NTSPP – 520 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 520

NTSPP – 520

Birthday by Prolixic

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Prolixic produced a couple of themed crosswords for the 11th Birthday Bash – this has a fairly obvious Nina round the perimeter of the grid; the second one will be coming your way in a few weeks’ time


8a Military Intelligence leaves to prevent complaint (4)
STYE Remove the abbreviation for Military Intelligence from a verb meaning to prevent which I always think of as a golf term often used by my Granny who was quite a golfer in her day

9a Articles left by unknown species of marten can be identified (10)
ANALYSABLE Two lots of indefinite articles, the abbreviation for Left, a mathematical unknown and a species of marten

10a This drink is brewed for dry Greek Inn (6)
ENERGY An anagram (brewed) of DRY GREEK INN gives you the solution and the word DRINK

11a Tense graduate describing inspirational woman’s tumour (8)
TERATOMA The abbreviation for Tense and a Master of Arts (graduate) between which is inserted the Greek Muse of Erotic Poetry (inspirational woman)

13a The French pursuing very old animal (4)
VOLE The French definite article ‘pursuing’ or going after the abbreviations for Very and Old

14a In hand! (10)
HOMEWORKER A clever combination of the place we are when we are in and a hand go together to make someone who fits the cryptic definition in the clue

18a Look over drowned valley (3)
RIA The drowned valley that crossword solvers tend not to know is a reversal (over) of a look

19a Charity accepted by old railway company (4)
ALMS The abbreviation for accepted and the abbreviated name of an old railway company

20a Middle Eastern independent gunners force (5)
IRAQI The abbreviations for Independent and the Royal Artillery (gunners) and an alternative spelling for a life force

21a Trains birds (4)
EMUS Double definition, the first referring to a multiple unit train consisting of self-propelled carriages, using electricity as the motive power (can you tell I copied that definition?!)

22a Investigate issues periodically (3)
SUS A slang term meaning to investigate is found in the periodic letters of iSsUeS

23a Prepare drink, one for Oscar and Dicky? (5,5)
DRESS SHIRT A verb meaning to prepare and an informal term for a drink, where the O (Oscar) should be replaced with an I (one)

26a Joseph holds back bread in Havana (4)
PESO Lurking in reverse (holds back) in jOSEPh

27a See storm raging in area of UK (8)
SOMERSET An anagram (raging) of SEE STORM

31a Inimitable Earl involved in working away (3-3)
ONE-OFF The abbreviation for Earl inserted between (involved in) an adverb meaning working and another meaning away

32a Burden of father touring Spain with crew (4-6)
DEAD-WEIGHT A informal term for a father ‘touring’ the IVR code for Spain followed by the abbreviation for With and a rowing crew

33a Description of small mushroom returned (4)
SPEC A reversal (returned) of the abbreviation for small and a type of mushroom


1d Central loop briefly tailored into part of uniform (4,6)
ETON COLLAR An anagram (tailored) of CENTRAL LOOp (briefly telling you to leave off the last letter of loop)

2d Author comes close to abandoning academy students (8)
LEARNERS Edward the author of nonsense verse etc and a verb meaning comes close to, the latter losing the A that is the abbreviation for Academy

3d What’s needed for relaxed committee meetings (4,6)
EASY CHAIRS A cryptic definition that made me smile

4d Big pole put in tub (4)
VAST The abbreviation for the South pole put in a tub

5d One seeing Indian nursemaid we hear (4)
EYER A homophone (we hear) of an Indian nursemaid – if you have seen the Nina then it confirms whether it is the one who sees or the nursemaid that is the solution

6d Talk‘s topic promoting leading character (6)
NATTER Take another word for a topic and promote or change the first letter to the next one along in the alphabet

7d Original substance extracted from waxy lemons (4)
YLEM Hidden (extracted from) in waxY LEMons

12d First lady‘s composed after losing pounds (3)
EVE Lose the letters used to represent Pounds Sterling from each side of a word meaning composed or well-balanced

15d Two routes around a Florida resort (5)
MIAMI Two lots of a particular motorway (routes) go round A (from the clue)

16d Reportedly spoil fur on son’s tops (10)
WAISTCOATS A homophone (reportedly) of spoil and some fur followed by (on in a down clue) the abbreviation for Son


17d I reuse film processed with surfactant (10)
EMULSIFIER An anagram (processed) of I REUSE FILM

21d President enters petrol station to get coffee (8)
ESPRESSO An abbreviation for president is inserted into (enters) a particular petrol station

24d Swimwear maker went into Somalia (6)
SPEEDO Passed water (went) inserted into the IVR code for Somalia


25d A bit of manure removed from country garden (3)
HOE A verb meaning to garden is obtained by removing the first letter (a bit) of Manure from one’s mother country

28d Finished on top of extra (4)
OVER Triple definition

29d Cook three ways (4)
STEW The abbreviation for street and two compass points equals ‘three ways’

30d Oddly removed strongest clothes (4)
TOGS Remove the odd letters from sTrOnGeSt

27 comments on “NTSPP – 520

  1. Rather glad that I wasn’t trying to solve this at the Birthday Bash with no access to Mr Google!
    Not sure that I’ve correctly parsed 10a but think I got everything else sorted out OK – the ones I liked best were father’s burden and the relaxation for a committee meeting.

    Many thanks, Prolixic, hope you’re enjoying the day.

