NTSPP – 232

NTSPP – 232

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.

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.




  1. Kath
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    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. Expat Chris
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    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. windsurfer23
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    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

  4. Prolixic
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Points at hen flying around the grid? (4,3.4)

    • windsurfer23
      Posted July 20, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

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

  5. 2Kiwis
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    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.

  6. Expat Chris
    Posted July 19, 2014 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    So, if I have the Nina, it means my 5D is wrong.

  7. Only fools
    Posted July 20, 2014 at 1:24 am | Permalink

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

  8. Expat Chris
    Posted July 20, 2014 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    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.

  9. Kath
    Posted July 20, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    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.

  10. Catnap
    Posted July 20, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    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

  11. Prolixic
    Posted July 20, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    My thanks to Crypticsue for the review and to all for your comments.

  12. dutch
    Posted July 21, 2014 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    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