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SP – 006

Special Puzzle – 006

Seasonal Greetings by Atrica

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Today we have a Special Puzzle compiled by Atrica, his first “senior” level puzzle.

A review by Prolixic follows.

You wait for months for a special crossword and then two come along at once!  Thanks to Atrica for the New Year message around the perimeter of the grid and the pangram (all of the letters of the alphabet appear in the solution).


8 Surfaces are irrelevant, by the way (4)
NAPS – The abbreviation for not applicable (irrelevant) followed by the abbreviation for a post script (by the way).

9 I can be seen sporting ridiculous horn (5)
RHINO – The I from the clue inside (sporting) an anagram (ridiculous) of HORN.

10 State that is a cause of lives of poverty? (4)
AVOW – Split 1,3, this would be what a monk or nun takes when dedicating themselves to a lift of poverty.

11 Extraordinary view of Tour de France in British report (6)
EYEFUL – A homophone (report) of Eiffel (Tour De France = a French Tower in British).

12 Condition is purely made up (8)
PLEURISY – An anagram (made up) of IS PURELY.

13 After end of commute, squeeze inside very warm lift to start the day, perhaps (8)
ESPRESSO – The final letter (end of) of commute followed by a five letter word meaning squeeze inside a to letter word meaning very.

15 Document’s length unusual in a geopolitical segment (6)
LINAGE– The answer is hidden (segment) in UNUSUAL IN A GEOPOLITICAL.

17 Reject slice of bread at so tawdry a Mexican dining option (7)
TOSTADA – The answer is hidden (slice of) and reversed (reject) inside BREAD AT SO TAWDRY.

19 Undocumented maid’s behind spoiled chard and out-of-date bread (7)
DRACHMA – Remove the ID (undocumented) from maid and put the letters after (behind) an anagram (spoiled) of CHARD.

22 Symbols of affection in tatty used book (6)
EXODUS – An X (kiss) and O (love) (symbols of affection) inside an anagram (tatty) of USED.

24 Bishop saw that actress in Whitechapel — nothing prior could be more indecent (8)
OBSCENER – The letter representing nothing and the abbreviation for bishop before how a cockney (in Whitechapel) might say “seen her” (saw that actress).

26 Dwarf is weirdly unrecognisable when stripped of coarse pants (8)
NIBELUNG – An anagram (weirdly) of UNRECOGNISABLE after removing the letters in COARSE.  The pants is a secondary anagram indicator telling us that the letters to be removed are not in the given order.

28 I itch and at first fidget in meditative practice (3,3)
TAI CHI – An anagram (fidget) of I ITCH A (and at first).

30 Every so often, I mouth a little something in Greek (4)
IOTA – The odd letters in I MOUTH A.

31 Each side the same, I later abandoned match (5)
EQUAL – The type of triangle having two equal sides without (abandoned) the I LATER from the clue.

32 Style of article on Handel wanting applause (4)
ELAN – Remove a four letter word for applause from Handel and follow with a two letter indefinite article.


1 Confused, emerging from a short sleep during vacuous homily (4)
HAZY – The A from the clue and the letter indicating zeds (short sleep) inside the outer letters (vacuous) of homily.

2 To get what you deserve, seek technical assistance (3,3,2)
ASK FOR IT – Double definition, the second relating to getting help in relation to computers.

3 Soft assignments for the underclass (6)
PROLES – The abbreviation in musical for soft or quiet followed by a five letter word for assignments or parts.

4 Pair of hippie insiders embracing sex expert getting underground support (3,4)
PIT PROP – The two central letters of hippie around (embracing) a two letter word for sex and a three letter word for an expert.

5 Person shouting about old Germany is vocal traditionalist from Alpine regions (8)
YODELLER – A six letter word for a person shouting around the abbreviations for Old and Germany.

6 Mineral prescribed by new caregiver losing head (6)
NATRON – The abbreviation for New followed by the name of a senior nurse without the initial M (losing head).

7 French art being shown in the Middle Ages (4)
EONS – The French second person singular of the verb to be (art) includes (in the middle) a two letter word meaning being shown.

14 Boundary enclosing, essentially, four American people (5)
SIOUX – The name of a boundary score in cricket around the inner letters (essentially) of four.

16 Space fighter climbs to make easy shot (5)
GIMME – A two letter printers space and the name of a Russian fighter plane, all reverse (climbs).

18 Princess and society still in anxiety… (8)
DISQUIET – A two letter name of a princess followed by the abbreviation for society and a five letter word meaning still or peaceful.

