NTSPP – 106 (Review)

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 106

A Puzzle by Omnia

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This week’s NTSPP was a special one –  some of our favourite setters,  and  a couple new to the NTSPP series, collaborated as  ‘Omnia’ to mark the 80th birthday of Rufus (Roger Squires).    I found it a reasonably  straightforward solve, with a couple of headscratchers just to make you think,  and had fun trying to work out who set which clue  (see the end of the post for the answer).  

There is always a certain amount of pressure on bloggers  to ensure that we have interpreted a setter’s wordplay intentions correctly.   Twelve of them are going to look at my efforts here – no worries at all then!! –  for obvious reasons, I am not going to highlight my (several)  favourite clues this week!  :)


8a           Cut in benefits ultimately starts to annoy whole nation (4)
{SAWN}  How one might describe cut timber is found by following the last letter (ultimately) of benefits with the initial letters (starts)  of Annoy, Whole and Nation.

9a           Scrutinising light metal in cheap jewellery (10)
{EYEBALLING}  Scrutinising or examining closely –      Light is apparently an archaic synonym for an organ of  sight or vision.   Follow this  body part with a slang term for cheap, ostentatious jewellery, into which has been inserted the abbreviation for aluminium (metal).

10a         “Time’s about to run out” reflected Rebekah Wade at one point? (6)
{EDITOR}   To get the title of the position once (at one point) held by Ms Wade at the News of The World just reverse both  the cricketing abbreviation for Run Out and an archaic or poetic term for a time or season.

11a         Posh youngster I had seen around injecting heroin (3-2-3)
{LAH-DI-DAH}       Insert H ( injecting heroin) into a young boy(3) , follow this with I from the clue and a reversal (seen around) of HAD, then split the result 3-2-3 to get an informal adjective meaning affectedly superior or posh. 

12a         Military get-up? (8)
{REVEILLE}   A cryptic definition of the sound of the bugle used to wake up soldiers at daybreak.


 14a         Amazed by concealing good tricks (6)
{AGHAST}   I knew that the word in the solution meant stupefied with horror and  a check in Chambers reveals that one of the definitions of amazed is  ‘ struck with fear’ .  Insert (concealing) G (good) and HAS (tricks or deceives) into a preposition (2) denoting a precise position in space or time, ie by or near something.

16a         Greek character is off to Athens first of all (4)
{IOTA}   The Greek letter I is found in the initial letters (first of all) of Is Off To and Athens.

17a         They offer a wraparound service in India (5)
{SARIS}   A cryptic definition of wrap-around  garments  made from a single piece of cloth, worn especially by Hindu ladies.

18a         Asian couple in conversation (4)
{THAI}   A homophone (in conversation) of a synonym for couple or join together sounds like someone belonging to the country formerly known as Siam.

19a         A bear turned on a French animal supporter (6)
{UNGULA}  The zoological term for a hoof (literally an animal supporter!) is derived by taking  UN (a in French)  and following this with a reversal of  a  three-letter word meaning to drag something  heavy and A (from the beginning of the clue).

21a         Put curse on old mate prior to start of eviction case (8)
{EXECRATE}  A verb meaning to put a curse on is a charade of  the two letter prefix one might use to refer to one’s previous wife or husband, the first letter (start) of eviction and a synonym for case  in the sense of a strong packing case.

23a         Name price, subtract 1, divide by 10, divided by 1, getting this result? (8)
{QUOTIENT}  The number of times one number is contained in another.   Easier to solve than to explain!  Take a verb (5) meaning to name or provide a price or estimate;  remove the last letter (subtract 1).  Then split the result 3, 1 and into  the gap insert  TIEN (divide by TEN [which has been] divided by I).   Then have a little rest before continuing to draft the review :)

26a         Send out further orders to consume energy  (2-4)
{RE-EMIT}  The definition here is ‘send out further ‘ – insert E (consume energy) into a noun meaning orders  or area or responsibility and then split 2-4.

27a         Make layman get up after writing new clues (10)
{SECULARISE}   To make separate from religious or spiritual influences, ie become a layman rather than a member of the clergy.   An anagram (writing new) of CLUES followed by a verb meaning to get up.

28a         Terrible shot? Rubbish! (4)
{TOSH}  A slang term for rubbish  or twaddle  is a very obvious anagram (terrible) of SHOT.


