NTSPP 680 – 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.



7a  University alumnus spends month working to produce novel (7)
UNUSUAL: The abbreviation for university followed by an anagram (working) of ALUMNUS after removing (spends) the abbreviation for month.

8a  Ejection from cricket ground after period of sleep (7)
REMOVAL: The cricket ground that is the home of Surrey County Cricket Club after the abbreviation for rapid eye movement (period of sleep).

9a  Passed out at the start, which is careless (9)
OFFHANDED: A six-letter word meaning passed preceded by (at the start) of a three-letter word meaning out.

11a  Lodge resident, heartless and bitter? (4)
BEER: A six-letter word for an animal that lives in a lodge from which you remove the central letters (heartless).

12a  Ridiculous muscle an embodiment of America (5,3)
UNCLE SAM: An anagram (ridiculous) of MUSCLE AN.

14a  Those living nearby half ignored the sound of a nag (5)
NEIGH: A ten-letter word for those living nearby with the final five letters removed.

16a  Breaks down metal tools (4)
DIES: Double definition for breaks down or stops working and metal tools used shape things by stamping or cutting.

18a  Cancel reserve holding credit (5)
SCRUB: A three-letter word for a reserve player includes (holding) the abbreviation for credit.

20a  Boast about getting gear (4)
GARB: A four-letter word meaning boast reversed (about).

21a  Poet’s book becoming unknown outside areas of New York? (5)
YARDS: A five-letter word in the possessive form for poet’s with the initial B (book) becoming Y (unknown).

23a  Accepted partner taking drug, a “plant extract” (4,4)
ALOE VERA: The abbreviation for accepted followed by a six-letter word for a romantic partner around (taking) the abbreviation for ecstasy, all followed by the A from the clue.

25a  Decline prompt to exchange pennies (4)
DROP: A four-letter word meaning prompt or remind with the P and D (pennies) swapped.

27a  Prince set off, knowing what will happen (9)
PRESCIENT: An anagram (off) of PRICE SET.

29a  New driver agreement has stop signal with multiple levels (7)
LAYERED: The letter of the plate displayed by a new driver followed by a three-letter word indicating an agreement and the colour of the stop signal.

30a  Go and drive around, sharing new vegetables (7)
TURNIPS: A four-letter word for a go in a game and a reversal (around) of a four-letter word meaning drive with the two-words overlapping to share the N (new).



1d  Open from sundown (4)
UNDO: The answer is hidden (from) in the final word for the clue.

2d  Push benefits rule in central locations as advantageous (6)
USEFUL: The middle letters (in central locations) of the first three word of the clue.

3d  A movement’s adherents put up notice by platform leading to empty trains (8)
DADAISTS: A reversal (put up) of a two letter word for a notice followed by a four-letter word for a platform and the outer letters (empty) of trains.

4d  Reduce intensity of contract situation which can’t progress (6)
DEADEN: A seven-letter word for a contract situation that cannot progress with the final letter removed (shorten).

5d  Trying to sway but throwing up over front of yacht (8)
LOBBYING: A seven-letter word meaning throwing a ball up around (over) the first letter (front) of yacht.

6d  Search for old Playboy (4)
RAKE: Double definition.

10d  Set limits – fruit without whipped cream (9)
DEMARCATE: A four-letter word for a fruit from a palm tree around (without) an anagram (whipped) of CREAM.

13d  Loud in movie, shy in every other place (5)
NOISY: The even lettes (in every other place) of the second to fourth words of the clue.

15d  One employing hairdresser wanting a shift? (5)
HIRER: Remove (wanting) the A from the clue and a five-letter word for a shift from the third word of the clue.

17d  Her plans unexpectedly change (8)
SHRAPNEL: An anagram (unexpectedly) of HER PLANS.

19d  They regularly discuss Reading‘s reserve team (4,4)
BOOK CLUB: A four-letter word meaning to reserve or set aside followed by a four-letter word for a team.

