NTSPP – 046 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 046 (Review)

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 046 (Review)

A Christmas Special by Prolixic

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[Crypticsue] This time Prolixic has given us a very entertaining themed puzzle, some clues reflecting the religious significance of this time of year and others some of the more secular aspects of the seasonal celebrations. Highly recommended to all.

[Gnomethang] There is also a seasonal message for everyone that can be read from the initial letters to each clue, isn’t there Sue!!

Many thanks to Prolixic and both Crypticsue and myself would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



8a           Minister’s break down after drinking wine (6)
{DIVINE} – Insert the French word for wine into a three letter word meaning cease to exist or lose strength or power.  Although normally associated with gods, it is also a term for a priest, especially one learned in theology.

9a           Everyone’s appearing Christmas show (8)
{NATIVITY} – Crypticsue had been waiting to use a capitonym in a review –a word which has  different meanings depending on whether it has a capital letter or not.  With a capital letter, this arrival is the reason why we have Christmas and children put on this sort of play.  Change the first letter to lower case and the word means any birth or arrival.

10a         Recollected secret of  no tax (4-4)
{SCOT-FREE} – An anagram (recollected) of SECRET OF –  this historical type of tax – apparently a “**** and lot” – was paid by burgesses and was regarded as a qualification for the borough franchise in a parliamentary election. Without its imposition , one would be FREE of it

11a         Repeatedly leading the French giving chilling evidence (6)
{ICICLE} – An abbreviation meaning In Charge (leading), twice (repeatedly), followed by the French word for ‘the’. A hanging spike formed by the freezing of dripping water which is evidence of a previous chill

12a         Your life’s meaning (6)
{SPIRIT} – Double definition  – The force that animates the body of living things or the prevailing element or feeling of something.

13a         Christ’s texting Spanish waiter (8)
{IMMANUEL} – Texting is also known as Instant Messaging.  Place the abbreviation for this in front of the much put-upon waiter in Fawlty Towers to give you the child whose name was foretold by Isaiah and who in Christian tradition is identified with Jesus.

14a         Heifer’s therapy is the most effective (7)
{NEATEST} – Another word for a domestic bovine animal (don’t forget KINE can be used as well!) is a synonym for tidy.   Add the abbreviation for Electric Shock Treatment. The definition is ‘most effective’ in the sense of smoothest or most concise

16a         Robin Goodfellow’s kind and beautiful, that is to say, special (7)
{FAIRIES} – Robin Goodfellow is, of course, another name for Puck in Midsummer Night’s Dream and the clue requires you to know what type of ‘person’ he was.   A synonym for beautiful, followed by the Latin abbreviation for that is to say, (Id Est) and S for special

20a         Ignatius perhaps called back about pilgrim (8)
{STRANGER} – Saint Ignatius was the Bishop of Antioch (and invesnted the Holy Hand Grenade).  Take the abbreviation for Saint, the past participle of a verb meaning to call (on the telephone) and add the reverse of a two letter word meaning about (especially in email subject boxes).   Here the definition of pilgrim is a wayfarer or visitor.

23a         Sinister person’s story in English paper – on the contrary!  (6)
{LEFTIE} – A synonym for story or untruth with E (English) and the initials of the ‘pink’ newspaper inserted – this person wouldn’t use their right hand to write.

25a         Tangy cheese included from an organic source (6)
{ROMANO} – Hidden in fROM AN Organic source is the name of a hard, salty,  Italian cheese which can  be used as an alternative to parmesan.

26a         Marauder in west coast city shot first in place of execution (8)
{GOLGOTHA} – The answer here is Christ’s place of execution, literally meaning ‘The place of the skulls’ in Hebrew. The western world has renamed it Calvary. Take an ancient marauder from Germany and place him inside Crosswordland’s favourite US West Coast city. Then put a short word for shot or attempt first.

27a         African animal was nearly slaughtered (8)
{MALAWIAN} – A nice mislead here.  CS spent some time trying to find an African animal rather than the name of a person from a republic in East Central Africa.   An anagram (slaughtered) of ANIMAL WA (was nearly).

