NTSPP – 011 Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 011 Review

NTSPP – 011 Review

A Puzzle by Anax

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Anax promised us a gentle stroll through a cryptic crossword. This was the case. In style, it was firmly within the Daily Telegraph crossword tradition and should be approachable for all levels of ability.

Unusually for an Anax crossword, there were a few clues that I thought were a little on the weak side. I have highlighted these below.

The answers to the clues are contained within the squiggly brackets and if you highlight the space with your mouse, all will be revealed. Feel free to have your say after the blog, and you can rate the puzzle by clicking the stars as well.


4a It may be split to give a penny each (3)
{PEA} – This type of vegetable may be split. It comes from an abbreviation for penny plus an abbreviation for each.

9a Wicked Miss McCartney, Head of Resources (7)
{STELLAR} – The definition is wicked (as in great rather than evil). Take the name of one of the McCartney girls and add an R (head of resources) to the end.

10a Tea’s ready! I’ll get the bread (7)
{CHAPATI} – The definition is a type of bread. The wordplay requires another word for tea, a word for ready (as in having something off pat) plus an I (disguised within the I’ll).

11a Stock car tracks (5)
{CARRY} – One of the weak clues! The definition is stock (as in a shop that may stock a particular item). The wordplay needs the word “car” given in the clue plus a word for tracks (an abbreviation for railway). I’m not overly keen on a clue that gives you three fifths of the answer as a word in the wordplay. What do you think?

12a Singer regularly appears in composer’s green coat? (9)
{VERDIGRIS} – The definition is a green coat (caused by the weathering of copper). To get the answer we need a composer of a well known requiem, retaining the S at the end and put this around the regular (even) letters of singer.

13a He is not worried about university being best (8)
{OUTSHINE} – I originally spent too long trying to get a word meaning optimal/optimist as the answer! The definition is best (as in beat, not the top). You find this from an anagram (worried) of HE IS NOT placed around an abbreviation for University.

15a I am to sit in saddle (6)
{IMPOSE} – The definition is saddle. The “in” is a link word but cleverly disguised by its use in the phrase “sit in saddle”. The answer comes from the abbreviated form of I am plus a word meaning to sit, as in sit for an artist.

17a Being wild, roam like Manx cat! (11,4)
{EXCLAMATION MARK} – The definition in this clue is not a word! It is !. The answer is an anagram (being wild) of ROAM LIKE MANX CAT. Brilliant!

19a Play with duck paté ingredient (6)
{OLIVER} – The definition is a play, or more often a musical, that comes from crossword land’s abbreviation for a duck (zero) plus an ingredient of paté, particularly paté du fois gras.

21a Man tasked to provide her with novel clues (8)
{HERCULES} – The definition is a man of legend who was given twelve tasks to perform. The answer comes from HER (already given in the clue) plus an anagram (novel) of clues. Another weak clue in my book. Anax may have got away with this once, but to have three clues like this – hmm.

24a A knockout competition? (4,5)
{MISS WORLD} – A cryptic definition of a competition to decide which lady is the best stunner.

25a Winch, one restrained by anchor (5)
{HOIST} – The definition is winch. It comes from a word for anchor (as in someone who presents a news or sports program) with an I (one) inside (restrained).

26a Experience nudge or spin (7)
{UNDERGO} – The definition is experience. The wordplay is an anagram of NUDGE OR indicated by spin.

27a Fashion that embodies the season (7)
{WEATHER} – The definition is season (as to be affected by the passage of time). We take a word for to fashion and put the THE already given in the wordplay inside.

28a Players want the writer’s direction (3)
{MEN} – The definition is players (who might be chess pieces or member of a rugby team, etc). The clue requires us to take a pronoun for the writer (of the crossword) and add a direction on the end.


