NTSPP – 122 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 122

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 122

A Puzzle by Nina

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This is the puzzle which was distributed at the recent Sloggers & Betters 9 meeting.

Checking the venue of that meeting could be of assistance when solving.

NTSPP - 122

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Afternoon All! Just to reiterate we have the puzzle set by NINA (Mr John Henderson/Elgar/Nimrod in drag) for the 9th Sloggers and Betters meeting at the Town of Ramsgate pub in Wapping High Street. The puzzle is suitably themed and the hint for the definition of the otherwise undefined clues can be found in the NINA on the East and West of the grid. Thematic clues are highlighted in BLUE



3a Where writer works 27 out (3)
{DEN} An anagram (worked out) of the answer to 27a gives a study or place where a writer may work.

8/24a Resort nearby in pursuit of timeless article (5, 3)
{HERNE BAY} – An anagram (re-sorting) of NEARBY following a definite article minus the first T. This place is home to the world’s first free-standing purpose built clocktower built in 1837 – now you know!

9a Got established all right, in hill as well, with west-facing view (4,4)
{TOOK ROOT} – Established as a plant may be when set and growing. Place a short word for ‘all right’ inside a word for a hill or mountain then add the reversal (with a west facing view) of a synonym for ‘as well’

10a/7d “Mum4Dad” boyfriend at last scratched when out cycling (7)
{ASHFORD} – Difficult to figure out this one so I shall be explicit. Expand Mum4Dad as SH FOR DAD then remove the last letter of boyfrienD. Finally make an anagram of the lot (when cycling). This gives another themed clue with no definition but does have an International Railway Station.

11a Base entered by Navy nucleus (6)
{KERNEL} – The stabilising base of a ship with the Royal Navy inside gives a nucleus of a nut or seed.

12a Swung the lead as paras did, skipping year and day (6)
{SKIVED} – start with the past participle of what paratroopers do from a plane and remove the Y(ear) and D(ay). This leads to a word meaning ‘swung the lead’.

14a Singer abducting king from country (4)
{ENYA} – An Irish female vocalist once of Clannad. Remove the King from an African country.

15a Fish wife right to appear in front of short judge (7)
{WRASSES} – Fish in the plural is the definition. Place the abbreviations for Wife and Right in front of a shortened (by one letter) word meaning judge or rate.

16a/19a Likewise, Poles = natives (4)
{SONS} – I think that this had to be split in order to allow the grid fill but maybe NINA will show up to confirm. SO is a synonym for ‘likewise’. Then add two poles of the earth to get a word meaning natives (of a nation) in a poetic stylee.

17a But is nitrogen reactive? (13)
{SITTINGBOURNE} – A ‘reactive’ anagram of BUT IS NITROGEN leads to a place near me where tyres are regularly burnt!

19a See 16.

20a Delboy’s fab dolly-bird’s keeping schtum (7)
{CUSHTIE} – This is one of the spellings of a word that Delboy from ‘only Fools and Horses’ used regularly instead of ‘fabulous’. Place the same word for Mum/Schtum as in 10a inside a word for a belle or dish (dolly bird).

21a With direction reduced, Hollywood actress has voluntary control (4)
{MAEW} – Tricky this and we had to google the possible result to get the acronym for Moves All Extremities Well. What you need to do is reduce the West in MAE WEST – the Hollywood actress. Incidentally, if you look at ALL EXTREMITIES of the puzzle you get the NINA which is a hint for the themed words.

22a Thwart outlaw sailors caught (6)
{BANJAX} – To thwart or stymie. A charade of outlaw (as a verb) and a homophone (caught e.g. by the ear) of JACKS, sailors.

23a Roman soldiers, perhaps devoured by big cat (6)
{LEGION} – Put an abbreviation of perhaps/for example inside a big cat to get a number of Roman Soldiers.

24a See 8

25a Staunchly loyal Unions individual involved in bet (4,4)
{TRUE BLUE} – The abbreviation for Unions inside a cumulative bet (of 3 horses for example) gives a staunch Tory.

26a Chivalrousoldmalaysian@oustingotin.uk (5)
{DATUK} – The definition is a chivalrous old gent in Malaysia. There is some outrageous wordplay here which I will explain fully: You need to replace the OT in dOT UK (.UK) with AT (@ being pronounced this way when reading email addresses). Excellently clever and bamboozling stuff to the point where the Sunday Times Crossword editor was similarly stymied!.

27a See 6 down


1d The woman who’s throttling the seabirds (9)
{SHEERNESS} – A way of saying ‘The woman is’ around some seabirds. This is on the Isle of Sheppey (where strange things happen in caravans at night) which is not too far from me either!.

