NTSPP – 041 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 041 (Review)

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 041

A Puzzle by Gazza

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After so many excellent clues on DIY COW, it is good to see Gazza getting the bit between his teeth with a full blown puzzle.  This is an excellent first crossword from our regular weekday blogger with only a few minor queries in the clues that probably owe more to the foibles of the reviewer than to the setter’s sterling work in producing an accessible and fun crossword.  Hopefully, this will be the first of many from Gazza.  Here’s to the next!


1a Consignment to Scottish island involves end of pier introduction for organised traveller (7,7)
{PACKAGE TOURIST} – This traveller (who has his or her holiday planned for them) can be found from a word meaning consignment (such as that which Parcel Force may deliver), the word TO from the clue followed by the name of a Scottish island in the Outer Hebrides into which has been inserted the letter R (end of pier).  Strictly speaking according to Wikipedia, the word used for the Scottish island is the collective name for North X and South X and is not an island in its own right.

10a Again select front-runner after set-back (5)
{RECAP}- A word meaning again select (as in to play for England or another international side) comes from a word meaning the front-runner (who in the early part of the race might be said to set the pace) that is reversed (set back).  The answer would read better as 2-3 as on its own the word has a completely different meaning of to summarise or go over something again rather than to select something.

11a Many a drug smuggler embraced bird, you’d heard (9)
{MULTITUDE} – The definition here is many.  Take a word used to describe a drug-runner and inside this word (embrace) add the name of a bird and a homophone (heard) for the individual letters  from“you’d”.

12a Old president starts to eschew all drink (4,3)
{BUSH TEA}- A drink (beloved of Mma Ramotswe in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series of books by Alexander McCall Smith) comes from the surname of the Obama’s predecessor plus the first letters (starts) of “to eschew all”.  I am not sure whether “starts” on its own is sufficient to indicate taking the first letters.  Ideally, it should be “starts to X, Y and Z” (as in 6d with leads to) but here you would end up with “starts to to” which would not make sense so a little leeway may be afforded the setter here.

13a Full of colour, young female friend? (7)
{PALETTE} – Something full of colour might (fancifully – hence the ? at the end of the clue) might be used to describe a young female friend, in much the same way that an “older” female who behaves like one of the boys is described as a ladette.

14a Middle America is rocked by wrongdoing (5)
{CRIME} – A word for wrongdoing comes from an anagram (rocked) of the central letters (middle) in the word aMERICa.

16a Most exquisite stone inset loses nothing in translation (9)
{INTENSEST} – The definition is “most exquisite”.  It comes from an anagram (in translation) of “stone inset” after the letter O has been removed (loses nothing).

19a Good, good late answer for old ham producer (3,6)
{PIG FARMER} – This ham producer (describing the person who keeps the animals) comes from two words meaning “good” (one of them an abbreviation) followed by a word meaning late with the O in that word being exchanged for an A (answer for old).  Lovely clue this one.

20a Extra insurance covers periods of bad weather (5)
{RAINS} – A word meaning bad weather is hidden inside (covers) Extra Insurance

22a Latte drunk in silence and secrecy (7)
{STEALTH} – A word meaning secrecy comes from an anagram (drunk) of “latte” inside a word meaning silence.

25a Is somebody talking about you in the vicinity? (7)
{EARSHOT} – If someone is talking in your vicinity they are within X.  If someone is talking about you, you aural organs may be burning and they may be said to be X.

27a Drawn out nervous tension consumes former partner (2,7)
{IN EXTENSO} – A Latin phrase meaning drawn out comes from a word meaning a former partner inside an anagram (nervous) of tension.

28a Pandemonium when English poet is announced (5)
{NOISE} – A word meaning pandemonium sounds (announced) like the name of the English poet Alfred Noyes.

29a Forbidding measure of drink to key workers at night (9,5)
{GRAVEYARD SHIFT}- Those who work at night may be described by this answer.  It comes from a word meaning forbidding plus a word describing a measure of drink (three feet of ale) followed by the name of a key on the keyboard used to get uppercase letters instead of lower case ones.


2d Boldly soliciting vice round Greek island (9)
{ACCOSTING} – A word meaning boldly soliciting comes from a word meaning vice (as in a vice headmaster standing in for the headmaster) round the name of a Greek Island.

3d Small car park is out of order (5)
{KAPUT} – A word meaning out of order comes from a charade of the name of a small car produced by Ford followed by a synonym for park (as in to place something somewhere).  A deceptive clue this one.  The temptation to use the abbreviations S for small and P for park needs to be resisted!

4d Extravagant musing may result in building with lots of bars (9)
{GYMNASIUM} – A place where there may be lots of bars (for exercising on) comes from an anagram (extravagant) of “musing may”.

5d Plant built afresh after head of oil company is replaced by its no. 2 (5)
{TULIP} – This plant (beloved of the Netherlands) comes from anagram (afresh) of “built” after replacing the first letter with the second letter of the oil company BP.  Nice clue.

