NTSPP 704 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Alchemi

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

It has been a few months since we last had an Alchemi NTSPP. This one was just right for Saturday lunchtime solving and most enjoyable, the SE corner taking the longest to finish. Various solutions have connections with the solutions of 3d, 12a and 7d


1a Venerable character finally back in church daughter decorated (8)
BEDECKED: I only have to see/hear the word venerable and I immediately think of this monk and scholar. Follow his name with the abbreviation for the Church of England into which is inserted the final letter of bacK. The result is finished with the abbreviation for Daughter

5a Some grotesque becomes papa's successor (6)
QUEBEC: Hidden between the second and third words of the clue is the NATO Phonetic Alphabet code word for the letter that succeeds Papa

9a Cinematic scene change detectives crack (8)
DISSOLVE: To gradually fade out one scene in a film or TV programme and replace it with another – some abbreviated detectives (don't forget the S) and what you did to crack this crossword

10a Artist maybe left outside fighting back (6)
DRAWER: A reversal (back) of some fighting inserted into the colour associated with left-wing politics

12a See 3d (5)

13a Noted loss worried likely heir (6,3)
OLDEST SON: An anagram (worried) of NOTED LOSS

14a 7 amoebas in separate bottles (6)
BASINS: Hidden in (bottled by) amoeBAS IN Separate

16a Near punching kid later on (7)
TONIGHT: A synonym for near or miserly inserted into (punching) a young child (kid)

19a Act of French Resistance backs Luxembourg as election battleground (3,4)
RED WALL: A reversal of an act, the French word meaning of and the abbreviation for Resistance followed by the IVR Code for Luxembourg. The result is a term used in British politics to describe the UK Parliament constituencies in the Midlands and Northern England that historically supported the Labour Party. 

21a Not about shutting down (6)
LOSING: Remove the Latin abbreviation meaning about from another way of saying closing

23a One wearing 3 misgoverned, badly missing outsiders (9)
SOVEREIGN: An anagram (badly) of the inside (missing outsiders) letters of mISGOVERNEd

25a Good to interrupt terrible song (5)
DIRGE: The abbreviation for Good 'interrupting' a synonym for terrible

26a Nurse expensive charm (6)
ENDEAR: An abbreviation for a nurse and synonym for expensive

27a Ordered to be hard-hearted about dead (8)
COLLATED: Hard-hearted or without feeling into which is inserted a synonym for dead

28a Scattered fights with Spain (6)
SPARSE: Fights or boxes with the IVR Code for Spain

29a Englishman who 7 with Prince Edward? (8)
ANDERSON: An English cricketer who 7ds – a synonym for with and a cryptic way of referring to Prince Edward


1d Elderly alumnus turns up to shop (6)
BODEGA: A reversal (turns up) of a synonym for elderly and an abbreviated alumnus

2d Injured riders David and Goliath initially ignore (9)
DISREGARD: An anagram (injured) of RIDERS and the initial letters of David and Goliath

3d &12a/7d. Top politician meets black members of parliament for a game (5)
CROWN GREEN BOWLS: The top of anything, a politician from a particular political party, the abbreviation for Black and some members who collectively form a parliament

4d Most of broken souvenir looks 12 (7)
ENVIOUS: An anagram (broken) of almost all of SOUVENIr

6d Rebellions using force to split America (9)
UPRISINGS: A way of saying using force inserted into (to split) an abbreviation for America

7d See 3d (5)

8d 3s function, introducing rising singer (8)
CORONETS: A trigonometrical function into which is inserted (introducing) a reversal (rising) of a singer

11d Change what lifts all boats? (4)
EDIT: A reversal of something that lifts all boats

15d Said where semicircular canals are still outstanding (2,7)
IN ARREARS: A homophone (said) of where in a body one might find some semicircular canals

17d Produces 12 teas for brewing (9)
GENERATES: An anagram (for brewing) of the solution to 12a and TEAS

18d 3 baskets which bishops carry (8)
CROSIERS: The abbreviation for 3d and some baskets made of willow

20d Animal's home Saudi's ready to erect (4)
LAIR: A reversal (to erect) of the currency (ready) used in Saudi Arabia

21d 12 sheep (7)
LINCOLN: A variety of 12a and/or a breed of extra woolly sheep

22d Girls' night out finishing in capital area (6)
HENDON: A girls' night out, usually before a wedding, and the finishing letter of iN

24d Dvorak dances, leaving his fourth drink (5)
VODKA: An anagram (dancing) of DVOrAK omitting the fourth letter

25d Investigate 500 Tolkien characters shortly (5)
DELVE: The Roman numeral for 500 and some truncated (shortly) Tolkien characters

12 comments on “NTSPP 704
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  1. Very enjoyable puzzle – many thanks to Alchemi.
    I ticked 21a, 15d and 22d but my favourite has to be the laugh-out-loud 29a.

  2. Thanks Alchemi – for my caffeine required Saturday morning cranial workout.

    A big smile for the 3/12/7 combo when the PDM finally occurred. It would have helped if I had not temporarily forgotten the other ‘parliament.’

    Smiles for 5a, 14a, 27a, and 22d.

    Thanks again and thanks in advance to CS.

  3. An enjoyable challenge, thanks Alchemi! It was a steady and consistent puzzle to solve with each answer leading to another one with few bungs – very skilful! Faves were 5a and 22d, also liked 23a, 4d and 17d which I thought were really clever. I’m afraid I couldn’t get 21d at all but I’ll have to count them tonight instead 😴🐑😅

  4. An excellent themed puzzle, with the SE corner holding me up somewhat. Admittedly, I have been solving with one eye on the Scotland v France match.
    Lots of smiles and ticks to 19a, 29a, 3/12/7 and 11d.
    I thought you would like 29a, Gazza!
    Thank you, Alchemi and thanks in advance to CS.

  5. Thought this was a terrific guzzle with a host of excellent witty clues. The pennies were a good deal more reluctant to drop down south & haven’t a scooby what 3 baskets has do with last in 18d but otherwise all sorted I think once I’d figured out 21a&d. Ticks for/particular likes – the 3/12/7 combo plus 5,19&29a along with 6,15&22d. Jimmy probably just edges it as fav ahead of the girls in NW London & the homophone
    Many thanks Alchemi & in advance to CS

    1. At 18d, Chambers has the first two letters as an abbreviation for 3d, although I don’t remember seeing it before in crosswordland?
      The rest of the solution is the baskets.

  6. Think I’m in the wrong part of the UK to know the 21d sheep so that was a case of relying on the checkers but I managed everything else OK – even the bowler!
    Ticks went to 1, 21,27&29a plus 15d (after the penny dropped!). Special mention for the 3/12/7 combo.

    Thanks to Alchemi for a very enjoyable NTSPP.

  7. Great puzzle; very enjoyable but am I the only one who never sees a theme?!! Lots of great clues. Don’t get 29A but it had to be that. Favourites were 15D & the simple but very effective 20D. Thanks Alchemi

  8. We needed a Google search for both 19a and 29a as they were new to us, but we did have them from the wordplay.
    A thoroughly enjoyable Sunday morning solve for us.
    Thanks Alchemi.

  9. Once I got 3/12/7 it all came together fairly well but I struggled in the SE corner. I was tempted for ages to put ‘absent’ for 21ac but it didn’t seem quite right and eventually the correct answer occurred to me; once I got that and 27ac I was able to finish, although I took ages to see the parsing of 29ac. Thanks, Alchemi.

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