28a         Sing big-note regularly with me (6)
{INTONE} – To sing in a monotonous or incantatory way.   The even letters (regularly) of bIgNoT followed by the way the Queen is said to refer to herself rather than using I or me.


1d           Festive fare – half-hearted mouse eats mushroom (5,3)
{MINCE PIE}- The mouse in question is the lady friend of Mickey Mouse.   Remove one of the two middle letters of her name (half hearted) and insert a type of edible woodland fungus with a brown cap.  The festive fare in question is a small round tart with a fruity filling.

2d           Robin maybe has time for good season (6
{WINTER} – A robin is an example of this in the same way that the Thames is a ‘flower’. Replacce G for good with T for time and you get the current season of the year

3d           Order free spirit, not good for oxides (8)
{FERRITES} – A very clear anagram indicator (order) –  remove (not good)  a two letter slang word meaning good, pious or sanctimonious from FREE SPIRIT and then rearrange.  The oxides are apparently any of a class of non-conducting magnetic mixed-oxide ceramics.

4d           Member returns in heartless prank as a messenger (7)
{ANGELIC} – The trick here is to note the words ‘as a’ which mean that you are looking for an adjective meaning of or related to the messengers who visited the shepherds watching their flocks.   Remove the middle letter from a synonym for prank or absurd act; insert in its place the lower limb of the human body in reversed form (returns, i.e. backwards).

5d           Win after a pub leaves room (6)
{ATRIUM} – Remove the abbreviation for a public house found on an ordnance survey map from a word meaning a victory or major achievement.   Place an A before the resulting letters to get a central often glass-roofed hall found in a building such as a shopping centre or hotel.

6d           Ex-soldier returns drug-free with daughter having intimate meal (2,6)
{TV DINNER} – Reverse a three letter term for an ex soldier, remove the E (drug free), add a D (daughter) then a synonym for exclusive or private.   Meals not eaten in company round a table.

7d           Botanical structures found in teasel perhaps (6)
{STELAE} – An anagram (perhaps) of TEASEL –  the conducting tissue of the stems and roots of plants.

15d         Lout’s a weed when being raised we are told (8)
{TEARAWAY} – Two lovely homophones here (indicated by ‘we are told’).   A biblical weed followed by an anchor when it has been raised.  The lout is defined in the dictionary as a reckless impetuous unruly person.

17d         Orchestra’s leader quits. Nice for him to get a chorus of praise (8)
{ALLELUIA} – Remove the first letter (leader quits) from the name of a famous Manchester-based symphony orchestra. The follow it with the French word for him (Nice here refers to the city in France) and then add an A.   This chorus of praise is an interjection meaning ‘praise the Lord!’

18d         Gift Day (8)
{EPIPHANY} – A cryptic definition –  the day when the Three Wise Men brought gifts to the infant Jesus.

19d         Go near terribly old food additive (7)
{OREGANO} – A Mediterranean variety of wild marjoram  – an anagram (terribly) of GO NEAR plus O (old)

21d         Exceptional worker’s virus (6)
{TROJAN} – In times gone by,  a really hard worker would be described as working like this.   These days people are more likely to recognise a particularly nasty bug inserted into a computer program or system, so named because it works in the same way as a plan in a famous siege.

22d         Record of Van Morrison’s heard by shepherds? (6)
{GLORIA} – If you weren’t singing when you solved 17d, Crypticsue bets that (if you are of a certain age) you will definitely be singing this Van Morrison  rock classic originally recorded by his group Them in 1964.  It is particularly memorable for its chorus, which is, of course,  what the shepherds in Luke Ch2 v 14 heard the angels sing.
ARVE Error: need id and provider

24d         Snowman’s young embraces big teddy’s head (6)
{FROSTY} – Another cue for a song.  A three letter term for the young of fish embracing the abbreviation for Outsize and T (teddy’s head).  This particular snowman was made famous in the popular song written by Walter “Jack” Rollins and Steve Nelson, and first recorded by Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys in 1950.

Crypticsue liked 1d, 22d and 24d but her favourite  is 11a. Gnomethang’s favourite was 26a as well as 27a and 13a.