MPP – 017 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

MPP – 017 (Review)

Monthly Prize Puzzle No 17 (October 2013) by Prolixic

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

A review by crypticsue

Dave Howell is having quite a weekend.   Not only did he finish in fourth place in the Times Crossword Championships, he has today become the first person to win our Monthly Prize Puzzle Competition for the second time.     He solved  the puzzle and then spotted  that the football team Charlton Athletic was hidden in the solution.  If you couldn’t find  it, have a look at the grid at the end of the review.

 This month’s prize is an extra special treat – a copy of Mick Twister’s There Was an Old Geezer Called Caesar: A History of the World in 100 Limericks kindly donated by Tilsit and signed by the author.

Mick Twister



1a  Shoot between the legs of head girl (6)
NUTMEG –   An informal football term meaning to pass the shot through the legs of an opposing player –   NUT (head) and MEG (a girl’s name).


4a  Bankers confused about American state (8)
NEBRASKA –    An anagram (confused) of BANKERS and A (American).

9a  Cruel leprechaun finally left the end of the rainbow? (6)
VIOLET –   The ‘end’ colour in a rainbow is obtained by removing an N (leprechaun finally) from VIOLENT (cruel).


10a  Description of “latest prices”! (2,6)
IN QUOTES –    What more can one say but ‘D’oh!’

12a  Athenian character swallowed by small monster (8)
MINOTAUR –   The  Greek (Athenian) letter TAU is swallowed by, or inserted into,  MINOR (small).

13a  Reportedly produced a seat (6)
THRONE –   A homophone (reportedly)of THROWN (produced, as a potter does when making a pot on his wheel).

15a  Please relent over death (7,5)
ETERNAL SLEEP  – An anagram (over) of PLEASE RELENT, split 7, 5.

19a  After serious disease, old lady consumed a bit of soft fruit (12)
POMEGRANATES –  PO (an informal adjective, a shortened form of po-faced, serious) ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis  (the illness more commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome)  GRAN (old lady) ATE (consumed) and S (a ‘bit’ or the first letter of soft).


22a  Looks for key musicians (6)
AWAITS –   The musical key of A followed by WAITS (people who welcome Christmas by playing and singing out of doors at night).

23a  Burn out a terrible car (8)
RUNABOUT –   An anagram (terrible) of  BURN OUT A.

26a  Backs adopting depth and length for axes (8)
SPINDLES –   Insert D (depth) and L (length) into SPINES (backs).  Axes, of course, being the plural of axis – axis and spindle being examples of things around which something turns.     KiwiColin did wonder (in a comment) whether the last word should have been axles but apparently leapt out of bed when he realised his error and BD saved the day by removing the comment!

27a  Daily with cake making actress (6)
WASHER –   W (with) and ASHER (Jane Asher, the cake-making actress).

28a  Businessman’s one working for unity (8)
COHESION –   CO (company, business)  HE[‘]S (man’s) I (one) ON (working).

29a  Medicinal science is curtailed (6)
PHYSIC –   Curtail or omit  the last letter of PHYSICS (science).


1d  What one might receive before Oscar? (8)
NOVEMBER –    That is if one was listening to someone explaining the NATO Phonetic Alphabet.

2d  Punished one leaving undercoat in poor condition (8)
TROUNCED –   Remove A (one leaving) from UNDERCOAT and an anagram (in poor condition) of the remaining letters will provide the solution.

3d  Right to support former European’s struggle (5)
EXERT –    EX (former) E (European) RT (right).

5d  Allegedly make a bird (4)
ERNE –  The sea-eagle sounds like (allegedly) a homophone of EARN (make).


6d Uncouth whore hung around (5-4)
ROUGH-HEWN  – an anagram (around) of WHORE HUNG.

7d  Programme described by transit company (6)
SITCOM –  Hidden in (described by) tranSIT COMpany.


8d  A superior catches up with Jane, perhaps (6)
AUSTEN –   A (from the clue)  U (superior, upper class) and a reversal (up n a down clue) of NETS (catches).

11d  Opening moves for ruffians (7)
BULLIES –    It took me a while to see that BULLIES refers to bullying off (opening moves) in a game of hockey,  probably because I hated playing hockey when I was at school!

14d  Signal raised in sudden outbreak of violence (5-2)
FLARE-UP –   FLARE (signal) and UP (raised).

16d  Number performing movements around 12 each day (9)
NOONTIDES  –  NO (number) ON (performing) TIDES (movements).


17d  Criticisms about ambassador in Greek choruses (8)
STROPHES –   Insert HE (the abbreviation for His Excellency the Ambassador) into STROPS (criticisms).

18d  Secret Central American support for oriental drinker (8)
ESOTERIC –   E (eastern, oriental)  SOT (heavy drinker) and ERIC (the ‘centre’ of AmERICan).

20d  Resolve constant distance (6)
PARSEC –  PARSE (analyse, break down) and C (constant in maths).

21d  Expression of contempt about a rector and his responsibility (6)
PARISH –  Insert A (from the clue) and R (rector) into PISH (an interjection of contempt or impatience).

24d  Head of Homerton follows a graduate’s shame (5)
ABASH –   A (from the clue)  BA[‘]S (graduate with degree of Bachelor of Arts) followed by  H (the ‘head’ of Homerton).

25d  Heartlessly release a toy (4)
LEGO –   Remove T in the heart or middle of LET GO (release).


Many congratulations to Dave, many thanks  to Prolixic for the crossword, Mrs BD for her expert ‘casting of the sacred runes’ and to Mick Twister and Tilsit for this month’s prize.

Oh… and the football team… it’s here!

Charlton Athletic

8 comments on “MPP – 017 (Review)

  1. My only confusion in solving this puzzle, was the first 2 letters of 19a, where I spent some time trying in vain to justify PO as an abbr for ‘after’, with ME being ‘serious disease’. My next mistake was to submit my answer as CHARLTON, only to realise 2 minutes later, that there was also the word ATHLETIC in the other diagonal. I knew a second submission would be disallowed, but I had to send the correct answer, if only for my sanity!
    Thanks to Proloxic, and to crypticsue for the review.

  2. 21d – Pah! Was my expression of contempt!

    No wonder I couldn’t parse the clue!


    Thanks to CS for the explanation!

  3. Congratulations Dave. I see that Sue has explained in the review my misadventure with the clue for 26a. A good fun puzzle to solve that kept me guessing right to the end.
    Thanks again Prolixic (sorry for doubting you) and CS for the review.

  4. First of all, congratulations to the winner.
    This was so far beyond me that I admitted defeat pretty quickly. I can’t find the print out of the puzzle now but, having read CS’s hints and answers, I know that I wouldn’t have got much further if I’d ‘perservated’ until next Easter, let alone Christmas.
    I also knew that even if I’d managed to get all the answers into the grid I would not have found the name of the football team – they’re really not a specialty of mine!
    With thanks anyway to Prolixic and CS.

  5. I did battle royal with this puzzle! It took me ages, and in the end I had all save four answers, namely 22a, 27a, 16d, and 17d. I’ve already mentioned my inability to parse 21d. In addition, like Jezza, I tried to make the ‘po’ of 19a mean ‘after’. Like CS, I hated hockey at school, and I have Mr Catnap to thank for 11d. As for naming a football team? I really never intended to even attempt it! In spite of all, I did enjoy the struggle. If one is permitted to have a ‘fave’ clue, it was 25d.
    Congratulations to Dave.
    Thanks to Prolixic; and thanks to Crypticsue for her super review.

Comments are closed.