NTSPP 669 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Jaffa

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Jaffa’s last NTSPP appearance was back in July. I found today’s offering trickier in some places than others


1a Healing air of head physician (4,6)
CAPE DOCTOR: A strong South African south-east wind, named because it was believed to blow away germs. A headland and a physician

6a Banking system goes west for scoundrel (4)
SCAB: A reversal (goes west) of a bank clearing system

9a Reagan’s campaign slogan was a bit negative (8)
ELECTRON: Merge a campaign slogan President Reagan might have used (5,3)

10a Cook’s reduced seasoning produces something heavenly (6)
CHERUB: Almost all (reduced) of a cook and something used to season meat, for example

13a Standard line used at powwow (6)
PARLEY: A standard or norm and a straight line between landscape features combine to give a talk or conference between enemies

15a Speed of star lacking initial brightness (8)
CELERITY: A star or famous person without (lacking) the initial letter of brightness

17a Shortened month is reportedly mushroom gathering time (4)
SEPT: An abbreviated month is a homophone (reportedly) of a type of mushroom followed by (gathering) the abbreviation for time

18a It’s said that Mr Lineker maybe a follicly challenged patriot (9)
GARIBALDI: A homophone (it’s said) of both the Christian name of Mr Lineker and someone follicly challenged

20a Confronting the hidden expense in achieving a hole in one (9)
ACCOSTING: An expense hidden in a way of saying achieving a hole in one

21a Ardent Roman poet increasing in examination difficulty (4)
AVID: Before the change to GCSEs, our examinations were known by letter abbreviations. The letter that starts the name of a Roman poet should be changed for that of the ‘more difficult’ examination

24a Fine leather from bovine parents? (8)
CALFSKIN: The offspring of bovine parents would be used to make this fine leather

25a We hear a minimum of four pints will generate rock (6)
QUARTZ: A homophone (we hear) of the plural measurement equating to four pints

27a Old chemists get regularly colder producing hard water (6)
ICICLE: The abbreviated name of an old chemical company followed by the regular letters of CoLdEr

29a Potentially mild pair of days in Spring? (3-5)
MID-APRIL: An anagram (potentially) of MILD PAIR

31a Announced proof of triangular relationship (4)
SINE: A homophone (announced) of proof of something gives us the ratio in a right-angled triangle of the side opposite the angle to the hypotenuse

32a Clerk incurring library fine? (10)
BOOKKEEPER: If you split the name of this clerk 4,6, you’d get a description of someone who might be asked to pay a fine at the lending library


1d & 24d: Good value achieved when chap has spice ground (5,2,5)
CHEAP AS CHIPS: An anagram (ground) of CHAP HAS SPICE

2d Parking – that’s a welcome luxury (3)
PIE: The abbreviations for Parking and that is – one of the definitions in the BRB is a ‘prize or welcome luxury)

3d Take your time in Paris says the girl (6)
DITHER: The French word for says and the female pronoun (the girl)

4d Boast of murderer? (4)
CROW: This verb meaning to boast is also the name of a bird collectively known as a murder

5d The Sirocco, having legendary Jumbo lifting capacity (3)
ROC: In Arabian legend (in the tale of Sinbad the Sailor in the Arabian Nights) this enormous bird, hidden in siROCco, had such strength that it could “truss elephants in its talons” and carry them to its mountain lair todevour them

7d Politician’s wife arrives at Channel port to be ferried to France (7,4)
CARRIED OVER: The name of a former Prime Minister’s wife and a Channel port

8d & 22. Impressive young girl spotlighting a Constable? (5,7)
BOBBY DAZZLER: A slang name for a policeman and a strong overpowering spotlight

11d Hen say, tormented by those spotted laughing (6)
HYENAS: An anagram (tormented by) of HEN SAY

12d Retinal transplant for Robin? (7)
RELIANT: An anagram (transplant) of RETINAL

14d Following a knock at the door, Heaven accommodates visit for rogue (11)
RAPSCALLION: Following a knock at the door, a Biblical word for heaven into which (accommodates) a verb meaning to visit

16d & 26. Church officer redeployed on mission to split infinitive (7, 4)
CAPTAIN KIRK: Redeploy (transfer from one area to another) an office before a church, to get someone who used to ‘boldly go’ (on a mission to split infinitive?)

19d Passionate tennis type, hot on Silvia, embraced (6)
TONSIL: A slang term for passionate kissing – I’ve seen it used more with the sport of hockey – is hidden in (embraced by) hoT ON SILvia  I know fish probably don’t have this body part but the other illustrations on Google would definitely have put people off their Sunday lunches

22d See 8d

23d Look after wannabe vicar (6)
CURATE: To look after an exhibition or a clergyman assisting a vicar

24d See 1d

26d See 16d

28d Electronic books go with the flow (3)
EBB: The letter used to indicate that something is electronic followed by two abbreviations for book

30d Itinerant man of the cloth? (3)
REP: An abbreviated travelling salesman or a corded cloth

19 comments on “NTSPP 669

  1. A very enjoyable puzzle – thanks to Jaffa.
    Having got 8/22d and 25a I thought we were getting a pangram but it seems to be a couple of letters short.
    Lots to like – I ticked 1a, 20a and 14d (lovely word) but my favourite has to be the LOL 19d.

