NTSPP – 339

NTSPP – 339

Don’t Panic by Crucifer

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

I met Crucifer at the recent S&B meeting in London and he offered to send me this puzzle.  It does have a ghost theme – one that is not necessary in order to solve the puzzle but can add pleasure.

A review by Prolixic follows.

Welcome to Crucifer with a crossword themed around the Hitch hikers guide to the Galaxy.  This was a challenge in places and I am not still entirely sure about the definition to 20D.  It was certainly good fun to solve.  More please.


1 Stars in salmon pink outside (6)
GALAXY – A three letter word for salmon (of Nordic origin) surrounded by (outside) a word meaning pink as in the pink pound.  One of the words in the title of book by Douglas Adams that gives us the mini theme.  The Salmon of Doubt was another book by the same author.

5 Oval shaped bath containing, say, a boar’s head (3,5)
THE GABBA – An anagram (shaped) of BATH includes (containing) the abbreviation for say, the A from the clue and the first letter (head) of boar.

9 Chain letters for Spooner arriving at his place of work (3,7)
NEW COLLEGE – A Spoonerism of QUEUE (chain) KNOWLEDGE (letters – as in a man of letters).

10 Trace notes (4)
MITE – Two notes of the musical scale.

11 Label firmly established, presumably, in BC period? (8)
SEMITONE – The name of an old record label inside word suggested by established (set in stone).

12 Mum’s outside in an instant (6)
MINUTE – A four letter word meaning mum or silent outside the IN from the clue.

13 Those providing cursory direction? (4)
MICE – A cryptic definition of the computer peripherals used to direct the cursor on the screen.  Another reference to our mini theme.

15 14 and 28 getting together for the answer? (5,3)
FORTY TWO – What does 14 + 28 equal?  The answer to life, the universe and everything in the books by Douglas Adams that give us the mini-theme.

18 Strange secretion flowing without end (8)
ESOTERIC – An anagram (flowing) of SECRETION wIthout the final letter (without end).

19 Maiden followed by key single, perhaps (4)
MALT – The abbreviation for maiden followed by one of the keys on a computer keyboard (unless to Big Dave’s ire you are a Mac user!)

21 Utterly evil warrior (6)
KNIGHT – A homophone (utterly) of a word that figuratively means evil from its sense of dark.

23 Luxury car seemed improper outside church (8)
MERCEDES – An anagram (improper) of SEEMED outside (again!) the abbreviation for the Church of England.

25 Study conclusion of Great Depression (4)
DENT – A three letter word meaning a study followed by the last letter (conclusion of) great.  The surname of the main character in the books by Dougal Adams that give us the mini theme.

26 One giving thumbs-up to 20 25, perhaps (5-5)
HITCH-HIKER – A reference to the status of the person whose name is given by 20 25 in the books by Douglas Adams that form a mini theme in this crossword.

27 Consignment of French dressing (8)
DESPATCH – The French plural form of “of” followed by another word for a dressing (in a medical sense).

28 Mix bait to be added to trap (6)
RAGBAG – A three letter word meaning bait or tease followed by a word meaning to trap something.


2 She made tracks for 19, 21 and 25 (5)
ADELE – The name of the singer who produced albums called 19, 21 and 25.

3 Mastermind contestant on vacation after upset in dodgy race (9)
ARCHITECT – A three letter word meaning upset (as in he was *** badly by the news) inside an anagram (dodgy) of RACE followed by (after) the outer letters (on vacation) of contestant.

4 Canary or chicken? (6)
YELLOW – A double definition of a colour and cowardice.

5 Union with 100 percent strike record? (3,7,5)
THE PERFECT MATCH – A cryptic definition of an ideal union and something you could unfailingly strike to light.

6 Always revere criminal concealing working method (8)
EVERMORE – An anagram (criminal) of REVERE around (concealing) the abbreviation for modus operandi (working method). 

7 Those responsible for promoting oddly deficient Saudi soldiers (5)
ADMEN – The even letters (oddly deficient) of Saudi followed by another word for soldiers.

8 It’s one absorbing Doctor Who battle (4,5)
BATH TOWEL – An anagram (doctor) of WHO BATTLE.  Carried by Ford Prefect and 20 25 in the books that give us the mini theme.

14 Perfidious batting, following on (9)
INSINCERE – A two letter word meaning batting followed by a word meaning following  a two letter word meaning on or about.

16 Lamenting addition of fruit to three quarters of cake (9)
YAMMERING – A three letter word for a fruit (though perhaps a root tuber might be a better description) followed by three quarters of a word for a type of confection made from egg-whites which can be described as a cake.

