NTSPP – 004 Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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NTSPP – 004 Review

NTSPP – 004 Review

A Bonus Puzzle by Anax

+– + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Anax set out to produce a simpler puzzle. “In setting this one I gave myself the brief of keeping things as simple as possible, which is quite a departure from the typical Anax approach.” In large measure, I think he succeeds – the puzzle was a lot more straightforward than a “typical” Anax masterpiece. However, an easy Anax puzzle still leaves room for a lot of deviousness and humour.

It seems to me that a number of factors distinguish a tough cryptic from a more straightforward one:

  • The complexity of the wordplay. In a straightforward puzzle, you will see one or maybe two wordplay elements, such as put word X inside word Y to find the answer. In a tougher crossword, there maybe three or four wordplay elements, such as put and anagram of A inside a reversal of B and add this to word C. Except for a couple of instances, most of the clues in this crossword are straightforward.
  • Use of obscure words as the answer. Nothing out of the ordinary in this puzzle. A good puzzle does not have to use obscure words.
  • Cleverly disguising the word play indicators and breaks in the clues. One of Anax’s fortes is his ability to mask the breaks in the clues. Although there are fewer hidden joins in this puzzle, I’m glad to see that Anax did not sacrifice the surface readings to make the clues easier to solve.
  • Using obscure definitions of words. My only criticisms of this crossword come with a couple of obscure definitions in 5d and 11d.

On with clues.


3a Duck from Colorado with long face (3,3)
COP OUT – Charade of CO (Colorado) + POUT (long face) to make another word for duck, as in avoiding responsibilities. Note the way in which the contributing words are split from the definition to give the answer.

6a Speed trap? (10)
MOTORMOUTH – Charade of MOTOR (Speed) + MOUTH (trap) that also works as a cryptic definition of someone who talks nineteen to the dozen. One of my favourite clues.

8a Please move out (6)
ASLEEP – Anagram (move) of PLEASE to give another word for out. A delightfully simple clue but not so easy to see the answer.

10a Mad party with short old friend (8)
DOOLALLY – Charade of DO (Party) + OL (short old – missing final letter) + ALLY (friend) to give another word for mad.

11a Doctor has nothing that’s a potion (7)
DRAUGHT – Charade of DR (doctor) + AUGHT (nothing) to give a potion.

12a Simple, carrying fuel to huge retail outlet (9)
MEGASTORE – Container and contents given by GAS (fuel – American term for petrol) + TO, all inside MERE (simple) to give a word for a huge retail outlet.

13a That man Rodney King (5)
HEROD – Charade of HE (that man) + ROD (diminutive of Rodney) to give a biblical King

14a Feeble comedian last to memorise lines (7)
DODDERY – Charade of DODD (comedian Ken Dodd) + E (last letter to memorise) + RY (lines – railway) to give another word for feeble.

15a Lift small cloth (5)
SWIPE – Charade of S (small) + WIPE (cloth) to give another word for lift (as in steal).

18a Have fun while barely touching the drink? (6-3)
SKINNY-DIP – Cryptic definition of someone who swims without any clothes on. Beautifully misleading with the double meaning of drink as alcohol or water (as in the sea).

19a Want covering that is second-class? Use recliner (3,4)
LIE BACK – Container and contents from IE (that is) + B (second class) inside LACK (want) to give the meaning “use recliner”.

21a Judge, after victory, is much more hostile (8)
WINTRIER – Charade of WIN (victory) + TRIER (judge) to give another word for much more hostile.

22a It makes you say “I’m so special”? (6)
EGOISM – Cryptic definition of what an ego manic may say.  Correction!  Anax has pointed out the intended word play is EG (say) + OISM (anagram (special) of IMSO).  I’ve left in my original comment as a testament to my folly (although I would of course argue that it is a semi-reasonable explanation – wouldn’t I!)

24a Chinese food at the back (3,7)
FAR EASTERN – Charade of FARE (food) + ASTERN (at the back) to give another word for Chinese.

25a Juggling act initially had a year in old country (6)
CATHAY – Charade of CAT (anagram (juggling) of act) + H (initially (first letter) of had + A + Y (year) to give an old world for China (think of the airline Cathay Pacific).


1d Where travellers are coming in to wait for attack (9)
BROADSIDE – Container and content given by ROADS (cryptic definition of where travellers are coming in) inside BIDE (wait) to give another word for an attack.

2d Old perk lost when smashing up office furniture (4-3,4)
ROLL-TOP DESK – Anagram (when smashing up) of OLD PERK LOST to give an item of office furniture – one which I have not seen in many a year of office working!

3d Start to collaborate with musical director (5)
CHAIR – Charade of C (first letter (start to)) of collaborate + HAIR (musical) to give another word for a director.

4d Dirty old poet holding Jethro back (7)
POLLUTE – Container and contents given by LLUT ([Jethroe] Tull reversed (back)) inside POE (poet).

ARVE Error: need id and provider

5d Good milk (3)
USE – Double definition Good as in it’s no good/use and Milk as in use or exploit. I’m not sure that GOOD is synonymous with USE even with Anax’s explanation of the usage.

6d French lady forced spy to admit dreadful lies (12)
MADEMOISELLE – Charade plus container and contents and an anagram! MADE (forced) + MOLE (spy) aound ISEL (anagram (dreadful) of lies) to give the French for a lady. The most complex clue in terms of the wordplay.

7d Yet belief has no end (6)
THOUGH – Curtailment (has no end) of though[t] (belief).

9d Dull pop and mature rock (3,1,6,2)
PUT A DAMPER ON – Anagram (rock) of pop and mature do give a word meaning dull.

11d Setter filled up – moving inside, having lost heat? (11)
DEFEMINISED – Charade with reversal and anagram DEFEM (reversal of ME FED (setter filled up – this is a down clue so up means reverse)) + INISED (anagram (moving) of inside) to give a word meaning having lost heat. I can kind of see how you get from having lost heat to defeminised but I think this was possibly too left of field given the purpose of the crossword to provide an easier puzzle.

13d Put under this, peony grows wild (9)
HYPNOTISE – Anagram (grows wild) of this peony to give a word meaning put under. Trademark Anax cluing here with break in the clue carefully disguised and delightfully misleading wordplay. Another of my favourite clues in this crossword.

16d Reveal urge to eat balti regularly (7)
PUBLISH – Container and contents with odd letters giving BLI (odd letters (regular) of balti) inside PUSH (urge) to give a word meaning reveal.

17d Publicity failing to give guidance (6)
ADVICE – Charade of AD (publicity) + VICE (failing) to give a word meaning to give guidance.

20d Snug, as male/female in retiring (5)
COMFY – Container and contents from MF (male/female) inside COY (retiring) to give a word meaning snug.

23d Travel to a province of India (3)
GOA – Charade of GO (travel) + A to give a province of India.

4 comments on “NTSPP – 004 Review

  1. Flippin’ marvellous stuff Prolixic – I’m very honoured to see a review like this and it’s made my day!

    The only amendment I’d make is 22a which wasn’t intended as a cryptic def. The wordplay is E.G. (say) and an anagram of I’M SO (special), whole being a semi-&Lit doodah. Perhaps your reading is a lesson to me; work hard to hide the wordplay and it can disappear entirely, which is no good to anyone.

    1. Ah! You get bonus points for clues that can be solved in one of two ways. I will try and update the notes.

  2. Nice Puzzle Anax and a great review from Prolixic. Very much enjoyed 10a, 14a and 8a but favourite has to be 18a – absolutely cracking cryptic definition.

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