NTSPP 702 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Shabbo

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.


Shabbo's turn to provide our Saturday lunchtime cruciverbal entertainment


1a &4. Way to get one over city banker (6)
LONDON BRIDGE: A cryptic definition of a way of going over the banker of our capital city

4a See 1a (6)

9a Produced cheese in retirement (4)
MADE: A reversal (in retirement) of a type of cheese

10a Marine protected area about to replace coral finally (5,5)
GREEN BERET: An informal term for a commando (marine) – take a protected area of land surrounding a town and replace the final letter of coraL with the usual two-letter 'about' or on the subject of

11a Agreement to have second wedding outside (6)
UNISON: A wedding goes outside the abbreviation for Second

12a Colleague cooked meat twice (8)
TEAMMATE: Two different results when you make an anagram (cooked) of MEAT twice

13a Excellent paint creates warm covering (9)
GREATCOAT: A synonym of excellent and a layer of paint

15a Non-essential green energy will take off (4)
SOAR: A type of green energy without its middle letter (non-essential)

16a Dish sounds very French (4)
TRAY: A homophone of the French word for very

17a Cut off behind small wood (4,5)
RUMP STEAK: A behind, the abbreviation for Small and a type of wood  Shabbo agreed with earlier comment posters that the word off in the clue was redundant

21a Party having gone downhill fast (5-3)
APRÈS-SKI: A cryptic definition of a party following going fast downhill on snow

22a Speculation that politician inhales laughing gas (6)
THEORY: A politician 'inhales' the chemical symbol for helium which isn't actually laughing gas (nitrous oxide) but may cause people to laugh at you if you've inhaled some of it and are talking with a distorted voice

24a Hostile sailor fellow from down under... (10)
ANTIPODEAN: A preposition meaning hostile, against; an abbreviated naval officer (sailor) and a fellow of a college

25a ...went back to sea (4)
DEEP: A reversal (back) of an informal way of saying urinated (went)

26a Sample appetizer (6)
TASTER: Double definition

27a Chaplains' secretary has short clothing (6)
PADRES: An abbreviated secretary and a truncated (short) item of clothing


1d Student left profitable job (7)
LEARNER: The abbreviation for Left and an informal term for a profitable job

2d Requires massages by the sound of it (5)
NEEDS: A homophone (by the sound of it) of a way of saying massages

3d Slice from Borg, an ice-cool natural (7)
ORGANIC: Hidden in a 'slice' of bORG AN ICe

5d Fugitive loses heart on the tarmac (6)
RUNWAY: Remove the middle letter (loses heart) from a fugitive

6d Good-looker met abroad when drunk (9)
DREAMBOAT: An anagram (when drunk) of MET ABROAD

7d Choose alternative constituent (7)
ELECTOR: A verb meaning to choose and a conjunction used to introduce an alternative

8d The new stadium adapted for footballers (4,3,6)
WEST HAM UNITED: An anagram (adapted) of THE NEW STADIUM, gives a football team which moved into this stadium adapted from the one used at the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics

14d Strange media accounts about dons? (9)
ACADEMICS: An anagram (strange) of MEDIA and ACCS (accounts)

16d Best winger's hairstyle (7)
TOPKNOT: Best or highest and a type of small shore bird

18d Preferred college article on plant (7)
PETUNIA: Preferred or favourite, an abbreviated college and an indefinite article

19d Bald Eastender? Close! (7)
AIRLESS: How someone from the East End, who wouldn't sound his Hs, might describe someone bald

20d Vocally encourage onto land (6)
ASHORE: A homophone (vocally) of a verb meaning to give confidence (encourage)

23d Swimmer denied beer ignoring all the odds (5)
EIDER: A sea-duck (swimmer) is found in the even (ignoring all the odds) letters of dEnIeD bEeR

17 comments on “NTSPP 702
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  1. Shabbo has given us another enjoyable puzzle – thanks to him.
    I’m not sure about 17a – is ‘behind’ doing double duty?
    Pick of the clues for me were 1/4a, 3d and 19d.

    1. My ‘take’ on 17a is that ‘off’ is probably not required – Cut behind small wood seems to work quite well.

  2. Thank you Shabbo – very enjoyable and a perfect accompaniment to my first caffeine of the day assisted by some almost cringeworthy oldies but goodies such as 9a and 8d.

    Smiles for 1a, 21a, 18d, and 20d.

    Thanks again and thanks again to CS.

  3. Very enjoyable solve – many thanks Shabbo and thanks to CrypticSue in advance for the review. One main query, in 22a, I thought that laughing gas was Nitrous Oxide, not Helium as required by the solution.

    1. Full marks for technical accuracy, Prolixic, but sadly a lot of people (not just kids) do inhale Helium, often from a balloon filled with same, to give everyone a laugh. Have to admit, it is good for a laugh if not for one’s health.

  4. Thanks Shabbo. A light delight which I’ve just bigged up on SPP comments. Perfect while I put the Sky Open coverage on hold so that I can whizz through the next couple of ad breaks. I thought for 17a A cut behind small wood might have read rather well as it might have misleadingly suggested a passageway. 10a my fav among a number of ticks.

  5. Thanks, Shabbo. We started really well but we also thought laughing gas was nitrous oxide and the SE corner caused us some problems. We need to see CS’s parsing of a couple tomorrow. Favourites were 19d, 1a, 5d. We look forward to more from you.

  6. Really enjoyed that, thank you Shabbo. I had the same issue with 17a as others have noted above, and I need Sue’s notes tomorrow to parse one, but otherwise had lots of ticks all over the place. Thanks in advance also to Sue.

  7. A slight stumble with the laughing gas but the rest all slotted in reasonably smoothly.
    Lots of chuckles along the way in a most enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Shabbo.

  8. Thank you all for your very kind comments and many apologies for the incorrect gas in 22a. Mea culpa – it is certainly no laughing matter for me.
    I am now off in search of birch twigs…
    Please excuse the blatant self-publicity, but if you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy my puzzle in the Independent tomorrow.
    Fingers crossed that the Manchester weather will allow the test match to be completed.
    Thanks in advance to CS.

  9. Enjoyed this, and now in the middle of Shabbo’s offering in the Indy – where I fancy I’ve seen one of the clues before …

  10. Very enjoyable and nice to have a Saturday-style to do on a Sunday afternoon – thanks to the setter 👍 6d and 8d both fab anagrams, 10a and 17a needed the wits pitted against them! 25a really took the proverbial 😉

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