NTSPP – 115 (Review)

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 115

“Lonely, Single & Broke” by Nina

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Welcome to one humdinger of a crossword set by “Nina”, none other than John Henderson in drag!  He had donned industrial strength hob-nailed boots for this crossword.  Although there are a number of more straightforward clues, there are some real stinkers.  At the time of preparing the review, the wordplay for 3d still eludes the combined efforts of Crypticsue, Gazza and me to crack it.  Update: Elgar has given us the solution.  See below.

When solving this crossword, you should ignore the preamble to begin with and then solve the crossword as normal.  Although the grid is unusual in design, it is still a regular cryptic crossword.  Instructions will be given at the end on how to reveal the Nina that is hidden in the grid.


7a Take in, at one time or another, stuff Angel’s served by me (3,8,4)
{THE NORTHERN LINE} – This underground route that serves Angel comes from some horrendously complicated wordplay.  You need a contrived phrase meaning at one time or another (THEN OR THEN).  Inside this add an R (for take) and follow it by a word meaning to stuff.  If anyone managed to get this from the wordplay alone, you really should stop taking illegal substances.

9a Well done to a hooligan with tins making a collection for the library (15)
{ANTHOLOGISATION} – An anagram (well done) of TO A HOOLIGAN TINS gives a word meaning making a collection for the library (putting works together).

10a Charged overweight old cow with old pledge to introduce old tax (6,7)
{EXCESS BAGGAGE} – This luggage would be charged if overweight.  It comes from a word meaning old (used of a former partner) followed by a word for a tax.  Then add a word meaning an old cow and an old word for a pledge.

11a Protection for weapon that 3 woman may reveal to men looking back? (5)
{TSUBA} – This protection (a sword guard on a Japanese sword) comes from reversing (looking back) what a woman might reveal to men if she were 3d.

13a Mineral/earth? (3)
{ORE} – Another word for a mineral comes from the word that can replace a “/” followed by the abbreviation for earth.

15a Disparate mass leaving Yorkshire town (5)
{OTLEY} – ThisYorkshire town comes from a word meaning disparate with the initial M (for mass) removed.

16a Sickly looking, here the host is all clear for probing instrument (7)
{LUNETTE} – I think that this clue has two initial definitions as being “sickly looking” (as in looking like a sickle) and “here the host is” (as in another word for a pyx where consecrated bread (host) is stored).  The word itself comes from putting a word meaning all clear (as in not gross) inside (probing) the name of a musical instrument.

19a Terribly blasé about drugs being open to inspection? (7)
{SEEABLE} – A word meaning open to inspection comes from an anagram (terrible) of blasé around a EE (drugs).

21a Song follows incongruous rap about independent broadcasting (7)
{AIRPLAY} – A word meaning broadcasting comes from an anagram (incongruous) of RAP around the abbreviation for independent followed by a word meaning a song.

24a Disorganised cruising (2,3)
{AT SEA} – Double definition time.  A word meaning disorganised describes where you would be if cruising on a ship.

25a Hats off to old Dr Fox! (3)
{TOD} – The initial letters (hats off) of To Old Dr give another word for a fox.

26a Air passage? I’ll say! (5)
{AISLE} – A homophone (say) of I’ll gives another word for a passage.  I presume the air in the clue is either a reference to an aircraft in which you might find the answer or a second homophone indicator.

29a 14 or 27? Some like noticing full measures of G&T? (5,6)
{MIXED DRINKS} – Anagrams of 14d and 27d give TEA and ALE respectively.  This phrase describes them.  The phrase is also (something like) NOTICING an anagram of the full words represented by G&T (GIN TONIC).


1d Thursday in bed for the audience clapping producers? (7,6)
{THUNDER SHEETS} – Take the abbreviation for Thursday and where you would be if still in bed for a phrase describing a theatrical device to produce sound effects for the audience.

2d Work ethic? Ban passenger on board (2,3,3)
{IN THE CAB} – An anagram (work) of ETHIC BAN gives a phrase describing where a passenger would be if travelling by taxi.

3d So Will’s in power? I’m hanging about! (7)
{BRALESS} – The definition is ‘I’m hanging about” which is what two things would be if one of these were not worn.  If will is BRAINPOWER then IN POWER lacks the BRA!!!

4d Like ScarboroughFair’s parsley portent? (7)
{PRESAGE} – A word meaning portent describes the position of parsley in the lyrics to Scarborough Fair; “Are you goin’ to Scarborough Fair? Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.  Remember me to one who lives there, she once was a true love of mine.”

5d Offensive for Edmund Blackadder (parts 1&2) at function time (8)
{BLATTANT} – A word meaning offensive (with the spelling used by Edmund Spencer) comes from the first two letters of Blackadder (parts 1&2) followed by the AT in the clue, a mathematical trigonometry function and the abbreviation for time.

6d “Bolt from the blue” is awfully feeble reason University put forward (13)
{UNFORESEEABLE} – A phrase meaning bolt from the blue comes from an anagram (awfully) of FEEBLE REASON with the abbreviation for University at the beginning (put forward).

8d Part of leg initially obscured by not completely naked gymnast’s gear (4,3)
{HIGH BAR} – This gear (or apparatus) used by a gymnast comes from the name of part of the leg with the first letter removed (initially obscured) followed by a word meaning naked with the last letter removed (not completely).

12d Vestment donated by local bishop (3)
{ALB} – An ecclesiastical vestment is hidden inside (donated by) locAL Bishop.

13d “I drink” — a joke! (3)
{ONE} – a triple definition for a word meaning I, a drink (as in this for the road) and a joke (as in have you heard the this about).

