NTSPP 685 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Coot

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows:



1a  American soldier exiting dance, date voiced disapproval (5)
BOOED: Remove (exiting) the abbreviation for an American soldier from six-letter word meaning dance and follow with the abbreviation for date.

4a  Completely absorbed by studies, does further revision (9)
READJUSTS: A four-letter word meaning completely inside (absorbed by) a five-letter word meaning studies.

9a  Coot’s confused again, finding lines fanciful (9)
IMAGINARY: A two-letter word meaning Coot’s followed by an anagram (confused) of AGAIN and the abbreviation for railway (lines).

10a  Taking train back to remote university makes Tom cry (5)
MIAOU: A three-letter word meaning train reversed (taking…back) followed by the abbreviation for a university that offers remote learning.

11a  Mad Hatter’s hampered by the majority of controls in house? (11)
THERMOSTATS: An anagram (mad) of HATTERS includes (hampered by) a four-letter word meaning the majority.

12a  Brit down under comes round for wash (3)
MOP: The nickname in Australia (down under) for a British person reversed (comes round).

13a  Topless gardener’s grotesque to run into (4-3)
REAR-END: An anagram (grotesque) of GARDENER without the first letter (topless).

15a  Baseball player‘s outer layer (6)
BATTER: Double definition, the outer layer being a crispy outer layer on food.

18a  Chilled drinks in A&E (2,4)
AT EASE: A four-letter word for drinks in the A and E from the clue.

19a  Force out old Head of Technology? Disrespectful! (7)
EXTRUDE: A two-letter prefix meaning old followed by the first letter (head) of technology and a four-letter word meaning disrespectful.

22a  Trump calls it a day, saving skin (3)
TOP: A five-letter word meaning calls it a day or quits without the outer letters (saving skin).

24a  Contests offering reward of choice fruit, charged with high tension (11)
PRIZEFIGHTS: A five-letter word meaning choice and a four-letter word for a type of fruit includes (charged with) the abbreviation for high tension.

26a  Allowance made by reporter on the radio? (5)
QUOTA: A homophone (on the radio) of quoter (reporter).

27a  Flogging shaped plain rug, Axminster’s latest (9)
LARRUPING: An anagram (shaped) of PLAIN RUG R (the last letter (latest) of Axminster).

28a  Warm spring near Ecuador’s capital, where life flourishes (9)
ECOSYSTEM: A four-letter word meaning warm followed by a four-letter word meaning spring or arise from all after (near) the first letter (capital) of Ecuador.

29a  Tramps lying about in eastern Inishtooskert? (5)
TREKS: The final five letters in the last word for the clue reversed (lying about).


1d  Second-rate celebrity bubble (7)
BLISTER: How a second-rate celebrity might be described in a phrase (1-6).

2d  Way to leave a gravestone? Sadly, as a rule (2,7)
ON AVERAGE: Remove (to leave) the abbreviation for street (way) from GRAVESTONE and make an anagram (sadly) from the remaining letters.

3d  Contributing to fortitude is my belief in god (5)
DEISM: The answer is hidden in (contributing to) the third to fifth words of the clue.

4d  ‘Emotional music’ accompanying Oprah’s broadcast is duly vacuous (8)
RHAPSODY: An anagram (broadcast) of OPRAHS followed by the outer letters (vacuous) of duly.

5d  Off to tour city despite everything (6)
ANYWAY: A four-letter word meaning off or absent around (to tour) the abbreviation for New York (city).

6d  Twitch personality finally about to get going (4-5)
JUMP-START: A four-letter word meaning twitch followed by a four-letter word for a personality and the last letter (finally) of about.

7d  Lots of little animals on heat, essentially over-sexed (5)
SWARM: On top of a word meaning heat add the middle letter (essentially) of over-sexed.

8d  Punctuate meal with a nip of Cardhu Scotch (7)
SCUPPER: A six-letter word for a late-evening meal includes (punctuate…with a) the first letter (nip) of Cardhu.

