NTSPP – 251 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 251

NTSPP – 251

A Puzzle by Prolixic

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

A review of this puzzle by crypticsue follows.

I thought this a slightly trickier than usual puzzle from Prolixic. Not often he gives us a pangram – this one contains a couple of clues which definitely reference his day/Sunday jobs.


8a           During European conflict, Norway is alert (8)
FOREWARN   A preposition meaning, amongst more well-known definitions, ‘during’, the abbreviation for European, another word for conflict and the IVR code for Norway.

9a           I may be heard to give affirmation (6)
AVOWAL   I is an example of one of five letters of the alphabet, a homophone of the two words you’d use to describe such a letter   (may be heard) means an affirmation.

10a         Covered despicable director injecting drug (6)
VEILED   Insert the abbreviation for Ecstasy (injecting drug) into another word for despicable and finish with the abbreviation for Director.

11a         Piece about artist eating energy food (8)
MARZIPAN  A foodstuff we’re going to see a lot of in the next few weeks! Another way of referring to a piece on a chess board into which is inserted (about) the abbreviation for an artist, the latter having a word meaning energy inserted.


12a         Common religious clothing’s regularly durable (8)
HABITUAL   The name for clothing worn by a member of a religious order followed by the regular letters of dUrAbLe.

13a         Doctor’s in prison for caper (6)
GAMBOL   One of the abbreviations for doctor inserted into one of the alternative words for prison.

14a         Cleaner‘s anguish with wild quip going viral (7-2,6)
WASHING-UP LIQUID   An anagram (going viral) of ANGUISH WILD QUIP.

washing-up liquid

18a         Heavy guy speaks with hesitation to the queen (6)
HAWSER   Here a guy is a type of rope.   A noise you might make when feeling indecisive  (speaks with hesitation) and the regnal cipher of our current Queen.


20a         Bishop and vicar removing date from calendar in service book (8)
BREVIARY The abbreviation for Bishop, an abbreviated way of referring to a vicar, and a calendar from which the first letter, a D, is omitted (removing date).

23a         Stop sapper’s transport (8)
RESTRAIN   Sappers are members of the Royal Engineers, the abbreviation for which, plus an S (sapper’s) should be followed by a type of rail transport.

24a         Printer cuts head off flower by fountain (3-3)
INK-JET   Remove the initial letter from a member of the carnation family and follow with a type of fountain.

25a         Get rid of some Hindi spelling (6)
DISPEL   Hidden in some of HinDI SPELling.

26a         Fence  post? (8)
RECEIVER   A fence is someone who takes in stolen goods – another term for this fence can also mean the post held by someone appointed to manage a bankrupt company.

1d           Devotions of old cleric in North America (6)
NOVENA   Devotions of prayers held on nine successive days.   Insert the abbreviation for Old and the abbreviated way one might refer to an archdeacon (cleric) into the abbreviation for North America.

2d           Just about healthy and gallant at heart (4-4)
WELL-NIGH     A word meaning healthy and the middle letters (at heart) of a chivalrous person.

3d           Means of transport seen in England and Australia (6)
LANDAU   Hidden (seen in) the last four letters of EngLAND and the first two of AUstralia.


4d           Had I any lambs run away with this farming activity? (6,9)
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY An anagram (run away) of HAND I ANY LAMBS

animal husbandry

5d           Spanish city briefly shortened festival song (8)
MADRIGAL     Almost all (briefly) of a Spanish city followed by a festival with its last letter removed (shortened).

6d           I express hesitation following school’s stand (6)
PODIUM   A school of whales followed by I from the clue and a sound used to express hesitation,

7d           Medley of maiden playing ocarina (8)
MACARONI   The abbreviation for Maiden followed by an anagram (playing) of OCARINA.

15d         Roughly half in account is of no practical use (8)
ACADEMIC   Insert into the abbreviation for account, the abbreviation for the Latin word circa (about)and a combining form denoting half.

16d         As usual opera heroine gets her end away with friend (8)
NORMALLY   The heroine of Bellini’s eponymous opera with the last letter of her name removed (gets her end away) and another word for friend.

17d         Shrewd cook’s temporary solution (5,3)
QUICK FIX   Shrewd or ready-witted followed by a verb meaning to manipulate or falsify (cook).

19d         Exercise involves organised workers cutting drinks (3-3)
SIT-UPS   The abbreviation for a group of organised workers inserted into a verb meaning drinks.


21d         Show Venice in a different light (6)
EVINCE An anagram (in a different light) of VENICE.

22d         Mary Jane‘s jacket (6)
REEFER   A cigarette containing marijuana (Mary Jane is a slang term for this drug)  or a short thick double-breasted jacket.


19 comments on “NTSPP – 251

  1. Nice one Prolixic. I’ll give it **/**** http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

    Is 3d allowed? Don’t think I’ve ever seen that construct before. Favourite was 22d once the penny dropped about the slang term.

    Most enjoyable, thanks for the fun Prolixic.

  2. Almost a case of blood, sweat and tears to parse some, so *** for difficulty, but agree **** for enjoyment. PLEASE can I have a nudge to justify 2d.

    Many thanks, Prolixic – I really enjoyed the journey.

      1. Penny dropped – loud and clear! What a great clue (when you’ve got a friend to sort it for you!). http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  3. Lovely stuff. 2D took a while, but is now my favorite. The full parsing of 11A (the ‘piece’ bit) is escaping me, as is the ‘post’ part of 26A. Many thanks to Prolixic.

  4. A pangram!
    The last three to give in, and unusually, they were in different parts of the grid were 9a, 10a and 18a. Lots of very good clues but will opt for 9a as favourite. We suspected that ‘I’ was not a personal pronoun but still took some time to see it. Good fun.
    Thanks Prolixic.

  5. After about 3/4 or 4/5 way through I came to a complete halt.**** for difficulty , but I did enjoy the first 3/4.The clues praised above were in all probability the one I couldn’t solve.So far I have never set a puzzle, although I would love to, so really well done. This isn’t your first , is it ?

    1. You’re not by chance confusing this with the Rookie Corner, are you? Prolixic has been around the block a time or two.

    2. Hi Una

      It isn’t his first by a long chalk. Prolixic is a professional setter and is published in the Indy under the name “KAIROS”. No doubt also published in places I know not wot of, like the Church Times perhaps, not joking as Giovanni is crossword editor there..

  6. Nice one Prolixic.

    I didn’t know Mary Jane, and Collins says it is US or Canadian slang. I obviously don’t get out in the street enough.

    2,11 &15 were my favourites.

  7. What a super pangram! I loved this puzzle and have given ***** for enjoyment. Very difficult to choose a fave, but I think I opt for 16d. I had a real chuckle at 7d, and thought 2d very clever. I have to say, though, that I found all the clues rewarding. Thank you very much, Prolixic.

    Thank you so much for your excellent review, Crypticsue. I needed the hint for 18a, but managed to complete the rest — with the correct parsing. I suspected what ‘Mary Jane’ was, but did have to check to make sure.

    Here’s a rose for each of you, Prolixic and Crypticsue.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif

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