NTSPP 640 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Acnestis

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

It is always a pleasure to solve an Acnestis crossword and also to blog it as the clues have smooth elegance that makes them easy to explain (if not always as easy to solve).


1 Drink can become cold when passed round (6)
COGNAC – The can from the clue followed by a two-letter word meaning go and the abbreviation for cold all reversed (when passed around).

4 Prophet hugs student with good grades? That’s sweet (8)
MOLASSES – The Old Testament prophet and law giver around the abbreviation for learner and AS (good grades).

10 Plaster treated cut or gash (9)
ROUGHCAST – An anagram (treated) of CUT OR GASH.

11 American and I keep silent, belonging to strict sect (5)
AMISH – The two-letter abbreviation for American followed by the I from the clue and a two-letter instruction meaning keep quiet.

12 Some undesirable person (5)
LEPER – The answer is hidden (some) in the last two words of the clue.

13 Bill’s calling for acknowledgement (9)
ADMISSION – The abbreviation for advert (bill) followed by a seven-letter word for a calling or purpose.

14 Rush lines in theatre work? (7)
SURGERY – A five-letter word meaning rush followed by the abbreviation for railway (lines).

16 Massachusetts post office upset with evacuation plan (3,3)
MAP OUT – The state code for Massachusetts followed by the abbreviation for post office and the outer letters (with evacuation) of upset.

19 Stately home with mould starts to leak eventually (6)
CASTLE – A four-letter word meaning mould followed by the initial letters (starts to) of the final two words of the clue.

21 Troubled by teen stealing large car (7)
BENTLEY – An anagram (troubled) of BY TEEN includes (stealing) the abbreviation for large.

23 Fine hair with no curls, you might say (5-4)
FIRST-RATE– A homophone (you might say) of FUR (hair) STRAIGHT (with no curls).

25 Agitated ram with masculinity emphasised? (3,2)
HET UP – Split 2,3 this would be an emphatic statement that a sheep is a ram.

27 Section of poem church singer doesn’t finish (5)
CANTO – A six-letter word for a church singer without the final letter (doesn’t) finish.

28 Steer the wrong way, straight past motorway south (9)
MISDIRECT – A six-letter word meaning straight or forthright after (past) the abbreviation for a motorway and the abbreviation for south.

29 Without permission, enter health resort, breaking lock (8)
TRESPASS – A three-letter word for a health resort inside (breaking) a five-letter word for hair (lock).

30 Good way in to the upper classes (6)
GENTRY – The abbreviation for good followed by a five-letter word for the way in.


1 Cook casserole, forgetting pinch of oregano being negligent (8)
CARELESS – An anagram (cook) of CASSEROLE after removing the first letter (pinch) of oregano.

2 Doctor drinking liquor is a bad-tempered sort (5)
GRUMP – The abbreviation for general practitioner (doctor) includes (drinking) a three-letter word for a type of liquor.

3 Half-cut, horribly overwhelmed by a tendency to be offensive (9)
ABHORRENT – The first half of the word horribly inside (overwhelmed by) the A from the clue and a four-letter word for a tendency or inclination.

5 Best pick one initially made with hesitation (7)
OPTIMUM – A three-letter word meaning pick followed by the letter representing one, the first letter (initially) of make and a two-letter word meaning to express hesitation.

6 Ex-president is mad and upset? Just a bit (5)
ADAMS – The answer is hidden (just a bit) and reversed (upset) in “is mad and”.

7 Religious ceremony led by special investigator (9)
SPIRITUAL – A six-letter word for a rite or ceremony with the abbreviations for special and private investigator before it (led by).

8 Local stops crime by someone enigmatic (6)
SPHINX – The abbreviation for public house (local) inside (stops) a three-letter word meaning crime followed by the letter representing multiplication (by).

9 Complaint from salad bar opening in the outskirts of Monterey (6)
MALADY – The salad from the clue without (bar) the opening letter inside the outer letters (outskirts) of Monterey.

15 Back diversity in reshuffle (9)
REARRANGE – A four-letter word for the back followed by a five-letter word for diversity.

17 Old magazine series is a bit of a joke (9)
PUNCHLINE – The five-letter name of the old satirical magazine followed by a four-letter word for a series.

18 Fellow feeling shy may pussyfoot on vacation abroad (8)
SYMPATHY – An anagram (abroad) of SHY MAY PT (the outer letters (on vacation) of pussyfoot.

20 Problems are over for Christian scholar (7)
ERASMUS – A four-letter word for mathematical problems and the are from the clue all reversed (over).

21 Joint of meat from large animal inspiring recipe (6)
BREAST – A five-letter word for a generic word for a large animal includes the abbreviation for recipe.

22 Scrap piece of copper wrapped with newspaper (6)
OFFCUT – The of from the clue followed by the chemical symbol for copper inside (wrapped with) the abbreviation for Financial Times (newspaper).

24 Bad time to retreat for cavalry unit (5)
TROOP – A four-letter word meaning bad and the abbreviation for time reversed (to retreat).

26 Sentimental tone one abandons making social media post (5)
TWEET – A four-letter word meaning sentimental followed by the tone from the clue without (abandons) the one.

13 comments on “NTSPP 640

  1. An enjoyable puzzle, not too tricky with very smooth surfaces throughout. Just right for Saturday lunchtime – thanks Acnestis.
    My ticks went to 23a, 25a, 8d and 9d.

  2. Nice NTSPP with some welcome touches of humour. Tops for me were 19&30a plus 9&17d.

    Thanks to Acnestis, good to see you here again.

  3. Very enjoyable although I have to say I might not say 23a which did not work for me.

    But the following did work for me – 1a, 14a, 25a, 29a, and 20d.

    Thanks Acnestis.

  4. Very enjoyable Acnestis, made me smile several times.
    Highlights for me were 14&23a plus the clever 3&9d with top spot shared by the super 8&18d.
    Many thanks and in advance to whoever reviews it

  5. Great puzzle. An absolute delight to solve, I’ll join the crowd and go with 23a as favourite.
    Thanks Acnestis.

  6. Another thumbs up for 23a. A lovely pre bedtime solve & delightfully clued throughout.
    Thanks Acnestis

  7. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. Can’t help thinking it’s time our esteemed editor took note of this particular setter!

  8. To modify slightly what Gazza said, an enjoyable puzzle, not too tricky with very smooth surfaces throughout. Just right for late Saturday evening – thanks Acnestis. And thanks, too, to Prolixic.

  9. Many thanks for the kind comments everyone, and thanks to Prolixic for the wonderfully illustrated review.

  10. Turned my attention to this puzzle today, following a busy weekend of family events, and my goodness it was worth waiting for :smile: Acnestis has chosen the finest grade of sandpaper to smooth the surfaces of his clues. Of the many that I enjoyed my gold stars were awarded to 16a, 3d, 5d, 9d, 17d, 22d and – my favourite (even if not to everyone’s taste) – 23a.
    Thank you, Acnestis, and my thanks also to Prolixic for his review (very nice chateau!).

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