1d           Outgrown garment perhaps left one depressed (4-2-4)
{HAND-ME-DOWN}  ‘Perhaps left’  indicates that you need one of the extremities of your arms;  ‘one’ is a posh way of saying ME; and the final part of the charade is a synonym for depressed.    Split the result 4-2-4 to get  a description of garments outgrown and passed on to a younger or smaller sibling.  

2d           Several articles have been written about Frenchman, one that’s hated (8)
{ANATHEMA}  Something that is hated or detested –   several  (four) articles with M the Frenchman inserted.   You probably don’t need me to explain any more than that.   If , however, you are still stuck you need an indefinite article used before a vowel,  then an indefinite article, a definite article, then your Frenchman and finally an indefinite article to finish with.  

 3d          European port orderly left without fuel (6)
{PETROL}   Fuel for motor vehicles –  E (European); an anagram (orderly) of PORT and L (left).

4d           Initially Palmerston, alternately Eden, finally Russell – or his predecessor first time round? (4)
{PEEL}   The surname of the Prime Minister before Russell is derived from the first letter (initially) of Palmerston, the alternate letters of EdEn, and the last letter (finally) of Russell.  Russell was Prime Minister twice, once after Peel (his predecessor first time round)  and once after Palmerston.   [Blog amended  – thanks to  Bufo and Tilsit for putting me right]

5d           Sky has a broadcast about maiden’s headwear (8)
{YASHMAKS}    An anagram (broadcast about) of SKY HAS A  plus  M (maiden), produces the double veils worn by Muslim women in public leaving only the eyes uncovered.

6d           Mischievous leaders in seventh heaven after the Spanish provided backing (6)
{ELFISH}   Follow the Spanish word for the with a  reversal (backing) of a conjunction meaning provided (2) and then the initial letters (leaders) of seventh and heaven to get an adjective meaning mischievous like a malignant fairy.

7d           Inches roughly shown by old ruler (4)
{INCA} A ruler of a South American people found in Peru before the 16th century conquest by Spain.  The abbreviation for inches followed by the Latin abbreviation for about (roughly).

13d         Predatory birds’ lofty outlook is overstated in their yearbook (5)
{EYRIE}   To get a nest for a bird of prey, especially an eagle, have a look for a hidden reversal (overstated) in thEIR YEarbook.

15d         Very dark sweatshirt’s in need of repair (10)
{SWARTHIEST}   I did like the anagram indicator here “in need of repair”  – rearrange SWEATSHIRTS to get another way of saying most dark of complexion.

17d         Aggressive bird, the green cormorant, snatching lion’s share of takeaway (5-3)
{SHAKE-BAG}  A large fighting cock turned out of a sack would definitely be an aggressive bird. Rearrange   Take  the first four letters (lion’s share) of the Turkish meat-based takeaway beloved of people on their way home from the pub,  and insert them into the alternative name for the green cormorant,  (you know the one that ‘lays its eggs inside paper bag’), and then split the result 5-3.    I had many thoughts on who set which clue, and this was the one I guessed correctly.  If you think about this solution carefully, (and if you too had  seen the original alternative!), you may work it out too!!

18d         Addressed untutored assembly after beheading  (6,2)
{TURNED TO}   Addressed or directed remarks to a particular person –  remove (beheading) the first letter of UNTUTORED, and then make an anagram (assembly) of the remaining letters.

20d         Deceptive one won’t have a single regret (6)
{UNTRUE}   False or deceptive –   Remove the I (won’t have a single) from a noun meaning a single thing or person and then follow this with a verb meaning to regret or be sorry for.

22d         Student not looking initially for a job (6)
{EARNER}  A way of describing a job – Chambers defines this as an informal term for something illegal or slightly shady that brings in a good profit.     Just remove the L (looking initially) from a description of what a student is.

24d         No hotel for escort’s customer… (4)
{USER}   Remove the H for Hotel from someone who escorts you, for example to your seat in a theatre, to get  a customer or person who avails themselves of something.

25d         ….taking part in industrious threesome (4)
{TRIO}  Hidden or taking part in indusTRIOus  is a noun meaning a  set  of three.

 Happy Birthday Rufus (I wish I could have been at the surprise party too) and thank you to all the setters, especially Tilsit who had the great idea in the first place.

