NTSPP – 159 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 159

Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle – 159

Sarah and Nick’s Wedding by Enigmatist

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Today Sarah Hayes – known in Crosswordland as Arachne, the Spider Lady – is marrying her partner Nick.

Enigmatist has prepared this special puzzle to mark the occasion.

NTSPP - 159

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle follows.

What a treat – a puzzle specially created by one of my favourite setters for the wedding of another of them.   Thank you very much to the former for a lovely themed puzzle, which despite a couple of unknown words, was not that tricky a solve and very entertaining too.   Congratulations and best wishes for a long and happy-ever-after from me to the happy couple – I hope you enjoyed this crossword as much as I did.

I have highlighted the themed clues and explained the answers to the ‘instructions’ at the end of the review.  Those of a phobic nature will be relieved to know that quite a lot of the illustrations looked so similar that I decided to just go with a few more obvious ones!


1 *Arrived late, but not worried (5)
{CAMEL}  Another way of saying arrived followed by L (late once you have removed the ‘worried’ bit).  Mr CS didn’t ‘get’ the significance of the illustration but I hope everyone else will smile at it like I did!

camel spider!

4 *Barbarian going to sea forgetting article (8)
{HUNTSMAN}  A three-letter barbarian followed by the sea situated between Australia and New Zealand which has its first A removed (forgetting article).

8 *Navy jumping ship at sea, have no power in the pointed end (5,5)
{BLACK WIDOW}   Insert into the pointed end of a ship (3), an expression meaning have no power (as required for a ship with sails).   N for navy has to be removed from this expression (jumping ship) in order for the themed solution to appear.

black widow spider

9/13 *In bar, get ID out (4-6)
{BIRD-EATING}  An anagram (out) of IN BAR GET ID.

10 32, *”my constant love” preserved, cryptically speaking? (8)
{SCORPION}  Cryptically speaking, one might be preserved by being put in a tin.    Insert into the chemical symbol for tin, an interjection of surprise (my being a similar interjection), a two-letter mathematical constant,  and O (love).

13 See 9

15 Origin of Football Association topped old puzzle (6)
{FEAGUE}   An obsolete verb meaning to perplex –  Follow the first letter (origin of) Football with another word for association or alliance, which has been ‘topped’ or had its first letter removed.

18 Strong desire to open present’s about to activate (6,2)
{SWITCH ON}  Insert a strong teasing desire into a reversal (about) of another way of saying at the present time, not forgetting the S (present’S).

20 Unwillingly allow – as illustration – king to move about (8)
{BEGRUDGE} Insert into a verb meaning to move or stir, the two letter abbreviation used to signify  ‘for example’ (as illustration) and the single letter used to represent king in Latin.

21 One boring old pin-up’s forgotten energy returning (3,3)
{OIL RIG}   Remove E (forgetting energy) from an adjective once used to refer to  a magazine showing scantily clad ladies, replace the E  with an O (old) and then reverse (returning) the result.

22 32, on reflection, takes the plunge again? (6)
{SPIDER} A 32 can be found by reversing (on reflection) the two letters used to mean again and another way of saying plunges in water.

24 *Bent cross-piece? (8)
{TRAP DOOR}  Bent indicates the need to reverse firstly a cross found at the entrance to the chancel in a church and secondly another word for piece or portion.

27 See 30 Down

29 *Authorise to sit in Clegg’s shadow (10)
{HARVESTMAN}   Took a while for the penny to drop with this wordplay.   Nick Clegg is the Deputy Leader of the Government, so you need to know the surname of his counterpart in the Shadow Cabinet.   Once you have that name, simply insert (sit in)  a verb meaning to authorise or endow.

32 A crawler, one smuggled papers out of Switzerland (8)
{ARACHNID}   The theme which links us very nicely with  the subject of today’s celebratory puzzle.   A (one), another way of saying smuggled, the IVR code for Switzerland and the abbreviation for identity documents.

