NTSPP 663 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Fez

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Fez’s turn to provide our Saturday lunchtime entertainment.


1a Jiffy post bags company (6)
SECOND: A synonym for post ‘bags’ the abbreviation for company

4a Like previous World Cup knock-out stages, without penalties (4-4)
SCOT-FREE: Scotland haven’t reached the World Cup knock-out stages for many a long year so the previous ones could have said to be an expression meaning without penalties

10a Spooner’s belly? Boy, where to begin! (6,3)
LAUNCH PAD: How the dreaded Reverend might describe his belly and a boy

11a Agree to run around on tiptoe (5)
EAGER: An anagram (to run around) of AGREE – on tiptoe here referring to being excited or expectant

12a Takes right away as a friend’s bamboozled in chess game (15)
DISENFRANCHISES: An anagram (bamboozled) of A FRIENDS and another (game) of CHESS

13a Somewhat unstable Australian makes a scene (7)
TABLEAU: Hidden in some of unsTABLE AU

15a Give current line (6)
ACCORD: Some electrical current and a line of thick string

18a Succulent and primarily comforting Argentinian cuisine – the ultimate steak (6)
CACTUS: The primary letters of Comforting Argentinian Cuisine The Ultimate Steak – the photo is of just one of the many examples of the solution left for us to look after when Son No 1 moved to Co Fermanagh!

20a Insist on portion of chicken for celebration (7)
ENFORCE: A portion of chickEN FOR CElebration

22a Despite late announcement, just as important as the one in 2021 (4,3,3,5)
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: The one at the end of 2021 could be described as the final number, although it isn’t the smallest as there is a O

25a Philosophy of Conservative Party concerning cuts (5)
CREDO: The usual two-letter ‘concerning’ cuts or goes between the abbreviation for Conservative and a party

26a Look in newspapers for church feature (5,4)
ORGAN LOFT: A poetical word meaning look goes between a general term for a newspaper as a means of communicating information and the abbreviation by which the pink newspaper is generally known

27a Poseidon Adventure‘s central character admitted telling tales (8)
SNEAKING: The central character of adveNture admitting to a way of referring to the Greek God Poseidon

28a Convenient American fuel supply (6)
USEFUL: An abbreviation for American and an anagram (supply) of FUEL


1d Integrity comes from very top? It’s variable (8)
SOLIDITY: A synonym for very, a top, IT (from the clue) and a mathematical variable

2d Maybe irons suit and goes out on the town (5)
CLUBS: A nice surface reading for this triple definition clue

3d Following on, after innings without boundaries – match result’s a foregone conclusion (2,7)
NO CONTEST: ON (from the clue) follows a cricket innings or spell at batting without its outside letters (boundaries) and a match

5d Dance moves by South Africa’s virtuoso performer might demonstrate such a flourish (7)
CADENZA: An anagram (moves) of DANCE goes by the IVR Code for South Africa

6d Food processors needing sufficient power to be effective (5)
TEETH: These food processors can also be used to mean with enough power to be effective

7d I keep records of wild tigers, seen by Westerners only rarely (9)
REGISTRAR: An anagram (wild) of TIGERS followed by the three letters at the West of RARely

8d Departure gate opening for the restless hordes at last (6)
EGRESS: The ‘last’ letters of gate openinG foR thE restlesS hordeS

9d Abandoned by society, according to copper’s intuitive insight (6)
APERCU: Remove the S (abandoned by Society) from a two-word expression meaning according to, and then add the chemical symbol for copper

14d Support money I earned occasionally (9)
BRASSIERE: An informal term for money, I (from the clue) and the occasional letters of EaRnEd

16d Jewellery box left in Mönchengladbach (4,5)
CUFF LINKS: An informal word meaning to beat (box) and the German (as used in Mönchengladbach) word for left

17d Clean the vents out daily, at regular intervals (8)
TEETOTAL: The regular letters of ThE vEnTs OuT dAiLy

19d Stormy winds to settle (3,4)
SIT DOWN: An anagram (stormy) of WINDS TO

20d All You Need Is Love on radio – ultimately, I don’t like it (6)
ENOUGH: The ultimate letters of lovE oN radiO and an interjection of repugnance (I don’t like it)

21d Son has no trousers (6)
SLACKS: The abbreviation for Son and a way of saying ‘has no’

23d Prevent bachelor’s engagement (5)
BLOCK: The abbreviation for Bachelor and an engagement

24d Reserved a place to go to France (5)
ALOOF: A (from the clue), an informal term for a place to ‘go’ and the IVR code for France

26 comments on “NTSPP 663

  1. A brilliant puzzle with smooth surfaces throughout – many thanks to Fez for the lunchtime treat.
    I ticked most of the clues – I’ll just mention 26a, 2d, 8d, 9d and 20d but my runaway favourite was the hilarious 4a.

  2. Oh dear. I was just about to post my comments congratulating Twmbarlwm on an absolutely splendid NTSPP puzzle, only to find that I have solved the wrong puzzle. What a shame as I won’t now have time to look at this one. :-(

  3. Very enjoyable indeed Fez with lots of well disguised definitions and clever wordplay.
    I particularly liked how you engineered the Spoonerism into a plausible surface, the clever use of “look in papers” at 26a, the triple definition at 2d, the amusing 14d plus 16&17d but easily my favourite (and considerably better clued than elsewhere today) was 4a, I nearly spat my tea out on solving it! Great stuff.
    Many thanks and thanks to whoever does the review.

  4. Fanks Fez, enjoyably completed pre-caffeine.

    Smiles for 4a, 3d, 16d, and 21d although I would surmise that there might be some who would not share Gazza’s hilarity on the first of my choices, but I did.

