NTSPP 633 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Harold

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

It has been such a long time since we had a puzzle from Harold (February 2021) that I had to check whether he was on my ‘side’ of the NTSPP bloggers’ list!

If I had one quibble about this perfectly pitched post Saturday lunchtime crossword, it would be that there does seem to be a lot of ‘chopping off’ of letters in quite a number of the clues.


1 Probable reversal could be Earth- shattering (6,2,5)
CHANGE OF HEART It is possible that this reversal could be expressed as an anagram indicator telling you to shatter the letters EARTH

10 One promoting lunatic loses his head (2-3)
AD-MAN A lunatic without the first letter (loses his head)

11 Banker hosts brief party for old salesman (9)
TRAVELLER A person who receives and pays out money in a bank ‘hosts’ a truncated (brief) party

12 Division created by, say, Labour women having everything (5,4)
PARTY WALL A political organisation of which Labour is an example, the abbreviation for Women and a synonym for everything. A shame that this solution follows 11a which has the first word in that clue

13 Power ultimately extracted from water? (5)
STEAM The name of this power extracted from water is obtained by extracting the ultimate letter of poweR from a small body of running water

14 Withdraw instruction to provide very loud prelude to opera (4,3)
BACK OFF The solution is an instruction to tell you to ‘provide’ a musical instruction for very loud after the ‘prelude’ to Opera

16 Perhaps Chinese Nationalist follows festival (7)
EASTERN The abbreviation for Nationalist follows a religious festival, which judging by the things on offer in the shops can’t be far away

18 Manufacturer delays introduction of chemical apparatus for industry (7)
REACTOR A manufacturer or maker ‘delays’ or moves further down the word the letter that is the ‘introduction’ of Chemical

20 Deeply emotional person intense almost to the end (7)
SOULFUL An informal term for a person and almost all of a synonym for intense

22 Leaders of Group of Seven lacking heart before start of summit (5)
HEADS Remove the middle two letters (lacking heart) from a group of seven and then follow with the ‘start’ of Summit

24 Romanians dispersed here? (3,6)
SAN MARINO An anagram (dispersed) of ROMANIANS

26 Some layabout’s deprived of uniform from now on (3,6)
ANY LONGER Another word for some and a layabout ‘deprived’ of the U (Uniform)

27 It’s more expensive after pair splits, and colder (5)
ICIER The abbreviation for pair ‘splits’ or leaves an adjective meaning more expensive

28 Do whatever it takes to finish on zero (4,2,7)
STOP AT NOTHING This expression meaning to do whatever it takes could also describe an instruction to finish at zero


2 Imposing house north of the States having wings demolished (7)
HOMERIC Imposing in a heroic or epic manner, just like the works of a certain Greek poet – an abbreviated house goes ‘north’ in a Down solution, of the States without the outside letters (having wings demolished)

3 Butter and milk producer (5-4)
NANNY-GOAT The female, milk-producing, of an animal that is often described in crosswords as a ‘butter’

4 She’ll not get credit in text on radio (5)
EXTRA Found hiding in tEXT on RAdio

5 Weakness of casting Frasier abridged with Niles missing alternate shows (9)
FRAILNESS An anagram (casting) of FRASIEr (abridged telling you to omit the final letter) and the odd (missing alternate) letters of NiLeS

6 Numbers like this one and the next in cycle (5)
EVENS The number of this clue is an example of the solution – if you cycle the number (in words) of the next clue you get the same result

7 Release story in revised edition very shortly (7)
RELIEVE A story goes inside the abbreviation for revised and the first letter (very shortly) of Edition

8 Lyric‘s content over hot and a bit dry, unfortunately (5,8)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY A synonym for content in the sense of satisfied goes over an anagram (unfortunately) of H (hot) and A BIT DRY

9 Where life may be obtained after death (8,5)
CRIMINAL COURT A cryptic definition of a place where a murderer might be given a life sentence

15 Prudence is drunk, naked in woodland (9)
FORESIGHT Remove the outside letters (to make it naked) from an informal word meaning drunk or intoxicated and insert the result into some woodland

