NTSPP – 021 (Review)

NTSPP – 021 (Review)

A puzzle by Biddle

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Welcome to Peter Biddlecombe as the lastest in a long line of professional setters. With his recent debut in the Church Times, he joins the ranks of Anax, Tim Moorey and Bufo as those who have had their crosswords appear in print and who have appeared in the Not The Saturday Prize Puzzle series.   I hope that this will be the first of many from Biddle on the site.

This was a themed crossword based on the recent epic 11 hour match at Wimbledon. For someone who is not a follower of tennis, I needed to research some of the older players! Because of the theme and the need to work some complex names into the wordplay, some of the clues were not as smooth as I might have liked but this did not detract from a fine puzzle. There are a few minor comments that I have made in the notes below.

1a See 16a
5a Your life could be saved by this dry, unattractive woman (3,3)
{AIR BAG} – a word for dry and a word for an unattractive woman (often preceded by “old”) gives a name for a car safety device that may save your life.

9a Near box is one running something 20 25 and 27 6 almost needed recently (5,6)
{NIGHT VISION} – A cryptic reference to the length of time this epic tennis match took – the players would have needed this if play had continued after dark.

11a Acceptable in service? 27 6 could barely do this at the end (3)
{RUN} – A one letter word for acceptable put inside an abbreviation for the navy (service) gives a word for something that a player tired out after a long tennis match would be unable to do.

12a Lower man, so long as high-up woman follows (6)
{HEIFER} – You need to split the wordplay in the clue carefully here. The definition is “lower”, in the sense of a kind of cow. The answer is made up from a pronoun for a man, a word meaning “so long as” followed by an abbreviation for a high-up lady whose surname is Windsor.

13a Patience, perhaps, in each heart of batter returning after duck (8)
{OPERETTA} – Patience is an example of this sort of music. After an O, for duck, put a word meaning “for each” and the central letters of bATTEr reversed.

15a A lady who could be trembly, with second letter missing (6)
{MYRTLE} – A lady’s name is the answer. It comes from an anagram (could be) of “trembly” with the second letter removed. Note that the second letter is not “r” but the second letter of the alphabet!

16a/1a His parallel race confused one in long contest against 1D, 8. (7,8)
{CHARLIE PASARELL} – I had to dive into the archives of Wikipedia to find the name of this player who took part in an epic 1969 tennis match that lasted 5 hours and 12 minutes. The BBC Sports web pages say “It is unlikely it will ever be beaten due to the introduction of tie-breaks.” I think that they may need to amend this!

19a Northern editor discovered with whiskey in respected publishing organisation confessed to crimes (5,2)
{OWNED UP} – The clue is a little on the wordy side but the wordplay can be unravelled to give the answer which is “confessed to crimes”. Take a respected publishing organisation and, inside it, put abbreviations for Northern, Editor and Whiskey. A personal preference here is that I would prefer the abbreviation elements in the wordplay to appear in the same order in the clue.

21a Conclusion I’ve come to: I can be used in salads (6)
{ENDIVE} – The answer is a salad ingredient. The wordplay requires a word for “conclusion” with the letters “I’ve” added to the end. I am not a great fan of transplanting words in the wordplay directly into the answer. Here, it could have been mildly disguised by “I have” as the wordplay.

24a Bridge? Actually it’s 26 that’s been played a few miles from here recently (8)
{RICHMOND} – A lesser known bridge across the Thames is the answer (although it may not be lesser known if you live in the London Borough from which it takes its name). A few miles away is Wimbledon, the venue for the theme for this crossword. I though that this was one of the few weak clues in the crossword.

26a Error on net returns? A source of income for 16 1A, 1D 8, 20 25 and 27 6 (6)
{TENNIS} – This gives us the theme for the crossword. Take a three letter word for an error and add the word “net” reversed on the end to give the game away!

28a Pass short message to religious community (3)
{COL} – Double definition. The word for a mountain pass is also an abbreviation for the letter to the Colossians.

29a S, or R in some countries? (4,2,5)
{HEAD OF STATE} – One of my favourite clues. The Latin abbreviation for King or Queen is R. This person occupies a position that is the answer. The S in the wordplay also appears in the answer, defined by the answer itself – if that makes sense!

30a Find a new home? That’s about it in the home counties (6)
{RESITE} – The answer is a word meaning to find a new home. The wordplay requires a word meaning about plus an abbreviation for the home counties with an IT put inside.

31a Home care for little chap, possibly beloved (8)
{INTENDED} – Add together words for home, care and an affectionate name for Edward to give someone who would be your beloved.


1d/8d Speedy follower in cartoons chasing kitchen equipment around house for 26 star. (6,8)
{PANCHO GONZALES} – The answer is the tennis player who beat 16a/1a in 1969. The speedy follower in cartoons is not, I think, Speedy Gonzales himself but Capulina Speedy Gonzales, a Mexican comic actor who appeared in a film based on the cartoon character. His first name needs to be abbreviated in the answer. The actor follows (chasing) a word for kitchen equipment (in the singular rather than the plural) and all of this put around an abbreviation for house. This all seems very complicated – It is the only way I could justify the C in the answer. If you have a better solution, please let me know.

