NTSPP 668 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Alchemi

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Alchemi provided an enjoyable crossword with clues themed on 5a and 28a for our Saturday afternoon entertainment


1a Constantly bothers stiff factotum (8)
DOGSBODY: A simply way of saying constantly bothers and a corpse (stiff being a slang word for this)

5a & 28a. Stick with aspirin tablets, primarily being concerned about aging process (6)
CARBON DATING: Part of a verb meaning being concerned goes ‘about’ a verb meaning to stick and the primary letters of Aspirin and Tablets

10a Supply from above Scottish town that’s lacking work (7)
AIRDROP: Almost all of a Scottish town lacking the abbreviation for that is, and an abbreviation for work

11a Partner‘s paw pouches port (7)
HUSBAND: A port used on a computer inserted (pouches) into a part of the body that, on an animal, might be called a [fore]paw

12a More than oddly exalt beery glutton (9)
OVEREATER: A synonym for more than and the odd letters of ExAlT bEeRy

13a Ruin special fossil fuel (5)
SPOIL: The abbreviation for special and a fossil fuel

15a Club in Huddersfield is complete (5)
DISCO: Hidden in HuddersfielD IS COmplete

16a Macabre soul high on revolution (8)
GHOULISH: An anagram (on revolution) of SOUL HIGH

19a Very much enjoys college dinner featuring fish turnover (3,1,4)
HAS A BALL: A dinner in a college into which is inserted (featuring) a reversal (turnover) of a type of fish – the latter giving rise to much discussion on the blog

20a Short message about large actor (5)
NOLTE: A short message goes ‘about’ the abbreviation for Large

21a Self-starter went for form of 28 (5)
SPEED: The ‘starter’ of Self and an informal way of saying urinated (went)

23a Tower-blocks heir sighs pitifully (4-5)
HIGH-RISES: An anagram (pitifully) of HEIR SIGHS

25a Spooner’s upset Goodman, possibly elevating people (7)
LIFTMEN: I know that the dreaded Reverend could never have even dreamt of such a thing as a television and a programme called Strictly Come Dancing, but if he had he might have offended or upset Mr Goodman, one of the original judges

27a Inert gas penetrates leading chopper’s business end (3-4)
AXE-HEAD: The chemical symbol for an inert gas ‘penetrates’ an adverb meaning further on (leading)

28a See 5a (6)
DATING: The parsing of this second part of the themed words is explained at 5a

29a Prison, if Trump regularly used song by Bob Marley (4,2,2)
STIR IT UP: A slang name for a prison and the regular letters of If TrUmP


1d Form of 5 cards (8)
DIAMONDS: A form of the solution to 5a or one of the suits of playing cards

2d Georgia Republican studies gallery in New Jersey (6,5)
GARDEN STATE: The nickname for New Jersey. The abbreviation for the State of Georgia, the abbreviation for Republican, some studies and the name of an art gallery

3d Form of 5-ale football club (9)
BARCELONA: An anagram (form) of the solution to 5a and ALE

4d Remove cannabis from store (5)
DEPOT: A way of saying  remove the informal name for cannabis

6d Outclasses 50% of fools (5)
ASSES: The second 50% of outclASSES

7d Stole tailless hog (3)
BOA: A male pig (hog) without its final letter (tailless)

8d Spanish hero originally named after David Attenborough’s llama (5)
NADAL: The original letters of Named After David Attenborough Llama

9d Taps with a bow regularly call for form of 5 (8)
CHARCOAL: The letters round on taps, the bow of a stringed instrument and the regular letters of cAlL

14d After revolution in personal hygiene problems, exclusive perfume is 28 (11)
OBSOLESCENT: Reverse (after revolution) an abbreviated personal hygiene problem, follow with an adjective meaning exclusive and a perfume

16d Form of 5 a source of wine contaminated by layer of eggs (8)
GRAPHENE: The fruit that is a source of wine, into which is inserted (contaminated by) a layer of eggs

17d King welcomes single Muslim base for 28? (5,4)
LUNAR YEAR: The time which Muslims used as a base for 28a – a Shakespearean king ‘welcomes’ an adjective used in mathematics to mean applied to or involving a single component

18d End upset, worried and stressed (6,2)
TENSED UP: An anagram (worried) of END UPSET

21d Like that top firm (5)
SOLID: An adverb meaning like that and a top

22d Fiend finally specified the ransom: 2,000,000 (5)
DEMON: The final letters of specifieD thE ransoM twO millioN

24d Huge form of 28 dropping down (5)
GIANT: An anagram (form) of the solution to 28a without (dropping) the abbreviation for Down

26d Meet attack (3)
FIT: Double definition

31 comments on “NTSPP 668
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  1. Thanks Alchemi for an enjoyable early Saturday morning challenge that did need the caffeine that I had prepared ‘just in case.’

    The ‘breakthrough’ on the 5a/28a combo came from solving 16d.

    Quite a lot of ticks so I will just mention the brilliant 14d!

    Thanks again and thanks in advance to CS especially for the ‘decode’ of the Spoonerism which had to be what it is but is a complete mystery to me.

  2. Very enjoyable puzzle with some very neat play on 5/28 – thanks to Alchemi.
    I can’t find the fish in 19a.
    I have lots of ticks including 1a, 5/28a, 4d and 22d.

    1. The fish, a type of catfish, is the second to fifth letters reversed (turnover). Not in the BRB but can be found with an e-search.

