NTSPP – 116 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 116 (Review)

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 116

A puzzle by Donk

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A new name joins the ranks of the NTSPP setters.    When you’ve been solving cryptics for as long as I have, it is good to try new setters’ puzzles and I thoroughly enjoyed Donk’s first NTSPP and hope we see more of him soon.


1a           Yankees gutted after city rivals knocked back plan (6)
{SYSTEM}  A plan or method of procedure –  reverse an abbreviation for a New York baseball team (who are the rivals of the NY Yankees baseball team)  and insert the first and letters of YankeeS (gutted indicates the need to remove the middle letters).    

4a           Goes to lock up the lot producing vegetables (8)
{SHALLOTS} A member of the onion family is obtained by inserting an adjective meaning everything (the lot) into an informal expression meaning goes, attempts or turns.

10a         Beast with massive arms stash called by Ukraine’s leader in new NATO arrangement (5-4)
{ORANG-UTAN} This lovely beast with really long arms is derived from an anagram (new) of NATO into which is inserted another way of saying called (on the telephone, perhaps) and U (Ukraine’s leader), the result split 5-4.

11a/27d   Dressing a young boy in Sunday best (5,5)
{SALAD CREAM}  Insert between S (Sunday) and a synonym for the best part of anything, A from the clue and a boy or youth (3).

12a         Silly jokes, both unfinished (4)
{GAGA}    Remove the last letter from an informal name for a joke (unfinished).   The clue says ‘jokes’ so you need to repeat these letters again to get a slang term for silly in the sense of slightly mad.

13a         Loosely, it’s paper covered in notes (5,5)
{SHEET MUSIC}  A cryptic definition of unbound written tuneful notes.

15a         Not one poked into bottom (7)
{NEITHER} An adjective or pronoun meaning not one or the other – simply insert I (one) into an adjective meaning bottom or lower.

16a         Go out with accommodating girl briefly for body (6)
{SENATE} A governing body – insert the diminutive form of Natalie (girl briefly) into a verb meaning to go out, escort or meet regularly, especially romantically.

19a         Mad Hatter releases statement of intent (6)
{THREAT}  An anagram (mad) of hatter makes a declaration of an intention to inflict harm.

21a         Trace posh blokes that used to construct roads (7)
{BITUMEN}  A nice charade to get the tarry stuff used in road construction –  a trace (3),  U (posh) and the ‘proper’ way of referring to blokes.

23a         One involved in law to make riots legal (10)
{LEGISLATOR}  Not sure that this person would do what this all-in-one clue implies but an anagram (to make) of RIOTS LEGAL gives us a person involved in the making of laws.

25a         Right time for madness (4)
{RAGE} R (right) plus a noun meaning duration of time during which a thing has existed, gives us the sort of madness often see on roads and in car parks and even supermarket queues!

27 See 11

28a         Criminal got peachy cell (9)
{PHAGOCYTE}  Another anagram (criminal)  GOT PEACHY rearranges to produce a white blood cell which engulfs bacteria and other harmful particles.

29a         Terrifying woman who believes in getting engaged (8)
{SINISTER}  Terrifying, evil or malign –  insert IN (in getting engaged) into a way one might refer to a nun (woman who believes).

30a         Fast way to slice top of carrot off (6)
{STARVE}  Fast here means to abstain from food completely.   Remove the C from a verb meaning to slice, eg meat, and place the result after the abbreviation for Street (way).


1d           Getting off your head in South Germany at first (8)
{SNOGGING}  The definition is ‘getting off’ in the sense of indulging in kissing or lovemaking.   Insert an informal name for the head into the first letters of South and Germany .

2d           Splashing all over the place, tongues intertwined (9)
{SPANGLISH} Not quite sure what our setter was thinking about when he worked on these clues but…   at first glance you might think this clue linked with the one before it!  However, an anagram (all over the place) of SPLASHING gives us a mixture of two languages (tongues intertwined) spoken especially in the Hispanic communities of the USA.

3d           Border’s not all sweet-scented geraniums (4)
{EDGE}  Hidden in scentED GEraniums is another way of saying border or rim.

5 See 26

6d           Fantastic insult mate delivers just before death (4-6)
{LAST-MINUTE}  An adjective meaning done at the last possible time is an anagram (fantastic) of INSULT MATE.

7d           Lovingly watches beasts changing hands (5)
{OGLES}  Watches amorously – simply change the R to an L (changes hand) in some man-eating monsters.

