NTSPP – 152 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 152

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 152

In Memoriam by Prolixic

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NTSPP - 152

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

[NB This post has been restored from a back-up copy. Unfortunately the comments made on the day are no longer available.]

A review of this puzzle by crypticsue follows.

One can only assume that Prolixic was a huge fan of the work of the creator of many well-loved puppet series who died on Boxing Day as, one day after hearing the sad news, the first version of this themed tribute puzzle, full of references to all the TV series, appeared in my email inbox.


1a Grade put on man of exceptional talent (5,3)
{CLASS ACT} A grade, degree or position followed by a verb meaning to put on or perform in a play.

5a Almost magical production of a non-sexual nature (6)
{AGAMIC} An anagram (production) of almost all of MAGICA[L]

10a Split and separate over a difficult entangling situation (3,4)
{RAT TRAP} An unpleasant, restricting situation – An informal term meaning to divulge secrets or inform on someone followed by a reversal (over) of a verb meaning to go separate ways.

11a Marina is swimming around Duke and Prospero’s daughter (7)
{MIRANDA} An anagram (swimming) of MARINA with D (Duke) inserted gives the name of Prospero’s daughter in Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
12a Graduates working for builder (5)
{MASON} The plural of the abbreviation for the degree of Master of Arts (graduates) followed by the two letter word used when something is working.

13a Essentially Joe 90’s beginning to infiltrate some Sumo organisation undercover (9)
{ANONYMOUS} Firstly you need an adjective meaning some (3) and into this you insert the middle letter (essentially) of JOE and the first (beginning) letter of Ninety, finishing with an anagram (organisation) of SUMO.
Joe 90
14a Shouts about prison in TV series (12)
{THUNDERBIRDS} Insert a slang term for prison into a way of saying shouts or utters with noise.

18a Nancy’s refusal of screenplays for Mysterons? (12)
{NONDESCRIPTS} In this clue, the Mysterons aren’t the enemies of 4d or even those crossword setters who prefer their identity to remain secret, but people who are not distinctive enough to be described. Nancy is, of course, in France so you need the French way of refusing or saying no and their word for of followed by the texts or screenplays of a film or television programme.

21a Darren, Dom or Philip embrace a fat person (9)
{ENDOMORPH} The medical term for someone with a heavy or rounded body is hidden inside DarrEN DOM OR PHilip.

23a First moonbase in Space 1999 (5)
{ALPHA} The first letter of the Greek alphabet, or a word meaning ‘of the first grade’, has the same name as the moonbase in Space 1999.

24a Supply fruit in August (7)
{SUBLIME} An informal way of supplying a loan of money followed by a green citrus fruit. The capital A is meant to mislead and as Prolixic would have said to me if I had queried it ‘the definition is in Chambers’!!

25a Noted 2d left without wife (7)
{EMINENT} A famous lady 2d followed by part of the verb meaning left from which the W (without Wife) has been removed.

26a Indigent person reportedly attacked Queen (6)
{NEEDER} A homophone (reportedly) of an informal way of saying attacked with a knee followed by the cipher for our current Queen.

27a Conman in TV series (8)
{STINGRAY} A con, deception or theft followed by the diminutive name of the setter whose puzzles some love to hate.


1d Catholics support for church plate (6)
{CHROME} A verb meaning to plate with a particular sort of metal. The abbreviation for Church followed by the city often used to refer to the Catholic Church or Catholicism.

2d Actor first bears gift (6)
{ARTIST} Another word for a performer – precede the way one might write first when putting a date on something with a gift or skill.

3d Special process I ultimately create to make hair band (9)
{SCRUNCHIE}  S (special) plus a verb expression meaning to process food such as a biscuit, computer  data or even numbers, followed by I (from the clue) and the final letter (ultimately) of creatE.
4d Partial accents represented in TV series (7,7)
{CAPTAIN SCARLET} An anagram (represented) of PARTIAL ACCENTS.

6/16 Germans reportedly shelter 25 1a and creator of 14, 27 and 4 (5,8)
{GERRY ANDERSON} A homophone of the wartime slang way of referring to a German followed by a type of air raid shelter.

