NTSPP – 154 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 154

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 154

A Puzzle by Hieroglyph

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NTSPP - 154

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle follows.

Hieroglyph entertains us with a crossword that is a masterclass in the art of deception.  Many of the clues are interrelated but within the cross-references between clues, there are some numbers that are not references to clues or their answers.  Other devices are used in two different ways such as the “/” in 7d / 20d.  With a mini-theme as well, this was enjoyable to solve and on the tricky side too.  Many thanks to our setter for the crossword.

Remember that there is still time to enter our January Monthly Prize Crossword – an excellent crossword by Alchemi that will keep you entertained on a cold Saturday afternoon.


1 Hackney chap’s crop-top – a second-rate piece (6)
{CABMAN} – … the driver of a hackney (vehicle for hire).  The first letter (top) of crop followed by the A from the clue, a letter indicating second-rate and a generic term for piece on a chessboard.

4 See 18 down

9 15’s hen-party? (4)
{OMEN} – … another word for the answer at 15a.  An all female party would have zero men!

10 Cape could be identical? (6,4)
{CARBON COPY} – Split CAPE to give C and APE.  Take the chemical represented by the C and another word for APE to find the answer.

11 Origins of Remembrances of Things Past, unfinished script edited by…? (6)
{PROUST} – … the author of the book in the clue.  An anagram (edited) of the first letters (origins of) Remembrances Of Things Past Unfinished Script.

12 Extreme security measures could be a spiritual afterthought (8)
{MANTRAPS} – A postscript (the abbreviation) added to the end of a word for a spiritual incantation.

13 Loose Women clue is distasteful (9)
{UNWELCOME} – An anagram (loose) of WOMEN CLUE.

15 Sing out for 9? (4)
{SIGN} – … another word for the answer to 9a.  A anagram (out) of SING.

16 5 in distress, spun (4)
{WOVE} – 5 here is the roman numeral inside another word for distress.

17 Mean quality of tinned fish-head? (9)
{SNIDENESS} – The chemical symbol for tin followed by a three letter fish encountered most in crosswordland and another word for a promontory or head

21 Eliot quietly laughs about potentially troublesome areas (8)
{HOTSPOTS} – A five letters word for laughs goes around the initials of the author / poet Eliot and the abbreviation for quiet.

22 Often chips in flawed gesture (6)

24 Initially, Captain Ahab’s temper is foul – possibly substance of Moby Dick? (10)
{SPERMACETI} – … a waxy substance extracted from whales.  An anagram (foul) of C A TEMPER IS with the C and A being the first letters (initially) of Captain Ahab.

25 Free love – a good deal? (4)
{VOLE} – … to win all the tricks in one deal of the cards.  An angram (free) of love.

26 On average, one’s hiding after withdrawing weapon (6)
{RAPIER} – Reverse the abbreviation for on or about and a word meaning average and put an I (one) inside (hiding).

27 Grandpa’s first delay, tottering like an old man (6)
{AGEDLY} – An anagram (tottering) of G DELAY, the G being the first letter of Grandpa.


1 See 23 down

2 Censor Trade Union language (5)
{BANTU} – … spoken in Africa.  A three letter word for censor followed by the abbreviation for Trade Union.

3 24 without wave crashing on cold, hard lifestyle (7)
{ASCETIC} – An anagram (crashing) of the answer to 24a after removing a four letter word for wave followed by the abbreviation for cold.

5 Troublesome deity over city (6)
{THORNY} – The Norse god of thunder followed by the abbreviation for New York.

6 Reformed scoundrel is returning on trip (9)
{EXCURSION} – … as in an outing.  A former (or reformed) scoundrel could be a 2-3 (giving the first five letters of the answer.  Follow this by the IS in the clue reversed (returning) and the ON in the clue.

7 Pinpoints in/out smash – feature of tennis shot, perhaps? (7)
{TOPSPIN} – An anagram (smash) of PINPOINTS removing IN (out).

8 Proper artist tries out denizen of 18,4 (5,8)
{PRIME MINISTER} – … the office holder who lives at the address given by 18d/4a.  A four letter word meaning proper, the surname of the artist Tracey and an anagram (out) of TRIES.

14 Monitor eastern hail-storm beginning with rain (9)
{EAVESDROP} – The abbreviation for Eastern followed by a Latin word for hail, the first letter (beginning) of storm and a word meaning rain.

16 Lie with painter (7)
{WHOPPER} – … as in a fib.  The abbreviation for with and the surname of a prominent American realist painter and printmaker.

18/4 Famous 10 way of drinking? (7,6)
{DOWNING STREET} – … the 10 being the number of a famous house.  A mild cryptic allusion to road or way associated with drinking.

19 Poet‘s Inferno found in reflection of Ulysses, conclusively? (7)
{SHELLEY} – Another word for Hades or Inferno goes inside a reversal (reflection) of the last word in the book Ulysses.

20 Foremost of historians/outstanding poet (6)
{HORACE} – … a noted Roman poet.  The first letter (foremost) of Historians, a word that can be used to replace “/” in A/B and a word meaning outstanding.

23/1 8 dispensing random advice (5,7)
{DAVID CAMERON} – … the name of the current 8d.  A anagram (dispensing) of RANDOM ADVICE.


5 comments on “NTSPP – 154

  1. A challenging return to the world of crosswords after a week away for one of us. Got there after a lot of hard work. Enjoyable puzzle with some cleverly linked clues.
    Thanks Hieroglyph and Prolixic.

  2. Thanks for the feedback and the super review. Boris and Dave dancing Gangnam style? Yikes. Hope to return before long :-)

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