NTSPP – 002 Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

NTSPP – 002 Review

NTSPP – 002 Review

Odd One Out by Prolixic

A Star is Born

+– + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

I understand that this is Prolixic’s first published crossword and it’s excellent. He easily succeeds in his stated intention of producing a range of clues which enable all blog readers to have a go. If he can manage a puzzle of this quality on his first attempt, what are they going to be like when he’s really got his eye in?

The theme is of course crossword setters (as defined in 16a). There are nine pseudonyms in total, of which eight are regular setters of either the DT Cryptic or Toughie or both, with only our very own Anax (the Odd One Out of the title) not appearing in the Telegraph (although we all believe that he should, and that it’s only a matter of time!). I’ve prefixed each of the nine names in the answers with an asterisk.


1a  Bogus American (6)
*SHAMUS – Our Cryptic setter on alternate Tuesdays is a simple charade.

4a  Signs of division? (8 )
VIRGULES – cryptic definition. The French word for commas can mean a solidus (/), used as a division sign. Prolixic nearly managed to get the name of our Sunday setter in here.

9a  Second Bill’s read to the House (5)
*RUFUS – William II (Second Bill – brilliant!), King of England 1087-1100, was known as Rufus, probably because of his red face, and red is a sound-alike (to the House, i.e. in the theatre, or, more probably given the surface reading, in the House of Commons) of read.

10a  Small lad sent back incomplete data (3)
TAD – a word for a little lad is DAT(a) reversed (sent back).

11a  One night in Quebec for an eskimo (5)
INUIT – Very imaginative use of Quebec, rather than Paris or another French city, to signal a French word. Quebec is the only Canadian province where the official language is French (and it’s a bit nearer to the inuit’s homeland than Paris!).

12a  Fleece man on board? (4)
ROOK – double definition, the rook being another name for a castle on the chessboard.

13a  Drayton’s missing lecturer (3,1)
*RAY T – if you remove DON (lecturer) from (D)RAYT(on) you’re left with one of our Tuesday setters.

14a  Large cocktail (5)
*ELGAR – an anagram (cocktail) of LARGE.

16a  Prophets house Rechabite’s dogs (7)
SETTERS – we get the theme of the puzzle by putting SEERS (prophets) around (house) TT (teetotaller, Rechabite).

17a  Disturbance created when former tax men return books (4)
RIOT – former tax men are the Inland Revenue (now called HMRC – Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs). Reverse (return) IR and add the books of the Old Testament.

18a  One jolly member (3)
ARM – a jolly is an informal name for a Royal Marine.

21a  A little while back (4)
*KCIT – just a tick backwards.

22a  Game record producer takes a couple of seconds to produce a list (7)
ITEMISE – the definition is produce a list. String together IT (playground game), EMI (record producer) and SE (a couple of letter from the start of SEconds).

25a  Small cases found in untidy suite (5)
ETUIS – an anagram (untidy) of SUITE produces small cases for holding needles and thread (a very common crossword answer, but a word I’ve never seen anywhere else).

26a  Article on American chopper (4)
*ANAX – ax is the American way of spelling axe.

27a  Nice new holder for Iris’s make-up? (4)
UVEA – probably the most difficult clue. For “Nice new” we want one of the French words (i.e. as spoken in Nice) for new – NOUVEAU – and that holds a word (previously unknown to me) which means, according to Chambers, “the posterior pigment-bearing layer of the iris of the eye”.

29a  Tim Nice But Dim? That man has a personal problem. (5)
HIMBO – cryptic definition. Put together HIM (that man) and BO (body odour, personal problem) to get a male equivalent of bimbo.

30a  Bond’s an Asian we hear (3)
TIE – sounds like (we hear) Thai.

31a  Vindictive friend takes on bridge opponents (5)
PENAL – an adjective that can mean very severe (vindictive) is constructed by putting PAL (friend) around (takes on) the letters for two opponents at the bridge table.

32a  One’s lacking in awareness of judgement (8 )
SENTENCE – start with SENTIENCE (awareness, consciousness) and remove the I (one’s lacking).

33a  Allows entrance to new stadiums without us (6)
ADMITS – an anagram (new) of STADIUMS, having first removed the U and one S (without US).


