NTSPP – 060 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 060 (Review)

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 060

A Puzzle by Prolixic

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It is always great to open one’s  emails and find one from Prolixic with the subject line containing the words “test solve’’.    This particular crossword was entertaining from start to finish, with a great theme, and some very nice clues, so thank you once again Prolixic.
[Gnomethang – I have placed an asterisk against the Themed clues and illustrated with blasts from the past}


1 Heartlessly badmouths complex medical procedures (3, 5)
(MUD BATHS)   A medicinal bath in heated mud.    Remove the O from BADMOUTHS (heartlessly).  The anagram indicator complex tells you to rearrange the remaining letters.

5  Support for Golden Orb (6)
(SPIDER)   Double definition – a type of spider or a rest or support used in snooker.

9  Soften as friend hugs tree (8)
(MACERATE)   to soften by soaking in water.   Insert the genus of the Maple tree, the ACER into MATE,  an informal term for a friend.

10  Tip alien for 12 (6)
*(HORNET)   The first of the themed clues.   A charade of HORN (a tip of land, such as Cape Horn) and ET (the lovely film alien).  A British boy’s 12 from the 1960s to early 1970s when it was merged with 4d.

12  Rich leader accepts award (5)
*(COMIC)   The theme!     The leader is the Commander in Chief or CIC.  Insert the abbreviation for the award of the Order of Merit, OM,  to obtain a type of magazine containing humorous  stories in picture form.

14  Rodin initially rejected pretty poor design for model (9)
(PROTOTYPE)  To find an original model for something remove R (Rodin initially rejected PRETTY POOR  and make an anagram (design) of the remaining letters.

15  Prudish boy leaves 12 (6)
*(VICTOR)   Queen Victoria’s subjects were known to be prudish.   Remove IAN (boy) from the adjective relating to her and her reign to get a 12 full of boy’s own type adventures.

17  Run back after hell’s pervert (7)
(DISTORT)   A synonym for pervert in the sense of using wrongly or badly.     One of the mythological names for hell is DIS.  Follow this with a reversed synonym for run TROT = TORT.

20  White line’s received by party (3, 4).
(CUE BALL)  – the white ball on a snooker table –  a CUE is a hint or line given so that an actor can remember their lines and a BALL is a grand party.

22 Blacksmith’s 12 (6)
*(VULCAN)   The Roman god of fire and metal working, hence the link with the blacksmith.    According to my researches,  he was a character in a number of 12’s.

24  Acts to cut legal documents  (5,4)
(DEEDS POLL)  –   DEEDS or acts and POLL (clip, shear or cut off the horns of cattle).      I had never really thought about the plural of these legal documents that are made by one party only, especially one by which a person changes their name,  but obviously it is the documents that are plural rather than their description.

26  Colonel in Belgium’s oddly quiet (5)
(BLIMP)  –  Colonel Blimp was an incurably conservative elderly military officer in the cartoons by David Low.  The odd letters of BeLgIuM plus P (piano, musical term for quiet).

27  Rotten game holds back 12 (6)
*(MAGNET)  Another themed publication read by my brother and others is hidden and reversed (holds back) in  rotTEN GAMe.    This 12 was the ‘home’ of Billy Bunter.

28   Pirate  – one in a murder possibly (8)
(MARAUDER)   –  Someone sustained by looting – an anagram (possibly) of A MURDER plus another A (one) inserted.

30  Canons strip head to toe (6)
(CREEDS)  –   Move the first letter from SCREED (a strip of wood, plaster or metal)  to the end of the word –   Canons or CREEDS are  statements of systems of beliefs or principles, usually connected with religion.

31  Character studies got Hoyle perplexed (8)
(ETHOLOGY) An anagram (perplexed) of GOT HOYLE –  These are studies of the behaviour of animals in their normal environment.


1  Copies notes on civil service (6)
(MIMICS)  –  two musical notes MI and MI on the abbreviation for the Civil Service – copies in the sense of imitating someone, especially for satirical effect.

2   Storage space reduced for wine controller (3)
(DOC)  remove the last letter (reduced) from DOCK (here meaning a storage space in the theatre) .   DOC or Donominazione di Origine Controllata –  a method of recognising the quality of a product such as wine and maintaining its international or national reputation.

3  Nouveau riche owns things of gold (5)
(AURIC)  –  Hidden inside nouveAU RIChe is a term meaning of or containing gold.

4  Hard sprouts pared and boiled for 12 (7)
*(HOTSPUR)  – Another boy’s comic.  Apparently this one featured school stories.   – H (hard) plus  an anagram (boiled) of SPROUT(S) (pared instructs you to remove the final S)

6  Governor’s for and against short temper (9)
(PROCONSUL)  – a governor of a colony or other dependency.  A charade of PRO (for) CON (against) and SUL (sulk – a resentful mood or temper – with the last letter removed (short).

7   12 in the outskirts of Derby (5)
*(DANDY)  One of the two fun comics of my childhood and still going today.   The outside letters of Derby are, of course, D AND Y.

8   Pulls back from harbours (8)
(RETREATS) Double definition –  to withdraw from a confrontation with an enemy or seclusion/shelter.

