NTSPP 657 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Starhorse

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

After a somewhat hectic and poignant day leading services with acts of remembrance for Her Majesty and other meetings, a somewhat rushed review without pictures today.


1 Old farmer married fellow worker (10)
HUSBANDMAN – A seven-letter word for a married fellow followed by a three-letter word for a worker.

7 Present will be provided in good time (4)
GIFT – A two-letter word meaning provided in the abbreviations for good and time.

9 Ahead, and finally on the attack (8)
ADVANCED – The final letter of and after (on) a seven-letter word for an attack.

10 Delivers clubs without a head (6)
UTTERS – A seven-letter word for some golf clubs without its initial letter.

11 Chilled female performer cut short (6)
FRAPPE – The abbreviation for female and the word to describe a rap artist without its final letter (cut short).

13 Guards king, unconscious in the toilets (8)
LOOKOUTS – The abbreviation for king and a three-letter word meaning unconscious inside a four-letter word for toilets.

14 Police asked to waste time – perhaps that’s something to look into (12)
KALEIDOSCOPE – An anagram (perhaps) of POLICE ASKED TO without (waste) of time

17 Doctor Foster is one medic wildly merry and happy on vacation (7,5)
NURSERY RHYME – A five-letter word for a medic followed by an anagram (wildly) of MERRY HY (happy without its inner letters – on vacation).

20 Oddly crazy night – being whipped the main activity (8)
YACHTING – An anagram (being whipped) of CAY (the odd letters of crazy) NIGHT.

21 Call from dodgy driver touring ancient city causes uproar (6)
FURORE – A golf call (from dodgy driver) around a two-letter name of an ancient biblical city.

22 Touts regularly beginning to sell the French fight (6)
TUSSLE – The odd letters (regularly) of touts followed by the first letter (beginning) to sell and the French masculine singular form of “the”.

23 How football match starts or ends in Oporto? (8)
GOALLESS – The first and last letters in Oporto give the visual representation of the solution.

25 English sailors not bearing a grudge (4)
ENVY – The abbreviation for English followed by a four-letter word for a group of sailors without (not bearing) the A.

26 Teams hosting match get navigational aid (10)
SIDELIGHTS – A five-letter word for teams includes (hosting) a five-letter word for a match.


2 Source of earthquake is in laundry, shaking could be felt (8)
UNDERLAY – The first letter (source) of earthquake inside an anagram (shaking) of laundry.

3 Stole box of appetising starters (3)
BOA – The initial letters (starters) of the second to fourth words of the clue.

4 Iconic head offers suitable position (5)
NICHE – The answer is hidden (offers) in the first two words of the clue.

5 Messes with dangerous drugs originally kept by carriers (7)
MUDDLES – The initial letters (originally) of dangerous drugs inside a five-letter word for drug carriers.

6 Branch of medicine has new money to record conclusion from study (9)
NEUROLOGY – The abbreviation for new followed by a four-letter word for the common European currency, a three-letter word for a record and the last letter (conclusion from) of study.

7 Party reach clear sky over Greek capital (3-8)
GET-TOGETHER – A phrase (3,2) meaning reach and a five-letter word for clear sky around (over) the first letter (capital) of Greek.

8 For best results trees need hollow trunks (6)
FIRSTS – A four-letter word for some evergreen trees followed by the outer letters (hollow) of trunks.

12 Constant flying said to be a pipe dream? (3-2-3-3)
PIE-IN-THE-SKY – How you might describe audibly the numerical constant for the ration of the circumference to diameter of a circle.

15 Vagrant strides around in squalor (9)
DIRTINESS – An anagram (vagrant) of STRIDES around the IN from the clue.

16 Sting to compose for fashionable group (5,3)
SMART SET – An five-letter word meaning sting followed by a three-letter word meaning to compose.

18 Interested but unavailable (7)
ENGAGED – Double definition (unavailable as a toilet might be described if occupied).

19 “South Africa Go Sixth” (from The Sun) (6)
SATURN – The abbreviation for South Africa followed by a four-letter word for a go.

21 Don’t pass over large whip (5)
FLAIL – A four-letter word meaning don’t pass an exam around (over – again, see 7d) the abbreviation for large.

24 Bear?  Keep one out of the front room (3)
LUG – A six-letter word for the front room without (out) the letters in the one from the clue.

18 comments on “NTSPP 657

  1. A lovely puzzle with smooth surfaces throughout – many thanks to Starhorse.
    From many ticked clues I’ve selected 21a, 23a and 2d for my podium.

  2. An enjoyable diversion. My particular favourite was 19d

    Thanks to Starhorse and, in advance, to Prolixic

  3. What a delightful NTSPP with brief, accurate clueing and smooth surfaces from start to finish. I had ticks all over my page, and the outstanding 23a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Starhorse and presumably Prolixic.

  4. Good fun completed pre-caffeine.

    Big smiles for 13a and 19d. You know it’s a good puzzle when everybody’s selection is different.

    Thanks to Starhorse and to Prolixic.

  5. Great crossword, thank you Starhorse. Favourites are 7a, 14a, 17a, 25a and 2d. I’m sure we have the correct answer for 23a but we are struggling to parse it – us being brain dead, I’m sure! We shall look forward to the explanation tomorrow and no doubt curse. We look forward to the next one, Starhorse.

    1. Hilton, what is the score when a football match starts and what are the ends of the word “Oporto”?

      1. Ahhhh! So obvious when you put it like that! Thank you for putting us out of our misery, Rabbit Dave. How did we miss that.

  6. Super puzzle Starhorse with very smooth and natural surfaces plus well disguised definitions, what’s not to like?
    I could have ticked several more but I’ll highlight 21&25a plus 2&24d with 23a just edging it as favourite.
    Many thanks and in advance to Prolixic

  7. Always a privelege and a pleasure to be here – thanks for the comments, glad you enjoyed it. At a concert in Devon this evening, then on the M5/M6 tomorrow so will pick up any more observations when I get home.

    Finally, hope you are recovering well Big D, and thanks to Tilsit for hosting in the meanwhile.

  8. Just the ticket even though I did need to concentrate quite hard!
    Long list of ticks from which I’ve picked out 7,13,20&25a plus 2&18d for mention.

    Many thanks, Starhorse, an excellent NTSPP.

  9. I thought Picaroon’s prize puzzle in the Graun would take some beating today but I’d give this one the edge. 21&23a my top two but plenty of ticks elsewhere – 7,11,14&17a plus 2,5,6,12&19d. Top notch from start to finish & thoroughly enjoyable.
    Thanks Starhorse & hope you enjoy your concert.
    Ps don’t get the wordplay for 24d.

    1. Hi Huntsman
      24d… remove the letters that make up the word “one” from a name for the front room of a house.

      1. Oh for pity’s sake – how obvious. I was trying to add an A or I.
        It was always the living/sitting room when I grew up.

  10. A real pleasure to solve on a Sunday morning for us.
    Our last one in was 6d so that gets our vote for favourite,
    Thanks Starhorse.

  11. Thanks Starhorse, top stuff – favourites 7a, 13a, 12d & 15d. (Repetition radar bleep on 7d & 21d though – only noticed as I’m not personally keen on this device in a Down clue, sorry!) Thanks again, and in advance to Prolixic

  12. Thank you, Starhorse, for a very enjoyable puzzle with some really smooth surfaces – what a treat! I could easily have picked many more, but my ticks were alongside 7a, 13a, 14a, 20a, 2d and 12d. Thanks also to Prolixic for finding time to prepare a review at a very testing time.

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