NTSPP – 080 (Review)

NTSPP – 080 (Review)

A crossword by Prolixic 

BD Rating – Difficulty ***/**** – Enjoyment ***

Another fine offering from Prolixic, albeit one I found at the  more difficult side both to solve and to work out the explanations for the review.  I definitely think he’s getting tougher but his puzzles are still very entertaining.  My favourite in this one is  5d for the laugh-out-loud-at-the-vision-it-created.

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.

1a           When small, I may be played by an air-guitarist (9,6)
{IMAGINARY NUMBER}   The symbol for this in maths is a lower case, or small, letter i.  An air-guitarist pretends to play a tune which could also be described as this.  

9a Golfer gets a new toilet (5)
{ELSAN} A type of chemical loo is a charade of the surname of Ernie the crossword-setter-friendly golfer plus A and N (new).

10a  One, for example, may provide illumination (9)
{SIDELIGHT}  This type of illumination has many definitions – the two which relate to illumination are windows either side of a door, or the red or green lights on either side of a boat.   The reference to one here is that this term is used by people who know about crossword terminology to describe square 1 in the puzzle.

11a         Prostitute gets a set of books about fruit (6)
{TOMATO} The delicious red fruit which people usually regard as a vegetable is a charade of a three-letter word which is a slang term for a prostitute;  A (from the clue) and a reversal of the abbreviation for the first part of the Bible.

13a         Hat carrier’s old source of pain (7)
{LUMBAGO} Pain in the lower back –a chimney pot hat (3) plus a carrier for shopping (3)  and O (old).

15a         Musician’s about to head back (5)
{TUNER}  A preposition meaning about and an informal term for the head are reversed to get someone who’s job entails ensuring musical instruments sound as they should.

16a         Great control for a player (5, 4)
{ORGAN STOP} A great is a control on an instrument played mainly in church.

18a         Flavour from hot aspic I prepared (9)
{PISTACHIO}  The sweet flavour of the nut of the same name, used as a flavouring, is an anagram (prepared) of HOT ASPIC I.

20a         Northern Thailand leaves ecumenical body (5)
{ARCIC} – Another specialised knowledge one (well, I didn’t know it!).  The abbreviation for an ecumenical commission is obtained by removing T (Thailand) from the most northern area on earth.

21a         Beer I hesitate to return in North London (7)
{RUISLIP}  Reverse a type of lager, I from the clue and a two letter word used in hesitation to get an area in NW London.

23a         Carbon said to protect tree (6)
{BONSAI}  Protect indicates that a type of miniaturised tree is hidden in carBON SAId.

25a         Refined kind of joy by friendly goblin during performance (9)
{DEIONISED}  Water refined by removing ions –  Take a performance or act (4) and insert into it IO (an interjection expressing joy) and NIS (a friendly goblin in Scandinavian folklore).

26a         A little time with Old Dean (5)
{TINGE} A slight or little tint or colouring – T (time) with the surname of a Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral who quite often appears in both cryptic and general knowledge crosswords under ‘the Old Dean’ as he was still in full critical form well into his nineties).

28a         Artificially change name for representative – one getting in with compassion (15)
{SYMPATHETICALLY} The definition here is with compassion.   Remove N from a synonym for artificially and replace it with MP (Member of Parliament, representative of the people) and add an A (one getting in).


1d           State body shows off police procedures (8, 7)
{IDENTITY PARADES} The police procedures whereby suspects are viewed by witnesses to a crime.   The abbreviation for the State of Idaho, an independent body (6)  and a verb meaning shows off.

2d           Rabbis regularly builds muscles (3)
{ABS} The alternate letters of rAbBiS are an abbreviation for muscles in the abdomen.

3d           Lead-free fuel’s right for a fire-lighter (7)
{IGNITER} Remove L (lead here means the lead or first letter, not the element) from a sedimentary rock with a woody texture used as fuel,  and add an R (right) to get a noun meaning someone causes a fire to burn.

4d           Processed peas found in church (4)
{APSE}  An anagram (processed) of PEAS gives the recess found at the east end of a church.

5d           Greeting Peckham trader in song (5)
{YODEL}  A type of falsetto song usually associated with the Swiss Alps is a charade of an expression used as a greeting to attract someone’s attention, followed by everyone’s favourite Peckham wheeler-dealer , Mr Trotter the Elder).    Brilliant, laugh out loud, clue.

