NTSPP – 224

NTSPP – 224

A Puzzle by Prolixic

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by crypticsue  follows.

Quite a tricky offering from Prolixic this time round, but this is probably because it is yet another of his attempts to make me notice Ninas in his crosswords.   Did I spot this one back in January when I first tested the crossword? :scratch:   What you do think? :roll:    If you haven’t spotted it yet, all is revealed at the end of the review.


8a           Nasty gash around right part of the chest (8)
{HORRIBLE} A deep pit (gash) round R (right) and  one of the bones of your chest.

9a           Band in Montreal not performing badly (6)
{ARMLET}   An anagram of MONTREAL (badly) once you have removed the two letters indicating that one might be performing.


10a         Where double-crossing is of greater value (4,6)
{TOLL BRIDGE}   A cryptic definition – because using this crossing twice (there and back) would cost you more.

toll bridge

11d         Ferry two groups of men back (2-2)
{RO-RO} An abbreviated way of referring to a ferry where vehicles can drive straight on and off is a reversal of two lots of the initials used to refer to ordinary ranks of soldiers (men).

12a         Mob leading pair leaving game (6)
{RABBLE}   Remove the first two letters (leading pair leaving) from a popular board game – the one with tiles with letters on them.

14a         Latest time to return undercover (2,6)
{IN SECRET}   Two letters meaning latest in the sense of fashionable, an abbreviated short period of time and the abbreviation for return.

15a         Criticises a son eating f-food (7)
{ATTACKS} A general term for food, the first letter of which is repeated (as in f-food) is inserted between (eaten by) A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for Son.

17a         Crude    wine on the dry side? (7)
{BRUTISH} Double definition – crude, cruel, or a description of dry unsweetened wines.

20a         Release on-line campaign (8)
{EMISSION}   The letter used when referring to things on-line plus a campaign or sending out for a specific purpose.

22a         Keep wrapped around in felt sacking (6)
{CASTLE]   Hidden and reversed (wrapped around in)fELT SACking.

Deal castle

24a         Reportedly I had observed… (4)
{EYED}   A homophone (reportedly) of I’D (I had).

25a         …paranormal record set in athletic performance (10)
{TELEPATHIC]   The abbreviation for a type of record inserted into an anagram (performance) of ATHLETIC.

27a         Regularly throw off kilts and go… (4,2)
{HOOF IT} A slang term meaning to go or walk is found in in the even letters (regularly) of tHrOw OfF kIlTs.

hoof it

28a         …to see croft rebuilt without charge (4,4)
{SCOT FREE}   An anagram (rebuilt) of TO SEE CROFT.

1d           Opposition leader’s position in Jamaica for Bush (6)
{JOJOBA}   Misleading capital alert. A type of bush is obtained by inserting the ‘leader’ of Opposition and a position of employment into the IVR code for Jamaica.


2d           Vocal master leaves lesson (4)
{ORAL}   Remove the abbreviation for Master from an ethical or practical lesson.

3d           Upper class twit keeps hold of letter for prominent techie (8)
{UBERGEEK}   Someone exceptionally keen on computers and IT – the letter used to signify upper class followed by a twit or fool with the seventh letter of the alphabet (3) inserted.

4d           Again acknowledge putting flyer in post (7)
{REMIT}   An abbreviated advertisement (flyer) is inserted into a verb meaning to send, especially money.

5d           Central points in report of maritime summit on salvage(6)
{NAVELS]   A homophone of an adjective meaning relating to maritime matters followed by the ‘summit’ of Salvage.


6d           Rubs in preparation of best old cream(10)
{EMBROCATES}   An anagram (preparation of) BEST O (old) and CREAM.

7d           Those who want to save head off in agreement (8)
{YEARNERS} Remove the first letter (head off) of a verb meaning to save or store and insert into the usual word we use when we agree with/to something.

13d         Negligent boss almost dared to suppress very strong film (7,3)
{BRASSED OFF}   An anagram (negligent) of BOSS and DARE[d] (almost tells you the word is truncated) followed by the two letters used in music scores to mean very strong.

Brassed Off

16d         British soldier mounting hill to make moonshine (8)
{TOMMYROT} Both moonshine and the solution are informal terms for absolute nonsense.   An informal term for a private in the British army followed by a reversal (mounting ) of a hill or rocky height.

18d         Cleric hides epistle in radio? (8)
{RECEPTOR}   Radio? indicates that we are looking for a receiver of some sort.   Insert the abbreviation for epistle into a clergyman.

