NTSPP – 032 (Review)

NTSPP – 032 (Review)

A crossword by Anax

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

Anax plays bass guitar in a band. His musical tastes have, however, plumbed new depths in the theme to this puzzle. A number of the clues refer to words that appear in the song that is the answer to 14a/7d. Rolf Harris has a lot to answer for!

The theme was very well done and this was great fun to solve. There are some nicely hidden definitions and tricky wordplay to get to grips with.

Favourite clues are highlighted in blue.


1a Skin in verse 7 something to do with verse 4 because of “Abos” (4)
{HIDE} – The answers is a word for skin found in verse 7 of the theme song. The reference to this being something to do with verse 4 is an allusion to the removal of verse 4 from later recordings of the song because of its offensive references to Aborigines.

3a Did Ginger Spice play old instrument in verse 6? (10)
{DIDGERIDOO} – This musical instrument in verse 6 of the theme song is a charade of did + the name of ginger spice + a word meaning to play + an abbreviation for old. Great minds clearly think alike as a very similar clue appeared recently in one of Giovanni’s crosswords “Did one of the Spice Girls do nothing that might appeal to Aussie music lovers

10a In verse 1, watch them feed salt into idiots (9)
{WALLABIES} – Animals referred to in verse 1 of the theme song can be found from putting an abbreviation for a sailor (salt) inside a word for idiots.

11a Swore, getting married after verse 0 (5)
{VOWED} – The answer is a word for swore. This is the clue where the use of verse does not refer to the song. Take a charade of an abbreviation for verse + O + married to find the solution.

12a Brass creates low note (6)
{MOOLAH} – Another word for brass (as in money) is made up from a charade of low (as in the noise a cow makes) + a musical note.

13a Doctor has to use area of Portsmouth (8)
{SOUTHSEA} – This area of Portsmouth is a nag a ram (doctor) of “has to use”.

14a/7d Down Under song predating Men At Work, so career to include two discs (3,2,8,4,5)
{TIE ME KANGEROO DOWN SPORT} – This Australian theme song is an anagram (career) of “predating men at work so” with an additional two O’s (include two disks).

18a Perhaps steel mesh coils dampened around cross over the dead (8,5)
{EXPANDED METAL} – The answer is a term (new to me) for “steel mesh”. The wordplay is complex. Take an anagram (coils) of dampened and put this around the letter X (cross). Finally, add a word for dead and reverse it (over).

22a In verse 2 it should be cool to prepare to shoot at ducks (8)
{COCKATOO} – The answer is an animal found in verse 2 of the theme song. Take a word meaning to prepare a gun for firing (for which 2d is also a substitute – sorry could not resist that one) then add the words “at” and two O’s (ducks).

23a Refuse to eat, only missing a dessert (6)
{JUNKET} – The answer is a dessert. Take a word for refuse (as in rubbish) and add the word “eat” without (missing) the letter a.

26a Paris Hilton’s sage stuffing (5)
{RISHI} – A word meaning sage is hidden inside Paris Hilton. One of the rare occasions where the word defined does not appear at the beginning or end of the clue.

27a Map of old London, originally damaged by strong light (5,4)
{FLOOD LAMP} – The answer is a strong light. It comes from an anagram (damaged) of “map of old l[ondon]”

28a Gibraltar resident wants locals to go on speaking English (7,3)
{BARBARY APE} – This animal resident in Gibraltar is made up from a repeated word for a pub (locals) + a word for speaking + a final E (English).

29a Soapbox of Welshman? (4)
{DAIS} – This soapbox would belong to a Welshman if written 3’1.


1d What starts to hover around, having covered some distance? (4-4)
{HAWK MOTH} – A nice all in one. The answer is an insect. It is made up from an anagram (around) of what and the first two letters (starts) of hover placed around (covered) an abbreviation for kilometre (some distance).

2d Songstress inserting large sex toy (5)
{DILDO} – The answer is a sex toy. Take the name of a singer and put an abbreviation for large inside. No picture for this one.

4d One bird, one bee, one introduction to sex (4)
{IBIS} – One bird comes from an charade of I (one) + B( Bee) + I (one) + the first letter (introduction) to sex.

5d Footballer wants to give up, has put out one cig (9)
{GASCOIGNE} – The answer is the surname of a former footballer (Gazza – no not him of the blog). Take a word meaning to give (as in collapse) and reverse it (up). Add to this an anagram (put out) of “one cig” to find the answer.

