NTSPP 693 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Acnestis

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A quick and unadorned review today.



1a  Something positive coming out of hostile dispute, conversely (6)
UPSIDE: The answer is hidden (coming out of) and reversed (conversely) in hostile dispute.

4a  Chinese soldier has a lot of audacity (8)
MANDARIN: A three-letter word for a soldier followed by the A from the clue and a six-letter word for audacity with the final letter removed (a lot of).

9a  Cane Mark right after end of class (5)
STICK: A four-letter word to show a correct mark after the final letter (end) of class.

10a  Advantage of failing a hard test (4,5)
HEAD START: An anagram (failing) of A HARD TEST.

11a  Logical that fellow is inspired by key religious texts (8)
COHERENT: A two-letter word for that fellow inside (is inspired by) a four-letter word meaning core all followed by the abbreviation for New Testament (religious texts).

12a  One of the Kardashians has on old robe (6)
KIMONO: The three-letter first name of one of the Kardashians followed by the ON from the clue and the abbreviation for robe.

14a  Actor is caught having a couple of beers outside (4,8)
ALEC GUINNESS: The abbreviation for caught with a three-letter word for beer and an eight-letter word for a brand of beer around it (outside).

18a  Loudly departing, father's barely drunk? It may prove otherwise (12)
BREATHALYSER: An anagram (drunk) of FATHERS BARELY after removing (departing) the abbreviation for loudly.

21a  Entering beastly home, detective gives order to freeze (4,2)
HOLD IT: A two-letter abbreviation for a detective inside (entering) a four-letter word for the home of an otter (beastly home).

22a  Exercise force to protect law (8)
PRACTISE: A five-letter word meaning to force open around (to protect) a three-letter word for a statute (law).

25a  Daughter cried, sad about getting dumped (9)
DISCARDED: An anagram (about) of D (daughter) CRIED SAD.

26a  I'm travelling west to meet friend in French city (5)
MIAMI: Reverse (travelling west) the IM from the clue and follow with the three-letter French word for a friend.

27a  Good service in small, quiet pub is key (5,3)
SPACE BAR: A three-letter word for a good tennis serve inside the abbreviations for small and quiet and a three-letter word for a pub.

28a  Return another time perhaps for something to eat (6)
WONTON: Reverse (return) a phrase (3,3) meaning another time.


1d  Tending to avoid company in US that's working with coal (8)
UNSOCIAL: An anagram (working) of IN US COAL.

2d  Liberal view journalist holds gets ignored (8)
SLIGHTED: The abbreviation for Liberal inside (holds) a five-letter word for a view and a two-letter abbreviation for a journalist.

3d  Doctor assumes alias in African city (5)
DAKAR: A two-letter abbreviation for a doctor includes (assumes) the abbreviation for also known as (alias).

5d  A boozer mounted horse (4)
ARAB: The A from the clue and a reversal (mounted) of a three-letter word for a boozer.

6d  Notice church book belonging to Diana (9)
DISMISSAL: Split {2’1, 6) this could imply a prayer book belonging to Diana.

7d  Motive of crime initially concealed (6)
REASON: A seven-letter word for a crime without the initial letter (initially concealed).

8d  Fancy 12 worn by twin on regular occasions (6)
NOTION: The time of day at 12:00 around (worn by) the odd letters (on regular occasions) of twin.

10d  Help one beat obstacle (8)
HANDICAP: A four-letter word for a help followed by the letter representing one and a three-letter word meaning beat.

13d  Fast and engaging task (8)
ANCHORED: The AND from the clue includes (engaging) a five-letter word for a task.

15d  European audibly scoffed sprout (9)
GERMINATE: A dodgy homophone of a European from, say, Bonn followed by a three-letter word meaning scoffed or consumed.

16d  Ambitious sort paints in an original way, captivating artist (8)
ASPIRANT: An anagram (in an original way) includes (captivating) the two-letter abbreviation for an artist.

17d  Scotsman holds up sleeveless clothing item from NW Asia (8)
ARMENIAN: A three-letter name of Scottish origin below (holds up) a seven-letter word for a clothing item without its first and last letters (sleeveless).

19d  Priest becomes hot in suit and sunglasses (6)
SHADES: The abbreviation for priest is replaced by (becomes) the abbreviation for hot in one of the suits in a pack of cards.

20d  State request to block a law without basis (6)
ALASKA: A three-letter word meaning request inside (to block) the A LAW from the clue without the final letter (without basis).

23d  Head of company retains amateur in small role (5)
CAMEO: The abbreviation for chief executive officer includes (retains) a two-letter abbreviation for amateur.

24d  Decide against revealing plan (4)
IDEA: The answer is hidden (revealing) in the first two words of the clue.

