NTSPP – 149 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 149

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 149

A Puzzle by Commoner

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NTSPP - 150

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle follows.

Welcome back top Commoner with an enjoyable crossword that won’t have you tearing your hair out.


1 Swimming laps before high school returns to spray water about (6)
{SPLASH} – An anagram (swimming) of laps followed by the abbreviation for High School.

4 English workers in marquee or high-rise (8)
{TENEMENT} – Put the abbreviation for English followed by another word for workers inside another word for a marquee.

9 Nameless anarchists revolting for emotional release (9)
{CATHARSIS} – An anagram (revolting) of ANARCHISTS first removing the N (nameless).

11 Shoot small prisoner outside capital of Illinois (5)
{SCION} – The abbreviation for small followed by another word for a prisoner around (outside) the first letter (capital – meaning head) of Illinois.

12 Imprison good man in outlying region, disregarding cold (7)
{ENSLAVE} – The single letter abbreviation for saint (good man) inside another word for an outlying region (Chambers – a piece of territory entirely enclosed within foreign territory)

13 Indulgent books follow story about nurse (7)
{LENIENT} – Another word for a story or fib around the abbreviation for an Enrolled Nurse followed by the abbreviation for the books of the New Testament.

14 Males departed, travelling by boat (6,7)
{PADDLE STEAMER} – An anagram (travelling) of MALES DEPARTED.

16 Drugs called ‘ecstasy’ found in oddly formed horses – they may be laid out! (4,5,4)
{FREE RANGE EGGS} –  … by hens!  A complicate one to explain.  Take the odd letters of FORMED.  Inside this (found in) put two EEs (drugs) another word for called or telephoned and another E (for Ecstasy).  After this put a GGS (gee-gees or horses).

20 Party on ship in hold (7)
{POSSESS} – … As in own.  Another word for a hunting party followed by the abbreviation for a ship.

21 Modern medic ducks inside with son, under cover (7)
{INDOORS} – … As in not inside.  A two letter word for modern or trendy followed by the abbreviation for doctor (medic) with two Os inside (ducks) followed by the abbreviation for son.

23 Cook traps fish (5)
{SPRAT} – An anagram (cook) of TRAPS.

24 Perhaps making a PC start to work by keeping a record of happening (7,2)
{LOGGING ON} – Another word for keeping a record or making an entry in an log book followed by a two letter word meaning happening or occurring.

25 One writes second half of treatise about seizing small state (8)
{ESSAYIST} – Reverse the final four letters of TREATISE (second half … about) and put them around (seizing) the abbreviation for small and another word meaning state or express.

26 Spiritualist meeting with original James B actor, Pierce, at last (6)
{SEANCE} – The first name and initial of the surname of the first James Bond actor followed by the final letter of Pierce.


1 Mince reportedly in small bag (6)
{SACHET} – A homophone (reportedly) of sashay (to mine or walk in a gliding or ostentatious way).

2 A great deal to acquire posh car (5)
{LOTUS} – Another word for a great deal around the abbreviation meaning posh or socially acceptable.

3 Died after the main battle, away from shore (7)
{SEAWARD} – Another word for the main (nautically speaking) followed by another word for a battle and the abbreviation for died.

5 “Yes” single ain’t bad – it’s music of an undemanding style (4,9)
{EASY LISTENING} – An anagram (bad) of YES SINGLE AINT.

6 Extract from heart (7)
{ESSENCE} – Double definition.

7 Record talking horse, one upset, with extremely infectious skin (9)
{EPIDERMIS} – An abbreviation for a record (not LP this time) followed by a reversal (upset) of the name of a famous talking horse and an I (one) followed by the outer letters (extremely) of infectious.

8 A medicinal alcoholic solution can heal without tension (8)
{TINCTURE} – Another word for a can (as in container) and another word meaning heal around (without) the abbreviation for tension.

