NTSPP – 307
Christmas by Hydra
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Make sure you read the instructions carefully.
A review of this puzzle by crypticsue follows:
The instructions said:
The Down clues are ‘normal’ and solvers may wish to start with them in order to obtain checking letters which will help when you look at the Across clues. All the Across clues have definitions which lead to a solution that is one letter too long. This letter should be omitted before the solution is entered into the grid – the entries will be real words, some more well-known than others, and the wordplay matches the solution to be entered. To help you get strated, the definition is in bold in the first five Across clues.
In clue order the omitted letters form a festive message which is fairly obvious once you know that the enumeration is 5,9,4,3,3,7 and writing these letters alongside each clue will definitely help you solve some of the trickier clues.
In order to assist solvers, the ‘dictionary’ words in the Down solutions have the definition emboldened in the clue. In addition, three further Across clues have their definitions in bold where either the definition or wordplay (but not both) leads to an unfamiliar word.
Due to the size of the crossword and considerable number of hours it has taken up of my time , both in October (test-solving, drafting the review etc) and this weekend (checking any changes and tweaking and then putting up the blog) I won’t be providing illustrations for any individual solutions, but instead I thought you’d like to see one of the decorated pillar boxes created by the “Knit Bombers of Herne Bay” (and no I’m not one of them!)
1a Fusses over nothing – that woman’s on time (7)
MOTHERS The letter that represents nothing and the abbreviation for time go before the word used to denote belong to that woman (don’t forget the s – woman’s)
4a On either side of Xmas, half-cut? Starts off the rum in December (7)
ASTRIDE Remove the first half (half-cut) of XmAS and add the ‘starts’ of Rum In December.
8a Jogger, perhaps streaking across entrance to Grotto (6)
NUDGER The condition of someone streaking goes round the ‘entrance’ to Grotto.
13a Tell tales including origin of terrifying yarn (6)
STRING A slang term meaning to act as an informer goes round (includes) the ‘origin’ of Terrifying.
14a Celebrating couple, when one’s left out, can start to grate (8)
PARTYING Remove the I from a couple (one’s left out), add another word for can and the ‘start’ of Grate.
15a Neil Armstrong perhaps cross about English mother (8)
SPACEMAN The abbreviation for English and an informal way of referring to one’s mother go inside a verb meaning to cross. The word to be fitted in the grid is a Scottish fortune teller
16a One trains charges to be prepared for brief shower in Scotland (8)
SCOUTHER Someone who trains the young people whose motto is “Be Prepared”. Again another Scottish obscure word this time dialect for a light shower
17a Conservative person with stoned foreign journalists (14)
CORRESPONDENTS The abbreviation for Conservative and an anagram (foreign) of PERSON and STONED.
18a Drool container one placed in reception room (10)
SALIVATION Place a container and the letter that looks like a number one into a grand reception room.
19a Old man’s right to argue (4)
SPAR An informal way of referring to one’s father (old man) and the abbreviation for right.
20a Resale I organised with the least delay (8)
EARLIEST An anagram (organised) of RESALE I
22a Setter and solver in the middle of elegant contemplation (6)
MUSING US (setter and solver) IN (from the clue) and the middle of eleGant.
24a Passages excerpted from Doris Lessing (6)
AISLES Hidden in (excerpted from) DorIS LESsing.
26a Tethered wild reindeer at back of the shed (10)
RESTRAINED An anagram (wild) of REINDEER AT, once you have ‘shed’ an E (back of thE ‘shed’).
27a What actually happens with Spanish team’s position (4,4)
REAL LIFE The abbreviated way of referring to one of Spain’s famous football teams followed by a position.
29a Ought to cycle for depression (6)
TROUGH ‘Cycle’ or move the last letter of OUGHT to the front of the word.
30a Live grenade at last found, in the end, pinned (8)
DOWELLED A literary way of saying live in a permanent residence, and the last letters of grenadE and founD.
