NTSPP 692 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Jaffa

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.


Jaffa's turn to provide our Saturday lunchtime entertainment


1a Embrace internet bride? (7)
ESPOUSE: The usual letter used to indicate something on the internet and a partner in marriage such as a bride

5a I'm seen wiv' the missus, on the river, around the Isle of Dogs (7)
MEANDER: the pronoun form of I, a conjunction meaning with and the way a Cockney might refer to his wife

10a Sinecure financing oakum purchase? (5,3,3,4)
MONEY FOR OLD ROPE: A way of describing the purchase of some oakum

11a Information that's needed to release the bottle's contents (5)
GENIE: Some informal information and the abbreviation meaning that is

12a Gran maybe no longer on the telephone (4,3)
RANG OFF: An anagram (maybe) of GRAN followed by an anagram indicator

15a Vehicle in which to avoid motorway? (6)
DODGEM: A verb meaning to avoid and the abbreviation for motorway

16a A speaker designed for low frequencies? (2-6)
OX-TONGUE: Something used by a particular type of cattle to 'speak' or low

17a & 25d. Satisfactory temperature? (8)
ABSOLUTE ZERO  A informal adjective meaning satisfactory (2) could be an abbreviated way of describing a very low temperature on a particular thermometer scale

19a One aristocrat frames another to incapacitate a horse (6)
NOBBLE: An aristocrat into which is inserted (frames) the single letter abbreviation for another aristocrat

21a Virtuous person has confused journalist hidden away (7)
STASHED: An abbreviated virtuous person, an anagram (confused) of HAS and a journalist

23a Single beds holding soil for the vicar to till (5)
GLEBE: Hidden in sinGLE BEds is some land attached to a parish church

26a Maybe cattle dealer has fat controller when at home (11,4)
STOCKBROKER BELT: A cattle dealer (5,6) and something worn to constrain fat perhaps

27a Fortifications around, keep liqueur (7)
BAILEYS: Some fortifications around a castle keep or  a particular type of Irish liqueur

28a Figure revealed when girl reportedly has left to make the tea? (7)
POLYGON: Homophones (reportedly) of a girl's name (the one who went to make the tea) and another meaning left or departed


2d Cigar maybe disappoints but useful for reducing visibility (5,5)
SMOKE BOMBS: An informal term for something like a cigar and a North American slang word meaning disappoints or fails

3d Odie, at first sounding lupine, is now following commands (7)
OBEYING: The first letter of Odie and howling like a dog or wolf (sounding lupine)

4d Riddle is returned to newspaper (4)
SIFT: A reversal (returned) of IS (from the clue) and the abbreviated way we refer to the 'pink' newspaper

6d Undressed gent sheds pounds - it opens your eyes! (10)
ENLIGHTENS: The inside (undressed) letters of gENt and part of a verb meaning sheds pounds

7d Dash northwards over boggy ground to obtain analgesic? (7)
NUROFEN: A reversal (northwards) of a dash, the cricket abbreviation for Over and some boggy ground

8d Observe when telepathy is used by last visionary (4)
ESPY: The abbreviation for extrasensory perception (telepathy) followed by the last letter of visionarY

9d Robin's girl producing heartfelt song (4)
ARIA: The inside letters (heart) of the name of Robin Hood's lady-love

13d Harassed MP and EU busily involved in making foolhardy purchase (7,3)
IMPULSE BUY: An anagram (harassed) of MP EU BUSILY

14d Furore created when a bear arrives at UK port (10)
HULLABALOO: A (from the clue) and a bear from The Jungle Book go after (arrives at) a UK port

16d Spanish approval for unlimited amounts of substance (3)
OLE: Here you need to know the name of the SI Unit of Substance and then remove its outside letters (unlimited)

18d Capitol rioting - was it an illusion? (7)
OPTICAL: An anagram (rioting) of CAPITOL

20d Turkish governor, holding law degree, imprisons Oscar, a junior campanologist? (7)
BELLBOY: A Turkish governor into which is inserted (holding) an abbreviated law degree and (imprisons) the letter represented by Oscar in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

22d Educational establishment backing ninety degrees (4)
ETON: Travelling back from the compass point at 90 degrees TO the point at 0 degrees

24d Athens colonnade where primarily Seneca talked of Archimedes (4)
STOA: The primary letters of Seneca Talked Of Archimedes

25d See 17a (4)

25 comments on “NTSPP 692

  1. Tremendous puzzle with witty clues throughout – many thanks to Jaffa for cheering me up.
    The only clue I didn’t much like was 8d with ‘last visionary’ for Y.
    I have ticks galore including 1a, 5a, 15a, 17/25a, 27a and 20d.

    1. Last is also an adverb, I have only recently discovered. Meaning, surprise, lastly. Does that make it ok? I hope so, since I’ve used it in a recently submitted puzzle :)

  2. Thanks Jaffa for a bit of a head scratcher, but nevertheless a very enjoyable challenge, which needed caffeine assistance at the start of my Saturday.

