NTSPP – 239 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 239

NTSPP – 239

A Puzzle by Prolixic

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by crypticsue follows.

Prolixic’s turn to fill the Saturday afternoon puzzle spot and good fun it was too, with an interesting hyphenated theme. Very little 27a required so it was relatively straightforward for one of his crosswords, but with the usual chance to learn some new words as you go along.


1a           Bottle in the fridge? (5-8)
SPINE-CHILLING  Bottle in the sense of nerve, backbone, followed by what a bottle of wine might be if you put it into the fridge.

9a           Predict isotope decays – exactly the reverse (6,8)

direct opposite

10a         Fall following cut (4)
FLOP   The abbreviation for following followed by another word for cut the top or ends of (usually of a tree).

11a         Donations changing hands for insignia (4)
ARMS –   Remove the L (left hand) from some donations to the poor and replace with an R (right hand).

12a         Selection of prime numbers (4)
MENU   Hidden in (a selection of) priME NUmbers.

15a         Poet‘s university in Yemeni city (5)
AUDEN   Insert the abbreviation for University into a seaport in Yemen.


16a         Chemical engineer welcomes Bill into store (5)
CACHE   Insert the abbreviation for account (bill) into the abbreviation for a chemical engineer (which makes a nice change from using that revolutionary!)

17a         Brief solicitor’s note (3)
SOL    Brief indicates that you need an abbreviation for solicitor which just happens to be the same word as the fifth note on the tonic sol-fa scale.

18a         Dance around with fellow (3)
DON   A fellow of a university is obtained by reversing (around) a word meaning to bob up and down (dance).

20a         Northern French friend hides love for mother-in-law? (5)
NAOMI   The mother-in-law of Ruth in the Old Testament –   N (northern) followed by the French word for friend with O (hides ‘love’) inserted.

21a         Endlessly evaluating toxic chemical (5)
RICIN This highly-toxic chemical found in the beans of the castor-oil plant can be obtained by removing (endlessly)  the  letters each end   of a word meaning evaluating, estimating the cost of.

23a         Letter to the Corinthians from India back to Austria (4)
IOTA   The Corinthians were of course Greek and a Greek letter can be found by reversing (back) TO (from the clue) and inserting it between the letter known as India in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet and the IVR code for Austria.

24a         Maybe Jon leaves wife for good kiss (4)
SNOG   Take the W (leaves wife) from the surname of the Channel 4 newsreader and replace with a G (good) to get a slang word meaning to kiss.

25a         Type of film I run after Japanese drama (4)
NOIR   A type of film showing the darker side of life – Japanese drama followed by I (from the clue) and the abbreviation for Run.

film noir

27a         Side’s infectious description of rebel leader (4-10)
HEAD-SCRATCHING   What you might call when a coin is tossed to indicate the side you wish to win, followed by a word meaning infectious.


29a         Gnawing grief’s grotesque and good (6-7)
FINGER-WAGGING   An anagram (grotesque) of GNAWING GRIEF plus G (good).

2d           Institute turned king away showing evidence of cold? (7)
ICICLED   The abbreviation for Institute  followed by a word meaning turned, went round, from which the abbreviation for King – R – has been removed (king away)


3d           Private detective’s opportunity (3-7)
EYE-OPENING   A private detective is sometimes known as a Private ***.   Follow this with an opportunity or beginning.

4d           Booth‘s put the lid on dismissing leader (3)
HUT   Remove the first letter (dismissing leader) from a word meaning to put the lid on something.

5d           Wanting to include naughty imps (3-8)
LIP-SMACKING   Insert an anagram (naughty) of IMPS into a word meaning lacking, needing.


6d           Vow to squash Latin heroine (4)
IDOL   What you say when you make your wedding vows ‘squashes’ or goes before the abbreviation for Latin.

7d           German son hides hat in planes (7)
GLIDERS –   Insert an informal term for a hat into the abbreviation for Germany and then finish with S for son.

8d           Note about old game (3-7)
TOE-CURLING –   Insert O (about Old) into a musical note and follow with a game played on ice, common in Scotland.

11d         Compere’s to take care of billiards shot (6,5)
ANCHOR NURSE   Fortunately the wordplay is clear as what I know about billiards shots could be written on a small pin and still have room left over.     A term for a TV compere followed by a verb meaning to take care of (especially medically).

13d         Swedish can cook food (10)
SANDWICHES An anagram (cook) of SWEDISH CAN.

