NTSPP 661 – 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.

Thanks to Gazza for our lunchtime entertainment.



9a  Pastor’s put out jaw (7)
PRATTLE: The abbreviation for pastor followed by a six-letter word meaning to put out or disconcert.

10a  Call into question setter’s attractive character (7)
IMPEACH: A two-letter contraction of I am (setter’s) followed by a five-letter word meaning an attractive character.

11a  Cardinal reported potential murderess on board (7)
SCARLET: A homophone (reported) of one of the suspects in a game of Cluedo.

13a  Is adolescent able to tuck in here? (7)
CANTEEN: Split 3,4, the solution could means is an adolescent able to.

14a  Two-timer‘s raunchy with former leading lady more than once (9)
ADULTERER: A five-letter word meaning raunchy followed by the regnal cipher of our former queen twice (more than once).

15a  Aussie skipper’s shattered initially taking time to rest overnight (5)
ROOST: The abbreviated name of an Australian marsupial followed by the first letter (initially) of shattered and the abbreviation for time.

16a  Dream about husband getting share of the money (7)
TRANCHE: A six-letter word for a dream or hypnotic state around (about) the abbreviation for husband.

19a  Suspicious PC cites dubious individual (7)
SCEPTIC: An anagram (dubious) of PC CITES.

22a  Mediocre editor getting round set of principles (5)
CREED: The answer is hidden (getting round) in the first two words of the clue.

24a  Mob scheme knavishly at first for way to get off (9)
GANGPLANK: A four-letter word for a mob followed by a four-letter word for a scheme and the first letter of knavishly.

26a  Settle how sister is dressed (7)
INHABIT: Split 2,5, this describes how a nun or sister will usually be dressed.

27a  Turgid like a river? (7)
FLOWERY: Definition and cryptic definition, the second describing the flow of a river.

30a  Sombre English novelist’s endlessly touching (7)
AUSTERE: A six-letter surname of the author of works such as Pride and Prejudice with the final letter removed (endlessly) followed by a two-letter word meaning touching or concerning.

31a  Observe Spooner’s farewell to everyone (7)
EYEBALL: A Spoonerism of Bye (farewell) All (everyone).


1d  Caricatures war poets regularly (4)
APES: The even letters (regularly) of the second and third words of the clue.

2d  Pre-engagement dance that’s challenging (4)
HAKA: Cryptic definition of the dance performed by the All Blacks before a match.

3d  Strong follower of footballing Charlton (8)
ATHLETIC: Double definition, the second by reference to the second part of the name of the South London football club.

4d  & 6. Desktop tool that may be dear (6)
LETTER OPENER: Dear describes the first word of an written communication.

5d  Split trousers which are pulled on after leaving plane (8)
RIPCORDS: A three-letter word meaning split and a five-letter word for a type of trousers by reference to the corduroy from which they are made.

7d  Unpredictable pet goat bites second Pole (8)
GATEPOST: An anagram (unpredictable) of PET GOAT includes (bites) the abbreviation for second.

8d  Pinochet’s misrepresented in speech (8)
PHONETIC: An anagram (misrepresented) of PINOCHET.

12d  Detectives going on, on about drink (5)
CIDER: The abbreviation for detectives followed by the two letter word meaning on reversed (about).

16d  Cunning bookmakers’ communication’s out of order at Lingfield primarily (8)
TACTICAL: The form of communication used by bookmakers with the two word swapped (out of order) followed by the initial letters (primarily) of at Lingfield.

17d  Stone me! That’s awfully young to be imprisoned (8)
AMETHYST: An anagram (awfully) of ME THAT’S includes (imprisoned) the alleged abbreviation for young.

18d  Barely an adult on course parted teetotal! (8)
EIGHTEEN: The age of majority and the number of holes (tee total – teetotal parted) on a golf course.

20d  Hired and taken advantage of (8)
EMPLOYED: Double definition.

21d  Gold medallist’s wife’s going to get emotional (5)
INNER: A six-letter word describing a gold medallist without (going) the abbreviaton for wife.

23d  Given new title in another language (6)
DUBBED: Double definition, the second by reference to the voice-over on a foreign language programme.

25d  Smelt with or without using tip of snout (6)
NIFFED: A word that means smelt that also means smelt if you add an S (tip of snout) at the beginning.

28d  Stylishness is evident in Michelangelo’s letters (4)
ELAN: The answer is hidden in the penultimate word of the clue.

29d  People with yen for following what soldiers get immersed in (4)
YOLK: A four-letter word for people with the F (following) being replaced by a Y (yen).

20 comments on “NTSPP 661

  1. A steady solve here, very enjoyable to work through – had to start in the SE corner and work up
    4/6 had me for a while, wonderfully misleading and makes my podium
    Great fun, thanks Gazza

  2. Many thanks Gazza, super stuff. Not sure about an abbreviation(?) in 17d, and wasn’t totally convinced by Spoonerism, but vey minor points in an excellent puzzle. From many contenders, my favourite is 29d. Thanks again, and in advance to reviewer!

