NTSPP – 107 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 107 (Review)

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 107

A Puzzle by Prolixic

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Another great puzzle from Prolixic – I do think he is sneakily increasing the level of difficulty with every new crossword he produces.   For some reason, I found the top half harder than the bottom, but the whole thing was just as enjoyable as usual.


7a           Veto agreement about contributions (6)
{DENIAL}  –  To get an act of vetoing or refusing something, insert the abbreviation for National Insurance contributions into a synonym for an agreement or arrangement.

8a           Cross,  shout aloud for some food (8)
{MEATBALL}   – A type of food quite often served with spaghetti is found in a charade of two homophones – one sounding  like a verb meaning to come across or join;  the other a verb meaning to shout loudly.

9a           Maybe Edison has a bit of space for new funder (8)
{INVESTOR}   Someone who provides funds for a venture – Remove the second  N  from Thomas Edison’s ‘job description’  and insert an S (exchanging the first letter of space (for) the first letter of new).

10a         Old name for fire (6) 
{EXCITE}   A preposition meaning old or former, followed by  a verb meaning to name or mention, produces a synonym of fire in the sense of to arouse  emotions or feelings.

11a         Harmonica playing’s not hard for dandy (8)
{MACARONI}   An 18th century name for a dandy, quite often one who travelled abroad, is an anagram (playing) of (H)ARMONICA with the H (not hard) removed.

12a         Frames lady in soldiers’ embrace (6)
{SASHES}  Glazed frames for a window – insert (embrace) the female personal pronoun into the abbreviation for those soldiers in the Special Air Service.

13a         Times starts to embrace movement (11)
{SPRINGTIDES}  ‘Times’ indicates a particular season in more than one year.  Part of a verb meaning starts or leaps, with a daily movement of the sea inserted before the final S (embrace movement) .

18a         Essentially Dominic has temperament to be single (6)
{CHASTE}   Hidden in DominiCHAS TEmperament  is a word meaning plain, simple, abstinent from sexual activity, all things one might be if single.

20a         Game or trout and eel pie (8)
{ROULETTE}   An anagram (pie) of TROUT and EEL produces a game usually played in casinos.

22a         Player’s hackneyed almost half-cut (6)
{STEREO} The sort of player used to listen to music is derived from the first half of an adjective meaning having a fixed or clichéd  image.

23a         Fancy cutting wages after the end of July (8)
{YEARNING}    Fancy or desire for something –   The first letter  (end) of JulY is followed by a noun meaning money that has been gained by way of working with its first letter removed (cutting wages).

24a         Promising person pinches bribe left for author (8)
{COMPOSER}   An author of music is obtained by inserting a reversal of a bribe  or gift (3) into an informal term for someone who shows promise.

25a         The French said Europe is to invade Croatia – tremble (6)
{DITHER}  Take the French word for said and follow it with the IVR code for Croatia into which an E has been inserted (Europe to invade).   Tremble here means to act in a nervous or indecisive way.


1d           Furniture made by headcase! (7)
{BEANBAG}   A type of unconventional seating very popular in the 70s and 80s is obtained from a simple charade of an informal way of referring to someone’s head plus a case or receptacle.

2d           T-twist and dance (4,4)
{TIME WARP} –  In crosswordland, T is the abbreviation for TIME, follow this with  a word meaning twist out of shape  – this dance was made famous in the Rocky Horror Show musical.

3d           Sharpe’s gardener ought to be very drunk (6)
{BLOTTO}    A slang adjective for being helplessly drunk is derived from the surname of the gardener in a famous story by Tom Sharpe plus an O (ought  is a variant of aught or naught meaning nothing).

4d           Write and ask about sports equipment (5,3)
{WATER SKI}   Sports equipment to be used when one is being  towed behind a boat – an anagram (about) of WRITE and ASK.

5d           Tablet computer (6)
{ABACUS} A double definition – in architecture – a type of tablet on the top of a column; in mathematics –  a counting frame; computer here meaning something that calculates.   Nice mislead into the word of modern i-Pads!           

6d           Copper’s territory includes many a schemer (7)
{PLOTTER}  Some who schemes or conspires –  P (a copper penny) plus a three letter abbreviation for territory into which is inserted a noun meaning many, a large number.

