NTSPP – 232 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 232

NTSPP – 232

A Puzzle by Prolixic

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by crypticsue follows.

This week, Prolixic is the setter rather than the reviewer of the NTSPP.   A couple of ‘unknown’ words  but all is explained once you look carefully at the grid and/or read his handy hint: Points at hen flying around the grid? (4,3.4)


8a           Arab militants briefly pursue Lennon’s widow in Japanese port (8)
{YOKOHAMA} The name of John Lennon’s widow is followed by the first four letters (briefly) of the name of the Arab militants who unfortunately seem to be in the news a lot in recent weeks.

9a           In book, island capital has a hospital (6)
{ISAIAH} The two-letter abbreviation for Island, the letter and number used to mean first rate (capital) [in the case of the number you need the letter that looks like it!], A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for Hospital.

10a         Forcefully addressing corrupt Hungarian government (10)
{HARANGUING}  An anagram (corrupt) of HUNGARIAN followed by the abbreviation for Government.

11a         Tehrani regularly making sacrifices to get some Asian food (4)
{THAI}  The regular or even letters of TEHRAN are sacrificed or removed in order to get some Asian food.

12a         Key cut back for Australian inhabitant (6)
{WOMBAT} A key found on a computer keyboard and a verb meaning to cut (usually hay or grass) are reversed (back) to get this marsupial.


14a         Sweet rice cooked with chub (8)
{CHERUBIC} An anagram (cooked) of RICE and CHUB.


15a         Sin involved in torrid mischief (7)
{DEVILRY} Another word for sin is inserted into torrid in the sense of parched by heat.

17a         Where a Plymouth Barracuda may be found – in a fish box! (3,4)
{CAR PARK} Once you know that this particular barracuda isn’t a fish, you are halfway to solving the clue.   A type of fish (4) and a box (3) split 3, 4.


20a         Got off with a gay journalist? (8)
{ALIGHTED} A from the clue, another word for gay in the sense of gentle or delicate, and finally the usual abbreviation for a journalist.

22a         Head off conflict with European Prime Minister (6)
{ATTLEE} Remove the first letter (head off) a conflict, add an E (with European) at the end and you get a post-war Prime Minister.

24a         School song describes revolutionary city (4)
{OSLO}  Extremely well hidden but … there’s a city reversed (revolutionary) and  hidden in schoOL SOng.

25a         Break in family caravan (5-5)
{HOUSE-TRAIN}   A family in line of descent and another word for a caravan of, for example, camels.

house train

27a         Reader changes original direction to become a priest (6)
{RECTOR} Change the first letter of a reader, especially in a college, and you get a clergyman of a parish where the tithes were originally paid to the incumbent.

28a         Authoritarian Conservative heartlessly organized deduction from wages (8)
{TYRANNIC}  Remove the middle letters (heartlessly) from an informal way of referring to a member of the Conservative party, follow with a verb meaning organized and finish with the abbreviation for one of the deductions from one’s pay packet.

1d           Artist in parties with stars (6)
{DORADO} The name of a small Southern constellation –   Take two lots (parties) of another word for a party or celebration, and insert the abbreviation for an artist in the middle.

2d           Small fragment part of an index turned up (4)
{IOTA}  Reverse part of the letters you might find in an index  (in the same way as (but not!) N to Z), and you get a small fragment.

3d           Offspring of Ruth aged disgracefully (8)
{DAUGHTER} An anagram (disgracefully)of RUTH AGED.

4d           Pudding made from milk I love with added calcium (7)
{TAPIOCA}   Milk in the sense of exploit, get money from, I (from the clue) the letter that looks like a nought (love) and the chemical symbol for calcium.

5d           Laugh with new leader in negotiation (6)
{HIGGLE}  Replace the first letter of a silly laugh to get a verb I’d never heard of meaning to bargain (in negotiation).

6d           Listening device surprisingly met with rapture (3,7)
{EAR TRUMPET} An anagram (surprisingly) of MET and RAPTURE.

ear trumpet

7d           High-handed   royalist (8)
{CAVALIER} A double definition – the first an adjective, the second a noun.


13d         Produce from Scottish river supports British cartel (5,5)
{BRING FORTH}  The two-letter abbreviation for British, another word for a cartel, and one of the best known  Scottish rivers.

16d         Eel nets I supply for recruit (8)
{ENLISTEE} Someone who is recruited is an anagram (supply) of EEL NETS I.

18d         American partners tour old city with laymen (8)
{AMATEURS}  The abbreviation for American, followed by  partners or friends,  into which is inserted the old Biblical city so handy for crossword setters.

19d         Gets used to sound in commercials? (7)
{ADJUSTS} Sound in the sense of right, fair, inserted into the abbreviation for commercials.

