NTSPP 662 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Comfort by Chalicea

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Chalicea’s back with another of her ‘just right for post Saturday lunch solving’ crosswords (or in my case, just right for solving and blog drafting after returning on Saturday evening from a three-day, very busy, visit to family in the Banbury area). The theme was obvious once the first two Across clues had been solved, but fortunately I wasn’t left with too much of an ear worm!


8a Marriage partner introducing good game (6)
BRIDGE: One of the partners at a marriage ceremony into which is inserted (introducing) the abbreviation for good

9a Extremes of trend involving Russian currency beset by difficulties (8)
TROUBLED: The extreme letters of TrenD into which is inserted (involving) the Russian currency

10a Lay hold of gambled money but not originally (4)
TAKE: Some gambled money without the ‘original’ letter

11a Wrote about second-class fastening device in tall building (5,5)
TOWER BLOCK: An anagram (about) of WROTE, the letter indicating that something is second-class and a fastening device

12a Roofed colonnade in half of vast originally open area (4)
STOA: The second half of vaST and the original letters of Open and Area – the repetition radar gave a slight beep here!

13a Potentially renews apps getting printed publications (10)
NEWSPAPERS: An anagram (potentially) of RENEWS APPS

17a Monkey‘s Japanese fermented drink (4)
SAKI: A South American monkey with a long bushy tail or an alternative spelling of the Japanese drink made from fermented rice

18a Look narrowly round heart of British prison cell (5)
PETER: A slang term for a prison cell is obtained by putting a verb meaning to look narrowly round the ‘heart’ of BriTish

19a Group in opposition sighed audibly (4)
SIDE: A homophone (audibly) of sighed

21a Period before Christmas with quartets regularly producing exciting experiences (10)
ADVENTURES: The period before Christmas and the regular letters of qUaRtEtS

23a Strenuous hour with primitive plough (4)
HARD: The abbreviation for hour and a primitive plough used to scratch the top layer of soil

24a Dejected tyrant going round northern hideaway (10)
DESPONDENT: A tyrant ‘going round’ the abbreviation for Northern and a hideaway

28a Maiden with independent personality (4)
MIND: The cricket abbreviation for Maiden (usually accompanied by the word ‘over’ and the abbreviation for independent

29a I’m quietly right in essentially ousting singular fixed ideas (8)
IMPRINTS: IM (from the clue), the musical abbreviation meaning to play quietly, the abbreviation for right, IN (from the clue), the essential letter of ousTing and the abbreviation for singular

30a Press into pulp marrow-like plant (6)
SQUASH: A double definition clue, one a verb, the other a noun. These are some of this year’s crop


1d Sadly cremate a meal of scones and jam (5,3)
CREAM TEA: An anagram (sadly) of CREMATE A

2d A medic not oddly seen in front of a queue for hormone (10)
ADRENALINE: A (from the clue), an abbreviated medic, the even (not oddly) letters of sEeN, A (from the clue) and a line

3d Impotent heartless goal engineered in place characterised by racial mixing (7,3)
MELTING POT: An anagram (engineered) of IMPOTENT and the outside (heartless) letters of gOAl

4d Weak, ineffectual people returning in overheated condition (4)
STEW: A reversal (returning) of some weak, ineffectual people

5d According to poets, uttered long ago, belonging to you (4)
YOUR: A homophone (uttered) of a word used by poets to mean long ago

6d Genesis victim having considerable intelligence, it’s said (4)
ABEL: A homophone (it’s said) of a simple way of saying ‘having considerable intelligence’

7d It can clear canopy of chopper including back of fuselage (6)
DEICER: Something that chops ‘including’ the last letter (back) of fuselage. I think we’d all have got this one a lot quicker if this had, as it is in the BRB, been enumerated as 2-4

14d Element of note involved in armed conflict (5)
WATER: A musical note ‘involved’ in an armed conflict

15d Infestation by preying organism of some of spar as it is made (10)
PARASITISM: Hidden in some of sPAR AS IT IS Made

16d Carelessly hums to opus created after someone’s death (10)
POSTHUMOUS: An anagram (carelessly) of HUMS TO OPUS

20d Gloom of daughter on vessel on Scotland’s deep loch (8)
DARKNESS: The abbreviation for Daughter goes on (in a Down solution) a vessel and Scotland’s deep loch

22d Indulges in fantasies about measures of whisky circling Earth (6)
DREAMS: Some measures of whisky ‘circling’ the abbreviation for Earth

25d Social gathering cut short to go different ways (4)
PART: Cut short a social gathering

26d No people working in north-east (4)
NONE: A two-letter word meaning working inserted into the abbreviation for North-East

27d Relieve of boundless tricky question (4)
EASE: A tricky question without its outside letters (boundless)


18 comments on “NTSPP 662
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  1. Good fun from Chalicea at her very floughiest!

