NTSPP – 057 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 057 (Review)

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 057

A puzzle by Qix

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

Many thanks to Qix for entertaining us with a fine crossword. As Big Dave mentioned in his introduction, this was of back page difficulty though there were a couple of clues where the wordplay was a little more complicated and more into Toughie territory. There is one clue, 4d, where I am a little dubious about the wordplay but it did not detract from an enjoyable challenge.

I have highlighted my favourite clues in blue. Let us know your comments and favourites.


1a Soldiers involved in playing drums for Colonel? (7)
{MUSTARD} – This colonel features in the game of Cluedo. The answer is found from putting the abbreviation for a group of organised soldiers inside an anagram (playing) of drums. When I got this answer, I was expecting a Cluedo themed crossword but it was not to be!

5a Heading for shed (7)
{PARTING} – A word meaning that you have shed something also (with an implied off perhaps after the word heading) means taking your leave of someone. Another possibility is that heading refers to the head and how your hair may be arranged!

9a Hotel girls dance exotically, without nudity at first (9)
{CLARIDGES} – This famous hotel in Mayfair comes from an anagram (exotically) of girls dance after removing the letter N (without nudity at first). I shall resist the temptation to include pictures of exotic girls dancing (with or without nudity). It is Lent after all!

10a Writer from French opposition (5)
{DEFOE} – A writer best known as the author of Robinson Crusoe comes from a word sum of the French for from plus a word meaning opposition or enemy.

11a You or I, perhaps, join profession (13)
{PRONOUNCEMENT} – A word meaning profession (as in a statement) comes from the part of speech represented by the words you or I (perhaps indicating that these are examples) followed by a word meaning join or bond together.

13a Swift destruction of Port Said? (8)
{PARODIST} – Swift is an example of this breed of writer; hence the question mark at the end of the clue. The answer comes from an anagram (destruction of) port said.

15a Way to return opera to large venues (6)
{STADIA} – These large venues (for sporting events or concerts) comes from an abbreviation for a street (way) followed by the name of a classic Verdi opera that is reverse in the answer (to return).

17a Police surround empty house of Egyptian leader (6)
{CHEOPS} – The Egyptian leader (noted for his pyramid) comes from a shortened name for coppers (police) around the first and last letters of house (empty house).

19a Game with 23 between the French and English (8)
{LACROSSE} – A game which seems to be a cross between hockey and legitimised slaughter with sticks (apologies to any players reading this blog) comes from one of the French words for the and an abbreviation for English, inside which is placed a synonym for the answer to 23d.

22a Two fools lead one country to liquidation (13)
{ASSASSINATION} – Liquidation, in the sense of killing someone, comes from a word for a fool which is written twice in the answer, followed by an I (one) and a word for a country.

25a Saving without a minimum (5)
{LEAST} – A word for minimum comes from a word meaning saving (or provided) around (without) the letter A.

26a Sell off, i.e. vast rip-off? (9)
{PRIVATISE} – An all in one or not depending on your political leanings! A word to sell off (as Governments have been known to do with BT, British Gas, British Rail, etc) comes from an anagram (off) of i.e vast rip.

27a One who fleeces ex-footballer? (7)
{SHEARER} – A double definition, part cryptic. Someone who fleeces (as in removes the fleece from a sheep) gives the surname of a noted footballer, first name Alan who played for Newcastle United and England.

28a For the audience, I tax 12 (7)
{EYEWEAR} – A generic term for 12d comes from a homophone (for the audience) of I tax.


1d Mineral found in outskirts of Minorca (4)
{MICA} – This mineral comes from the outer letters (first and last two) of Minorca.

2d Fish with small head (7)
{SNAPPER} – A fish comes from an abbreviation for small followed by a slang expression for the head. As the photograph below shows, the fish is far from small in its red variety!

3d A plane with oxygen for China? (5)
{AMIGO} – A word meaning china (as in a friend – Cockney rhyming slang China Plate = Mate) comes from the letter A followed by the name of a Russian fighter plane followed by the chemical symbol for Oxygen.

4d Brownie points out accommodation? (8)
{DOGHOUSE} – If you are out of brownie points you may require the use of this accommodation usually reserved for our canine friends. Many thanks to Big Dave for forwarding me Qix’s explanation for this clue. The answer was clear from the checking letters but I had spent all day looking for the wordplay without success. Not my favourite clue in the crossword.

5d Polyclitus, primarily, is an old sculptor (6)
{PISANO} – Polyclitus was an ancient Greek sculptor. However, another sculptor is required as the answer to this clue. Take the first letter (primarily) of Polyclitus followed by the letters is an followed by an abbreviation for old.

6d Memorable day for socialist landlord (3- 6)
{RED-LETTER} – Memorable days used to be noted by the different colour applied to the text in diaries and calendars. The answer comes from colour used to describe a socialist followed by a synonym for a landlord.

7d Non-believer drops penny inside the circle (7)
{INFIELD} – Take a word for a non-believer and move the letter D from the middle to the end of the answer (drops penny) to find a word describing the inside circle of play.

