NTSPP – 125

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 125

A Puzzle by Prolixic

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Just when you thought it was safe to come out of hiding – along comes Prolixic.

NTSPP - 125

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by Crypticsue follows.

Back on the 6th January, Prolixic and I had the audacity to disagree with Big Dave about the relative difficulty of Toughie no 698 by Elgar. See comment 4 at DT 26755.  This was obviously a source of inspiration for Prolixic as, less than thirty-six hours later, the first draft of today’s crossword appeared in my email inbox. Can you spot the cleverly relevant Nina? If not, all is explained at the end of the review.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1 Record Kate prepared for fast food (6,5)
{MINUTE STEAK} A piece of meat that doesn’t take long to cook is derived from the sort of records that are taken at meetings followed by an anagram (prepared) of KATE, the result then split 6,5).

7 Tom Brown’s first cooker (3)
{HOB} For a man of the cloth, Prolixic does like to include abbreviations for ladies of the night. Add a two letter American one to B (Brown’s first) to get the top of a cooker.

9 Search in Window’s Explorer (5)
{DOWSE} Hidden in WinDOWS Explorer is a way of searching for water.

10 Top career managed for father (9)
{PROCREATE} To produce offspring – an anagram (managed) of TOP CAREER.

11 1/7 + 1/24 = 241t? (5,4)
{HAPPY HOUR} I had to think about this one for a long time. To get a particular time of day when drinks are sold at reduced prices you need one of the Seven Dwarves (1/7) and one twenty-fourth (1/24) of a day – the other side of the equation needs to be read out as 2 4 1 t(ime)

12 Starts computer in store (5)
{BOOTS} Starts up ones’ computer or a well-known chain of chemists.

13 Twin wearing crown returns for tribute (7)
{PLAUDIT} A tribute or expression of praise – insert a word meaning twin or double into another meaning crown, top or end (3) and then reverse the result.

15 Cut flower (4)
{PINK} A double definition – to make a serrated edge with a particular type of shears or a relative of the carnation.

18 European captured by Kaiser Bill (4)
{BEEB} This European is hidden (captured) in the clue.

20 Posh bishop in Cork is odd (7)
{SURREAL} The capital C in cork is misleading as here it means a way of keeping something closed. A bishop’s official title is Right Reverend so you just need to insert the abbreviation for that title preceded by the letter used to indicate posh into a synonym for cork or close up, especially permanently.

23 Finally contracted to produce a book (5)
{ATLAS} Remove the last letter from a two-word expression meaning finally and then join the two words together to get a book of maps.

24 I had crept around bargain basement (4,5)
{DIRT CHEAP} An anagram (round) of I HAD CREPT to get an expression meaning bargain basement or hardly costing anything at all.

26 Full-scale moans heard after soul died (4-5)
{LIFE-SIZED} This adjective meaning full-scale comes from what sounds like moans after the soul or being and before D(ied) .

27 Organic compound that is found around the heart (5)
{IMIDE} A class of organic compounds formed from ammonia. Insert into the two letters used to mean that is a three letter combining form meaning in the middle of.

28 Some humour may be boring (3)
{DRY} A double definition – a quiet restrained form of humour or boring and uninteresting.

29 Those who study cells? (11)
{PENOLOGISTS} – No not biologists but those who study the management of prisons.


1 Gold producer’s not about to welcome joint position on board (8)
{MIDSHIPS} Remove the A (not About) from the name of the king who turned everything to gold when he touched it, not forgetting the S from ‘S, then insert a three-letter word meaning a joint to get a position on board a sea-going vessel

2 Directions point to mumbo jumbo (8)
{NEWSPEAK} The four compass points followed by the top of a mountain gives us the type of mumbo jumbo language described by George Orwell in 1984.

3 Small assistant maid loses weight (5)
{TEENY} Remove the W (weight) from an informal term for a between-maid and you are left with an adjective meaning really small.

4 Stay to drink Bordeaux? (7)
{SUPPORT} – A verb meaning to stay, hold up or sustain is a charade of a verb meaning to drink and another word for a large harbour such as Bordeaux – who else was trying to find a wine here?

5 I hallucinate after shot in the arm (3,4)
{EGO TRIP} Here shot in the arm means an action or experience that inflates one’s good opinion of oneself. The Latin word for I followed by the experience of hallucinatory effects of drugs.

6 Shackle knight’s horse with tight rein (9)
{KARABINER} I was held up because I thought this word started with a C but we have the alternative spelling here of a steel shackle used by climbers. K(night) is followed by a type of horse and an anagram (tight, as in drunk) of REIN.

7 Principal working in opposition (4-2)
{HEAD-ON} An expression meaning directly opposed – a synonym for principal and the opposite of off (working)

8 Barbarian locks king in chest (6)
{BREAST} The part of the body also known as the chest. Simply insert R (Rex, King) into a barbarian or animal.

14 Makes ornate kinky suspenders without a hint of net-stockings (7,2)
{DRESSES UP} To make something more interesting or ornate than it is – an anagram (kinky) of SUSPENDERS with the N removed (without a hint of net). Yes, gazza, I know, gazza….. :D

16 French people describe English disorder as hereditary (8)
{GENETICS} The French word for people into which is inserted E for English and a three letter word meaning twitch (disorder) – heredity or related to one’s inherited characteristics.

17 Mules or runners! (8)
{SLIPPERS} Backless indoor shoes or runners of a sledge.

19 Embellish essential subedits on philosophy (7)
{BEDIZEN} To embellish or dress gaudily. The ‘essential’ or middle four letters of suBEDIts followed by the philosophy of a Japanese branch of Buddhism.

