NTSPP – 044 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 044 (Review)

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 044 (Review)

A Puzzle by Prolixic

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[Crypticsue] –  Yet another super Saturday puzzle from Prolixic.   More experienced solvers like me will enjoy the wordplay and those newer to the art of the Cryptic should be able to finish it without too much difficulty.

[Gnomethang] – Thanks to Crypticsue for doing the type-work (again!); All I had to do was write the amended clues, fill in some wordplay and provide some pretty pictures!. There were some very well worked clues here and the result is a rather accessible puzzle for anyone looking for a slightly augmented challenge from the Saturday Prize Puzzle.

As always, you can reveal an answer by highlighting the word or words between the curly brackets.  Do let us have your comments on the puzzle as well.  It is always good for the setter to get feedback and acknowledgment of the hard work that has gone into creating the crossword.

Many thanks to Prolixic for this week’s challenge.


1a           Confuse the Spanish for shellfish (6)
{MUSSEL} – A North American colloquial verb meaning to mess something up (usually hair) plus the Spanish definite article produces a popular seafood.

From Brussels

4a           A state line’s not hostile (8)
{AMICABLE} –  A charade of A plus the abbreviation for the American State of Michigan and another word for a type of strong rope or line. The definition is ‘not hostile’ (i.e. friendly).

9a           Crisp range packaging released (6)
{SPRANG} – the past tense of a verb meaning released in the slang sense of engineering the escape of a prisoner from jail is hidden in  criSP RANGe.

12a         Tricks hospital after leader quits (4)
{ARTS} –  Remove the first letter (leader quits) from the abbreviated name of a famous London hospital to leave another word for tricks in the sense of feats of skill that can be learned.

St Bartholemew's

13a         Doctor nearly arrived with books for cure (10)
{MEDICAMENT} –  A colloquial term for a doctor removing the last letter (nearly) , a synonym for arrived and the abbreviation for the New Testament – this cure is a formal term for a medicine or specific.

15a         Have a tantrum over new cooker (5)
{RANGE} – an Aga is this type of cooker.   A synonym for a fit of temper with N for new inserted.

16a         Country welcomes king and its former president (6)
{INDIRA} –  Insert R (abbreviation for king) inside an Asian country to produce the forename of its only female president to date.

First Lady

20a         Mother leaves curry for each new person in East Asia (6)
{KOREAN} –   Remove MA (mother leaves) from a popular type of curry, add EA (each) and N (new) to obtain the name of an East Asian national.

21a         In imitation of stern queen (5)
{AFTER} –  A word meaning in the style of someone else (usually another artist) – the nautical term for the stern of a ship and the abbreviation for our current Queen.

24a         Over-regulated secure investments (4-6)
{GOLD-PLATED}   A double definition here –  The second (secure investments) is the description of these ‘no-lose’ sort of transactions. The former was unknown to myself and Crypticsue, but is a term coined to describe the action of member states of the EU exceeding the terms of European Community directives when implementing them into national law (i.e over-regulation). Thanks to Prolixic for settting us straight on that one!

26a         I leave capital seat (4)
{SOFA} – a nice comfy seat for more than one person is easily obtained by removing I (I leave) from the capital of Bulgaria.

Sofa so good

28a         Arcane Central American on broken toes (8)
{ESOTERIC}  – the middle four letters (Central) of amERICan and then place it after a (broken) anagram of TOES. Remember that in an across clue A on B means A AFTER B. The result is a word meaning arcane, niche or ‘only available to the chosen’.

29a         Superficial profile about the Italian (6)
{FACILE} – IL is Italian for ‘the’ – insert this into a word meaning part of the head to get a synonym for something too easily achieved or showing a lack of careful thought.

30a         Avoid team’s reflective sulk (8)
{SIDESTEP} – Start with a synonym for a sporting team with the apostrophe -s and then reverse (reflected) a word for a small tantrum or fit of pique. The result is a word meaning to avoid.

31a         Engineers supplied ease (6)
{RELENT} – the much used crossword abbreviation for the Royal Engineers and another word meaning having supplied someone with something (usually on a temporary basis) – here ‘ease’ means to become less severe or soften.


1d           Service area killing (8)
{MASSACRE} –  Another word for the service of Eucharist plus a non-metric unit of land measurement – a cruel and indiscriminate killing.

