NTSPP – 119 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 119

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 119

A Puzzle by Commoner

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A very enjoyable puzzle from NTSPP débutant Commoner.

A review by Prolixic follows below

NTSPP - 119

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A warm welcome to Commoner to the pages of the NTSPP. I thought that this was a creditable first crossword with plenty of variety in the clues and a few clues that required a bit more thought. Some of the surface readings in the clues could have had a bit of a polish, particularly in 8a, 2d and 7d but overall it was enjoyable to solve. I have highlighted my favourite clues in blue.


1a Method actor with no alternative to take on personal quirk? On the contrary! (6)
{TACTIC} – This method or strategy comes from taking the word ACTOR and removing (no) a word meaning alternative and then putting it inside a three letter word for a personal quirk. The words “on the contrary” tell us to put the first word inside the second even though the wordplay is first word to take on (insert) second word.

4a Poor people, not posh, in rags (6)
{PAPERS} – These rags are published daily or at weekends. Take a word for poor people and remove a U (not posh) from it to find the answer.

8a Politician covered in melted sugar – this is at home in the main (7)
{GRAMPUS} – Put an anagram (melted) of SUGAR around the abbreviation for a politician to find a word for a sea creature, technically a Risso’s dolphin but also used as a popular name for whales.

10a Social worker from the tropics in a room with books about young artists, primarily (4,3)
{ARMY ANT} – This tropical insect comes from the A in the clue, the abbreviation for room and an abbreviation for the books of the New Testament put around the first letters (primarily) of Young Artists.

11a Time, after loss of one shilling, to restore confidence of royal bursar (9)
{TREASURER} – This royal bursar (or any financial controller of a society or organisation) comes from the abbreviation for time followed by a word meaning restore confidence from which an S (one shilling) has been removed.

12a Come in for peanuts and beer regularly (5)
{ENTER} – A word meaning come in can be found from the even letters in PEANUTS BEER.

13a Soldier types, leaders of legion, combat American terror, not half (7,6)
{GENERAL CUSTER} – This American soldier, who made a famous last stand, comes from a five letter word meaning types, the first letters (leaders) of Legion and Combat, an abbreviation for the United States and the first half of the word terror.

15a At home, against team with class, being rash (13)
{INCONSIDERATE} – A word meaning rash comes from a word meaning at home, a three letter word meaning against, another word for a team and a word meaning class or judge.

20a Scientist used to catch fish, I hear (5)
{HOOKE} – This scientist, most famous for his law that the extension of an elastic object is directly proportional to the load applied to it, is a homophone (I hear) of what goes on the end of a fishing line to catch fish.

22a Accepting eccentric Cambridgehead of department’s leaving for Norway(9)
{EMBRACING} – An anagram (eccentric) of CAMBRIDGE with the D (head of Department) replaced with an N (Norway) gives a word meaning accepting or welcoming.

23a Worker followed usher to see show (7)
{PAGEANT} – This show comes from one of the insects described as a worker (see the answer to 10a) with a word for an usher or servant before it.

24a I’m a student put in detention by a new school’s principal with 8, 10 across and 2, say (7)
{ANIMALS} – The answers of 8a, 10a and 2d are all examples of the answer. Take the abbreviation for I am, the A from the clue and the abbreviation for student or learner and put them inside another A from the clue, the abbreviation for new and the first letter (principal) of school.

25a Yours truly in the outskirts of Liverpool, unknown and friendless (6)
{LONELY} – Put a word meaning Yours truly inside the outer letters of Liverpool and follow this by one of the letters used to denote and unknown quantity to fine a word meaning friendless.

26a Bird enveloped by cheers, following a Greek goddess (6)
{ATHENA} – The name of this Greek goddess comes from the A in the clue and a word meaning cheers or thank you put around a word for a chicken (bird).


1d Drunk son in stockings (6)
{TIGHTS} – Another word for stockings comes from a word meaning drunk followed by the abbreviation for son.