  2. A soon as I saw the grid I was on Nina alert which I was able to deduce with a few checkers – that helped
    Fairly mild for a Prolixic I thought but good fun so thanks to him
    Would someone buy a round from me at the bash and I’ll put a cheque in the post. Cheers!

    1. Ho hum – didn’t even spot it and it would have been very helpful in determining the correct first letter for 6d!
      Think we might have to settle for buying each other a consolation drink so you owe me for a glass of Malbec and let me know what you’d like in return.

          1. Two sorts of Malbec on the Bridge House wine list;-

            EL BAR MALBEC (VE)
            Lush, dark black fruits and a hint of silky chocolate

            ZUCCARDI Q MALBEC (VE)
            Made by one of South America’s most acclaimed and exciting young winemakers in the high altitude region of the Uco Valley, Argentina; a powerful and rich Malbec with classic dark fruit flavours and chocolately tobacco notes.

            Second one sounds like my cup of tea – Let’s hope there is some left next year.

                1. Better ask them to keep a case or two until next year. Meanwhile have a drink for us all. Thank you for a great puzzle and apt theme. Have I seen 24d recently? Big LOL when that one “went” in

                2. But there’s me, John Bee and LbR so it will have to be at least enough for the three of us – unless you’re planning to join in when it will increase to four!

                  Thank you for the greetings – hope you’ve enjoyed the party and my apologies for being so tardy where the Nina of the day was concerned. At least you now know that I worked everything out ‘all by my own self’!

                  1. Hope you enjoy your Malbec when the time comes – I’m going to open a bottle tonight with my steak.

  3. Tackled before any intake of caffeine so some head scratching required, but probably not as much as for some Prolixic’s, especially some MPPs, including electronic assistance and reveals.
    Favourite has to be 14a.
    Thanks to Prolixic and CS(?) for tomorrow’s review.

  4. The solve became much easier once we had sorted out the Nina. Excellent fun and hope all of you at the Bash are having fun too.
    Thanks Prolixic.

  5. Evening all. Just back from a very pleasant BB, which was a most intimate gathering (one large tablesworth!). It was nice see Woody and Mrs Woody from America popping in to say hello.

    I enjoyed this puzzle a lot, with its apposite Nina. 7d was new word for me but easily derivable from the clue. I can’t parse 10a.

    Many thanks to Prolixic and in advance to CS.

    1. Pleased to hear that you had a good day but sorry that the numbers were down on previous years. Perhaps the rail problems made a contribution in that direction?
      You obviously didn’t need Mr Google’s help as much as I did with this one – I reckon there were 5 that I had to either look-up or check.
      Very relieved to hear that I’m not alone where the parsing of 10a is concerned – the letters are all there but rather randomly dispersed. I guess we’ll have to wait until tomorrow for enlightenment!

  6. Small gathering here today, too. I had just two left before I thought to look for the nina! I, too, cannot parse 10A. New words in 7D and 11A required a Goggle trip. 24D made me smile. Thanks Prolixic.

  7. Found it quite mild for a Prolixic.
    The Nina did help but I wasn’t too sure where it started from and penciled in eleven years of crossword solves until our host appeared.
    Thanks to Prolixic and to CS for the review.

    1. Hi J-L. We missed your excellent macaroons yesterday (and your company too!).

      You wait until you see Prolixic’s second themed puzzle which was handed out at the BB yesterday and is due to appear on the blog in a couple of weeks’ time. He’s really ramped up the difficulty with that one, and I don’t think you’ll be using the word “mild” to describe it.

  8. I found this quite a challenge but managed to complete with having to google – although I did have to check a spelling in the BRB. The trains didn’t give me any trouble, although I thought the term was specialist railway parlance. The nina certainly helped, although I took a while, like J-LC, to realise where it started.
    3dn made me smile, too – as chairman of a committee I like to think of our meetings as relaxed.
    Thanks to Prolixic and crypticsue.

  9. Completed with just a very small help from the hints, excellent. But the first letter of 23A doesn’t fit in with the nina.

      1. Had wrong answer for 19A and was misled by the wrong nina suggested in comment 7 which didn’t help.
        By the way I have started the second themed crossword but only got four clues written in so far, definitely a toughie.

  10. Many thanks for the review, CS, one of these days I won’t be fooled by those subtractive anagrams.
    By the way – I had a different clue for 6d – ‘Talk’s topic promoting leading character’.

    Rather dreading the next puzzle from Prolixic, given RD’s comment!

    1. I first met this crossword two weeks ago and although it would appear otherwise, I do have other things to do besides providing crossword blogs and so I drafted the review then so that all I would have to do today is publish the review.

      BD told me that he’d had one clue changed, so I altered that in the review, but our lovely setter didn’t tell me he’d changed a clue before he sent it to BD. I had a million things to do this morning so didn’t double check that my review matched the final version of the crossword before I published it. It does now

      Oh and the next puzzle, I’ve just checked and it took me just under twice as long to finish as this one

  11. This was my weekend’s treat! I enjoyed it very much and thought it rather clever. Perfect for the 11th Birthday celebrations. Found the Nina early on and that helped. I learned a couple of new words, 18a for one. My favorite clues were 3d, which made me laugh, 14a, and 23a. Incidentally, I had a somewhat different clue for 5d. I did manage to parse it…

    Many thanks to Prolixic for an excellent puzzle, and to Crypticsue for her excellent review.

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