  2. Enjoyed with caffeine assistance although, while the answers have to be, there are a couple of parsings that elude me. No doubt CS will explain all to me tomorrow.

    Smiles for 20a, 25a, 7d, and 8d/22d.

    Thanks Jaffa and thanks in advance to CS.

    P.S. With assistance from Google, now down to one elusive parsing.

  3. A joy to solve! Jaffa is usually a bit tongue-in-cheek and this is no exception, apart from 19d which has tongues going elsewhere! My choices today are not necessarily the best clues but are those which made me smile most, which were 9a, 32a and 16/26d. The clue for 17a in my PDF is missing an ‘r’ – I found several such ‘mushoom’s this season, they are the only variety I can safely identify but are worth the effort to track down.
    Thanks, Jaffa. As 16/26 might say, I will eagerly look forward to your next NTSPP.

  4. Completed but I think I’ve missed a couple of the nuances so I’ll be glad of CS’s review.
    Ticks here went to 17&20a plus 3&23d.

    Thanks to Jaffa for the Saturday challenge.

  5. I did enjoy this despite finding the NW corner particularly challenging.

    There is a typo in 17a but not something which caused any delay.

    When the penny eventually dropped that the answer to 4d was not “Cain”, I didn’t find the correct answer particularly convincing even with the question mark. That aside, everything else was ship-shape with 1a, 20a & 3d making it onto my podium.

    Many thanks to Jaffa and in advance to CS.

    1. I initially thought 4d might have colluded with sparrow in the demise of Cock Robin, but not so, he had a different role! However, when I realised the collective term for 4d I thought the clue, with question mark, worked OK.

  6. Very enjoyable Jaffa with smiles and misdirection throughout the grid.
    I particularly liked 20&29a plus 8/22d with 9a and the excellent 3d sharing top spot.
    Many thanks Jaffa and in advance to Cryptic Sue.

  7. Chuckled all the way through withe biggest laugh of all coming from 18a.
    Great fun.
    Thanks Jaffa.

  8. Thank you for finding time to solve this offering and for all of the comments. I’m glad that I’ve raised a few smiles around the world. This blog is amazing.
    Sorry about the typo in 17a. Given the number of times that I’ve read that clue it’s quite incredible that I hadn’t spotted the omission. At least it wasn’t, I think, too much of a hindrance to the solving process but nevertheless a slapped wrist for me 😩

  9. Super puzzle with loads of smiles & some clever misdirection. Not easy but certainly fun. Can’t decide if 18a is too cheesy or not but I smiled. Big ticks for 1,9&20a plus 7,8/22,14,19&16/26d. Can’t parse 30d or 31a.
    Thanks Jaffa

    1. 30d CrosswordLand’s favourite salesman/material
      31a O-Level Maths/trigonometry

      Hope these help 😎

  10. Many thanks for the review, CS, and for your explanations of the parsing of 2,5&19d. Now all I have to do is remember them!

    Have you eaten your Christmas Fair chocolate yet? I can’t even remember how those bars taste.

  11. Many thanks for the review, CS, and pointing out the quite obvious anagram in 29a. I had immediately spotted the ‘pri’ in ‘Spring’ and thought – aha, that is mid-April, and with April being an even number of days it would provide a mild pair of days in the middle of the month. Somewhat unconventional construction, I thought, but why look for anything further…?
    Thanks again, Jaffa!

  12. Thanks for the review CS.

    The two parsings that were eluding me were 1a and 19d.

    For 1a, I had an enlightened thought of I wonder if there is a geographical feature so named. Of course, there isn’t but Google enlightened me as to what it really was.

    For 19d, I am much more familiar with the hockey version which is commonly used over here.

    1. Some in the UK may have had an advantage regarding 1a. It occasionally gets a mention when Test Match cricket is played in SA’s capital due to the influence it may have on the bowling conditions :smile:

  13. Thank you for the enjoyable puzzle, Jaffa. We weren’t aware of the 1a phrase although we had the first part. Also unaware that rep was a fabric and didn’t know the line in 13a. Favourite clues were 16a and 7d. Thanks also to CS. We look forward to your next puzzle.

  14. Thank you Sue for your wonderfully illustrated review but I have been wondering all day what the alternative illustration was for 19d…?

    Tonsil hockey/tennis? Having played/umpired hockey for about 50 years I don’t remember encountering too many passionate types, hence the choice of tennis.

    With 1a I have to admit that watching Cape Town test matches gave me the required knowledge of the Cape Doctor.

    Captain Kirk in 16d/26d gave me the chance to resurrect a clue originally written for the DT clue writing competition which was mentioned in dispatches. Personally I do miss that competition. I can see that it’s popularity might have killed off the weekly competition but surely a monthly competition is not too unreasonable although it would rob Gazza of his champion’s status – unless of course he carried on winning.

    Spartacus your agonising over 29a was probably only matched by my own. The wise lady who test solves my crosswords for me asked, “where in the original clue is the definition?” I gave a lame answer and amended the clue, only for Mr K to ask the same question! At this point the clue was completely rewritten to confuse you. It’s a strange world we choose to inhabit…

    I think 18/34 clues were mentioned by you collectively as favourites so I don’t think that’s too bad. Thanks for all the contributions and again to CS and Mr K for their hard work, and of course the much missed BD 😎

    And England won! Bring on the French…..🤔😩😂

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