NTSPP – 573 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

NTSPP – 573

Many Happy Returns by Prolixic

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Had we been able to meet at The Bridge House then this puzzle would have been distributed to attendees.  This year it is only available here.

Even though a gathering this year is not possible, there’s still the opportunity to solve a celebratory crossword  This one has a very helpful NINA


8     Ogle and seem deliriously joyful (8)
GLEESOME An anagram (deliriously) of OGLE and SEEM

9     Old rector in diocese hosts independent party (6)
SOIREE The abbreviations for Old and Rector inserted into a diocese and then I (independent) is inserted (hosts)

10     Costume’s trimmed by senior player (10)
OUTFIELDER A truncated (trimmed) costume put by a synonym for senior

11     Sight found in Hautes-Pyrénées (4)
ESPY Found hidden in HautES-PYrenees

12     Pulse of Australian sprinter returning after event (6)
LEGUME A reversal (returning) of an Australian native that ‘sprints’ rather than flies goes after an event

14     Charm one’s way in (8)
ENTRANCE Double definition

15    Most forthright – like Kojak compared with Starsky and Hutch (7)
BALDEST In a competition to see who had the least hair, Kojak would obviously win!

17     Camp on-site by a Baltic state (7)
ESTONIA An anagram (camp) of ON SITE by A (from the clue)

20    Marks test driver with manual / automatic transmission abilities initially (8)
STIGMATA The test driver on Top Gear with the initial letter of Manual Automatic Transmission Abilities

22     A state queen’s response (6)
ANSWER A (from the clue) the abbreviation for an Australian state and the regnal cipher of our current Queen

24     Heroines oddly lacking in years (4)
EONS The even letters (oddly lacking) of hErOiNeS

25    Uses a booth redesigned for riverside accommodation (10)
HOUSEBOATS An anagram (redesigned) of USES A BOOTH

27     Elect to put books in vessel (4,2)
VOTE IN The abbreviation for the books of the Old Testament inserted into a blood vessel

28     From Chapter I verse 1 in letter to the Romans (2,6)
AB INITIO The Latin expression meaning from the very beginning


1     I think up way to shed light on… (6)
ILLUME I (from the clue) a reversal (up) of a verb meaning to think, and a compass point (way)

2     …personality of small dwarf (4)
SELF The abbreviation for Small and a dwarf

3     Dull Strictly host eats a bit of lettuce (8)
TONELESS One of the Strictly hosts ‘eats’ ONE (a) and a ‘bit’ of Lettuce

4    More upper class without capital could be less substantial (7)
WEEDIER An adjective meaning resembling something more upper-class without its first letter (capital)

5    Liveliness of fizzy drink with elevated indication of additives (6)
ESPRIT A brand of fizzy drink with the E (indication of additives) elevated to the front of the word

6     Trials Boer arranged for freedom fighters (10)
LIBERATORS An anagram (arranged) of TRIALS BOER

7     Proves Puccini discovered Italian navigator (8)
VESPUCCI Found (discovered) in proVES PUCCIni

13    Peacekeeper’s journal editor has not thought about (10)
UNDIGESTED The abbreviation for the peace keeping organisation, a journal and an abbreviated editor

16    Insect house zoo finally covered with Australian corals? (8)
ANTHOZOA An insect, an abbreviated house and the final letter of zoo ‘covered’ or replaced by the abbreviation for Australian

18    On-line ridicule after supermarket produces piece of pork (5,3)
SPARE RIB A supermarket chain, and the letter used to indicate something is ‘on-line’ and a verb meaning to ridicule

19    Miss our award prepared for this sword (7)
SAMURAI An anagram prepared of MISS OUR AWARD will produce the word SWORD and its name

21     Suffering of a church in Gabon (6)
ACHING A (from the clue) the abbreviation for church, IN (from the clue) and the IVR Code for Gabon

23     Mean opponents story is heard (6)
ENTAIL Two bridge opponents and a homophone (is heard) of a story

26     Poet‘s about to leave problem in 2020 (4)
OVID Remove (to leave) the abbreviation for about from a problem which began in 2020 and sadly doesn’t show any sign of going away. Luckily for me, there’s still some blog birthday cake left in the tin. :yahoo:

Thanks to Prolixic for another fine NTSPP and BD for twelve years of cruciverbal support and entertainment

39 comments on “NTSPP – 573

  1. A few new words for me but a bundle of fun so solve with a nice message to boot
    Particularly liked the fizzy drink, the driver, supermarket etc
    Many thanks Prolixic, roll on next year

  2. A gentle stroll which the message helped with, particularly the NW corner, though looking back, I can’t see why that held me up. The coral was a new one for me.