6d           Garrotters are not pretty women (4,3)
{UGLY MEN}   An obsolete term for men who actually carry out the garrotting, as opposed to their confederates.   They are also  the opposite (are not) of pretty women.

7d           Tramp with cane moves down south to get seeds (6,5)
{BEGGAR TICKS}  Seeds of plants such as the bur marigold and tick trefoil –   A vagrant who asks for money followed by a  piece of wood or cane which has the initial letter S moved from the front to the end of the word (moves down south).

8d           Looking back maybe respect vile Tory (15)
{RETROSPECTIVELY} An anagram (maybe) of RESPECT VILE TORY  – an adverb meaning looking back.

12d         Main sitcom’s broadcast – The Good Life (11)
{MONASTICISM} Another anagram (broadcast) of MAIN SITCOM – this way of life would obviously be ‘good’ rather than evil.

14d         Water absorbed by Morello Cherry (4)
{LOCH}  A Scottish lake is hidden or absorbed by MorelLO CHerry.

17d         Regularly gallop with enthusiasm (4)
{GLOW}  One of the definitions of glow is ‘intensity’ which would equate to enthusiasm.  It is hidden in the even (regular) letters of GaLlOp With.

19d         Soldier in West Coast city supports volunteers returning state capital (7)
{ATLANTA} One of those easier to solve than explain ones!   The State capital of Georgia, USA is a charade of  a reversal of the two-letter abbreviation for the volunteers in the Territorial Army, followed by the abbreviation for the City of the Angeles in California, into which has been inserted the type of insect often referred to as a soldier.

20d         Coalite ground up in herbal medicine (7)
{ALOETICThis was one I needed Prolixic’s solving notes and then Google.  An anagram (ground up) of COALITE is a medicine containing a great proportion of aloes.

22d         The Passover – Time to have a change of heart (5)
{PASCH} An archaic term for the Passover.   A colloquial expression for a period of time, sometimes referred to as a  purple  *****– change the middle letter T (have a change of heart) for an S.

24d         Run back to check (4)
{EDIT}   A noun meaning run or trend is reversed to get another meaning  to check and possibly amend something before publication.

27d         Love Ulster’s transport system (3)
{NIL}  Love here means nought or nothing.  The abbreviation for that part of the United Kingdom sometimes referred to as Ulster, followed by the single letter by which the rapid transport system in Chicago is commonly known.

Apologies for the somewhat verbose nature of some of my explanations.  I think this review suffered from having time to keep playing with it and playing with it.   I probably should have left well alone after the first couple of drafts!  I do enjoy a Prolixic NTSPP – hope it’s not too long before the next one appears.


  1. gazza
    Posted August 20, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Prolixic for the enjoyable brainstretcher and to Crypticsue for the illumination. I managed the left-hand side with no great problems but ran into difficulties in the SE corner and ended up having to reveal letters in 20a and 20d. (both unknown to me). Favourite clue: 1a.

    • gazza
      Posted August 21, 2011 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      As a further thought, it was perhaps unfortunate that the two answers which caused me most difficulty (20a and 20d) intersected and both started with a double unch.

      • crypticsue
        Posted August 21, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        They caused me the most difficulty too but luckily I had the solution and notes!

  2. Qix
    Posted August 20, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    I hesitate to describe this as “a curate’s egg”, because I like it much more than that would imply.

    I don’t mean any severe criticism though. Some of the clues here are tremendous. 5d is very nice, and 1a, I think, would have been stunning without the “when small” – that sounds like a revision, and spoils the surface a little. I think that false capitalisation was the way to go. Absolutely brilliant idea. I liked 21a, and 1d was very nicely done, among many other good clues.

    The only downside, for me, was that there were a few very obscure defs and synonyms. 5a was completely unknown to be, but was straighforwardly clued, which helped. 20a was similar – maybe “northern” should have been the third word there?

    Having said all that, I really enjoyed solving this puzzle, and regret having taken so long to get to it. Can’t wait to see more Prolixic puzzles – they’re getting more accomplished every time.

    • Radler
      Posted August 21, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      Thank you to Prolixic and CS.
      Really liked 1a. I think Prolixic was right to include the “when small”. It’s a mathematical symbol and would never be shown in uppercase, even at the start of a sentence

  3. Spindrift
    Posted August 21, 2011 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Far too obscure in some parts for me I’m afraid and not knowing some of the “church” terms meant that I had to rely on the review for the answers. Thanks to Prolixic & to CrypticSue