17 Note time taken by Hook’s craft (8)
CROTCHET – The abbreviation for time inside the name of the craft that is practiced using a hook and yarn.

20 Not Martha‘s regular Thursday clothes (6)
ARTHUR – The answer is hidden in (clothes) REGULAR THURSDAY.

22 Clobber openers in Galle – England team under pressure (3-2)
GET UP – THE first letters (openers in) the fourth to eighth words of the clue.

24 Drug certainly taken up (5)
ENEMA – The abbreviation for ecstasy followed by a word meaning certainly or I agree used in prayers reversed (taken up).  French doctors would approve!

I of to a barbie so pictures will follow later.


  1. Gazza
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 1:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks, Crucifer – enjoyable but pretty tough I thought. I made it more difficult for myself in the SW corner by putting in ‘delivery’ for 27a. I don’t think I’d have made it to the end without getting the theme from the title which was a major help. I still don’t get the significance of the numbers in 2d.

    • Gazza
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 1:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

      … Just Googled the answer to 2d and now I see what the numbers mean.

      • dutch
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 1:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Well done, was just about to send you a hint

    • Crucifer
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Gazza, particularly for calling out the potential ambiguity in 27a. Very hard to spot alternative readings of clues when you’ve written them yourself.

    • Jane
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Not only have I put ‘delivery’ in for 27a, I ticked it as a potential favourite! Oh dear – I’m not doing very well.

      • Gazza
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 3:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

        You and I are in a very exclusive club then, Jane.

        • Kath
          Posted August 6, 2016 at 5:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

          Well, I may not be in your and Jane’s frightfully exclusive club but I did at least get the right answer – at least I think I did. Yours didn’t even occur to me which, going by how I’m getting on with this one, not to mention the MPP, is probably just as well. What a dunce I am today.

  2. dutch
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 2:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks Crucifer

    enjoyed finding all the theme related answers and the excellent clueing. I’ll await the review for the exact parsing of 11a which eludes me at the moment but I have to run.

    Lovely puzzle

  3. crypticsue
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 2:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I found this quite tough too. Still a couple of ?? for Prolixic to explain but I did have stars by 15a, 19a (because I remembered the ‘key’ and 20d.

    Thanks to Crucifer for the challenge and in advance to Prolixic

  4. Jane
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 2:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thought I’d take a break from the Radler MPP and give this one a try.
    Sounds from the comments as though this is going to be a Toughie as well!

  5. stanXYZ
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I panicked when I couldn’t solve a single clue in my first read through. (Dad’s Army was on my mind.)

    How many themes are there?

    Cricket, music and that book that I have never read but for some unknown reason I know all about.

    Thanks to Crucifer and looking forward to Prolixic’s review to explain all the ones I still don’t understand.

    Favourites: 5d & 15a

  6. Kath
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 5:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! Totally stuck now.
    Going to have a gap, and a glass of wine, and see if inspiration strikes later on.

  7. Posted August 6, 2016 at 6:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Having got the theme from the title I was smiling from the start and, unlike Stan, able to obey the titular instruction. And there was nothing to cause that state of affairs to change. I had a salmon of doubt at 1a and so checked that out, and also had to verify my answer to 5a to make sure I hadn’t made it up. I have yet to solve 2d or 11a. My favourites out of the rest are 15a and 20d.

    Thumbs up! I enjoyed the (free!) ride – thanks Crucifer. And of course, thanks also in advance to Prolixic for the review.

    • Posted August 6, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

      P.S. I’m not in Jane and Gazza’s exclusive club as the alternative 27a didn’t occur to me either.

  8. stanXYZ
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 6:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I never like crosswords that have cross references in the clueing – but 15a and 2d were brilliant!

    Didn’t like 26a!

    • Gazza
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 6:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

      You’re putting two extra letters at the start of your email address thus forcing your comments into moderation.

      • stanXYZ
        Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Oops! Sorry! Drunk again!

  9. Kath
    Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Still completely sunk – back tomorrow. Dunce’s cap still fitting nicely. I would do a little sad face here but someone said that they’re not working. Shall I be brave and try – :sad:

    • Kath
      Posted August 6, 2016 at 7:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Whoever it was who said that the ‘little faces’ weren’t working was right so won’t risk another one in case I blow the whole place up.

  10. 2Kiwis
    Posted August 7, 2016 at 6:37 am | Permalink | Reply

    We have been away all day and had not finished before we had to leave this morning. Back home and had another look and then revealed letters to get 24d (should have got that one) 28a and 11a (still can’t see how that one works). Certainly a struggle for us despite picking the theme quite early on. Good fun recognising the theme clues with lots of penny-drop moments.
    Thanks Crucifer.

