NTSPP – 056 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

NTSPP – 056 (Review)

Not The Saturday Prize Puzzle – 056 (Review)

A Puzzle by Prolixic

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Looking back at the notes I made when I test solved this one, I did find some of it slightly trickier than usual, but it was still very enjoyable as it has a number of Prolixic’s trademark clues – you can always imagine the twinkle in his eye when he set them! Thanks to him for another great Saturday afternoon diversion – can’t wait for the next one.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


9a   Architect’s car is dismantled for indicators (15)
{CHARACTERISTICS}   An anagram (dismantled) of ARCHITECT’S CAR – indicators of someone’s personality, perhaps?

10a  Run  on the way, way out (7)
{STRANGE} Not an exit but a way of saying out of the ordinary.   A two letter abbreviation for Street (way) and a word meaning to move or travel freely.

12a  First sign (7)
{INITIAL}  A double definition –  at the beginning or the letter which starts a name or sign.

13a   Nice boyfriend is able to return by the middle of July (7)
{BEAUTIFUL} – The boyfriend (would he come from Nice?) plus a three letter word meaning able (as in able-bodied) followed by the middle two letters of July –  nice also means agreeable or delightful.

14a   Loveless couple having first dance? (5)
{TWIST}  A dance that was all the rage when I was in my (very) early teens!   Remove the O from the number representing a couple (loveless) and add the abbreviation for first.

15a   Devalued communist accommodates dictator (7)
{REDUCED}   A term meaning lowered in value or price is obtained by inserting a four letter Italian word for leader (Mussolini referred to himself as Il ****)  into a term for communists (usually when they were found under the bed!).

18a  Amazed by the return of some golden nutshells (7)
{STUNNED}   A term meaning very amazed is hidden (some)  and reversed inside golDEN NUTShells.

21a  Guinea-pigs lack one somewhere underground (5)
{CAVES}  Remove the I (lacks one) from the genus of guinea-pigs and you should be left with underground hollows.

23a  A brick carrier? (9)
{STRETCHER}   A double definition – a brick laid horizontally in a wall or something a patient might be carried on.

25a   Deans lines on Virginia (7)
{VALLEYS}  I hadn’t heard of this spelling of deans in connection with elongated hollows between hills.   VA (abbreviation for the US State) plus L and LEYS (lines with magical or scientific significance).

26a  Take part in and finish up left out (7)
{COMPETE} – Remove the L from a synonym for finish, as you would do if you had done all this crossword and you are left with another word meaning to take part in, eg, a race, contest etc.

29a  Unorthodox priests venerate archetypes (15)
{REPRESENTATIVES} the second wonderful 15-letter anagram today –  unorthodox tells that a word meaning archetypes is obtained from PRIESTS VENERATE.


1d    Aircrews regularly provide desserts (4)
{ICES}  Frozen desserts can be seen in the even letters (regularly) of aIrCrEwS.

2d    Shock finding sloth in personnel department (4)
{HAIR}  Personnel departments these days are usually known as Human Resources.   Insert a two letter name for the two-toed sloth  into the abbreviation for that department.  ‘Shock’ refers to a thick shaggy mass of this growth!

3d    Charismatic glamour grips the web (8)
{MAGNETIC}   Charismatic or having a personal quality that impresses, being attractive or strongly affecting others –   Insert another term for the WWW into a word meaning wonderful or enchanting.

4d    I support sex appeal – the very thing (6)
{ITSELF}   An emphatic pronoun meaning just what one is looking for.  A two letter term for sexual magnetism followed by a pronoun meaning myself or I.

5d    Items in the press may be definite (8)
{ARTICLES}  A double definition that should need no explanation from me.

6d    Help maintain one’s in the Queen’s Place (6)
{ASSIST}  Remove ER (the Queen) from a verb meaning to maintain or declare positively  and replace with IS (1’s) to get another verb meaning to help.

7d    A branch may be long? (8)
{DIVISION}   Another double definition – a section of something or school sums.

8d    One barracked about love may be maligned (8)
{ISOLATED}  I think here the definition of maligned must mean to seclude or separate.   I followed by a term meaning abuse or comment on unfavourably into which O (about love) has been inserted.

11d    At that point you once drunk a drop of rum (5)
{THERE}  The archaic form of the second person singular (you once) with R (a drop of rum inserted gives an adjective meaning in that place.

15d    Icy perversion – too exotic for this position? (8)
{RECOVERY} A compound anagram with a lovely indicator – exotic.  ICY PERVERSION TOO rearranged produces the POSITION into which unconscious casualties are placed whilst waiting for medical assistance.

16d    Produces photographs and enlarges (8)
{DEVELOPS}  Yet another double definition – the process of turning  film negatives into photographs or growing/advancing.

