NTSPP 726 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Meles

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Meles has given us a super NTSPP, I enjoyed solving it a lot


1a At first social clubs were important without opening in lots of places (9)
SCATTERED: Initial letters (at first) of Social Clubs plus a synonym of were important without its opening letter.

6a A Jaguar has these lights to emphasise performance (5)
SPOTS: Double definition, the less obvious being a reference to the theatre.

10a Support part of hospital that's underdeveloped (8)
BACKWARD: A synonym of support or sponsor maybe and a room in a hospital.

11a A regular flying route has good person ejected from flight (6)
AIRWAY: Remove an abbreviated “good person” from a flight, the flight being something that connects two floors maybe.

12a What's needed when rowing on-air regularly? (3)
OAR: The rowing here is not arguing but propelling a boat. Regular letters of OnAiR.

13a Gripping feature someone working the land used over an hour (8)
THRILLER: A description of someone preparing or cultivating land placed around (over) an abbreviation for HouR

14a Crushes egg, essentially to bits of food waste (6)
GRINDS: A charade of the essential letter of eGg plus some food waste, usually the tough outer skin of something

16a School lacking hard rules could become dull (10)
COLOURLESS: Anagram (could become) of SCHOOL RULES minus the single-letter abbreviation for Hard

17a Passion has to lead to hotel in the end (4)
LUST: Remove the initial letter of a modal verb meaning expressing compulsion and replace it with the final letter of hoteL.

18a Spoken passage of morality (4)
ORAL: Hidden (of) in the final word of the clue.

19a Appear lost, flustered in disagreement (5,5)
POLES APART: Anagram (flustered) of the preceding two words.

22a Improvise after concerning face-lift (6)
REVAMP: A preposition meaning concerning or about followed by a synonym of improvise in a musical sense.

23a Tiring sport, unknown at home, has Belgium's focus (8)
WEARYING: Put together a synonym of sport as a verb, a mathematical unknown, the usual two-letter adjective meaning “at home” and the middle letter (focus) of BelGium.

24a Friend's drink on the counter (3)
PAL: A reversal (on the counter) of an informal drink.

25a Remain loyal in this time and this place (6)
ADHERE: An abbreviated anno Domini and an adverb meaning “this place”

27a First and second signs (8)
INITIALS: A synonym of first or preliminary and the single-letter abbreviation for Second.

28a How far to the bottom in the end when adult gives way to pressure? (5)
DEPTH: Replace (gives way) the abbreviation for Adult with that for Pressure in a synonym of “the end” or demise

29a Pop music hollow so read a novel (5,4)
CREAM SODA: Anagram (novel) of the outer letters (hollow) of MusiC plus SO READ A. Not a note played in the solution!


2d A quick way to learn dangerous racing track! (5,6)
CRASH COURSE: Double/cryptic definition lol.

3d First time performing scene to baffled relative - this is the best I can do! (4,2,2,5,2)
TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT: A phrase or film director’s instruction (4,1) meaning “first time performing scene” plus TO from the clue plus and anagram (baffled) of RELATIVE.

4d Something to allow nurse to get more skilled (7)
ENABLER: Put together an abbreviated Enrolled Nurse and a comparative adjective meaning more skilled.

5d Vouch for selection of watches Rodney turns up (7)
ENDORSE: Hidden (selection of) and reversed (turns up) in the clue.

7d The subject of very little analysis? (8,7)
PARTICLE PHYSICS: Cryptic definition of a branch of science that studies tiny pieces of elements.

8d Note made out showing when food is served (3)
TEA: A homophone (made out) of a note on the sol-fa scale.

9d Government cuts exposed by small boats (6)
BARGES: Insert (cuts) an abbreviation for Government into a synonym of exposed and append the abbreviation for Small. Topical and smart.

15d Ordered incorrectly, resulting in two daughters getting annoyed (11)
DISGRUNTLED: Anagram (ordered incorrectly) of RESULTING inserted into two single-letter abbreviations for Daughter

19d What can mill provide with energy grant cut in half? (6)
PEPPER: Put together a synonym of energy or zest and one of grant or allow with the back half removed.

20d Both hands holding bird, that is simpler (7)
LOWLIER: The abbreviations for Left and Right hold a three-letter bird and an abbreviated form of “that is”

21d Enduring quality makes a cartoon about space ultimately missed (7)
STAMINA: A verb meaning “makes a cartoon” or brings to life is reversed (about) and the result loses the final letter of spacE.

26d This can be cast or rolled (3)
DIE: Double definition.

Very enjoyable throughout, thanks Meles.

18 comments on “NTSPP 726
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  1. Caffeine required! Thanks Meles for a good cranial workout. One or two parsings that elude me but I will await the review for the explanations.

    Smiles for 17a, 27a, 2d, and 26d.

    Thanks again and thanks in advance to Prolixic(?).

  2. It took me a while to get onto the right wavelength but, when I did, it all came together very smoothly and great fun it was too.

    My page was littered with ticks, with 11a, 17a, 27a, 2d and the highly topical 9d my pick of the bunch.

    Many thanks to Meles for a splendid puzzle and thanks too in advance to Prolixic.

    1. SL, any chance of an early hint for how to parse 21d … really enjoyed this excellent puzzle from Meles but finally ran out of staying power.

      1. Spoiler alert:
        You need a reversal of a verb meaning makes a cartoon or brings to life with the final letter of space missing.

  3. Thanks Meles, good stuff – particular faves include 10a, 17a (took a while to parse correctly!), 19a, 29a, 3d, 7d, 15d & 21d. Thanks again!

  4. Not a shark in sight but an enjoyable puzzle nevertheless with a few head-scratching moments necessitated. Podium places occupied by 19&29a along with 2&3d.

    Many thanks to Meles for a great NTSPP.

  5. Top notch puzzle which I thoroughly enjoyed. Had no idea vamp could mean improvise & the penny only dropped for the 23a sport after completion. Can’t parse 17a but think I’ve the rest pegged. Plenty of ✅ s – 11,16&27a plus 2,3&20d particular likes. 3d my clear fav.
    Many thanks to Meles & in advance to Stephen for his review.

  6. An excellent puzzle with which to round off my Saturday, with so many smooth surfaces that it made great bedtime reading! And it was well worth a second reading to better appreciate the clever clue construction. I had too many ticks on my printout to list them all, but I eventually opted for 29a, 9d and 15d as my podium places. 17a provided the best PDM as well as a chuckle. The 22a improvisation was a novelty for me – always nice to learn something new!
    Many thanks to Meles for the entertainment, and to StephenL for posting the review.

  7. Thanks very much to Stephen for the wonderfully illustrated review (especially 2d!). Also thanks to everyone who commented, it is much appreciated. I’m glad that this one seems to have gone down well.

  8. A week late but we’ve been away and now catching up on those missed. Very enjoyable puzzle, thank you, Meles. Favourites were 1a, 19a, 3d and 15d. Thanks to StephenL for sorting us out on 24a, 20d and 23a. We had lap instead of pal, loopier instead of lowlier and no answer for 23a! All sorted now. More, please.

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