NTSPP – 153 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 153

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 153

A Puzzle by Wiglaf

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NTSPP - 153

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.

Wiglaf makes a welcome return to the pages of the NTSPP with a challenging and enjoyable crossword.  Many thanks to him for the entertainment.


4 Island of the Siamese cat, say, harbouring an unwieldy ship left abandoned (6)
{PHUKET} – … an island off the coast of Thailand (Siamese).  A three letter word describing a cat (or other domestic animal) goes around (harbouring) a word for an unwieldy ship from which the L has been removed (left abandoned).

6 Material about the eastern Mediterranean (8)
{RELEVANT} – The abbreviation for about, on or concerning is followed by another word for the eastern Mediterranean.

9 London district retreat serves chocolate-covered cake (6)
{ECLAIR} – The London postal district for the City is followed by a word for a retreat or den.  Chambers describes this word as ‘a cake long in shape but short in duration’.

10 The Brothers Brown? Three changed name (8)
{BRETHREN} – … a group of Christian brothers.  A two letter abbreviation for Brown is followed by an anagram (changed) of THREE and the abbreviation for name.

11 As with the Bible, I grin about Madge’s inappropriate simile (4,1,6)
{LIKE A VIRGIN} – … Madge being a reference to Madonna and the answer being one of her songs.  Another word for as is followed by the abbreviation for Authorised Version (bible) and an anagram (about) of I GRIN.

15 America pursues hard line in some quarters? (7)
{SOLIDUS} – … a punctuation mark “/”.  Another word for hard (not liquid) is followed by an abbreviation for America.

17 Garbled sermon about English or American poet (7)
{EMERSON} – An anagram (garbled) of SERMON goes around the abbreviation for English.

18 Take apart when in disguise (11)
{DISASSEMBLE} – A two letter word meaning when goes inside a word meaning disguise.

22 Turner, having got angry, foamed (8)
{LATHERED} – A turner used by woodworkers followed by a word meaning angry (from the colour you go when angry).

23 Metal engravings in Illinois by a German revolutionary (6)
{NIELLI} – The three letter word for Illinois is followed by the German for A and the resulting letters reversed (revolutionary).

24 Dig in the north corner – no other ranks involved (8)
{ENTRENCH} – An anagram (involved) of THE N (north) CORNER with the abbreviation for other ranks removed.

25 The last thing Picasso drew before expiring? (6)
{BREATH} – A cryptic definition of the final inhalation of a dying person.


1 Some claret in America that one needs to observe (6)
{RETINA} – Part of the eye is hidden inside (some) CLARET IN AMERICA

2 Roger rests in a state of degeneration (10)
{RETROGRESS} – An anagram (in a state) of ROGER RESTS.

3 Time for a maxim (8)
{SENTENCE} – … time as in a period spend in jail.  A double definition.  I think maxim implies something stronger than the answer.

4 I am without equal but do not see as much (8)
{PEERLESS} – A word meaning without equal split 4,4 would imply you do not see as much.

5 Improbable Greek character turned up as Sally-Ann stripped (8)
{UNLIKELY} – Reverse a two letter Greek character in their alphabet and follow this with a word meaning AS and the middle two letters (stripped) of SALLY-ANN

7 Pixie, topless and sprightly (4)
{AIRY} – Another word for a pixie has the first letter removed (topless).

8 South Pacific country lacking a secret society (4)
{TONG} – Remove (lacking) the A from the formal name of the Friendly islands.

12 Doggedness in demanding Cardinal cuts iciness in negotiation (10)
{INSISTENCE} – The ten (Cardinal) goes inside (cuts) an anagram (in negotiation) of ICINESS.

13 Heathcliff’s wife lives with a Brontë sister (Anne primarily) (8)
{ISABELLA} – … her first name.  A word for lives or exists followed by the initial and surname under which one the Bronte sisters wrote some of their works and the first letter (primarily) of Anne.  Anne Bronte wrote under the pseudonym of Acton Bell.

14 Short as the man close to Spooner (4-4)
{KNEE-HIGH} – A Spoonerism of HE (man) NIGH (close).

16 One rambling comedian kisses the queen repeatedly (8)
{DODDERER} – The surname of the Knotty Ash comedian followed by the abbreviation for the Queen written twice (repeatedly).

19 Refugee from unstable regime (6)
{EMIGRE} – An anagram (unstable) of REGIME.

20 Down the chimney (4)
{FLUE} – … down as in soft feathers or fur.  A double definition of down and a chimney.

21 A bird occupied (2,2)
{AT IT} – The A from the clue and a three letter bird.

8 comments on “NTSPP – 153

  1. An enjoyable but for me, not an easy puzzle, lots of nice clues.

    23a was a completely new word for me, and I was not aware of the alternative meaning of 20d.
    I can never do Spooner clues, even with all the checks I couldn’t see it…doh.
    Still a great way to while away some time on a drizzly Saturday afternoon.
    Wiglaf, thanks for a lovely puzzle.
    Prolixic, thank you for the review…needed for a couple of clues and some wordplay.

    (Typo 12d?)

    Residents of East Kent, be assured it isn’t going to snow this weekend as I’ve just purchased a new snow shovel and 4 bags of gritting salt.

  2. Nice puzzle. I particularly liked 25a.

    I remain somewhat puzzled by Prolixic’s policy of including a deliberate error in his explanations of clues, though.

    1. Thanks to Wiglaf … I also remain somewhat puzzled!

      I will try to avoid peeking at Prolixic’s hints! But, I think they will be necessary sooner or later.

      1. If I can do it (apart from one) you certainly can. :smile: Off to light fire and have glass of wine now.

      2. I have finally given in and have resorted to help from Prolixic.

        Nielli and the Spoonerism defeated me – I hate Spoonerisms – I always fail to solve them.

        Thanks to Wiglaf, Prolixic and BD for making these Saturday puzzles available to us all!

        Liked the Picasso one and the Madonna one!

  3. I’ve really enjoyed this, apart from the frustration caused by finishing it except for 14d which I just couldn’t do. SO annoying to have got so far and still failed!! Never mind.
    I found it difficult – there were lots of things that I didn’t know. 23a; the 8d secret society; the first definition of 20d.I was a bit doubtful about 3d.
    I liked 4 and 25a and 4 and 13d. 21d made me laugh which probably makes it my favourite.
    With thanks to Wiglaf and Prolixic.

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