      1. Thanks – I did look up letters 2-5 reversed (as well as 3-6 reversed) but couldn’t find it in BRB or Collins. I should have tried Wikipedia as well.

        1. I didn’t realise the fish wasn’t in the BRB or Collins. Sorry. I was relying on Sainsbury’s and Tesco, where it’s just about always on sale these days.

          1. I was going to say that not only is it everywhere as a fresh fish, most of the packets of battered or breaded fish that say ‘fish’ usually have this fish in them rather than cod

            1. We’ve been enjoying this fish for several years now, cooked in our favourite cream and cheese sauce. But we’re a bit concerned about its environmental credentials as most of it seems to come from Vietnam.

          2. Thanks for the ‘chuckle generator’ for supermarkets becoming unimpeachable sources for crossword verification, and similarly to RD for Mrs RD’s ‘withering “of course”!’

            1. Mrs RD, like me, probably spends quite a lot of time looking at packets to see exactly what the producers are hiding under the name of ‘fish’

              1. As do I.

                I always remember when ‘whiting’ was only good enough for a ‘treat’ for our cat. Now, perhaps under its North American name of ‘pollock,’ it is another fish that has become ubiquitous as cod and the like have become more scarce and more expensive.

          3. I use Collins Dictionary online – and there it is!
            I haven’t seen it on a fish counter, but will now look out for it.

  3. A delightful puzzle from Alchemi, which went all too quickly and left me wanting more, although I do need to do a bit of work in the garden before the rugby gets underway and the rain returns! The theme elements were nicely woven into the cluing, with 5/28 being my clue of the day. My other podium places went to 4d and 29a, the latter causing me to pause my solving to watch a memorable live performance, on YouTube, from The Old Grey Whistle Test. 8d also brought a big smile to my face :smile:
    Thank you, Alchemi, for some very enjoyable entertainment.

  4. This was great fun although I too got held up by the fish in 19d not being in Chambers or Collins. However, Mrs RD came to my rescue when I asked if she had heard of it, to which her reply was a withering “of course”!

    My repetition radar bleeped with “regularly” appearing in 29a and 9d as an alternate letter indicator.

    I had a lot of ticked clues with 1a, 8d & 22d being the pick of the bunch.

    Many thanks to Alchemi and in advance to CS.

  5. Apart from not being a fan of multi-linked clues and “regularly” being used twice to indicate alternate letters I thought this was very clever and most enjoyable.
    Predictably my ticks come from those not linked to 5&28a… and they are 1&10a plus 4,6&22d.
    Many thanks Alchemi and in advance to the reviewer.

  6. A very enjoyable NTSPP – Thanks to Alchemi.

    Marks out of 10? Sorry, but because of the Spoonerism I’ll just give it a SEVEN!

  7. Always know I’m in for the long haul with an Alchemi puzzle and when he tops it off with inter-related clues and the Reverend it all gets a bit much for the befuddled brain!
    Have to admit that the 5/28 combo was a case of ‘fill in the answer from the checkers and work out the parsing later’ and the Spoonerism took a long while to unravel even though I’d guessed the correct Mr Goodman.
    I’ll go with Stephen and say that my preferences were all to be found in the non-linked clues.

    Thanks to Alchemi for an NTSPP that proved to be a definite work-out.

  8. Quite a struggle but an absolute pleasure to solve. It became a little easier once we had 5/28 sorted but only a little.
    Thanks Alchemi.

  9. How lovely to see a crossword from Alchemi after much too long.
    I’m much too worn out to start looking at this crossword – I’ll wait until tomorrow so that I can give it the energy that it I know it will need and deserve.
    Thank you, in advance, to Alchemi and to whoever does tomorrows review.
    Also, Alchemi, keep going with your recovery. :smile: to you.

  10. We did know the fish thanks to Sainsbury!s et al but we did struggle over some of the parsing in other clues. We still haven’t cracked the Spooner even though we have an answer. Favourites were 29a and 14d. Thanks to Alchemi and more please. Kath indicates you have been unwell so hope you are on the mend. Thanks in advance to CS for the parsing tomorrow.

    1. I had a heart bypass three years ago. I know I’m ill because I’ve been told to take a lot of pills, which I do, but I’m mostly troubled by creaking bones.

  11. Very enjoyable, Alchemi. Found some of it quite tricky but it all yielded in the end. Liked the spoonerism, though I spent too long thinking of the wrong Goodman.

  12. Thanks for the review CS especially for helping me to understand the Spoonerism which as I said yesterday was a mystery to me which I can now say is because of separation of 6,300km and I doubt that I would have watched the programme anyway.

  13. I solved 5/28 by working backwards from 24dn and the rest of the linked entries then fell into place – with a momentary holdup from carelessly putting in a similar word for 16dn. Parsing 27ac took a little thought, too, in deciding which of two possible inert gases was intended (it’s not the one found in balloons). Last in was 17dn but it was then my favourite. Most enjoyable; thanks, Alchemi and CS

  14. I solved 5/28 by working backwards from 24dn and the rest of the linked entries then fell into place – with a momentary holdup from carelessly putting in a similar word for 16dn. Parsing 27ac took a little thought, too, in deciding which of two possible inert gases was intended (it’s not the one found in balloons). Last in was 17dn but it was then my favourite. Most enjoyable; thanks, Alchemi and CS.

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