NTSPP 655 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Meles

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows:

A warm welcome to Meles who makes his debut in as a setter in the NTSPP series.  


1 Goes on and on about one daughter to son (5)
RIDES – A two-letter word meaning on or on the subject of goes around (about) the letter representing one and the abbreviation for daughter followed by the abbreviation for son.

4 Unthinking gentle touch enthralls, leads to long embrace (8)
CARELESS – A six-letter word for a gentle touch includes (enthrals) the initial letters (leads to) of the last two words of the clue.

8 It is a right of monk moving into preferred order (14)
PRIORITISATION – Put the “IT IS A” from the clue to the right of a five-letter word for a monk and follow with an anagram (moving) of INTO.

10 Request European alliance to protect Norway (8)
ENTREATY – The abbreviation for European and a six-letter word for an alliance includes (to protect) the IVR code for Norway.

11 Old coin from one country found in three others (6)
GUINEA – The name of an old British coin is also the name of one country and appears in the name of three other countries (*-Bissau, Equatorial * and Papua New *)

12 A moonlit scene ultimately can be moving (9)
EMOTIONAL – An anagram (moving) of A MOONLIT E (final letter (ultimately) of scene)).

15 Where child might go and sleep, possibly exhausted (5)
NAPPY – A three-letter word meaning sleep and the outer letters (exhausted) of possibly.

17 Every now and then tried rally about changes in sea levels (5)
TIDAL – The odd letters (every now and then) of “tried rally”.

18 A short celebration by two companies for chocolate provider (5,4)
COCOA BEAN – The A from the clue and a five-letter word for a celebration with the final letter removed (shortly), all after (by) the abbreviation for company twice.

19 Scientist – not old, not retired (6)
NEWTON – A three-letter word meaning not old followed by a reversal (retired) of the NOT from the clue.

21 One working on arms, ridiculously thin and smug (8)
GUNSMITH – An anagram (ridiculously) of THIN SMUG.

24 How Doc Brown’s DeLorean travels occasionally? (4,4,2,4)
FROM TIME TO TIME – Cryptic definition and definition.

25 Academic workshops situated around university (8)
STUDIOUS – A seven-letter word for workshops around the abbreviation for university.

26 Small amount needed in contingency (5)
TINGE – The answer is hidden (needed in) the final word of the clue.


1 Acting for corrupt enterprise set on no good (12)
REPRESENTING – An anagram (corrupt) of ENTERPRISE followed by the abbreviation for no good.

2 Scattered ashes at sea? (9)
DRIFTWOOD – How you might describe Ash trees afloat in the ocean.

3 Second push resulting in sudden movement (5)
SURGE – The abbreviation for second followed by a four-letter word meaning push.

4 In an unresponsive state, pet is put on a reviving medicine (9)
CATATONIC – A three-letter word for a pet on the A from the clue and a five-letter word for a reviving tonic.

5 Got up aching after cycling and climbing (4)
ROSE – Take a four-letter word meaning aching and cycle the letters around and then reverse them.  SORE becomes ESOR become ROSE.

6 Habitual to dismiss Britain in developed country (9)
LITHUANIA – An anagram (developed) of HABITUAL IN after removing the abbreviation for Britain.

7 Faint dramatically as central part of crime is covered by court (5)
SWOON – A three-letter word for a crime or offence has its central letter replaced (covered by) a three-letter word meaning to court.

9 Say one new and two old terms for you to become alluring (4,2,3,3)
EASY ON THE EYE – An anagram (new) of SAY ONE followed by two words (4) and (2) each that were used to represent “you” in old English.

13 The setter will make up with editor for not adhering to rules of grammar (3-6)
ILL-FORMED – A three-letter contraction meaning “the setter will” followed by a four-letter word meaning to make up and the abbreviation for editor.

14 Those criticising teachers… (9)
LECTURERS – Double definition.

16 … conspire nastily without a shred of integrity or accuracy (9)
PRECISION – An anagram (nastily) of CONSPIRE around (without) the first letter (a shred) of integrity.

20 Line-up finally is at least accomplished (5)
WORST – A reversal (up) of a three-letter word for a line followed by the last letters (finally) of “is at”.

22 Call out direction with husband not quite fully risen (5)
SHOUT – One of the points of the compass (direction) with the abbreviation for husband moved up (but all the way to the top (husband not quite fully risen).

23 Mushroom is overused somewhat as a savoury flavouring (4)
MISO – The answer it hiss (somewhat) in the first three words of the clue.

22 comments on “NTSPP 655

  1. Caffeine required but an enjoyable challenge.

    Interestingly, 26a appeared in my first solve of the morning, our man Falcon’s ‘Saturday puzzle’:

    Keen on researching poker debts? (8)

    Smiles for 4a, 24a, 2d, 4d, and 9d.

