NTSPP 679 – 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.

An NTSPP from Jaffa with lots to smile at along the way


1a Nice bottom reportedly seen by Big Ben accompanying Danny Boy (11,3)
LONDONDERRY AIR: A homophone (reportedly) of the French (as used in Nice for example) word for bottom seen by or after the home of Big Ben

9a Mathematically four bishops perhaps on board with Captain Nemo? (6)
SUBSET: Four bishops on a chessboard could be described as this; it could also refer to the crew on board with Captain Nemo

10a Declares alimony demands (8)
EXCLAIMS: With a hyphen, this could describe demands for alimony

11a Impressionist, we hear, has the ability to belch (5)
DEGAS: Adding a hyphen to a homophone of the name of this French Impressionist would create a word meaning to belch

12a Silly discussion of two oxen about clipped linguistics (6-3)
YAKETY-YAK: Two oxen go ‘about’ the abbreviation (clipped) for the origin of a word (linguistics)

14a Horticultural chat that gets you hot under the collar (10,3)
GREENHOUSE GAS: Somewhere to grow plants (horticultural) and a slang word for talk (chat)

17a The Threepenny Opera? (4,1,8)
HALF A SIXPENCE: What three pence was in pre-decimal currency is also the name of a musical (opera?)

23a Jacobite ambush will provide support (9)
JOCKSTRAP: An informal term for Scotsmen (Jacobite) and an ambush

25a No-one returns to No.10 for a gas (5)
XENON: A reversal (returns) of a synonym for no-one goes after the Roman numeral for ten

27a Unnatural muscles attached to worker? (8)
ABSONANT: Some muscles, a preposition meaning attached to and one of crosswordland’s workers

28a Detention resulting from sampling limitless warm free asti (6)
ARREST: The inside letters (a sampling of the limitless letters of wARm fREe aSTi

29a Irrational fear of being stuck in the lift with Father Christmas? (14)
CLAUSTROPHOBIA: This fear of being stuck in the lift, for example, does sound like Santa might be in there with you


2d Trimming benefits can generate responsibilities (6)
ONUSES: Remove the first letter (trimming) from some benefits

3d Lose heart twice in service padre is praised about (7)
DESPAIR: An anagram (service) of PADRE IS or another (about) of PRAISED

4d What’s left when even intestate (4)
NETT: The even letters of iNtEsTaTe

5d Look at laundering with Optrex? Nonsense! (7)
EYEWASH: A verb meaning to look at or what you do when you ‘launder’ with Optrex

6d First Roman to behold Latin inspection? (5)
RECCE: The first letter of Roman and the Latin word meaning to behold

7d Evaluate the statement “Ms.Friel prevaricates” (7)
ANALYSE: A homophone (the statement) of the name of Ms Friel the actress and a synonym for prevaricates

8d Dessert announced to be for Sweeney Todd? (3,4)
RUM BABA: A homophone (announced) of a way of describing Sweeney Todd, the first referring to him as being odd

13d Dentist infuses ether initially for sleepers (4)
BEDS: The abbreviated degree obtained by a dentist into which is inserted (infuses) the first letter of ether

14d Come together back stage (3)
GEL: A reversal (back) of a stage of a race, perhaps

15d You are, we’re told, each producing nitrogenous waste (4)
UREA: Saying you are out loud (we’re told) and the abbreviation for each

16d Express enthusiasm for golf on the radio (3)
GEE: This expression of admiration could be a way of writing the seventh letter of the alphabet, represented by Golf in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet (on the radio)

18d Rising, I exist in a somnolent state, like a lower form of pond life (7)
AMOEBIC: A reversal (rising) of I (from the clue) and a simple way of saying exist inserted into a somnolent state

19d Four kyus regularly selected in order for a Japanese city (7)
FUKUOKA: The regular letters of FoUr Ku, OK (in order) and A (from the clue)

20d Kiss Scottish agent for compensation (1-6)
X-FACTOR: The letter used to indicate a kiss and a Scottish land agent

