NTSPP – 516 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 516

NTSPP – 516

2019 by Prolixic

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.


Prolixic’s End of Year Special Crossword serves to remind us of a number of celebrities who have died this year which he has featured as solutions. They are defined by their profession.


1a Rising expert cracks a series of clues (9)
ASCENDANT An expert in Japanese combative sport ‘cracks’ or goes between A (from the clue) and a series of clues or findings

6a Drunkard with short trousers in a carrier (6,3)
SPONGE BAG An informal term for a drunkard followed by almost all of an informal term for trousers

13a Pop singer from Welsh town (5)
FLINT The surname of the late lead singer of the Prodigy is the same as a Welsh town

14a Pair heading off for competition (4)
RACE Remove the ‘heading’ from a word used to mean a pair of something

15a Attend very tired… (4)
BEAT Split your solution 2,2 and you’d have a way of saying attend

16a …comedian following difficult year (5)
HARDY Jeremy’s surname is obtained by following a synonym for difficult with the abbreviation for year

18a Etch each colour with love (3,4)
EAT INTO The abbreviation for each, some colour and the letter used to indicate love

19a Incorporate space organisation (6)
EMBODY A printer’s space and a synonym for organisation

20a Express disapproval about sailors having base in Asian island (6)
BORNEO A way of expressing approval goes about the abbreviation for the Royal Navy (sailors) and the ‘usual’ letter used in crosswordland to indicate ‘base’

21a Run over reason for court action (4)
TORT A reversal (over) of a synonym for run

23a Sister’s children meeting newsreader(7)
SISSONS An abbreviation for sister followed by some male children

25a Actor‘s whimsical describing pub (6)
FINNEY Another word for whimsical into which is inserted (describing) a pub

30a Gala producer (5,4)
APPLE TREE This cryptic definition was easy for me to solve as behind our house is an extremely large orchard where Galas and other examples of this fruit grow in abundance

31a Book chauffeur for critic (5)
JAMES A lovely triple definition – a book of the Bible, a chauffeur (as in home xxxxx) and a much-loved TV critic (amongst his other claims to fame)

32a China ominously imprisons Ruth’s daughter-in-law (5)
NAOMI Lurking in (imprisoned by) ChiNA OMInously

33a Male members leave out English cricketer (6)
WILLIS Leave out the E (English) from a child’s word for some ‘male members’

34a Regulated participants in multi-media (5)
TIMED The solution is to be found lurking (participants in) mulTI-MEDia

36a Small French town has races for second league (6)
LITTLE take a French town and remove the second L (league) and replace with some races which take place on the Isle of Man

40a Way a bishop becomes a funny man (5)
STARR The abbreviation for street (way) A (from the clue) and the abbreviated address for a bishop

42a “In the past”, describing King George’s troubles (5)
AGGRO A word meaning in the past, describing or going round the regnal cipher of King George

44a Fond remembrance of stewed goat and snail (9)
NOSTALGIA An anagram (stewed) of GOAT and SNAIL

45a One finished ruined (6)
UNDONE An archaic way of saying ‘one’ and a synonym for finished

46a Botanist telephoned beautiful French friend (7)
BELLAMY Homophones (telephoned) of the French words for beautiful and friend

48a Boss of film company cancelling “Ten” (4)
STUD ‘Cancel’ the letters that look like the number ten from a film company

51a Horsed around with chef (6)
RHODES An anagram (around) of HORSED

53a Drumming in sleeveless dressing gown (6)
ATHROB Remove the outside letters (sleeveless) from a type of dressing gown

55a Where a postulant hopes to be working (2,5)
IN ORDER Somewhere a postulant hopes to work and/or a way of saying working

58a In Paris she and I regularly obtained fragrant resin (5)
ELEMI The odd letters (regularly) of the French (as said in Paris) words for ‘she’ ‘and’ and ‘I’

59a Husband drops off 47 in Arab country (4)
OMAN Find the abbreviation for your solution to 47d and then remove it (drops off) from an informal term for a husband (I got stuck with the ear worm about the wife who had to ‘follow the van’ when I’d worked out how to parse this one!)

