NTSPP – 104 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 104 (Review)

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 104 (Review)

A Puzzle by Radler

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Radler returns with a themed winter crossword that is very appropriate given the current weather sweeping across the country.  The key to the crossword is solving 13d which introduces the theme word needed to unlock many of the remaining clues.  Even with the theme word cracked, this is a tricky crossword with some complicated wordplay, strokes of genius and Radler’s usual libertarian cluing that reflects his love of some Guardian setters!!


1a What could deliver 13 using choice of roads (5)
{STORM} – A weather condition that might deliver 13d comes from the abbreviation of two type of road with an OR between them.

4a Lack of sense from 13 on reflection (9)
{BLINDNESS} – The reflection of light from 13d may cause this condition.  The same word means a lack of sense.

9a Confuses by using teen slang (9)
{ENTANGLES} – A word meaning confuses comes from an anagram (using) of TEEN SLANG.

10a Stop following popular music (5)
{INDIE} – A genre of music comes from a word meaning stop following a word meaning popular.

11a Order précis of Eats, Shoots & Leaves in sacks (3,4)
{TEA BAGS} – The definition here is “leaves in sacks”.  The answer comes from an anagram (order) of EATS with the final letter removed (précis of) followed by a word meaning shoots.

12a Watch band when led by 13 (6)
{PATROL} – A word meaning watch comes from taking the name of a band after removing the word that is the answer to 13d.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

14a Construct desk and turn bolt (9)
{SKEDADDLE} – A word meaning bolt comes from an anagram (construct) of desk followed by a word meaning turn (as in go off).

16a Without warning, wedge between two metals (3,2)
{CUT IN} – A phrase meaning without warning, wedge between (as inconsiderate drivers may do) comes from putting together two metals (copper) and the one from which cans are made.

17a Player following 13 in panto (5)
{WHITE} – This player on a chess board from the name of a well known pantomime from which the answer to 13d is removed.

19a Season after wife left to check grill (9)
{INTERVIEW} – A word meaning to grill (as in ask questions of) comes from the season in which 13d is seen after removing the initial W (for wife) and following this with a word meaning to check.

21a Line dividing, like down 13 (6)
{FLURRY} – What may describe 13d comes from a word meaning “like down” as in feathery with an L inside it (line dividing).

23a Beast, possibly qualified by 13 stars and American friend (7)
{LEOPARD} – A kind of big cat that may have 13d as part of its name comes from the name of a group of stars followed by the American word for a friend or partner.

26a Originally model, then draw over (5)
{REMAP} – An all in one clue.  Take a word meaning draw and put it over the first letter of model to give a word that means to draw again.

27a Discovering what’s up is exciting to a Mr Nosy (9)
{ASTRONOMY} – A word meaning discovering what’s up (in the sky) comes from an anagram (exciting) of TO A MR NOSY.

28a 13 driver, one having lunch? (9)
{PLOUGHMAN} – One who drives a vehicle that removes accumulations of 13d also describes a type of lunch associated with farm workers.

29a L-loud exchange for 13 (5)
{FLAKE} – This is a tricky one to explain, so bear with me.  First exchange the words in the clue to get LOUD-L.  Now take an abbreviation for LOUD and follow this by a word for which L is an abbreviation and you get a word that describes 13d.


1d Stoned, let’s inject drug for 13 (5)
{SLEET} – A kind of 13d comes from an anagram (stoned) of LETS with an E (drug) inside.

2d Biscuit and coke at a dance (7)
{OATCAKE} – A kind of biscuit comes from an anagram (dance) of COKE AT A.

3d In a moment, a lager and a sign of development (6,3)
{MENTAL AGE} – A sign of development is brilliantly hidden inside the words MOMENT A LAGER.

4d Courage of 13 weapons (5)
{BALLS} – A word meaning courage comes from a weapon made from 13d from which 13d has been removed.

