NTSPP – 426 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 426

NTSPP – 426

Primes by Chalicea

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Perfectly pitched for the post Saturday lunch slot, this themed crossword didn’t long to solve but, as is usual with Chalicea, required a visit to the BRB to learn about a few new words obtained from the helpful clues


7a Plan of scholar with European degree (6)
SCHEMA The abbreviations for scholar (which isn’t to be found in the ‘usual’ dictionaries but it is in the Oxford Dictionary of English) and European followed by an abbreviated post-graduate degree

8a Flustered interims give attentive service (8)
MINISTER An anagram (flustered) of INTERIMS

9a Independent judge, not primarily storyteller taking in boring piece (10)
ARBITRATOR Remove the first letter (not primarily) of a storyteller and then insert (taking in) the boring piece of a drilling machine

10a Bird is admitting ambiguous sexuality (4)
IBIS IS (from the clue) ‘admitting’ a way of referring to ambiguous sexuality

11a Remove skin from local young sea trout (4)
PEEL A verb meaning to remove the skin from or a regional (local) name for young sea trout

12a Type of boot not initially bulging with fashion (10)
WELLINGTON Remove the initial letter from a synonym for bulging and add a word often used in Crosswordland to mean fashion. I highly recommend a trip to Walmer Castle here in Kent, not only because it a great place to visit, but also because you get to see the original boots!

13a Room remained in specified state for household officer (11)
CHAMBERLAIN A room followed by a verb meaning remained in a particular (specified) state or place

18a With no lower limit, lacking the bard’s MSND actor/weaver (10)
BOTTOMLESS Add a way of saying lacking to the name of the weaver who took a particular role in Shakespeare’s MSND

21a Gentle person, the French doctor, (4)
LAMB The French female definite article and one of the abbreviations for doctor

22a Peculiar need for garden (4)
EDEN An anagram (peculiar) of NEED

23a Accidentally to ruin boat, stopping up a hole (10)
OBTURATION Another word to commit to the memory banks – a term used in gunnery meaning to stop up a hole to prevent the escape of gas – is obtained from an anagram (accidentally) of TO RUIN BOAT

24a With time, developer becomes skilled roof-maker (8)
THATCHER Follow the abbreviation for time with a developer, of eggs, or a plan, perhaps

25a Part-time worker rejecting the Spanish place of worship (6)
TEMPLE An abbreviated part-time worker plus a reversal (rejecting) of the Spanish definite article


1d Colour of Gone With The Wind’s heroine, we hear (7)
SCARLET A homophone (we hear) of the name of Gone with the Wind‘s heroine – it has to be a homophone as her name has two Ts

2d Michelangelo sadly not once involved in this tediously detailed account (8)
MEGILLAH I had heard of this term for a tediously detailed account but checked in the BRB to find that is apparently US slang. The solution is obtained from an anagram (sadly) of MICHELANGELO after you have removed the letters ONCE (involved telling you that they aren’t in this order in Michelangelo)

3d Worry about a backward plant (6)
YARROW Insert A (from the clue) into WORRY and then reverse (backward)

4d Of disposition to remain inactive in retail gone awry (8)
INERTIAL An anagram (gone awry) of IN RETAIL

5d Questioning like a royal (6)
ASKING An adverb meaning like a and a male royal

6d Law and image in person’s vocabulary (7)
LEXICON The Latin word for law and an image

8d Treasure-seeker’s device strangely located tin at first with dodgy meter (5,8)
METAL DETECTOR An anagram (strangely) of LOCATED T (tin ‘at first’) with another (dodgy) of METER

14d Huge extinct creatures, native of Guatemala, insects that fly by night (8)
MAMMOTHS A Guatemalan Native American and some insects that fly by night

15d Sadly limited energy for periods when machine is not used productively (4,4)
IDLE TIME An anagram (sadly) of LIMITED E (energy)

16d That surprising dash in seats for riding on elephants (7)
HOWDAHS In that way plus an anagram (surprising) of DASH

17d Promiscuous girl’s admission of role, maybe, producing hypodermic dose (7)
AMPOULE A promiscuous young woman in the red light district of Paris might say I xx [a] xxxxx

19d Notes containing conclusive principles (6)
TENETS Insert an adjective meaning conclusive into some musical notes

20d Safeguard in some measure typescript (b)
SURETY Lurking in some meaSURE TYpescript


It doesn’t take the solver long to work out the Primes contained in the solutions as there are some well-known 8a’s in the grid.


However, I thought I’d just double-check there weren’t any other lurking PRIMES and discovered that 1d is the name of the daughter of Optimus Prime, the Transformer (robot superhero); and apparently there was an American amateur conchologist called Temple Prime. I also wondered whether, if there is such a thing as Prime Arbitration, then presumably one could be a Prime 9a?

11 comments on “NTSPP – 426

  1. Very enjoyable and straightforward although I am not sure of a few parsings, but the answers have to be what they are.

    Favourites – 9a and 24a (especially using developer as the synonym).

    Hopefully a good warm-up for the MPP.

    Thanks to Chalicea and whoever does the review for unscrambling the parsings for me.

  2. How many spellings are there of the elephant seat, or is it a free-for-all?
    Good fun with a couple of gimmes. Thank you Chalicea.

  3. 2 new words for me! 3 down and 23 across. Good fun and nice smooth surfaces. Thanks Chalicea

  4. New words for me at 23a & 2d plus the young sea trout and the native of Guatemala. Not sure that I’ve correctly parsed 17d, time will tell.

    I found eight themed answers, wonder whether I’ve missed any?

    Thanks for the puzzle, Chalicea, good fun.

  5. A sprinkling of new words had us reaching for our BRB on several occasions but they were looking for confirmation rather than searching for possibilities. Not sure we have found all the themed answers yet but that might need a bit of investigoogling to find the more obscure ones. Good fun.
    Thanks Chalicea.

  6. Thanks Chalicea. I enjoyed this. I learned two new words at 2d and 23a, and spotted a few primes. Is that a deliberate Nina with a kiss?
    Favourite clue is 24a.

  7. Just got back from wales and when I saw the ntspp was Chalicea, i just had to do it. very nice, not too hard as long as you have your brb handy, and always lovely to have a theme. Many thanks for the enjoyment Chalicea

  8. New words for me too, and a couple of parsings I can’t get a handle on. 18A gets my vote. Thanks Chalicea.

  9. Many thanks for the review, CS, particularly for the parsing of 17d. Sheds a whole new (and hopefully unintended) light on the concept of a Hen Party!

  10. Many thanks to Cryptic Sue, as always, for those clear explanations and most of all for the delightful illustrations. I particularly liked the lamb and Bottom. Jane’s Hen Party comment has me smiling still.

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