MPP – 003 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP – 003 (Review)

Monthly Prize Puzzle No 3 (August 2012) by Prolixic

In association with Hamlyn Books,

the publishers of Telegraph Crossword Books

A review by crypticsue

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Congratulations to Slartibartfast who is the winner of our third Monthly Prize Puzzle. Slartibartfast’s name was randomly selected from the correct entries received by Mrs BD and can now choose any two of The Telegraph All New Cryptic Crosswords Books or The Telegraph All New Toughie Crossword Books.   This month there is a special additional prize –   a copy of A Display of Lights (9) by former Telegraph Crossword Editor Val Gilbert, kindly donated by Tilsit.

Solvers were asked to solve a question revealed round the perimeter of the puzzle.  The answer to ‘What is twenty times fifteen?’ is, of course, 300.



7a           Start to include vitamin in drink (5)
WINCE –   To start involuntarily with pain –  simply insert vitamin C into WINE (drink).

8a           Final tree felled to make additional page (9)
INTERLEAF  –  The apt anagram indicator, felled,  tells us to rearrange FINAL TREE to produce a blank page inserted between two pages in a book.

10a         Lady’s answer about part of  Ulster problem (6)
HERNIA –   The female personal pronoun, the abbreviation for Northern Ireland (part of Ulster) and A (answer) go together to produce that medical problem, the rupture or HERNIA.

11a         Briefly note advisors’ special vehicles (8)
MINICABS – Taxis that can be ordered by telephone, not stopped in the street.   Almost all of a MINI[M] (briefly indicates that you don’t need the final letter)  the abbreviation for those advisers, the Citizens Advice Bureau, and S (special).

12a         Timeless stories about Irish state’s old benefits system? (3,5)
AIR MILES –  Remove T for time from TALES (stories) and insert the abbreviation for the Irish Republic and the abbreviation for the State of Michigan, and split the result 3,5 in order  to get benefits obtained by accruing points on payments for flights and shopping which can then be used to pay for future flights.   The solution is the former name for these benefits, hence the ‘old’ in the clue;  apparently they’ve  been superseded by Avios.

13a         Information carrier regularly found in Channel Island (4)
GENE –   The alternate letters (regularly found) of the second largest Channel Island, GuErNsEy spell out  the basic unit of inheritance by which special characteristics are passed from parent to offspring.

15a         What may describe a brewer? (3,4)
TEA COSY – I hope I wasn’t the only one looking for something beer related!    A cryptic definition of something that covers (describes) a pot for brewing the cup that cheers.   A search for a suitable illustration for this clue produced a picture of something I can image being used chez Gazza, which should prove to him and  Gnomey once and for all that I do recognise an opportunity for a picture of a scantily-clad lady when I see one!!  :D

17a         Long to eat every other treacle sweet (7)
PRALINE –  A brittle sweet made from almonds and caramelised sugar.    Insert into PINE (long for) every other letter in tReAcLe.

20a         Iran follows nothing reasonable (4)
FAIR –  A synonym for reasonable  –  FA (the abbreviation for an impolite way of saying ‘nothing’) plus  IR (the IVR Code for Iran).

22a         Arrangement of Sondheim’s Dolce Vita (8)
HEDONISM – An anagram (arrangement)  of SONDHEIM makes a word meaning a life of devotion to wealth, pleasure and self-indulgence.

25a         Unbelievable credit cuts hard to swallow? (8)
INEDIBLE  –  take a synonym for unbelievable – INCREDIBLE and then remove (scrubbed) the CR (credit cut) to get something not suitable to eat and therefore hard to swallow.

26a         Old sovereign leaves quiet island for Indian city(6)
MUMBAI –  The Indian city formerly known as Bombay.  A colloquial term for not speaking, silent – MUM followed by BA(L)I (the island of Bali with the L removed.  L  or £ was the symbol for that old British coin, the sovereign.

27a         Cry of joy after swimming group finds youngster (9)
SCHOOLBOY – A young lad still at school –   SCHOOL (a group of swimming fish) and BOY (an interjection expressing joy, excitement or pleasure).