5d Now inept, is foolish and lacking wisdom (9)
{INSIPIENT} – A word meaning lacking in wisdom comes from a word meaning now (as in current) followed by an anagram (foolish) of INEPT IS.

6d Meaning of 13 (5)
{DRIFT} – A word for meaning also describes what 13d can do.

7d Send off on time, taking second position at the finish (7)
{ENDMOST} – A word meaning position at the finish comes from an anagram (off) of SEND followed by the abbreviation for time inside which is placed a word meaning second or moment.

8d 13 vehicle that’s out of refined diesel (4)
{SLED} – A vehicle used on 13d comes from an anagram (refined) of DIESEL after removing the abbreviation for “that is (that’s)”.

13d Agent supplying blanket coverage provides spots on television … (4)
{SNOW} – The key clue.  A word for something (agent) that provides a blanket coverage also describes the white spots you see on a television that is not properly tuned to the correct station.

14d … broadcast! (4)
{SOWN} – A word meaning broadcast is an anagram (broadcast) of the answer to 13d.

15d Supplier of milk bottles unconcerned greatly with limits to dream (5,4)
{DAIRY FARM} – An outfit that supplies milk (not Tesco’s) comes from the outside (limits to) letters of DREAM inside which (bottles) you add words meaning unconcerned and greatly.

16d Triad reportedly switch positions to protect from intrusion (6,3)
{CORDON OFF} – A phrase meaning protect from intrusion comes from a homophone of CHORD (triad reportedly) followed by the two positions that a normal light switch can be in.

18d Not admitted to heaven for being pole dancer? (2,5)
{IN LIMBO} – Heaven’s waiting room for Catholics may also describe the position of a pole dancer.

20d Maniac’s on the rampage claiming love’s oblivious (2,1,4)
{IN A COMA} – A phrase describing being oblivious comes from an anagram (on the rampage) of MANIAC with an O (love) included within it.

22d Set new price with salesman as an illustration (2-3)
{RE-PEG} – A word meaning set a new price (as you may have to do when a currency is devalued) comes from a word for a salesman followed by the abbreviation for “as an illustration” or for example.

23d This evolved distinct elements of Italian (5)
{LATIN} – This language of ancientRome comes from an anagram (evolved) of the letters in ITALIAN ignoring any repeated letters (distinct elements).

24d Airbrushed photo may sell more – make ends meet for writer (5)
{DOYLE} – This writer comes from the final letters (make ends meet) of “airbrushed photo may sell more”

25d Cut flower wanting 13 (4)
{DROP} – A word meaning cut comes from a type of flower from which the answer to 13d has been removed.

End of term review

It is hard to believe that we are at the end of the second year of the NTSPP series.  All credit must go to Big Dave for the hard word he puts in behind the scenes to keep the crosswords flowing and ensuring that they are consistently good, challenging, entertaining and varied.

Thanks too to all the setters who voluntarily provide puzzles for the joy of creating works of art.  Whilst the NTSPP was intended originally to provide a meatier alternative to the Daily Telegraph Prize Crossword, one benefit of the series is the opportunity it gives to new setters to showcase their talents.  We have been fortunate to have been joined by the likes of Hieroglyph, Alchemi and Boaz as regular contributors of crosswords in the past year alongside the “old hands” of Radler, Qix, Tilsit, Gazza and others.  Thanks also to occasional contributors such as Retarius, Bufo, Chaz, Isla and any others I have missed.  Such has been the success that I have not recently received an e-mail from Big Dave on Thursday asking if I have anything to publish on Saturday!

Sadly, apart from a guest appearance by Quaiteaux, the setters are still a male dominate bunch.  There must be talented female setters out there.  We want to hear from you.

Alongside the setters and our Editor, there is also a willing band of test solvers who have to suffer the first drafts of our creations before they are published.  Their work is invaluable in ensuring that high standards are maintained.  Particular thanks to CrypticSue for her willingness to be a victim of our first drafts.

