NTSPP – 156 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 156

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 156

A Puzzle by Isla

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NTSPP - 156

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.

Isla is an occasional setter for the Not The Saturday Prize Puzzle series. However, his crosswords are always worth waiting for and he entertains us today with a quality puzzle with lots of flair, humour and fair but challenging clues.


1 In footballers, goodness and evil (6)
{INFAMY} – The IN from the clue is followed by the abbreviation for the Football Association and a two letter exclamation meaning goodness.

4 Marriage is a mixture of lust and pain (8)
{NUPTIALS} – An anagram (mixture of) LUST PAIN

10 Belted out lyrics, rid of composed calmness (9)
{SANGFROID} – A four letter word meaning belted out lyrics followed by an anagram (composed) of RID OF.

11 Lava ultimately buries crypt (5)
{VAULT} – Hidden inside (buries) LAVA ULTIMATELY

12 Partner gaining International Match Point on complex deal with mirror bid (4-5,5)
{MAIL-ORDER BRIDE} – … a wife obtained from overseas. An anagram (complex) of DEAL MIRROR BID before (on) one of the points of the compass.

14 I’m surprised, able to flip tortilla (5)
{NACHO} – A two letter word meaning I’m surprised and another word meaning able to all reversed (flipped).

16 Probably no relish when initially tasting sandwiches (4,2,3)
{LIKE AS NOT} – A four letter word meaning relish or enjoy followed by a two letter word meaning when and the first letter (initially) of tasting go around (sandwiches) the NO in the clue.

18 Bind over male then stitch up for prescribed period (9)
{TIMEFRAME} – A three letter word meaning bind goes around (over) the abbreviation for male. This is followed by a word meaning stitch up (in the sense of dropping someone in it).

20 Dog has itch on hard to reach area (5)
{HYENA} – … a wild dog famed for laughing. A word meaning itch or long goes after (on) the abbreviation for hard and before (to reach) the abbreviation for area.

21 Unhappy state eating poorly-plucked duck? (4,2,3,5)
{DOWN IN THE MOUTH} – A double definition. The second mildly cryptic to refer to the small feathers you would chew if eating a poorly-plucked duck.

25 Continuing hush (5)
{STILL} – A simple double definition.

26 Calling to account for sailing closer to the wind (7,2)
{HAULING UP} – Another double definition, the second being a nautical expression that I expect pommers got instantly.

27 Be responsible for boxing in small car? (8)
{RUNABOUT} – The answer split (3,1,4) might imply that you are responsible for a boxing match.

28 Manages to understand, Times clues finally cracked (4,2)
{GETS BY} – The final letter of clues goes inside (cracked) a three letter word meaning understand and another way of saying times (as a mathematical function)


1 Using natural protection, half impregnate (10)
{INSEMINATE} – A six letter word meaning natural goes around (using … protection) a word meaning half (often used to describe a type of house).

2 With private support merriment mushrooms? (5)
{FUNGI} – … The abbreviation for an American private in the Army goes underneath (support) a word meaning merriment.

3 Communist dictator’s embraces provided revolutionary love for family member (7)
{MAFIOSO} – …of the criminal fraternity. The name of a Chinese dictator goes around (embraces) a two letter word meaning provided which is reversed (revolutionary). This is followed by the letter that represents love or nothing.

5 Beneath Friesian’s back end lost milkmaid finally grasped… this? (5)
{UDDER} – Remove the last letter (back end) of Friesian from a word meaning beneath and put this around (grasped) the final letter of milkmaid to give that part of a cow that the milkmaid might grasp – or at least the teat that hangs from it!

6 State worker’s thrown up outside bar (7)
{TAVERNA} – … in the sense of a pub. Reverse (thrown up) a three letter creature associated with being a worker and put this around (outside) another word meaning state or declare.

7 Have a ball scoffing cake in great quantity (9)
{ABUNDANCE} – The A in the clue and another word for a ball (a social occasion) goes around (scoffing) a word for a cake.

