NTSPP – 136 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 136

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 136

Just what the doctor ordered by Gervase

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If you have been to an S&B meeting in the Midlands or the North, you may, like me, have solved a Gervase puzzle on your way home.  BD

Today he makes his debut in the NTSPP series.

NTSPP - 136

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.


It is always a joy to welcome a new setter to the NTSPP fold (as well as a finger biting experience for your reviewer as he wonders whether the newcomer will be wearing hob-nailed boots or pink fluffy slippers).

Today we welcome Gervase to our ranks.  Readers of a blog in another place will know Gervase from his postings on the Guardian crossword blog.  This first puzzle was a joy to solve and to blog.  Traditionally, setters often use drug references.  Gervase has overdosed with his clues with many references in the clues and the grid.  I hope that he did not research the subject too deeply when setting the crossword (or is having a speedy recovery in rehab if he did)!

Favourite clues are highlighted in blue.  Regretably, the answers to many of the clues afford limited opportunities for pictures this week!


1 Weird dream of a missing squash (6)
{DEFORM} – A word meaning to squash comes from an anagram (weird) of DREAM OF after removing the A (missing).

5 Praise a book on making a drug (8)
{LAUDANUM} –A type of drug comes from a word meaning praise followed by the A in the clue and the abbreviation for one of the books of the Bible.

9 Quote work back in verse (6)
{POETIC} – Take a word meaning quote and an abbreviation for  work.  Reverse them (back) to find a word meaning in verse.

10 Distributing ‘grass’ about – cannabis, put another way (8)
{REHASHED} – Put a word for grass (in the botanical sense of the word) around a word for cannabis to find a word meaning put another way.

11 Strong concern (4)
{FIRM} – A double definition with concern here meaning a business or company.

12 Soldiers leave their post.  Traitors! (6,4)
{DESERT RATS} – The soldiers famed for their role in the North African theatre of war come from a word meaning leave their post followed by a word meaning traitors.

13 Brew made with no spirit (6)
{DAEMON} – An anagram (brew) of MADE NO gives a word meaning a spirit.

14 Drug, good for the ambitious (8)
{ASPIRING} – A common drug used as a painkiller followed by the abbreviation for good gives a word meaning ambitious.

16 Drug dealer’s quick to conceal injury (8)
{PHARMACY} – Another word for a chemist (drug dealer) comes from a word meaning quick inside which (to conceal) is a word for injury.

20 Take classical directions (6)
{RECIPE} – A cryptic definition of the classical word or direction used by chemists as the word for take (often abbreviated to R).

23 Ruffians, drunk and disorderly – result: gaol (5,5)
{LAGER LOUTS} – An anagram (disorderly) of RESULT GAOL gives a phase for drunken ruffians.

25 Phosphorus, bad in drug formulation (4)
{PILL} – A form in which drugs come (from a chemist) comes from the chemical symbol for phosphorus followed by a word meaning bad.

26 Sent back blend of pure drug containing another (8)
{REPULSED} – An anagram (blend) of PURE followed by LSD around the abbreviation for ecstasy (containing another) gives a word meaning sent back.

27 Bill to allow drug formulation (6)
{TABLET} – Another form in which drugs come (from a chemist) comes from a word for a bill (often run up in the bar) followed by a word meaning to allow.

28 Drug has different form in the Orient (8)
{MORPHINE} – This drug comes from putting a word meaning different form followed by the IN in the clue and the abbreviation for the Orient.

29 That girl’s about – so is Jenny (3-3)
{SHE-ASS} – Another word for a Jenny (female donkey) comes from putting a two letter word meaning so inside the pronoun meaning that girl’s.


 2 Girl up to featuring in sensual productions (7)
{EROTICA} – Reverse (up) the word TO and put it inside (featuring in) a girl’s name to give a description of sensual productions.

3 The best plump old lady I entertained (7)
{OPTIMUM} – A word meaning the best comes from a word mean plump or choose followed by a word for an old lady (or a young one come to that) inside which (entertained) you put the letter I.