60a Dye extracted from kernels of Sand Lily (4)
ANIL The ‘kernels’ or middles of sANd and lILy

61a French president spills a bit of red wine (5)
MACON Remove the R (a bit of red) from the surname of the French president

62a Part of Hull has garbage by unnamed dog’s home (5,4)
BILGE KEEL A slang term for drivel or rubbish followed by a dog’s home without the two Ns (unnamed)

63a Socrates in revolt over international exile (9)
OSTRACISE An anagram (in revolt) of SOCRATES goes ‘over’ the abbreviation for International



2d Actor‘s wife involved in search (5)
SWIFT The abbreviation for Wife inserted into (involved in) a verb meaning to search item by item

3d Straighten out former nurse (6)
EXTEND The two-letter word used to indicate former followed by a verb meaning to nurse

4d Artist in promise to return with actor (6)
DARROW A reversal (to return) of the abbreviation for artist inserted into a promise gives us the actor who played Avon in Blake’s Seven

5d Opening of hotel in French resort (5)
NICHE Insert the abbreviation for Hotel into a French resort

7d Puny models left out posing with Prolixic? (9)
PSEUDONYM Remove the L (left out) from PUNY MODElS and an anagram (posing) of the remaining letters will probably give you the same DOH moment as I had when I realised what the definition was

8d Out to lunch with a pair of swingers! (4)
NUTS An informal term for crazy or a informal term for parts of the body (I wrote oo-er by this when test solving!)

9d African‘s playing the piano around India (9)
ETHIOPIAN An anagram (playing) of THE PIANO goes around the letter in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet represented by India

10d At first aircraft’s pilot recklessly overshoots nearing his parking area? (5)
APRON The initial letters (at first) of Aircrafts Pilot Recklessly Overshoots Nearing

11d In honour of former prime-minister, singer departs later (5,4)
AFTER THAT A way of saying in honour of and the surname of a former prime-minister, once you have removed (departs) the last four letters which just happen to be the name of one of crosswordland’s favourite singers

12d Oily cysts ruptured leading to cell break down (9)
CYTOLYSIS An anagram (ruptured) of OILY CYSTS

17d Iraqi bishop embraces bird (4)
IBIS Lurking in (embraced by) IraqI BIShop

22d Carpet salesman is on edge with joiner (9)
REPRIMAND A salesman, an edge and a ‘joining’ word

24d Sluggish and stupid priest replaced by rector (5)
INERT Take a synonym for stupid and replace the P for Priest with an R for Rector

26d It’s illuminating having time with labour leader during period of obscurity (4,5)
NEON LIGHT Insert a [long] period of time and the L that is the ‘leader’ of Labour into a period of obscurity

27d Duck out of meal with Mike’s predecessor (4)
TEAL An afternoon meal plus the letter that precedes the letter represented by Mike in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

28d This healing leads to really scathing exchange (7)
CRYSTAL An anagram (exchange) of REALLY SCATHING gives you the solution and the word HEALING

29d Futile statement from the Green Party? (7)
USELESS An old friend of the crossword solver and the Green Party – just USE LESS

31d Boss follows Jack into Titanic (5)
JUMBO The T in Titanic is a misleading capital. Follow the abbreviation for Jack (in a pack of cards) with the central boss of a shield

35d Material in minutes editor reviewed (5)
DENIM A reversal (reviewed) of some abbreviated minutes and an editor

37d Troop leader on pack transporter (4)
TRAM The ‘leader’ of Troop and a verb meaning to pack

38d With big mouths bores may travel here (9)
ESTUARIES These bores being waves

39d Rod’s on-line call is rambling (9)
WANDERING A slender rod, the letter used to indicate on-line or electronic and a verb meaning to call

41d Giving up plastering (9)
RENDERING Double definition

43d Enraged at breeding animal (5,4)
GREAT DANE An anagram (breeding) of ENRAGED AT

47d Fat alto falling for Ohio’s leader (4)
LORD Take a type of fat and change the A for alto to the abbreviation for the State of Ohio

49d Director works supported by leading lady (6)
MILLER A works supported by the regnal cipher of our current Queen (leading lady)

50d Big entertainer pinches last of jokes (6)
COSMIC An amusing entertainer ‘pinches’ the last letter of jokes

52d Daggers pulled up from vile bodies (5)
OBELI Lurking in reverse (pulled up) in vILE BOdies

54d Relies on goalkeeper (5)
BANKS Double definition

56d Scriptwriter avoids writing in paper for unionist (5)
DICKS This Doctor Who scriptwriter and producer can be obtained by ‘writing’ in the newspaper known by a single letter instead of the U for Unionist

57d Chat on the radio with singer (4)
TORK A homophone (on the radio) of a synonym for chat gives us a member of the Monkees

21 comments on “NTSPP – 516

  1. :phew:
    This giant puzzle took me several sessions but was well worth the effort as it all gradually came together with a mixture of easy and hard clues plus everything in between. Prolixic’s deviousness and his humour were in evidence, and, although I have a nagging feeling I may have missed some, I counted 15 celebrities all of whom I had heard of.

