NTSPP 645 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Shabbo

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Shabbo has very kindly provided a crossword for our Saturday afternoon solving


1a    Dispatched French articles by church journalist (8)
LAUNCHED Two French articles, one female and definite, the other male and indefinite, followed by the abbreviation for church and the usual abbreviated journalist

5a    Pay back for artist (6)
DRAWER A reversal (back) of a synonym for pay

10a    Officers take a drink (5)
COCOA Two abbreviated commanding officers ‘take’ A (from the clue)

11a    Popular church exercise – one on Genesis (9)
INCEPTION  The capital G in Genesis is there to mislead. The usual two-letter synonym for popular, a different abbreviation for church than the one used in 1a, some abbreviated school exercise, the letter representing one and ON (from the clue)

12a    Cautioned about training (9)
EDUCATION An anagram (about) of CAUTIONED

13a    Borders or fences in Bow (5)
EDGES A Cockney from Bow would omit the H at the start of these fences

14a    Establish a record spinning these? (6)
PLATES A reversal (spinning) of a synonym for establish, A (from the clue) and an abbreviated record

15a    Beat the best from Spain and Germany (7)
CREAMED The best part of anything followed by the IVR Codes for Spain and Germany

18a    Keep an eye on verbose drunk (7)
OBSERVE An anagram (drunk) of VERBOSE

20a    Confirm most obese female has departed (6)
ATTEST Take away (has departed) the abbreviation for female from an adjective meaning most obese

22a    Underground bars rich man (5)
DIVES A double definition clue, the rich man is found in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus in the New Testament Book of Luke

24a    Studio‘s share in Manet original (9)
APARTMENT A share inserted into an anagram (original) of MANET

25a    Compost may enrich plant (9)
MACHINERY An anagram (compost) of MAY ENRICH

26a    Brussels Governor reversed trend (5)
VOGUE A reversal (as indicated handily by the word ‘reversed’) of the two letters used to refer to the organisation based in Brussels and an abbreviated governor

27a    Beat the odds coming first in dash (6)
SPLASH The abbreviation for starting price (odds) comes first before a synonym for beat, which if you’ve solved this week’s DT Saturday Prize Puzzle should be immediately obvious

28a    Worried about courses (8)
DESSERTS A reversal (about) of a synonym for worried


1d    Cabinet chair switches political allegiance at the outset (6)
LOCKER Take a type of chair and switch the first letter from the side of one political allegiance to another

2d    Lenders embrace press releases (9)
UNCOUPLES The abbreviation for the Oxford University Press ’embraced’ by a slang term for pawnbrokers

3d    Art critics chase dubious qualities (15)

4d    Obtains legal drugs outside (7)
ELICITS The ‘usual’ abbreviated drugs go outside an adjective meaning legal

6d    Family members’ gift for student delegates (15)
REPRESENTATIVES Take some family members and replace the usual abbreviated student with a gift

7d    Force current out of electrical cables (5)
WRING Remove the first instance of the symbol for electrical current from some electrical cables

8d    Dial 11 for these seats? (8)
RINGSIDE A synonym for dial and what 11 people might represent in a football match

9d    State maritime prison is attractive (6)
SCENIC A homophone (state) of a synonym for maritime and an informal term for a prison

16d    Hermes perhaps displayed in museum, Essen, Germany (9)
MESSENGER Found displayed in museuM ESSEN GERmany

17d    Sentences Tory rogues having nothing to lose (8)
CONDEMN The three-letter abbreviation for a Tory and some rogues without the O (having nothing to lose)

19d    European celebrity beginning to lobby for canine protection (6)
ENAMEL The abbreviation for European, a celebrity and the ‘beginning’ to Lobby

20d    Scrutinise any sale ordered (7)
ANALYSE An anagram (ordered) of ANY SALE

21d    City covered by Bath ensemble (6)
ATHENS Hidden in (covered by) bATH ENSemble

23d    Outspoken against coal alternative (5)
VOCAL The abbreviation for the Latin word meaning against and an anagram (alternative) of COAL


16 comments on “NTSPP 645

  1. Very enjoyable puzzle – thanks Shabbo. It’s impressive to produce a puzzle of this quality with no obscurities and smooth surfaces throughout.
    My ticks went to 6d, 16d and 19d.

  2. Many thanks Shabbo, an enjoyable solve – fairly straightforward but good fun throughout. Favourite for me, 6d. Thanks also to Prolixic for posting and in advance to reviewer.

  3. Thanks Shabbo for a very welcome and entertaining distraction from a thunderstorm!

    Smiles for 1a, 27a, 8d, and 19d.

    Although, 1d gets a small Hmm as the way I parsed it it also involves a ‘switch’ of country.

    Thanks again and thanks to the reviewer and to Prolixic for posting it.

  4. Very enjoyable with some smart misdirection without obscurities. I liked it all but have chosen to highlight 14&27a plus 6 (once I’d parsed it) 8&19d
    Thanks Shabbo and in advance to Prolixic.

    1. As Shabbo is a nationally published setter, he will be subject to the tender ministrations of Crypticsue in the review.

  5. Very enjoyable Shabbo, thank you. We need to see CS’s review to fully parse 13a, 27a and 7d and we didn’t know the term for rich man in 22a – but Google helped there. Favourites were 1a, 6d and 11a. We look forward to your next one. Thanks also to Prolixic for posting it.

  6. Such a shame that this didn’t attract a wider audience as I thought it was a really good puzzle. I had a particular penchant for 14a.
    Many thanks to Shabbo and to CS as she gets back ‘into harness’!

    PS Sue – you may like to add ‘Lessons in Chemistry’ by Bonnie Garmus to your reading list. Very enjoyable and rather ‘different’.

  7. An enjoyable and fairly quick solve. Well not quite solved – I didn’t get 9dn and bunged in an unparsed ‘iconic’ from the crossing letters. No problem otherwise. Thanks, Shabbo and CS.

  8. Many thanks to you all for your very kind comments. They are much appreciated.
    Thanks also to Tilsit for steering the ship in BD’s absence and to CS for the review.

  9. I have had very little time for crosswords over the past few week or so, and I rarely bother to catch up if ever I have missed a puzzle on the day of its publication. However, Shabbo is one of my favourite setters and I couldn’t let this one pass me by. Better late than never!

    What a good decision! This was extremely high quality, and very enjoyable with super-smooth surfaces throughout. My page was littered with ticks and I will join Jane in selecting 14a as my favourite.

    Many thanks to Shabbo and to CS.

  10. Great puzzle, I did have to use my hotline to Shabbo to check a couple but it was very enjoyable! Well done 👏

  11. Fun-filled family celebrations precluded any puzzle solving this weekend, but it is said that good things come to those who wait, and this puzzle helps prove the point. Enjoyed in peace and quiet in a sunny garden today, this was a real treat. I have been scrupulously fair to both across and down clues and picked 4 favourites from each: 10, 18, 25 & 27 across and 1, 3, 6 & 9 down; chosen not just for their degree of cleverness or complexity but mainly because of their very satisfying surface readings.
    Thanks Shabbo, and thanks also to CS for her review.

    1. Oops, that should have read …1, 4, 6 & 9 down.
      A sloppily positioned tick was to blame :smile:

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