NTSPP 691 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Chalicea

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Another Chalicea NTSPP with a ghost theme – how many poets did you spot? As usual with Chalicea you can trust that all the alternative definitions can be found in the BRB – and you can also trust that, once again, your blogger has checked them all, just in case!


1a    Whan Grundy was born - its child was fair of face (6)
MONDAY Two old rhymes about days of the week, the definitions referring to one particular day

5a    One-time car company in Texas city? (6)
AUSTIN The name of an old car company or a city in Texas

10a    Pallid and pasty needing time to become strong and able (7)
DOUGHTY An adjective meaning pallid and pasty into which is inserted (needing) the abbreviation for Time

11a    Game finally lacks supports for cues (7)
BRIDGES A card game and the final letter of lackS

12a    Counter English type of folk dance (6)
MORRIS A counter used in a board game or a type of English folk dance

15a    Continual change in position of satellite circling, essentially motile (6)
MOTION Earth's satellite goes round (circling) the 'essential' letters of motile

16a    Active interest securing unattached PA in party's political machine (7)
APPARAT A (active) and an interest 'securing' the letters P and A (unattached telling you that they aren't side by side in the solution

17a    Inquisitive and loud, without first hint of imagination (4)
NOSY A synonym for loud without the first letter (hint) of Imagination

18a    Go back on the subject of fearsome monster (4)
OGRE A reversal (back) of GO (from the clue) followed by the usual two-letter 'on the subject of'

19a    Ink stains son dropped from these? (7)
INKPOTS Ink (from the clue) and some stains without the first of the abbreviations for Son

20a    Bishop of Rome is rough, we're told (4)
POPE The title of the Bishop of Rome has the same name as a bird as a kind of sandpiper, a homophone (we're told) of its other name being 'rough'

22a    Scotland's small portion in this art gallery (4)
TATE A Scottish word for a small portion or pinch of something has the same name as a well-known art gallery

25a    Runs me out on cricket ground - dismissal (7)
REMOVAL The cricket abbreviation for Runs, an anagram (out) ?!! of ME and a London cricket ground

27a    Boston's small alcoholic drink for little child (6)
NIPPER An American (as used in Boston, Mass) word for a small alcoholic drink or an informal word for a small child

28a    Lithe and supple, partly climb Erebus (6)
LIMBER Hidden in part of cLIMB Erebus

31a    Employ Eurasian tree used to make alcoholic drinks (7)
SERVICE A verb meaning to employ or a tree used, since Roman times, to make alcoholic drinks

32a    Losing line, making dull flags for street decoration (7)
BUNTING Remove the L (losing line) from a way of saying making dull

33a    Awful advanced maths producing health problem (6)
ASTHMA An anagram (awful) of A (advanced) MATHS

34a    Venetian magistrate receives thanks in final years (6)
DOTAGE An informal expression of thanks inserted into a Venetian magistrate


2d    Sadly overuse France's artistic works (7)
OEUVRES An anagram (sadly) of OVERUSE

3d    Charlady, we hear, with a showy bloom (6)
DAHLIA A homophone (we hear) of a charlady with A (from the clue)

4d    Couple of calls for effort needed for indecisive person (2-2)
YO-YO Two interjections calling for or accompanying effort

5d    Somewhat flabbergasted cleric (4)
ABBE Hidden in part of (somewhat) flABBErgasted

6d    Shifted pigs to source of water (6)
SPIGOT An anagram (shifted) of PIGS TO

7d    In Glasgow reveal ancient hostelry coming to an end (7)
INGOING A Scottish word for a reveal – an obsolete (ancient) word for a hostelry and a way of saying coming to an end

8d    Peculiar fellow, one with casting vote (3-3)
ODD-MAN Synonyms for peculiar and fellow

9d    In trouble, can use time allowed for paying foreign bills of exchange (6)
USANCE An anagram (in trouble) of CAN USE

13d    One who transmits message about power, prodigal fellow (7)
SPENDER Someone who transmits a message goes 'about' the abbreviation for Power

14d    Plant's a winner losing height initially (7)
CAMPION A winner without (losing) the initial letter of height

15d    Warlike prison-keeper it's said (7)
MARTIAL A homophone (it's said) of a prison-keeper

20d    Play on words is hard at first to sanction (6)
PUNISH A play on words, IS (from the clue) and the first letter of Hard

21d    Dad primarily producing unknown Russian writing material (7)
PAPYRUS An informal dad, the primary letter of Producing, a mathematical unknown and the IVR code for Russia

23d    Wrongly blaming for moving at an easy pace (7)
AMBLING An anagram (wrongly) of BLAMING

24d    Make extremely angry in the country, even welcoming a scrap (6)
ENRAGE A dialect word (in the country) for even 'welcoming' a scrap (of material, perhaps)

25d    Some sorrel is helpful for an appetising flavour (6)
RELISH Hidden in some sorREL IS Helpful

26d    Finch is unusually negligent, dropping smashed egg (6)
LINNET An anagram (unusually) of NEglIgeNT without (dropping) EGG (smashed telling you that the letters aren't in that order)

29d    Bright star's volume, say, and area (4)
VEGA The abbreviation for Volume, the abbreviation meaning for example, say, and the abbreviation for Area

30d    Formal discussion upset, lacking note, not up and moving (4)
ABED A reversal (upset) of a formal discussion without (lacking) a musical note

This completed grid was supplied by Chalicea – She seems to have missed off two of the themed people but I can't edit the grid to mark 20a and 22a in blue

21 comments on “NTSPP 691
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  1. Good fun as always from the Floughie Lady although, as I usually have difficulty recognising a ‘plain’ theme, the ghost theme was beyond me.

