NTSPP – 164 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 164

NTSPP – 164

A Puzzle by Prolixic

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NTSPP - 164

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle follows.

Back in April 2011, I finished the review of NTSPP 60  with the question “What about a [similar theme] aimed at the fairer sex?”   (http://bigdave44.com/2011/04/02/ntspp-060-review/) Never one to miss a crossword opportunity, Prolixic then obliged with this puzzle,  which brought back some childhood memories, not least while I was searching for illustrations.



1a           Expressions policeman found in island society (6)
{IDIOMS}  –  Insert a Detective Inspector (policeman) between abbreviations for Island and the Isle of Man, and finish with the abbreviation for Society.

4a           A poem’s difficult (8)
{PERVERSE}   –   Follow a preposition meaning for each, a, with a synonym for poem.

10a         Notes roar out in echo chamber (9)
{RESONATOR}  An anagram (out) of NOTES ROAR.

*11a       Universal Studio’s head sacked entertainer (5)
{COMIC}   Remove S (the ‘head’ of studio …sacked) from a noun meaning the universe as an orderly and systematic whole.

*12a       Two maidens in river for 11a (5)
{TAMMY}   A 11a is obtained by inserting two of the abbreviation used for a Maiden[over] in cricket scoring into a Scottish river.


13a         Absent-minded old bachelor (54) has debts (9)
{OBLIVIOUS}   The single letters used to represent Old and Bachelor,  the Roman ‘numberals’ for 54 and documents acknowledging debts.

*14a       Go around women for 11a (7)
{TWINKLE }  A childish way of referring to the act of urination(go) with W (women) inserted.


*16a       Ireland follows German 11a (4)
{GIRL  Follow an abbreviation for German with the IVR code for Ireland.


*19a       Soldier describes one returning for 11a (4)
{TINA}  ‘Describes’ tells you that I (one) should be contained within  a reversal of an insect best known in Crosswordland as a ‘soldier’.

21a         Fictional account of drivers in some French city (7)
{DRACULA}   A fictional account by Bram Stoker.   Insert the abbreviation for one of our motoring organisations (drivers) between the French word for some and the abbreviated way we refer to a city on the west coast of the USA.

24a         Horrid Henry came for Moody Margaret? (9)
{ARCHENEMY}  My sons were too old for Horrid Henry books when they first came out so I never got to read them.  However, once I had sorted out the anagram (horrid) of HENRY CAME, with the aid of the checking letters, I did Google to make sure that Moody Margaret did fit the description in the solution.

*25a       Grant loses ring for 11a (5)
{BUNTY}    Remove O (loses ‘ring’) from a gift of money or a reward.   Coincidentally, we  ‘found’  a ring with the first issue!


26a         Wizened doctor of education tours Rhode Island (5)
{DRIED}   Insert the abbreviation for Rhode Island into the abbreviation for a Doctor of Education.

27a         Clear old copper’s record at start of enquiry (9)
{EXCULPATE} A prefix meaning former (old) the chemical symbol for copper, a Long Playing record, AT (from the clue) and the first letter (start) of Enquiry.

28a         Garage owner welcomes president for drink (8)
{ESPRESSO}   For me more of a petrol station than a garage, but  I see where he is coming from!   Insert the abbreviation for president into a well-known petrol station owner.

*29a       Sailor that is 11a (6)
{JACKIEThe one for “go-ahead teens”!   One of the words we use for a sailor (normally followed with ‘tar’) and the abbreviation for that is (id est).



1d           Get at   itch (8)
{IRRITATE}   A double definition.

2d           I rebuilt mansion in disorder (8)
{INSOMNIA} –    This tiresome disorder is obtained by following I (from the clue) with an anagram (rebuilt) of MANSION.

*3d         11a seen on the outskirts of municipality (5)
{MANDY}    The two letters on the outside of MunicipalitY are…..!!  (Free rings were obviously what we all wanted in the 1950s/60s!)


5d           Lawman has to carry silencer! (7)
{EARPLUG}   The surname of the  lawman famed for his role in the gunfight at the OK Corral  followed by a verb meaning to carry, pull or drag heavily.

6d           Order of service taken by Vicar Apostolic back to front (4, 5)
{VICE VERSA}  Insert between the abbreviation for Vicar Apostolic  an anagram (order) of SERVICE.

7d           Fixed memory stick (6)
{RAMROD}  An adjective meaning firm of inflexible.   The computing term known in full as Random Access Memory followed by  a type of stick.

8d           Remove from    duty (6)
{EXCISE}   A double definition – to cut out/remove from;    or a tax or duty on certain commodities.

9d           Order in articles for party? (2,4)
{AT HOME}    The Order of Merit is inserted between the indefinite article and the definite article to produce  a reception held in someone’s house.

15d         Balance point for two metals in anchor (5-4)
{KNIFE-EDGE}   Insert into a small anchor for keeping a ship steady, the chemical symbols for two metals  iodine  nickel and iron.

17d         Go second and fold (4-4)
{TURN-BACK}   A folded-back part of something.  A go or chance to do something followed by a synonym for second in the sense of support.

