NTSPP – 496 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 496

NTSPP – 496

A Puzzle by Prolixic

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

While this puzzle may, at first glance, seem impenetrable please persevere and you will find it gets easier.

A review by crypticsue follows

Please note that the review below differs from the usual NTSPP blog in that it has full explanations (not hints) for each part of each clue, red indicating the definition for the solution to be found first in each row/column; green the second definition/solutions

The instructions read – Each row and column has two solutions. The clues for these solutions have been combined and solvers must determine which part of the clue relates to which solution. Note that the clue for the second word may come before the clue for the first word

This was a particularly difficult crossword to solve until you got the hang of spotting which part of the clue was which – when I tested this back in late May, my reply to Prolixic said: “So who are you and what the heck did you do to Radler when you nicked this crossword from his collection?” It wasn’t the easiest crossword in the world to try and review either – memo to self: when scribbling parsings on your piece of paper, make sure that you write clearly so that you will be able to read them when required in a couple of months’ time


9a Dance and drink with graduate in abandoned graveyards after heading off with Nick? (5)
RUMBA – RUM (drink) with BA (graduate)

10a See 9a (9)
ADVERSARY – An anagram (abandoned) of gRAVEYARDS

11a At home during journey having usual fuss with some luggage? (5,2)

12a See 11a (7)
ROUTINE – IN (at home) inserted into (during) ROUTE (journey)

13a Sitting again, policeman describes pointless picture showing loincloth (2-7)
RE-ELECTED – A cryptic definition clue

15a See 13a (5)
DHOTI – DI (policeman) ‘describes’ or goes round sHOT (pointless indicating the need to remove the compass point S)

16a Spar in court with a resident magistrate to release gang without charges (3,4)
SET FREE – SET (gang) FREE (without charges)

18a See 16a Across (7)
YARDARM – YARD (court) with A (from the clue) RM (Resident Magistrate)

20a Religious group in Miami shop went up to attendant pinching one item of perfumery (5)
AMISH – Lurking in MiAMI Shop

22a See 20a (4,5)
ROSE (went up) WAiTER (attendant ‘pinching’ or taking out the I [one])

25a What an exorcist may do exchanging words with leper – talk of hell and swear! (7)
DISCUSS – DIS (hell) CUSS (swear)

26a See 25a (7)
CAST OUT – A leper is an OUTCAST so you need to swap over the OUT and the CAST

28a Old Queen has time to try and ban sailor’s game (9)
BLACKJACK – BLACK (ban) JACK (sailor)

29a See 28a (5)
EX (old) ER (the regnal cipher of our current Queen) T (time)


1d Rings disgusting home for Spooner and waits for call of more disgusting seller (6)
GROCER – A homophone (call) of GROSSER (more disgusting)

2d Brightest and most fashionable institute‘s key short lecture (8)
SMARTEST – Double definition

3d Uncertain Zulu in country dance shocker! (4)
HAZY – Z (Zulu in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet) inserted into HAY (country dance)

4d Brown writing up order before trade union revised our rates for train service (6)
WALNUT – A reversal (writing up in a Down clue) of LAW (order) followed by NUT (National Union of Teachers)

5d Weird TV Channel includes potty old English commemoration on 8 May about railway stock (8)
EVERYDAY – E (English) VE DAY (commemoration on 8 May) into which is inserted (about) RY (railway)

6d Aircraft mechanics originally urged Crown to be plentiful reviewing pay (6,4)
GROUND CREW – An anagram (originally) of URGED CROWN

7d Animal worker and diner joined company holding a function in Monte Carlo? (6)
CASINO – CO (company) ‘holding’ A (from the clue) and SIN (trigonometrical function)

8d Consider concealing abbreviation for books in alternate setter’s clue I’m changing to define fungal growth (8)
MYCELIUM – MY (setter’s) followed by an anagram (changing) of CLUE IM

14d See 3d (10)
EARTHQUAKE – Cryptic definition

16a See 1d (6,2)
STANDS BY – A Spoonerism of BANDS (rings) STY (disgusting home)

