NTSPP 746 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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A Puzzle by Prolixic

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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Prolixic always sets a challenging crossword but I thought this one was trickier than most.  Would it have helped if I'd spotted the Nina earlier?  Have I any idea what the Nina means?  I'm sorry to disappoint the commenters who thought the review would explain all, but, even after looking at the completed grid on and off for ages,  like them I have no idea what EVIL DOUBLE PLOT DEVICE round the edge of the grid actually means


5a  Rave about something Bowdlerisers deplore? (6)
EFFUSE: Bowdlerisers deplore the use of swear words, euphemistic or otherwise

7a  Sub-editor admitting lecturer screamed (8)
BELLOWED: Sub in the sense of under and an abbreviated editor ‘admitting’ the abbreviation for Lecturer

9a  This provides protection for fencer (8)
CREOSOTE: A cryptic definition of something used to protect fences

10a  Familiar with composition of duets by Oscar (4,2)
USED TO: An anagram (composition) of DUETS followed by the letter represented by Oscar in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

11a  Meeting to bury group leader in recess (12)
INTERSECTION: A synonym for bury, a group and a reversal of an informal way of referring to a leader

13a  Fourth queen comes back to capital... (6)
VIENNA: A reversal (comes back) of a Queen’s name and the Roman numeral for four

15a  ...with another taking part in common assault (6)
NASSAU: Another capital is hidden in the last two words of the clue

18a  "Without any change he got Tiffany bag" - that's blarney (4,2,3,3)
GIFT OF THE GAB: Remove the ANY and then change or make an anagram of the remaining letters in HE GOT TIFFany BAG

21a  Allow ITV quiz show to waste time (6)
ENABLE: The name of an ITV quiz show without (to waste) the abbreviation for Time at the beginning of the name

22a  Drive through Naples arranged to find architectural feature (8)
SPANDREL: The abbreviation for drive inserted into (through) an anagram (arranged) of NAPLES

23a  Pleas of state criminals (8)
DEFENCES: The abbreviation for the American State of Delaware and some criminals who dispose of stolen goods

24a  A German steals queen's horse (6)
EQUINE: The female German word for A ‘steals’ the  abbreviation for Queen



1d  Continental design of a universal opener (8)
EUROPEAN: An anagram (design) of A U (universal) OPENER

2d  Stops surgeons injecting old drug (6)
VETOES: Some animal surgeons into which is inserted (injecting) the abbreviation for Old and the abbreviation for the drug Ecstasy

3d  Fancy picture omits Italian restaurant (8)
ILLUSION: A picture or diagram without (omits) an informal name for an Italian restaurant

4d  Nothing's fashionable for hippy meeting? (4-2)
LOVE-IN: Nothing, no score and the usual two-letter fashionable

6d  Judicial warning thus describes nationalist (8)
FORENSIC: A warning on the golf course and the Latin word meaning thus ‘describes’ or goes round the abbreviation for Nationalist

7d  Launch of blocked drain cleaner (6)
BLEACH: The first letter (launch) of Blocked and a verb meaning to drain away

8d  Places not opening for food (4)
EATS: Places without its first letter gives a word for food that causes muttering every time it appears in a crossword

12d  Criticise expert's article about cure-alls (8)
PANACEAN: A synonym for criticise, an expert and an indefinite article

14d  Outdoor director leaves Hitchcock's company? (8)
ALFRESCO: The abbreviation for Director leaves the forename of Mr Hitchcock, the abbreviation for company is then added at the end

16d  Promotes amphetamine drink (6,2)
SPEEDS UP: A slang name for amphetamine and a verb meaning to drink

17d  Crows seen in top of brick kilns (6)
BOASTS: The ‘top’ of Brick and some kilns

18d  Slough's about to concede cup (6)
GOBLET: A reversal (about) of a slough or marsh followed by a verb meaning to concede

19d  Go with tenor meeting composer (6)
TRAVEL: The abbreviation for Tenor and a French composer

20d  Money invested in clean technology (4)
ANTE: Hidden in the last two words of the clue



15 comments on “NTSPP 746
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  1. A typical Prolixic NTSPP – caffeine required! A good cranial workout to start my Saturday.