    Smiles for 10a, 11a, 4d, and 21d.

    Thanks to Chalicea and in advance to CS.

  2. Good value for money with 38 fun clues to solve. As for the ghost theme, I’m left scratching my head as I don’t think two ancient car brands in Morris and Austin counts.

    You’ve got to hand it to Chalicea. Every time you wonder about something in one of her puzzles, you look it up and the BRB reveals all. For example, I didn’t understand why 31a needed “used to make alcoholic drinks” nor the relevance of the homophone of “rough” in 20a until I consulted Chambers. You also find that (nearly) all the dialect and foreign words are clearly indicated, although I am not sure that 27a needs an American indicator but I think that 6d does (the BRB agrees).

    I assume that “whan” in 1a is either a typo or perhaps an ancient spelling of “when”, but I couldn’t confirm that in the BRB.

    My top picks were 10a, 25a, 32a, 4d & 26d.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and in advance to CS.

  3. Not a scooby as to the theme (if there is one), nonplussed as to the parsing of one or two & with a couple of unfamiliar words to me but otherwise pretty straightforward & very enjoyable.
    Thanks Chalicea

  4. There were several poets laureate in the grid, not sure whether there were enough to constitute a theme but that’s the best guess I could make.
    Couple of new words for me but Chalicea invariably includes the odd one or two in her puzzles.
    Plenty of smiles from our setter – podium places went to 10,11&32a plus 6,21&26d.

    Thanks to Chalicea for the Coronation Day NTSPP.

    1. Um …

      I hadn’t thought of poets. Now you mention it, I can see four (one very ancient) in the grid. That is twice the number of car brands but still not really enough for even a mini-theme.

      1. You need to brush up your knowledge of poets
        A more detailed look will show its
        Not only the four
        There are seven more
        And Sue in review will show
        Those whom you failed to know

        1. Yes, I think I’ve got all of them now – it was two of them in particular who alerted me to a possible theme.

  5. An enjoyable & rewarding solve, and even if there were a few odd clues/surfaces (eg 19a – was having the same word in clue & answer intended?) that did not detract from a lovely puzzle. Can now see quite a few poets (thank you Prolixic) but both these and the ghostly theme eluded me until coming here.

    Many thanks Chalicea & in advance to CS

  6. I’ll see Prolixic’s 11 poets and raise him one – I think I have found 12, but I haven’t set them to verse! Maybe something along the lines of ‘had further to delve, in order to find twelve’ :wink:
    I often have Collins online dictionary open when I am solving crosswords, to check on a word or two. When Chalicea sets a puzzle I also refer to ‘A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue’, to check on a word or three (at least!). The counter was also a novelty to me, and I had forgotten the fish until I looked it up. Anyway, it all adds to the fun! My top three clues today were 3d, 20d and 26d.
    Thanks, Chalicea. And I shall look forward to CS’s review to check a couple of parsings…

  7. I set this so long ago that I had forgotten the theme myself, and had to solve it to see – and got quite a long way in before seeing just four. Indeed, it is Mrs Bradford’s Crossword Solvers’ Dictionary that so often prompts with ideas. As I always say, I am really happy when solvers are. Thanks, of course, to MrK and to CS for tomorrow.

  8. The ghosts walked past us unnoticed although we did locate them all with help from Mrs B when we knew what we were looking for.
    A bit later than usual getting on to this as we had had a late night sitting in front of our TV.
    An enjoyable puzzle once again from this setter.
    Thanks Chalicea.

  9. Many thanks for the nicely illustrated review, CS.

    For 24d, I assumed that “ene” was a dialect version of “even”.

  10. Many thanks for the nicely illustrated review, CS. It was Messrs Motion and Spender that put me onto the track of the poets but there were several names that required guesswork and subsequent investigation.
    Thanks again to Chalicea for all the ghosts!

  11. Like Jane, it was poet laureates (poets laureate?) that alerted me to a theme, but it needed a broader category to achieve enough members to populate the intended theme. I missed Vega, so thanks for that, CS. The counter I had identified was a mathematical methodology, so I don’t know what board game has a ‘morris’?
    Thanks again, Chalicea, and many thanks to CS for the review.

      1. Again, I have learned something new from crosswordland. This is not a game I have played, so I will now have to enlist Mrs S and have a go! According to Wikipedia, the ‘morris’ in the game likely comes from the Latin word merellus, which means a counter or gaming piece. It is serendipity that maths/computing has a “Morris Counter”!
        Thanks, CS.

  12. Apologies for missing those two off the highlighted grid. We’re overseas with limited resources but they should indeed have been highlighted. Thanks, as always, to cs.

  13. For once I spotted a theme – and all the themed entries. I struggled to parse 7dn, even though the answer was the only word I could think of to fit the crossers. Thanks, Chalicea and CS

  14. Thank you, Chalicea, very enjoyable. We kept changing our mind about the theme – cars, birds but we failed to recognise so many poets until we read the review, for which many thanks to CS. We look forward to the next Chalicea puzzle.

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