MPP – 008 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP – 008 (Review)

Monthly Prize Puzzle No 8 (January 2012) by Alchemi

In association with Hamlyn Books,

the publishers of Telegraph Crossword Books

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Congratulations to Keith Williams, the lucky person whose name I ‘drew’ out of the electronic ‘hat’.   He wins a choice of two of the great Telegraph puzzle books published by Hamlyn Books as he correctly worked out that the missing American Vice-President was Rockefeller.   As the instructions state, not only is Rockefeller missing from the list, but there isn’t an 11 letter solution in the grid so he wouldn’t have fitted in anyway.

Alchemi provided an interesting challenge for the January puzzle competition –  I bet I wasn’t the only solver to think we were looking for Presidents of the USA before realizing we needed some of the Vice-Presidents!   .  I have marked the themed solutions  in green.

As always, thanks to our sponsors, Hamlyn Books. Do take a moment to look at some of their publications below


1 Ruined booze a result of extreme cold (8,4)
ABSOLUTE ZERO –  The lowest temperature physically possible is an anagram (ruined) of BOOZE A RESULT.

9 Improvise a trial fix? (4-3)
JURY-RIG – to improvise or rig a ship’s mast  in a temporary way might sound like one was trying to rig or  influence a jury.

10 Perhaps Leith recipe sounds puritanical (7)
PRUDISH –   a homophone of a PRUE DISH – a recipe or dish cooked by Prue Leith, the restaurateur, cookery writer and now novelist.

11 Key in “short breaks” for vacancies (5)
HOLES –  Insert the musical key of E into HOLS or short holiday breaks. 

12 Smell quarry around heathland’s western edge (8)
HUMPHREY – The first of the themed clues without a definition –  HUM (smell) and PREY (quarry) into which has been inserted H (the western or first letter of heathland).

14 Way through fence made a mockery of announced houserules (5,5)
STYLE GUIDE –  The particular custom or form  used by an organisation.   Homophones of STILE (way through fence) and GUYED (ridiculed or made fun of).

15 Nationalist party embraces a card game (4)
SNAP-  Insert A from the clue into the SNP (Scottish Nationalist Party).

18 Can return small eggs (4)
NITS –  literally head-scratching time!    A reversal of TIN (can return) followed by S for small.

20 Nervously sit near Mr T for further broadcast (10)
RETRANSMIT –   An anagram (nervously) of SIT NEAR MR T.

22 Spooner to chew on notoriety for sobriquet (8)
FORENAME –   At the time of testing this puzzle, Alchemi and I did agree that a  soubriquet is more of a nickname than a forename but…   Spooner might have said to GNAW FAME (chew.. notoriety).

24 Collapsing set omitted from stage directions (5)
AGNEW  –   Another themed answer so no definition.   Remove the S E T (omitted) from stAGe  and follow with three compass points or directions –  N E W.

26 Laid-back trader coming back about ten (7)
RELAXED –   Insert the Roman ‘numberal’ for ten – X – into a reversal of DEALER (trader).

27 Guardian fairly even about waste disposal? (7)
URINARY – an adjective meaning relating to the disposal of urine can be found in the even letters of gUaRdIaN fAiRlY.

28 Hen glides and crashes all by herself (6-6)
SINGLE-HANDED –   An anagram (crashes) of HEN GLIDES AND.


2 By-passes famous steeplechaser (7)
BARKLEY –  I got the name of the Vice-President from a list in a reference book and then “saw” the wordplay.  Insert the famous racehorse ARKLE into BY (from the clue).

3 Terrifying people cut royal tours by 20% (8)
OGRESSES –   Simply remove the first two letters (20% of ten letters) from PROGRESSES – state or official journeys carried out by royalty.

4 Not some complex gruesome craving (4)
URGE –   One of my d’oh moments!   Simply remove SOME (not some) from GRUEsome and make an anagram (complex) of the remaining letters.

5 These maybe sound almost expert when shaken (10)
EXPOUNDERS –   People who explain at length in the manner of an expert.    An anagram (when shaken) of SOUND and EXPER[t] (almost expert).

6 Supply with online joke (5)
EQUIP  –  Not online mail or online shopping but an online joke or E QUIP.

7 Man leaving home with religious symbol right in character (7)
OMICRON  –   Remove the HE  from hOMe (he or man leaving home) and follow with an ICON (religious symbol) into which has been inserted R (right).

8 Dairy product from man in Wyoming (4)
WHEY –  Once you know that the abbreviation for Wyoming is WY, all you need to do is insert HE (man).

9 Denial up to Major Terry Lennon? (7)
JOHNSON –   Another non-defined themed solution  –   As indicated by the ? at the end of the clue, Major, Terry and Lennon are all examples of famous JOHNS,  who  should be followed by a reversal of NO (denial,  up in a down clue).

13 One in the fashion business is seldom pure when ruffled (10)
SUPERMODEL – an anagram (ruffled) of SELDOM PURE.

16 The track “Old Man River” features highbrow tips (7)
PATHWAY –   PA (old man) followed by the tips of HighbroW inserted into the River TAY.

17 D-Day, for example, is no vain struggle (8)
INVASION –   an anagram (struggle) of IS NO VAIN.

19 Excites hotel romeo surrounded by cash registers (7)
THRILLS –   Insert H and R (hotel and romeo being the NATO Phonetic Alphabetic ‘names’ for these letters) into TILLS (cash registers).

21 Burrower injected with altered DNA (7)
MONDALE  –  Insert an anagram (altered) of DNA into a burrowing MOLE.

22 Faded edges presenting a choice (4)
FORD  –   a choice of the edges of FadeD would be F or D.

23 Heard thieves working (5)
NIXON –     A homophone (heard)  of NICKS (thieves) followed by ON (working).

25 Transport to the centre of Cleethorpes (4)
BUSH –  And a final Vice-President –   BUS (transport) and H (the middle letter of Cleethorpes).

4 comments on “MPP – 008 (Review)

  1. Got Mondale and Nixon quite early so actually answering the question for the quiz bit was easy. Hunted down the others and then thought it a waste of time, as where the hell would Rockefeller have fitted anyway?

    Once I’d done that I sort of lost interest – sorry Alchemi as it looked like a nice puzzle.

  2. I have to confess to missing the point completely.
    I had several of the themed answers – Ford, Bush, Johnson, Nixon – but didn’t put them in because I couldn’t see why and never got as far as making the connection to US presidents and vice- presidents and clues lacking definition. Had I managed that I’m not sure that I would done much better – US politics is not one of my strong points.
    I enjoyed what I managed – 10 and 22a made me laugh.
    With thanks to Alchemi for the crossword and to crypticsue for filling in the gaps.

  3. Thanks for that my only doubt in solving was 14a which turned out to be correct but by more good luck than judgement .Enjoyable but as I said before for me at the upper end of difficulty .Look forward to the next one . Thank you.

  4. Congratulations to Keith. I completely forgot that the MPP review was due yesterday. Once again thanks to for the puzzle and to CS for her review.

    14a stumped me for ages, yet possibly one of the easier clues. Looking forward to Feb.

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