21d         Summer wear from Thirties that is excluded in redesign (1-5)
{T-SHIRT} Remove the IE (that is – id est- excluded) from THIRTIES and redesign the remaining letters.

23d         Magic formula = (E + 27) / (59 + I) (6)
{ELIXIR} A sneaky mix of the need to know your Roman numberals (the word i ‘invented’ in 2010) and a reference to an earlier solution.   E (from the clue), the Roman numerals for 59 and 1, and the abbreviation for the solution to 27a.

26d         On and on about American city (4)
{RENO} The two-letter abbreviation meaning on the subject of and a reversal (about) of ON (from the clue).

This crossword contains yet another attempt by Prolixic to see if I was still keeping my New Year’s Resolution to spot Ninas or hidden messages in cryptic crosswords.   I really must remember that if you have lots of single letters round the perimeter of a puzzle and a couple of the words are unknowns (like higgle for example), it is worth seeing if the setter has included a message for solvers.


13 comments on “NTSPP – 232

  1. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/smiley-phew.gifto the crossword and the weather – I think the two must be related.
    I enjoyed this one very much but it does seem to have taken me a very long time.
    Stared at 17a for ages before giving in and asking my best friend Mr Google about Plymouth Barracuda.
    I also stared at 23d – answer was fairly obvious but why – got there in the end – at least I think I have.
    Now stuck on 9a . . .
    With thanks to Prolixic for a crossword which has kept me quiet for a whole afternoon which was far too hot to do anything active anyway.

  2. Tricky little feller, this setter This took a while, but I got there in the end. Last part was working out the “why” for 9A and 23D. Like Kath, I had to google to solve17A. No particular favorites….I enjoyed the whole struggle. Many thanks, Prolixic!

  3. Good puzzle with a couple of new words, which was tricky in parts. Thanks Prolixic.

    I especially liked 9,20 & 23. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

    1. Drats! Should have looked for the NINA with this grid. Makes the puzzle even better.

  4. We are still not home yet but 4 of us sat around a table, looking out across Tasman Bay in Nelson on a cold Sunday morning and solved this as a team effort. Got everything but totally missed the NINA. Lots of fun and just about the right challenge for the team.
    Thanks Prolixic.

  5. Thanks again Prolixic I had to investigate 17a too .Tough but enjoyably so .

  6. I had not noticed the NINA until 2Kiwis mentioned it, by which time I had completed the puzzle, or so I thought. I had wiggle (as in “there’s some wiggle room here”) for 5D. Is that just an Americanism, I wonder? On reflection, I have to say that 23D was a stand-out. Thanks again to Prolixic, and to CS for the review.

  7. Now I know I’m losing my marbles! The first thing I thought when I printed out the crossword was that it looked as if Nina might be making an appearance – by the time I’d almost finished the puzzle and “she” could have been helpful I’d forgotten all about “her”.
    I had 5d wrong – I had haggle which, apart from being wrong, did work. According to BRB laugh=cackle=gaggle=haggle – pity it completely messed up 9a.
    Joint favourites were 20a and 23d, even if it did give me a headache!
    More thanks to Prolixic and to CS.

  8. I absolutely loved this Prolixic puzzle! I realised early on that there was a NINA . Very good fun seeing this one materialize. What a lot of skill must go into setting 28 top-notch clues so that 14 initial letters and 14 final letters make up a Nina. It never ceases to impress me.

    How to pick a fave clue from so many super ones? That is a problem! I thoroughly enjoyed 2d and working out 23d correctly. (It must be the first time I’ve managed something like this.) I also particularly liked 12a, 14a, 17a, 20a, 25a, and 7d, et alia

    I have also enjoyed going through Crypticsue’s review. When solving the puzzle, I had no problems, and am now most pleased to find I had followed all the wordplay correctly. Aside from checking two of my answers (5d in the dictionary and 1d in Wikipaedia), I had no need for dictionary or Google.

    A very big thank-you and appreciation to Prolixic for a superb NTSPP,http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif and to Crypticsue for the excellent review and delightful illustrations.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

  9. congratulations on the nina. At the start i made a note to check for a nina because of the grid, then (like kath?) forgot! Actually, i almost put in nina as an answer for iota, where i missed the wordplay. I loved oslo, which i filled but missed the hidden clue.I had seen a version of the car park clue before but still did not get this answer. I don’t think i’ve seen higgle, but i guessed it was somewhere between haggle and niggle. chub was a bit of a giveaway, and i don’t like using the adjectival form of thai for a meal, since it isn’t, ‘t could be thai anything. Apart from the car park, this took me normal timish so congratulations on a great puzzle

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