NTSPP 721 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Dr Diva

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

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows:


1a  Wild behaviour - just what you'd expect at a gig! (7)
ABANDON: Split the solution as 1,4,2 and you have a group performing at a gig.

5a  NATO lie about this being subject to frequent cuts (7)
TOENAIL:  An anagram (about) of NATO LIE.

9a  Essentially weaving black display awnings gets, finally, dead boring (5)
VAPID: The middle letters (essentially) of the second to fifth words of the clue followed by the last letter (finally) of dead.

10a  Around noon, African country's biting insect is particularly nasty (9)
MALIGNANT: Around the abbreviation for noon you have a four-letter name of an African country and a four-letter word for a biting insect.

11a  Spared Communist dumped in Belgian city (3)
SPA: Remove (dumped) a three-letter colour describing Communist from the first word of the clue.

12a  Yen Yen's vessel, so to speak (5)
YEARN: The abbreviation for Yen followed by a homophone (so to speak) of URN (vessel).

13a  Back changes to rent after end of restrictions (5)
STERN: An anagram (changes to) of RENT after the last letter (end) of restrictions.

14a  At last Hitler's heir's outside being dropped off at church in Nazi Germany, maybe (5)
REICH: The final letter (at last) of Hitler followed by the inner letters (outside being dropped off) and the abbreviation for church.

16a  Currently pity local cooks  (9)
TOPICALLY: An anagram (cooks) of PITY LOCAL.

19a  Official behind acquiring substance close to sulphur (9)
REGISTRAR: A four-letter word for behind goes around (acquiring) a four-letter word for substance and the final letter (close to) of sulphur.

20a  American uncle leads soul dance (5)
SAMBA: A three-letter word for the archetypical American uncle followed by a two-letter word for the soul.

22a  Encourages training of beast (5)
ABETS: An anagram (training) of BEAST.

24a  Palace heard broadcast (5)
COURT: A homophone (broadcast) of CAUGHT (heard).

26a  Pinch vegetable having let standards slip (3)
NIP: A seven-letter root vegetable without (having let…slip) a four-letter word for standards.

27a  Blokes like Donald Trump who might appeal to Irish Protestants? (9)
ORANGEMEN: Double definition, the first by reference to the supposed skin tone of Donald Trump.

29a  Agreement from French initially jarred with American board (5)
OUIJA: The French word for yes (agreement) followed by the first letter (initially) of jarred and the abbreviation for American.

30a  A thing you have to do when returning fruit (7)
SATSUMA: Reverse (returning) all of the A from the clue, a four-letter word for a thing you have to do) and a two-letter word meaning when.

31a  Part of London where people often drop bits of haddock and halibut? (4,3)
EAST END: Where Cockneys might drop their Hs.


1d  Radio's very different for counsellor (7)
ADVISOR: An anagram (different) of RADIOS V (very).

2d  Copying gulping sound of aristocrat performing on stage (9)
APPEARING: A five-letter word meaning copying includes (gulping) a homophone (sound) of PEER (aristocrat).

3d  Small home improvements involving old coppers (5)
DIDDY: The three-letter abbreviation for home improvements includes (involving) the old abbreviation for pennies (coppers) twice (as coppers is in the plural).

4d  Call to honour memory of eccentric fellow maneater (4,5)
NAME AFTER: An anagram (eccentric) of F (fellow) MANEATER.

5d  Hairdressing business has time for Head of Styling to create something out of locks (5)
TALON: A five-letter word for a hairdressing business has a T (time) in place of (for) the first letter (head) of styling.

6d  Like $1k ingredient in cake (3)
EGG: A two-letter abbreviation meaning for example or like followed by the abbreviation for 1000 dollars.

7d  Knowledgeable contribution to cholera ward "turning the tide" (5)
AWARE: The answer is hidden in (contributing to) and reversed (tuning the tide) in the fourth and fifth words of the clue.

8d  Delay former catholic being employed in City  (7)
LATENCY: A four-letter word meaning former followed by the abbreviation for Catholic inside the abbreviation for an American city.

13d  Hits which usually come in pairs (5)
SOCKS: Double definition.

15d  Chucking out a group of plants for landladies? (5)
HOSTS: Remove (chucking out) the A from the clue from a six-letter word for a group of plants.

17d  Following sum of money includes primarily unused assets, never coins (9)
PURSUANCE: A five-letter word for a sum of money includes the initially letters (primarily) of the last four words of the clue.

18d  Small car fitted with a trick outside light (9)
LUMINAIRE: Include (fitted) the A from the clue inside a four-letter word for small car and put a four-letter word for a trick around it (outside).

19d  Concludes soldiers like working on Sunday (7)
REASONS: The abbreviation for Royal Engineers (soldiers) followed by a two letter word meaning like, a two-letter word meaning working and the abbreviation for Sunday.

21d  Show appreciation for leading software developer out loud?   (7)
APPLAUD: A homophone (out loud) of APP LORD (leading software developer).

23d  Flawless old routine (5)
EXACT: A two-letter word meaning old followed by a three-letter word for a theatrical routine.

24d  What gets fired up following a hint of criticism in interval (5)
COMMA: Reverse (up) a four-letter word for bullets (what gets fired) after (following) the first letter (a hint) of criticism.

25d  Revolutionary twice curtailed runs (5)
TROTS: The seven-letter name of a revolutionary communist with the final two letters removed (twice curtailed).

28d  Animal seen in ever-declining numbers (3)
GNU: The answer is hidden (seen) in the last two words of the clue.

12 comments on “NTSPP 721
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  1. Caffeine required to complete this enjoyable Saturday morning challenge.

    Smiles for 27a, 30a, 2d, and 3d.

    Thanks Dr Diva and thanks in advance to Prolixic or is it CS.

  2. Very enjoyable and not overly tricky, thanks Dr Diva.
    My only criticism apart from a couple of less-than-smooth surface reads was the repetition of the device used in 9a in 17d (ok, swapping primarily for essentially, I think one is enough in a puzzle).
    I liked the humour displayed in 1,27&30 plus 25d but I also liked the clever 2d with top spot going to the smart 19d.
    Thanks in advance to Prolixic too

  3. This was good fun and made a pleasant diversion on a very cold Saturday lunchtime. As SL says. there were a couple of slightly dodgy surfaces but otherwise this was all good.

    I had ticks for 1a, 30a, 3d, 19d & 25d.

    Well done and many thanks to Dr D.

  4. We started well but struggled towards the end and there are two that we are unable to parse. Favourites were 1a, 2a, 30a, 27a and 30a. Thank you for the challenge Dr Diva – on a very miserable Saturday in East Sussex – and we look forward to the review tomorrow.

  5. Plenty to enjoy but a couple that await the wisdom of Prolixic.
    Ticks went to 1,27&30a plus 13&19d.

    Thanks to Dr Diva for bringing us another puzzle.

  6. Thanks to all who have give this a go and taken the time to comment. Sorry to have been out of communication but just back from a very brisk outing with the dogs on the North York Moors! ❄️ ❄️ ❄️
    When the feeling returns, I’ll be back in touch. Glad it seems to have been well received overall.

  7. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, and for setting me straight where the ‘soul’ and the lack of locks were concerned. Enjoyed the dancing interlude!

  8. 2 days late to this but just popped in to thank Dr Diva for an enjoyable & for me quite a challenging puzzle. Needed Prolixic’s nudge for last in 18d. Fav was 17d.

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