6d One-dimensional international body leads to Ireland adopting original scheme (9)
{UNIPLANAR} – A word meaning one-dimensional comes from the usual abbreviation for an international body followed by the first two letters (leads to) of Ireland with a phrase (parsed 4-1) describing an original scheme  inside (adopting) those letters.

7d Nice night follows a cold-weather race (5)
{INUIT} – This cold-weather race (being the correct term for Eskimos), comes from an I (indicated by an A (one) in the clue) followed by the French word for night.  Whenever you see Nice at the start of a clue, it is often to disguise the fact that it is the French city and therefore needs the capital letter which would stick out like a sore thumb in the middle of the clue.

8d Milk deliverer imprisons lady at that place (7)
{THEREAT} – A word meaning “at that place” (which I am trying to drum our younger lawyers from using as an archaism) comes from the place that milk comes from in an animal (part of the udder) with a word inside (imprisons) meaning a lady).

9d Language of a top-drawer writer (6)
{ARABIC} – The answer is a language.  It comes from a charade of A plus the abbreviation for the organisation to which good artists may belong and by which they are therefore described (top-drawer) followed by the trade name of a type of biro (writer).

15d Shoulder decoration Pyrenean town permitted in Summer there (9)
{EPAULETTE}- The definition is a shoulder decoration.  Take the name of a Pyrenean town and a word meaning permitted and put them both inside a word meaning summer in French (the country where the Pyrenean town may be found).

17d Deep-rooted reform without an end to malpractice is dead in the water (9)
{TORPEDOED} – A word meaning dead in the water (which a ship would be if this were done to it) comes from an anagram (reform) of “deep-rooted” after removing the last letter (end to) of the word malpractice.

18d French singer who was in no way sorry? (5,4)
{EDITH PIAF} – A simple cryptic definition of a French singer who regretted nothing.

19d Temporary bypass in gridlock is only partial solution (7)
{PASSING} – A word meaning temporary is hidden inside (only partial solution) the words bypass in gridlock.

21d You can’t miss this model (6)
{SITTER} – An easy target may described as this, as may a model posing for an artist.

23d Pipe cleaner? (5)
{ENEMA} – A cryptic definition of a procedure used to clear the back-passage.

24d Hair colouring taken up to some extent by Anne Hathaway (5)
{HENNA} – A type of hair colouring is reversed (take up to some extent) inside the words Anne Hathaway.

26d Non-British outpost where cowboys operate (5)
{RANCH} – A place where cowboys operate comes from a word meaning an outpost from which the initial B (non-British) has been removed.

9 comments on “NTSPP – 041 (Review)

  1. Many thanks to Prolixic for the review and to him and others for the encouraging comments.
    One of the lessons I learnt in the process of compilation was that it’s very difficult to gauge the difficulty of your own puzzle – I had intended that the puzzle should be not too difficult (Telegraph Cryptic standard, for example), but I’m still not sure to what extent I succeeded.

    1. I think you succeeded admirably. Although I did not time how long it took to solve, my feeling is that it was about three stars for difficulty on the Cryptic scale.

  2. OK, nice one Gazza! I’ve spent a while on and off on this one and had to admit defeat eventually, so thanks to Prolixic for the hints and you for the puzzle.
    Managed all the bottom half but the top was a bit tricky!
    On a DT scale I would have to rate that as a Toughie – only on the basis that I can do most DT cryptics without help but this was a bit beyond me.
    However, an enjoyable puzzle and I hope you carry on, I’ll certainly have another go at one of yours even though your mind appears to work on a higher plane than mine! Maybe one day . . . .
    Only comment is that a lot of the clues are very ‘wordy’.

    1. Apologies, I take back the ‘wordy’ comment. It’s the typeface and layout of the printed pdf file that make the clues look longer than they actually are!

  3. I enjoyed solving it and would say 3* cryptic rather than a toughie, based on my solving time, my enjoyment and the number of clues I really liked.

  4. I have finally finished iut. Thank you Gazza – that stretched my brain – sometimes to extremes. Had to look at rev iew for 8d as had never heard of the word. Didn’t like 21d but really liked 11a, 4d and when I finally got it 1a.

  5. Started this one on Sunday and forgot about it until I saw the blog today. Overall a most enjoyable experience as a new setter has different thought processes. Favs were 1 2 4 [best] 13 17 18 23 and 29. Hope this is the 1st of many.

  6. I didnt manage to get round to this last weekend so saved it for this weekend.
    Cngratulations on your finbe debut crossword, gazza. Personally I found it more of a Toughie than a DT but that might just have been me. For some reason the PDF generated was regularly missing ‘TI’ or ‘TTI’ from a numner of clues – enough that I thought that there was some sort of theme going on!!.
    3d, 5d and 22a were my favourites.
    Thanks to Prolixic for the review – I needed it for some of the wordplay.

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