6d Hull worker maybe needs separate row of houses (7)
{RIVETER} – The person who works on the hull of a ship is made up from a charade of separate + the abbreviation for a row of houses.

7d See 14a

8d How sad men will bite head off (2,4)
{OH DEAR} – Very deceptive this one. The answer is a phase meaning how sad. It comes from an army abbreviation for men placed around (will bite) an anagram (off) of head.

9d A good cut unless a cruel one (6)
{SAVAGE} – The answer is a word describe someone who is cruel. Put A and an abbreviation for good inside (cut) a word meaning unless.

15d Cut and run, smuggling royal horse? (9)
{EXERCISER} – The answer is a possible description of a horse. Take a word for cut and add an R (run) to the end. Place inside (smuggling) an abbreviation for the queen (royal).

16d Alistair Darling’s Private Secretary, an officer, female and slightly mad (3,6)
{ANN COFFEY} – The answer is the name of an MP who is the private secretary to Alistair Darling. Her name is a charade of AN + a non-commissioned officer + F (for female) and a word meaning slightly mad.

17d Humour as base for aptly wild duck in verse 5 (8)
{PLATYPUS} – This animal referred to in verse 5 of the theme song comes from another word for humour (as in a fluid) supporting (as base for) an anagram (wild) of aptly.

19d Court’s decisions to give capital punishment (7)
{PLACITA} – A word for court decisions is an anagram (punishment) of capital.

20d Bad form when it’s lost, say (6)
{MOULDY} – A word meaning bad comes from a word for a “form” – perhaps used with jelly – plus the word say with the sa (it = sex appeal) removed.

21d Beetle mark on a beetle’s head (6)
{SCARAB} – A beetle’s name comes from a mark (on the skin) and the letter A and B (beetle’s head).

24d Take it back in verse 3 after chasing stunner? (5)
{KOALA} – The answer is an animal mentioned in verse 3. Take a word for stunner (in boxing terms) and the French for after (in the manner of) to give the solution.

25d Well served starter (4)
{SOUP} – The answer is what may be a starter for a meal. It comes from a word meaning “well” when posed as a question and a word meaning served.


  1. crypticsue
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    I commented earlier on how much I enjoyed this puzzle. Heartily recommend to all. Thanks Anax and Prolixic

  2. Dynamic
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    A superb puzzle and a good blog to explain some subtelties. Some tough words for me, and initial uncertainty over the second word of the song title (grammatical or phonetic?). Clever to include Men At Work (known for the song I Come From A Land Down Under) as wordplay in the theme clue.

    Very clever to use Verse 0 that way.

    Loved 21d’s repetition, vaguely heard of 16d and got it from wordplay – a nice clue.

    I guess it’s a little risqué to publish in the national press, but 2d was a delightfully funny mental image for those who know about the birds and bees, which brings me onto how much I really adored the allusion in 4d, probably my favourite clue, though I enjoyed the theme also (and I knew nothing about the racially questionable lost verse of the song).

    Thank you so much, Anax, for a fab crossword and to Prolixic for the informative and humorous review.

    As for the 3a coincidence, I just had the same experience with Osmosis’s Toughie which I was helping a friend to finish this morning. On about Tuesday/Wednesday evening while thinking of a well known simile, I’d jotted down a clue idea in unpolished form: “French wine, reportedly the epitome of dry (6)” and there was Osmosis on Friday with “22a Wine, as dry as this, spat out? (6)”. For me it’s just weird coincidence. If I were about to be published I’d probably be rather irritated that someone got in first, though I’d imagine with the simile and the wine being so old, it’s been round the block many times over the decades.

  3. Posted September 18, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    …and if you want to take some pictures of the fascinating witches who put the scintillating stitches in the britches of the boys who put the powder on the noses of the faces of the ladies of the harem of the court of King Caractacus you are a bit late.

    Anax, just like Mr Harris, is the consumate entertainer.

    • Posted September 18, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      What was I thinking Prolixic ?! Lovely Blog!

      • Spindrift
        Posted September 20, 2010 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        Thank you Gnomethang! Not only can I not get the theme song out of my head but now you’ve added another! All I need now is a rendition of “Two little boys” & I’m set for the week!

  4. Posted September 20, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks for the great blog and comments guys. I have a confession to make – 1% of my decision to use this theme was based on it having potential for something slightly unusual; the other 99% was knowing full well that the result would be this epitome of musicall naffness drilling itself into unsuspecting heads for at least a day.

    I should apologise really, but I won’t. Just think what it was like for me, having to work with the damn thing for about two days solid.