22d  Great, additional pressure for meal (6)
SUPPER: A five-letter word meaning great with the P doubled (additional pressure).

24d  Naive perhaps to assume end of corruption in City (6)
VIENNA: An anagram (perhaps) of NAÏVE includes (to assume) the final letter (end) of corruption.

26d  Legitimate right not left behind (4)
REAR: A four-letter word meaning legitimate with the final L changed to R (right not left).

28d  Takes out and beats (4)
TOPS: Double definition, the first meaning to murder.

16 comments on “NTSPP 680
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  1. An enjoyable puzzle – many thanks to Meles.
    I had most problems with the 4-letter answers, especially 16a which was my last one.
    The clues I liked best were 11a, 21a, 4d, 15d and 19d.

  2. Thanks Meles – completed pre-caffeine on my Saturday morning..

    Smiles for 8a, 30a, 3d, and 19d.

    I did need e-confirmation for some of my answers especially the ‘areas of New York.’

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

  3. I thought this was just right for the NTSPP slot – the right level of difficulty and lot of fun.

    I dislike the word “sundown”. Whatever Chambers says, Collins agrees with me that this is specifically an American word. But, of course, “sunset” wouldn’t work in the clue! :-(

    Like Gazza, I had most problems with some of the 4-letter answers, including 16a – my last one in too.

    21a was my favourite with 8a & 15d joining it on the podium.

    Many thanks to Meles for a very enjoyable puzzle, and in advance to CS presumably.

  4. Nice post-lunch diversion with a couple of clues that required extra thought.
    Ticks here went to 8&11a plus 5&24d.

    Thank you for today’s NTSPP Meles.

  5. Excellent Meles, this for me just hit the sweet spot, a puzzle infused with wit and gentle misdirection.
    I have loads of ticks including 9,11,29&30a plus 4&13d (great spot) and the super DD at 28d. However my favourite was 19d.
    Many thanks and thanks in advance to Cryptic Sue.

  6. Thanks, Meles, for an enjoyable puzzle. I placed 7a, 27a and 19d on my podium, with a second tier grouping of 1d, 15d and 17d. I initially had ‘Yeats’ for 21a (don’t the police have ‘beats’ in NY?). However, poor old Yeats had to go when I unravelled 17d! Unlike Senf I was confident in my second attempt at 21a as I spent 4 years living in the US. I hope my answer to 16a is what was intended…

  7. Nice one, Meles – agree with RD that this was perfectly pitched and very enjoyable. Exactly the same faves for me as Spartacus – 7a, 27a, 19d

  8. Very enjoyable. Beaten by both 16&21a – ought to have twigged the wordplay with the latter & had the answer for the other but had no idea it was a tool. 19d my pick with podium spots for 7&8a.
    Many thanks Meles

  9. Chewy in places but I got it all in the end. Some of the 4-letter answers were a bit troublesome. I liked the cricket ground ejection and the shared new vegetables. Thanks, Meles and Prolixic.

  10. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, always a slight feeling of smugness when I’m told my parsing was accurate!
    Thanks again to Meles for the puzzle.

  11. Thanks to Prolixic for the review and for everyone who commented, much appreciated. Really interesting comments about the 4-letter answers, something I’ll bear in mind next time I have a grid with so many in!

  12. For 16a I had RIPS (as in breaks apart / rip saws) and for 28d I had TAPS (as in taps a barrel / tap out a rhythm). Prolixic (and Meles) prefer more morbid options! DIES definitely fits the clue better, but I think either TOPS or TAPS both work well, albeit TOPS perhaps shades it. Pesky 4-letter answers!!!
    Thanks again to Meles, and to Prolixic for the review.

  13. We struggled with a few answers and had to unravel a couple of letters. We didn’t know metal dies and we missed yards. Last one in was layered. Enjoyable nevertheless. Thank you Meles and Prolixic.

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