NTSPP 660 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Exit

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Other than an admitted blip in 19d, a nice outing from Exit with a ghost theme of detectives.


5a  Cryptogram or secret code herein? (5)
MORSE: The answer is hidden (herein) in the first three words of the clue.

6a  First of criminals detected – went to pieces (8)
CRUMBLED: The first letter of criminals followed by a seven-letter word meaning detected.

8a  Farewell to priest (no saint) without a kneeler (4-4)
PRIE-DIEU: Start with a five-letter word meaning farewell and followed with the priest from the clue without the abbreviation for saint.  Finally remove (without) the A from the clue.

9a  Senior academics admit: “nothing in documents needing correction” (6)
PROOFS: The abbreviation for professor (senior academics) with the letter representing nothing inserted (admit).

10a  Primarily Nationalist or Republican? Neither! (3)
NOR: The initial letters (primarily) of the second to fourth words of the clue.

11a  Puncture inflatable, maybe it’s lighter (8)
FLATBOAT: A four-letter word for a puncture followed by a four-letter word for a maritime vehicle that may be inflatable.

12a  Fail to see one rig is damaged (6)
IGNORE: An anagram (damaged) of ONE RIG.

13a  The best preparation for photography, it’s said, in Philadelphia? (5,6)
CREAM CHEESE: A five-letter word for the best followed by the word said by people before a photograph is taken.

18a  Paper asked to nominate beauty queen? (6)
MIRROR: Double definition, the second by reference to the story of Snow White – this was asked “Who is the fairest of them all?”

20a  Pawnbroker keeping cool sort of bike (8)
UNICYCLE: A five-letter slang word for a pawnbroker includes (keeping) a three-letter word meaning cool.

22a  Some pond-life naturally found in marsh? On the contrary! (3)
FEN: The answer is hidden (found) in the second and third words of the clue.

23a  Monk acquires theology degree for Letter to the Thessalonians (6)
LAMBDA: A four-letter word for a monk includes the abbreviation for a theology degree.

24a  Cleaners collect award in lawyer’s office (8)
CHAMBERS: A five-letter word for cleaners includes (collect) a three-letter word for an award conferred in honours lists.

25a  Get incantation wrong and suffer from fat fingers? (8)
MISSPELL: Double definition where fat-finger may create typos.

26a  Little brief underwear (5)
SMALL: A six-letter word for underwear with the final letter removed (brief).


1d  Policeman’s device on aircraft carrier? (8)
ARRESTER: Double definition for a policemen and the device on an aircraft carried that stops aircraft as they land.

2d  Doctor: “I come confused about day” (6)
MEDICO: An anagram (confused) of I COME around the definition for day.

3d  Snub Katie, say. That’s cheap! (3-5)
CUT-PRICE: A three-letter word meaning snub followed by the surname of someone called Katie.

4d  Irish festival was established originally by river crossing (7)
WEXFORD: The initial letters (originally) of “was established) followed by the letter to represent times or by and a four-letter word for a river crossing.

5d  Ample resources initially arranged for town in Greater Manchester (6)
MARPLE: An anagram (arranged) of AMPLE R (resources initially).

6d  Reckon unknown adviser’s spoken for local government (6,7)
COUNTY COUNCIL: A five-letter word meaning reckon followed by a letter representing an unknown quantity and a homophone (spoken) of counsel (adviser).

7d  In-cab indicator to show green finally, or another colour (5)
BROWN: The last letters (finally) of the first five words of the clue.

14d  Broadcasts covering progress and travel costs (3,5)
AIR FARES: A four-letter word meaning broadcasts includes (covering) a four-letter word meaning progress.

15d  Regularly read story by Lincoln: A New Source of Protein? (4,4)
SOYA BEAN: The odd letters (regularly) of read story followed by a three-letter name for President Lincoln, the A from the clue and the abbreviation for new.

16d  Partita nicely entertaining huge … (7)
TITANIC: The answer is hidden (entertaining) in the first two words of the clue.

17d  … place on river – more than one (6)
PLURAL: The abbreviation for place followed by a four-letter name of a river.

19d  Second person, 17, objectively supporting 50% rebate for pictures, in a word (5)
REBUS: The pronoun to indicate the first-person plural objectively under (supporting) 50% of the word rebate.

21d  Return of essential Latin established? That is so! (3,3)
ITA EST: Reverse (return) the inner letters (essential) of Latin followed by the abbreviation for established.

26 comments on “NTSPP 660
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  1. Great fun – many thanks to Exit.
    I’m rather confused by 19d – I thought the clue should start ‘First person’ but perhaps I’m barking up the wrong tree.
    The clues I liked best were 13a, 18a and 4d.