17 Trump’s uncle and I keep shtum about what’s what in Madrid, being over-sensitive (9)
SQUEAMISH The uncle that represents the collective citizens of the United States of America (an expression Donald Trump might use), I from the clue, and an instruction to be quiet (keep schtum) go about the Spanish (as used in Madrid) word for what

19 Shrink growth on bottom without initially cauterizing (7)
ANALYST A growth on the bottom (4,4) without the initial letter of Cauterizing

21 Language misrepresented in Farsi? (7)
FRISIAN The language of a particular Dutch province is an anagram (misrepresented) of IN FARSI

23 Vessel found in rising waters (5)
SLOOP A reversal (rising) of some small bodies of water. 

25 NY dealer‘s circle reduced in number (5)
NARCO Part (reduced) of a circle inserted into the abbreviation for number

Thank you Harold – don’t leave it so long next time!

15 comments on “NTSPP 633

  1. An enjoyable puzzle with some nifty wordplay – thanks Harold.
    The clues I liked best were 14a, 6d, 9d and 17d.

  2. I’d like to see a little more humour in our setter’s style but I suppose that’s down to personal preference.
    Podium places today went to 12,20&28A plus 9&19D.

    Thanks to Harold, hope to see you in a more jovial mood next time!

  3. Having found today’s back-pager very light, this was very challenging in stark contrast. I would say I admired it rather than enjoyed it. A fair few answers fell into place quite quickly to give me a start, but thereafter it was head scratching all the way, and I still can’t completely parse 14a & 2d.

    The definition for 8d puzzled me until I checked my BRB to find that “lyric” can refer to a song itself and not just to the words of a song. 21d was a new language for me, and probably not one I will need to remember.

    My ticks were awarded to 1a, 12a, 28a, 6d & 9d.

    Thanks to Harold and in advance to whoever is doing the review.

    1. You have to take your 14a answer as an instruction. 2d is the abbreviation for house + another word for ‘the States’ without its outer letters.

      1. Thanks, Gazza.
        14a – d’oh!
        2d – I assumed “house” = “home”, and spent ages trying to think of a word ?RIC? for the States! :oops:

  4. I’m quite relieved that RD has said that he found bits of this tricky because so did I albeit I’ve been slightly distracted watching the golf. I’ve never heard of 21d either but it couldn’t be owt nor can I parse 17d but otherwise ok. 19d made me chuckle & wince & is my clear favourite. Very enjoyable
    Thanks Harold

    1. Huntsman, clues don’t come much more tortuous than 17d. You’ve need to put the Spanish word for “what” inside the second word of a phrase used by Americans including Trump to refer to their country and follow it all with “I” plus a two letter instruction to “keep shtum”.

      1. Oh dear talk about failing to see the bleeding obvious – I got the Spanish what & the last 3 letters but couldn’t see what Sam had to do with Donald….

  5. Tricky for me too, but without being completely intractable. Favourites were 12a, 28a, 2d, 6d and 9d, with top spot to 12a. Gazza’s nudge on 14a tidied things up nicely for me, and in retrospect I will add it to my list of favourites. Thanks, Harold, for my afternoon’s alfresco entertainment in the sunshine.

  6. What a great puzzle; really enjoyed it, thanks to “Harold”! A number of good clues but my favourite has to be 17D.

  7. Very enjoyable accompaniment to an early evening beer Harold. A few easy ones to gain a foothold and a few head scratchers to finish.
    The clues that stood out for me were 11,18&26a plus 9&17d with top spot going to 19d, a real smiler
    Thanks and thanks to whoever reviews it.

  8. Lots of head-scratchers for us but we did get them all sorted eventually.
    Thanks Harold.

  9. Thanks Harold, enjoyed that – lots of good tricky clues already acknowledged above, I think 13a also deserves special mention. Thanks also in advance to reviewer.

  10. Thank you to Sue for the review and to everyone else for their comments. This puzzle was submitted for publication in the Indy over 18 months ago. Unfortunately, my brief crossword-setting career there ceased after two appearances, owing to 225icide, and two unpublished puzzles languished on the crossword editor’s files until I eventually withdrew them last month. I have subsequently had some puzzles published in the FT under a different pseudonym.

  11. Many thanks for the review, CS, which I certainly needed to verify a couple of my answers.
    I hadn’t realised quite how much time has elapsed since we last had a puzzle from this setter.

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