NTSPP 695 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 


A Puzzle by Conto

+ - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.


Another tricky Saturday lunchtime crossword from Conto which certainly took longer to solve than my lunch did to eat. I didn't take time to count them all – the sun was actually shining here and not to be wasted – but there did seem to an awful lot of "take a beginning, (especially) a middle or end letter" going on throughout

There's quite a strong Spielberg theme going on - both in the clues and some of the solutions


1a Jaws composer's not at home (5)
CHOPS: A famous composer's (don't forget the S) without the IN (not at home)

4a Given money each year by 1d (4)
PAID: The abbreviation meaning each year goes by the letter representing one and D

6a Pour out the last bit of Schnapps beside bench (4)
SPEW: The last 'bit' of Schnapps goes beside a bench

10a Part from flatmate's Lada car (5)
TESLA: Found in part of flatmaTES LAda

11a Commercial express suitable for everyone on exciting journey (9)
ADVENTURE: An abbreviated commercial, to express or emit, the letter indicating that something is suitable for anyone, and the usual two-letter on [the subject of]

12a Creating dread, Duel captures the heart of America (6)
FRIGHT: A duel 'captures' the letter at the 'heart' of AmeRica

13a The recipient of countless knocks beginning to deteriorate? That is desperate (2-2-3)
DO-OR-DIE: Part of your house that receives countless knocks, the 'beginning' to Deteriorate and the abbreviation meaning that is

15a Music from Kubrick's central feature, A.I. (3)
RAI: A modern African form of popular music – the 'central feature' of KubRick and AI (from the clue)

Dispirited campaigners got left inside (11)
DEMORALISED: An abbreviation for some campaigners and a verb meaning got into which is inserted (inside) the abbreviation for Left

18a For battles, get older soldiers with modified gents' clothing (11)
ENGAGEMENTS: An anagram (modified) of GENTS goes round (clothing) a simple way of saying 'get older' and some soldiers

21a Boozer Indiana Jones, stripped to the waist (3)
INN: The abbreviation for the US State of Indiana and the middle (stripped to the waist) letter of joNes

22a Makes them the delegates (7)
DETAILS: To make THEM into THE you remove the last letter – split the solution 2,5 and you'll see a way of describing this action

24a Empire Of The Sun? (4,2)
NEWS UK: The media empire that publishes several newspapers including The Sun

27a Director of Hook given raise (9)
HITCHCOCK: Synonyms of hook and raise

28a Spielberg's West Side Story is hackneyed (5)
STALE: The letter at the 'west' side of Spielberg followed by a story

29a Following reflection, cut the finale of The Post (4)
POLE: A reversal (following reflection) of a verb meaning to cut followed by the 'finale' of thE

30a Old, exploited sailor quits (4)
USED: Remove the abbreviation for a sailor (quits) from a synonym for exploited

31a Determined child conceals alien (3,2)
SET ON: SON 'conceals' one of Crosswordland's favourite aliens


1d Lincoln, for example, is about congress and the end of slavery (4)
CITY: The abbreviation for about, an informal name for sexual intercourse (congress) and the 'end' of slaverY

2d Watching former student waiting tables (9)
OBSERVING: An abbreviated former student and another word for waiting at tables

3d Informal speech intoned about the heart of Firelight (5)
SLANG: A synonym for intoned goes 'about' the 'heart' of fireLight

4d Funny hat on boring leading man in Poltergeist? (7)
PHANTOM: An anagram (funny) of HAT ON goes inside (boring) the abbreviation for the man leading the government

5d One close to Lenin opposing a counter-communist aggressor (7)
INVADER: The letter representing one, the 'close' to LeniN, the single letter meaning 'opposing' and a reversal (counter) of a colour associated with a communist

7d Heart-throb in retrogressive work, and in Munich (5)
POUND: A reversal (retrogressive) of an abbreviation for work followed by the German word for and

8d Short male model with docked Australian dog going on holiday (10)
WEEKENDING:     A synonym for short, a male model and an Australian dog without its last letter (docked)

English knights - accompanied by old, heartless form of music (8)
ENNOBLES: The abbreviation for English, two lots of the chess abbreviation for knight, the abbreviation for old and a type of music without its middle letter

14d Association of crooks crowding the middle of strip joint (10)
FRIENDSHIP: Some crooks 'crowding' the middle letter of stRip followed by a joint

16d Following chase, the targeted dispatchment of pilot, essentially, during plane ride (8)
DOGFIGHT: The person or animal targeted and a plane ride without (dispatchment) the essential letter of pilot

17d It's revolutionary Chinese warrior that's beginning to get tea, say (9)
STIMULANT: A reversal (revolutionary) of ITS and a Chinese warrior from a Disney film, followed by the beginning to That

19d Where she lays down her babies and large cuddly animals? (7)
MASCOTS: An informal name for a mother and where she lays her babies

20d Tightly gripping damaged sink on top of dump (3-4)
NON-SKID: An anagram (damaged) of SINK ON put on the 'top' of Dump

23d Complete the opening parts of The Adventures Of Tintin, a moving legend's beginning (5)
TOTAL: The opening parts of The Adventures Of Tintin , the A moving to the end and the result followed by the 'beginning' of Legend

25d Six-footers used to be gutless pygmies (5)
WASPS: A simple way of saying 'used to be' and the outside (gutless) letters of PygmieS

26d Watched a bit of Close Encounters... (4)
SEEN: Hidden in a bit of (between) the last two words in the clue

24 comments on “NTSPP 695

  1. An enjoyable puzzle with several penny-drop moments – thanks to Conto.
    The Chinese warrior was unknown to me and I had to verify it.
    I have lots of ticks including 13a, 24a, 8d 16d and 19d.