20 …while Charlie, remiss, hugs the Queen — what is this? (8)
CLERIHEW – An anagram (remiss) of WHILE C (Charlie) around (hugs) the regnal cypher of the current monarch.  The answers to 18 and 20 combined create this verse form.

21 For example, marathon drawn-out series (4,3)
LONG RUN – Double definition of a description of the Marathon (as a race) and a draw-out series (such as a stage show that continues over several years).

23 Noel Edmonds could be in tuxedo on the radio (6)
DEEJAY – The full spelling of DJ (as letters as they would be heard on the radio).

25 Pay for wooden seating (6)
SETTLE – Double definition.

27 Metallic element — and not iodine, in retrospect (4)
IRON – A reversal (in retrospect) of a three letter word meaning and not and the chemical symbol of iodine.

29 Prime Minister dies early, leading to preliminary contest (4)
HEAT – Remove the final letter (dies or finishes early) from the name of a 1970’s Conservative Prime Minister.

18 comments on “SP – 006

  1. Very enjoyable – thanks Atrica. The seasonal greetings were helpful in solving my last couple of clues.
    I have lots of ticks on my printout – I’ll just mention 10a, 22a and 7d but favourite has to be the excellent 20d.

  2. I didn’t help myself by trying to write the right solutions in the wrong places. I also found that the NE corner, despite the helpful message, took an age to sort out.

    I would agree with Gazza that the favourite clue has to be the wonderful 20d

    Thanks to Atrica and in advance to Prolixic

  3. This was an unexpected bonus and a lot of fun, although, knowing there was a seasonal theme, made it considerably easier.

    I can’t fully parse either 24a or 31a but those apart this all came together very nicely.

    Regarding 23a, when and why did the widely used and perfectly fine abbreviation “DJ” become the very ugly “deejay” (and similarly for “MC” and “emcee”)?
    Although I disagree strongly with the sentiment expressed in the surface :smile: , 8d is a great clue which received a well-deserved double tick. I also awarded double ticks to 10a, 22a, 7d, 14d & 20d.

    Many thanks to Atrica and in advance to Prolixic.

  4. Thanks Atrica a very enjoyable unexpected bonus. I needed the Nina, which soon became obvious, to solve some of the pesky four letter clues and I think I will have to go with three of them, 8a, 10a, and 32a, as my candidates for favourite.

    Thanks again.

  5. Thought this would be a walk in the park once the seasonal message became apparent but it certainly wasn’t!
    Like RD, I’m still struggling to parse 24a and the same was true of 31d until Senf stepped in to save the day (thank you).
    Learned a few new things in 17a, 26a & 6d and haven’t previously come across the abb. used in 3d.

    I’d agree with the ticks given out by others but have to mention 9a – simple, but it made me smile.

    Thanks to Atrica – are you likely to make it to the Birthday Bash?

    1. Jane,

      I would love to come to the Birthday Bach, but unfortunately I live a few thousand miles away! I’m glad you liked 9a: that was my own favourite clue.


      1. I mean Bash, of course. Even the Art of the Fugue will have to meet reality at the Atlantic Ocean…

        1. Sorry that we won’t get to meet you, Atrica, perhaps you could start saving those pennies for a future occasion?

  6. What a treat! Thank you Atrica – the perfect tonic after my stumblings with today’s toughie!

  7. We were very grateful for the NINA. Suspect that it would have been pretty diabolical without it to help. Very clever to have got in a pangram too. Excellent fun and much appreciated.
    Thanks Atrica.

  8. Thank you to everyone for the comments, and to Prolixic for the illustrated review. The message in the Nina is my heartfelt wish for all of you!

  9. Many thanks for the review, Prolixic, and the musical accompaniments. That 5d must certainly be quite challenging for the voice box!
    Thanks also to Senf and Mr K for the assistance with parsing 24&31a.

    Quite a treat to get two special puzzles for the new year.

  10. A somewhat late comment from me. I did enjoy this very much. It was a pleasant suprise to find 20d and that is my fave. I thought it an interesting spread of subjects in this puzzle…

    I found it difficult to get onto the right wavelength. Had I not had the Nina to help, it would have been quite a struggle. As it was, there were a couple of clues in the NE corner which completely eluded me. My appreciative thanks to Prolixic for the enlightenment and a super blog.

    And appreciative thanks, too, to Atrica for an excellent ‘Special Puzzle’.

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