10 They may bring you to men with gills at sea (seamen) (8,5)
{SMELLING SALTS} – … a substance that may revive you.  An anagram (at sea) of MEN GILLS followed by another word for seamen.

14 Journalists confident being embedded with forces (9)
{PRESSURES} – Another word meaning confident inside (being embedded) a word for journalists.

15 Backcountry skiing in Fife’s top resort (3-5)
{OFF-PISTE} – An anagram (resort) of FIFES TOP.

17 Going through windscreen, trying a movement back in (7)
{REENTRY} – Hidden inside (going through) WINDSCREEN TRYING.

18 Leave with diamonds, fancy and divine (7)
{GODLIKE} – A word meaning leave or depart followed by the abbreviation for diamonds (as in cards) and a word meaning fancy or enjoy.

19 Interest number in country church (6)
{USANCE} – … The word used by Shakespeare for interest.  The abbreviations for America and the Church of England around the abbreviation for number.

22 For example, skin magazine? (5)
{ORGAN} – Double definition.  The skin is the largest of these in the body.

15 comments on “NTSPP – 149

  1. Thank you to Commoner for the perfect NTSPP for a pre Christmas Saturday – a very straightforward solve, so time left for chores etc, but lots of lovely d’oh moments to make you smile.

  2. Thanks to Commoner for the enjoyable puzzle (I even remembered the talking horse!). Favourite clue: 8d.

  3. Can’t get at the onscreen version of this :sad: The .pdf works OK.
    Don’t think it’s me as last week’s eXternal puzzle opens fine.

    1. Apologies for that. The line that displays the on-line version has now been added so you can solve on-screen.

  4. Thanks Commoner; enjoyable solve. The top half went in very smoothly, but I got stuck on one or two down below e.g. USANCE.

    Thanks {Admin – Prolixic?}; my education is incomplete – I’ve never heard of MR ED! Thanks for parsing FREE-RANGE EGGS; I wasn’t ecstatic enough.

    I particularly liked SMELLING SALTS and the cleverly hidden RE-ENTRY {which, I think, would normally be hyphenated, at least according to Mrs Chambers}

  5. Just what the doctor ordered, chap beavering away in the boiler cupboard and nice solvable puzzle.

    Had some difficulty until I spotted all the anagrams and then with a couple of sitters it all fell into place.

    Thanks to Prolixic for the review, needed for some wordplay.

    Thanks to Commoner for entertaining displacement activity .

    Stop press… It’s fixable for small £s, 25 year old Potterton, they don’t make em like that any more!

  6. Thanks Commoner & Prolixic!

    15d – I always, always, always miss the relevance of “re-sort”.

    I wish I hadn’t listened to the clip of “Mr Ed” – one of those ditties that stay in brain for far too long! Of course! Of course!

  7. Thanks Commoner for an enjoyable solve at half time in the footy.

    Liked the free range eggs and the car (of course)

    Thanks also to Prolixic

  8. Thanks took me rather longer than the halftime interval ! Completed the anagrams first and the rest flowed nicely .

  9. Great to have a confidence restorer after having been beaten by two consecutive toughies. A most enjoyable puzzle with lots of fun clues.
    Thanks Commoner and Prolixic.

  10. That’s more like it! I did the Prize crossword earlier and found it not very satisfying, but this was much better.

    I would like to have seen some hyphens (16A, 17D) but that’s just me being picky.

    Thanks to Commoner for an excellent crossword, and to Prolixic for the analysis which answered a couple of those annoying “Yes, but WHY” questions :-)

  11. Took an anagram to get me started then it fell nicely nto place. I really enjoyed this esp as it s my first attempt at a NTSPP and I wouldn’t have even tried if Crypticsue hadn’t persuaded me. Thx to Commoner for a very enjoyable puzzle.

  12. Thanks to Commoner & Prolixic, couldn’t get on the setter’s wavelength, needed 6 hintsto and had to look up 3 of those. Quite enjoyed what I could complete.

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