NTSPP 719 – 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 friendly ghost-themed puzzle from Chalicea. Having spotted the theme after I'd solved the first two clues, it didn't take long to spot most of the others.


6a "Have some of this rich, fortified wine m'dear" Flanders and Swann tell us (7)
MADEIRA: We start with an ear worm – Flanders and Swann sang a song about this rich, fortified wine

7a Morse's sergeant's instrument for lifting stones (5)
LEWIS: The name of Inspector Morse's sergeant is, as the BRB helpfully informs us, "a dovetail iron tenon, made in three pieces, for lifting blocks of stone"

9a One old scruffy much admired thing (4)
IDOL: The letter representing one and an anagram (scruffy) of OLD

10a Stupidly filled any thing at first in an exaggerated way (10)
INFLATEDLY: An anagram (stupidly) of FILLED ANY and T (the first letter of Thing)

11a Reorganising in case ma becomes seriously forgetful (8)
AMNESIAC: An anagram (reorganising) of IN CASE MA

13a Period of time for fall in the Rocky Mountains? (6)
AUTUMN: What we'd call the period of time a North American in the Rocky Mountains (or elsewhere) would call fall

15a Yes in Germany, very American variety of coffee (4)
JAVA: The German word for yes and abbreviations for Very and American

17a Standard weight of annual return in ancient coal vessel (5)
CARAT: The abbreviation for Annual Return inserted into an old name for a coal and timber vessel on the NE coast of England

18a Left working with government; taking considerable time to do (4)
LONG: The abbreviation for Left, the 'usual' working and the abbreviation for Government

19a Mature article about European sea (6)
AEGEAN: A verb meaning to mature and an indefinite article go 'about' the abbreviation for European

20a Breaks in journey in Florida indeed welcomed by ardent admirers (8)
LAYOVERS: An adverb meaning indeed 'welcomed' by some ardent admirers

23a Prince's holding Financial Times. Pity! Deliberately misleading statements! (4-6)
HALF-TRUTHS: A Shakespearean prince is (don't forget the S) 'holding' the abbreviated way we refer to the pink newspaper and an archaic word meaning pity

26a Broadcaster's atmosphere reportedly (4)
SKYE: If 'broadcaster' is indicating a homophone of the atmosphere above our heads, then what is 'reportedly' doing in the clue? Or vice-versa  Turns out that our setter thought there was an E on the end of the name of the broadcaster!

27a The Spanish, Italian and originally English select group (5)
ELITE: The Spanish word for the, the abbreviation for Italian and the 'original' letter of English

28a Designed loftier ornamental or heraldic plant form (7)
TREFOIL: An anagram (designed) of LOFTIER


1d Corrupt grown-up person berates with no limits (10)
ADULTERATE: A grown-up person and the inside (with no limits) letters of bERATEs

2d Cycling mostly I might be in this itsy-bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka-dot wear (6)
BIKINI: If you hadn't got rid of the ear worm from 6a, here's another one. Most of a synonym for cycling and I (from the clue)

3d Young animal's thick, fleshy section of leg (4)
CALF: A young animal or part of the leg. The themed reference is to a broken off part of an iceberg

4d Cheerful bird loses heart initially for student (8)
PLEASANT: Change initial letter of Heart found in a bird for the usual abbreviation for learner or student. Theme-wise it is another name for Nauru.

5d Dainty Scottish cloth cut short (4)
TWEE: A type of Scottish cloth without its final letter (cut short)

6d Part of multimode mechanism for connecting computer (5)
MODEM: Hidden in words three and four of the clue

8d Wise king of Israel alone on first working day (7)
SOLOMON: A synonym for alone and the abbreviated first working day of the week

12d Combustible rock circling centre of barrier reef component (5)
CORAL: Some combustible rock going round the letter at the centre of barrier

14d Novelties I adapted for visual broadcasting (10)
TELEVISION: An anagram (adapted) of NOVELTIES I

16d One in Lanark hugging five with passion is typical (7)
AVERAGE: A Scottish (as used in Lanark) word for one 'hugging' the Roman numeral for five, followed by a synonym for passion

17d Tooth decay surrounds a northern group of singers (8)
CANARIES: The scientific word for tooth decay 'surrounds' A (from the clue) and N (northern)

21d Disorderly repayments, part dubiously missing for people of unquestioning obedience (3-3)
YES-MEN: An anagram (disorderly) of REpaYMENtS without PART (dubiously telling you that the letters aren't in that order)

22d Partly delay order in review relating to king (5)
ROYAL: Hidden in reverse (in review) in the second and third words of the clue

24d Equitable trade show (4)
FAIR: Double definition

25d Tasteless articles absent. Goodbye! (2-2)
TA-TA: Some tasteless articles and the abbreviation for Absent

Did you spot all thirteen of the islands hinted at or named in the crossword?