    Plenty of smiles for 1a, 10a, 15a, 26a, 2d, 14d, and 20d.

    Thanks again and thanks in advance to CS.

  3. It took me a little while to drop onto the right wavelength but then it all came together nicely although I must confess that I am not keen on 16a and I don’t understand how the clue for 17/25 relates to what the answer must be. AS far as I can see, there also doesn’t seem to be an adequate definition for 26a.

    However, despite those minor concerns, it was great fun and just the job for Saturday lunchtime. I had loads of ticks on my page but 5a trumped them all – brilliant!

    Many thanks to Jaffa and in advance to CS.

    1. My “logic” for 17/25a is as follows

      Satisfactory = OK = Zero degrees Kelvin = Absolute zero

      Too many steps (?) but conceived appropriately whilst cycling by the River Kelvin 🚴‍♂️😎

      1. Many thanks for the explanation, Jaffa. It’s very clever, but I can’t quite decide whether or not I like it. :unsure:

      2. Nice story to accompany a very nice clue. As a keen cyclist myself, I hope you get off your bike safely before making notes about clue ideas!

        1. I’m pleased to say that at present I seem to have enough grey cells remaining to remember my thoughts (for a limited time) – providing it’s not more than a couple of clues of course 😂. I find getting from A to B often seems quite painless when lost in thoughts of CrosswordLand 🚴‍♂️🚴‍♂️🚴‍♂️🚴‍♂️

  4. Always plenty of good humour to be found in a Jaffa puzzle and today was no exception.
    Masses of ticks on my sheet but the podium will only hold a few of them. After great deliberation, the winners here were 5,10,15&26a plus 14d.

    Thank you, Jaffa, a really juicy NTSPP.

  5. A lovely warm afternoon (at long last!) and a fun puzzle to enjoy in the sunshine. Like Senf, I found this to be somewhat of a head-scratcher but a couple of resounding, kick-yourself, PDMs on 5a and 27a finally saw me home. 23a needed a check as I had not come across it before. 16a/16d also held out for a while but were well worth the wait – hah! The science test continued with the excellent 17/25 which, for me, was clue of the day. Other clues making it onto my tick list were 5a, 11a, 12a, 15a, 28a and 18d.
    Thanks, Jaffa – very enjoyable.

  6. Very enjoyable indeed Jaffa, excellent from first to last.
    I particularly appreciated 5,11,12,(lol)&16a plus 6,7&14d.
    Many thanks, and in advance to whoever has the pleasure of the review.

  7. Loved it Jaffa. Full of humour & nicely clued throughout. The PDM yet to reach me at 5a but as I see others have singled it out I’ll resist the temptation to reveal a letter. Otherwise a steady relatively head scratch free solve though suspect I’m missing something with the parsing at 28a as can’t see what to make the tea has to do with it & why reportedly isn’t simply after girl has left.
    Ticks aplenty – 10,12,16&26a + 13&14d (plus 5a no do doubt if I get it)
    Many thanks

      1. Thank you Jane. A very nice explanation.
        I think however Huntsman you may have a point about the positioning of the homophone indicator in 28a. It never ceases to amaze me, given the number of times I look at clues, how the forensic examination of the Blog throws up queries that have never occurred to me before. All part of the learning process I guess

  8. Thought that having eight answers having fewer than 50% of the letters checked made it a very unfriendly grid and we fell short with 5a and 27a.
    That said, we did find plenty to keep us smiling and enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks Jaffa.

  9. Many thanks for the review Sue, particularly for confirmation of a couple of my parsings and the explanation for my 16d biff.

  10. Many thanks for keeping us busy on the puzzle, Jaffa. Thoroughly enjoyed and now to check a couple of parsing with CS – for which thank you to CS. We look forward to your next puzzle, Jaffa. Favourites 5a, 10a, 16a and 26a.

  11. A high quality, nicely illustrated review to complement a high quality, very enjoyable puzzle. Thanks, CS and, once again, to Jaffa.

  12. Many thanks for the review, CS, you always go to so much trouble with the illustrations – loved the junior campanologist today!

  13. I really enjoyed this. I don’t get around to NTSPP much these days. I wasn’t sure ‘heartfelt’ was in the right place and I’m not sure I get backing in 22d, but minor stuff in a lovely puzzle. Thanks and thanks cs

    1. I’m not a sailor but when the wind backs it moves, I believe (and hope) in an anti-clockwise direction, in this case from East to North I.e. E TO N

  14. Thank you very much for all your generous comments. I’m glad I managed to raise a smile or two. I never seem to know how easy or difficult a crossword will be, or how it will be received so these responses are most welcome. My flabber is slightly gasted…..😎

    Thank you as always to our hard working managers, Mr K for controlling the NTSPP department and CrypticSue for her magnificently illustrated review and advice, and of course thanks to BD for making all of this possible in the first place. We miss you Sir!

  15. Thanks for the review Sue & once again to Jaffa for an entertaining guzzle. Yes 5 a joined the list of ticks – shame I didn’t twig it before revealing the letter starter.

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