eunice in better shape than ours did…)

    1. I’ll take a punt that it’s shoes/hells which vaguely occurred during the solve. Reckon I can spot a few but I’m no expert.

  11. It has been pouring with rain here this morning so our postponed walk meant that we had plenty of time to work on this puzzle. We needed lots of it but did eventually manage to get it all sorted. Lots of penny-drop moments, chuckles and guffaws too. Thoroughly enjoyable.
    Thanks Hippogryph.

  12. I had forgotten the alternative meaning for 1d, and there were a few I couldn’t parse. But generally a very enjoyable puzzle with my favourites being 12a, 19a (always impressed by a clever clue for a very short word), 7d (which is worthy of Paul in the Guardian and I mean that as a compliment), and the glorious image conjured up by 23d. Thanks, Hippogryph

  13. Sterling work Hippogryph. 1d was my last one in & like others I think23d was stretching it a bit. More like this would be most welcome.

  14. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, and thanks again to Hippogryph for the challenge. I wonder whether you picked up any other ideas on your visit to the Museum of Fashion – time will tell!

  15. Many thanks Prolixic. Just one comment I think in 3d the overseer is part of the definition, with the Lambo being an example of the 8-letter vehicle. (It’s quite obscure I guess but I recently tried to clue the same solution so was luckily familiar with the definition!)

  16. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, and thanks again to Hippogryph for the challenge.
    (And my thanks to jane for providing a consummate ‘cut & paste’ acknowledgement!)

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