11  Link notes not hard (4)
(CORD)  – a cord joins things.   Remove the H (not hard) from a series of notes or CHORD.

13  Prime number – 23rd in the USA (5)
(MAINE)  MAIN plus E  –   The 23rd of the United States of America –  MAIN (prime) plus the type of number we have to watch out for in food – the E number.

16  Silly nerds can’t excel (9)
(TRANSCEND)  – An anagram (silly) of NERDS CANT produces another way of saying surpass or exceed.

18  Old spirit’s mixed for African native (5)
(OKAPI)  – an African animal, not a tribesman – O (old)  KA (an Egyptian term for the spirit or soul within a person)  and PI (mixed – pi is a printer’s term for confusingly mixed type).

19  Don’s of no practical use (8)
(ACADEMIC)   A very amusing double definition, particularly given the type of person I encounter in the day job!     A don is an academic member of staff in a university and,  if something is academic, it is purely theoretical.

21  Light infantry working for 12 (4)
*(LION)   Another  boy’s adventure comic from the early 1950s.   LI (Light Infantry) plus ON (working, not off).

22  Climbing plant pruned in tub for 12 (7)
*(VALIANT)   –  A tub or VAT into which is inserted the first four letters of a type of long-stemmed woody vine  – the LIAN(A) – pruned in the clue tells you to cut the word short.  This 12 was started in the early 1960s, and was a weekly mix of war stories and detective fiction.

23  Place in Seychelles for 12 (6)
*(SPARKY)  This 12 wasn’t known to me but it was obvious from the wordplay – the IVR code for the Seychelles   SY into which is inserted a PARK (an area of recreational land).  A similar 12 to the Dandy and Beano, possibly aimed at the slightly younger reader.

25  Bailiff beheaded for 12 (5)
*(EAGLE) –  Remove the first letter from a BEAGLE (I had heard of dogs and sharks with this name, but apparently it can be a bailiff too) – Probably the most famous boy’s 12 from the 1950’s – everyone has heard of Dan Dare..   I used to sneak a peek at my brother’s copy.

26  Head over for 12 (5)
*(BEANO)  – the other fun 12.     BEAN (an American or Canadian slang word for head ) and O (over in cricket)

29  Some in Paris love Flanders and Swann?  (3)
(DUO) – Flanders and Swann were a famous double act who sang some wonderful songs, including “Mud Mud Glorious Mud”.   DU (the French word for some) and O (love –  no points score  in tennis)

I didn’t have a particular favourite – all the clues were very good – and it was nice to return to the days when I used to pinch my brother’s 12s.   Shame Prolixic couldn’t have fitted in the Tiger as then he/I could have mentioned Roy of the Rovers.   Also what about 12s aimed at the fairer sex?    Perhaps they’re being lined up for the next one.  Can’t wait!

14 comments on “NTSPP – 060 (Review)

  1. thanks to Gnomey fpr dealing with all the technological bits for me and adding the wonderful illustrations.

  2. Thanks to Prolixic for the puzzle, and to Sue and Gnomey for the excellent “bloggage”.

    It’s not often that I feel young nowadays, but this was one of those rare occasions. Fortunately, when I was young, I had the opportunity to see some of the 12s from previous generations of relatives, and I was able to finish this OK. It was good to have to search the memory, and not just the dictionary!


  3. Many thanks to Sue and Gnomethang for putting together the review and some marvellous visual reminders of some childhood favourites.

    Thanks to all who found time to comment and I hope that Addicted has not been put off the NTSPP for life :).

  4. This reminded me of meeting my dad after he finished work on a Saturday when he would take me to the newspaper shop to get the “Victor” & the “Lion” and a quarter of apple tart sweets. Now remind me – which comic was Sergeant Fury & “Maggot Malone” in?

    1. A search of Wiki reveals that he was in several Marvel comic books – probably more a question for the ‘boys’ than me!

      1. I thought Captain Hurricane and “Maggot” Malone were in the “Valiant”, but I am probably wrong.

  5. Thanks Sue. I’d mixed my memories up – it was actually Captain Hurricane & his trusty batman, Maggot Malone and he appeared in the Victor. He was very non PC & referred to our Italian friends as “ice cream wallahs”. Even Prince Philip couldn’t get away with that one!

    Sergeant Fury was from a late era when I used to buy the American DC comics.

    1. I’m waiting for Prolixic’s puzzle on girls’ comics – then I really will know what I am talking about!

      1. I’m waiting for his puzzle on men’s magazines – Gnomey should have fun with the illustrations :D

        1. Did you see that Anax did a recent one on that very subject – it’s on his Anax Crosswords site. Given what a sheltered life I lead, I surprised myself by knowing many of the titles.

          1. I was thinking, of course, of titles like “Angling Times” and “DIY Weekly”.

  6. Are we talking “Bunty”, “Jacky” or maybe “Diana”? These were my friend’s sister’s comics and I would read anything I found – in fact my mother used to say I would read a sugar bag if it was the only thing available!

    1. There were also ‘Schoolfriend’ and ‘June’ too. My walking companion is very proud of the fact that she won a bicycle in a Schoolfriend competition many years ago than she would probably wish to admit to :)

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