19d         Opponents near to cage (7)
{ENCLOSE}   Two opponents in a game of bridge followed by a adjective meaning near.

21d         Altogether keen to pull we hear (2,4)
{IN TOTO} An informal term meaning enthusiastic about (keen) followed by a homophone (we hear) of a verb meaning to pull along.

23d         Dirty man crowned with garland in Dutch city (6)
{LEIDEN  Crowned with indicates that a Hawaiian garland goes before a character from Eastenders who was known as ‘Dirty xxx’.


26d         Female wearing short skirt with tassel (4)
{TUFT} A small tassel – insert the abbreviation for Female into almost all (short) of a skirt usually worn by someone doing ballet.

The Nina?   Round the edge of the crossword it says “Journey to the centre of the earth”.


  1. Alchemi
    Posted May 24, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Nice stuff. Got the nina once the bottom half was mostly full, which made the top half rather easier.

  2. Hoskins
    Posted May 24, 2014 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for a nice puzzle on a wet Saturday, Prolixic. I also nailed most of the bottom half and then, after being stymied for a while, finally saw the nina which enabled me to complete. I enjoyed 10a (though had penciled in ‘Rail’ as the first word initially) but my favourite clue was 17a which got a nice chortle on solve.

  3. 2Kiwis
    Posted May 24, 2014 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Well we got there after a lot of hard work, particularly in the NW corner. Kicking ourselves now that we did not see the NINA until we read the other comments. It would have made it so much simpler for us. A really good puzzle with beautifully crafted clues. Not easy but good fun.
    Thanks Prolixic.

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted May 25, 2014 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      Ah, now we understand the spelling of the dirty person in 23d. We did not know him from Eastenders and were thinking of the one from the nursery rhyme who “washed his face in a frying pan”.
      Thanks Sue.

  4. kath
    Posted May 25, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Still battling – still have six that I can’t do – still haven’t sussed the Nina but didn’t know there was one until I read Alchemi’s comment.
    Think I must have got something wrong.

  5. Catnap
    Posted May 25, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    This was hugely enjoyable! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif

    As soon as I saw Prolixic was the setter, I knew there was probably something hidden in it.Consequently, I was on the alert from the very beginning. I strongly suspected a nina, and as the south west corner was completed, became convinced. It was most intriguing to watch it slowly appear — especially when I reached the point of having the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th words plus the 1st three letters of word seven… I was absolutely delighted to complete the puzzle and see the entire nina.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_biggrin.gif

    (Also happened to notice that this puzzle is just three letters short of being a pangram.)

    I really liked many of the clues, like 12a, 17a (where, incidentally, I missed the double definition), 13d and 16d. My fave was 3d, a fun word I’ve not come across before, but which was clear from the word play. I also very much liked 24a & 25a, and 27a & 28a.

    I completed the puzzle without hints but not without blemish. As well as missing the double definition mentioned above, I also went wrong on part of the wordplay in 14a. (For ‘time to return’ I had ‘terces’, which, of course, reads backwards as ‘secret’. There is a ‘terce’, but is there a ‘terces’? Think I lost the plot!) These aside, there were no other problems.

    Crypticsue, I have a query. In 4d, I marked ‘again acknowledge’ as the definition. Is that not correct? The ‘flyer’ or leaflet goes inside the word for ‘post’, giving a seven letter answer.

    Big thanks and much appreciation to Prolixic for this most entertaining and accomplished NTSPP. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    And big thanks and much appreciation too to Crypticsue for this excellent and valued review. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

    • crypticsue
      Posted May 25, 2014 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      I had the correct definition underlined in my Word document but when you copy and paste to the blog post, all the underlinings disappear and I obviously wasn’t concentrating when I redid all the underlinings. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_confused.gif

  6. kath
    Posted May 25, 2014 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Blimey – that has to be one of the most difficult crosswords that I’ve ever nearly finished.
    I missed the Nina completely – thanks Alchemi and CS for pointing in the right direction.
    I admit to needing the hints to explain a couple – thanks CS.
    I did enjoy this one very much – whether everyone around me enjoyed me enjoying it is another matter!
    My favourite was 17a – the “ish” ones always make me laugh!
    With thanks and admiration to Prolixic for thinking it all up and the same to CS for having the brains to be able to untangle it all.

  7. Prolixic
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    My thanks to CS for the review and to all for the comments.