NTSPP 710 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Madcap

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review by Prolixic follows


1a  Wound is no handicap (7)
SCRATCH: Double definition.

5a  Agreement vetoes right for intercourse (7)
CONTACT: A commercial agreement between parties without (vetoes) the letter R (right).

9a  Post man called (4)
MAIL: A homophone (called) of male (man).

10a  Spies not using artificial intelligence in tailing despicable father (10)
PRIESTLING: A five-letter word meaning spies followed by the tailing from the clue without (not using) the abbreviation for artificial intelligence.

12a  Common reached by street with A-road (8)
STANDARD: The abbreviation for street followed by a three-letter word meaning with, the A from the clue and the abbreviation for road.

13a  Untidy garbage mostly (6)
RAGBAG: An anagram of GARBAGE without its final letter (mostly).

14a  Not the main way to go in general (5)
BROAD: Double definition, the main way to go being an A-Road.

16a  Runner (Evesham to Stratford) excited Eva when claiming a victory (5,4)
UPPER AVON: A two-letter word meaning excited followed by the surname of the Argentinian Eva that includes (claiming) the A from the clue and the abbreviation for victory.

18a  New socialite in ruins abandoned special hair extensions (9)
SIDEBURNS: A three-letter word for a new socialite in an anagram (abandoned) of RUINS followed by the abbreviation for special.

20a  Explosive is concealed within fixed panel (5)
SHEET: The abbreviation for High Explosive inside a three-letter word meaning fixed.

23a  Tart's eaten by my parrot (6)
COPIER: A three-letter word for a tart (as in food) inside (eaten by) a three-letter word meaning my.

24a  What about beast in pen taking rap for literary legend? (8)
EPIGRAPH: A two-letter word meaning what around (about) a three-letter word for a farm animal kept in a pen or sty and the rap from the clue.

26a  Bill introduced short time before first Queen's rule (10)
ADMINISTER: A two-letter word for a bill followed by a three-letter abbreviation word for a period of time, the abbreviation for first and the regnal cipher for the queen.

27a  What lad needs to get laid daily! (3,1)
THE I: The definite article followed by the letter added to lad to get laid.

28a  Gift posted in advance? (7)
PRESENT: Split 3-4, this could mean posted in advance.

29a  Modest offering reportedly from Leith on Great British Bake-off? (7)
PRUDISH: A homophone (reportedly) of PRUE DISH. 


2d  Business to flower as offshore trader (7)
COASTER: The abbreviation for company followed by a five-letter word for a type of flower.

3d  Spent everything - going to pot (3,2)
ALL IN: Double definition.

4d  Drinks constant stimulants, they say (6)
CUPPAS: The abbreviation for constant followed by a homophone (they say) of uppers (stimulants).

6d  Old boy's always inspired, essentially correct - is he a seer? (8)
OBSERVER: The abbreviation for old boy preserving the S from ‘s followed by a four-letter word meaning always that includes (inspired) the middle letter (essentially) of correct.

7d  Advance warning - stage strike to stop the rebuilding (9)
TELEGRAPH: A three-letter word for a stage and a three-letter word meaning strike all inside (to stop) an anagram (rebuilding) of THE.

8d  Aperitif in South Africa bottled by odd characters from Congo (7)
CINZANO: The IN from the clue and the IVR code for South Africa inside (bottled by) the odd letters on Congo.

11d  Home Office section brief outlines aim: ‘primarily England nation to be sovereign’ (11)
INDEPENDENT: A two-letter word meaning home and a four-letter brief word for a section of an office includes (outlines) a three letter word meaning aim and the first letter (primarily) of England and Nation.

15d  I connect with heart of Jesus following end of prayer services (9)
AMENITIES: The I from the clue, a three-letter word mean connect and the middle letter (heart) of Jesus all follow a four-letter word used at the end of a prayer.

17d  Champion in terrible marauding - first being knocked out (8)
GUARDIAN: An anagram (terrible) of MARAUDING with the first letter removed (being knocked out).

19d  OK? It would be KO if this! (2,5)
IN ORDER: A description of being arranged alphabetically.

21d  Air is nippy (7)
EXPRESS: Double definition (nippy being used in the sense of fast).

22d  Through which your self-image will be turned around (6)
MIRROR: Cryptic definition of a reflective surface.

25d  Judged wine to contain a sediment at the bottom (5)
RATED: A three-letter word for some wine includes (to contain) the A from the clue and the last letter (at the bottom) of sediment.

11 comments on “NTSPP 710
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  1. Quite tricky but very enjoyable – many thanks to Madcap.
    My last answer was 27a (great laugh) and I also liked 16a, 29a (great spot), 2d and 15d.

  2. A nice lunchtime diversion with a mix of the friendly and the ‘what’s he on about now’. I did have to reveal letters for 10a and then check the definition the BRB. 19d made me smile so I’ll nominate that as favourite

    Thanks to Madcap and, in advance, to Prolixic

  3. A real head scratcher; caffeine most definitely required! Some e-help required to get across the finishing line especially on 10a.

    Smiles for 4a, 24a, 15d, and 25d.

    Thanks Madcap for the cranial workout but can you dial it back a little on the next one and thanks in advance to Prolixic.

  4. My goodness that was tough. There was a lot of clever clueing in evidence and it was satisfying to finish but, from my point of view, a bit too tough to be truly enjoyable.

    I’ve never heard of 10a and needed to reveal some letters to find the answer. 11a is very ingenious but a bit long-winded for my taste.

    27a was my last one in and favourite. Special mentions too for 16a, 29a & 15d.

    Many thanks to Madcap; a bit less tough next time please. Thanks too in advance to Prolixic.

  5. Really had my work cut out with this one to the point where the enjoyment was rather diminished. I did resort to electronic help in a couple of instances when I’d found the wordplay particularly unhelpful!
    Of the ones solved by myself I really enjoyed 1,27&29a plus 2&4d.

    Thanks for the challenge, Madcap, but I wonder whether you should perhaps scale back a bit to appeal to a wider audience.

  6. Too tough for us also and we had to reveal too many to enjoy the puzzle. We shall look forward to Prolixic’s explanation on some of the answers. Less tough next time, please, Madcap.

  7. That was a real workout for us although it did become a little easier once we had spotted the theme.
    Lots of ticks so we’re not going to try to select any for special mention.
    Thanks Madcap.

  8. One or two I didn’t get, and I missed the theme, but a satisfying workout nevertheless. Hadn’t come across 10ac before but it was easily got from the wordplay.
    Thanks, Madcap and Prolixic

  9. A very late comment from me! I found this rather tough and was frustrated by not being able to work out two of the clues. Nevertheless, I enjoyed most of it very much, particularly 1a, 24a, 29a and 15d. My stand-out fave was 27a.
    Many thanks to Madcap. I would really like to have an easier crossword from you next time if that’s possible…
    My grateful thanks to Prolixic for the excellent review and for enlightening me re the two clues that I couldn’t fathom.

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