    The person who evoked the most 44a for me was 4d who starred in one of my favourite programmes around 40 years ago.

    I’d never heard of the healing in 28d and I can’t parse 59a.

    8d raised a big smile and 58a was my favourite.

    Well done, Prolixic, on a veritable tour de force, and thank you for keeping me enjoyably occupied this afternoon.

    1. Not finished this yet (8hrs driving today) but I think if you insert the ‘dropped off’ H(usband) after the O, and split it 2,3 you would get an exasperated phrase such as 47?

    2. For 59a I think you need to start with an informal term for husband (3,3) and drop off the abbreviation for 47d.

      1. Thanks very much, LbR and Gazza. I suspect Gazza’s take is the intended interpretation but LbR deserves a gold star for ingenuity.

        1. Too many Graun crosswords I suspect – you can apparently write whatever you like over there… :wacko: :smile:

      2. I can’t find that abbreviation in Chambers online, OED nor Collins BBB
        If you tell me it’s in the BRB I’ll be astonished – are you sure Gazza?
        I’ll take your word for it if it is…

        1. Both my Chambers and Collins have Ld meaning Lord (as a title). I have to confess that I knew this because I test solved this crossword for Prolixic and, although that clue has changed since the version I saw, the abbreviation was used in the original clue and I did check it then.

              1. Remove ‘god’ from ‘good man’. I’m sure ladies used to introduce their husbands by saying ‘and this is my good man’.

  2. We of course had to use Google extensively as many of the ‘celebs’ were unfamiliar to us, but we did eventually suss them all out apart from 56d where we revealed the two missing letters. The whole exercise has somewhat delayed our Sunday morning walk but well worth it.
    Biggest chuckle came from 33a.
    Thanks Prolixic.

  3. Strange how, out of so many clues, the relationship between 47d & 59a proved to be the sticking point. I rather like LbR’s take on that one!

    Thanks to Prolixic for the 44a. It’s quite a relief not to have to squint at that grid for any longer……………

  4. I’m well into single figures “clues left to solve”, after spending a fair bit of the early evening on it. Hopefully a good night’s sleep will yield the rest.
    I rather liked 47d as a standalone clue (given my surname plus it’s a fine clue) and 33a across and the accompanying swIngers at 8d were amusing to say the least. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable exercise, thanks Prolixic.

  5. loved that and very clever too Thanks to the pseudonymous ProliXic and CS. That was the “Nuts”
    Extensive use of the BBc’s list of the departed this year helped too.
    I needed a nudge or too especially as my Welsh town was Barry as in Gibb for a while. Sues explanations parsed a few bung ins too.
    PS spoiler for 50d is open

  6. Many thanks for the marathon pictorial review, CS, loved the pic of Gordon Banks catching the dog.
    Pleased to say that I had all the right answers, even though I do prefer my original interpretation of the wordplay for 59a!
    Think it was 1a that took the longest time to crack – couldn’t find the right ‘expert’ for quite a while.

    Many thanks to Prolixic – sad to reflect on how many famous faces we’ve lost this year.

    PS Churlish to mention in light of all your hard work, CS, but you’ve neglected to add the ‘base’ into the hint for 20a.

  7. Thanks, that was a treat. Quite a few late entries to the list, so must have been put together quite recently. Did someone give Prolixic an extra week as a Christmas present?

  8. Many thanks to all for the comments. Every time I was going to sit down and prepare the grid, someone else died and so there were several revisions! Fortunately, I had time off before Christmas during which I was able to complete the clues.

    As ever I am grateful to Crypticsue for the review and to her and Gazza for their amazing ability to test solve at the drop of a hat.

    Wishing everyone a happy New Year.

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