NTSPP – 190

NTSPP – 190

A Puzzle by Prolixic

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

NTSPP - 190

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle follows .

It seems a while since we had a  Prolixic puzzle and I did enjoy solving this one.    There is a link between nine of the solutions but I will be amazed if anyone ‘sees’ it.   All is explained at the end of the review.


8a  Talk of pike pursuing young fish we hear (8)
{PARLANCE}    A homophone (we hear) of a young salmon followed by a type of weapon similar to a pike produces an archaic word for conversation or a manner of speaking.

9a  Number leading Democrat left for Republican lecturer (6)
{READER}    Not a Roman ‘numberal’ or anything else numerical  – what we need here is a word meaning even more lacking  sensation or feeling,  from which we remove the first D for Democrat and replace with an R for Republican in order to be left with  a higher grade of university lecturer.

10a  Tart‘s thigh is endless (4)
{FLAN}  Remove the final letter (endless) from the side of the body which finishes at the thigh.


11a  Old fool touring island retreat (5)
{OASIS}   A type of retreat which the BRB defines as a place of rest and leisure in the midst of toil and gloom –  Follow O (old) with a fool into which is inserted the abbreviation for Island.

12a   American beer’s unexplained demise (4)
{SUDS}   In lower case, this is an informal North American term for beer (probably because of all the froth).  In capitals, it is the abbreviation for a syndrome causing unexplained deaths.

13a  Had an affair and negligently omitted to include wife (3-5)
{TWO-TIMED}   An anagram (negligently) of OMITTED and W (wife).

16a  Agitate over including question for John Barleycorn (6)
{LIQUOR}   John Barleycorn is the personification of a type of malt beverage immortalized by Robbie Burns.     An old word meaning to rile or agitate is reversed and then the two letter abbreviation for question inserted.

John Barleycorn

18a  Microsoft’s database stores return of small parts (4)
{TADS}   An informal term for small parts is hidden and reversed (stores return) in MicrosoftS DATabase.

20a  Married men welcome a Yankee leader (5)
{MAYOR}   The leader of a municipal corporation –  The abbreviation for Married, A (from the clue) the ‘leader’ of Yankee, and finally the two letters beloved of crossword setters and used to mean ordinary soldiers (men).


21a  Spin Mr Mair broadcast (4)
{EDDY}    A homophone (broadcast) of the Christian name of Mr Mair, the presenter of Radio 4’s PM programme.

22a  Unimportant person able to return in spirit (6)
{COGNAC}   An unimportant person in a large organisation, followed by a reversal of part of a verb meaning able to.

23a  Hash plant processed after extracting fifty chemicals (8)
{NAPHTHAS}    Remove the L (extracting the Roman numeral for 50) from HASHPLANT and make an anagram (processed) of the remaining letters.

26a  Bother    cook (4)
{STEW}   A state of mental agitation  or a dish cooked in stock.

28a  Heartless bird left writer (5)
{QUILL}  Remove the middle letter from a small bird of the partridge family and then put the abbreviation for Left at the end.


30a  Destroy hospital wing (4)
{HARM}   Follow the abbreviation for hospital with a side limb (wing).

31 Pointless books I regularly boosted (6)
{OTIOSE}  Pointless, superfluous or redundant –   The abbreviation for the books of  the first part of the Bible followed by the even (regularly) letters of bOoStEd.

32a  Ignore hugs for emotional female (5,3)
{SHRUG OFF}   An emotional anagram of HUGS FOR followed by the abbreviation for female.


1d  Anaemic little girl’s blue (6)
{SALLOW}   A diminutive girl’s name followed by blue in the sense of miserable or depressed.

2d  A computer connection for Turing perhaps (4)
{ALAN}   The Christian name of Turing, the code breaker and pioneer of computer science can be obtained by following A (from  the clue) with the abbreviation used for a local area  network (computer connection).

