NTSPP – 476
A Puzzle by Atrica
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
A review by Prolixic follows.
I think that this must be Atrica’s first NTSPP following his first appearance with a special puzzle for the New Year after graduating from the Rookie corner. Even those who miss a theme unless it slaps them around the face with a piece of limp haddock would have spotted the spooky theme in the clues and many of the solutions.
1 Tremendous performance by lark (8)
GIGANTIC – A three letter word for a performance or concert followed by a five letter word for a lark or caper.
5 Naomi hates bad editing, regularly being rejected, causing a problem with inspiration (6)
ASTHMA – Reverse (being rejected) the even letters (regularly) in the first three words of the clue.
10 Locked up unlucky chap for act of treachery (6,3)
INSIDE JOB – A six letter word meaning locked up or in jail followed by the biblical character who was singularly unlucky and patient in the midst of his trials.
11 At the outset, let your rhymes include comic verse (5)
LYRIC – The initial letters (at the outset of the fourth to eighth words of the clue.
12 Make the sound of thunderous applause? (4)
CLAP – Semi-double definition with overlapping meanings for the sound of thunder and a word meaning to applaud.
13 Good advice for spy unexpectedly sent on tour (5,2,3)
TRUST NO ONE – An anagram (unexpectedly) of SENT ON TOUR.
15 Held back by lumpy, lopsided growth (5)
POLYP – The answer is hidden and reversed (held back by) LUMPY LOPSIDED.
16 Most unpleasant wine found in cosy home (8)
NASTIEST – A four letter type of sparkling wine inside (found in) a four letter word for a cosy home.
19 Traitor about to have meeting with spy chief? I’m not sure (8)
INFORMER – A phrase 2,3,1 that could indicate that you have arrives to meet with a spy-chief followed by a two letter word used when expressing a verbal hesitation or uncertainty.
21 Parody of “Leaving with informal agreement” produces alarm (5)
SPOOK – A five letter word for a parody with the OF removed (leaving) followed by a two letter word used informally to express an agreement.
25 Gloomier when getting to grips with dull cosmological hypothesis (4,6)
DARK MATTER – A six letter word meaning gloomier around (getting to grips with) a four letter word meaning dull.
26 Brave man in love following that woman (4)
HERO – The letter representing zero or love after a three letter word meaning that woman.
28 A man with good manners: for example, James Bond (5)
AGENT – The A from the clue followed by a four letter word for a polite man.
29 Is page one misprinted in work of Blunt? (9)
ESPIONAGE – An anagram (misprinted) of IS PAGE ONE.
30 Guarantee result when Republican is included (6)
ENSURE – A five letter word meaning result includes the abbreviation for Republican.
31 Return in fascination (8)
INTEREST – Double definition for a financial return from an investment and a word meaning fascination.
1 Irritation follows disheartening glockenspiel malfunction (6)
GLITCH – The outer letters (disheartening) of glockenspiel followed by a four letter word for an irritation.
2 Plainclothes thugs suggest a police cover-up (7)
GESTAPO – The answer is hidden in (cover-up) SUGGEST A POLICE.
3 Intersection on road he’s taken every so often (4)
NODE – The even letters (taken every so often) of ON ROAD HES
4 Judging others is wrong (6)
INJURY – A phrase 2,4 suggesting where you might be in court if judging others.
6 Extremely nonchalant elite spy tortured — he won’t talk (6,4)
SILENT TYPE – An anagram (tortured) of NT (the outer letters – extremely – of nonchalant ELITE SPY.
7 We hear call girl complain, pointing to bodily secretion (7)
HORMONE – An homophone (we hear) of WHORE (call girl) MOAN (complain).
8 Soldiers embracing one hundred Spanish people in the past (8)
ANCIENTS – A four letter word for insects sometimes described as soldiers around (embracing) the Spanish word for 100.
9 Terrible, embarrassingly awful ringers shuffled out (7)
ABYSMAL – An anagram (awful) of EMBARRASSINGLY after removing the letters (rearranged – hence shuffled) in RINGERS.
14 Dry theorem about apparatus for evaluating liquid (10)
HYDROMETER – An anagram (about) of DRY THEOREM.
17 Watch out for elephants possibly getting psychological abuse (4,4)
MIND GAME – A four letter word meaning watch out followed by a four letter word describing elephants (when they were hunted).
18 Lie down and roll around, perhaps, in experimental rig (4,3)
TEST BED – What you may be doing on a piece of bedroom furniture in the show room to see if it is suitable for sleeping.
20 Something that grips police, maybe I should have said earlier (7)
FORCEPS – A four letter word that describes a group such as the police followed by the abbreviation for expressing an afterthought (I should have said earlier).
22 In round numbers, at least nine reportedly consumed too much (7)
OVERATE – A homophone of OVER EIGHT (at least nine).
23 Perhaps blunderbuss prevailed in war, having shot pea partway through (6)
WEAPON – A three letter word meaning prevailed in war around (having … partway through) an anagram (shot) of PEA.
24 Overlapping screen open, revealing secret (6)
COVERT – Overlap the letters in cover (screen) and overt (open).
27 Chemical unit makes spicy chocolate sauce (4)
MOLE – Double definition for the number of molecules in a solution and the name of a Mexican sauce combining chocolate and chilli.