    1. Apologies for the 17d abbreviation. It is in Chambers Dictionary of Crossword Abbreviations and (not for the first time) I failed to check that it is also in one of the main dictionaries.

  3. A top quality puzzle from a top-notch setter! Not massively difficult, but with sublime clues giving a very enjoyable solve. I’ve ticked about half the clues and will mention 14a, 16d, 17d, and 27a as my favourite. Really enjoyed this one!

  4. What a lunchtime treat! All of Gazza’s usual cunning, accurate clueing and smooth surfaces were on show here. We even had a first rate Spoonerism and a perfect example of how to indicate a lift and separate device. I found this at the easier end of Gazza’s spectrum but no less enjoyable as a result.

    I can’t find anything to justify Y = “young” (except as a quarter of YMCA which doesn’t count).

    Picking a favourite from so many good clues is a hard task but it’s a dead heat between 4d/6d and 29d.

    Many thanks to Gazza and presumably to Prolixic.

    1. Chambers online has this:

      the Y noun, colloq 1 the YMCA. 2 the YWCA.
      ETYMOLOGY: 20c abbreviation.

      So maybe… :unsure:

  5. When Gazza is shown as the NTSPP setter a really enjoyable treat awaits, and today was no exception!

    Although, I do have to agree with Fez on an abbreviation in 17d; I presume that he is referring to the sixth letter. I can’t find support in either Chambers for its usage.

    Big smiles for 14a, 24a, 5d, 12d, and 29d and I could add a few more.

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

  6. Is there a Hawthorne mini-theme? Don’t know enough about it, but three entries stand out.

  7. Very enjoyable throughout, no complaints here.
    I liked several, 14,15&27a plus 17&29a to name but a few but no doubt as to the winner, the outstanding 4&6d combo.
    Many thanks Gazza and in advance to Prolixic.

  8. Thank you Gazza for an enjoyable puzzle to solve. We do have some parsing problems so we shall be tuning in to Prolixic/CS tomorrow – thank you in advance. Favourites were 15a, 26a, 31a and 16d. We look forward to your next puzzle.

  9. What excellent Sunday morning fun for us.
    Certainly had us head-scratching all the way with smiles and chuckles as the various pennies dropped.
    Our favourite has to be 2d of course.
    Thanks Gazza.

  10. Great puzzle with lots of good clues, and four superb ones in 13a, 3d, 5d (my favourite), and 17d (but for the ‘y’ technicality, a real pity and one of those slightly illogical if o = old then why not that? examples). I enjoyed reading the clue in the voice of Tony Hancock though.
    Embarrassingly, I ultimately failed on 2d, even though I’d heard of it. I might be missing something if it’s not just a CD though.

  11. Excellent!

    The first time I have enjoyed a “Spoonerism” clue, the are my pet cruciverbal hate.

  12. Woke up to a lovely, sunny Sunday morning, enjoyed an excellent Gazza crossword with my morning tea and then England beat Australia in a high-scoring T20. What’s not to like? :smile:
    With so many good clues I was pushed to come up with a shortlist but have plumped for 26 across plus 2, 4/6, 5, 17, 29 down and my favourite – 18d. 14a is the first appearance I have seen of ‘ER’ as a ‘former leading lady’. After 70 years of crosswords where ‘ER’ was so readily available it was somehow sad to see. ‘CR’ will not be so setter-friendly!
    Thanks to Gazza, and, in advance, Prolixic.

  13. Many thanks to all those who commented and especially to Prolixic for the explanations. I was pleased that so many of the clues were mentioned as ‘likes’.

    Apologies again for the unsupported ‘young’ abbreviation. I have tied a knot in my handkerchief to remind me that it’s not sufficient to find an abbreviation in the Little Yellow Book (Chambers Dictionary of Crossword Abbreviations) I must also verify that it’s in either Chambers or Collins.

  14. An enjoyable solve, and I didn’t think twice about the abbreviation in 17dn. Last one in was 5dn as I didn’t think of leaving a plane unless it was on the ground. Thanks, Gazza and Prolixic.

  15. Well – either my comment disappeared into the wild blue yonder or (more likely) I forgot to press ‘post comment’.
    Anyway, just wanted to thank Gazza for his usual high standard of puzzle, Prolixic for the review and record my three top clues as being the 4/6 combo along with 5&23d.

  16. Thank you, Gazza, for a most enjoyable and testing puzzle – or given the grid, almost four separate puzzles! My candidates for the top step were the 4/6 combination and 5d, but quite a few were jostling for the recognition, with the groan-inducing 29d leading the pack. 21d threw me somewhat – just couldn’t see the connection between answer and emotional, but fair’s fair, it’s in Collins.

    Thank you also to Prolixic for the review.

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