NTSPP – 151

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 151

A Festive Puzzle by Alchemi

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NTSPP - 151

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle follows.

I am visiting relatives this weekend so here is a brief review.


1 Pay and repay when unfurling festive message (5,3,4)
{HAPPY NEW YEAR} – … for January 1. An anagram (unfurled) of PAY REPAY WHEN.

9 Sack factory blown up in New Year display? (9)
{FIREWORKS} – … such as rockets and other sparkly things. Another word for sack (in the sense of dismiss) followed by another word for a factory.

10 Copy scripture expert (5)
{REPRO} – … as in a replica. A two letter word for what used to be scripture lessons followed by a three letter word for an expert or professional.

11 What a drunkard does for traditional dances (5)
{REELS} – A double definition of the effect of alcohol on you and the type of dances that feature in Scottish Hogmanay celebrations.

12 Old talk-show host carrying carrier plant (8)
{ASPHODEL} – … of the lily family. The surname of the old talk show host, first name Michael, inside which you add (carrying) a word for something that a bricklayer uses to carry bricks.

14 Atmospheric region essentially causes the French too much work beforehand (10)
{TROPOPAUSE} – … the region between the troposphere and the stratosphere. The French word for too much and an abbreviation for work (opus) goes before the middle letters (essentially) of CAUSES.

15 First of all, Michael York tells his story (4)
{MYTH} – The initial letters (first of all) of Michael York Tells His.

17 Past people often hung this on New Year’s Day (4)
{OVER} – A double definition for the past and the word that goes immediately after hung to describe the effects of alcohol on the morning after the night before.

19 Returning condition about to block even orderly brazier (4,6)
{FIRE BARREL} – Reverse (returning) a two letter word that expresses a condition. Follow this with a two letter word meaning about or on the subject of and three letter word meaning block or prevent. Finally add the even letters of ORDERLY.

22 Positive and negative introductions smooth out Olympian Daley (8)
{THOMPSON} – … his surname is the answer. An anagram (out) of P N SMOOTH. The P and N being the first letters (introductions) of positive and negative.

23 Parts of kingdoms happily sozzled, losing an irrational number (5)
{PHYLA} – … kingdoms as in the divisions of the natural kingdom in animal and plant nomenclature. An anagram (sozzled) of HAPPILY after removing PI (losing an irrational number).

25 Scottish town grandmother with a streak of the Irish in her (5)
{NAIRN} – The abbreviation for Irish goes inside a three letter word for a grandmother.

26 Harry absorbs pressure following US company’s work unit (4-5)
{INCH-POUND} – The abbreviation for pressure inside (absorbs) a word meaning harry or pester after (following) the abbreviation for a US company that is used in its name to indicate it is incorporated.

27 Ugandans yell about traditional song (4,4,4)
{AULD LANG SYNE} – … sung at midnight on New Year’s Eve. An anagram (about) of UGANDANS YELL.


2 Acquiesce in a welcome with love (5,2)
{AGREE TO} – The A from the clue followed by a word meaning welcome or say hello and the letter representing nil or love.

3 Chessmen dance at uncle‘s? (8)
{PAWNSHOP} – … where goods are exchanged for money and later redeemed. A group of chessmen followed by another word for a dance.

4 Inhabitant of a doll’s house is no artist (4)
{NORA} – … one of the characters in Ibsen’s A Dolls House. The no from the clue followed by the abbreviation that for an artist that is fellow of the RoyalAcademy.

5 On the south coast, you and I are on the way to South American relations (4,6)
{WEST SUSSEX} – … one of the counties with a border on the south coast. The pronoun for “you and I” followed by an abbreviation for street (way), the abbreviations for South and America and a three letter word for carnal relations.

6 Performance art hybrid somewhat vulgar (6)
{EARTHY} – A hidden word (somewhat) in PERFORMANCE ART HYBRID

7 Have a conversation pointlessly, but fast (7)
{RAPIDLY} – A three letter slang word for have a conversation followed by a four letter word meaning pointlessly.

8 Look up, interrupting banter then preceding country music host on New Year TV (5,7)
{JOOLS HOLLAND} – Reverse a two letter word meaning look and put it inside a four letter word meaning banter. Reverse the same two letter word again before (then preceding) a word meaning a country.

9 Loudly sounding horns round about under trees in New Year ritual (5-7)
{FIRST-FOOTING} – … which involves taking a piece of coal to your neighbours. A word for sounding horns goes around the abbreviation for loud in music. The resulting letters go under trees of the evergreen variety.

