NTSPP 598 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Shabbo

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

An enjoyable Saturday lunchtime diversion from Shabbo


1 Aggression shown by bears? (5,8)
SABRE RATTLING An anagram of BEARS and the anagram indicator you might use to get the anagram

8 Hire car reversed in six attempts (4)
TAXI Hidden in reverse in sIX ATtempts

9 Thai queen came as site is redeveloped (7,3)
SIAMESE CAT An anagram (redeveloped) of CAME AS SITE IS

10 Light e-reader (6)
KINDLE Double definition, the first one a verb

11 Frasier worried about article showing prices going up (3,5)
AIR FARES An anagram (worried) of FRASIER ‘about’ an indefinite article

12 Revolutionary stunts sitting backwards on horses (9)
CHESTNUTS Crosswordland’s most useful three-letter revolutionary followed by a reversal (sitting backwards) of STUNTS

14 Polish friend leaves muse (4)
EDIT Remove an informal friend from a verb meaning to muse

15 Plans returned as unsolicited mail (4)
SPAM A reversal (returned) of some plans

16 Came across jazzy type embracing poetry (9)
TRAVERSED A type of jazz ’embracing’ some poetry

20 Study, provided there is drink after dinner (8)
DIGESTIF To study or take in gradually and a conjunction meaning provided that

21 Rough cider initially has a bitter taste (6)
CHOPPY The initial letter of Cider and a way of saying has a bitter taste from an ingredient of beer

23 Cooking korma meals might set this off? (5,5)
SMOKE ALARM An anagram (cooking) of KORMA MEALS

24 Aristocrat almost abandoning New York (4)
EARL Abandon the abbreviation for New York from an adverb meaning almost

25 Clingy see-through items worn by pupils (7,6)
CONTACT LENSES A wonderful description of the items I used to wear pre-cataract operations


1 Suffering pain on board, attends hospital with type of flu (7)
SPANISH An anagram (suffering) of PAIN goes ‘on board’ or between the abbreviations for a steamship, the result finished with the abbreviation for Hospital. You wouldn’t get away with wearing a mask in that way these Covid times – Mr CS wondered whether it was because back in 1918 people just breathed through their noses rather than using their mouths as well ?!

2 Figure advertised on the radio (5)
BUILD A homophone (on the radio) of an adjective meaning named on an advertisement

3 Oriental‘s nearest alternative (7)
EASTERN An anagram (alternative) of NEAREST

4 Really clumsy oaf attracts fame (2,1,6,2,4)

5 View from the old railway (6)
THEORY THE (from the clue) plus the abbreviations for Old and railway

6 European contributing to Venice land erosion (9)
ICELANDER Hidden in (contributing to) venICE LAND Erosion

7 For beginners, gyratory roundabout at junction of two roads is most dangerous (7)
GRAVEST The beginners of Gyratory Roundabout meets (at junction of) two abbreviated roads

13 Sneaks out with family to hide (9)
SNAKESKIN An anagram (out) of SNEAKS plus some family

15 Huge sighs overheard on small microphone (7)
SEISMIC A homophone (overheard)of SIGHS, followed by the abbreviation for small and a microphone

17 French nobleman and Tom involved in depravity (7)
VICOMTE An anagram (involved) of TOM inserted into a synonym for depravity

18 Sends abroad strong beers and old fortified wines (7)
EXPORTS Double definition – the usual two-letter ‘old’ and some fortified wines

19 A flan’s served up in layers (6)
STRATA A reversal (served up) of A (from the clue) and some flans

22 Starts without biros? (5)
OPENS Split your solution 1,4 and you’ll see the reference to being without biros

25 comments on “NTSPP 598

  1. A very enjoyable puzzle with smooth surfaces throughout – thanks Shabbo.
    For me 9a, 25a and 6d have ‘podiumed’ (as the Olympics commentators will surely be saying).

