NTSPP 659 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Twmbarlwm

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows.



1a  24 and 25 alternatively brought back bananas for snacks (6,4)
BRAZIL NUTS: The solution for 24d followed by the shortened form or Elizabeth (25a) reversed (brought back) and a four-letter word meaning mad or bananas.

7a  Still after a neighbour (4)
ABUT: A three-letter word meaning still or yet after the A from the clue.

9a  Small expressions of disapproval outside hangout for schoolkids (8)
STUDENTS: The abbreviation for small and a four-letter word for expressions of disapproval around (outside) a three-letter word for a hangout.

10a  Display unopened flower without consideration (6)
AIRILY: A three-letter word meaning to display followed by a four-letter word a type of flower without its initial letter (unopened).

11a  Fine line between good iron and junk (6)
PIFFLE: The abbreviations for fine and line inside a two-letter word meaning good and the chemical symbol for iron.

13a  Old property needs gas supply (8)
AGEDNESS: An anagram (supply) of NEEDS GAS.

14a  Pessimistic Gdansk citizen that’s drawn to the south? (8,4)
NEGATIVE POLE: An eight-letter word meaning pessimistic and the nationality of a native of Gdansk.

17a  The firm blade chopped up wood conspicuous in such a house (4-8)
HALF-TIMBERED: An anagram (chopped up) of THE FIRM BLADE.

20a  Wire cut dress and pants (8)
GARROTTE: A four letter word for dress and a six-letter word meaning pants or rubbish, each without their last letter (cut).

21a  Score against City in a clever way (6)
CUTELY: A three-letter word meaning to score or engrave followed by a three-letter name of a fenland city.

22a  Nine days of service and new cooker has crack in the middle (6)
NOVENA: The abbreviation for new followed by a four-letter word for a cooker and the middle letter of crack.

23a  Bum numb, whacked (8)
DEADBEAT: A four-letter word meaning numb followed by a four-letter word meaning whacked.

25a  Good Queen’s British (English) bodyguard (4)
BESS: The abbreviations for British and English followed by the abbreviation for Hitler’s bodyguard.

26a  Abrasive comedian’s rubbish, I’m thinking (5,5)
EMERY PAPER: The surname of the old comedian whose first name was Dick followed by a three-letter word meaning rubbish and a two-letter word that might indicate that I am thinking when talking about something.


2d  Craft ale tried and sold (8)
RETAILED: An anagram (craft) of ALE TRIED.

3d  Foremost character for zaniness? It used to be Izzard (3)
ZED: The phonetic spelling of the first letter (foremost character) of zaniness, which used to be described as an izzard.

4d  Say no to Frenchman’s flipping sudden advance (5)
LUNGE: A two-letter abbreviation for say or for example and the adjectival French word for no all reversed (flipping).

5d  Outperform yuppies regularly, including one after a quick profit (7)
UPSTAGE: The even letters (regularly) of yuppies include the term for an investor who is out for a quick profit.

6d  Bath perhaps needed by docker put up here? (5,4)
SPARE ROOM: A three-letter word for a bath followed by a reversal (put up) of a six-letter word for a docker.

7d  Get rare Mann novel order (11)
ARRANGEMENT: An anagram (novel) of GET RARE MANN.

8d  Cloudy? Take son out if not (6)
UNLESS: A seven-letter word meaning cloudy without the abbreviation for son.

12d  Around cot, put down Pampers (11)
FEATHERBEDS: Around a three-letter word for a cot put an eight-letter word for down or plumage.

15d  Self-conscious till heading off with American guy (3,2,4)
ILL AT EASE: The TILL from the clue without the first letter (heading off) followed by the abbreviation for American and a five-letter word meaning to guy or rib someone.

16d  Call me about ten, not noon – I’ve got company inside (8)
CELLMATE: An anagram (about) of CALL ME followed by the TEN from the clue without the abbreviation for noon.

18d  Sewer might need this repair altered (7)
TREADLE: An anagram (repair) of ALTERED.

19d  Dancing temptress, look, wearing uniform (6)
SALOME: A two-letter word meaning look has a four-letter word meaning uniform or identical around it (wearing).

21d  Guarded matcha ryebread sandwiches (5)
CHARY: The answer is hidden (sandwiches) in the second and third words of the clue.

24d  Intellectual dropping in as support (3)
BRA: A five-letter word for an intellectual without (dropping) the IN from the clue.

