NTSPP – 132 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 132

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 132

A Puzzle by eXternal

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NTSPP - 132

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by Crypticsue follows .

Lucky me, deputising for the holidaying Prolixic, I get to blog  this lovely crossword from eXternal.   Very straightforward but extremely enjoyable.  If NTSPP’s had star ratings, this one would be 1* difficulty, but 4* enjoyment    I bet you all ended up with the same favourite clue as me too!!   Definitions are underlined.


1a           Cool dad books delights for large short-legged creatures (14)
{HIPPOPOTAMUSES}   A lovely charade to produce my favourite animals.  A word meaning cool in the sense of following the latest trends, a North American way of referring to one’s dad, the abbreviation for the collected books that make up the first part of the Bible, and a verb meaning delights or entertains.

9a           Hot wife splits nails and hits out (7)
{THWACKS}  Hits or strikes loudly, especially with something flat.   Insert into some small sharp nails with broad heads, firstly the abbreviation for Hot (usually found on a tap) and then the  abbreviation for Wife.

10a         Month one gets a shrub (7)
{JUNIPER}   An evergreen coniferous shrub –  the abbreviation for the sixth month of the year, I (one) and a preposition meaning ‘a’ or ‘for each’ [person].

11a         Device that cooks Greta Garbo films (3)
{AGA}   If you look carefully you will see something that cooks hidden inside GretA GArbo.

12a         Former lover, wildly neurotic taking drug, becomes killer (11)
{EXECUTIONER}  Follow the two letters used to refer to a former lover with an anagram (wildly) of NEUROTIC  plus E (taking the drug Ecstasy) to get someone who carries out a sentence of death.

14a         Fake tears produced by character at end of series (6)
{ERSATZ}  An adjective meaning substitute or fake –  An anagram (produced) of TEARS following by the final letter of the alphabet (character at end of series).

15a         Very involved in living without desire (4-4)
{KNEE-DEEP}  An informal expression meaning deeply involved –   a word meaning living or subsistence into which is inserted a noun meaning desire for something one cannot do without.

17a         Bribe a junior for accommodation (8)
{BUNGALOW}   A type of single-story dwelling – another charade – A slang term for a bribe followed by A (from the clue) and an adjective meaning of less advanced standing.

19a         Inhospitable area‘s fish surrounding doctor (6)
{TUNDRA}   Inserting the abbreviation for doctor into a type of large fish gives us an Arctic plain with permanently frozen subsoil which is not hospitable to plant life.

22a         Market confidence? (5,6)
{TRADE SECRET} Something only known to certain people in a business  can be found in synonyms for both market and confidence (confidential, unrevealed).

23a         Endless row about nothing (3)
{NIL}   Removing the last letter (endless) from a word meaning row and then reversing the result, produces  a noun meaning nothing, zero.

24a         Escape from Staffordshire town reported to take a long time (7)
{LEAKAGE}  Something which escapes such as water or air – a homophone(reported) of a Staffordshire town followed by a noun meaning a long time.

26a         Turn bun over to get nicely toasted (7)
{UNBURNT}  An anagram (over) of TURN BUN spells out what happens to your toast when your toaster is behaving itself.

27a         Ah, beads sir? Here, perhaps (14)
{HABERDASHERIES}   I don’t think the world is the same without these marvellous emporia which sold beads and other small sewing articles.    An anagram (perhaps) of AH BEADS SIR HERE.


1d           Trouble with guts makes the bed warmer (3-5,6)
{HOT-WATER BOTTLE}   If you had trouble with your guts, this warmer would definitely help.   An informal term for a state of trouble, followed by a slang term for nerve or courage, guts being another such term, split 3-5, 6).

2d           Father manhandles nurses with fruit (7)
{PAWPAWS} A type of tropical fruit –  A two letter way of referring to one’s father, W (the abbreviation for with) and part of a verb meaning handles roughly or clumsily.

3d           Arrange valuation after finding gold coffer (11)
{ORCHESTRATE}  To arrange or organize to the best effect –   The clue instructs you to place a synonym for valuation or estimation after the heraldic term for gold and a large box for holding money, of which a coffer is an example.

4d           One found in bed using vibrating toys on the Queen (6)
{OYSTER}  Despite the slightly disturbing image this clue provides, the answer is quite simple.   This marine creature is found in a bed – an anagram (vibrating) of TOYS followed by the cipher for our current Queen.

5d           Amateur radio presenter regrets losing head and stays (8)
{ADJOURNS}  Stays in the sense of suspends proceedings –  the abbreviation for Amateur, followed by the two letters used to refer to a radio presenter who plays records, and then a verb meaning regrets or grieves with its first letter removed (losing head).

6d           Posh sailors join vessel (3)
{URN}  Joining the single letter which means posh to the abbreviation for the Royal Navy produces a vase or vessel with a rounded body.

7d           Overturned bark seen in river stretch (7)
{EXPANSE}  Setters are very fond of this useful three-letter Devon river.   Inserting a reversal of a verb meaning to bark or speak tartly in sudden irritation into said river produces a noun meaning a stretch or wide extent.

8d           Hitler appeaser’s mysterious group of painters (3-11)
{PRE-RAPHAELITES}   A group of painters founded in 1848 is an anagram (mysterious) of HITLER APPEASERS.