1d  Teacher wins trophy after game of Chinese Whispers. It’s unexpected. (8 )
SURPRISE – put together sounds-alike for SIR (teacher) and PRIZE (trophy). Chinese Whispers is a game in which phrases are passed, by whisper, along a chain of players, resulting in significant changes in meaning by the end, for example “Send reinforcements – we’re going to advance” may become “Send three-and-fourpence – we’re going to a dance”.

2d  When about f-face produces insults (8 )
AFFRONTS – put AS (when) around FRONT (face), not forgetting the additional F required by the stutter in the clue.

3d  Silas rues holding back Caesar’s bear (4)
URSA – the Latin word for bear (i.e. the word Caesar would have used) is hidden (holding) and reversed (back) in the clue.

5d  Admit internee is confused and uncertain (13)
INDETERMINATE – an anagram (is confused) of ADMIT INTERNEE.

6d  Superego and Id perhaps steer one in the right direction (5,5)
GUIDE ROPES – an anagram (perhaps) of SUPEREGO and ID.

7d  Slimy lizard’s hunting ground? (6)
LOUNGE – amusing cryptic definition of where a disreputable man who spends his time hanging around rich and famous people may operate.

8d  Ridicule South African flag (6)
SATIRE – put together S(outh) A(frican) and a verb meaning to flag or become exhausted.

10d  Teetotaller nurses tipsy Lancastrian across the pond (13)
TRANSATLANTIC – the definition is across the pond. The answer is an anagram of TT (teetotaller) and LANCASTRIAN. I wonder whether there is a bit of a cock-up here because “nurses” looks like it should be a container indicator (i.e. TT should be the outside letters with an anagram (tipsy) of LANCASTRIAN inside)? On the other hand, I may be missing something…

15d  The heart of a beauty? (5-5)
PEACH-STONE – cryptic definition, beauty and peach both meaning an attractive girl. Additionally, there are hundreds of varieties of peach, many of which have “beauty” in their name, e.g. Harrow Beauty.

19d  Soldier’s essential job with leading province (8 )
*GIOVANNI – string together GI (soldier), jOb (the essence, middle of job), VAN (short for vanguard, i.e. forefront, lead) and N(orthern) I(reland) (province). If I have a quibble here, it’s that van means the lead rather than leading.

20d  Basic values assumed by Penny over mistakes made taking a drug (8 )
DEFAULTS – the definition is basic values (e.g. the values automatically pre-set in a computer application unless you explicitly override them). Start with D (old penny) and add (over in a down clue) FAULTS (mistakes) with E (Ecstasy, drug) between (taking).

23d  Hospital space gets a face-lift (6)
*CEPHAS – an anagram (gets a face-lift) of H(ospital) and SPACE.

24d  Core syllabus managers (6)
*BUSMAN – the centre (core) letters of syllaBUS MANagers.

28d  Copied notice about exercises (4)
APED – AD (notice) around (about) PE.

The clues I really liked included 11a, 1d and 7d, but my favourite was 9a. If you have any more comments or queries please feel free – I’m sure that Prolixic will be willing to answer them.

8 comments on “NTSPP – 002 Review

  1. I had the pleasure of test solving this and it was indeed a cracker.
    1d, 8d and 11a were favourites for me.
    Rufus the Red fixed me in the wordlay department.

    Nice one Prolixic.

  2. Thanks Gazza for the review I struggled with 27a (new to me) and 31a as well. My favourite clues were 9a and 19d but top of the bill for me was 11a.

    Well done Prolixic – I am sure we will see more of you in the future.

  3. Brilliant puzzle and I’m delighted to have been confirmed, at last, as an odd-man-out. I never was much good as a conformist.

    Lots of favourite clues but – despite it breaking the traditional Ximenean rule whereby a homophone shouldn’t have its definition replaced by a homophone of itself – the sheer observational brilliance of 9a makes it stand out. Incidentally, implied (I think) by the explanation but not mentioned is that RUFUS sounds like RUFOUS (i.e. of a reddish/brownish colour).

    As an aside, I really do hope to join the Toughie team one day – it would be a terrific honour to work alongside the likes of Giovanni and Elgar. We can’t force these things to happen though; patience may not be the most potent weapon but may be the only sensible one.

  4. Many thanks for all the feedback on the puzzle and for the review Gazza. It was great fun setting the crossword and watching the feedback – particularly seeing those “penny drop” moments. I hope to produce some more for us all to enjoy.

Comments are closed.