15 comments on “NTSPP 693

  1. A really enjoyable puzzle with smooth surfaces throughout – many thanks to Acnestis.
    My only query relates to the geography in 17d.
    From a host of ticked clues I’ll select 9a, 14a, 18a, 28a, 10d and 19d.

  2. Thanks Acnestis for somewhat of a head scratcher but very enjoyable challenge with caffeine needed to finish.

    Like Gazza, I would question the geography in 17d. Given that there is a lot of Russia considered to be in Asia, I would go for W rather than NW for answer.

    Smiles for 27a, 28a, 3d, 6d, and 13d.

    Thanks again and thanks in advance to Prolixic (I think).

  3. How nice to see you again, Acnestis, hope you’re breezing through the uni course?!!
    Some nice surface reads and plenty of humour in this one – my picks are 14&28a plus 3&6d.

    Many thanks for today’s NTSPP – hope we don’t have to wait too long for your next puzzle.

    1. Thanks Jane, so glad you enjoyed the puzzle.
      My time at uni’s nearly up, with just a few more weeks to go. That said, the last few weeks of semester are often the most hectic! I am sad the ride’s almost over but also excited about whatever comes next. Hopefully at least I’ll be able to devote more time to crossword setting, something I’ve had to sideline up to now.

      1. ‘Hectic’ sounds like a very polite way of describing the last few weeks at uni! I’m sure you should know by now what’s coming next but no doubt your parents have already lectured you on that score…………
        Maybe you’ll finally get the chance to pay a visit to the source of your Scottish ancestry – IF you get some gainful employment!

  4. One of the most enjoyable NTSPPs for quite a while I’d say, with misdirection and wit throughout the grid, I’ll even accept the generic “Scotsman” in 17d!
    I really liked several including 4,8,14 (even I’ve heard of him and I like the odd glass of the named beer)&18a plus 13&19d.
    Many thanks and well done Acnestis and thanks in advance to whoever reviews it.

  5. An enjoyable crossword with which to relax after a bike ride in warm sunshine – what could be better! Many fine clues received a tick from me, too many to enumerate but I will say Down beat Across by 6 ticks to 4. I’ve made myself select 3 for podium places, which Across wins by 2 to 1 – 18a, 28a and 8d, the latter misleading me nicely for a while. No complaints about geography from me, but the audible European must have been overheard in Liverpool, I think :wink:
    Thanks for the fun, Acnestis. Like Jane says, come back soon!

  6. i’ve been out for most of the day playing cricket and expected to find a lot of comments about this excellent NTSPP on my return. What a shame that only four people have commented as this puzzle certainly deserves a much wider audience.

    With so many good clues, I wouldn’t know how to begin to pick a favourite.

    Many thanks, Acnestis. Please don’t leave it so long next time!

  7. So glad went back to this again this evening. Had a look this afternoon on the mobile & ground to a halt 13 answers in without really getting on wavelength. Different story this evening on the iPad & the answers flowed nicely. Absolutely loved the puzzle & for me every bit as enjoyable as any in the DT this week. One of my all time favourite actors at 14a easily my COTW. I’ll go along with Jane’s picks for a top four plus mentions for 4&18a.
    Many thanks Acnestis

  8. What an absolute pleasure to have another puzzle from Acnestis after so long.
    Sheer delight from start to finish with great misdirection all the way through.
    Many thanks Acnestis from two compatriots.

  9. Super puzzle, very much enjoyed but also quite a challenge for us in places. Many thanks, Acnestis. Too many excellent clues to pick favourites. We look forward to your next one, hopefully in the near future.

  10. Very late to the party but we’ll worth the wait. A delightful puzzle. Thank you.
    I too have reservations about the geography of 17d and I think 15d is slightly pushing the limits of the homophone but I don’t get too worked up about such things. Compilation is difficult enough and I think you are entitled to a little poetic licence here and there. Looking forward to the next one.

  11. Many thanks for the kind comments everyone. I hope the wait won’t be as long before my next appearance.
    Sorry about the iffy geography at 17d, an embarrassing mistake for someone currently sitting two geo papers!
    Big thanks too to Mr K who is doing a wonderful job keeping everything running smoothly, and to Prolixic for the excellent review as usual. And of course best wishes to BD, whose presence at the blog is sorely missed.

  12. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, hope Acnestis gets to move up into the next league in the not too distant future.

  13. Super puzzle, not even started until yesterday evening hence the very late post. Very witty, plenty of deception, a very satisfying challenge – thank you, Acnestis. Thanks also to Prolixic for the review. As others have said, this deserves a wider audience.

    15d doesn’t really work for me (‘dodgy’ doesn’t get close!) but while I tend to think of Armenia as being quite a European country I had not problem with it being geographically in NW Asia – there’s not a lot more of Asia either West or North of it, while there’s a heap of it East and South!

    Loved the surface read of the lurker in 1a (but most of the surfaces were silk smooth anyway) and for me COTD went to the ingenious 28a.

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