14d Being told to phone home, write a letter (3)
{ETA} – The being (creature) who was told to phone home followed by an A gives a letter of the Greek alphabet.

15d Poseurs making regular contributions to poets higher up (3)
{OER} – A poetic word for higher up comes from the regular letters of pOsEuRs.

17d Eventually, you will require a rubber (3)
{ULE} – A word for rubber comes from the final letters (eventually) of yoU wilL requirE.

18d Metal’s obtained from it up North (3)
{TIN} – This metal comes from reversing the word IT and following it by the abbreviation for North.

20d Crack beat, short of acid (6)
{ACETIC} – A type of acid comes from a word meaning crack or expert followed by a word meaning beat with the final letter removed (short).

22d Metallic-sounding output from author interrupting work steadily (6)
{PLINKY} – A word meaning metallic sounding comes from putting a word meaning the output of an author (what comes out of the pen he writes with) inside (interrupting) a word meaning work steadily.

23d Right to be upwardly-mobile in new area of the capital (6)
{MORDEN} – This area ofLondon (one of the termini of 7a) comes from a word meaning new with the R moved upwards.

27d 50% departin’ the country… (3)
{LEA} – A word for the country comes from half (50%) a word meaning departing with the final G removed.

28d …and, for the rest, champagne?! (3)
{VIN} – The final part of the word in 27d’s wordplay gives a French word for the type of drink that champagne is.

Once you have solved the crossword, you need to remove 18 squares (15 in one line and three others).  The squares removed represent the tube route and its starting and ending points.  Highlighting a further 30 squares, show the location of the S&B meeting.  The final grid looks like this:


  1. Posted April 21, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    The Great Man says. Bra in power = will

    • crypticsue
      Posted April 21, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Double treble quadruple d’oh. So easy when you see it. And no he is not getting the pint!!

    • Prolixic
      Posted April 21, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Please feel free to buy the great man a pint and then pour it slowly and lovingly over his head :)

  2. crypticsue
    Posted April 21, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    It took me a long time to finish solving this puzzle but then to sit down and work out the whys and wherefores takes another level of geniusnessness altogether. I am willing to offer one of the many pints contained in that microbrewery that Gnomey owes me for the first person (that isn’t Elgar himselof) who can explain 3d correctly.

  3. spyndryft
    Posted April 21, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Impenetrable, obscure, abstruse and downright bloody difficult. That was what I can only describe as an Uber Toughie! Thanks to Nina and to Prolixic who must be in need of the darkened room and some cold refreshments…

  4. gazza
    Posted April 21, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Elgar for the brain-stretching and to Prolixic for the explanations. I did eventually finish it (not understanding 3d) but I got nowhere with the Nina, so special thanks to Prolixic for explaining that.

  5. windsurfer23
    Posted April 21, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    I shudder when I see the name of John Henderson, even when he’s in drag. Sort of solved this with word searches and an occasional cheat.

    Thanks to Prolixic for revealing all. A lot more difficult than the STTP

  6. windsurfer23
    Posted April 21, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    I always shudder when I see the name of John Henderson, even if he’s in drag.

    Just about completed this with word searches and an occasional cheat.

    Thanks Prolixic for revealing all

    • Prolixic
      Posted April 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog windsurfer23. This was Elgar on steroids.

    • windsurfer23
      Posted April 21, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Prolixic; I think I must be on steroids to post twice.

  7. Posted April 21, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Even after taking advice from crypticsue (The lady of crosswords)
    I failed
    I concede the battle, but not the war.

  8. Kath
    Posted April 21, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t think that I would get very far with this one – I was right! However, I got further than I was expecting to!! :smile: I have now given in and read the hints – I sort of understand most of them but by no means all. One of the ones that is driving me mad and I STILL don’t understand is 10a – I thought that the “old cow” was the “baggage” and I still can’t make any sense of the rest of it, apart from the other “old” being “ex”! I was a bit sunk with 8d because although the clue said 4,3, the puzzle that I printed had 5,3 spaces – don’t know why. I LOVED 4d and will be singing it for days! With thanks to all concerned.

    • Prolixic
      Posted April 21, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

      10a is EX (old) + CESS (tax) + BAG (old cow) + GAGE (old word for a pledge)

      • Kath
        Posted April 22, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        Thank you – I would never have been able to sort that out!

    • franco
      Posted April 21, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t get very far either!

      I promised myself not to peek at the hints – but …..
      ……. I still don’t understand 4d – love the song, love the lyrics….but still do not understand the clue! Help! Please!

      (Yes! I’ve read the hints – and played the clip many times).

      • Prolixic
        Posted April 21, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

        In the lyrics, parsley comes before sage. It may therefore be described as pre-sage!

        • franco
          Posted April 21, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

          Prolixic, Thank You! Sorry that you had to spell it out so pre-cisely!

          (One of many clues, over the years, that I would never have been able to comprehend without the help of this blog!!!)

      • Kath
        Posted April 22, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        4d was one of the VERY few that I DID understand!

  9. Kath
    Posted April 22, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    I promise that, one day, I will learn to steer clear of the crosswords that everyone says are verging on impossible – especially anything by Elgar!

    • crypticsue
      Posted April 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Yes… but it might be that we are wrong and you are on the right wavelength for that setter on that particular day, so you will just have to keep perservating :)

  10. Anonymous
    Posted April 22, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to thank Elgar for a splendid tough challenge. Very enjoyable and extremely mind-stretching.

    • Prolixic
      Posted April 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog. Although not mandatory, it helps to give your name (or nickname) when posting comments.