NTSPP – 069 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 069 (Review)

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 069 (Review)

Menagerie by Radler

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

Radler has produced a jam packed grid for our entertainment today with 40 clues and only one obscure answer in the lot.  Add to that a theme (a menagerie of animals) that link all the across clues and you have one amazing crossword.

Radler’s crosswords tend to be at the tougher end of the NTSPP spectrum but this week he has produced a much more accessible crossword with some delightful clues and varied wordplay.  Many thanks to him for the entertainment.

I have highlighted my favourite clues below in blue.


1a Potentially manage “la lingua” (of all other across solutions) (6,8)
{ANIMAL LANGUAGE} – An anagram (potentially) of manage la lingua gives and expression that describes the remaining across solutions, being related to fauna.

10a Harry and Henry’s circle excluding the Queen (5)
{HOUND} – A word meaning to harry (as in pester) comes from an initial H for Henry followed by a word for circle with the initial R removed (excluding the Queen).

11a Charlie’s seat (3)
{ASS} – A simple double definition for a simpleton (Charlie) and a part of your anatomy you sit on (seat).

12a Fool goes off over love (5)
{GOOSE} – A word for a fool comes from an anagram (off) of goes around the letter O (love).

13a Fashion accessory, final item on agenda rejected (3)
{BOA} – The final item on an agenda is “Any Other Business”.  Reverse the abbreviation for this to find the name of a fashion accessory.

14a Devil’s back, you must follow religious man (6)
{MONKEY} – A word for a devil comes from the term used to describe a religious man in monastic orders followed by an old fashioned word for you that is reversed (back).

16a Quickly run miles away from women’s quarters (4)
{HARE} – A word meaning quickly run comes from a word for women’s quarters from which the M has been removed (miles away).

18a One’s up late having illicit thing to sell (9)
{NIGHTHAWK} – A word to describe someone who is up late comes from an anagram (illicit) of thing followed by a work meaning to sell.

22a Island accommodating hotel for swindler (5)
{SHARK} – A word for a swindler (often associated with those who make loans at exorbitant rates of interest) comes from the name of one of the Channel Islands around the abbreviation for hotel.

24a Crook, chiefly narcotics, spikes alcoholic drink (6)
{SNAKE} – A slang word for a crook comes from the first letter (chiefly) of narcotics inside (spikes) a rice based alcoholic drink.

25a Jerks go out with anoraks (9)
{KANGAROOS} – A word meaning jerks (as a car may do when the clutch is not let out properly when driving off) comes from an anagram (out) of go anoraks.  Some solvers (particularly black Labradors) do not like the words forming the subject of the anagram to be separated by the anagram indicator but the instructions here were fair and clear.

28a Lead around shops (4)
{RATS} – A word meaning shops (as in betrays) comes from a word meaning lead (as the main performer) that has been reversed.  But for the themed across entries, this clue could be read either way – an earlier version of the clue had a second definition to make this clearer but, given the theme, the clue works as well without it.

30a Be evasive with support for artist (6)
{WEASEL} – A word meaning to be evasive comes from a W (for with) followed by the support that artists use for the canvas when painting.

34a Exchanged notes on divine plague (3)
{DOG} – A word meaning plague (as in pester) comes from a word for divine (the divine being) with the notes (in musical terms) exchanged.

36a Outwits by intercepting enemies (5)
{FOXES} – A word meaning outwits from putting an X (by or times) inside a word for enemies.

37a Copy peanuts? (3)
{APE} – A word meaning cope comes from a anagram (nuts) of pea.  Where a word can be pronounced as two separate words (such as PEA NUTS) it is a legitimate setter’s trick to use this to disguise separate elements of the wordplay – see also 6d.

38a One predicting future, taking time to provide tip (5)
{STEER} – A word meaning tip (as in giving guidance or direction to) comes from a word for someone who predicts the future into which a T (for time) has been included.

39a Film act between pervert and minor (6,8)
{DOCTOR DOLITTLE} – A film (about someone who could talk with the animals) comes from a two letter word meaning act inside words for pervert (as in change or alter) and minor (as in small).


