NTSPP – 300
A Puzzle by Hydra
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Many thanks to Prolixic for assembling this puzzle, with help from Alchemi, Beet, Bufo, Chalicea, Gazza, Hieroglyph, Imsety, Radler, Shark, Soup, Toro, Vigo, Wiglaf and Windsurfer. Whoever thought that when I started this series it would still be here, 300 puzzles later?
A review of this puzzle by crypticsue follows:
Time to celebrate another landmark in the NTSPP series – this particular ‘Hydra’ puzzle being a collaboration between those who set NTSPPs during the last year. I hope you saw the Nina – I spotted it quite early on! If you want to know who set which clues, all is revealed at the end of the review.
Thanks to all of the setters and especially Prolixic not only for organising this celebratory puzzle but also for his sterling work in reviewing NTSPPs, although I do seem to filling that role more and more lately now that several of our setters have graduated and gone out into the world of the national newspapers. I am particularly delighted to celebrate the “promotion” of the two ladies in my ‘crèche’: Vigo, who now appears in the Independent and Beet who has moved from Rookie Corner to the NTSPP and so now appears here as one of the Hydra ‘heads’.
The biggest thank you should, of course, go to Big Dave, without whom none of this would be possible.
8a CIA men operating in this theatre (6)
CINEMA An anagram (operating) of CIA MEN.
9a Bricks not left for me (3)
EGO Remove the L (not left) from some toy bricks.
10a Promise to be open, accurate, truthful and honest – at least at first (4)
OATH The ‘firsts’ of Open Accurate Truthful and Honest
11a Radler cavorting with maid – a certain Vanessa (3,7)
RED ADMIRAL I did know what this particular ‘Vanessa’ was (as well as being a a girl’s name) which helped no end with this anagram (cavorting) of RADLER MAID.
12a Idiot takes loss of 90% of capital in stride (4)
LOPE A word for an idiot has the Roman numeral for 500 as its first letter. Remove 90% of that number and then put the Roman numeral for the amount you have left at the front of the word.
13a An officer put into solitary (3-3)
ONE OFF A number that isn’t two or more (an) and the abbreviation for officer.
16a Pub involved in unethical purchase, ultimately for large containers of wine (8)
AMPHORAE The abbreviation for a public house inserted into a word meaning unethical, the final letter of which, an L (large) should be replaced by the ultimate letter of purchase.
17a Politician‘s trashy clothing is found in street (7)
STATIST Trashy clothing (3) and IS (from the clue) inserted into the abbreviation for street.
18a One who flies planes lacking map? Jump! (7)
ESCAPER Remove the ‘map’ from PLANES and follow with another way of saying jump, which the BRB defines as to leap or skip like a goat.
22a Young man investing money in altos’ composition (8)
SONATINA A young male child followed by two lots of the abbreviation for Alto (altos) into which is inserted an informal word for money.
25a Predominantly raw food (6)
RADISH Most of the letters (predominantly) of RAw followed by a particular type of food.
26a I had a whiskey on the way back to bed with no water (4)
WADI A reversal (on the way back) of the abbreviated way of saying I had, A (from the clue) and the letter represented by whiskey in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet.
27a Protest about spot for diver (10)
PICKPOCKET A group standing outside an establishment to make a protest goes round a spot resulting from an eruptive disease.
30a Drinks unlimited slime (4)
OOZE Remove the outside letters (unlimited) from an informal verb meaning drinks.
31a Leave Asia’s premier holiday resort (3)
GOA Part of a verb meaning to go followed by the ‘premier’ or first letter of Asia.
32a Inside outside area? What could be more silly? (6)
INANER An adjective meaning inside into which is inserted (outside) the abbreviation for Area.
1d Infectious diseases in hospital department. Help! (4)
AIDE The abbreviation for Infectious Diseases inserted into the abbreviated way of referring to the hospital department dealing with accidents and emergencies.
2d Some have disbelieved reactionary god (4)
DEVA Reversed (reactionary) and hidden in hAVE Disbelieved.
3d Suffer with a migraine in the head, shivering – put these on to warm up (8)
EARMUFFS An anagram (shivering) of SUFFER A and M (the ‘head’ of migraine).
4d Being taken to court again? It rarely fails to end badly (7)
RETRIAL An anagram (badly) of IT RARELy (fails to end indicates that you don’t need the last letter of rarely).
5d Party overturning unpopular tax – that’s a scoop (6)
DOLLOP An informal way of referring to a party followed by a reversal (overturning) of an unpopular tax from the 1990s.
6d He dramatised a Christmas carol, during Cod War (4,6)
NOEL COWARD Another word for Christmas used in carols followed by the insertion (during) of WAR into COD.
7d University served up high-quality marijuana – what a great place! (6)
UTOPIA The abbreviation for University followed by a reversal (served up in a Down clue) of the two letters used to indicate top quality and an alternative word for marijuana.
14d Old school nurse was called such a ninny (3)
NIT A clue guaranteed to make your head itch when you think of the old school nurse. The word can also be used to describe a ninny.
15d Blackballed? It’s a d____ score settled! (10)
OSTRACISED An anagram (settled) of IT’S A D SCORE. Having solved so many Elgar clues with ________ in them, I did spend a while trying to work out whether the underlined section had anything to do with the wordplay.
19d Cuts back “Sound of Music” for higher powers (8)
SERAPHIM A reversal (back) of another word for cuts followed by a homophone (sound) of a song (music) sung in church.
20d German banker‘s system before Euro (3)
EMS A German river or the monetary system before the Euro was introduced.
21d French stage performer needs his brandy and water (7)
MARCEAU The French (his) words for brandy and water.
23d Painter misses deceased Cicero? (6)
ORATOR Remove the abbreviation for deceased from a particular type of painter and you’ll discover what Cicero was.
24d Attack dog involved in filming regularly (6)
IMPUGN A type of dog inserted into (involved in) the regular or even letters of fIlMiNg
28d Credit sailor with something oarsmen may catch (4)
CRAB The abbreviation for credit followed by one of the ways we refer to a sailor, especially in Crosswordland.
29d Spain’s number one brand (4)
EPEE The IVR code for Spain followed by an informal term for what is sometimes euphemistically called a ‘number one’.
The Hydra heads were Chalicea (8a and 1d) Windsurfer (9a and 2d ) Soup (10a and 3d) Toro (11a and 4d) Beet (12a and 5d) Wiglaf (13a, 32a, and 6d) Imsety (16a and 7d) Gazza (17a, 14d and 29d) Hieroglyph (18a and 15d) Prolixic (22a and 19d) Radler (25a and 20d) Bufo (26a and 21d) Shark (27a and 23d) Vigo (30a and 24d) Alchemi (31a and 28d)
And the Nina: Round the perimeter of the crossword it says A CROSSWORD NUMBER THREE HUNDRED.