NTSPP 603 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Gazza

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A crossword from Gazza equals contentment.


1 Old father visiting capital on his way east (6)
THAMES – Cryptic definition of the river known as Old Father ??????? that flows east through London.

4 Gossip in the wake of a repeated number of sophisticated tales (3,5)
AGA SAGAS – Split 1, 3 and repeated this could be an anaesthetic (number).

10 Strong mount, one pulling hard on the rails (4,5)
IRON HORSE – A four-letter word meaning strong and a five-letter word for an equine mount.

11 Badger that creeps behind church (5)
CHIVY – A three-letter word for a creeping plant after (behind) the abbreviation for a church.

12 Bung that’s not given by apathetic person (4)
TOSS – Double definition for a word meaning to bung or throw and the word that completed the phrase that an apathetic person might say “I don’t give a ????”.

13 Cut strange novel that may hurt people in Washington (7-3)
SCATTER GUN – An anagram (novel) of CUT STRANGE.

15 Minor celebrity’s sore (7)
BLISTER – Split 1, 6, this describes a celebrity not on the the main list for appearing on shows.

16 Nail treatment in Kent? (6)
SECURE – Split 2,4 this might describe a treatment or remedy in the part of England where Kent is situated.

19 Polish once again getting cold shoulder (6)
REBUFF – Split 2-4, this might imply giving something a second polish.

21 Daughter taking exotic powder that’s visible under her nose (7)
DEWDROP – The abbreviation for daughter followed by an anagram (exotic) of POWDER.

23 Victorian, say, against school principal sharing last morsel of food (10)
ANTIPODEAN – A four-letter word meaning against followed by a three-letter word for a school of fish and a four-letter word for a principal that share the last letter for food when written down.

25 Norm’s a soldier (4)
PARA – A three-letter word for the norm or average followed by the A from the clue.

27 For starters British have always justified Indian food (5)
BHAJI -The initial letters (for starters) of the third to seventh words of the clue.

28 Initially Scotland Yard cuts out lower ranks (9)
SQUADDIES – The first letter (initially) of Scotland followed by a four-letter word for a yard and a 4l2 meaning cuts out or stops functioning.

29 European finding an outlet for sport (8)
EVENTING – The abbreviation for European followed by a seven-letter word meaning finding an outlet.

30 Old film actor returning to pester a leading lady (6)
REAGAN – The three-letter word meaning to pester followed by the A from the clue and the abbreviation for the Queen (leading lady) all reversed (returning).


1 Matching containers for household appliances (4-4)
TWIN-TUBS – A four-letter word meaning matching followed by a four-letter word for containers.

2 One taken in by phoney false god getting poor treatment (1,4,4)
A DOG’S LIFE – The letter representing one inside (taken in by) an anagram (phoney) of FALSE GOD.

3 Parrot living in Czech orangery (4)
ECHO – The answer is hidden (living in) the final two words of the clue.

5 Get shot rioting in deprived areas (7)
GHETTOS – An anagram (rioting) of GET SHOT

6 Religious bullies, ones immune from criticism (6,4)
SACRED COWS – A six-letter word meaning religious followed by a four-letter word meaning bullies.

7 Departure that may, of course, be good (5)
GOING – Double definition – the second being a word  for the ground conditions in horse racing, an example of which is good.

8 Spotting James Bond’s craft (6)
SPYING – Double definition.

9 General retailer offering customers everyday requirements primarily (6)
GROCER – The initial letters (primarily) of the first six letters of the clue.

14 Taunting mobilized police officers originally involved in the line of fire (2,8)
AT GUNPOINT – An anagram (mobilised) of TAUNTING includes the initial letters (originally) of police officers.

17 Once more explaining about the first of the fundamentals … (9)
REREADING – A two-letter word meaning about followed by one of the fundamental school subject (one of the three Rs).

18 … lectures concerning special summit issue (6,2)
SPEAKS ON – The abbreviation for special followed by a four-letter word for a summit and a three-letter word of a child (issue).

20 Gradually clarifies set-up to organise daffodil shows (5,2)
FADES IN – The answer is hidden (shows) and reversed (set-up) in the sixth and seventh words of the clue.

21 Pedestrian way to access sites could be laid (4-2)
DIAL-UP – A slow way to access the internet could give a reverse clue that that gives the answer LAID.

22 Advocates book that is precious to Ken (6)
BARBIE – A three-letter word for barristers collectively (advocates) followed by the abbreviations for book and that is.

24 Suspicion remains (5)
TRACE – Double definition.

26 Steal Eastender’s stall (4)
EDGE – A five-letter word meaning stall or prevaricate without the initial H (Eastender’s).