  2. Took about the same length of time as the Cephas Prize pangram but, for me anyway, way more enjoyable. Saw it was a Shabbo production, knew it would be a good un & wasn’t disappointed. In addition to Gazza’s podium picks I thought 1,12&23a plus 1&15d also excellent. Reckon Shabbo could give Silvanus a run for his money in the smooth surface stakes.
    Many thanks

  3. A very pleasantly enjoyable, or very enjoyably pleasant NTSPP (didn’t I read a similar comment somewhere else today).

    No caffeine required, but I did enjoy my first of the day, needed for other reasons, while solving it.

    My podium has, in no particular order, 20a, 15d, and 22d.

    Thanks Shabbo and in advance to CS.

  4. Nice straightforward solve; even the ones I thought would be awkward behaved themselves! Thanks Shabbo!

  5. Very enjoyable, particularly liked the disguised definitions and the reverse anagram
    My last in was the long middle, which even with all the checkers I could not see for far too long
    Thanks Shabbo

  6. Saw the setter’s name and thought ‘ Great!’. No disappointment – loved the puzzle. Thank you Shabbo. Hard to find a favourite as all were so good. We look forward to your next one.

  7. Great stuff Shabbo, a very polished puzzle.
    I hadn’t heard of the French viscount but got it from the checkers and wordplay, and that was my only real hold up, though the NW took a little while to unravel.
    My likes are 9,11,12,16&20a plus the excellent examples of a homophone, anagram and lurker at 2,4&6d.
    Many thanks, look forward to the next

  8. Another excellent NTSPP, Shabbo. Shame that so few folk have been around to give it a whirl – I guess summer holidays have hit with a vengeance, they certainly have done over here!

  9. Given the weather forecast I was looking forward to solving this when my cricket match had seemingly inevitably been washed out. That forecast was worthy of Michael Fish and it turned out to be a beautiful afternoon.

    Having finally got around to this puzzle, it was indeed excellent, as we have come to expect from this setter with accurate cluing and silky smooth surfaces.

    My only query is why does 18d need “strong beers and” as it works perfectly without those words?

    My top three of many good clues were 9a, 25a & 15d.

    Many thanks Shabbo for the fun and in advance presumably to CS.

    1. You are quite right, the strong beers are superfluous, but I can’t help myself when I see a double or even triple definition.

    2. RD, 18d. Sorry, I’m a little late catching up properly with these puzzle. I was just wondering, if the clue would work OK as a DD with the exclusion of those 3 words (and maybe it would) why not just leave them in and call it a Triple Definition?

      1. I don’t think it is a TD, Jose, and, judging by Shabbo’s response, nor does he.

        A TD would be fine in my opinion but my interpretation (and Prolixic’s) is that the clue as written is actually Definition [sends abroad] & Definition [strong beers] & Wordplay [old ex fortified wines ports].

        1. Thanks for replying. Yes, I had it down as TD (of sorts), being: Straight definition + straight definition + cryptic description/definition (or perhaps, wordplay?). What we’ve actually got is a kind of hybrid clue type – a DD plus a bit of wordplay tagged on at the end! Or is it a standard cryptic clue (type) containing twin clue definitions? An awkward clue to suss out definitively, I think. I have to conclude that the reviewer (CS this time) must be right.

          1. Yes, CS not Prolixic! This puzzle was a long time ago (on Saturday) and I am in Rookie Corner mode on Mondays!

  10. Thank you all for your very kind comments. They are very much appreciated.
    Sorry to be late on parade, but I was at my rugby club this evening enjoying the Lions’ win in the first test.

  11. Enjoyed this immensely! was 12a intentionally just on top of 15a (the latter being an example of a such)?

  12. A most enjoyable Sunday morning solve! 9a, 11a and 15d stand out amongst a host of excellent clues.
    Many thanks Shabbo and CS.

  13. Nicely crafted surfaces as others have well noted – 23a being an excellent example. Favourites though were 11, 21 and 25. Thank you for the enjoyment, Shabbo, and also to CS for the review.

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