    Thanks Meles and well done on your ‘elevation’ from Rookie to NTSPPer and thanks in advance to CS/Prolixic.

  2. Very well done Meles. I found this very entertaining with smooth surfaces throughout and some inventive clueing. Ticks from me for 4d 9d and 16d with the witty 15d being the standout favourite. I’m a little puzzled over the parsing of 8a and 7d so I await the review for enlightenment.

    Thanks again.

    1. J. May I give you hints for 8a nad 7a? I think this is OK, because it isn’t a prize crossword and I need to practice giving hints without actually writing a lucid explanation (I’m certainly no expert).

      8a. IT IS A from the clue is postioned to the right of a word meaning monk, and after that is an anagram (moving) of INTO.
      7d. A 3-letter synonym for court replaces (covers) the central letter of a 3-letter synonym of crime.

      Hope they make sense.

      *CS. If doing this is not really welcome, let me know and I will, of course, refrain.
      * Does anybody know why this NTSSP hasn’t got any SAVE or CHECK buttons, only REVEAL LETTER?

      1. Hello Jose. Re your last question, that’s because I had to configure several Crossword Compiler export options and then generate and upload all the required files using a new laptop in the midst of a business trip and I missed those. Thanks for letting me know. I’ve added the missing buttons.

      2. Thanks Jose. It certainly did help. Should have seen 8a if I’d tried harder. As for 7d I didn’t get the sin but did get the woo. Twit!

  3. A pleasing puzzle to accompany a post-lunch mug of tea. I particularly enjoyed some of the well-constructed surfaces, from which I selected my podium three of 8a, 7d and 13d. Runners-up places, for being admirably succinct, went to 5d and 14d. Thanks, Meles.

  4. Still have a couple of bits of parsing that I’m not totally sure about but I did enjoy the challenge.
    Big ticks here went to 4,15&25a plus 2&4d.

    Many thanks to Meles, hope to see more from you in the future.

  5. I am mystified. I printed out this puzzle, solved it, finding it tough but enjoyable although with one answer not fully parsed, and I intended to post my comments about it this evening. However the print out has completely disappeared so I can’t comment on any details :-)

    In any event, many thanks to Meles.

    1. Found it at last! The one I couldn’t parse was 22d. I started with S for South as the direction and then got stuck as it simply didn’t occur to me that I needed the whole of South not just the abbreviation. Thanks to Prolixic for the explanation and for the beautifully illustrated explanation.

      Yes it was, as I remembered it, a challenging but fun puzzle. Just one question – why use the American spelling “enthralls”?

      1. To be honest I didn’t realise that was a US variant spelling, will stick to single L in future (unless I need it for fodder or something 🙂).

  6. A really enjoyable solve for us with the pick of the bunch being 9d but lots of others were also in the running.
    Thanks Meles.

  7. Failed on 11ac – I was looking for something made up of three country codes (internet or vehicle registration) – D’oh!
    Otherwise enjoyable if a little tricky in places. Thanks Meles and Prolixic.

  8. Thanks to everyone who solved and commented, much appreciated. Also to Mr K for the technicals and Prolixic for the review – my first time being illustrated so that’s exciting 🙂.

  9. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, and for setting me straight on the parsing of 24a – I didn’t know the film so my answer relied heavily on checkers and guesswork.

    Thanks again to Meles – Prolixic did you proud on the illustration front!

  10. What a lovely NTSPP! Everything flowed smoothly and there are many ticks on the page. Among them are19a, 2d, 4d, 7d, the 9d anagram, and the 14d double definition.
    My fave clue is 15a. Very clever and amusing! And the runner up is the excellent 24a. I did need to investiGoogle this for enlightenment. By some extraordinary coincidence, an original 1981 stainless steel DeLorean was featured on last night’s Antiques Roadshow. Fab! I hope you saw it Meles.
    Thank you very much Meles for a most entertaining and enjoyable puzzle. And much appreciation to Prolixic for the excellent and beautifully illustrated review. Apart from not having seen Back to the Future the only clue where I needed explanation is 11a. I knew the coin but couldn’t come up with the three other countries. Alas! I got fruitlessly focussed on the Country Codes and didn’t get as far as thinking of the actual country names… My grateful thanks for the elucidation.

  11. I’m tackling fewer crosswords at the moment, so sorry for being late for this one, but an enjoyable puzzle that was pitched at the right level of difficulty. My stand-outs were 15a for cheeky wit and the clever 2d, which was absolutely superb. Cheers, Meles.

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