8d           Grief received over request in office (7,6)
{MORNING PRAYER}   Not an office where one works but one of the daily acts of church worship –  a homophone for the act of expressing grief plus a request to a god or spiritual power.

14d         Home Counties heartlessly redeveloped for cold storage facility (3,5)
{ICE HOUSE}   Remove the middle letters (heartlessly) from HomE and COUntIES and rearrange the remaining letters (redeveloped being a nice obvious anagram indicator) to get somewhere cold food was stored in the days before refrigerators became commonplace.

15d         I enter trying to break up this ring  (8)
{ETERNITY}   A ring usually given as a sign of a long marriage is a two-word anagram (to break up) of  I ENTER TRYING – only the first word is needed for the solution.

16d         Nondescript item of furniture (7)
{WHATNOT}  A thingamajig  (nondescript item) or a piece of furniture with shelves for displaying ornaments.

17d         H-head embroiled in Latin affairs raised  a sensation (7)
{STUNNER}  A colloquial term for someone who is extraordinarily beautiful and so might  cause a sensation.   A nice stuttering clue here.   A informal  term for the head with the first letter repeated (indicated by H-head) embroiled or inserted into RES (the Latin plural  RES is used in legal or commercial terminology  to mean in the affairs of, ie with reference to).  Raised  indicates that the result should be reversed in order to get a ‘sensation’.   I didn’t want to disappoint Gazza but 95% of the images on line for the word in question were similar to the following picture, so what was I to do??!!       

19d         Cuts up heroin for messenger (6)
{SERAPH}   A messenger from on high is a reversal of a word meaning cuts up or trims followed by the one letter by which heroin is known.

21d         Country affected on the borders of Gambia (6)
{UGANDA}  To get a country found  on the opposite side of the African continent to Gambia, you need  U (affected or behaving like the upper class) followed by the outside letters (borders) of Gambia –   G AND A.  

Thanks to Prolixic for another entertaining diversion from those things we ought to be doing on a Saturday afternoon.  I know that there are lots more Prolixic puzzles lying in wait so I am sure we won’t have long before the next one turns up.  I’m off now to test his latest oeuvre.

10 comments on “NTSPP – 107 (Review)

  1. Thank you Prolixic, enjoyed being baffled,

    Thank you Crypticsue, you hints and tips were needed!

  2. I agree – I thought that it was tricky but I enjoyed it – I must be a masochist! I needed the hints to get the answers for about six clues and to explain many more of the answers that I had got more by luck than anything else. At the risk of being a pain, or dim (or both) I still don’t understand 15d. With thanks to Prolixic and to Crypticsue for the very much needed hints.

    1. It’s a type of clue that Prolixic is fond of, called a composite or compound anagram. You have to determine what you need to add to the word you’re given (RING in this case) to make up the anagram fodder. So an anagram (to break up) of I ENTER TRYING gives ETERNITY RING so the “extra” bit is ETERNITY.

      1. OK – thanks Gazza – I THINK I understand now – you mean you (I) need a bit more of something (ie, in this case, “trying” ) and I have to decide which bit of “trying” I need? Blimey – this is complicated! This is the first puzzle set by Prolixic that I’ve ever done, I think. I’ll learn, I hope, and thanks for replying.

        1. Not quite, Kath. You start with an ordinary anagram (break up) of I ENTER TRYING which gets you to “ETERNITY RING”. But the clue has already told you that the answer is a type of ring, so the answer is ETERNITY.

          1. I don’t think that I’ve ever met this kind of clue before. I finally understand – thanks for your explanations, and patience! :smile:

  3. Many thanks to Crypticsue for the usual sterling review and to all for your comments. I have not used a compound anagram for some time but next time Kath will be forearmed to recognise them :)

    1. Hi Prolixic

      Thanks for a geat puzzle – still a little tricky for me but as I’m getting better at solving you seem to be getting more obscure so it’s an interesting battle of wits which I’m thoroughly enjoying! Keep them coming please.

      If the setter’s aim is to ‘lose gracefully’ then you got it right apart from the ‘lose’ bit! Got all the answers but needed help parsing a couple – including the aforementioned compound anagram!

    2. A bit tricky for me too. I’m going to try very hard to remember the composite/compound anagram, but will I recognise it the next time? I enjoyed being totally flummoxed by your puzzle! :smile:

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