8d Fanciful Greek atlas showing Michigan and Ontario, for example (5,5)
{GREAT LAKES} – Bodies of water of which Michigan and Ontario are examples comes from an anagram (fanciful) of Greek Atlas.

12d Whip mushrooms up on the French shows (10)
{SPECTACLES} – A word for shows (as in entertainments) comes from words meaning whip and mushrooms which are joined together and reversed (up) in the answer followed by the plural word for the in French.

14d Medic holds unusual isotope for investor (9)
{DEPOSITOR} – An investor (who uses a savings account at a bank or building society) comes from an abbreviation for a medic inside which (holds) is an anagram (unusual) of isotope.

16d Acne? Mail-ordered lotion (8)
{CALAMINE} – This lotion (very soothing for those suffering from chickenpox) comes from an anagram (ordered) of acne mail.

18d Catch sloppy tanneries missing it out (7)
{ENSNARE} – A word meaning snatch comes from an anagram (sloppy) of tanneries after removing the letters if “it” from the word. Strictly speaking if the letters to be removed from the anagram fodder do not appear in the same order as the indicated word, this should be noted in the clue. However, (a) for two letters it is a bit clumsy and (b) to complain would be foolish as I have committed the same offence on several occasions!

Postscript: The final out in the clue is the indicator that the letters of IT are jumbled before removing them from the anagram fodder. I shall go and sit on the naughty step for missing this!

20d English teacher and students get up at dawn (7)
{SUNRISE} – A word for dawn comes from an abbreviation for English, a term of respect used for a male teacher and an abbreviation for a body of students all of which is reversed (get up).

21d Preserve DNA dropped by criminal (6)
{KIPPER} – A word meaning preserve (as is done with fish by smoking) comes from a word for a criminal who abducts someone from which the letters (in order) DNA have been removed.

23d Angry hijacker needs no introduction (5)
{IRATE} – A word for angry comes from a word for a hijacker (usually on the high seas of the coast of Somalia) from which the first letter (needs no introduction) has been removed.

24d A sly look at “The King’s Speech”? (4)
{LEER} – A sly look gives us our final answer. It comes from a homophone (speech) of a famous Shakespearean King.

11 comments on “NTSPP – 057 (Review)

  1. Thanks for the review and for saving us from the sight of exotic girls dancing. I am also grateful to you for the explanation of 4d as it was obvious what the answer had to be but I wasn’t sure why. I thought this was just right for a Saturday diversion so thanks again to Qix and to Prolixic. I am glad your giving up commenting for Lent hasn’t extended to reviews!

  2. Thanks for the comments, and to Prolixic for the review.

    Thanks also to BD for using the puzzle. I hope to get another chance in the future.

  3. A fne puzzle , Qix. Personally I found it a tad harder than a standard back page but that might have been the ‘Apres-golf’ that I enjoyed prior to solving!. I’m not too sure on 4d, its certtainly not my favourite in the puzzle – that honour is shared by 9a and 2d.
    Thanks to Prolixic for the review.

  4. I’ve never tackled one of these before, I know Pommers has and struggled with all but one of yours Prolixic, but I thought I’d give it a go – all because the intro said is was a back-pager. WRONG!!!!
    Got about half on my own . . . . and then invoked my personal blogger. In fact 24d defeated us both.
    In our defence, all I can say is was too much wine at lunch, and putting the wrong answer in for 28a
    Regarding 19a, we’ve both played this sport and I sort of agree with you prolixic about it being a “cross between hockey and legitimised slaughter with sticks”. It is more like shinty or hurling plus the slaughter! Pommers used to wear elbow and collarbone protectors plus helmet with face guard and padded gloves (and he was a winger). Looked more like an American Footballer. The slaughter only applies to the mens game though. The ladies variety does not allow body contact and is much more skillful – although Pommers says its a shadow of the real game!
    Thanks Qix for the CW and Prolixic for the blog.
    PS my brother was England captain for over 10 years and still plays now at the ripe old age of 54 – although he is a goalie.

  5. Prolixic – if you’re going to sit on the naughty step I’d better tell Pommers to move over and make room for you!

  6. Agree that this was a nice crossword so thanks to Qix.
    28a, I had EYETEST which I was convinced was correct! EYE, OK obvious, plus TEST = TRY. Eyetest for specs, well it seemed to work for me but rather b******d up 24d! No pasa nada! Better luck next time.
    I’d just like to say that I’ve really enjoyed these NTSPP, even if mostly a bit above me, and I’m rather disappointed that more people don’t seem to give them a try. I have to admit that I approach Radler with trepidation – see comment above!
    Anyway, thanks the Qix and Prolixic for an entertaing after-lunch xword session.

  7. Thanks for the further comments; I’m glad that a few more people had a go.

    It’s difficult to strike a balance between entertaining veteran solvers and involving new people; I hope that I’ll have another chance to try.

    1. So do I hope you have another go, if you keep at this standard of difficulty. Very good and also not too much harder than a tricky back page job, so Pommette will have a go. Apart from the c**k-up in the SE corner I thought it very good. A real D’oh moment when the penny dropped on 12a – I’d spent an inordinate of time thinking about what ‘swift’ could be, author took a while to rear its head!
      Also liked 1a – love Cluedo!

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