33 *I sealed in goodness! (5)
{MONEY}  Insert the number represented by I into an interjection of surprise seen earlier in this crossword.

money spider


1 Courier’s left-hand side – constant pain (5)
{COLIC}   Here ‘Courier’ isn’t a messenger or even a type of font but an example of a newspaper in which the left hand side of the page might be referred to as column one.   Follow an abbreviated way of saying this with C (constant) to get the constant pain suffered mainly by babies (and me while expecting son no 1 – I know why babies scream!)

2 Scotsman getting half of my bill?! (3)
{MAC} A Gaelic prefix in names, now more commonly used to refer informally to a Scotsman –  ‘Half’ of My followed by the two letter abbreviation for account (bill), normally seen with a / between the two letters.


3 Essentially, pillow-fight sounds unsophisticated (3-2)
{LOW-FI}   Hidden (essentially) in pilLOW-FIght is a way of referring to a  lower quality of sound recording  than the usual  expected high standard.

4 Knew  accepted   bore (3)
{HAD}  A triple definition  – an informal term referring to sexual intercourse; took or accepted; bore or suffered.

5 State team playing cricket county supervised by reformed writer (3,6)
{NEW MEXICO} –   a south-western state of the USA –   Follow (supervised by indicates that the remaining parts of the wordplay should be under, or follow) a word meaning reformed or recently made and the way our setter (writer) might refer to himself, the Roman numerals representing the number of people in a cricket team and the two letter abbreviation for county.

6 Unpleasant person   shed tears (3)
{SOB} The abbreviated way one might refer to a particularly unpleasant person or a verb meaning to shed tears or weep noisily.

7 Teller of stories not quite reaching peak on Ascension Island (5)
{ARRAN}  Misleading capital time – Ascension (going up)  is actually an indicator of the need to reverse the first five letters (not quite reaching a peak or rocky height) of someone who recounts stories – the Island in question is found in the Firth of Clyde.

11 4dn bar for accommodating actor (7)
{ROGERED}   More than a slight lowering of tone here  with this solution being a vulgar informal way of referring to the first definition of 4d.   Insert the surname of the actor who appeared  in the  film Pretty Woman into a bar or stick.

12 Most curious…it’s one’s bent! (7)
{NOSIEST}   A bent anagram of ITS ONES.


14 Trotter lifted after 32 produced thrill (7)
{TICKLED}   I always forget that this particular small bloodsucker is a 32a.   Follow the nasty creature with a reversal of the diminutive by which the senior Mr Trotter in Only Fools and Horses is known.

16 Solvers talked about a female follower (3)
{EWE}  A homophone of the way our setter might refer to us solvers produces the female of the species of farm animal said to follow without question.


17 Death hanging over little Annie, she’s given one for a pain-killer (9)
{ENDORPHIN}   Death or the last point of something followed by (hanging over) a description of Little Annie who had lost both her parents  – to get the painkiller in question you will need to change the A in that word  for an I (given ‘one’ for ‘a’).

19 Love swinging fetish (3)
{OBI}   A type of fetish or charm used in the West Indies –  O (love) and the informal adjective used to refer to people who like both male and female partners (swinging refers to the practice of swapping partners in unrestrained sexual activity).

23 Pub to broadcast US singer-songwriter (5)
{PHAIR}   I hadn’t heard of this singer-songwriter but the wordplay was so clear it was easy to search for her on-line.  The abbreviation for Public House followed by a verb meaning to broadcast on the radio.

25 Reserves, not elevenses? (1-4)
{A-TEAM}  Insert a  drink into the abbreviation for morning –  ‘not elevenses?’  because  most people drink coffee in the middle of the morning!