18 comments on “NTSPP 603

  1. Made steady progress on this puzzle despite some initial distraction from the action at Headingley… :smile:
    4a was a great starting clue and provided the launch pad for the top half. The bottom half was a bit slower to fall into place, with the last couple of down clues needing a bit of lateral thinking! 23a was my clear favourite of the day, with honourable mentions to 1a, 2d and 21d. Thanks, Gazza, a most enjoyable addition to an already good day for any England cricket fans!

  2. Completed at a steady pace, no need to rush on a dull Saturday morning, but that didn’t spoil the enjoyment.

    I really liked – 1a, 25a, 17d, and 18d.

    Thanks Gazza and in advance to (presumably) Prolixic.

  3. So sadly infrequent but when a puzzle does arrive from Gazza it’s always worth its weight in gold.
    Had a couple of hold-ups with the pedestrian way and the Eastenders stall but everything else slotted neatly into place and those pesky two did eventually give in.
    No chance of picking just one favourite but after a great deal of cogitation I crammed onto the podium 1,11&30a plus 7&21d.

    Thank you so much, Gazza, I thoroughly enjoyed the solve.

  4. Super puzzle. Found it quite tricky though once the pennies did drop you kind of wondered why they’d taken so long to. Can’t claim an unaided finish as lost patience & revealed the 20d/23a checker & kicked myself for doing so as I immediately clocked both the lurker & the Victorian.
    Loads of great clues & since nobody has selected them yet I’ll nominate 4a (new genre on me) & the witty 21a.
    Thanks Gazza.

  5. I hope someone can help me. This is the first NTSPP I have tackled. I do the puzzles on a device but this puzzle will not stay still and moves around so its taking ages to fill in. I also have to scroll to see the clues. Maddingly I came out of the puzzle half way through to write this request for help and the puzzle is now blank! Don’t think I can face doing it again unless some kind person comes to my aid – thanks in advance.

    1. Not sure why the puzzle is won’t stay still. I assume that you’re doing on an iPad. You have to press save to retain what has been input if you exit the puzzle or you lose it. The NTSPP are more often than not at the very least on a par with the SPP & often far better & you can access all the past puzzles.

      1. Thanks Huntsman. Actually I do all the puzzles on a Kindle Fire but this has not happened before. Its much smaller and lighter than an iPad and probably much cheaper too! I’ll have another look.

  6. What a superb puzzle – absolutely perfect for the NTSPP slot. I thought it was enjoyably challenging and great fun.

    I’ve always spelt 11a with 2Vs, but the BRB is happy with one or two, and, surprisingly to me, even with an E in place of the I.

    26d was my last one in as the synonyms for both “steal” and “stall” didn’t come immediately to mind.

    I had lots of ticks on my page. 10a was top of the pile for me and the religious bullies in 6d produced a LOL moment. 12a, 15a & 23a were among several others jostling for podium positions.

    Many thanks, Gazza, this was well worth waiting for, but a little more frequently would be much appreciated in this hutch.

  7. A steady and thoroughly enjoyable solve, 12a raised the biggest smile here
    Some crafty parsing which was also appreciated, thanks Gazza

  8. I enjoyed this a lot, about half of it went in without too much trouble but the rest required a fair bit of teasing out.
    I have one that is as yet unparsed but I’ll keep working on it and hopefully it’ll come.
    My picks are the first three across along with 16&28 plus 2,6&18d.
    Good stuff, thanks Gazza and to Prolixic in advance.

  9. Excellent fun.
    Got held up in the SE with the same ones that Jane mentions above but eventually the pennies did drop for us too.
    Also took us longer than it should have to sort out 1a.
    Many thanks Gazza.

  10. Another superb Gazza puzzle which I thoroughly enjoyed. My podium consisted of 2d, 28a and 15a, but several others ran them close.

    Many thanks, Gazza.

  11. I enjoyed this. It took a bit of head scratching in places. 6d made me smile, 26d held me up. Thanks Gazza.

  12. The review has not been overlooked. I have had to stand in at short notice for services this Sunday so time to write the review has eluded me.

  13. This took a bit of getting into but it all came together in the end. 10 and 11 across, 6 and 17 down were favourites. Thanks, Gazza and Prolixic.

  14. Thanks to all those who commented and to Prolixic for the review.
    I’m pleased that so many of the clues were mentioned in dispatches.

  15. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. As you rightly say, a crossword from Gazza equals contentment – I reckon that’s the highest compliment you’ve ever paid to any setter!

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