NTSPP 689 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Prolixic

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.


Another Saturday lunchtime crossword from the prolific Prolixic


1 Agree to axing dreadful overstatement (12)
EXAGGERATION An anagram (dreadful) of AGREE TO AXING

9 On-line lot including Saint Teresa's first letter (7)
EPISTLE The letter that is used to indicate on-line and an informal term for a lot of something into which is inserted (including) the abbreviation for Saint and the first letter of Teresa

10 Carry out instructions to shoot (7)
EXECUTE Double definition

11 Talk about replacing leading bishop's tasty snack (7)
RAREBIT Replace the first chess abbreviation for bishop in an informal way of saying talk at length in a rambling fashion with the 'usual' two-letter about or on the subject of

12 Paid to collect Pearly Queen's old music player (7)
SERPENT A synonym for paid into which is inserted (to collect) the regnal cipher of our late Queen

13 Reportedly annoys sounder members! (5)
BOARS A homophone (reportedly) of annoys or wearies – sounder being a collective noun for these wild animals

14 Strange current in magnetic disturbance (9)
ENIGMATIC The abbreviation for electrical current inserted into an anagram (disturbance) of MAGNETIC

16 Monitor announcement of first lady's decline (9)
EAVESDROP A homophone (announcement) of the name of the first lady in the Bible followed by a synonym of decline

19 Troy leave area with acting Turkish governor
PACHA Remove the abbreviation for Troy weight from an area and follow with an A (acting)

21 Set pain relief equipment for young Abyssinians? (7)
KITTENS A set of something and an abbreviation for a type of pain relief equipment

23 Boatmen call heartily for porridge (7)
OATMEAL The inside letters (heartily) of bOATMEn and cALl

24 He's one exceptional German assistant secretary (4,3)
RARE GAS A synonym for exceptional, the abbreviation for German and Assistant Secretary

25 Allowance for continental boarding house (7)
PENSION Double definition

26 Raving irate lunatic's unintelligible (12)



1 Hoisted flag over province after leader leaves country (7)
ERITREA A reversal (hoisted) of a verb meaning to flag and a province without its first letter (leader leaves)

2 Worker is to live in French city (7)
ANTIBES One of crosswordland's workers and a verb meaning to live inserted into IS (from the clue)

3 One of Spooner's favourite things in the pub (5,4)
GUEST BEER What the Reverend might say about his favourite things

4 Small ruminant turns up grasses (5)
REEDS A reversal (turns up) of the abbreviation for small and a ruminant animal

5 Proposition with present involving ring and money (7)
THEOREM An adverb meaning present into which is inserted the ring-shaped letter, the result followed with the abbreviation for money

6 Rich fat cat's heading off without roubles (7)
OPULENT Removed the first letter of cat from a synonym for excessive fatness and then remove (without)the abbreviation for Roubles

7 Broadcaster entering Scottish club for unfaithful lovers (5,8)
HEARTBREAKERS Someone who broadcasts on CB radio 'entering' an informal name for a Scottish football club

8 Locate patient wandering around market (9,4)
PETTICOAT LANE An anagram (wandering around) of LOCATE PATIENT

15 Spontaneous declaration of theatre worker you overheard (9)
IMPROMPTU What a particular theatre worker might say and a homophone (overheard) of you

17 Old tree snakes collected by truck (7)
VETERAN An anagram (snakes) of TREE inserted into (collected by) a truck

18 Horse buried in Esher garden (7)
SHERGAR A famous 'missing' horse is apparently buried in eSHER GARden

19 Harry Potter's aunt makes a bloomer (7)
PETUNIA The name of Harry Potter's aunt is also the name of a flower (bloomer)

20 Rift resulting from Minister in charge dividing church (7)
CREVICE An abbreviated church minister and the abbreviation for in charge 'dividing' or inserted into the abbreviation for the Church of England

22 A brush is made by moulding this bar (5
SUSHI An anagram (moulding) of A BRUSH IS will reveal the word BAR and the type of bar it is

14 comments on “NTSPP 689

  1. Whilst I was solving this, I was thinking it was lighter than the usual fare from this setter. However, there was a sting in the tail with a handful of clues requiring much teasing out.