13d         Be quiet with nail hammering, it’s not fair (11)
{INEQUITABLE}  An adjective meaning unfair, unjust –   an anagram (hammering)  of BE QUIET and NAIL.

16d         Idiot bachelor meets single, senior teacher (8)
{BONEHEAD}  An informal term for an idiot –  the abbreviation for Bachelor, a ‘single’ number  and the way the most senior teacher in a school might be referred to.

18d         Stripped bare, once more, overturned in river (7)
{NIAGARA}   The river which forms part of the border between the Canadian State of Ontario and the US New York State  is found in a reversal (overturned) of both an adverb meaning once more and the middle two letters of bARe (stripped tells you to take the ‘outside’ letters away).

20d         One journalist covering large country raised money in the past (7)
{DENARII}  Old  Roman silver coins –   a reversal (raised) of I (one) a large Middle Eastern country and the abbreviation for the top journalist at a newspaper.

21d         Heartless adults form cliques (6)
{GROUPS}   Sets of people (cliques being more exclusive examples).   Simply remove the middle two letters (heartless) from the way in which children might refer to adults.

25d         Hail, mighty cruciverbalist, he’s no beginner (3)
{AVE}   To finish, my clue of the day –   There is, as we all know, only one ‘mighty cruciverbalist’ and if you remove the initial letter (no beginner) of his name you are left with the Latin word meaning hail.

Thank you to eXternal for a great Saturday afternoon puzzle (my criteria for which being that it shouldn’t take you long to solve, given all the things you really ought to be doing on a Saturday afternoon, but that you should  be left with a smile on your face when you finish).     Hope we get another one from you soon.



25 comments on “NTSPP – 132

  1. Thanks to eXternal for an entertaining puzzle. My favourite was the excellent (and funny) 1d, and I have to pay tribute to 25d as well.

  2. Very clever & very entertaining as Gazza says. More please & on a regular basis as the actress said to the bishop…

  3. I enjoyed this one a lot so many thanks to eXternal.
    Favourite, of course, has to be 4d :lol: What a bizarre mental image that conjours up!
    Thought it was going to be a pangram but I can’t find an F :sad:

    1. Similar to when the DT Web Site is down….

      …..there’s no “F” in puzzle!

      (Old chestnut – thanks to Prolixic, I think)

  4. What a lovely puzzle for a very hot afternoon. I have to disagree slightly with Crypticsue and say that if the NTSPP had stars for difficulty I would give it at least two and possibly three, but I agree with her on the number awarded for enjoyment.
    10a took me a while as for ages I tried to make it “…..ia”. Sorted that out and then tried to make the first word of 8d “art”!
    I particularly liked 27a (we have a really good one near us – sells everything!) and 1, 4, and 25d. I liked lots of the other clues as well but I’d be here all day if I wrote them all down.
    With thanks to eXternal for a great crossword and to Crypticsue.

  5. Thanks very much to eXternal! A really enjoyable puzzle! 10/10 for the surface readings!

    Managed to understand everything that was going on here, apart from 21d – many thanks to CS for the explanation.

    Why is 21d allowed when Indirect Anagrams are Verboten? Same sort of thing, methinks! (The Mighty Cruciverbalist has been giving forth on this subject on the other page.)

      1. 21d – I know it’s not an anagram, but it involves finding a synonym for “adults” and then making changes to it!

        So why are Indirect anagrams frowned upon?

        1. It comes down to what is considered fair on the solvers. Generally it’s considered OK as long as the clue explains exactly how to manipulate the letters to get the solution. So reversals are acceptable, as is removing the first or last or (as in this clue) the central letters. On the other hand, an indirect anagram would require the solver to think of the word and then jumble the letters randomly so it no longer resembled the original word.

          1. Thanks, Radler! All is now clear?

            (Is there an emoticon for “Um….thinking about it?”)

        2. Hi Stan

          If the clue is fair it will say something like ‘think of a synonym for X and remove (say) the central letter to give Y’. So you think of a synonym and can very quickly see if it works. If not, think of another and try again.
          If the clues says think of a synonym for X and then make an anagram of it to get Y you could be fiddling around for hours, never knowing whether the synonym you have is right and you just can’t ‘see’ the anagram or whether you’ve got the wrong synonym!

  6. PS My only complaint about this crossword is that I’ve now got the Flanders and Swann song going round in my head – husband says he wouldn’t mind if it would just do him the favour of STAYING in my head!

  7. Thanks to eXternal for an enjoyable crossword and to Crypticsue for holding the fort whilst I am away. Not sure what the humidity level is in the Mar Menor but you don’t so much walk anywhere but swim through the air!

  8. Thanks very much for the favourable comments and to CS for the review. Unfortunately, I think my puzzles are about as regular as BD can fit in, as he has a number of guest setters to rotate through. If you fancy an eXternal puzzle at the other eXtreme of difficulty, there will be a prize barred thematic puzzle on another site in September (won’t mention which in case this incurs wrath of mighty cruciverbalist). ThanksDave for publishing

  9. Thanks to eXternal and to Crypticsue for the review and hints. Enjoyed this one, some very entertaining clues. Favourites were 1a & 4d.

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