26 A reproductive part, everyone agrees (5)
{OVARY}   Everyone agrees so  O (no-one) would disagree.

28 70s bandleader’s following breaks food chain (3)
{KFCI am slightly worried about young Enigmatist’s musical tastes, although I suppose it was the 1970s when he was nobbut a lad!  This is not the first time I have blogged one of his crosswords where, presumably, his favourite band – the Sunshine Band – has formed part of a clue.   Here you need to insert the single letter meaning following into the initials of the leader of said band to get a food chain I rarely visit due to the vegetarian Mr CS’s  mutterings when I do.

30/27 *Liverpool defender? (7)
{REDBACK}   A cryptic definition of a footballer playing in defence for Liverpool FC,  referring to  the colour of his shirt.

31 After sending-off, remaining players a goal up?
{TEN}  The number of football players remaining on a pitch after one of the team has been sent off  is a reversal  (up in a down clue) of part of the goal.

If you follow the instructions, you should have ‘woven’ your way from top to bottom and found that the the blue squares in the grid reveal a {TARANTULA}.   Similarly the pink squares going up and down reveal a {FUNNEL WEB}.  Rearranging the letters in the gold squares produces {PETER PARKER}  the person who spent part of his life being {Spider-Man} (relevant identity).   Finally look at row 8 and you will find that today’s groom {NICK}  is now caught in a {WEB}.

15 comments on “NTSPP – 159

  1. Very enjoyable challenge.

    My best wishes to Sarah and Nick, two of the really nice people that inhabit this strange world of crosswords.

  2. Congratulations to the happy couple – A very enjoyable crossword, thank you Enigmatist., – my review will be added mid-afternoon if anyone is stuck.

  3. Very entertaining and amusing stuff. Thanks to Elgar and congratulations to Sarah and Nick. I particularly liked 29a and laughed out loud at 11d.

  4. My congratulations to Sarah and Nick on their special day. Thanks too to CS for holding the fort whilst I am in the wilds of Derbyshire looking after 17 dogs, two boys and one mother!

  5. Even with the theme found this very difficult and had to refer to CS’s excellent tips, enjoyed greatly what I could do.

    What a very clever puzzle, so much going on, a tour de force from Enigmatist, many thanks.

    My best wishes to the newly weds.

  6. Without the theme ,electronic help and more than one uneducated guess would not have come close .Very clever and amusing .
    Congrats to the newlyweds and thanks very much .

  7. Too tough for us. After more than an hour we still had not picked the theme or any of the themed answers, so gave up and turned to the review at that stage. Agree that indeed it was very clever.
    All the best to the newly-weds and thanks for the challenge.

  8. Well & truly feagued by this one! Best wishes to the happy couple & thanks to Enigmatist for a real challenge.

  9. Brilliant puzzle, though very tough.

    Thanks CS for helping the parsing of SCORPION, COLIC and BLACK WIDOW.

    I saw the Nick in web, but failed on Peter Parker, even though I had the Peter, doh!

    One can only admire the ingenuity of this setter.

  10. Well I see on 15sq some thought this easy, well I guess for a given value of Enigmatist, the spider link was obvious after a short while but I was made to work hard to get there.

    Thanks CS.

  11. Best Wishes to Nick & Sarah, who I had the pleasure of meeting @ one of the Manchester Slogger & Better thrashes.I am sure it will be long be long and happy.
    Thanks to the setter ( who has me bewildered), I need the clues.



  12. Sarah / Arachne has sent the following message:

    “Hi Dave, We’re just returned from a heavenly honeymoon after our wonderful wedding and are still a little “Hayesy” with happiness, but we both want to thank you with all our hearts for publishing Enigmatist’s magnificent wedding puzzle! That man is a genius, there’s no two ways about it, and you are a very kind man and a good pal to give it the NTSPP slot. Could you also pass on our warmest thanks to all the people who wished us well through the site? And Nick would like to reassure those of a nervous disposition that, despite dark hints in Enigmatist’s puzzle, he has survived consummation of the marriage. So far… Love & hugs to you and to all, Arachne x”

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