NTSPP 632 – 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.

It has been a couple of months since Prolixic provided our Saturday lunchtime entertainment. I thought this was on the toughie end of the solver-friendly spectrum


8 Shanghai airline comes over channel (6)
ABDUCT A reversal (comes over) of an abbreviated airline goes over (or before in an Across clue) a channel

9 Leave a drop of alcohol in gnarled horn cup (2-6)
UP-ANCHOR The first letter (a drop of) of Alcohol inserted into an anagram (gnarled) of HORN CUP

10 Heard of Ancient Greek currency (4)
COIN A homophone (heard of) of KOINE, an Ancient Greek dialect

11 Guards required after sulphur’s found in grain ovens (4-6)
OAST-HOUSES A verb meaning guards goes after the chemical symbol for sulphur inserted into some grain

12 Heartless sister gatecrashes top party (3,5)
HEN NIGHT A religious sister without her middle letter (heartless) gatecrashes or breaks into a synonym for top

13 Communicate worry about oddly missing kinsmen (6)
LIAISE A reversal (about) of a worry followed by the even (oddly missing) letters of kInSmEn

15 Island adopts English language (7)
BENGALI An Indonesian island ‘adopts’ a three-letter abbreviation for English

17 Navigate a group of drivers back to convoy (7)
CARAVAN A reversal of an abbreviation meaning navigation, A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for a motorists’ association (group of drivers)

20 Pester WWII hero to welcome German (6)
BADGER A World War II flying hero ‘welcomes’ the abbreviation for German

22 Key state vote’s cut by half – hit the roof (8)
ESCALATE A computer key, the abbreviation for the State of Alabama and the second half of voTE

24 Soprano’s wearing sort of light blue concoction (5,5)
FAIRY STORY The abbreviation for Soprano ‘wearing’ a type of light and followed by an informal term for a member of the Conservative Party (blue)

26 Excellent group’s right for conservative (4)
RARE The abbreviation for Right replaces that for Conservative in a synonym for group

27 Exceptional cooked pilau rice I devoured (8)
PECULIAR An anagram (cooked) of PILAU RiCE without one of the Is (I devoured)

28 Award Romeo supported by another Shakespearean character (6)
OBERON An award, the letter represented by Romeo in the NATO Phonetic Alphabetic and a simple way of saying ‘supported by’


1 Died alone on banks of Tyne behind the times (8)
OBSOLETE A Latin abbreviation meaning died, an adjective meaning alone and the banks or outside letters of TynE

2 Working to restrain a continuing source of humour (7,3)
RUNNING GAG A synonym for working and a verb meaning to restrain

3 Patience maybe firm (6)
STRONG The surname of a poet named patience or a synonym for firm

4 Paper prepares evening features? (7)
SUNSETS A tabloid newspaper and a verb meaning prepares

5 Vikings’ paradise – place to eat surrounded by flowing lava (8)
VALHALLA A place to eat ‘surrounded’ by an anagram (flowing) of LAVA

6 Recruit’s wearing unbleached linen (4)
ECRU Hidden in (wearing) rECRUit

7 Xenophobic Chinese dogs (6)
BOXERS Double definition

14 An unreasonable request from American High Command (1,4,5)
A TALL ORDER The abbreviation for American, a synonym for high and a command

16 House with joint authority (8)
LORDSHIP A Parliamentary House and a joint of the body

18 Tie smoker up in lobby (8)
ANTEROOM A reversal (up) of a verb meaning to tie and a famous smoking mountain

19 Tales of Muslim rulers acceptive brooding music (7)
MEMOIRS An alternative spelling of some Muslim rulers ‘detaining’ a type of popular music featuring brooding and introspective lyrics

21 Two-acre meadow contains unknown shrub (6)
AZALEA Two abbreviations for Acre and a meadow into which is inserted a mathematical unknown

23 Church only prepared tea (6)
CEYLON The abbreviation for the Church of England and an anagram (prepared) of ONLY

25 Turn up with internet gear the queen abandoned (4)
ROUT A piece of internet equipment without (abandoned) the regnal cipher of our current Queen

14 comments on “NTSPP 632

  1. A Prolixic NTSPP, and the second solve of my morning, completed pre-caffeine – that doesn’t happen very often!

    24a, 4d, and 21d created smiles.

    Thanks to Prolixic and in advance to CS.

  2. Many thanks Prolixic, great fun with some pleasingly tricky moments. I needed a little e-help with 1d abbreviation and 7d definition. Dragged up the GK needed for 3d from somewhere! Not convinced by 10a homophone, as BRB suggests the final letter is pronounced as a separate long syllable – but this was another I needed help with so may well be mistaken. Lots of big ticks so difficult to choose a favourite, but 4d perhaps edges it for the super smooth surface. Thanks again, and in advance to reviewer.

  3. Plenty of head-scratching required here but think I eventually sorted it all out satisfactorily.
    Packed podium contains 9&24a plus 4,14&21d.

    Thanks to Prolixic for the challenge.

  4. I found this jolly tough & needed to reveal 3 checkers to get to a finish & can’t claim to be able to parse all of them. 4d my pick of the bunch with mentions for 12,22&28a plus 14,19&21d of those I fully understood.
    Thanks Prolixic

  5. Thank you, Prolixic, for another of your very enjoyable puzzles, albeit I have answers to two pesky four-letter entries that I am still mulling over. I did manage to figure out 19d without knowing either of the component parts – both duly noted for future appearances. Favourites today are 12, 13, 22 across, and 18, 21 down, all having clever constructions with pleasing surfaces.

  6. Finally beaten by 10a and still can’t understand it. Eventually got everything else sorted satisfactorily but it took quite a long time. Really wanting to justify CURATE’S EGG for 2d caused much of the delay.
    Thanks Prolixic.

  7. Many thanks for the review, CS. Think there’s a blip in the wording of the hint for 26a but there for the grace of god……….
    Could I ask you to be a little more specific where 19d is concerned, I’m a little bit lost where that one is concerned – it went in as a ‘must be’ rather than as something understood!
    Thanks again to Prolixic for quite a challenge.

    1. 19d EMO (brooding music genre) inserted into MIRS (alternative spelling of MEERS) Muslim rulers

  8. Having been mulling over the two pesky four-letter entries for 24 hours now (give or take a few hours of rugby-watching), I was very happy to have my answers explained in your nicely illustrated review, CS. I was interested to read more about the ancient language and am surprised I hadn’t come across it before (perhaps I had, but parked it in a long lost brain cell). The synonym used for ‘group’ and the character swap just didn’t occur to me.

    My thanks again to Prolixic for providing the entertainment.

  9. Thanks for review CS, illustrations and explanations appreciated as ever – and thanks again Prolixic. I guess there was no LINEAR connection?

  10. Thanks to all for the comments. Glad to see so many different clues being appreciated. My thanks also to CrypticSue for the review.

    The word in row 5 was purely coincidental.

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