20 Rustled up a dessert (7)
{STRUDEL} Mr CS’s favourite pudding is an anagram (up) of RUSTLED.

21 Exposed up-coming article on shop-lifting! (6)
{NAILED} Exposed as a lie. The indefinite article used before a vowel sound is reversed (up-coming) and followed by an abbreviation of the name of a shop selling high quality foreign foods especially booked meats and cheeses, also reversed (lifting).

22 Hairy terrorists in escape (6)
{FLUFFY} Insert the Irish terrorists the Ulster Freedom Fighters into a verb meaning to hurry. I see the solution as more soft and downy than hairy, if that helps.

25 Hold on to cold fish (5)
{CLING} To hold on to tightly – C (cold) plus a member of the cod family more often found in cryptic crosswords than fishmongers.

If you know your Elgar and the way of referring to the relatively difficulty of his puzzles you should have had no problem in linking together 15a, 22d and 17d and then 7a, 21d and 12a. Thanks to Prolixic once again for a brilliant, if slightly tough, Saturday lunchtime diversion.


  1. spindrift
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Any body else having difficulty in accessing the NSPP?

    • Posted June 30, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Sorry – it was still set up as a draft. Should be ok now.

      • Tilly
        Posted June 30, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Still not working for me.

  2. spindrift
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Thanks BD – all sorted – now to solve the bugger!

  3. spindrift
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant! 11a is genius. Needed a bit of help from Seiko & a few “reveal” letters. Thanks to Prolixic & to CS for the forthcoming review.

  4. Kath
    Posted July 1, 2012 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    Confidence SERIOUSLY dented after this one!! :sad: I ended up with about four that I really couldn’t do – and that’s not counting 11a which I passed to husband to see if he could make anything of it – he did and laughed and THEN he told me that he’d read the hint!! ******* I could have done that!!
    I completely missed the “pink fluffy slippers” and “hob nailed boots” but, now that it’s been pointed out to me, think it’s brilliant and wonder how I missed the connection!! I’m not very sure about “posh” being “surreal” but I AM sure that someone will prove me wrong!
    There are so many here that I should have got quite quickly and didn’t – perhaps I’m still suffering the effects of my attempt at yesterday’s Toughie – still haven’t given up on that one – do so hate being defeated but will probably give up at some stage tomorrow and read the hints – I hope to be able to understand some of them!!
    With thanks to Prolixic for a great crossword and to CS for having the brain, and whatever else it takes, to untangle this one!! :smile:

    • gazza
      Posted July 1, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      ‘Posh’ is the letter U. The definition for 20a is ‘odd’.

    • Kath
      Posted July 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Thanks gazza – I was being dim about 20a and have never heard of ho or tom meaning what it does in 7a – must have led a very sheltered life! I did get as far as looking up ho but not tom – should have done both not just the one.

  5. Kath
    Posted July 1, 2012 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    PS – I’ve never heard of the first two letters of 7a meaning what it does here – what has it got to do with “Tom”! Am I being dim AGAIN? Clearly NOT my day!!

    • gazza
      Posted July 1, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Ho is a US slang term (derived from whore) and tom is a British slang term for a lady of the night. As CS points out Prolixic is very fond of both. :D

      • crypticsue
        Posted July 1, 2012 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        Only when setting crosswords! (well so one would hope !) :D

      • Prolixic
        Posted July 1, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

        All my clue are thorougly researched in Chambers – of the book and not the room variety!!

  6. stanXYZ
    Posted July 1, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    A very clever and very enjoyable NTSPP. I managed to finish it but I needed lots of electronic help! I completely missed the “footwear” theme – too busy basking in the glory of solving 11a unaided! Still don’t understand the definition for 21d!

    Thanks to Prolixic & to crypticsue.

    • Kath
      Posted July 1, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      21d is one of the ones that I DID manage to understand all on my own! :smile:
      The definition is exposed. The first two letters are the indefinite article turned upside down (up-coming) and the last four letters are a kind of specialty shop, again turned upside down (shop-lifting).

      • stanXYZ
        Posted July 1, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        21d – I understand the wordplay, but not the definition.

        {NAILED} = Exposed as a lie?

        Thanks, Dimmer than Dim……

        • crypticsue
          Posted July 1, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

          If you look under NAIL in Chambers, one of the definitions is “to expose as a lie” (informal).

          With Prolixic it is best never to query a definition, especially if I have tested the puzzle in my lunch hour and my copy of Chambers is at home. He always invariably emails me back with a snapshot of the appropriate page from the online Chambers dictionary. I now preface my queries with ‘I know it will be in Chambers but….” :)

          • stanXYZ
            Posted July 1, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

            The Chambers Dictionary…a wonderful thing..

            NAIL: there are many definitions and I’ve finally found the appropriate one: “to expose as a lie” .


  7. Posted July 1, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Very nice puzzle. Thanks for sharing. Lots to like so hard to pick out a favourite clue (though I particularly liked 4 and 5 down).

  8. Prolixic
    Posted July 1, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks everyone for their generous comments, to Crypticsue and Gazza for test solving and the former for reviewing and finally to Big Dave for posting the review in her absence.

  9. gnomethang
    Posted July 1, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Prolixic! This was ace and I kicked myself around the room for missing the themed answers. Ta also to CS for the review.

  10. Heno
    Posted July 1, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Prolixic for the puzzle & to Crypticsue for the hints. Way too tough for me, I only managed to solve 8 clues, then had to read the hints to understand 10 of the rest that I’d looked up. Also two new words for me in 29a & 19d.