2d Workout rule, gain with a pain (9)
{NEURALGIA} – A word for pain comes from an anagram (workout) rule gain followed by a final A.

3d Female and two males (5)
{MADAM} – A word for a female (sometimes used as a term of address) comes from an M followed by the name of the first man in the book of Genesis (two males).

4d Find out roughly, nearly but not quite (5)
{LEARN} – A word meaning find out comes from an anagram (roughly) of the nearly after dropping the final Y (but not quite).

5d Man shouted, perhaps making way for supermarket trolley (5)
{AISLE} – A way or passage where you steer your supermarket trolley comes from a homophone (shouted) of Isle (Man perhaps as in Isle of Man).

6d Endless busy challenge (4)
{GAGE} – A word for a challenge comes from a word meaning busy (as a telephone line may be if someone is already on the phone) from which the letters of END have been removed (endless).

7d Farewell look inside… Eureka! (5)
{ALOHA} – A Hawaiian word for farewell comes from a two letter word for look inside a three letter word for Eureka.

8d Sheep and pet horse’s condition (3-4)
{EWE-NECK} – A word for a condition that can affect horses comes from the word for a female sheep followed by a word meaning neck (as in canoodle).  To get only one obscure phrase in a grid with 40 solutions is no mean feat.

9d Not any old block, one from Egypt (6)
{THEBAN} – A word describing one from the city of Thebes in Egypt, comes from a word meaning not any old block – split the answer 3, 3 with the emphasis on the first word to see the significance of this.

15d Wow, Ringo’s hot! (3)
{OOH} – A word meaning wow comes from a letter describing a ring, another O and a abbreviation for Hot.

17d Land using quasi airfield strip (4)
{ASIA} – A continent or land is hidden inside quasi airfield.

19d Peter not keeping quiet about Araucaria? (4)
{TREE} – Araucaria is an example of this type of plant and not, in this case, the noted crossword setter of the Guardian.  It comes from an anagram of peter with the P removed (not keeping quiet).

20d Box ’ear (3)
{ARK} – A word for a box comes from taking the H from a word meaning hear (‘ ear).

21d Perception of state (3)
{KEN} – A word meaning perception is also the abbreviation of a state in the USA.

23d Since remaining ale, drunk a lot (1,4,4)
{A GOOD DEAL} – A phrase meaning a lot comes from a three letter word meaning since (as in times gone by) followed by a word meaning remaining (as in what is left when things have been taken away) followed by an anagram (drunk) of ale.

24d Shot at, but stops flatulence returning? (7)
{STRAFED} – A word meaning shot at comes from a fanciful (hence the ?) expression meaning stops flatulence which is reversed.

26d Letter about drug, say (3)
{GEE} – The phonetic pronunciation of one of the letters of the alphabet comes from a one letter type of drug followed by the abbreviation for say, all of which is reversed.

27d Romantic like Baron of Clapton? (6)
{SUGARY} – The Baron of Clapton (and star of the Apprentice) thus described might also be a word meaning romantic.

29d Deadly beast trapped by nervous movement (5)
{TOXIC} – A word meaning deadly (as in poisonous) comes from a two letter word for a beast related to the cow inside a three letter word for a nervous movement or spasm.

31d Beast’s zeal departs (5)
{ELAND} – A word for a beast of the deer family comes from a word meaning zeal followed by an abbreviation for departs.

32d Bomb stokes misery (5)
{SHELL} – A word for a bomb comes from an abbreviation for Stokes followed by a word for misery.

33d Composer’s wasted half (5)
{LISZT} –  Two composes used together are sometime used to indicate one who is drunk (wasted).  Take one of them to find the composer who is the solution to this clue.

35d Go slow, crossing borders for city (4)
{OSLO} – A city in Norway is hidden (crossing borders) inside go slow.

Lots of good clues today but favourite for me were 39a and 24d.

1 comment on “NTSPP – 069 (Review)

  1. My thanks to Prolixic for his generous review and the earlier test-solve of the puzzle.
    The theme required many shortish solutions and it can be challenging to find clues that are neither too obvious (or old chestnuts) nor too obscure. I hope I got the balance about right.

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