    Having got the first and last letters of 19a as checkers, I confidently (stupidly!) entered “pasha” as my answer despite being unable to parse it. The penny eventually dropped when I was struggling with 20d starting with an S.

    Three new meanings of common words for me to look up were the answer to 12a, “sounder” in 13a, and “broadcaster” in 7d.

    I had a plethora of ticks all over my page, with 16a, 24a & 8d (what a great anagram!) making it to the top of the pile.

    Many thanks to Prolixic and in advance to CS.

  2. Thanks Prolixic for a bit, but not too much, of a head scratcher. Some thumbing through the BRB required especially for 19a – I had the three checkers but had not come across that alternative spelling before. There was a big groan when the penny dropped on the use He in 24a for my LOI.

    Smiles for 11a, 16a, 7d, and 15d.

    Thanks again and thanks in advance to CS.

  3. A really enjoyable puzzle with just the right level of difficulty.
    I did not know the old music player or Harry Potter’s aunt but they were both fairly clued.
    I was struggling with 13a until I came here – RD’s comment above made me look for an alternative meaning for “sounder” which was new to me.
    Other than that, I had ticks all over the place including 1a, 9a, 23a, 3d, 6d, 7d, 8d, and 18d. Two great long anagrams at 1a and 8d.
    Many thanks to Prolixic for an excellent puzzle and thanks in advance to CS for tomorrow’s review.

  4. Very enjoyable. Had the four perimeter clues in in no time whatsoever, the middle took a while longer!
    I’d never heard of the second definition of 25a or the ghastly looking thing at 12a so both needed confirmation.
    I see the popular snack has made its second appearance of the week at 11a but it was clued very smartly I thought. Others I particularly liked and appreciated were 9&16a plus 2,3d &6d with 19d raising a smile.
    Many thanks to Prolixic and in advance to CS.

  5. Certainly a few where getting an answer was one thing, parsing it satisfactorily was quite another!
    Podium places given to 1&16a plus 3&8d with hon. mentions to 21&24a.

    Thanks to Prolixic for the challenge.

  6. We started well but struggled as time went on, in some cases finding the word – we think – but unable to parse from the clue. We also had pasha which delayed us. Some great anagrams which definitely helped. Many thanks Prolixic and also to CS for the review tomorrow.

  7. We also learnt a new meaning for sounder but this was the only one to defeat us.
    Excellent fun with lots of clever misdirection.
    Thanks Prolixic.

  8. A most enjoyable puzzle – I recalled, distantly, sounder as referring to animals, and the old Turk went in swiftly, only for the s to be changed to a c when the rift appeared. Good external framework was very helpful, my ignorance of cats less so. Still cannot see why ‘pearly’ appears in 12a – it appears to be padding unless paid is ‘sent’ and Pearly Queen is ‘per’, which I cannot think to be right.

    Lots of fun, so thank you Prolixic, and thanks also to CS

    1. I justified Pearly on the basis that pearls were known to be the favourite items of jewellery worn by our late queen.

  9. A very enjoyable puzzle from Prolixic which did require some effort to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s. The ‘on-line lot’ elicited a groan, ‘Harry Potter’s aunt’ had to be confirmed by Google, Mrs S had the required medical expertise to help explain the ‘pain relief equipment’, CS has taught me a new collective noun for my pencilled-in 13a and Jane has suggested a reasonable justification for ‘Pearly’ in 12a. Those were the tricky ones, but my favourites – including a couple of very fine anagrams – were 1a, 11a, 5d, 8d and 17d.
    Many thanks to both Prolixic and CS.

  10. Thank’s to Crypticsue for the review and to everyone for the encouraging comments.

    The reference to “Pearly Queen’s” was to ‘er (instead of her).

    1. Thanks for the clarification, Prolixic. Your construct of ‘er did cross my mind briefly, but I liked Jane’s suggestion for the charming images it conjured up :smile:

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