NTSPP 707 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Happy Song by Chalicea

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Even allowing for the words no-one knew, this was a fairly friendly Saturday lunchtime puzzle from Chalicea with a themed ear worm


1a Ordinary prohibition on good south eastern coins (6)
OBANGS: An old Japanese (eastern) oblong gold coin – The abbreviation for Ordinary, a prohibition, and the abbreviations for Good and South

5a Roman general, a grand almost rich old Latin adult (8)
AGRICOLA: A (from the clue), the abbreviation for Grand, almost all of RICh, the abbreviations for Old Latin and Adult

9a Tail of fine bovine animal to groom (3-5)
FOX-BRUSH: The abbreviation for Fine, a bovine animal and a verb meaning to groom

10a Small, pudgy, short and blunt (6)
STUBBY: The abbreviation for Small and a synonym for round and fat (pudgy)

11a One French revolutionary almost considered damned (10)
UNREDEEMED: The French masculine indefinite article, almost all of the colour associated with things revolutionary and a synonym for considered

12a Rent in elite area (4)
TEAR: Hidden in the last two words of the clue

13a 4 o'clock pause, snack finally dropped for last of baked sweetened buns (3,5)
TEA BREAD: A pause you might take at 4 o'clock with the K (snack finally dropped) replaced by the last letter of bakeD The BRB definition does mention the word 'buns but I've only eaten it as illustrated'!

16a Amatory poem to quote back about Romeo and love (6)
EROTIC: A reversal (back) of a synonym for quote goes 'about' the letter represented by Romeo in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet and the letter representing love or nothing

17a Old euphemistic oath said emptily and easily for Ed (6)
'SDEATH: The outside (emptily) letters of SaiD and an (archaic) synonym for easily used by Edmund Spenser

19a Ring about luck start to finish; this ugly young thing might become a beauty! (8)
DUCKLING: A verb meaning to ring goes about LUCK (from the clue) once you have moved the first (start) letter to the end (finish)

21a Part of Caesarean section (4)
AREA: Hidden in the third word of the clue

22a Cold season's curiously wet interim (10)
WINTERTIME: An anagram (curiously) of WET INTERIM

25a Solitary, left just holding souvenirs essentially (6)
LONELY: The abbreviation for Left and an adverb meaning just 'holding' or having inserted the 'essential' letter of souvEnirs

26a Achievement that lady finally plays down (8)
FEATHERS: An achievement, a pronoun meaning that lady and the final letter of playS

27a Give variety and intensity or no clue after a fashion (8)
ENCOLOUR: An anagram (after a fashion) of OR NO CLUE

28a Affirmative vote expressed to allow very small hole (6)
EYELET: A homophone (expressed) of an affirmative vote and a verb meaning to allow


2d Tanned forehead and tip of nose (5)
BROWN: The forehead and the 'tip' of Nose

3d Aristocrat's historical gold coin (5)
NOBLE: An aristocrat or an old gold coin

4d In trouble, they use a kip (4-3)
SHUT-EYE: An anagram (in trouble) of THEY USE

5d Feeling embarrassed when top journalist consumes pig meat (7)
ASHAMED: A synonym for when and the top journalist 'consumes' some pig meat

6d Cunningly I reused leftover bit (7)
RESIDUE: An anagram (cunningly) of I REUSED

7d Trapped, we hear, a silly person - a jester (5,4)
COURT FOOL: A homophone (we hear) of trapped followed by a silly person

8d Balance reactionary atmosphere with hint of novelty for one caring for books (9)
LIBRARIAN: The constellation also known as The Balance and a reversal (reactionary) atmosphere, followed by a 'hint' of Novelty

14d Red that is turning up on blue duvet (9)
EIDERDOWN: A reversal (turning up) of RED (from the clue) and the abbreviation meaning that is, followed by blue or miserable

15d Be aware of and cunningly take a bow involving Spain (2,5,2)
BE AWAKE TO: An anagram (cunningly) of TAKE A BOW 'involving' the IVR Code for Spain

18d Why dodo sadly creates troublesome state of affairs (5-2)
HOWDY-DO: An anagram (sadly) of WHY DODO

19d Completed half of eight, we hear, and wiped out (4,3)
DONE FOR: A synonym for completed and a homophone (we hear) of half of eight

20d Burn hollowed out elm in a box (7)
CREMATE: The outside (hollowed out) letters of ElM inserted into a box

23d Tittering laugh of man surrounded by support (2-3)
TE-HEE: A man surrounded by a golf support

24d Some upset keg remains to be swallowed up (5)
MERGE: Hidden in reverse (up) in kEG REMains

Ten solutions came from Danny Kaye's song of the Ugly Duckling.