2d Clone me a moving clothes horse, a creature that changes colour (9)
{CHAMELEON} – This creature that changes colour comes from an anagram (moving) of CLONE ME A around (clothes) the abbreviation for horse or heroin.

3d I’m out of date – that’s the difficulty (7)
{IMPASSE} – A word for a difficulty or stalemate comes from the I’M in the clue followed by a word meaning out of date.

5d I’m not so much after the best as without direction (7)
{AIMLESS} – A word meaning without direction comes from the IM in the clue and a word meaning not so much put after an A (the best).

6d Correct former legislation (5)
{EXACT} – A word meaning correct or precise comes from the abbreviation for former followed by a word used to describe legislation passed by parliament.

7d Gas giant, having a spell of dizziness, under narcosis, finally (6)
{SATURN} – This gas giant comes from the final letter of narcosis followed by a phase (1,4) meaning having a spell of dizziness.

9d Large feast on blanket or table (11)
{SPREADSHEET} – This table seen in programs such as Excel comes from a word for a large feast followed by a word for a blanket.

10d Asserting such a thing may do the trick! (11)
{ABRACADABRA} – A mild cryptic definition of the word used by conjurers when performing magic tricks.

14d Throw ice at T-rex and get out (9)
{EXTRICATE} – An anagram (throw) of ICE AT T-REX gives a word meaning get out.

16d General beginning to look after Queen in cricket ground (7)
{OVERALL} – A word meaning general or universal comes from putting the abbreviation for the Queen inside the home of Lords (cricket ground) and following this with the first letter of the word look.

17d One who accepts things as they are on a record (7)
{REALIST} – A word for someone who is pragmatic comes from a two letter word meaning on or about, the A from the clue and a word for a record or roster.

18d Crack and ecstasy left in a place of worship (6)
{CHAPEL} – This place for worship comes from a word for a crack, often used where the skin is cracked and sore, followed by the abbreviations for ecstasy and left.

19d Discovered in part of college: static discharge (6)
{EGESTA} – A word a discharge is hidden inside COLLEGE STATIC.

21d Terrible groan coming from the larynx, perhaps (5)
{ORGAN} – The larynx is an example of this part of the body. It comes from an anagram (terrible) of ORGAN.

7 comments on “NTSPP – 119

  1. A very enjoyable debut indeed, thank you Commoner. Definitely one to ‘start with the downs’ but it soon all fell into place with smiles and d’oh moments along the way. No special favourites, just a nice post lunch solve. More please soon (and if you need a tester…!)

  2. Thanks to Commoner for an enjoyable puzzle – favourite clue 1d for the image of the transvestite son that it conjures up.

    1. Interesting how different minds work :D I just thought that stockings aren’t really 1d!

  3. Well done, Commoner; enjoyable crossword. One or two of the definitions e.g. ‘a creature that changes colour’ were a little obvious.

    Thanks Prolixic for the good pictorial blog; I particularly liked SPREADSHEET and TACTIC [of course, I first thought of Brando.] For the latter, it is a bit strange that ‘take in’ and ‘take on’ are both containment indicators. I would have thought that the latter could be interpreted like ‘put on’ in which case the ‘on the contrary’ would not be needed [?]

  4. I enjoyed this – and I could do most of it! Came to grief a bit with 20a (never heard of and should have guessed and looked up, but didn’t) and couldn’t work out how 24a worked although the answer was obvious. Since I’ve never tried to set a crossword, and wouldn’t know where to begin, I don’t criticise but, if I had a criticism, it would be that some of the clues were very long and SO full of words that I didn’t quite know where to start.
    My favourite clues were 4, 12 and 23a and 1, 5, 9, 10 and 18d. I think that only gazza could have conjured up the image of the transvestite son!
    With thanks to Commoner and Prolixic.

  5. Many thanks to Dave, and to Prolixic for posting such a comprehensive review. And thanks too for all the helpful comments here.
    And, yes, Cryptic Sue – I think a tester is precisely what I need! If you are indeed offering, please do let me know (jondcoe@gmail.com).

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