2d Negotiate 50% of solution for extending territory (8)
{TRANSACT} – A verb meaning to negotiate is found by extending (by placing in the middle) a word meaning territory or piece of land with half of the word ANSWER (solution)

3d The timber trade? (4)
{DEAL} – A double definition for a place near Dover which is one of the Cinque Ports.

4d Whatever amount’s in the banks (3)
{NTH} – This is a hidden ‘word’ for any number (whatever amount, as in to the __degree). It is hidden in IN THE i.e that phrase is banking it.

5d Fragment of skeleton! (10)
{FOLKESTONE} – If you break up or fragment OF SKELETON you will find another thematic answer with a racecourse.

6/27d The last of the wine? (9)
{GRAVESEND} – Just up the road from me in Strood (a Saint with a cross!). What we have here is end of a bottle of red wine from a subregion of Bordeaux. This place was the last resting place of Pocahontas.

7d See 10a

13d Looking up teaser for alien stag night (7)
{MARGATE} – Kick up yer heels and jellied eels are good for yer brain!. My favourite clue. I had the answer as I was aware of the theme by now but Mr Henderson kindly supplied me with the wordplay (it’s a reversal indicated by ‘looking up’). At a stag night you can have a ‘strip-a-gram’ or a ‘grot-a-gram’ but what if the teaser was a cute alien from a Steven Spielberg film?. Top clue! This place was famous for its ‘Dreamland’ fun park – sadly no longer with us!

15d Only a very little firm (10)
{WHITSTABLE} – A charade of a small amount and a word meaning firm or not rocky. The home of Kent oysters.

16d Brad Pitt’s 1995 film classic (9)
{SEVENOAKS} You need to remember the film where Gwyneth Paltrow gets her head cut off (starring Brad Pitt and Kevin Spacey). Then add a classic horse race run at the Epsom Downs. This place was nearly renamed after a large storm in 1987 when a lot of trees fell down!

18d Standard of school, as reported by Spooner (8)
{RAMSGATE} – A spoonerism clue for the place from where the hovercrafts used to go to France. A school of whales or dolphins and a word for standard cost (the going____). Now what would the Reverend Spooner do with that?.

20/22d Jog memory, finally describing seedy sticker (10)
{CANTERBURY} – A prickly seed case is a BUR. Put this inside (it is described by) jog (as in a horses gait) and the last letter (finally) of memorY. This is the county capital (but not the administrative capital) of our themed county that used to have a tree in the middle of its cricket ground.

23d Cover for the ears? (4)
{LYDD} – Homophone (of the ears) of a top cover for a jar and also a place with an airport and an extremely difficult golf course!.

24d Competition buzzer (3)
{BEE} – A double definition to end with: A spelling competition for example and what Baldrick might describe as ‘A buzzing thing”.

A real fun solve over a pint or two with some very good company. Thanks Elgar!

32 comments on “NTSPP – 122

  1. Another excellent puzzle from our friend ‘Nina’. There are a couple of clues that are very obvious and then I stared at it for ages and ages. The penny dropped when our lovely setter came and looked at how far I had got with his puzzle and then said ‘You of all the people here should be able to solve this one’. Cue loud penny dropping to pub floor. With the help of a friendly Gnome, to whom that remark also applied, and Big Dave’s lovely sister Carol, who had a phone with useful apps, we finished it off.

    Look at the hint above the puzzle and then think very carefully about one fact that you know about me, and Gnomey, and Colmce and Captain Lethargy and several other regular commenters.

    Thanks Nina for the fun solve. Hope its not too long before we all meet again.

    1. I’ve got the theme – but so far only a few of the solutions. I spent many days in this part of the world working for Sally Line!

      Somehow I don’t think that “perservation” will help with this one!

      Any Dickens clues? I’ve missed them if there are!

      Who is / are Nina? Looking forward to the review when all will be revealed! Thanks, in advance, to all concerned!

  2. Now if this was about North Yorkshire I might stand a chance…as it is I’m struggling to solve any of these. Also there is something weird happening with the clue at 26a.

    1. There is something VERY weird happening with the clue @ (HINT!) 26a. I am just selecting some piccies for the blog – it’ll be up within the hour. Don’t forget that the themed clues do not contain a definition!. The clue is the wordplay alone.

      1. gnomethang, but 8/24 has a definition…but I am struggling to find the anagram indicator.

        Does Nina = Elgar? If so, I surrender!!

      2. Cheers Gnomey! I’m losing the will to live here and even my a#se has got a headache! I await your review with interest.