25 comments on “NTSPP 719
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  1. Thanks Chalicea – very enjoyable, accompanied by first caffeine of the day.

    Smiles for 7a (the stone lifter was new to me, I surprised that we don’t see it more often, but no mistaking Morse’s sergeant), 19a, 13d, and 17d.

    Looking forward to your Tuesday Toughie! Thanks again and thanks in advance to CS.

  2. This was great fun, and I was of course delighted to see the American indicator in 20a as well as the Scottish one in 16d.

    7a was new word for me, but the answer seemed obvious and my BRB was called into play to confirm it.

    I’m puzzled by 26a. Presumably the answer is Skye but, with “broadcaster” as the definition, this leads to Sky not Skye. What am I missing?

    Many thanks to Chalicea and in advance to CS.

  3. A pleasant solve with some nice points of interest – my favourites of the day being 7a, 17a and 23a for the chance to learn about how to lift blocks of stone, historic coal (and timber) carrying vessels and a word for ‘pity’ that doesn’t feature in my vocabulary despite the much used opposite, ‘****less’! My own researches also threw up the broadcaster Senf has identified, otherwise I didn’t have a definition for 26a – Chalicea often aims to include some north-of-the-border local words and knowledge to better educate we Southerners! And I believe that 26a also provides us with one of several thematic entries…?
    Thanks, Chalicea, and in advance to CS.

    1. A very rich source of thematic material as I believe I may have identified as many as 16 intended (or possibly serendipitous?) links – plus a fictitious one from a computer game that I doubt was intentional!

      1. Of course I missed that there was a theme until you pointed it out, so thanks; with the help of e-confirmation, I also have 16 plus a sprinkling of almost certainly fictional ones.

  4. Put me down as one of those who didn’t know the stone lifter but fortunately knew Morse’s sergeant! I was also a bit hesitant when it came to 26a but the answer couldn’t have been anything else. Thanks to Senf for unearthing the island broadcaster!
    Think my biggest chuckle came from the equitable trade show – I’ve worked at plenty of those over the years.
    Theme? Oh dear, more homework to do………

    Thanks to Chalicea for the puzzle – hope CS has found a picture of the stone lifter for the review!

  5. Thanks to Chalicea, who I think must be my favourite setter. There was a fair bit of unfamiliar general knowledge such as the Northumbrian vessels which moved coal around the east coast of England. But the clueing was good enough for me to work out what I specifically needed to look up. I did wonder about 26a, but that has been cleared up. Like RD, I was pleased to see the American indicator in 20a as well as the Scottish one in 16d. It was also nice to see a clue using the word ‘cycling’ in the sense of travelling on a vehicle!

  6. Really good fun and nice to know that we can stop pondering about 26a now.
    We’d missed the theme but are now enjoying finding them all.
    Thanks Chalicea.

  7. Thank you, Chalicea. We are still looking for the theme and we didn’t know the coal vessel or the stone lifting device. Fortunately we knew Morse’s sergeant. We weren’t familiar with the word for pity either. Now to find the theme. Thank you also to CS.

  8. Many thanks CS. I loved your canaries. Sorry about the SKYE – I think I was confusing SKYPE and SKY but solvers happily found me a SKYE channel.

  9. Thanks for the review Sue and thanks again to Chalicea.

    I believe I found three more island(s):

    Trefoil (28a) Island off Tasmania.
    Royal (22d) Island in the Bahamas.
    The Tata (25d) Islands off NZ’s South Island.

  10. Many thanks for the review and earworms, CS.
    Like Senf (and Spartacus) I came up with 16 islands but what’s a few islands between friends!
    Thanks again to Chalicea for an enjoyable NTSPP – and the reminder that I love Long Island Iced Tea!

    1. As our setter provided Mr K with the highlighted grid which appears at the end of the review, you appear to have found three more islands than she did

      1. Then they were, indeed, serendipitous – as I suspected! It is also perhaps serendipitous, or coincidental, that Pleasant Island also appeared in today’s Sunday Toughie, but using it’s modern name.

        Thanks, CS, for posting your review.

  11. What a delightful puzzle! I enjoyed it hugely and thought the ghost theme was beautifully done. And yes, did have earworms!!!
    Like others, I was puzzled by 26a. I thought it might be ‘Sky’s’, being the possessive to match ‘Broadcaster’s’! I’m very pleased to have been put right.
    Many thanks to Chalicea for brightening a gloomy wet day. **** for entertainment.
    Many thanks to crypticsue for a lovely review and illustrations.

    1. And a P.S. On the copy I printed off the puzzle site, 28a had a most amusing typo: ‘ornamenatal’ ! Make of that what one will!

  12. Saved this for today, and happy I did. Solved mostly on my own, but fooled me with the canaries and a couple of others. Perhaps a tad thicker than most of your cryptics. Very much enjoyed, thanks Chalicea.

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