8 Eats bananas to overcome hunger (4)
{SATE} – An anagram (bananas) of EATS.

9 Troubled daughter (Lear, middle of Act I) receives nothing (8)
{CORDELIA} – A tour de force of an &lit. One of King Lear’s daughters is troubled in Act 1 about what to say to her father. When she tells him the truth she receives nothing in return. The wordplay is an anagram (troubled) of the D (abbreviation for daughter) LEAR C (middle letter of aCt) and I, inside which you add an O (nothing).

13 Steps hard? Try a different dance (10)
{STRATHSPEY} – An anagram (different) of STEPS H (abbreviation for hard) TRY A.

15 Eccentric chap, Scotsman or Asian (9)
{CAMBODIAN} – A three letter word for eccentric (part of your car engine), a three letter word for chap and a three letter name associated with being Scottish.

17 Drag around – eek! – a hull (8)
{KEELHAUL} – A semi all-in-one clue. An anagram (drag around) of EEK A HULL gives a form of punishment that involved being dragged around the hull of a ship.

19 Wave bat to Barmy Army, say (3,4)
{FAN CLUB} – … the Barmy Army are an example of this organisation. Another word meaning wave is followed by another word meaning bat.

20 Frock length? Man, your setter’s clothing length’s fashionable (7)
{HEMLINE} – A two letter pronoun for a man following by two letter word referring to the setter that goes around (clothing) the abbreviation for length and a two letter word meaning fashionable.

22 Head-over-heels, bird mounts game Indian statesman (5)
{NEHRU} – Reverse (head-over heels) a type of bird and put this over (mounts) the abbreviation for a type of rugby (game).

23 Spurs regularly run ragged by Gunners’ right winger (5)
{URGES} – The even letters (regularly) in RUN RAGGED followed by the right most letter in Gunners.

24 Way back, a Russian leader (4)
{TSAR} – Reverse (back) the abbreviation for street and follow this by the A in the clue and the first letter (leader) of Russian. Another &lit to complete a cracking crossword.

End of Term Review

My (admittedly rudimentary) maths skills tell me that 3 x 52 = 156, the number of today’s crossword. We are therefore at the end of the third year of the series! Where does the time go? It only seems like yesterday that I foolishly agreed to set my first crossword which would become the second in the NTSPP series – the first was a crossword by Anax, one of the country’s top setters.

This year might be described as “graduation year” for a number of the regular setters in this series. Alchemi, Donk and Prolixic (appearing as Kairos) have had their crosswords published in the Independent and eXternal has had an Inquisitor crossword published in the Independent. To have fostered the talents of four new national setters is a remarkable achievement for Big Dave whose foresight in allowing newcomers to cut their teeth in setting crosswords is not to be underestimated. One of the new setters in this series, Wiglaf, has already had puzzles published in the Listener and Enigmatic Variations series. Other new setters this year include Gervase and Robi.

Another highlight of the year was NTSPP 106 specially produced by a team of setters to celebrate Roger Squire’s (Rufus) 80th Birthday. It was a treat to be present at the party when the framed crossword was presented to him.

This year the NTSPP has been joined by the Monthly Prize Puzzle, generously sponsored by Hamlyn Books. There has been talk of a new series on Mondays to make up for the lack of a Telegraph Toughie on that day but no news has reached your reporter on when this might appear.

A lot of work is put in by Big Dave to make sure that we have good quality puzzles week by week. Our thanks to him for the continuing hard work in keeping the series running.

6 comments on “NTSPP – 156

  1. Very enjoyable Isla – thank you for a nice lunchtime diversion. Loved the return of the chestnut in 21a . there are some other good ones to smile at too including 12a. I did read out 4a to Mr CS but wisely he decided not to comment :D

  2. Terrific puzzle, took a little time to get into the swing of it but got there eventually, needed the review to explain some word play…thanks Prolixic.

    Thanks to Isla for an amusing tester.

    Cold, windblown, and bobbing up and down in Dover.

  3. Just loved it. Printed it out with the intention of saving to do on Toughie-less Monday. However, could not resist a quick sneak preview and was immediately hooked so had to sit and finish it. Held up for a while with 13d and 28a but got there in the end.
    Thanks Isla and Prolixic.

  4. I came to this puzzle a day late but enjoyed it a lot – many thanks to Isla and to Prolixic for the review. In addition to the excellent 9d I particularly liked 27a.

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