    Thanks to Prolixic and BD

  3. Another Prolixic puzzle solved pre-caffeine on my Saturday morning!
    A good start in the NE which helped me to ‘pencil in’ a lot of the Nina.
    The coral was also new to me and I am still trying to understand the parsing of 19d which I ‘bunged in’ because it couldn’t be anything else.
    Interestingly, 25a can also produce a different type of ‘riverside accommodation’ which held me up for a while.
    I really liked 28a and 18d.
    Thanks to Prolixic and, in advance, to CS.

    1. 19d – the first three words are fodder which resolves to your answer complete with ‘******* sword’

      1. . . . and I still don’t get it. :sad: never mind – something to look forward to in CS’s review tomorrow.

        1. Kath…an anagram of the first three words of the clue will give you the solution (this) plus the word sword

      2. Ah – now I see – thanks everyone – you can all call me slow on the uptake if you like but I would never have seen that.

        1. I must be as thick as a pound of lard because I still don’t understand the parsing of this clue. Can someone please spell it out to me in very simple terms?

            1. Thanks CS & unusually for me I’ve just spotted the Nina! Thanks also to Prolixic for a pleasant distraction from a miserable cold January day. We’ve not seen our grandsons since before Christmas & they only live 15 miles away. Roll on spring.

              1. We had a video chat with our grandchildren in Northern Ireland yesterday, which was great but nothing beats seeing them in person for a big hug

          1. It’s known as a compound anagram, and Prolixic usually manages to fit one into most of his puzzles. Basically the phrase MISS OUR AWARD is an anagram (prepared) of “answer”+ SWORD. To put this differently, drop the letters that make up SWORD from the phrase and find an anagram of what remains – MISS OUR AWARD – SWORD = MIS U AAR.

    2. Me too with the riverside digs – confidently bunged in & bet you twigged the error quicker than me.

  4. Nice straightforward one – completely missed the Nina until mentioned here – must start looking for them sooner! 9a, 20a and 28a were my favourites

  5. Glad I wasn’t solving this in The Bridge House because there were certainly a few things I needed to ‘look up’ although I guessed the Nina quite early on which helped enormously. My education was sadly lacking where 7d was concerned so that meant a few new facts were learned today and I couldn’t bring to mind either the corals or the Latin phrase.
    So much to enjoy in this one – my podium places went to 9&20a plus 18d with 18d taking the gold star.

    Many thanks, Prolixic, hope to see you at the birthday Zoom.

  6. Not such a gentle stroll for me, but a tramp at a steady pace over some rough terrain! The final few hills were overcome after discerning the Nina and recalling distant O level studies. Last to go in was the coral; it took a while for the penny to drop on the construction. My favourites today were 10a, 28a, 5d, 18d and 19d. A very enjoyable challenge, Prolixic. My thanks to you, BD and all the team. I look forward to many more Happy Returns :-)

  7. Well I’m with Spartacus. No gentle stroll for me either more a rigorous hike over challenging terrain. Given that I usually miss the message when it’s clockwise from the NW can’t believe I actually twigged it this time, which certainly helped. Fell 1 short of a finish as my Latin is non existent & wasn’t familiar with the term but pleased to get 16d from the wordplay. Don’t get the middle bit of the 3d wordplay, can’t parse 4d & still don’t understand 19d even after LBR’s comment to Senf.
    All very enjoyable with plenty of clever clues. 9,10,12&20a plus 7,13&20d were the picks for me.
    Many thanks Prolixic

    1. 4d the capital refers the first letter
      19d didn’t see this either before senf’s note: an anagram (prepared) will give ‘answer (this) + sword’

    2. In 3d, I believe that 1 letter in the clue is responsible for 3 letters in the answer. No doubt CS will clarify everything!