3d  Tell friend to leave on the quiet (6)
{INFORM}   Remove a synonym for friend from an adverb meaning unofficially, unceremoniously.

4d  Looks both ways (4)
{SEES}   ‘Both ways’ indicates a word meaning looks which is a palindrome.

5d  Hulk Hogan maybe reforms lest women err! (8)
{WRESTLER}   An anagram (reforms) of LEST WOMEN ERR.   Not quite sure what is implied by this particular surface reading! :D

Hulk Hogan

6d   Reportedly break feet (4)
{PAWS}   A homophone (reportedly) of a break or intermission.


7d  Fifth wheel in flat box? (4-4)
{DEAD-WOOD}    Both fifth wheel and the solution are used informally to mean useless or superfluous.  A synonym for flat (like a battery, for example) followed by a large plant of which box is an example.

14d   Inventor has time for Dutch boxer (5)
{TYSON}   Change the D (Dutch) from the beginning of a British inventor of domestic appliances and replace with T (time).

15d  Mafia boss houses the old dean (5)
{DOYEN}    Insert the archaic way of saying ‘the’ into the informal name for a Mafia boss.

17d   Seeking mysterious stone for old king (5)
{QUEST}    Remove the cipher of one of the old kings called Edward from an adjective meaning mysterious, quaint, odd, and replace with the abbreviation for stone.

19d   A postgraduate leaves behind a drug supply for traitor (8)
{APOSTATE}   A renegade or deserter from any allegiance.    A from the clue followed by  POSTGRADUATE  once you have removed the letters  A DRUG (supply indicates that these letters are not in that order in the clue).

20d   Primates adorn a queen with trappings of power (8)
{MACAQUES}   Monkeys such as the Barbary Apes.   Insert (adorn) A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for queen into ceremonial staffs  carried as marks of authority.


24d  Miserable judge supports friend (6)
{PALTRY}   Miserable in the sense of meagre, mean or of poor quality.   A verb meaning to judge follows (supports) an informal term for a friend.

25d  Lost a vein (6)
{ADRIFT}   A from the clue followed by a loose seam of mineral running through rock (vein).

27d  Seek large coat (4)
{WOOL}   Seek to win the affection of, followed by the abbreviation for large.


29d  Mountain sheep seen in Scottish Loch – quite the reverse (4)
{INSH}   Rather than a sheep being hidden in a loch, a  loch found in the  Highlands region of Scotland is hidden in mountaIN SHeep.

30d  Sci-fi award for French author (4)
{HUGO}   The name of an award given annually for science fiction or fantasy stories written or published in English is the same as the French author of, amongst many other things, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

When Prolixic sent this puzzle out for testing, he said ‘There is a link between nine  of the answers but I would be amazed if anyone who is not of advanced anorak status spots it!”   I don’t know about his other tester,  but I was quite relieved to know that I was a long way from even minor anorak status.    As usual, running your cursor over the brackets will reveal all.

{Nine of the solutions INFORM, QUEST, QUILL, PAWS, SUDS, TADS, ALAN, HUGO and ADRIFT are all names of computer programs for writing interactive fiction}


  1. 2Kiwis
    Posted September 28, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    We found this one quite tricky and did not manage to completely parse several of them. Had no idea at all about the nine linked clues. Even the explanation means nothing to us! A good Sunday morning challenge after having put our clocks forward for the approaching summer.
    Thanks Prolixic and CS.

  2. Kath
    Posted September 28, 2013 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Still struggling – haven’t yet given in and looked at hints or comments – back tomorrow, or possibly the next day, or even the one after! I’m finding this really difficult but refuse to give in, yet!
    In the meantime thanks to Prolixic and CS – what about cake for the survivors?

    • Kath
      Posted September 30, 2013 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

      . . . still struggling but haven’t given up yet, just haven’t had much time to try any more. I can usually do most of the Prolixic NTSPP’s if I try hard enough, for long enough – I think this might be one of his trickier ones.