NTSPP 723 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Coot

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Coot provides this week's stretching of the cryptic grey matter, this one having quite a bit of 'letter removing' going on


1a Interrupting coppers is largely insolent, bringing caution (8)
PRUDENCE: Almost all (largely) of a synonym for insolent 'interrupting' some small coins (coppers)

5a Maybe Hamilton star's inspired by tips from rapper (5)
RACER: A person of the highest achievement (star) 'inspired' by the outside (tips) letters of RappeR

9a Where you might hear Inspector beginning to induct Academy (9)
AUDITORIA: An inspector of accounts, the 'beginning' to Induct and the abbreviation for Academy

10a Some pavlova lessens depressions (5)
VALES: Hidden between the second and third words of the clue

11a Wear armour periodically? You may regret it (5)
ERROR: The even (periodically) letters of wEaR aRmOuR

12a What's to be gained from 2 lap run at dawn? (4,5)
MILK ROUND: What you get from the solution to 2d and a lap

13a Psychedelic trance that's very pleasant (6)
NECTAR: An anagram (psychedelic) of TRANCE

15a Fungus Rock enthrals Roman couple on start of travels (8)
SHIITAKE: A verb meaning to rock 'enthrals' the Roman numeral for two and the initial (start) letter of Travels

16a Parents' amateur recipe: cracking Italian food (5,3)
PARMA HAM: Informal names for your parents and an amateur person such as  actor or radio operator, the abbreviation for Recipe 'cracking' or going between the parents

18a Silver birches, say, lopped for matches (6)
AGREES: The chemical symbol for silver and what birches are without the first letter (lopped)

21a Feature of weather which is enjoyed by sun-bather? (4,5)
WARM FRONT: This weather feature could also describe what a sun-bather enjoyed while lying on their back

22a Best university leads to top degrees, obviously (5)
OUTDO: An abbreviated university and the 'leads' to Top Degrees Obviously

24a Artistic type with twisted personality, Coot gets lines in maths (5)
RADII: An abbreviated artist, a reversed (twisted) personality and how Coot would refer to himself

25a Party's over following blunder that's wounding (5,4)
BOOBY TRAP: A reversal of PARTY goes after an informal blunder

26a Turn out in force, seeing United knocked out (5)
DRESS: Remove the abbreviation for United (knocked out) from some pressure to perform something (force)

27a Bubbly made with rare sweetener (8)
DEMERARA: An anagram (bubbly) of MADE with RARE


1d Thespian belting out "Troy!" manoeuvres implement steadily (5-2)
PHASE-IN: An anagram (manoeuvres) of tHESPIAN without the T (belting out Troy)

2d In total, two dinars required for alcohol-free drinks dispenser (5)
UDDER: Change the TT (alcohol-free) in an adjective meaning total for two abbreviations for Dinar

3d Corporate function featuring illicit outdoor liaisons? (8,7)
EXTERNAL AFFAIRS: These corporate functions could also be cryptically defined as the last part of the clue

4d Appear round here regularly in coat (6)
CHROME: A verb meaning to appear goes round the regular letters of HeRe

5d Giving up on audio books, possibly displaying true colours (9,2,4)
REVERTING TO TYPE: Giving up on audio books and going back to printed books

6d Work out yield, showing "50+100" for a mark (9)
CALCULATE: Take a verb meaning to yield or surrender and replace a mark such as the indentation left by smallpox with the Roman numerals for fifty and 100

7d Author's in hurry to stop working (7)
RUSHDIE: A hurry and a verb meaning to stop working (usually permanently)

8d Responsible person I see below barricade (6)
WALLAH: A person who occupies an eminent position in an organisation – an informal way of saying 'I see' goes after a barricade

14d Charged case about decapitated bird (9)
CARTRIDGE: The Latin abbreviation meaning about and a bird without its first letter (decapitated)

16d First director leaves ground, assisted by force (7)
POWERED: The first instance of the abbreviation for Director leaves part of a verb meaning ground into fine particles

17d A second Serbian oddly escaping single cell (6)
AMOEBA: A (from the clue), a short period of time (second) and the even (oddly escaping) letters of sErBiAn