21 comments on “NTSPP 707
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  1. After the SPP, except perhaps for 17a, this was a most welcome puzzle to wake up to.

    Smiles for 16a, 7d, and 19d.

    Thanks Chalicea and thanks in advance to CS.

  2. Lovely jubbly. A light, fun, themed puzzle just right for the NTSPP slot.

    1a was a new word for me but readily derived from the wordplay. 17a was also a new word for me which I only found by guessing that the first two letters might be SD and looking that up in the BRB. Having done so, I am not sure why “for Ed” is needed for the wordplay.

    7d was my favourite.

    I did think that 15d was a bit weak as the first two words of the answer appear in the clue with just one letter changed.

    I found 10 themed answers. Are there any more?

    Many thanks to Chalicea and in advance to CS.

      1. Thanks Sue, I see. It never occured to me that the poet mentioned in the BRB as an example of someone who used the archaic synonym for “easily” might be referred to as Ed!

  3. Smiler of a puzzle and, like RD, I’ve found 10 themed elements and also now have an ear worm!
    Despite the hint from CS, I’m still unsure of the correct parsing of part of 17a and I think my idea of 13a is rather different from that of our setter.

    Thanks to Chalicea for the ‘happiness’ and to CS for her second helping of Saturday hints. By the way, Sue, couple of books I’ve read recently that you might enjoy – All The Broken Places (John Boyne’s follow-up to The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas) and The Marriage Portrait (Maggie O’Farrell). I’ve put your recommend of yesterday onto my list – sounds quite interesting.

    1. Our setter looked in the BRB before she defined 13a

      I haven’t got time for reading today – in between keeping an eye on the blog and two separate pans of jam boiling away (damson and peach), I’ve also test solved a crossword destined for the Guardian. I’ve read the second of your recommendations and will keep an eye out for the other when our library reopens (it has been closed since early July for refurbishment

  4. Well done Chalicea! The ear worm got me at 22a and has been swimming around in my brain ever since!

    Perfect puzzle to do while thunder and lightning outside my window scaring all the 19a residents on the lake opposite.

    Some new words for me to work out but thoroughly enjoyable.

    Thanks to Chalicea and CS.

  5. I echo Rabbit Dave’s comments, including the count of ten! Still can’t parse second half of 17a so await CS’s hints for that. Gentle and good fun. Thanks Chalicea and CS in advance.

  6. Threw in the towel at 17a & other than the SD starter bit can’t parse it either. Both coins needed a check as did the general & the state of affairs only rang a vague bell. Great fun & much more so than the SPP. I found 10 themers but only after listening to renditions on Spotify by Danny Kaye, the great Bernard Cribbins & (just to see how bad he was) Mike Reid. Pinky & Perky do a version too – now that’s an earworm you don’t want
    Thanks Chalicea & in advance to CS

  7. We solved the puzzle with a lot of enjoyment and a few dictionary checks but it took us ages to dig in the depths of memory to twig the theme. Eventually got it (or one of the team did).
    Thanks Chalicea.

  8. For me, this was by far the best crossword of the week. 17a was very difficult; for one thing, I couldn’t imagine a word starting with the two letters that the answer actually does start with. I can see what 24d is, but the surface read seems to imply a ‘d’ on the end of the answer? Even if so, that doesn’t spoil an enjoyable crossword. Thanks Chalicea.

      1. Thanks Sue. Yes, that is true. Although, without the words ‘to cause’, 24d seemed to want a ‘d’. In other words I would have thought ‘to be swallowed up’, is ‘to be 24d’ with a d, and ‘to swallow up’ (and as you say ‘to cause to be swallowed up’) would be ‘to 24d’. Anyway, it was a lurker so it’s fine. Thanks for the hints. I don’t know how you fit everything into a day!

  9. Many thanks for the review, CS, and also for the illustration of 13a which accords with my own ideas of same. Think I’ll hang onto the ear worm for another day – far more pleasant than the one used by our blogger on today’s back-pager!
    Thanks again to Chalicea for the puzzle, despite 17a!

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