2d           Special vintage can finally repay study (8)
{SCRUTINY} –  S (special) plus a three letter French term for a vintage wine, a synonym for can and the last letter of repay (finally) – this type of study is a close or careful examination.

Watchoo lookin' at?

3d           Indian messengers fail to start for ages (4)
{EONS} – A word for ‘ages’ in the sense of ‘periods of time is formed by removing the first letter (failing to start) from  Indian messengers (or  manual labourers from Southern America).

5d           One wielding a stick perhaps scarred minor dreadfully (6, 6)
{MORRIS DANCER} – an anagram (perhaps) of SCARRED MINOR produces these often mocked traditional English dancers with bells on their legs who use sticks in part of their routine. NOBODY is to mention the ‘Stick and Bucket Dance’, right?!

NOT the Stick and Bucket Dance!

6d           Against Georgia’s party line (5)
{CONGA} – A three letter meaning against (as opposed to PRO) followed by the abbreviation for the American state of Georgia should give you the name of the dance at a party where everyone forms a long processing line which dances with three shuffling steps.

7d           Stronger ale consumed by abstainer. Just the opposite. (6)
{BETTER}  – Crypticsue’s favourite clue –  The clue asks you to first to put an Ale in the abbreviation for a Tea-totaller but then tells you to do the opposite.– the result is a word meaning stronger in the sense of being more formidable.

8d           Mention supporting old charge (6)
{EXCITE} – This is an alternative way of saying producing an electric charge in something. Take the standard two letter abbreviation for old or former (as in wife or husband) and add a word for charge, as in ‘summon to appear in court’.

11d         I believed art represented thinking (12)
{DELIBERATIVE} –  An anagram (represented) of I BELIEVED ART produces a word meaning characterised by careful thinking.

14d         Setter’s second note (4)
{MEMO} – A setter often refers to themselves in a clue by this two letter term, i.e. the person doing the setting. Then add a colloquial noun meaning a short moment. Before the advent of email, Crypticsue used to spend a lot of her office life typing these notes.

17d         Heartless leading cleric’s horse (4)
{ROAN} – Remove the middle letter (heartless) of the first name of the  Archbishop of Canterbury to get a particular type of horse (amongst other animals) with contrasting dark and white hairs that does not grey out in old age.

See? I'm in Canter-bury

18d         Poison’s a complex protein (8)
{ATROPINE} –  A poisonous drug obtained from deadly nightshade. It is also created in Crosswordland by putting A before an anagram (complex) of PROTEIN. This was gnomethang’s favourite clue

19d         Karma men take in for defence (8)
{ARMAMENT} – Hidden inside kARMA MEN Take is another word for weapons or military equipment.

22d         m-material lifted to become visible (6)
{EGRESS} – Take a word for a twill fabric and repeat the first letter (as indicated by the stuttering m-material). Then reverse it (lifted) to find a synonym for ‘Become Visible’, emerge or ‘come out’.

23d         Old man cracked nut (6)
{ALMOND} – a nice easy anagram here (cracked)  OLD MAN – these nuts are quite often ground or flaked.

You're nuts, Milord!

25d         The media may be regularly perverse over a hint of scandal (5)
{PRESS} – Another word for the fourth estate is found (regularly) in the odd letters of PeRvErSe plus (over) the first letter (hint) of Scandal.

27d         Girl’s on-line transaction (4)
{SALE} – One of the diminutive forms of Sarah plus E (as E-mail – online mail). These transactions can be done in shops or, as the clue states, on-line.

[Gnomethang] Many thanks to Prolixic for yet another fine puzzle. Yours Truly is struggling to even find a grid that he is happy with so I am mightily impressed with Prolixic’s output.

3 comments on “NTSPP – 044 (Review)

  1. I enjoyed this puzzle so thanks Prolixic.
    Struggled a bit in the SE corner and I have to say I’m not keen on 21a and 27d, but the rest of the puzzle was excellent. Favourites 16a and 5d.
    For these NTSPP puzzles I never know whether one should comment on the puzzle post or the review. However, as Gnomey and Cryptisue go to all the trouble of writing the review and get very few comments I’ve put mine here as a vote of thanks!
    You’re right Gnomey – a bit more of a challenge than the regular Saturday puzzle.

      1. Ah, that’s where I’m going wrong! I don’t try these until the review appears just in case I need it (which I usually do!).

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