17d    Some land is astern!  Reverse (8)
{DISASTER}   The word reverse here is very misleading as I spent a while trying to find a reversal in the rest of the wordplay!    What I should have seen was the word ‘some’ as hidden in some lanD IS ASTERn  is a word meaning reverse in the sense of a misfortune or calamity.

19d    The best a crew member supported last month (8)
{ULTIMATE}  The best or greatest thing achievable –   the abbreviated Latin term for last month plus I (a) and the ship’s officer under the captain.

20d    Level on time in heat (5)
{EVENT}   Flat or level plus T (time) – heat here refers to a division in a contest.

22d    Country reports describe some French returning (6)
{SWEDEN}   Here we do have a reversal –  a Scandinavian country is obtained by inserting the French word for some, DE, inside  a term used for information on current events and then reversing the result.

24d    Speak of city in ceremony (6)
{RECITE}   To read aloud –  Insert the area of London in which the City is situated (EC) into a religious ceremony.

27d    Resent hearing short new version(4)
{ENVY}   Short implies that you need the initials of New and Version.   Say these out loud and you get a feeling of discontent at the good looks or fortune or another.  A clever use of the homophone.

28d    Without question, green and simple (4)
{EASY}  Remove the QU(estion) from a term meaning nauseous or squeamish – when you are quite likely to look green.   The remaining four letters are then ‘simple’ for all to see!

It is always a great pleasure to solve a Prolixic crossword, my particular favourites in this one were the 15 letter anagrams at the top and bottom of the grid.

12 comments on “NTSPP – 056 (Review)

  1. Very well put together and approachable cryptic. Congratulations and thanks to Prolixic. I would, however take issue with 15d. Composite anagram clues are bullsh*t unnecessary fancy-pants nonsense. They belong in arcane barred-type or uber-Toughie productions. The use of one here, particularly because of the much more gentle clueing style to Prolixic’s previous NTSPP offering (I much preferred this one) rather unbalanced the crossword, although the answer was pretty guessable with the checking letters. Only an anorak of the arcane clue could tell me if the composite anagram was ‘correctly’ indicated by the standards of such protocols. I wasn’t sure, and don’t just mean erotic as the anagrind – is it permissible? Prefer exotic…..Sorry for ranting on, it’s just that I was hugely irritated by another similar comp anag clue somewhere not too long ago and obviously haven’t quite recovered. I’ll get my coat………….(Did really enjoy the crossword, though)

      1. I did think I had checked the online version with my original paper version – and I had my eyesight checked on Thursday ;D

  2. I enjoyed this one. It’s the first Prolixic puzzle I’ve completed unaided – I think he must have lowered the bar somewhat!
    Got 6d from the checking letters but it took me a while to spot the wordplay! I think I said the other day that these substitution clues often fox me!
    Thanks Prolixic for an enjoyable interlude on a Sunday morning and thanks for the review Crypticsue.

  3. Completed but not without referring to Crypticsue’s analysis. I got 15d straight away without understanding how but would agree with the chairman’s diatribe at the top. Thanks to Prolixic & to CS.

    I’ve just printed off today’s cryptic & it looks like I will need access to the hints if I’m to even get started!

    1. I didn’t know about compound anagrams either until I reviewed one of Prolixic’s puzzles and he pointed out that I had missed it so I thought I had better mention it this time – to think I just used to solve the cryptic crosswords without ever knowing all this technical jargon – now I just have to remember all the terms in order to do the reviews.

  4. Thanks to CS for the review and, of course, to Prolixic for the entertaining puzzle. My favourite clue was 13a for the double-bluff of the capitalised Nice at the start.
    I don’t have the same aversion to compound anagrams as The Chairman but 15d does stand out as perhaps the one clue which would prevent this puzzle appearing on the Telegraph’s back page.

  5. Thanks to all for the comments. Sorry to those who do not like compound anagrams. I don’t promise never to use them again. I try to include a range of clues from the more straightforward to the more complex when setting the puzzles but I don’t use them in every crossword.

    Glad to see that Pommers has got to the end of a puzzle unaided – I will have to up the ante for the next one :)

    The intention with the “Nice” was to double-bluff. Gazza will be comforted to know that he was not the only one who went down the wrong path. The other deliberate misdirection was the “Reverse” clue where the combination of astern and reverse were intended to get you looking for a reversal in the word play.

    Thanks also to Sue for the review. You were spot on with the use of maligned to indicate someone who has been maligned as being isolated or separated – a slightly abstruse use of the word.

    Until the next one!

  6. Good entertainment from Prolixic again. I agree with Gazza about 13A; that was a good clue!

Comments are closed.