19d Explosive weapons plant (4,3)
SNOW PEA: An anagram (explosive) of WEAPONS

20d In the moat, combatant finally outwrestled! (2,4)
AT HOME: An anagram (wrestled) of THE MOAt (the final letter of combatanT being taken 'out')

23d Capture sun going around earth (5)
TERRA: A reversal (going around of a synonym for capture without the abbreviation for Sun

17 comments on “NTSPP 723
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  1. A terrific and quite tough puzzle with some cracking clues – many thanks to Coot.
    The anagram indicator in 13a is interesting and the 20a clue would surely have got a ‘Some editors don’t …’ comment if presented in Rookie Corner (but I loved it).
    I have lots of ticks including 12a, 16a, 2d, 5d, 20d and 23d.

  2. I thought this was a real Toughie resulting in my old grey matter having to work overtime to complete it with 8d my last one in.

    I don’t think 16d would be accepted in the Telegraph. “First director” doesn’t mean “D”. It needs to be “first of directors”.

    I had a plethora of ticks with 5d my favourite, closely followed by 12a & 20d.

    Many thanks to Coot for an enjoyable challenge and in advance to CS.

    1. Many thanks for persevering, RD.

      Director on its own is D, so I was trying to be helpful by identifying which of the two Ds to delete.

  3. Always happy to tackle a puzzle by one of the most talented setters to graduate from the Rookie Corner.
    I liked several including 12,16,25&26a plus 5d (excellent) and 20d. 27a was clever using bubbly as the anagram indicator, pity the last two syllables of the solution are so similar to the second part of the fodder.
    Good stuff indeed.
    Thanks Coot and in advance Cryptic Sue I believe.

  4. Thanks, Coot. We found the puzzle challenging and had to reveal some letters to help us on our way. We shall look forward to CS’s review tomorrow to clarify some answers.

  5. That was one of the hardest Sunday morning challenges that we have had for a long time. However perseverance and a bit of Google help and we got everything sorted eventually.
    Thanks Coot.

  6. That was a tough one, Coot, taken me a long while to sort out the parsing and still a couple that need a bit more thought.
    Favourite was definitely 5d and I also particularly liked the weather for sunbathers.

    Thought your intention was to go a bit easier on us this time but apparently not!
    Many thanks for the challenge.

  7. Many thanks to everyone who has had a crack at this one, and for the comments. Sorry that it turned out rather tougher than I intended. I promise to try to make the next one a little easier! Thanks in advance to CS.

  8. So glad I persevered with this & resisted the temptation to reveal a letter. Thought it a cracker & every bit as tough as this week’s Tuesday to Thursday Toughies. 1a got things off to an excellent start & I had ticks aplenty. Saw the 13a indicator used recently by Dave Gorman setting as Fed in the Graun. Not 100% I’ve parsed a couple correctly so look forward to the review. 5d my fav.
    Many thanks Coot – more like this welcome any time please.

  9. An absolute pearler. Loved 12a, 21a, 5d and the cheeky 20d, which tickled me. 23d was a real peach – devious simplicity at its very best. Quite brilliant. Ta lots for this. As Huntsman says, quite rightly, more please!

  10. Nice job, Coot. I’d agree this is not exactly at the easiest end of your output but everything fell into place eventually. 16a, 18a, 27a, 2d, 16d and 23d were my faves.

  11. Thank you, Coot, ***** for enjoyment to accompany this morning’s mug of tea. Lots of fine clues and interesting constructions to keep a solver both bemused and amused. I attended a Boatman masterclass earlier this year so wasn’t ambushed by the 20d ‘lift and separate’, although I always experience a sense of surprise when I discover such clues. 8d provided the day’s PDM, and helped me to get 15a, which was my last one in and became my favourite clue. Other clues on my list of favourites were 1a, 16a, 18a, 27a, 2d, 16d and 23d (just noticed that PostMark has almost the same list – maybe it is a sign to use them to enter the lottery…?)
    My thanks also to CS for the nicely illustrated review.

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