        1. I rashly convinced myself (without checking) that RE must be 50% of a synonym of rebate.But now I’ve done some research, I can’t find a 4-letter one! Back to the drawing-board …

            1. I see Exit has now confirmed that it should indeed be “First person”. That makes the parsing very straighforward!

  2. A very pleasant solve accompanied by the first caffeine of the day which was for enjoyment not for stimulation.

    I am probably up the tree that Gazza might be wrongly barking up as I had the same thought on 19d.

    Smiles for 8a, 20a, and 23a.

    Thanks Exit and thanks in advance to Prolixic or will it be CS.

  3. Thank you to Prolixic for providing a pdf of the crossword and, in advance, for the review. Thanks also to Exit for providing a crossword for our Saturday lunchtime entertainment

    Once I had a copy of the puzzle, it didn’t take long to solve and was enjoyable while it lasted. I appear to be barking up the same tree as Gazza and Senf with regard to 19d as I’d definitely say ‘first person’ not ‘second’

  4. Thanks for the pdf Prolixic. I can now settle down to an afternoon of solving with no interruptions from the grand kids which makes a change for the weekend.

  5. Couple of things I needed to check on and I learnt something new about the equipment on aircraft carriers. 8a made me smile – I owned a beautiful one when I lived at The Old Mill but sold it to the people who bought the property as I had nowhere suitable for it to sit in my home by the sea.
    Top three for me were 13&24a plus 3d.

    Thanks to Exit for an enjoyable NTSPP.

  6. Very enjoyable Exit, not withstanding what is surely an error in 19d.
    Surprisingly I’d never heard of the town at 5d (or more likely forgotten it) and 21d was new but guessable from the wordplay and checkers.
    My top three are 9,13& the super clever 18a.
    Many thanks and in advance to Prolixic

    1. You’d know about 5d if you were a canal user! There used to be a wonderful clothes shop there for ‘occasion’ dresses but sadly it’s long gone – not that it would have been of any interest to you!

    2. I suspect the residents of 5d, like many others in the Southern(ish) part of the Great Metropolis, still claim that they are in Cheshire.

  7. Oh dear! My mistake – it should definitely be ‘first person’ in 19dn. – don’t know how I came to make that error. Time to find sackcloth and ashes, methinks..

  8. Good fun to solve.
    We always expect a ‘Way Out’ puzzle from this setter.
    13a gets our vote for top clue.
    Thanks Exit.

  9. Back home again and enjoyed the puzzle, thank you Exit. We were also thrown by second person in 19d once we had the answer. Fond memories of Marple recalled as I had a Saturday job there in a haberdashery shop whilst still at school and it was certainly Cheshire then – and small. Favourites were 6a, 13a and 24a. Thanks in advance to Prolixic and we look forward to more puzzles from Exit

  10. Just what I needed to wind down at the end of a full-on day of family festivities. Not too taxing and very enjoyable. 19a received several question marks on my printout, which Exit has quickly owned up to, and my O-level Latin rose to the challenge as I was not familiar with the ‘anglicised’ usage in 8a and 21d. My podium places were duly awarded to 18a, 23a and 6d.
    Thanks, Exit!

  11. Thank you to Prolixic for the review and for spotting the ghost theme. The illustrations include five detectives but there are another three lurking in there. I’ll maybe drop in again later to reveal the full list, but meanwhile thanks to all for your kind comments and for putting up with the blip in 19dn.

  12. Nice solving experience, exit, and relatively straightforward. 5a, 18a, 23a, 7d were my favourites. You mention the five illustrations: somewhat confusingly, my computer is showing me a sixth and it took a moment to work out that the young lady sporting a crown is an advertisement rather than a hint as to another sleuth!

    Thanks. PM

  13. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, and the video evidence of a 1d in operation. Now off on a hunt for the lurking three detectives!

  14. SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read further if you haven’t tackled the puzzle yet.
    To put Jane’s (and possibly others’) mind(s) at rest, in addition to MORSE, MARPLE, WEXFORD, BROWN and REBUS there are:
    Gervase FEN (22ac), an Oxford professor in novels by Edmund Crispin (pseudonym of Bruce Montgomery)
    Canon Sidney CHAMBERS (24ac), an Anglican counterpart to Father Brown, in novels by James Runcie, adapted for TV as Grantchester
    Rabbi David SMALL (26ac), features in 11 books by American writer Harry Kemelman. The books have been published in the UK, and a TV series, Lanigan’s Rabbi, was shown on (I think) ITV in the late ’70s or early ’80s.
    I acknowledge that FEN and, particularly, SMALL may be obscure, but am a little surprised that no-one seems to have spotted CHAMBERS.

  15. Fun solve after I did the Monday back pager.

    Enjoyed it, but found some of the parsing a little confusing.
    Liked 5a, 5d, 7d & 19d — 4 of my favourite crime fighters
    8d a new word for me

    Thanks to all

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