8d           Beginning to slowly develop charm (6)
{SEDUCE}  Follow  S (the ‘beginning to’ slowly) with a formal verb meaning to develop or extract – charm here meaning to entice or lead astray.

9d           Vet scratching head about woman’s impressive job (6)
{ETCHER}  A person who designs on glass or metal –  remove the first letter from [V]ET (scratching head) then add a C (the abbreviation for the Latin word meaning about) and finally the female possessive pronoun.

14d         Pairs with extra sheer pants in large volumes (10)
{THREESOMES}   One that took a while to work out, not least because of the unwanted vision it created!    The definition is ‘pairs with extra’ ie couples with one more.   An anagram (pants) of SHEER) inserted into large scholarly books.  You have no idea how careful you have to be when doing an ‘image search’ for this solution :D

17d         One avoiding complete whitewash in fencing discipline (3,6)
{TOM SAWYER}   A cryptic definition of the Mark Twain character who was made to whitewash a fence as a punishment for playing truant.

18d         Uninitiated need English surrender to come earlier (8)
{ANTECEDE}  To come earlier or go before in time or rank.   Another clue where you need to remove a first letter, this time from another word for need in the sense of lack or being without.  Follow the remaining letters with E (English) and a verb meaning to surrender or yield.

20d         Tramp irritated a priest (7)
{TRAIPSE}   Not a man of the road but a tramp or hike.   An anagram (irritated) of A PRIEST gives us another way of saying a long tiring walk.

21d         Ali’s boxing ring before start of bout – it’s found in Africa, full of water (6)
{BAOBAB} Anyone else start off thinking about the boxer, or even an oasis?)   The second name of the Ali in the Arabian Nights who had forty thieves is reversed around O (boxing ring [O]) and then followed by a B (start of bout) to give a giant tropical African tree known as the tree of life because of its capability of storing hundreds of litres of water which can be tapped in dry periods.

22d         Spots lead in audition (6)
{FLECKS} In audition clearly indicates that a homophone of lead or  electrical cable sounds like spots or speckles.

24d         New target for golfers (5)
{GREEN}  A double definition – new, unseasoned, immature or  the place where a golf hole can be found.

26d/5d  C-word provokes supporters wearing shirts, possibly (4,7)
{COAT HANGERS}  Items used to hold clothes (supporters wearing shirts)  – C (from the clue) plus a synonym for word in the sense of promise or pledge, followed by a synonym for provokes or makes cross.

Thank you Donk for brightening up an extremely wet chilly boring afternoon.  I had lots of ‘favourites’ in this one, quite a few of which contain the more risqué wordplay, so I am not quite sure what that says about me!

11 comments on “NTSPP – 116 (Review)

  1. With crosswords like this, it looks like BD will need to build an extension to his stable to house the new throughbreds. Many thanks to Donk for an enjoyable crossword and to CS for coming to the rescue to blog.

  2. Thanks Donk and crypticsue; I DID think of Ali the boxer and forgot about BABA.

    I think in 26/5 you may have missed the synonym for provokes in your blog.

    Lots of nice clues, very entertaining.

    1. So I did – all correct now – thank you for point out my not-so-deliberate error.

  3. Thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle many thanks Donk.
    Thanks to CS for the review which cleared up a few parsing problems that I had.
    A pleasant diversion on a horrid wet windy afternoon.

  4. Hi all,

    Many thanks for your kind words! Thanks also to crypticsue for providing the review.

    Hope to be back with another puzzle in the future if you’ll have me!

    Kind regards,

  5. I started off thinking that I couldn’t do it at all – my experience of the last few of these has not been good! (I mean that they were far too clever for me rather than that they were not good puzzles!) Then got going – then really loved it. Lots that made me laugh – the whole thing has kept me occupied, happy and out of everyone’s way for the whole of a horrible rainy afternoon, so thank you very much Donk! :smile:
    The only one that I absolutely couldn’t do was 21d. I needed the hints to explain a few more – probably about five of them, including 18d which I think I still don’t quite “get”. Far too many great clues to enumerate them all – like CS most of the more risque sounding ones – don’t know what it says about me either!
    With many thanks to Donk for the entertainment and also to CS for the hints, pictures and commentary!

  6. wondered why Donk had been absent from DIY COW recently. He must have been constructing this beauty. I enjoyed it very much. Favourties being 2d and 26d/5d. Thanks, Donk.

  7. 14d was worth the price of entry alone!. Well done and thanks to both Donk, for the puzzle, and CS for picking a nice Pic to illustrate it!

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