    Thanks again and thanks in advance to CS.

  5. Thank you, Fez, for a thoroughly enjoyable NTSPP.

    Brilliant surfaces throughout full of wit and wisdom.

    My podium: 20d All you need; 16d Jewellery; 17d Clean.

    ps. I’m still struggling to parse the two long ones (12a and 22a) – I’m too lazy.

  6. Perhaps not such a tour de force for me as Gazza found it but still much to enjoy. Maybe I’d have laughed more if I knew about the relevant World Cups! My top three were 18&27a plus 5d.

    Thanks to Fez – I’ll look forward to the review to clear up the odd bit of parsing.

  7. Thank you Fez for an enjoyable puzzle. We still need to fully parse one or two answers so thanks in advance to CS tomorrow. Favourites were 4a, 10a,7d and 16d. We look forward to your next one.

  8. Great fun Fez. Found it pretty tricky but maybe due to tired eyes & a foggy brain. Yes 4a the big grin but tops for me the super wordplay at 3d, the cleverly misleading surface at 20d & the excellent 17d which was a nice accompaniment to 23a in today’s Cephas SPP. Writing this the penny’s just dropped about 2021 in 22a so just the KS = Monchengladbach (I think) & the parsing of 9d to make sense of.
    Many thanks
    Ps 25a nicely topical

  9. Many thanks for all the comments and to Tilsit et al for publishing (hadn’t expected to see this today, a nice surprise!) Glad that it seems to have been found enjoyable, with a variety of favourites. And many thanks in advance to CS, looking forward to review.

  10. Yes, most enjoyable. I wasn’t quite sure about 9dn, and took a while to crack the spoonerism in 10ac, but nothing to detract from the enjoyment.

  11. I found much to enjoy in this puzzle, with several novelties discovered in the wordplay (for me). There are 7 ticks on my page: 22a (required a pdm!), 27a, 2d (very smooth triple definition), 3d, 6d (hah!), 17d and 20d. I also enjoyed 4a but marked it with an exclamation mark for the degree of chutzpah displayed! 9d was new to me, but accessible from the wordplay, and I spent some time trying to associate ‘KS’ with M’bach as I didn’t know my links from my rechts.
    My thanks to CS for the German lesson and many thanks to Fez for the entertainment – that was great fun :smile:

      1. I had to make my choices for ‘O’ level, and German wasn’t one of them. I should have recognised the construction and consulted Mrs S because she would have known it, but Fez duped me with the ‘Left IN’… :roll:

        1. Sorry, I have to admit I was quite pleased with the “left in” misdirection – M’gladbach chosen partly because its such a wonderful name, partly because it might cause a bit more thought than just Germany or Berlin, say.

  12. Many thanks for the review, CS – I certainly needed it to sort out the parsing of both 22a and the second part of 16d. Fez must have chosen German when it came time to select ‘options’ at school!

    1. Sorry jane, yes I did choose German (many years ago, mostly forgotten) Perhaps the jewellery should’ve been left in Kansas or Kyrgyzstan after all.
      Just to clarify 22a is intended as a double definition, one straight (“Despite … important”) and one a literal interpretation (“as [ie like] the one in 2021”).
      Many thanks for solving and for your feedback!

  13. Many thanks for fabulous illustrated review CS, and thanks again to all those who solved and commented. Hope to be back soon!

  14. Late to the plate on this one, Fez, but very pleased that I devoted some of my Sunday to this delightful potpourri. I do enjoy your inventiveness and find I am forever – enjoyably – switching gear. One moment, a dozen letters are described in two words; another you take half a dozen words to tell me what to do with a single letter. Keeps me on my toes. Far too many ticks to list all my favourites and hard-pressed to narrow down a podium. 4a would certainly be up there (the second cruel but fair leg pull for the Scots after Hoskins’ dig in the Indy). 7d and 16d make up the numbers (I’m glad you did O Level German! Left in M**** is far more satisfying than a Lego construction would have been). And I shall lob in an honourable mention for two others that raised a particular smile on solving, 27a for being able to use the film title and the brilliant 20d for almost precisely the same reason. Many congrats.

    1. Thanks for solving PM, and for the lovely feedback. Glad you enjoyed it and glad to keep you on your toes. (By the way, that’s GCSE German, dontcha know – although to be fair, it was the first year they were introduced.)

    2. Even if I hadn’t done German to A Level, living in East Kent means we often pass road signs reminding us in English, French and German to drive on the left, so the German word is well known

      1. Doubt you’ll see this crypticsue but there is a signpost deep in the middle of the Scottish Highlands and some considerable distance from any possible port of entry that regularly reminds drivers – in English – to drive on the left. If – presumably overseas – visitors need to be reminded, one has to wonder how on earth they’ve managed to get as far as the sign in question!

        1. Now that is strange

          PS bloggers get an email every time someone comments on their post so there’s no chance of missing anything

      2. CS, are you implying I may have been a bit gauche to have disregarded the links when journeying around Kent…? :wink:

  15. Quite tough, but satisfying to solve. I got about ten clues from a cold solve top to bottom which I thought augured well. I slowed down a lot later, having trouble with the Spoonerism and the CDs at 4a, 22a and 6d which I think were particularly tough and maybe asking a little too much of the solver (well, this solver anyway! I couldn’t parse 22a at all, so had to check in the blog). That was probably me lacking my lateral-thinking mojo because there were very good clues throughout, and two absolutely superb ones at 2d and 17d. Very hard to do multiple definitions and long hiddens that tell a believable story like those do.

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