14d         Henry’s wrong to control porpoise (7,3)
HERRING HOG   I didn’t know the name of the common porpoise of the Northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans – I wonder if it got that name because fishermen thought they ate all of a particular type of fish.   The abbreviation for Henry, part of a verb meaning in the wrong, sinful, and a verb meaning to control for selfish means.

19d         Rather dull side returns around the end of March (3,4)
NOT HALF   A reversal (returns) of a word meaning dull, one of the side’s in a cricket field, into which is inserted (around) the end of MarcH

22d         Note about article on Italy’s wine (7)
CHIANTI   Insert the indefinite article into a short informal note or letter and finish with I (Italy).


26d         A fault in part of the Hindu calendar (4)
ASIN The seventh month of the Hindu calendar – A (from the clue) and a fault or moral offence.

28d         Old soldiers with a shooter (3)
TAW The abbreviation for the old name for the UK’s volunteer army followed by the abbreviation for With.   This ‘shooter’ is a large or choice marble in a game of marbles.


17 comments on “NTSPP – 239

  1. Prolixic has done it again! I found this very challenging, even though I picked up on the theme quite quickly, but an absolute delight to solve. I had the second word of 11D but Miss Google was my friend to complete it, and to confirm 16D and also 14D. Never heard of that before. Because I was initially misled, I am partial to 10A. Looking forward to the review to explain 2D. I’m sure of my answer but can’t figure out the ‘why’.

  2. Eye-wateringly ball-breaking, but got there! Thanks for an excellent workout Prolixic. 11d and 14d were new to me but perfectly gettable from the clues. I loved the definition in 23a.

    1. The hyphenation refers to the answers, not the clues themselves – the six are 1a, 27a, 29a, and 3d, 5d, 8d.

      (I found the wording of the instruction a little unclear, and wonder whether it should read “The six hyphenated clues are of a kind AND ARE indicated only by their wordplay”.)

  3. Thanks Prolixic ,much appreciated as always , as mentioned above took some convincing I had the right answers for 11 and 14 d .Personal favourite 19d .

  4. WOW. That was tough but did get there eventually with some help from Google. It is Father’s Day here so we have a house full of grandchildren and their parents which has meant a very distracted solving process. Very clever, very challenging and lots of fun.
    Thanks Prolixic.

    1. They’re probably all tucked up by now in the UK, but from the USA, a very happy Father’s Day to you!

  5. Great setting Prolixic – I thought from the enumeration and one or two crossers that 8d was leg-pulling! :)
    Thanks crypticsue for the good blog. I’m not sure why 11d had to be so obscure – the only dictionary I found containing it was Merriam-Websters. Otherwise, many great clues.

    I particularly liked 9, 19 & 27 [not the usual rebel leaders ;) ]

  6. Not half super puzzle, Prolixic! Loved all six hyphenated clues as well as a host of others, like 15a, 20a, 23a and 14d. Another fave was 24a, one of my last in; took ages before the penny finally dropped with a clang! Not an easy challenge, but a most rewarding one with plenty of laughs along the way.

    Was very chuffed to be able to complete this without hints. Always an enjoyable learning curve, though, as I needed to check 11d (know nil about billiards), 14d, 26d and 28d (we used to call these ‘ironies’ or ‘goons’).

    As always, I have found this review invaluable. Although I had the correct answer, I wasn’t sure how to parse 2d. Had no problems with the wordplay of the rest. Crypticsue, you make it all look so clear and easy! Well, it may be — but only after one has been through a lot of 27a and 3d to get there!

    Much appreciation and big thanks to Prolixic for the super entertainment and Cryptic Sue for the excellent review. (Love the pic for 5d.)

  7. I’m bottom of the class today (and yesterday as I started this one on Saturday evening).
    My brain, or what passes for my brain, just couldn’t cope with the instructions or the six hyphenated answers. I still don’t really get the whole concept.
    I got 1a and thought that I’d cracked it – wrong!
    Oh well, there are good days and bad days. I’m making it sound as if I didn’t enjoy the bits of the struggle that I won – I did enjoy it but just ended up getting cross with myself.
    Hats off to anyone who managed this one and more hats off, thanks and well done to Prolixic for dreaming it all up and to CS for deciphering it all.

  8. Evening all. Your tormentor here to thank you all for the comments and Crypticsue for the review.

    1. It is one of the clues without a definition. Insert O (old) into the musical note TE and follow with CURLING (game)

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