21 comments on “NTSPP 659

  1. Great stuff – many thanks to Twbarlwm.
    I had to look up izzard but apart from that it all progressed fairly steadily.
    I have lots of ticks including 20a, 21a, 26a, 6d and 12d.

  2. Like Gazza, who has two of them, I had to look up “izzard”, and I agree with him that this was an excellent puzzle albeit one which I found very challenging in parts.

    Well done and many thanks, Twmbarlwm. The clueing was concise and accurate, coupled with smooth surfaces and some nice disguises.

  3. Put me down as another who needed to look up ‘izzard’ and who also thought this was a most enjoyable puzzle.
    Top marks here went to 11,23&26a plus 6&12d.

    Well done, Twmbarlwm.

  4. Solved pre-caffeine although I thought about pausing to fire up the Keurig two or three times. I had the same educational moment as Gazza, RD, and Jane on 3d.

    Big smiles for 6d and 19d.

    Thanks to Twmbarlwm and in advance to Prolixic.

  5. Very enjoyable indeed Twmbarlwm.
    11a came up in a recent Telegraph newsletter clue writing competition, would be interesting to see your clue for it then, I certainly remember mine!
    I liked lots including 21&26a plus 5,6,8&12 but my absolute favourite was 16d.
    Many thanks and in advance to Prolixic

  6. Thank you to all who commented and any others who tried the puzzle. The izzard fact is the sort of thing that once learned isn’t easily forgotten, but I was hoping it would be fairly easy from the wordplay and crossers anyway.

    Stephen @5, looking at my clue database I see my competition entry was ‘Crowd receiving fines for rubbish’, with crowd being used as a verb. What was your clue?

    1. Mine was “Setter (very loud) in retiring prog rock band is rubbish”
      Thanks again for a great puzzle.

      1. Nice one. I recall the report mentioned a Telegraph setter (Donnybrook/Paul Bringloe) being a prog rock musician alongside your clue. (Might have been a different prog rock-related clue, but yours fits.)

      2. I tried a bit of partygate commentary:
        Originally premier insisted functions fine, labelling exposés ‘nonsense’ (6)

        1. That was a good one. It’s obviously much harder to be topical and have a smooth surface reading when you’re restricted to a word set by someone else.

  7. That had us working quite hard and very satisfying to eventually get it all sorted.
    Izzard was new to us too and also guess that it will now stay with us forever.
    Thanks Twmbarlwm.

  8. Thanks Twmbarlwm, lots to enjoy (and educational too with izzard) – favourite from many contenders perhaps 16d for the great definition. Thanks again, and in advance to Prolixic

  9. Hi Twmbarlwm. Thanks for this – I haven’t done one of yours for a while. This was testing but doable which is the perfect combo for a Sunday morning.

    Particular favourites amongst a classy selection were 1a, 10a, 13a, 21a, 26a, 2d, 6d, 12d, 18d, 24d. A toss up for COTD between the delightful cross referencing assembly that is 1a and the succinct cluing and nice capitalisation in 12d.

    I’m intrigued about the prog rock puzzle. If that is still to come, I very much look forward to it.

  10. Thanks, Twmbarlwm, for a puzzle that entertained me en route by train to the O2 and back yesterday evening, where the tennis also provided great entertainment. My writing is a bit wobbly from the train ride, but I can see that my favourites were 10a, 13a and 16d. Without a dictionary to hand I thought 3d might be to do with Izzard of the Eddie kind and got my ‘ed’ from there, so I am delighted to learn the actual meaning.
    Stephen L’s clue in #6 had me puzzled until I looked up ELP and saw who the acronym referred to. They are of my ‘era’ and I enjoyed much of their music so I will look forward to the imminent prog rock puzzle – just not too many acronyms please!

  11. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, and the delightful clip at 22a.
    Well done again, Twmbarlwm, I anticipate your themed puzzle with trepidation!

  12. Thank you to today’s commenters and thanks again to everyone who solved the puzzle. I’m glad people enjoyed it.
    Many thanks to Prolixic for his precise and entertaining review, and to Tilsit and Big Dave.
    As for that prog rock ghost theme puzzle, the theme’s all but invisible, to all appearances a normal vanilla puzzle, and it only applies to eleven of the across clues. I think only a diehard fan of the musician or his band would spot anything, and perhaps not even then! :scratch: I’ve got about 15 other completed puzzles so it might not be the next one you see.

    1. I shall rest a little more easily now, Twmbarlwm, but I bet the prog rock fans will be watching every one of your forthcoming puzzles!

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