31a Snare fractured Suzie’s wrist bones (10)
TRAPEZIUMS Follow a snare with an anagram (fractured) of SUZIES.
33a Request from Bramley for one after knocking back last two (6)
APPEAL Change the order of the last two of letters of this ‘cooker’ of which Bramley is the most well-known.
34a Woman goes outside, returning very old spade (6)
SHOVEL Female person pronoun (woman) goes ‘outside’ the reversed (returning) abbreviations for Very and Old.
36a Roughly fashioned blackleg’s couch (8)
SCABBLED A ‘blackleg’ followed by a couch – this ‘dictionary word means roughly worked or dressed stone
37a I can afford quality (4)
TONE Take the ‘missing letter’ from a quality and you get the alternative way of saying I.
38a Spikes in pets exposing gassiness (10)
CHATTINESS Spikes on a fork, for example, inserted into some feline pets. Gassiness here referring to a lot of idle talking.
40a What will be sung by socialist doctor at John Smith’s burial place before long (14)
INTERNATIONALE A junior doctor AT (from the clue) the island where John Smith (Labour Party leader from 1992-1994) is buried and the abbreviation for long.
42a Calmly submissive concerning regular wigging by newspaper boss (8)
RESIGNED The two letters used to mean concerning, about, the ‘regular’ letters of wIgGiNg and the abbreviation for the newspaper boss.
44a Having a blow-out as a result of swindle by sporting body? (8)
FEASTING Split 2,5 this might be a swindle by the body governing English football.
45a This writer’s just ageless (8)
IMMORTAL IM (I’m, this writer) and another word for just or right.
46a Sanctions for certain Hungarian wines (6)
TOKAYS The name of certain wines from Hungary.
47a American’s time in Royal Society starts again (6)
RESETS An abbreviated way of describing the time zone on one side of the USA inserted into the abbreviation for Royal Society.
48a Struggle to shield cardinal almost converting (7)
TURNING Pull strongly at something (struggle) ‘shields’ or has inserted almost all of a cardinal number.
49a Bloated users of Big Dave’s Crossword blog, extremely lyrical by the close of festive day (7)
SWELLED WE (users of BD’s blog) the ‘extreme’ or outside letters of LyricaL, the ‘close’ of festive and the abbreviation for Day.
So the letters to be removed spell out the festive message MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM ALL THE SETTERS
1d Ring when it’s time to leave watering hole (5)
OASIS The letter that looks like a ring, a conjunction meaning ‘when’ and ITS (once you’ve removed the T for Time (time to leave)
2d Henry cries about vote for common people (3,6)
HOIPOLLOI The abbreviation for Henry and a vote inserted into two lots of a rough way of attracting attention
3d A target shot in sporting event (7)
REGATTA An anagram (shot) of A TARGET
5d Ball hit high in the air is the one going downhill (5)
SKIER A nice easy double definition.
6d Junior doctor’s up to date with record keeping duties (13)
REGISTRARSHIP A junior doctor plus the S from the end of doctorS and an informal way of saying up to date, modern.
7d Wanting husband to notice taste of turkey (9)
DISCOVERT An adjective used in legal matters to mean not under the bonds of matrimony, either of a spinster or widow … Notice or find out followed by the first letter (taste) of turkey.
8d Primitive people from Eastern land haphazardly capture queen (13)
NEANDERTALERS An anagram (haphazardly) of EASTERN LAND into which is inserted (capture) the regnal cipher of our current Queen.
9d It can be brought to mind a line is one-___________ (11)
DIMENSIONAL An anagram (can be brought) of MIND A L(ine) IS ONE.
10d Birds of prey found in Inverness-shire (5)
ERNES Hidden (found) in InvERNESs-shire.
11d Thus I’d bathe, ultimately taking wave that’s deadly to little swimmers (10)
SPERMICIDE The Latin abbreviation for scilicet (thus) into which is inserted something used to put a wave in hair, ID (from the clue) and the result finished with the ultimate letter of bathE.