  8. This was great fun and a very nice mixture of straightforward and complex clues sprinkled with the sort of deviousness we have come to expect from Prolixic. I got the T, W and V in the top row very early on which helped with the NINA, which in turn helped with the solving.

    28a took a bit of unravelling, and I needed to look up 16d.

    My podium comprises 9a, 20a & 18d.

    Many thanks to Prolixic for an enjoyable and fitting contribution to the anniversary!

  9. Many thanks Prolixic!

    I wasn’t sure exactly what the Nina was going to be for a while but saw it halfway through, which helped with the rest.

    Many happy returns indeed and fond memories of the Bridge – maybe 2022.

  10. I don’t know if I’d have solved this without the Nina, the order of which I spotted early on and a few visits to Mr G. Although I haven’t parsed it all I have a full grid. I thought there was a little bit of low hanging fruit nicely balanced by some really clever stuff.
    I particularly liked 9,12&14a plus 23d with top spot going to 18d.
    Many thanks Prolixic.

  11. Excellent fun that had us working hard. Kicking ourselves that we did not make it easier for ourselves by looking for the Nina earlier in the solve.
    Thanks Prolixic.

  12. Just in case anyone can remember what a party is I have a new party game – it’s called “Hunt the Nina”! It took me so long to find it that it was almost no help at all.
    This was certainly not a ‘piece of cake’ for me, even if it is one of CS’s birthday cakes.
    It’s taken ages, which is fine – it’s not as if I’m snowed under with other pressing things to do.
    I still don’t ‘get’ 19d even after several ‘hints’ and don’t quite trust my 1d either. Husband got 28a but it looks a bit funny to me and I can’t see ‘why’, or even if, it’s right.
    I’m sure all will be revealed tomorrow so thanks to Prolixic for the crossword and, in advance, to CS for the review tomorrow.

  13. No stroll in the park for us either more like a slow trek over icy patches but we did spot most of the Nina which helped. We couldn’t parse 19d until we had help from above – by that I mean from LbR. Thank you. Still unable to fully parse some of the other answers and needed help for 16d and 28a. Nevertheless enjoyed the challenge. Thank you Prolixic and to CS for the review tomorrow and a very big thank you to Big Dave for his superb site. Love it!

  14. An elegant review from CS, but do we have an ambiguity in 28a?! Is it AB… meaning ‘From the beginning’ or AD… meaning ‘At the beginning’? The original English text is, of course, ‘In the beginning’, so which did Prolixic intend? :unsure:

    1. When I say ‘meaning’, I expect I am revealing the limitations of my O level Latin – Latin scholars may have other ideas!

    2. I see that the letter reveal indeed shows AB. The evidence for initio being the ablative case of initium also demands AB (although the preposition may be considered redundant?). Definitely the last time I rely on my very rusty O level Latin without electronic assistance!

  15. A late comment from me to say how very much I enjoyed solving this last evening.
    I found this Birthday puzzle good fun and most entertaining. My fave has to be 15a which really made me laugh! I also particularly liked 20a, 5d and 18d.
    I’ve learned a new word, 16d, having worked out the parsing and then checking in BRB. Like Kath and others, I didn’t see 19d! Very subtle indeed!
    Many thanks to Prolixic. And many thanks to CS for the clear and beautifully illustrated review. Oh dear… that Birthday Cake looks too tempting for words…

  16. Many thanks for the review, CS, although I think it’s rather mean of you to wave that cake under our noses again. I could just do with a slice……….

  17. Most enjoyable. Spotted the nina about half way through, which helped (particularly in the NW corner) but even then I needed further help for 16dn.
    Thanks, Prolixic and CS – and special thanks to BD without whom none of this would be possible.

  18. Thanks to Crypticsue for the blog and to all who have enjoyed the reduced birthday celebrations. Many happy returns to the blog. With a bit of luck next year we can celebrate in a little more style with real ale and real cake!

Comments are closed.