NTSPP – 284
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.
I would have loved to begin this review by saying that Prolixic had gone where no setter had gone before, but sadly I don’t think he’s the first to produce a crossword on this theme, and I’m sure he won’t be the last. I thought it one of his more difficult puzzles but perhaps that had something to do with fitting in all the themed words.
1a Thoroughly defeat party (6)
THRASH Double definitions.
4a Agency finds chemical in unfinished cake (6)
BUREAU Insert a chemical into almost all (unfinished) of a round sweet cake.
10a Ancient vault – one found in a college (7)
ARCHAIC A vaulted ceiling followed by A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for College, between which should be put the letter that looks like a one.
11a Fruit is a necessity when travelling to the West (7)
SATSUMA A reversal (travelling to the west) of A (from the clue) an essential (necessity) and a synonym for when.
12a Be miffed when Kay goes for posh sarong (4)
SULU Remove the K (Kay goes) from a verb meaning to be miffed and replace it with the letter used to denote posh or upper class.
13a So we and our dog slaughtered a capercaillie (10)
WOODGROUSE An anagram (slaughtered) of SO WE OUR DOG.
15a Russian playwright gives up heroin for make of vodka (6)
CHEKOV Remove the abbreviation for Heroin from the surname of a Russian playwright and replace with a single letter representing a brand of vodka.
16a Sweet talk former envoy to leave Italy with marshal (7)
BLARNEY Remove the I (to leave Italy) from the surname of a former Prime Minister turned Middle East envoy and follow with the surname of probably the best known of Napoleon’s marshals.
20a Play back pleasing noises about sex for supporter (7)
STIRRUP A reversal (play back) of pleasing noises often made by cats into which you have inserted one of the informal words for sex.
21a Purser losing his head becomes more pale (6)
ASHIER Remove the first letter (losing his lead) of someone responsible for the receiving and paying of money, such as a purser on a ship
24a Prepare to clean up a melon (10)
CANTALOUPE An anagram (prepare) of TO CLEAN UP A
26a Annoy 1000 before church(4)
KIRK Another of the themed words. The Roman numeral for 1,000 goes before a verb meaning to annoy.
28a/9d Excitedly cycle to harem – that’s kosher! (3,4,5)
THE REAL MCCOY An anagram (excitedly) of CYCLE TO HAREM.
29a Wine levy on port (mature) (7)
CORKAGE An Irish port followed by a verb meaning to mature.
30a Case of fruit – four included (6)
DATIVE The Roman numeral for four is included in the fruit of a palm tree.
31a High balls for sportswomen (6)
SKIERS We started the Acrosses with a double definition and we finish with one too. Cricket balls hit high in the air, or people who partake in a particular winter sport.
1d Deal with paper omitted from transport bill (8)
TRANSACT Remove the single initial which is the name of a concise London newspaper from some rail transport and follow with a legislative bill.
2d Think about prayer (9)
RECOLLECT The two letters used to mean about followed by a short prayer.
3d Celebrity discovered in Costa Rica (4)
STAR Hidden in CoSTA Rica.
5d Relieve the burden on land used for ploughing (8)
UNSADDLE An anagram (for ploughing) of LAND USED.
6d Record award received for business (10)
ENTERPRISE A verb meaning to make a record of followed by a homophone (received) of an award.
7d Uniforms worn by charioteer getting freedom in Africa (5)
UHURU Freedom from slavery, especially in East Africa. Insert the surname of a famous charioteer between two Us (Uniforms plural). Had the U at the end been an A, this solution would also have been part of the theme and I could have used this picture .
8d Man on railroad finds a small 26a (6)
CHAPEL An informal word for a man followed by an informal American term for an elevated railroad.
9d See 28a
14d Turn on mate playing in competition (10)
TOURNAMENT An anagram (playing) of TURN ON MATE.
17d Ice cream eaten by bird – quite the reverse (9)
ELIMINATE Ice here being American slang for to kill. The cream or best of something ‘eats’ a bird famed for its ability to mimic speech.
18d Victor and Guy stand up for old countryman (8)
YUGOSLAV The letter represented by Victor in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, an adverb meaning and, further, and GUY (from the clue) are all reversed (stand up for).
19d Kings and queen welcomed by very French fans (8)
TREKKERS Insert into the French word for very, two abbreviations for King and the regnal cipher of our current Queen. Like Expat Chris, I always thought the fans had a different name.
22d Loner leaving society behind becomes vinegary (6)
ASCETIC Remove the S (leaving Society behind) from a strict hermit (loner who literally leaves society behind).
23d Doctor Benjamin has small skin lesion (5)
SPOCK The doctor who told mothers how he thought babies should be brought up – the abbreviation for Small followed by a small elevation on the skin.
25d Very much love as I may see it! (2,3)
NO END A clue that’s easier to solve than explain. Look at your solution and think about where the letter that looks like a nought (love) appears.
27d Fairbank’s regularly wanting a drink (4)
ARAK The regular or event letters of fAiRbAnKs produce an Asian strong alcoholic drink.