14d  Simple recipe for making me my vegetables: add gravy at the end (4-5)
EASY-PEASY: To make me become my, you have a recipe E AS Y.  Follow this with a four-letter word for small green vegetables and add the final letter (at the end) of gravy.

16d  Impress with brand – that ends the pitch (9)
TOUCHLINE: A five-letter word meaning impress and followed with a four-letter word for a brand.

17d  On return, spread authorised message (8)
TELEGRAM: A five-letter word for a food spread and a three-letter word meaning authorised all reversed (on return).

18d  Ill-disposed to that French relic (7)
ANTIQUE: A four-letter word meaning ill-disposed or against followed by the French word for that.

20d  Sensing slipping standards (7)
ENSIGNS: An anagram (slipping) of SENSING.

21d  Powerful number belted out, like Deep Purple? (6)
VIOLET: A seven-letter word meaning powerful without (belted out) the abbreviation for number.

23d  Still popular: old Prince covers (5)
PHOTO: A three-letter word meaning popular and the abbreviation for old all preceded by (covers) the abbreviation for prince.

25d  I recognised that spoken language (5)
INUIT: The I from the clue followed by a homophone (spoke) of I KNEW IT (recognized).

13 comments on “NTSPP 685
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  1. I thought this was a perfect NTSPP puzzle for your debut in this slot, Coot, and a pangram to boot. It was well clued with smooth surfaces and nicely challenging. You even earn an extra brownie point from me for not using cricket as the example player for 15a!

    There are too many good clues to think about trying pick a favourite.

    Very well done and thank you.

  2. Have to admit to a few doubts where a handful of clues were concerned but in light of the comments from my learned friends above I’m assuming that it’s more likely that my parsing is imperfect!
    Top three for me were 18a plus 1&20d.

    Congratulations on making your debut in the NTSPP slot, Coot.

  3. Lovely puzzle, Coot. A very nice debut. Some super constructions and nice references scattered throughout. Favourites for me include 9a, 13a, 19a, 24a, 27a, 2d, 4d, 21d and 23d.
    I am not a regular commenter here so am a little unsure of form. I trust it is in order for us to continue our pedantic point-scoring from the Other Place to some small degree? I’m sure you would be disappointed if I self-censored? If I have a quiblet, it would be that one has to take a geometrician’s perspective of life to justify the solution to 16d. The ends of most pitches are surely goal lines or try lines?
    Once again, very enjoyable. Many thanks.

    1. PM. I’ve just seen this and I’ll reply belatedly, but I guess you’ll never see it. Quiblets are fine; some people call them hmms or raised eyebrows, etc. I’m not sure if geometry comes into 29d at all. The touchline (or the goal/try line) is where the picth/playing surface ends/finishes and the adjacent grass/other surface begins. That’s how I read it …

  4. An excellent puzzle.
    Had us working hard with lots of penny-drop moments. Looking for the last pangram letters certainly helped in the SE quadrant.
    Congratulations and well done Coot.

  5. Thanks Coot, super stuff throughout with favourites including 1a, 18a, 27a, 28a, 4d, 14d, 20d & 23d. I think you just about get away with 16d – it’s where the playing area “ends” (if not what would be referred to as the “end”). And always nice to see a pangram – was helpful too for the last couple to fall. Thanks again, and in advance to CS (presumably) for review.

  6. Many thanks to everyone who has had a go at this, and for the generous comments. And, of course, thanks in advance to Prolixic for the review,

  7. Thanks Coot. Overall a very similar experience to your Rookie puzzles – e-help required to get across the finishing line which detracted from the enjoyment. In this case it was a puzzle of two halves – Warp Factor 10 in the NW and Dead Slow in the SE (apart from 25d).

    Smiles for 18a, 8d, and the aforementioned 25d.

    Thanks again and thanks in advance to Prolixic.

  8. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic. Looks as though I had parsed them all correctly, just that I didn’t care for a few of the definitions!

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