MPP – 014 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

MPP – 014 (Review)

Monthly Prize Puzzle No 14 (July 2013) by Prolixic

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

A review by crypticsue

Congratulations to John Cruickshank, the winner of the July competition who receives “The Daily Telegraph Cracking Cryptic Crosswords Collection” – four books of daily puzzles in a slipcase, kindly donated by Tilsit – the prize will be posted when the latter  returns  to Tilsit Towers at the end of his Scottish adventures.


To win the prize John  correctly noticed that ‘To serve them all my days’ was written round the perimeter of the puzzle and then found the author of the book.  I read all of RF Delderfield’s works back in the 1970s and so had no trouble with this prize puzzle poser.

Thanks once again to Prolixic for another cryptic crossword which proved both entertaining and educational.



5a  Mark fails to start drink (6)
TIPPLE  –  Remove the first letter (fails to start) from STIPPLE, a verb meaning to paint using small dots (marks) to get an alcoholic drink.

7a  Approach to strike procedure (8)
DRIVEWAY  – The approach to a house from the public road –   DRIVE ( to strike eg a golf ball) and WAY (procedure).


9a  Hackneyed opposition leader’s knowledgeable about Unionist (8)
OVERUSED   – The first letter (leader)  of Opposition followed by  VERSED (knowledgeable), into which is inserted the abbreviation for Unionist.

10a  Disreputable ladies lay back embracing a sport (6)
SLALOM  – Well it wouldn’t be a Prolixic crossword without a disreputable lady or two in it somewhere!   A reversal of MOLLS,  a slang term for either  gangsters’  female accomplices or  prostitutes (all disreputable ladies)  into which is inserted A from the clue.

11a  Pretty morsel prepared for Mother Carey’s chicken (6,6)
STORMY PETREL –  I didn’t need to make an anagram (prepared) of PRETTY MORSEL as I did know the name of the bird which is also known as Mother Carey’s chicken!

stormy petrel

13a  Permit El Tel to sack wingers (6)
ENABLE   – You don’t have  to be a football fan but you do need to know the manager whose nickname is El Tel as you need to remove the outside letters (sack wingers) from his surname –  VENABLES.

15a  Draw    a small tuft of hairs (6)
PENCIL  –  A double definition, the second being exactly as written in the BRB!


18a Type of gear fat infielder sported (12)
DIFFERENTIAL –  The epicyclic gear mounted in the driving axle of a road vehicle that permits one driving wheel to rotate faster than the other as when cornering.    I know that you didn’t need all that information!    All that was necessary was to make an anagram (sported) of FAT INFIELDER.

21a Tool Prolixic inserted in bottom (6)
REAMER  –  Inserting  ME (Prolixic here referring to himself) into REAR (bottom or back) produce a tool used to smooth the bores of holes accurately to size.    The wordplay doesn’t conjure up a very pleasant image and, although I know Gazza for one is going to be extremely disappointed, I have illustrated this in the nicest way possible – there are a lot of very painful looking reamers out there!!   reamer22a  Attar, a remedy containing inverted sugar (8)
DEMERARA  –  A type of brown sugar is hidden and reversed (inverted) in attAR A REMEDy.

23a  New   metal instrument (8)
VIRGINAL   – VIRGIN (extremely pure and fresh (new))  followed  AL, the abbreviation for aluminium (metal) produces a small type of harpsichord.

24a  Arrangement in symphony about French saint (6)
SYSTEM   –  A method, arrangement or an ordered manner – insert STE,  the French abbreviation for saint into SYM, the abbreviation for symphony.

1d  Relative holds kitchen implement donated by Adam? (5,3)
SPARE RIB  –   PARER (a kitchen implement used to remove the skin or peel  from something) is inserted into a SIB (blood relative)  –  Eve was created from this body part donated by Adam.    Yes I know, another ‘disappointing’ illustration ;)

Adam's (spare) rib

2d  Byzantine yet, say, insubstantial (6)
YEASTY  –  An anagram (Byzantine meaning complicated) of YET SAY – one of the definitions of the solution is insubstantial or frivolous.

3d  Apparently repairs triplanes in part of Heathrow (8)
AIRSTRIP  –  A particular well-hidden d’oh moment-inducing hidden word –  part of an airport such as Heathrow is hidden in repAIRS TRIPlanes.

4d  Patrol   dock? (6)
DETAIL  – A patrol assigned for a specific duty.   For the second part of this double definition clue, you need to insert a hyphen so DE-TAIL or cut the tail off.

6d  Prompting Victor to oust Charlie is delightful (8)
INVITING  –  Changing the third letter in INCITING(prompting) from a C to a V produces an adjective meaning attractive, delightful.

7d  Pentagon occupants treasure a car (6)
DODGEM  –  An electrically-powered car used to bump into others for fun – follow the abbreviation for the American Department of Defense, which  has its headquarters in the Pentagon building , with GEM,  a treasure, a person or thing held to be a perfect example.


8d  Main point is oddly overlooked before too long (4)
ANON  –  An archaic or literary way of saying soon, before too long, is found in the even (oddly overlooked) letters of mAiN pOiNt.

12d  Take issue with timeless tragedies perhaps (8)
DISAGREE   –   An anagram (perhaps) of TRAGEDIES once you have removed the T (timeless).

14d  Swear European payment’s a nerve of sorts? (8)
EFFERENT   – An adjective relating to a nerve which carries impulses away from the central nervous system.     EFF (swear) E (European) and  RENT (payment made periodically for the occupation of buildings etc).

16d  Warrant a pay cut or freeze is implied (8)
NOTARISE  – To authorise or certify documents –  split 3, 1, 4, it would mean that you definitely wouldn’t be getting an increase in pay!

17d  Forces supported by key scientist (6)
MENDEL  –   The German scientist who  told us all about heredity by genes  –  MEN (troops, non-commissioned soldiers ) and DEL ( one of the keys on a computer keyboard I use a lot when making changes to things such as this review).


18d  In retrospect, say, a defence strategy creates devastation (6)
DAMAGE   –  EG (for example, say), A (from the clue)  and MAD  (defence strategy)  all reversed (in retrospect).   Mutually Assured Destruction is a  defence strategy in  which a full-scale use of high-yield weapons of mass destruction by two opposing sides would effectively result in the complete, utter and irrevocable annihilation of both the attacker and the defenderno, I’d never heard of it either!!

19d  Forces leave horsemen floundering in trap (6)
ENMESH  –  To trap or entangle in a net –  Remove OR (other ranks, troops) from HORSEMEN and then rearrange (floundering) the remaining letters.

20d Creature seen in the old Pacific tree (4)
YETI  –  A creature seen a long way from the Pacific  YE, the old way of saying ‘the’,  followed by  TI, a tree growing in Polynesia.  I might have had to investigoogle the tree but for the fact that I had already done so shortly before I test solved this puzzle as  it was in a Nimrod (Elgar) crossword in the Independent.


1 comment on “MPP – 014 (Review)

  1. Rated this one star, it’s been sitting on my desk from the day it was posted and I have found it impenetrable, even with the answers I’m still flummoxed’ish. Well done Prolixic and well done Mr Cruikshank

Comments are closed.