18d         Satellite states in America (8)
{GANYMEDE   The satellite of Jupiter (and largest moon in the Solar System) is a charade of the abbreviations  for the US States of Georgia, New York, Maine and Delaware.


20d         Enduring quality of language lessons (7)
{AGELESS}   This particular enduring quality is hidden in languAGE LESSons.

21d         I decry broken freezer (3,3)
{DRY ICE}  An anagram (broken) of I DECRY.

*22d      Hospital form for 11a (6)
{SANDIE}  Not an 11a I remember but it  is an abbreviation for a type of hospital followed by a stamp or form for cutting.

23d         Restrict change of temperature in seafood (6)
{SCRIMP} Change the temperature in a type of seafood from Hot to Cold.

*25d      Label rewritten for 11a (5)
{BELLA}  An anagram (rewritten) of LABEL produces, as far as  I can tell,  a character in rather than an 11a, although there is a publication for grown up ladies with that name.



Thank you once again to Prolixic.  I didn’t particularly notice at the time of testing (which was a long time ago now),  but typing the review does focus the mind on the fact that there do seem to be an awful lot of abbreviations in the wordplay!!

17 comments on “NTSPP – 164

  1. Quite a difficult puzzle for me managed to do quite a lot before I realised that the theme was not comedians…tommy and trinder and a couple of others filled some spaces with no reference to the clues! However Jackie finally pointed me in the right direction, distant memories of my sister’s reading habits.

    A clever puzzle, quite difficult and needed CS’s review to fill in the gaps…thanks.

    Prolixic, thanks for the puzzle, passed rather a lot of time this afternoon!

  2. I made SUCH a pig’s ear of this that I’m almost embarrassed to talk about it! :oops:
    I got 11a and thought that I was after different kinds of entertainers – comic =comedian. Then I got 14a and thought that some of the answers might be specific people – think she was a one hit wonder and did ‘Leader of the Pack’. I haven’t checked so could very easily be wrong – she certainly did something. THEN to make matters even worse I got 22d so I just thought ‘Sandie Shaw’. OK, didn’t think she was spelt like that but never mind. And so on and so on . . .
    I did get most of the non-themed answers and have enjoyed it. I think I should probably retire in disgrace now!
    With thanks to Prolixic (I hope that your mother-in-law is recovering) and to crypticsue for recommending the crossword and then putting me out of my misery!

    1. Twinkle, a respectable mum whose children find it difficult to believe she was once a pop star, recorded “Terry”. “Leader of the Pack” was by the Shangri-Las.

      1. Thanks!
        As I was typing it I had some doubts so just looked it up. My one chance to be right about ANYTHING today seems to have gone down the drain. :sad:

  3. My first attempt at this puzzle and really did struggle to get the idea. Could you explain where the N fits in for 15d :)

      1. Oh! I read the hints which uses iodine ( a non metal!) and iron……. silly me! and me a science teacher too! :( many thanks!

        1. The more you read and check things over, the more likely it is you will miss something. That’s my feeble excuse anyway.

  4. Thanks to Prolixic for an entertaining and amusing puzzle. I had heard of 25a (but that was about all of the themed answers) and I did wonder whether Horrid Henry and Moody Margaret were professional wrestlers. I thought that 18d was a superb clue.
    Thanks too to CS for the explanations (what’s happened to the illustrations?). I’m not sure that the chemical symbols in 15d are correct.

      1. They’re there now, but when I left my last comment I couldn’t see any of them. Weird.

  5. New to this crossword. I’ve only attempted it a few times before and did not do well at all. This time, I persevered and it took ages but I ended up with just three I needed hints for. In my day, the only girl’s comics were School Friend, Judy and Bunty, so not knowing the newer ones I guessed, luckily correctly, and confirmed via Google.

    I loved 18D, 27A and 14A. All great clues. Thanks, Prolixic for the workout and thanks to Crypticsue for the hints.

  6. Many thanks to all who have commented and to Crypticsue for her review.

    If you want something without a theme and possibly a little gentler then buy tomorrow’s Independent on Sunday where I appear as Kairos (it will be on-line a week later).

  7. Was not able to download earlier as page just kept refreshing .
    Top half went in fairly readily ,lower much less so.
    The theme helped with 22d which was an uneducated guess .Last one in and fave was18d.
    Thanks very much and congrats on tomorrow .

  8. We needed help from Wikipedia to locate a list of old British comics once we had worked out what the theme was. It all fell into place (with a bit of effort of course) after that. An enjoyable Sunday morning’s entertainment for us.
    Thanks Prolixic and CS.
    Pity that we can’t get the Independent here so we could enjoy Kairos too.

  9. I was defeated by this, not managing to identify the theme until late.
    Required several hints to complete.
    Many thanks to Prolixic for a most enjoyable crossword and CS for her review.

  10. Most enjoyable although without the help of Mrs S I would not have got half the theme words, Thanks to P & to C-S. Packing the car for a trip to York to celebrate mater’s 82nd birthday on Tuesday. No doubt it will be a very liquid lunch with my brother and our sons…

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