MPP – 001 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP – 001 (Review)

Monthly Prize Puzzle No 1 (June 2012) by Zaphod

In association with Hamlyn Books,

the publishers of Telegraph Crossword Books

A review by Prolixic

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Congratulations to Michael Swanston (Mike in Amble) who is the winner of our very first Monthly Prize Puzzle. His name was randomly selected from the correct entries received.

Solvers were asked to identify the connection between the four names revealed by the perimeter of the completed crossword. Starting at 5d and reading clockwise, the four names were Sinha, Hegerty, Wallace and Labbett. These are the surnames of the four chasers on the British game show The Chase broadcast on ITV and hosted by Bradley Walsh.

The crossword itself was set by Zaphod. Those familiar with the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy will know that Zaphod Beeblebrox had two heads. The two heads behind the crossword itself were Dave Tilley (Tilsit) and Huston Gilmore, one of our regular contributors to the Not the Saturday Prize Puzzle series whose pseudonym is Hieroglyph.

Not only did two heads set the crossword, it certainly seemed from comments on the crossword itself that two brains were needed to solve it! However, with a little bit of perservation, it was solvable and enjoyable to boot, even if a bit of Googling was needed at the end to find the link between the four names revealed.

A full solution to the crossword follows. Well done to everyone who solved and submitted the answer to the question and commiserations to those who did not win this time. Look out for our next Prize Crossword at the beginning of July.  Many thanks to Hamlyn Books for sponsoring the crossword.


8 Martin’s cleaner was awfully bad in delivery (8)
BIRDBATH – This cleaner for a avian creature (Martin) comes from an anagram (awfully) of BAD inside a word meaning delivery (as of a child in the labour ward).

9 After maiden over – “Howzat! Wicket’s gone! Out! It’s a cracker!” (6)
MATZOH – A word for a cracker – a type of unleavened bread eaten during the Passover comes from the abbreviation for a maiden over followed by an anagram (out) of HOWZAT after removing the W for wicket.

10 Couple of bills, one stuck on a tree (6)
ACACIA – A type of tree comes from repeating the abbreviation for a bill or account and following this by an I (one) and the A from the clue.

11 Complaint of reformed Blairites having ousted their leader (8)
LISTERIA – A medical complaint comes from an anagram (reformed) of BLAIRITES after removing the first letter (ousted their leader).

12 Member initiating legislation in Madame’s bedchamber (4)
LIMB – This member (a part of the body) comes from the initial letters (initiating) of Legislation In Madame’s Bedchamber.

13 Mother looking after number one swimmer (10)
DAMSELFISH – A word for a mother followed by a word meaning “looking after number one” give the name of a fish.

14 Official from the church trimmed edge of lawn (5)
VERGE – The edge of a lawn comes from removing the final letter (trimmed) of a church official responsible for preparing for services and the care of the church fabric.

16 Interest arising when posh Home County drops Bible Studies (5)
USURY – A word for interest (financial payments) comes from the abbreviation for posh followed by one of the Home Counties with RE (biblical studies) removed.

21 One Ring – with which leaders of men, elves and orcs struggle for source of power (6,4)
ENGINE ROOM – This source of power comes from an anagram of ONE RING and the first letters (leaders of) Men, Elves and Orcs.

24 Dan’s occupying restricted area (4)
DARE – The surname of the comic book hero Dan is hidden inside (occupying) restricteD AREa.

25 Older form of corruption found in French company at end of year (8)
CRUSTIER – A word meaning older comes from putting a word for a form of corruption found old iron and steel inside one of the abbreviations for a French company and follow this with an R, the final letter in year.

26 Fun joke includes clergyman (6)
GAMING – Put an abbreviation for a clergyman (minister) inside a word for a joke to find a word meaning fun.

27 Shakespearean spirit sounds unsuitable for satellite TV? (6)
AERIAL – A device for picking up TV signals that could not be used for satellite TV sound like a spirit in the Tempest.

28 One who turned up for disastrous teen date (8)
ATTENDEE – A word for a person who turns up at an event is an anagram (disastrous) of TEEN DATE.


1 Perhaps snap that is taken objectionably (7)
BISCUIT – A snap is a representative of this type of snack food. The same word appears in the phrase “to take the *******” which is used where you are referring to an objectionable action.

2 Receptive Miliband to meet Business Secretary about university (8)
EDUCABLE – Put the abbreviation for university inside the first name of Miliband and the surname of the Buisness Secretary (first name VINCE) to find a word meaning receptive or capable of being taught.

3 Pilgrim’s meeting place, thanks to Shakespeare (6)
TABARD – The name of this inn appears in Chaucer’s Canterbury where the pilgrims met. It comes from a word meaning thanks followed by an name given to Shakespeare.

4 Chambers where you’ll find thome thauthage? (7)
THALAMI – These ancient Greek chambers or rooms come from how you would pronounce the name of some type of  sausage if the S was replaced with a TH.

