NTSPP – 150 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 150

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 150

A Christmas Puzzle by Radler

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NTSPP - 150

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle follows.

A very happy Christmas to all of the setters, solvers and bloggers of our NTSPP crosswords and to our editor, Big Dave. For our festive fun, Radler has set us a challenging crossword with lots of deceptive wordplay. 17 of the solutions lack a definition. I have highlighted these in red below. Each of the solutions can be preceded, or in one case, followed by the word Christmas.


7 Little jumper, not a pullover (3)
{ELF} – Remove the A from the name of a small creature that jumps and reverse (pullover) the remaining letters. The answer is one of santa’s little helpers.

8 Roger ran tourism for Manila’s walled city (10)
{INTRAMUROS} – An anagram (roger) of RAN TOURISM. The answer is the name of the old walled city in the capital of the Philipines.

10 Form of rebellion taking place (6)
{COUPON} – A four letter word for a rebellion that results in a new government followed by a two letter word meaning taking place or happening.

11 Barrel manufactured without additives? (4,4)
{REAL BEER} – An all in one clue. The answer is a an anagram (manufactured) of BARREL around (without – as in outside) EE (additives as in food numbers).

12 Bolt joining international players’ team (3,5)
{CAP SCREW} – A four letter word for international players (from the hats that they are given) and a four letter word for a team on a ship or boat.

14 Lock Pole out (6)
{TURKEY} – Another word for a lock with the N removed (pole out). The answer is festive food.

16 Back issue (4)
{TIME} – Reverse (back) a word meaning issue. The answer refers to the seasonal period.

17 F-flippant (5)
{FAIRY} – The F from the clue and another word meaning flippant. The answer may be found on your Christmas tree.

18 Fragment of shell in eggs (4)
{ROSE} – The first letter (fragment of) shell inside another word for fish eggs. The answer is a flower.

19 Wild stags around. No worries (6)
{ANGSTS} – An anagram (wild) of STAGS around an N (no).

21 One bringing out erotic film denied radio broadcast (8)
{ELICITOR} – An anagram (broadcast) of EROTIC FILM after removing the FM (denied radio). FM is not radio it is a frequency that radio uses. I cannot immediately think of a situation where you would use FM in place of radio. I know Radler can be devious but this was a deception to far!

23 United at the outset then forcing to separate (8)
{UPRISING} – The abbreviation for united followed by a word meaning forcing to separate (as in opening something). The answer is a rebellion that took place in Serbia in 1919.

26 Ranking of trainee mathematician (6)
{LADDER} – The abbreviation for a trainee or learner followed by a word for a mathematician (one who calculates the sum of two numbers).

27 Respect promotion. Movement calls for grand exit (10)
{ADMIRATION} – A two letter word for a promotion (of the type that annoys us when it appears on the back page of the Telegraph in place of the crossword) followed by a word meaning a movement of people or animals with the G removed (grand exit).

28 Nearly always, (similarly true) (3)
{EVE} – Either a word meaning always with the final letter removed (nearly) or similar a word meaning true or level with the final letter removed. The answer is the night before Christmas.


1 Pretence, except for last part (10)
{DECORATION} – A five letter word for a pretence with the Y at the end removed (except for last) followed by a six letter word for a part or allowance. Another answer to be found on your Chistmas tree.

2 Run away from the crowd, reportedly tired and sick? (3-5)
{OFF PISTE} – … a ski run. A homophone (reportedly) of how you would be if away from work recovering from a bad hangover! Radler wins the prize for the worst homophone of the year for the second word!

3 Dead on target, close to the centre (6)
{DINNER} – The abbreviation for dead followed by that part of the target using in archery or shooting that is around the bullseye. You eat this on Christmas day.

4 Betrays trust when rejected (4)
{STAR} – A reversal (rejected) of a word meaning betrays trust. The answer is a leading light.

5 Without concentrating, Virginia isn’t able to play regularly (8)
{VACANTLY} – The abbreviation for Virginia followed by a word meaning isn’t able to and the even letters (regularly) of play.

6 & 9 Feeling less whole (6)
{NUMBER ONE} – A word meaning feeling less (as your mouth might be after having an injection at the dentist) and a word for whole or a unity. Like Slade or Wizard’s seasonal hits?

9 See 6 down (3)

13 Holy week heralds the start of Easter (5)
{WHITE} – The name of the holy week that begins on Pentecost Sunday going before (heralds) the first letter (start of) Easter. The answer is a famous song.

15 Apparently ‘ughie ‘as to, fed entirely fiction (4,2,4)
{EAST OF EDEN} – … name of a book. The answer is hidden (apparently) inside ‘UGHIE AS TO FED ENTIRELY

17 Last 5 rebels (8)
{FESTIVAL} – An anagram (rebels) of LAST FIVE. The answer is another word for the Christmas season.

18 Do as father of Prince Charming said (8)
{REINDEER} – A homophone (said) of what a king (father of prince) does and a word meaning charming.

20 Model skirts, showing up cleavage (6)
{SPIRIT} – A word meaning model or pose goes around (skirts) a word meaning cleavage reversed (showing up). The answer is good cheer.

22 Half of this deposit (6)
{ISLAND} – The final two letters (half) of this followed by a word meaning deposit. The answer is in the Indian Ocean.

24 Characters transposed from Urdu perhaps (3)
{PUD} – Hidden (from) and reversed (transposed) in URDU PERHAPS. The answer is often covered in brandy and set alight.

25 Balls – squeeze together tightly! (4)
{GRIT} – Double definition for balls or courage and what you might do to you teeth if you clench them tightly.

8 comments on “NTSPP – 150

  1. Radler always sets a harder puzzle than most and this festive offering is no exception.

    I must here admit that I first saw this puzzle back in May when it took me all the journey up to London and back and still I couldn’t finish it. Despite four clues being changed since then, and with the possibility that memories of the solutions might be lurking at the back of my brain, II still found this crossword very hard going but did manage to finish it this time, Definitely 5* difficulty and for that reason possibly 3* fun – my clue of the day being the brilliant 18d.

    Happy Christmas and thanks to Radler for the brain stretching (you’ve been very quiet lately!) – and thanks to Prolixic in advance for the review.

  2. Thanks to Radler for a real brain-stretcher which was very enjoyable. I made problems for myself by writing in ‘set screw’ for 12a (well, it seemed to make sense at the time). Favourite clues: 7a and 19a.

  3. Glad the old lags found this to be a tester :)

    Only got 6 clues unaided, and then cribbed the rest from the hints.
    Is the clue for 11a a typo…”with additives” makes more sense to me?

    Thanks to Prolixic for the review which explained so clearly the complicated wordplay.

    Radler one day I look forward to solving at least one of your puzzles, as when explained I do find them very good. Thanks.

  4. Many thanks to Prolixic for the review and to Crypticsue for her grafting to test solve this puzzle many months ago.

    I’d claim some mitigation for FM. It’s only the F that means frequency. FM is a mechanism for sending audio using radio waves and people do talk of FM stations and FM broadcasts to mean radio stations / broadcasts.

    2 down is not a particularly exact homophone, (guilty as charged). The clue was intended to be a pun. A phrase that means “sick and tired” (or “fed up”) but with the two words swapped – hence “tired and sick?”

    Colmce – One difficulty with this puzzle is working out which are the ones with definitions. I promise there’s a much easier one sitting in the NTSPP queue.

    Merry Christmas to all of you

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