4 Land amid ocean waves (9)
{MACEDONIA} – An anagram (waves) of AMID OCEAN gives the name of a land.

5 Cellar is safe refuge for girl (7)
{LARISSA} – A girl’s name is hidden inside (refuge) the words CELLAR IS SAGE

6 Court official beheaded drug dealer (5)
{USHER} – A word for a drug dealing with the first letter removed (beheaded) gives the name of a court official.

7 He provides policy for river in 2920 (7)
{ASSURER} – Take another name for a donkey (the second part of the answer to 29a and the abbreviation for the answer to 20a then put the name of a river between them,to find the name of a person who provides an insurance policy.

8 A Parisienne headed a number left over (7)
{UNEATEN} – Put the French feminine form of A over (headed) the A in the clue and a number for a word meaning left over.

15 Lice present in army camps? (9)
{PARASITES} – A word describing lice and other pests would, if split 4,5, possible represent army camps where paratroopers may stay.

17 Pushpull! (5-2)
{HEAVE-HO} – a double definition for a word that means push (in the sense of being dismissed from your job) or (when called out in a tug-of-war match) means pull.

18 Supply fresh gear (note witticism about drug) (2-5)
{RE-EQUIP} – A word meaning to supply fresh gear comes from one of the notes in the musical scale followed by a word for a witticism.  Inside this you put the abbreviation for ecstasy to find the answer.

19 It’s said solver’s expected what solver’s owed (4,3)
{YOUR DUE} – Homophone of YOU ARE DUE (solver’s expected) give a phase that described what you are owed.

21 Qualified seaman may be wearing hat (7)
{CAPABLE} – A word meaning qualified or experienced comes from putting a word for a hat on top of a word for a type of seaman.

22 Chickens – with surprise they’re announced as a journalistic award! (7)
{PULLET} – Another word for chickens would if it had surprise added to the end give a homophone for Pulitzer Prize (a journalistic award).

24 Drink for tailless dog (5)
{LASSI} – Take the name of a well known dog who features in many films and remove the last letter (tailless) to give the name of a drink.

13 comments on “NTSPP – 136

  1. Excellent NTSPP debut – many thanks to Gervase. Could we have some more please? A review will be up at 3:00 pm.

  2. Really enjoyed it AND I could do it, so no hob nailed boots as far as I’m concerned!
    I did this in bits and pieces because of other “stuff” to do. Did really well in top half, then bottom left corner and thought that I was going to be defeated by bottom right corner but then, eventually, it all sorted itself out in my brain while I was gardening.
    My last two answers were 20a and 22d, in that order. I needed the hint to explain 7d.
    I don’t think that I’ve ever DARED to question a hint before but I’m not sure that the one given for 26a works. I don’t think it’s an anagram of “pure drug” around an abbreviation for “ecstasy”. I think it’s an anagram of “pure” (first four letters) with another drug (LSD) around the abbreviation for “ecstasy”. Sorry – not nit picking at all.
    I liked too many of these clues to pick out any in particular, so thanks to Gervase and Prolixic.

    1. Your hint for 26a is defniitely the right one Kath. Won’t be long before you are BD’s second lady blogger!!

  3. Thanks for your kind comments. Kath’s right about 26a (which I guess is probably what Prolixic really meant ). The other clue where my own parsing is a bit different is 22d: “PULLETS ‘surprise'” sounds like Pulitzer Prize – the journalistic award.

  4. Thank you Gervase for a delightful puzzle. Lots of very good themed clues. Specially enjoyed the chickens in 22d plus 14a, 16a and 5d which nearly beat us. Thanks Prolixic too.

  5. Excellent stuff so many thanks to Gervase.
    I read 22d the same as Prolixic and thought it worked quite well but the real thing is even better!
    Also thanks to Prolixic.

  6. Very good puzzle. I jumped straight in without reading the preamble on the blog so the theme came to me more slowly than it might have done. Solid and entertaining clues throughout.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Thanks, Gervase! I was expecting lots of prescription drugs only known to chemists! But most of them were familiar to me!

    2920 – At least I have now brushed up on my Roman Numerals! MMCMXX – No help at all!

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