  2. Before everyone starts, there are typos in 4d and 17d – I think you see what you want to see until Word picks the errors up while you are typing the review

  3. Caffeine required! Thanks Conto for waking my brain up on a warm (22 degrees) Saturday morning.

    Smiles for 4a, 13a, 30a, 5d, and 20d.

    Thanks again and thanks in advance to CS.

    1. If you’ve got some more caffeine to hand, Conto’s alter ego Bluebird has set today’s Independent Cryptic

      1. Thanks for the tip. Plenty of caffeine available but I think I should preserve the brain power for whatever Dada has come up with this weekend.

  4. I enjoyed this a lot although parts of it were pretty tough. 15a was a new word for me, and I’ve never heard of the Chinese warrior. Shame about the typos though.

    I expect I’m missing something in 16a but surely a demo is what campaigners do not what they are, and how does “got” = “raised”? I would never describe 16d as a “plane ride” nor 19d as “large cuddly animals” (even with the ?)

    I had ticks all over my page with 12a, 13a & 24a taking the podium positions.

    Many thanks to Conto for the fun and in advance to CS for the review.

    1. 16d is a ‘following chase’ – the plane ride is part of the wordplay

      1. No wonder I couldn’t parse 16d fully, the PDF has the clue split between two columns and I didn’t notice the last 4 words including ‘plane ride’ until I read your comment. If I can miss an entire line it’s no wonder I missed the typos… :wacko:

    2. I guess “demo” can be fairly interpreted as a collective noun for “campaigners”? (I recall being pulled up once for using “fish” to clue “school”, though … but personally I still think such constructions are ok!)

  5. Even with CS’s prompt it took a couple of read-throughs to spot the typos!
    An enjoyable puzzle from Conto, with several ticks: 1a, 11a, 18a, 22a, 28a, 1d, 4d and – my clue of the day – 13a. There were many well-crafted movie-world references, including one in 17d I’d never heard of. There were also many ways to indicate the central letter in a word… :wink: The ‘music’ was new to me, as was the particular ’empire’ – assuming I have got it right! I still have a couple of parsings I’m not entirely happy about, which I shall try to figure out ahead of CS’s definitive review tomorrow…
    Thanks, Conto.
    P.S. I enjoyed the photos in the web page banner today, which I assume are all from Malvern and BD’s home village of Hanley Swan, where I am sure he will be much missed by friends and neighbours.

  6. Lovely puzzle, Conto, thanks – very well pitched for the slot, I thought, and a nicely worked theme. My top picks were 11a, 18a, 27a, 5d, 8d, 14d and 25d.

  7. Thanks Conto, very enjoyable – loved all the Spielberg references. Favourites include 4a, 28a, 5d, 14d, 25d & 26d.

  8. Thought I was starting to find your wavelength, Conto, but this one has taught me otherwise. Have to admit to revealing several letters in my quest for completion and I became very aware of your penchant for using the middle/central/heart letter in a word!
    Having said that, I did put ticks alongside a fair few that rather appealed – 4,13&31a plus 1,2,5&25d.

    Thanks for the puzzle, Conto, I’ll look forward to reading CS’s review to check on my parsing!

  9. Any puzzle littered with film references is guaranteed to rock my boat & this was no exception. Didn’t find it easy but resisted the temptation to reveal a letter & got there in the end. Not quite sure if I’m missing something with 24a & I’m inclined to agree with RD that 19d (my LOI) is a bit of a stretch. Really enjoyed it & the Spielberg references & very impressed that you had Firelight (which I knew) in there – had fun trying to recall & list all the movies he’s directed afterwards (fell 7 short) & couldn’t believe it’s 36 & counting. Didn’t notice the 2 typos & like Spartacus it took 2 read throughs to spot ‘em. Picks for me – 13&27a plus 16&17d
    Many thanks Conto & to CS in advance for the review

  10. Plenty of head-scratching required by us but did finally get everything.
    19d our last in and gets our vote for favourite.
    Thanks Conto.

  11. Thanks to everyone who’s had a go at this puzzle and taken the time to comment – it’s much appreciated. Thanks in advance to Cryptic Sue for the review. (I’m saying this now as I’m just about to spend a day out in the hills.)

  12. We struggled with this puzzle, top half we found easier to solve than the bottom half. We needed to reveal several letters to complete the puzzle. Thank you Conto and CS.

  13. Many thanks for the review and parsing confirmations, CS. With 23d – don’t we take the initial letters of the first 4 words and then ‘move the A’?

  14. Gave up with about half a dozen unsolved. But I liked what I did manage to solve. Thanks, Conto and CS.

Comments are closed.