NTSPP 670 – 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.



1a  Primarily Church has one, essentially generic, career (7)
CHIEFLY: A two-letter abbreviation for church followed by the letter representing one, the middle letter (essentially) of generic and a three-letter word meaning career or move quickly.

5a  This is symbolic of Britain: nonsense with trouble to follow (7)
BULLDOG: A four-letter word meaning nonsense followed by a three-letter word meaning to trouble or hound.

9a  One questioning lopsided rule for Welsh (5)
ASKER: A five-letter word meaning lopsided with the final W (Welsh) replaced by an R (rule).

10a  Where you might find a horseshoe plant with yellow flowers (9)
COLTSFOOT: Double definition.

11a  Never point out obstacle (10)
PREVENTION: An anagram (out) of NEVER POINT.

12a  Every now and then, kind of wife to understand (4)
KNOW: odd letters (every now and then) of the fifth and sixth words of the clue followed by the abbreviation for wife.

14a  Bright red, I try expressing right number in class perhaps (11)
CARDINALITY: An eight-letter word for bright red followed by the I from the clue and the try from the clue after removing (expressing) the abbreviation for right.

18a  Alarmist anger comes freely, drawing in readers at the start (11)
SCAREMONGER: An anagram (freely) of ANGER COMES with an R (readers at the start) included (drawing in).

21a  Square part of 11 or how 11 ends? (4)
EVEN: The answer is hidden (part of) in the answer to 11a and is also the final four letters of the word 11 when spelled out.

22a  Give speech after concerning month to maybe change appearance at home (10)
REDECORATE: A five-letter word meaning to give a speech after a two-letter word meaning concerning and the abbreviation for December (month)

25a  Take note by hilltop – “Attention: Ferocious animal” (5,4)
BROWN BEAR: The abbreviation for nota bene (take note) after (by) a four-letter word for a hilltop all followed by a three-letter word for attention.

26a  Meles performs for audience, finishing with a sweet cover (5)
ICING: The single letter pronoun for the setter followed by a homophone (for audience) of SING.

27a  Most comfortable as each sleep less active (7)
EASIEST:  The two-letter abbreviation for each followed by a six-letter word for a sleep without (less) the abbreviation for active.

28a  Element of wage gap march about to become violent (7)
RAMPAGE: The answer is hidden (element of) and reversed (about) in the third to fifth words of the clue.


1d  Grips, spasms, changes hands (6)
CLAMPS: A six-letter word for spasms with the R changed to an L (changes hands).

2d  This describes a way of printing in black, capturing the ultimate in black (6)
INKJET: The In from the clue and a type of black stone includes the final letter (ultimate in) of black.

3d  Picked up from a distance that’s improbable? (3-7)
FAR-FETCHED: The solution could be something obtained or picked up from a distance.

4d  Vessel with no sign of soldiers up or down in treachery at sea (5)
YACHT: Remove (no sign of) the abbreviation for Royal Engineers (soldiers) in its usual and reversed form (up or down) from TREACHERY and make an anagram (at sea) of the remaining letter.

5d  Bulging tab to pay (9)
BILLOWING: A four-letter word for a bar tab followed by a five-letter word meaning to pay.

6d  Green sponge (4)
LUSH: Double definition.

7d  A benchmark for lateness? (8)
DOORNAIL: Cryptic definition.

8d  Route into stage when struggling for breaks (8)
GETAWAYS: A three-letter word for a route inside (into) an anagram (when struggling) of STAGE.

13d  State loyalty every year to group that, principally, is male (10)
PATRIOTISM: The abbreviation for per-annum followed by a four-letter word for a group of three, the first letter (principally) of that, the IS from the clue and the abbreviation for male.

15d  Former President and First Lady left boring resting place (9)
ROOSEVELT: The first lady in the book of Genesis and the abbreviation for left inside (boring) a five-letter word for a bird’s resting place.

16d  Construct a ship with incomplete design (8)
ASSEMBLE: The A from the clue and the abbreviation for steamship followed by a six-letter word for a design or logo without its final letter (incomplete).

17d  Starving or otherwise, savour eating small measure (8)
RAVENOUS: An anagram (otherwise) of SAVOUR includes (eating) a two-letter word for a printer’s measure.