  3. Great review Gnomey – however, can I protest on behalf of 17a which has more going for it than your hint implies. I went to school there for a start :D

    1. I didn’t know that – and nor do I have a picture but yes, I was being a tad unfair!

  4. Thanks for the entertaining review, Gnomey (especially for the explanation of 13d which was beyond me). I thought that ‘cycling’ in 10/7a probably meant move the last letter round to the front rather than indicating an anagram.

    1. Thanks gazza – you are right I think but I have never recognised ‘cycling’ as a last to first indicator. I always thought that it was just an anagram indicator. Myself and Sue did have some discussions on the subject!

  5. A very clever puzzle, in fact in places too clever for me, ended up with all the themed clues ( thanks CS for the gentle hint on that) but that still left 3 undone 16/19a,26a 14a, it got so bad I asked SWMBO for help as all my electric friends had let me down. :(

    But great fun on an afternoon in Sunny/rainy/windy Dover bobbing up and down and going nowhere.

    Thanks for the explanation of the word play, definitely needed, and a few more examples of the devious arts of the setter committed to memory.

    Thanks to Nina for a fun and instructive puzzle.

  6. I really can’t do this one at all – haven’t yet looked at hints or comments apart from seeing who the setter is – oh dear – think I might give up now! I can’t remember where the last meeting was – I CAN remember that it was somewhere in London at the end of May and that it took BD a long time to get home (and an even longer time to recover) but that’s as far as my memory goes. Might have another go tomorrow …..

    1. Hi Kath – look at the name of the pub and think where crypticsue and gnomey live – that’s the theme. Not helping me a lot but I’ll get there (with Wiki to help) in the end! It’s a bit ferocious as far as I can see so neither of us should be too upset if we throw in the towel!

    2. Oh dear! Just twigged 26a! Now I’m going to bed as the brain can’t take in what I’ve just seen! Realised the first half might be a definition of sorts and created the answer from the second half of the clue but then needed aforementioned Wiki to confirm as it seemed to be gobbledegook – but there it is! It isn’t a ‘lift and seperate’ – its a ‘rewrite the whole bloody clue in plain English’ including adding spaces and translating symbols, and then do what it says!

      Read it as – ‘chivalrous old Malaysian at ousting ot in dot uk’ Too clever for me and has caused brain overload Sick fever
      If the ones that I haven’t solved yet are like that one I’m giving up now!

      Thanks Nina for the brainstrain (or should that be 2 words?) and thanks to gnomey for the review which I will read tomorrow after I admit defeat – if you’ve parsed this lot you are a better man than I Gunga Din!

      1. Thanks must go to crypticsue for helping out on that front as well as the man himself!

    3. Thanks pommers but I don’t know the name of the pub or where CS and gnomey live ….. I really think that I’m not going to get any further with this one – HAVE managed two answers!! Gardening now but will look at the hints later on.

  7. Great puzzle, thanks to Nina & Gnomethang for the excellent review. Kept me busy @ Sloggers & Betters ;-)

  8. Had decided to give in and read the hints – when I got down as far as 10/7a (ie not very far) I didn’t even understand the hint (not your fault, gnomey – it’s me) and just didn’t go any further. I KNOW this guy is completely beyond me.
    Thanks, anyway, to Nina and gnomey (specially for the hint which I was too dim to be able to make use of) :sad: but :smile: to you

  9. Sorry but this was far too parochial for me and got put in the round file. I’m sure that those of us that were in the know enjoyed it but this solver went back to trying to find those bloody names in the new monthly puzzle. Is it Saturday yet?

  10. That was a lot of fun. Nice to see an unusual grid and some pretty funky wordplay. Struggled a bit towards the end but (after a bit of a slow start) I spotted the theme (thanks largely to Brad Pitt) and guessed the Nina soon after, which helped a lot. I’m quite glad I wasn’t doing it under laboratory/pub conditions, though. Was nice to have Wikipedia to hand.

  11. I admit it, and I know we dont do timings as a rule but I have finally cogitated, consulted a doctor for the actress clue, maps and google until i think i might just have got it right after 3 days. 3 blxxdy days, and Gnomey says after a couple of pints!!! Next sloggers and betters that i can get to – I might just stay at the bar. 26a went in on day one, not saying the last two on day 3, hangs head in shame. Elgar/ Nimrod Nina / john reigns

    1. Aw, c’mon Andy! – It was a joint effort with a googly device to confirm some stuff!
      Pull up a pint and call the cat a b**st*rd – that’s what its all about!

      1. Hi Gnomey, that’s why i feel quite good, it took me a while (equal three days) but i got there on my own, BUT I DID IT , i hope to see you at the next S&B

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