5 Winning individuals who play emphatic shots (8)
SMASHERS – A word for winning or good looking individuals might also describe those good at playing tennis shots.

6 Will’s after vermouth – the very thing! (6)
ITSELF – A word for the very thing comes from the abbreviation for vermouth (Italian) followed by the surname of the author and journalist whose first name is Will.

7 Most inquisitive when without sleep? Not quite! (7)
NOSIEST – If you are without sleep, you might have no siesta. Remove the final letter (no quite) to find a word meaning most inquisitive.

15 I’ll argue sadly that I’m irregular, yet…. (8)
GUERILLA – An anagram (sadly) of ILL ARGUE gives the name of an irregular soldier.

17 … I’m turned out by first principle (8)
RUDIMENT – A word for the first principle or basic tenet of something comes from an anagram (out) of IM TURNED.

18 Tube in which energy is applied to tin, gold and potassium by lecturer (7)
SNORKEL – This air tube used by swimmers to breath under water comes from the chemical symbols for tin (Sn), an word for gold (Or), the chemical symbol for potassium (K) and the abbreviation for lecturer inside which (applied) you add the abbreviation for energy.

19 Relief once afforded to unfortunate Petty Officer and soldiers when meeting city women (4,3)
POOR LAW – This statutory relief once afforded to the unfortunate or destitute comes from the abbreviation for Petty Office, an abbreviation for Other Ranks (soldiers), an abbreviation for a west coast city in America and the abbreviation for women.

20 Playwright taking initial royalties to get computer hardware (7)
PRINTER – A piece of computer hardware comes from the surname of the playwright whose first name is Harold inside which you put the first letter (initial) of royalties.

22 One new way the Italian educate (6)
INSTIL – A word meaning to educate comes from I (one), the abbreviation for street (way) and the Italian for “the”.

23 Great Britain to ditch top two leaders for Miliband premiership (6)
MIGHTY – A word meaning great comes from the informal word that soldiers used to refer to Britain replacing the first two letters with the first letter of Miliband.

16 comments on “MPP – 001 (Review)

  1. Well done to the winner and everyone else who entered the competition. Even if I hadn’t been eligible to enter as I tested the crossword, I don’t watch the programme so the names didn’t ring any bells with me.

    Thanks to Zaphod for a very entertaining first prize puzzle and to Prolixic for the beautifully illustrated explanations – nice to see a different ‘bird’ from the usual :D

  2. Not the done thing to discuss times, but if there was a slow solving race I would definitely be in the frame for this one.
    Definitely tough but very enjoyable, got all the right answers no chance of getting the four names never heard of them or the programme.

    Thanks to Prolixic for the review and to the setters for the entertainment.

    Looking forward to the next one.

  3. Good luck to the winner, and thanks to Prolixic for the explanations. Thanks to Zaphod for a very entertaining puzzle. I managed the lower half quite quickly, then got held up on the top half for ages. I had never heard of the TV programme, but I had Wallace & most of Hegerty from the lower half, and after a google, was able to write in the other two names which helped me solve the top half. Looking forward to the next one.

  4. Congratulations to Michael, thanks to Prolixic & the sponsors, and hope it’s the first of many BDCB prize puzzles :-)

  5. No wonder I could not identify the names – I’ve never heard of The Chase and as for Bradley Walsh -then who he? Still enjoyed solving the puzzle though so thanks to Zaphod & to Prolixic for the review.

  6. Thanks to everyone involved especially the Tilsit half of Zaphod who put me on to it, this was fun.

    I enjoyed solving the nicely constructed crossword but seeing WALLACE and BETT(S) in the perimeter made me think there was a royal family connection near jubilee time. Not knowing what the word lengths or divisions were made research and progress impossible.

    Glad I’m not the only one who was completely baffled by the TV reference. I’m just sorry everyone in this position couldn’t even show their interest and appreciation by making an entry.

    Well done and more please. Will definitely look at the site regularly now.

    1. You’ll find it both useful ,friendly, civilized and amusing and not necessarily in that order.

          1. Strangely enough it was on ITV1 yesterday @ 5:30 – so I thought I’d take a look!

            It was a Celebrity Edition starring Sally Lindsay (?), Jenny Frost (?) and Barry McGuigan – I’ve heard of him!

            The Chaser was Mark Labbett! He lost and lots of money went to charity – so not all bad!

          2. I’ve watched it occasionally and find it quite fun, as quiz shows go! No idea of the chaser’s names though but spotted WALLACE and the rest followed so a bit of Google and hey presto!

  7. I went and tried this because Andy posted the link in TFTT. It was a little too UK-centric for me to do easily, and rather different in style from the Times puzzles I usually do. I never heard of Vince Cable, never mind the theme, but at least I know who Miliband is.

    1. Welcome to the blog vinyl1

      We had correct entries from Australia, India and the USA. Even some UK entrants needed help from Google.

  8. Enjoyed the annotations. Could do most of the clues except for the names, which could have been anything, given the fact that they were from TV shows, essentially for the UK folks. Looking forward to the next one.

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