12d Heading to Boy Scout location in Wales (6)
BRECON The ‘heading’ to Boy followed by an abbreviated way of saying scout or survey (especially an enemy’s territory). This clue has the great honour of being the only clue I marked as a favourite during the epic test solving process.
18d Interferes with antique: puts up prices (9)
STUPRATES An archaic (antique) way of saying interferes with – a particularly helpful bit of wordplay – reverse (up in a Down clue) PUTS and follow with prices.
19d Propose to include East German university in picture (9)
POSTULATE Insert the German word for East and the abbreviation for University into a picture.
21d Fertilise dried out heads of every sunflower on board (4-5)
SIDE-DRESS To fertilise plans by applying nutrients to the soil near the roots – An anagram (out) of DRIED and the ‘heads’ of Every and Sunflower put inside the abbreviation for Steam Ship (on board)
23d Surprisingly Rand seedling bore soft, edible, South African fruits (13)
GOLDENBERRIES An anagram (surprisingly) of R (rand) SEEDLING BORE.
25d Soloist, ignoring leader, nips out, casually adopting relaxed attitude (5,8)
LOTUS POSITION Remove (ignoring leader) the S from the start of SOLOIST and then use the remaining letters and those in NIPS OUT to make an anagram (casually).
28d Pat abstains after conversion in church group (11)
ANABAPTISTS An anagram (after conversion) of PAT ABSTAINS.
30d Wasting time desperately, I’d try all 10 (10)
DILATORILY An anagram (desperately) of ID TRY ALL IO (the last two being the letters than look like a number 10).
32d Popular beer on tap’s a current attraction (9)
INDRAUGHT An inward flow, especially of air – Another way of saying popular followed by a way of describing beer available on tap.
35d Everybody left in pursuit of an exposed “wizard” (3,3,3)
ONE AND ALL ONE (an) and a Lord of the Rings wizard with his outside letters removed (exposed) followed by the abbreviation for Left.
38d Great celestial circle‘s firm attraction (6)
COLURE The abbreviation for company (firm) and an attraction go together to give us an astronomical term for either of two great circles intersecting at right angles at the celestial poles and passing through the ecliptic at either the equinoxes or the solstices.
39d Saint from Seville that is embracing ditzy Doris (7)
ISIDORE The Latin abbreviation meaning that is ‘embracing’ an anagram (ditzy) of DORIS
40d Gather at home by Christmas tree, say (5)
INFER Another way of saying at home followed by a homophone (say) of the type of tree used for Christmas.
41d God’s name united people (5)
NUMEN The spirit or divine power presiding over a thing or place – The abbreviations for Name and United and some people. Thank goodness for clear wordplay.
43d Treated the same, finishes off Christmas puzzle – end of crossword! (5)
DOSED The abbreviation for ditto (the same) and the ‘finishes’ of ChristmaS, PuzzlE and the end of crossword
As Jane correctly guessed, Radler was the person responsible for preparing this crossword. The ‘heads’ are made of up of the setters who provided one or more puzzles for the NTSPP slot in the twelve months preceding the inception date of the CHristmas Special NTSPP.
In setter order…
|Alchemi||15a , 34a, 5d and 30d|
|Beet||14a, 37a, and 3d|
|Bufo||19a, 40a, 9d, and 39d|
|Chalicea||20a, 42a, 10d and 23d|
|Gazza||16a, 31a, 6d and 32d|
|Hieroglyph||4a, 30a, 49a and 43d|
|Imsety||26a, 46a and 40d|
|Prolixic||27a, 41a, 19d and 28d|
|Radler||1a, 8a, 7d and 18d|
|Shark||29a, 48a and 21d|
|Soup||22a, 44a, 11d and 41d|
|Toro||24a, 45a and 12d|
|Vigo||18a, 38a, 8d and 38d|
|Wiglaf||17a, 33a, 1d and 35d|
|Windsurfer||13a, 36a, 2d and 25d|
Oh… and I’m quite pleased with the way I rewrote the original instructions to make them into the more user-friendly version you see here