7d Production units reassembled on marsh to guard a piece of UFO (3,5)
{MAN HOURS} The first letter (a piece of) UFO is inserted into an anagram of ON MARSH to produce periods of work undertaken by one person.

8d Fool wears top that is most tasteless (8)
{CRASSEST} Most tasteless or stupid – insert an informal term for a fool into the top of a wave or hill.

9d His improvement in animation leads to bankruptcy (14)
{IMPOVERISHMENT} Another way of saying bankrupt or made poor is an anagram (in animation) of HIS IMPROVEMENT.

15d Troops hit back at courageous person (9)
{BATTALION} A body of soldiers consisting of several companies – a verb meaning to hit, a reversal (back) of AT and a person of unusual courage.

16 See 6

17d Off home – the Spanish wait around (8)
{INEDIBLE} Off in the sense of being bad and unable to be eaten. The two letters used to indicate that one is at home, a reversal of both an archaic word meaning to wait and the Spanish for the.

19d Riding back with lift (6)
{UPREAR} A verb meaning to lift or raise up – an adverb meaning that one is on horseback followed by the back or hindmost part of something.
20d Natural blue (6)
{EARTHY} A double definition – unrefined or gross in the sense of humour.

22d I may enter jungle to find food (5)
{MAIZE} Insert I from the clue into something confused or complicated (jungle) to get a tall cereal grass used as food.

RIP Gerry. Your work will continue to entertain long into the future and …. as for the Mysterons… having reformed their ways to a certain extent, they now conspire to provide us with regular cryptic confusion!

3 comments on “NTSPP – 152

  1. By the wonders of fhe email trash box, I can tell you, and Prolixic who might be interested to know that:

    Windsurfer23 said:
    Thanks Prolixic & crypticsue. Nice tribute.
    Theme words nicely fitted in. Having got GERRY early on, the themed answers flowed in quickly. I lazily put in ‘cheapest’ for 8d at the beginning, although of course it didn’t parse properly. UPREAR is a peculiar word – I would always say ‘rear up’ unless there is a fine distinction between the two.
    Nancy has been used quite a bit in the Guardian recently, so I didn’t get caught by that one. I liked ANONYMOUS, once I had sorted out the bits.

    Colmce said:
    Afternoon sailing cancelled through lack of wind, so this was a fun alternative. Needed a couple of hints to complete but no matter.
    Thanks to Cryptic Sue for her appropriately pictured review.
    Thanks to Prolixic for a very clever puzzle

    Steve the Beard said:
    I can do no better than to echo Windsurfer23 and say “Thanks Prolixic & crypticsue. Nice tribute.”.
    Nice pictures too :-)

    Andy said:
    Very enjoyable, even if spent the day humming theme tune to 27a to annoyance of all and sundry. Thank you Prolixic and CS

    And finally, Kath said:
    I’ve managed about the same amount of this one as I have the MPP. So far I’ve managed to resist the temptation to read the hints or comments and I’m going to carry on perservating tomorrow.
    I’m not too well up in the general theme which makes life a bit tricky.
    I think 18a is brilliant – also 21a. How anyone thinks up these kinds of clues and answers completely defeats me – if I owned a hat I’d be taking it off to them in total admiration. The hat would also be raised to CS.
    With thanks to all concerned.

  2. Once we had picked the theme, and the puzzle’s title was a big help here, it all flowed along nicely, albeit not quickly. Liked the mis-directing capital in 24a but we were awake to it. Rates highly for fun with us
    Thanks Prolixic and CS.

  3. I finally gave in having progressed no further.
    I needed the hints to get my remaining seven answers – too many to tell you all what they were – and too ashamed too! :oops:
    i really enjoyed what I managed.
    Loved 18 and 21a and 3d (took me too long as both daughters use them) and 6 and 9d.
    An Anderson shelter (I have to confess to ignorance here) came into the last paragraph of Wogan’s comment on the inside of the back page today – too long to quote but it really made me laugh – PLEASE read it!
    With thanks to Prolixic and CS.

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