2d Mean return for soldiers, provided in American city (7)
{SIGNIFY} – The answer is a word for “mean”, as in intend. Take a word in the plural for American soldiers and reverse it and add a two letter abbreviation for the Big Apple (an American city). The two letter abbreviation itself contains a two letter word meaning “provided”.

3d Went back to pay for drug, though owing money (9)
{RETREATED} – The answer is a word for went back. We need a word for owing money – in the *** and include within it a drug and a word meaning to pay – as it it’s my *****.

4d Look! It’s timeless superhero’s girlfriend (4)
{LOIS} – The answer is Superman’s girlfriend. Take a word meaning look and it’s without the T to give the answer.

Superman was flying over New York when he saw Wonder Woman lying out on her balcony completely naked enjoying the sunshine. Passion got the better of him, and moving faster than a speeding bullet, he flew down and had his wicked way with her. “What was that?,” said Wonder Woman. “I don’t know” replied the Invisible Man, “but it hurt like hell”.

6d See 27d
7d Take back last criminal in offenders’ institution (7)
{BORSTAL} – The answer is an institution where young criminals are sent. It is found for a word meaning take that is reversed and added to an anagram of “last” (criminal).

8d See 1d

10d Fashionable part of trousers making a profit (2,6)
{IN POCKET} – The answer is a word meaning a profit. I mislead myself by ignoring the enumeration and writing in INCREASE as the first answer! The IN was correct (fashionable), but the part of the trousers I needed was where wallets, keys, hankies, etc are stored.

14d Communist played with a resident of China (3,5)
{RED PANDA} – This bear is a resident of China. Take a word for communist, an abbreviation for played, a conjunction indicated by with and the final letter A to find the answer. The abbreviation P for played is not a common one. It does not appear in Chambers.

17d He gets line put in a box by someone else (9)
{ADDRESSEE} – A nice cryptic definition of the person to whom a letter is sent.

18d One enjoying a quick trip, once found in Capri? (3,5)
{BOY RACER} – This person who likes to drive fast may once have done so in a Ford Capri.

20d/25d Outlast machine, maybe? – Energy and grit finally lacking, he couldn’t outlast 27 6 (7,5)
{NICHOLAS MAHUT} – This tennis player who starred in the recent 11+ hour match at Wimbledon is found from an anagram of “outlast machine” having first removed the E for energy and T (the final letter of grit).

22d Graves, perhaps, in French territory – territory visited by Vikings long ago (7)
{VINLAND} – Graves is a type of wine. Take the French word for wine and add it to a word for territory to find the name of a territory said to have been discovered by the Vikings and now known as North America.

23d Dances around mount (6)
{ASCEND} – An anagram of dances gives us a word for mount (in its verbal form).

25d See 20d

27d/6d Conqueror of 20 25, unpopular king is nothing short of a tyrant (4,5)
{JOHN ISNER} – The other participant in the epic 11+ hour match and ultimate victor is found from an unpopular king (who is associated with the Magna Carta), the word IS, and a Roman emperor (a tyrant who is reputed to have fiddled whilst Rome burned) after the final O has been removed.


  1. tilly
    Posted July 4, 2010 at 11:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Re 1d – i thought it was an abbreviation for kitchen equipment (pan) + around (c) + house (ho). Speedy follower in cartoons is the surname of the cartoon character. Or not?

    • Posted July 5, 2010 at 9:05 am | Permalink | Reply

      I test-solved this for Biddle, and missed the P = Played. Seems strange that O(vers) M(aidens) R(uns) W(ickets) and other cricketing terminology are included but not P(layed) L(ost) or D(rawn) – W(on) is in but only as Korean currency.

      Prolixic is giving away his age by not knowing about Pancho and Charlie!


      • tilly
        Posted July 5, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

        …or Vic Seixas!

    • Posted July 5, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Tilly: right on both points – “Speedy follower in cartoons” just meant “The word that comes after Speedy in cartoons”. I’m a bit too young to remember the cartoons, but remember the name well because it was used for me by the marvellous lady who taught me maths for most of my secondary school career.

      • Posted July 5, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Or mostly right – “pan” is “kitchen equipment” in my kitchen, not an abbreviation for anything else.

        • tilly
          Posted July 5, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Yes, that’s what i mean to say but wrote it after husband’s VERY BIG BIRTHDAY celebration – enough said!

  2. Posted July 5, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for the analyses Prolixic – clearing up a few points:

    9A was supposed to be a charade – near=NIGH, box=TV, is=IS, one=1, running (as of a machine)=ON

    19A W isn’t an abbreviation for “whiskey” – “whiskey” is the radio alphabet word for W, so if p stands for piano, arguably whiskey stands for W.

    24A The idea was to contrast bridge and tennis as games, but I must admit that following up with a fairly obvious indication of a placename probably killed any deception. Element ordering: we’ll have to agree to differ on that one.

    1D/8D – the C was supposed to come from “around” = circa = C – a possibly cheeky change from the usual “about”.

    3D “treat” was supposed to be “to pay for” as in “we treated you at lunch today”

    14D: I don’t use Chambers as a list of abbreviation possibilities – I thought P=played was easy enough from league tables for football and the like. Concise Oxford has it, though their expansion of P means I should arguaby have written “Communist games played …”

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