17d See 4d (8)
EUROSTAR – An anagram (revised) of OUR RATES

19d See 7d (8)
ANTEATER – ANT (worker) and EATER (diner) ‘joined’

21d See 2d (6)
INSTAL – INS (Insert key on a keyboard) followed by a truncated (short) TALk (lecture)

23d See 5d (6)
SPOOKY – SKY (TV channel) includes POO (potty)

24d See 8d (6)
ROTATE – RATE (consider) concealing or having inserted OT (abbreviation for the Books of the Old Testament)

27d See 6d (4)
TEEM – A reversal (reviewing) of MEET (pay)

Thanks to clever Prolixic for the (double for the blogger) challenge – anyone got a spare darkened room they could lend me?

16 comments on “NTSPP – 496

  1. Now I’ve seen which crossword it is, I would second BD’s words of encouragement above

  2. Encouraged by BD and CS, I decided to give this a go and I am pleased that I did. It looks daunting at first, but things start to fall into place once your get a few answers and become familiar with the format.
    It is difficult enough to achieve a good surface read in a single clue and it must be nearly impossible to do so when combining two clues into one. Whilst one or two were perhaps a bit clunky, on the whole this was an outstanding effort.
    I struggled a bit in the SE corner, but otherwise it was a fairly steady, if slow, solve.
    An interesting and challenging exercise.
    Many thanks, Prolixic.

  3. Great fun; well done Prolixic! It’s very challenging to write composite clues.

    Maybe I’ve missed something, but some clues, like 13A and 14D, seem to lack any wordplay.

    Thanks Prolixic and, in advance, Sue.

  4. Finally got there but still have several queries that await the review.
    11&25a made me laugh so took top places in this one.

    Thank you, Prolixic, I’m sure I can catch up tomorrow on all the things I should have been doing!

  5. Perhaps I’m a bit frazzled today, but this is a bit too much for me, sorry to say
    I will read the review with interest. Very cleverly done Prolixic, thank you for the challenge

  6. I’m flummoxed, sunk, scuppered and anything else that means I don’t have any idea where to begin.
    I think that I’ve guessed one but it could easily be wrong and having the attention span of a gnat, which is probably insulting to the gnat, I think I might admit defeat.
    There again, I might just have another go tomorrow . . .
    Much admiration to anyone who managed this and to Prolixic for thinking it all up.

  7. Well that took us quite a long time so it is maybe a good thing that the weather is not suitable for our usual Sunday morning walk.
    A very slow start but once we got a few sorted it started to flow much more smoothly until we came to the SE corner where we slowed down again. Eventually got everything worked out.
    A real challenge and very satisfying to solve.
    Many thanks Prolixic.

  8. Still waiting for an insight to any of the clues but I fear I am with Kath on this. I will have another look in the morning but am looking forward to the review where all will become clear.

  9. When I first realised what was going on I foolishly thought it would create a very minor additional step in the solving process, but it proved to be much more challenging than that and created a whole different kind of puzzle. A real feat from Prolixic to consistently create interesting and convincing clues while keeping up the cryptic precision which a twist like this demands. Thanks to Prolixic for a fun challenge.

  10. An excellent review, many thanks, Sue.
    For 21d, I had INST for institution and AL(t) for the short key and then wondered why the definition didn’t work!
    Thanks for clarifying the error of my ways.

  11. Many thanks for the review, CS, and well done indeed for the clarity of same. It took me quite a while to convince myself that our setter hadn’t broken his own rules with the 1/16d combo but you made it look so simple!

    You’re very welcome to borrow the darkened room in which I spent some time after completing the solve yesterday but, before you go, could you tweak the answer to 3d – I think the brackets at the end should contain (country dance).

  12. Thanks Sue for a good blog – unfortunately, the online version did not have the instruction attached – next time I’ll take a peak at the .pdf.

  13. Just got round to trying this one and it was well worth it – many thanks Prolixic!

    Favourite clue: INSTAL, with that sneaky ” institute “!


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