19d  An island force retreats into place for 4 (6)
MARINA: The AN from the clue, the abbreviation for island and a three-letter word meaning force all reversed (retreats).

20d  Dog able to be trained with good patience – finally! (6)
BEAGLE: An anagram (to be trained) of ABLE G (good) followed by the final letter of patience.

23d  Slip armour free having vanquished the odds in revolution (5)
ERROR: The even letters (having vanquished the odds) of the second and third words of the clue reversed (in revolution).

24d  Previously solid clubs dropping to the third level (4)
ONCE: A four-letter word for a solid figure with the C (clubs) moved to be the third letter of the solution.

14 comments on “NTSPP 670
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  1. An enjoyable puzzle to take my mind off what’s outside, where we have more snow than we’ve had in the last ten years. Thanks to Meles.
    I’d never heard of the 10a plant so that required a bit of Googling.
    My ticks went to 25a, 7d and 15d.

  2. Thanks Meles, a bit of a struggle for me, even with caffeine assistance, and probably more challenging than your first NTSPP which needed some e-help and one or two Reveals.

    Smiles for 5a, 2d, 8d, and 16d.

    Thanks again and thanks in advance to Prolixic(?).

  3. Interesting challenge which took me a little longer than ‘usual’, though I was distracted by a fish finger sandwich
    Thanks for the entertainment Meles

  4. I really struggled with this but, after a very slow start, I eventually crawled over the finishing line. I found it much tougher than Meles’ Rookie Corner puzzles. That said, I did enjoy most of it despite a couple of niggles.

    I can’t make much sense of the surface of 22a and, leaving aside the thorny subject of split infinitives, isn’t “maybe” unnecessary? Also the definition for 8d seems a bit of a stretch, and according to the BRB, “obstacle” is an obsolete definition for 11a.

    Interestingly, 14a is not given in the BRB but it is in Collins online.

    One of the first clues I “solved” was 7d for which I confidently entered “deadline”. I thought that was a terrific answer and believed it was likely to be my favourite until I found that three of the crossing answers didn’t fit with it :sad: ! However, when I finally twigged the correct solution, it still ended up as my top pick.

    Many thanks and well done, Meles. From my personal point of view, can you just turn the difficulty knob back a notch or two next time please?

  5. Was rather chuffed to finish pretty briskly only to find I’d stupidly got the opening 2 vowels at 8d in the wrong order when I checked to see if all correct after completion. Not sure I’ve 25a parsed correctly either. Wouldn’t disagree with anything in RD’s forensic critique but very much enjoyed the puzzle & preferred it to the SPP. My picks all in the downs – particularly liked 5,7,13&15.
    Thanks Meles

  6. Think I enjoyed this more in retrospect than I did at the time of solving. Clever wordplay but perhaps a little too obtuse on occasions? From those I particularly enjoyed I’d pick out 10a plus 3,5&20d for special mention.

    Thanks to Meles for the NTSPP workout.

  7. Quite a challenge for us and we had to reveal some starter letters. Favourite was 15d. Thank you, Meles, and thanks in advance to Prolixic. We look forward to your next puzzle but hope it is less difficult.

  8. The pennies dropped on 5a, 6d and 7d in the NE corner this morning after grinding to a halt at that point late last night. I blame the lateness of the hour for making the same mistake as Huntsman on 8d! The final penny to drop this morning was the wordplay for 9a. Thank you, Meles, this was a very enjoyable puzzle to solve, with my favourites being 5a, 25a, 7d and 15d.
    Thanks also to Prolixic for the review which pointed out the error of our (gate)ways in 8d :wink:

  9. Thanks very much Prolixic for the review, very much appreciated. Thanks also to all who commented. Point taken on difficulty, this is probably as high up the scale as I’m willing to go so the next one should be a bit gentler!

  10. All done without help (apart from confirming one or two answers in the dictionary) so it wasn’t all that difficult. That being said I took a long time to get 14ac as I kept thinking ‘bright red’ had to be carmine. Thanks, Meles and Prolixic.

  11. I struggled with this as I couldn’t get on the right wavelength. I eventually gave up with five clues unsolved, but managed to parse the rest correctly.
    I enjoyed several of the clues and had several d’oh moments!
    Many thanks for the tussle, Meles. A little gentler next time would be most acceptable…
    Many thanks and much appreciation to Prolixic for the review.

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