    I was unfamiliar with the 21a quiz show but, with all the checkers, I able to ‘work backwards.’

    Smiles for 7a, 9a, 2d – once I realised the speciality of the surgeons, 4d, and 14d.

    Thanks to Prolixic and in advance to CS.

  2. Not as tough as Prolixic can be, but still quite challenging. I enjoyed the solve, but I am perplexed about the meaning of the perimeter Nina.

    My top picks were 5a, 4d & 14d.

    Many thanks to Prolixic and in advance to whomever.

    1. Tarnation, I thought you’d have it all worked out! Currently, I’m torn between the bible and King Lear!

  3. As expected, quite a challenging NTSPP from our setter. I did have to check on the architectural feature and still don’t know what the ITV quiz show may be but fortunately it wasn’t essential to know for the gridfill.
    Smiles and ticks for 5,7,9&24a plus 3,14&18d. Slapped wrist for 8d which I refuse to accept as a noun.

    Thanks to Prolixic – I look forward to reading what the review has to say about the perimeter nina.

  4. The bottom half went in without too much head scratching apart from having the wrong ending for 12d which held me up for a while. Top half proved more of a struggle. Still pondering the parsing of 3d. Needed a couple of reveals to finish. Smiles for 7a 9a and biggest one of all for 5a when the penny dropped. No doubt the significance of the Nina will register eventually! Many thanks to Prolixic for the challenge.

  5. Quite challenging and, like Jeemz, I needed a couple of letter reveals at the end to get me home. Totally wrong-footed by both 9a and 15a and I haven’t managed to parse 3d. I shall need the review to understand the Nina.

    The two that wrong-footed me make my list of favourites, along with 5a, 23a, 1d, 4d, 7d, 14d and 18d. Thanks to Prolixic for a testing puzzle.

  6. Hard work for us, particularly in the NW, but eventually got it all sorted.
    Big chuckle for 9a.
    Thanks Prolixic.

  7. That was at the trickier end of the Prolixic scale for me. I started out yesterday evening and had ticked 18a, 17d and 18d before grinding to a halt in the NW corner (and 3d). Unravelling those last clues this morning probably took as long as my more productive session at bedtime – perhaps the mug of tea helped. Finally enough pennies dropped to require a trip to the bank when it re-opens on Tuesday. If they didn’t already have exclamation marks beside them I would now also give ticks to 5a, 9a, 2d, 3d & 6d. The quiz show and architectural feature were unknown to me but didn’t hold up proceedings.
    I failed to notice the clear and obvious Nina until reading the comments, but await further advice on the meaning…
    Thank to Prolixic for a very enjoyable challenge and to CS for a nicely illustrated review.

  8. A lot of headscratching and some wordfinder help required but I got there in the end; I liked 9ac and 6dn. I also spotted the nina which helped with my last few in – but I don’t really understand it despite googling for it. Maybe Prolixic will drop by later to reveal all; meanwhile thanks to him and of course to CS.

  9. Thanks to Sue for the review and to all for the comments. There is nothing else that hangs on the Nina other than I heard or read a derogatory review of a book that said that is employed the evil double plot device and decided to incorporate the phrase into a crossword.

  10. Many thanks for the review, CS, I’ve never heard of the quiz show so that explains why I was so reliant on the wordplay and checkers. Perhaps Prolixic wastes time by playing the board game version at home?!

  11. A rather belared comment from me. I always enjoy Prolixic’s crosswords. This was super from start to finish. It did involve some head scratching which, I think, made it all the more enjoyable when the pennies dropped. Alas! I didn’t see the Nina until crypticsue pointed out there was one. Definitely the work of an ‘evil double’! :lol:
    Very difficult choose a favourite from so many excellent clues, but top of my list is 19d. I also particularly like 5a, 13a, 18a, 21a, 23a, 6d, and 12d.
    Much appreciation to Prolixic. And much appreciation too to crycpticsue for the excellent illustrated review.

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