    • Gazza
      Posted August 7, 2016 at 7:37 am | Permalink | Reply

      For 11a the label is an old British record label which is ‘set in *****’ (firmly established). B and C are musical notes.

      • 2Kiwis
        Posted August 7, 2016 at 7:55 am | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Gazza. It makes sense now you explain it. We were miles away from sorting it out.

      • dutch
        Posted August 7, 2016 at 10:08 am | Permalink | Reply

        ah, thanks Gazza, that was also the one I hadn’t parsed yet. I think I might have preferred ‘apparently’ to ‘presumably’ and ‘Old label’ but those are minor quibbles in a clever clue.

  11. Jane
    Posted August 7, 2016 at 10:33 am | Permalink | Reply

    Amazed myself by finally getting to the end of this one despite knowing next to nothing about the three themes referred to by Stan XYZ @ 5.
    I reckon that BD was chuckling to himself over his inclusion of this one in the NTSPP series, given the comments from some of us when one of these themes put in an appearance a little while ago!

  12. jean-luc cheval
    Posted August 7, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to Crucifer for the theme.
    One of my favourite story.
    The small appearance of the singer in 2d was also welcomed.

  13. Posted August 7, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The definition in 20 Down is based on the saying “To not know whether one is Arthur or Martha”.

    • Jane
      Posted August 7, 2016 at 3:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Just spotted your comment, BD. I thought my Dr. Who theory was holding up quite well………..

    • Crucifer
      Posted August 7, 2016 at 3:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Probably not the tightest definition I’ve ever used…

  14. dutch
    Posted August 7, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    many thanks for the review Prolixic

  15. Crucifer
    Posted August 7, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for the review Proxilic. Enjoy the barbie!

    • Crucifer
      Posted August 7, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink | Reply


  16. Jane
    Posted August 7, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Many thanks for the review, Prolixic – hope the weather holds up for the BBQ.
    Small wonder that I found this so difficult as I haven’t read the book, don’t know much about Adele’s music and only have the sketchiest knowledge of cricket (gained from this blog!). Mr. Google had to work hard to get 5a and 2d was a complete bung-in.

    Having just done a bit more homework, I’m guessing that ‘not Martha’s regular’ in 20d is a reference to her being the companion of Dr. Who (no, I don’t watch that either!).

    Deprived of what I thought would be my favourite ( the wrong answer to 27a!) I’ll give the laurel wreath to 11a with 15a taking second place.

    Cleverly done, Crucifer – entirely my problem that a lot of the subject matter was beyond my ken!

    • Crucifer
      Posted August 7, 2016 at 3:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Jane. Sorry the subject matter wasn’t to your taste. As Dave has pointed out, 20d is more to do with the Arthur/Martha expression. Nothing to do with Doctor Who on this occasion. But thanks for giving me an idea for my next theme ;)

  17. Expat Chris
    Posted August 7, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I finally gave up with half a dozen to solve. I know nothing about the book apart from the title and I’m not a fan of “You had to be there” types of crossword. i have no idea what 5A is all about and there was already too much googling involved in what I completed to have the incentive to follow up. I did, however, like 15A. This was not my cup of tea, but thanks anyway to the setter and thanks to Ptolixic for the review.

  18. Kath
    Posted August 7, 2016 at 7:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I have to say well done to Crucifer for setting the crossword, to Prolixic for unravelling it all and to anyone who finished this one.
    To quote someone from “the other side” this was well above my pay grade but I had fun trying to sort it out even thinking that the “Don’t Panic” bit was Dad’s Army – wouldn’t have made any difference as I don’t know anything about that either.
    I know that everyone thinks that 2d is wonderful but she makes me feel like going off to slit my wrists – oh dear – am I the only one who feels like this?
    I did like 9a (I love Spoonerisms unlike most people here) and 20a.
    With thanks to Crucifer and to Prolixic.

    • Jane
      Posted August 7, 2016 at 8:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’m with you on 2d, Kath! As for the Spoonerism – didn’t trouble me a bit this time. I had the checkers in place, remembered where the Rev. worked and popped it in.

    • Kath
      Posted August 7, 2016 at 9:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Oh – just a quick PS to Prolixic about 19a – I’d hate to enrage BD but, as a Mac user, my keyboard has the last three letters of 19a. I don’t know what it does and I’m far too much of a scaredy cat to try it out but it’s there.

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