The Nina round the edge of the puzzle says {Happy Eightieth to Roger Squires}.    

 To find out who set which clue just highlight the brackets next to the setter’s name.  A Clue a Day {17a, 25d} (a friend of Tilsit’s who is a long-time Guardian Rufus fan) , Alchemi  {16a, 28a, 6d}, Anax {14a} , Arachne {10a, 23a, 1d} (one of my favourite  Guardian setters),  Bufo {11a, 2d, 22d} , Elgar {27a, 3d, 17d}, Gazza {21a, 13a, 18d}, Hieroglyph {26a, 4d}, Prolixic {9a, 5a, 20d}, Qix {8a, 19a, 24d}, Radler {18a, 7d}, and Tilsit {12a, 15d}.

17 thoughts on “NTSPP – 106 (Review)

  1. That is so very clever, congratulations to all setters involved, really well done Sue I don’t think anyone will find fault with any of your interpretations, I failed to solve it all but think it is brilliant :-)

  2. CS – Many thanks for the review!

    Very brave of you to be judged by “a jury of twelve good men and true” (apologies Arachne)!

    Failed on 17d – Ah! An Elgar clue! Quelle Surprise!

  3. Surely one of the twelve has got to find fault, Sue, so let it be me! 4 down was the Prime Minister before Russell not the one before Palmerston. Otherwise an excellent review

    1. D’oh and double treble d’oh – can I possibly claim it was my deliberate error to see if anyone was reading? No, I thought not.

        1. Indeed – he obviously didn’t make as much of an impression in 1960’s history lessons as Peel and Palmerston and other Prime Ministers of the past. I have amended the blog accordingly.

            1. That was my big mistake – and if you only knew how many times I have read and reread and reread everything over the last week.

  4. I really enjoyed this – thanks and congratulations to all the setters and to CS for being brave enough to write the review. I was finally defeated by 19a and 17d. Also needed the hint to explain the first bit of 9a. I was ridiculously slow to spot the Nina – was “looking around” – hunting for – rather than literally “looking around” but, when I did finally spot it, it helped me get a few that I was having trouble with. Thanks again to all concerned.

  5. With Franco on this, last in only after extensive help did I get 17d. Well done to all setters and CS for stepping up to the plate. Really want to say I had a favourite but not nice when so many setters. I’ll just say the spider woman gets it and, like CS said, so much easier to solve than explain. Wrist still a mess, coccyx on the mend, bump on head recedes, and Thabo has lots of treats!!

  6. Tsk Tsk, Sue. I don’t do indirect anagrams. KEBA(b) in SHAG.

    You missed a great day! Sorry you couldn’t make it.

    1. At test stage I didn’t ‘get’ this one from the clue that finally appeared in the crossword but from the original disallowed one :D THat clue was an anagram and I think that’s what stuck in the back of my mind. Very many apologies. BTW, I now can’t pass a kebab shop without looking for cormorants.

      Very sorry that I couldn’t make the party too – sounds like the birthday boy had a very good time.

  7. Quality punting team. Needed hints for three of them, a real d’oh moment with 2d. I feel confident about nailing the Monday puzzle in 30 ( my target) but am rather dreading Tuesdays toughie as I’m still a toughie trainee but this blog is really helping me to ‘get’ what’s it about.
    My daily battle with the DT is scored as follows:
    Under 30 minutes I win.
    1 clue remaining at 35 minutes = an honourable draw
    2+ clues at 35 minutes DT wins.
    How does this scoring compare with other bloggers. Am I being too easy on myself?

  8. We do not as a rule mention solving times as it discourages those who take longer to solve than others. If you play on the DT website, then you are given points for finishing within 45 minutes so I would say that at the times you suggest you are still ‘winning’ by your standards. Everyone solves differently and at their own pace but we usually all achieve the same satisfaction from compleeting the crossword.

    Had your comment been on one of the DT puzzle blogs, I would have deleted the times as per our usual practice, but as not so many people read the NTSPP reviews I have left them as they are.

  9. As newcomers to cryptic puzzles,Can you help us, please. Where is the NSPP??. We have scoured our Saturday paper to no effect! Completely hooked on the DT cryptics and learning so much from the team at ‘Big Dave’-many thanks, Sue and Chris

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