Finally, thanks to our solvers.  It would be nice to see more feedback on the reviews but we know that they crosswords are being downloaded and solved.  I have seen references made to the NTSPP crosswords on Crosswords Unclued and on Alan Connor’s Crossword Blog on the Guardian website.

13 comments on “NTSPP – 104 (Review)

  1. Very enjoyable crossword even if the theme is a presage of things to come. (Just hope the paper gets to the newsagents tomorrow morning and the paperboy makes it to my front door!) No particular favourites today, but liked 11a with its reference to Lynne Truss’s book. Many thanks to Radler and Prolixic.

    I totally agree with Prolixic’s end of term review, but, whilst thanks are being distributed, let’s not forget the excellent puzzles which he provides and also the efforts he puts in to review these puzzles weekly.

  2. Even having identified the theme word early on I still found this extremely difficult and not particularly enjoyable for some reason. It’s probably just me as having completed the cryptic,The Week, Quickie and the Codeword since 6:00am maybe I’m suffering from puzzle fatigue. Thanks to Radler & to Prolixic for the review without which I would never have finished.

  3. I cracked the theme word fairly early on – I was obviously not going to be able to do very much until I had! Even with this in place I am still struggling. I’ve done about half of the puzzle – I AM enjoying it and I will continue to struggle until defeat is obvious, which I’m fairly sure it will be. Back later, or, more probably, tomorrow. Absolutely love 4d! I know that I won’t finish this without at least some of the hints so thanks to Prolixic in advance and to Radler for introducing me to a different kind of challenge.

  4. Fortunately, I cracked the theme straight off, leading to a quick half-solve. Stuck towards the end and had to resort to the tips. Thanks Radler for setting a lovely challenge and Prolixic for the review. I thought 18d in particular was really good.

  5. OK – I give in with about five that I couldn’t do, a few that I needed the hints to explain and one that, even WITH the hint I still don’t understand – 29a. Please forgive the dimness, if that word exists!! I’ve really enjoyed this one and have found it pretty challenging, which is always good. Very nice to see half of 23a instead of his better known alias in crosswords (a small imperial weight – he’s only ever seen in crosswords!!) My best clues include 11, 14 (great), and 21a and 4, 6, 18 and 25d. With thanks to Radler and Prolixic.

    It’s late – it’s cold – it’s snowing like hell – we’re going to bed now!

    1. For 29a L-Loud becomes Loud-L (they have exchanged places). Replace the Loud with an F (Forte) and the L with Lake (L is the abbreviation for lake) and you get FLAKE as the answer.

  6. I’ve just solved this and the weather outside couldn’t be more appropriate. Thanks to Radler for a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle, and to Prolixic for the review.

  7. This one was a real struggle but I got there in the end. However, I still don’t understand 26 across. I see from the review that “originally model” indicates “M” and I’m supposed to put a word meaning “draw” around it and “draw over” is the definition,but “reap” doesn’t mean draw and even if it did I can’t see any instruction to put it round the “M”.

    And while I’m having a moan, “Snow Patrol”? Who?

    1. Thanks for persevering number33.
      An example use of reap / draw – “He drew great benefits from his membership of the association”.
      The definition is the entire clue, but as wordplay the clue instructs you to write the letter M and put REAP over (or across) it

      1. Well, thanks for the explanation Radler, I sort of see it now, if I squint really hard.
        That raises the question though, just because two words can be interchanged in a sentence, does that automatically make them synonymous?

        1. Hi number33
          Don’t want to start a long argument here but I’m quite happy with draw = reap, and the wordplay, although Radler has his tenses mixed up in his last comment. “He can draw great benefit/ he can reap great benefit” seems fine to me as in that case the words are truly synonymous.
          My problem is the rather odd word REMAP meaning “draw and then draw again”. Yeah, OK, it’s probably in Chambers with all sorts of various meanings but . . . ? It might mean to redraw a map but I really think this is the weakest clue in an otherwise brilliant puzzle!

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