1d Film starts with piercing scream – you can hear one (6)
{PSYCHO} – The definition is a well known Alfred Hitchcock film. The answer comes from the initial letters of piercing scream – you can hear one. As the films starts with a piercing scream, the wordplay here is delicious.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

2d Unstable person to cure in treatment (8)
{NEUROTIC} – The definition is an unstable person. The answer comes from an anagram (treatment) of TO CURE IN.

3d Rush off carrying a slate (4)
{FLAY} – The definition is slate (as in criticise). Take a word meaning rush off and put an A inside to find the answer.

4d Style of cooking shown to have minimal calories (9)
{PROVENÇAL} – The definition is a style of cooking (French) coming from a word meaning shown plus an abbreviation (minimal) of calories (as in lo-cal).

5d Blimey! It’s in an oak tree seed (5)
{ACORN} – The definition is oak tree seed. The trick here is finding the wordplay as the answer is obvious. Take a word often used with or in place of blimey and put it inside AN.

6d Being influential, furious after A-list is broadcast (10)
{TALISMANIC} – The definition is being influential (the sort of person with tons of charisma perhaps). The wordplay comes from an anagram (broadcast) of A-LIST followed by a word meaning frantic.

7d Hotel atmosphere party possibly dreads? (6)
{HAIRDO} – The definition is “dreads?” The question mark alerts us that the definition is not a usual one (think dreadlocks rather than terror). The answer is a simple combination of the abbreviation for Hotel plus a word for atmosphere followed by a word for party.

8d Do what Hilary Clinton did – fail to reach the top (8)
{MISSPEAK} – The definition refers to an incident where Hilary Clinton’s campaign managers retracted claims of her having to dodge sniper fire in Bonsnia claiming she “misspoke”. The answer comes from a charade of fail to reach plus the top.

14d Pulled up? First, pull up (10)
{HEAVENWARD} – A lot is packed into this delightful clue. The definition is up. First we need word for pull (yo-*****-ho style). This is then followed by a word for pulled that is reversed (up) in the answer.

16d Quilt widened or knitted (9)
{EIDERDOWN} – The definition is quilt. The answer comes from an anagram of WIDENED OR indicated by knitted.

17d Generous portion of chicken or moussaka (8)
{ENORMOUS} – The definition is generous. The answer is a hidden word (portion of) inside chicken or moussaka. Another well written clue with the break between the wordplay and definition disguised.

18d Quite acceptable, if one-sided (3,5)
{ALL RIGHT} – A double definition. We need a word meaning quite acceptable that has the same meaning as if everything were on one side rather than the other.

20d Having entered pub, moaned audibly? (6)
{INSIDE} – The definition is having entered (where would you be if you had done so). The answer comes from a sound alike clue (audibly) using the words pub (INN) and moaned (SIGHED).

22d “Bringer of Old Age” as funny cabaret act (6)
{SATURN} – The definition is “bringer of old age”, the planet in Holst’s Planet Suite. The answer is derived from an anagram (funny) of AS (this part should not be too difficult!) plus another word for a cabaret act. Although an anagram of a two letter word is unusual, here it works perfectly in the wordplay.

23d Prepare to see effect of gravity on space (5)
{GROOM} – The definition is prepare (as in rehearse someone for a particular role). The answer comes from the abbreviation for gravity on another word for space. The “to see effect of” are a rather long link word phrase.

25d Try to get into the army (4)
{HEAR}. The definition is try (as in a lawsuit or criminal prosecution). It comes from a hidden word (get into) in the army.

[My apologies for the late publication of this post.  Prolixic sent it to me on the day the puzzle was published  I had originally intended to hold it over for a day or two – but not for this long!  BD]

1 comment on “NTSPP – 011 Review

  1. Many thanks Prolixic!

    Yes, this one did have a couple of gimmes in it – in trying to pitch this one at the easier end of things I possibly went slightly too far. As for 23d though, the use of G was influenced by official instructions for Times setters; we’re not allowed to clue G simply as “gravity” – we have to specify that it’s an effect thereof.

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