21d “So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu“. Each brings comfort to a binary couple. (7)
CHEERIO: Some comfort and a couple in binary code

22d Little Hazel maybe bowled over by north-south route from Edinburgh to London (6)
BONSAI: Cricket abbreviations for bowled and over, the abbreviations for north and south and the route from Edinburgh to London

24d Commuting solution where for starters the returns are mainly sold (5)
TRAMS: The starters of The Returns Are Mainly Sold

26d Privileged US citizen used to be leading politician (4)
WASP: A simple way of saying ‘used to be’ and the leading letter of politician

15 comments on “NTSPP 679

  1. Great fun (even the dodgy homophones brought a laugh) – many thanks to Jaffa.
    I have lots of ticks including 1a, 17a, 23a, 3d and 14d.

  2. Good fun while it lasted and completed pre-caffeine!

    Smiles for 17a, 23a, and 18d.

    Thanks Jaffa and thanks in advance to CS.

  3. Always fun when Jaffa is around. Biggest laugh of the day goes to 23a, with further chuckles and ticks going to 10a, 14a, 17a, 29a and 5d. Altogether more ‘tickling’ than Ken Dodd could shake his stick at!
    Thanks for a very enjoyable puzzle, Jaffa. Now I’m all set for some rugby enjoyment…

  4. What a delight! It took me a little while to get onto the right wavelength and then it all came together very nicely with a lot of laughs along the way.

    My only qualm is 11a as there is nothing remotely homophonic about the two words. Wouldn’t “it seems” instead of “we hear” work?

    I expect it will be on a list somewhere but is “service” in 3d really an anagram indicator?

    I had ticks all over the place with 1a (LOL), 10a, 17a, 23a (LOL) 14d & 21d jostling for podium places.

    Many thanks to Jaffa for the spectacular fun, and in advance to CS.

  5. Very enjoyable Jaffa with some imaginitive and cryptic clueing. Took me a little while to tune in to your frequency too but once found (or maybe just checkers) a fairly smooth solve.
    Lots of smiles including 1,14&17a plus 5d, thought 3&14d clever, but tops for me were the lol 23a&8d.
    Many thanks and thanks in advance to whoever has the pleasure of reviewing it.

        1. I’ve reviewed your crosswords several times in the past. Draft review is ready for the morning

          1. Thank you. I think you stepped in once when Prolixic was busy vicaring or something and you’ve continued since then. Like all the work you do on this site it’s much appreciated.

  6. Invariably struggle to parse a couple of my answers to this setter’s clues but perhaps I simply didn’t refer to the BRB often enough!
    Some good fun to be found in this one and my ticks for humour went to 14&29a plus 8d.

    Thanks for an enjoyable NTSPP, Jaffa.

  7. Thanks, Jaffa. To echo others, this was very amusing – silly in a good way. Faves for me are 1a, 17a, 7d.

  8. Many thanks for the pictorial review, CS. The illustration for 29a made me smile – been there, done that and my mum kept the photo as evidence! Also liked the depiction of the bonsai – used to always admire them at RHS shows but doubt I’d have the patience to nurture one myself.
    Thanks again to Jaffa for a very entertaining NTSPP.

  9. Thanks for another nicely illustrated review, CS. I was wondering what image you might choose for 23a, but you appear to have side-stepped it with similar skills to those displayed by the French and Irish wingers yesterday…

  10. Thank you for all your kind comments. For someone who has been pretty ineffective throughout his life at telling jokes it’s quite surprising to see my humour gene kicking in, in this way. Perhaps those forty years of teacher humour weren’t wasted after all.
    Spartacus, I read your opening sentence out to my wife (“Always fun when Jaffa is around”). I think her reaction to it is best described in CrosswordLandese as a big “Hmm!”. She was however smiling at the time.
    Big thanks to Mr K and CS for a splendid revue – it was probably best not to illustrate 23a and I’m not certain the garment is still worn, judging by the multicoloured sights revealed by rugby players partially losing their shorts. One of life’s mysteries…😂

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