13 The cleaner’s endless conspiracies surrounding broadcast up to New Year’s Day (10)
{JANITORIAL} – … meaning of or belonging to the cleaner. The date of New Years Day goes before a reversal (up) of a word for conspiracies or plans with the outer letters removed (endlessly) with a word meaning broadcast inside (surrounding).

16 Regularly impress after graduate doctor makes a horrible noise often heard at Hogmanay (8)
{BAGPIPES} – … all complaints about the definition to the setter, please! A two letter word for a graduate and a two letter word for a doctor in general practice go before the even letters of IMPRESS.

18 Cut up about announcement lacking directions for excitingly strange things (7)
{EXOTICA} – A three letter word meaning cut or chop is reversed (up) and put around (about) a six letter word for an announcement from which the N and E at the ends have been removed (lacking directions).

20 Aga’s relation ran Bury eccentrically (7)
{RAYBURN} – … another type of cooker made by the company that makes Agas. An anagram (eccentrically) of RAN BURY.

21 A left turn before filmed tap (6)
{SPINAL} – … the word that goes before the tap in the title of a film. Put a word meaning turn before the A from the clue and the abbreviation for left.

24 Create electronic image of a hundred in hospital (4)
{SCAN} – The Roman numeral for 100 goes inside a three letter word for a hospital.

Many thanks to all the NTSPP setters who have entertained us this year and particular congratulations to Donk, eXternal and Alchemi who have each had crosswords published by the national press for the first time.



  1. pommers
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for posting the puzzle Prolixic, but it won’t open on screen!

    • Posted December 29, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      That’s not the first time that has happened. It was OK when I set it up, but the WordPress editor took a dislike to it and deleted it.

  2. crypticsue
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    A nice mix of the predictably themed and some clues to make you think. Thanks to Alchemi and (in advance) to Prolixic.

  3. spindrift
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    A couple of new words for me at 23a & 26a. Not too sure about 17a – it doesn’t fit right IMHO.

    Thanks to Alchemi & to Prolixic

    • Alchemi
      Posted December 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Well, Prolixic has misconstrued 17a. Past = OVER, people often hung this on New Year’s Day = OVER.

      • spindrift
        Posted December 29, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        Thank you

  4. Kath
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    I had to have a go at this one – I know that I usually find Alchemi’s puzzles difficult but I also know that I always enjoy them.
    I thought that it was a great puzzle. I got into a bit of a muddle with 14a and guessed 8d from the letters I already had and then worked out why. Spent a happy few minutes trying to find a Scottish town called ‘Grain’ . . . :roll: I’d never heard of 26a and couldn’t find it anywhere.
    Favourites include 15 and 17a and 3, 5, 16 and 20d.
    With thanks to Alchemi and Prolixic.

    • Alchemi
      Posted December 29, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink
      • Kath
        Posted December 29, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

        Sorry – that wasn’t a criticism – I just meant that I looked it up in BRB and my other ‘bible’ which is a VERY old Reader’s Digest Universal Dictionary which does have things that BRB doesn’t and couldn’t find it. I didn’t look any further – it had to be the right answer.

        • Posted December 29, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

          The RD Dictionary was based on the Concise Oxford Dictionary, with added illustrations.

          • Kath
            Posted December 29, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

            Mine doesn’t have illustrations but DOES have proper nouns – well known people, countries and their capital cities and currencies etc – I love it but it is falling to bits from over use!

        • Alchemi
          Posted December 30, 2012 at 1:10 am | Permalink

          I didn’t take it as criticism: it’s not a common unit even in the foot-pound-second system, and a fair few dictionaries don’t carry it.

          But “I know that I usually find Alchemi’s puzzles difficult but I also know that I always enjoy them” has made my day. I’m not bothered about difficult or easy (as long as it’s not so easy as to be an insult to the intelligence), but I care a great deal about providing entertainment.

  5. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 29, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    A very interesting diversion. Held up a bit, mainly in the SW corner, but got there in the end after a bracing dip in the surf at our local beach with grandkids.
    Thanks Alchemi and Prolixic.

  6. Only fools
    Posted December 30, 2012 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    Exactly the same as 2K s held up in SW corner .but enjoyed .
    Thanks a lot .

  7. Brian
    Posted December 31, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Quite nice but with some unfamiliar words and phrase such as 14a, 12a, 26a and 19a.
    Bit of a learning curve for me.