28a         Rested almost having had sex with officer (5)
KNELT – Rested on one’s knees –  KNE[w] (almost all of an old-fashioned, especially Biblical, way of referring to having had sexual intercourse with someone) followed by LT (the abbreviation for lieutenant).



1d           Virile wren loses hat swimming in watercourse (4,5)
NILE RIVER –  Remove the ‘hat’ or initial letter of WREN and then make an anagram (swimming)  of the remaining letters and those of VIRILE to get the large river in Africa.

2d           Cheap, profit making
ECONOMIC  –   A double definition – ECONOMIC means, amongst other things, cheap  and capable of making a profit.

3d           Ultimate aim in the main (7)
ENDMOST –  Ultimate, farthest or nearest the end.   END (aim) plus MOST (the main).

4d           King Lear’s daughter returns to support Peg’s elder child (8)
TEENAGER –  Someone aged between 13 and 19  –  Follow TEE (a peg-like support for a golf ball) with a reversal (returns) of REGAN (one of the daughters of King Lear.

5d           Tart embraces officer showing bottle (6)
FLACON –   A small bottle with a stopper, usually used for perfume.   Insert CO (commanding officer) into a FLAN or tart.

6d           Stresses declaration of sexuality! (5)
IAMBI –  Stresses in poetry might if split 1, 2, 2 sound like one was admitting that one was attracted to both males and females.

9d           Leave land deal we are told (4)
SAIL –   To SAIL or  leave land on a ship or boat sounds like a SALE or deal.

14d         University students’ friend tours youth centre – really! (9)
UNUSUALLY –    Really! is used here as an exclamation expressing surprise, doubt or mild protest.   U (university) NUS (the students’ union) U (the ‘centre’ letter of yoUth) and ALLY (friend).

16d         Scratch game (8)
SCRABBLE –  A double definition – (a)  to scratch or grope frantically (b) the well-known word game.

18d         Embrocation found in ten mil preparation (8)
LINIMENT –  A thin oily cream for rubbing into muscle aches is an anagram (preparation) of IN TEN MIL.

19d         See a high priest returning in carriage (7)
PHAETON –   A four-wheeled carriage for one or two horses –   reverse NOTE (see) , A (from the clue) and HP  (the abbreviation for high priest).

21d         A new boat – yes indeed (3,3)
AND HOW –  A way of agreeing wholeheartedly –  A (from the clue) N (new) and DHOW (a ship used round the Indian Ocean) split 3,3.

23d         Block English aristocrat (4)
DAME –  A woman from the highest order of British chivalry –  DAM (block, hold back) and E (English).

24d         Play part of screen actress (5)
ENACT –  Hidden (part of ) in screEN  ACTress is a verb meaning to play a part either on stage or in real life.

A puzzle by Prolixic never fails to  be full of enjoyment and education (he usually includes  something I haven’t heard of).   Thank you to him and our sponsors for their contribution to our cryptic entertainment.

4 comments on “MPP – 003 (Review)

  1. What a good way of putting it, Jon88!
    I can’t remember when I did this puzzle – maybe a couple of weeks ago – but I know that it took me a very long time and I ended up with a couple that I couldn’t explain. All sorted now.
    Once I’d worked out where the question started from it did help me get a few answers at the top which I might not otherwise have been able to do. Anyway, finished it and even I can do 20×15!! Didn’t send it in – partly because I wouldn’t have known where to send it but more because I’m not very competitive and have never entered a competition in my life!
    I really enjoyed it – my favourite clue was 6d but there were lots of others that I liked.
    Thanks to Prolixic and Crypticsue.

  2. congrats slartibarfest welcome to the club. Thanks to the setter (great puzzle) and Crypticsue for the review.

  3. Many thanks to Crypticsue for the splendid review and to all who took the time to comment both here and on the original posting of the crossword. I have been away relaxing by the poolside for a week and taking the time to cook up another prize puzzle that I hope will appear in due course.

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