    Smiles for 24a, 25a, 7d, and 27d.

    Thanks to the Floughie Lady and in advance to CS.

  2. Enjoyed this nod to Simon and Garfunkel from our lady setter – that’s my ear worm for the day!
    I did smile at the Scottish word slipped into 23a and noted that she steered clear of the ‘which comes first’ debate over 1d.

    Thank you for the gentle NTSPP, Chalicea.

  3. Given recent news events I warmed to the puzzle just from reading the title, and the first couple of across clues immediately gave the game away. Unfamiliar monkeys, prison cells and ploughs didn’t hold up very brisk progress, but 7d proved to be a real final hurdle, eventually requiring e-help! The lack of a hyphen proved to be my nemesis although the answer is indeed perfectly valid. No particular favourites as the whole puzzle was very nicely crafted – you might even say ‘Artful’… :wink:
    Thanks, Chalicea!

    1. 7d did for me. I got fed up trawling through the alphabet for letters 1&3 & revealed them. It still took a moment to cotton on to the meaning. A hyphen required surely.

  4. Lovely Saturday lunchtime puzzle to solve. Thank you, Chalicea. 3d 10a and 18a were our last in and we still haven’t parsed 10a. Otherwise everything fell neatly into place from the clues. Favourite – too many to mention. We look forward to your next one and thanks to CS also in advance.

  5. This has kept me happily occupied for part of the afternoon – now time to do something useful.
    I’m stuck now – I can’t get the second word of 11a or 5 or 7d – I think “dimness” has struck now! Hopefully as soon as I’ve typed this I’ll get it.
    Thanks to Chalicea for the crossword and in advance to CS.

  6. I’ve been busy all day vacuuming and cleaning my koi pond and filters ready for the winter and decided to relax in the bath with the NTSPP and what a light but very enjoyable puzzle it proved to be.

    There were a couple of definitions which didn’t seem quite right to me, but inevitably with this setter they were given in the BRB. I also needed the BRB to check the plough in 23a.

    I got “bridge” and “troubled” early on and when “water” cropped up I spent far too long unsuccessfully trying to make “over” fit as one of the four letter answers that I still hadn’t solved. It did take me back to May 1970 when I was lucky enough to see Simon & Garfunkel at the Royal Albert Hall, and that remains to this day one of the finest concerts I have ever been to.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and in advance to CS.

    1. You take the BRB to the bath?!?
      I would need forearms like Geoff Capes to keep it from joining me in the soup.

  7. Excellent fun as ever from this setter.
    All went in smoothly apart from 7d which caused considerable head-scratching until the penny dropped.
    Thanks Chalicea.

  8. Thanks CS for the review (and the couple of answers that defeated me yesterday.)
    I got the 3d answer by a song – then couldn’t remember the not well-known group – Blue Mink and eventually got there it was in 1970 ish. It’s the sort of thing that drives me mad . . .
    Thanks again to Chalicea and CS – glad you had a good visit in our direction at the weekend.

  9. Thanks for the review, CS. Unfortunately, the illustration for 1d is clearly wrong, in my opinion!
    Nevertheless, the 17a photo of the unfamiliar monkey was much appreciated, and I thought the 30a image was really gourd…

    1. A while back I did find a picture with both the possible jam/cream or cream/jam options but I couldn’t find it this morning and so I went with the one that offends you. In my defence, I have solved one crossword, prepared three crossword reviews, done three loads of washing, made a pear and ginger cake and booked my COVID booster which is probably quite enough for one person in one morning!

      1. Good to hear that you take things a bit easier on a Sunday morning… :wink:
        Hope your COVID booster goes well, I was zonked for about 48 hours after mine, having had no problems with the first three. Don’t have it just before you are due to solve several crosswords, do a myriad reviews and bake a variety of cakes from your crop of 30a…

  10. Many thanks for the review, CS, delightfully illustrated as usual. That monkey looks adorable but probably isn’t in ‘real’ life!
    Thanks again to Chalicea and my apologies for having mentioned the theme so early in the day – bad form on my part.

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