MPP – 020 (review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP – 020 (review)

Monthly Prize Puzzle – January 2014

A crossword by Prolixic

Reviewed by crypticsue

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Interesting that one of the simplest questions ever posed in the Monthly Prize Puzzle series, requiring no arcane knowledge, geographical, mathematical or language skills, just the ability to spot that the initial  letter of each clue told you where to look, should prove so tricky for many solvers!    If you didn’t ‘see’ it, I will let you have time to put your shin pads on (as it will hurt when you kick yourself), and reveal all in a grid at the end of the review.

Congratulations to  Kiwi Colin  who wins a copy of The Telegraph Centenary Crossword Collection, an extra special prize which BD will endeavour to get to him.  The book was kindly donated by Phil McNeill, the Telegraph Puzzles Editor, and has been  signed by Phil and six of the Telegraph setters who are featured in the book  (Elgar, Roger Squires/Rufus, Micawber, Peter Chamberlain/Cephas, Notabilis and Don Manley/Giovanni).



7a           Times hit badly in organised siege (8)
EIGHTIES –    An anagram (badly) of HIT is inserted into another  (organised) of SIEGE.

9a           Had a right to behead academic (6)
EARNED –   Remove the initial letter (behead) of LEARNED (academic).

10a         European wearing hat band (4)
TEAM –  E (European) is inserted into TAM (a Scottish cap with a broad circular flat top).

11a         Implicated martinet with troops killer (10)
TERMINATOR –   An anagram (implicated)of MARTINET followed by OR (troops, other ranks of soldiers).

12a         Never-ending passage from Exeter newspaper (6)
ETERNE –   An archaic word meaning eternal, never-ending, is hidden in exETER NEwspaper.

14a         In contact with communist to arrest person in custody (2,6)
ON REMAND –  ON (touching, in contact with) followed by RED (communist)with MAN (person) inserted.

15a         Tight son eats nothing (5)
FASTS –  Tight in the sense of fixed, firm – FAST followed by the abbreviation for Son.

16a         I may be replaced by left in Labour’s strikes (5)
TOLLS –   Replace the I  in TOILS (labours) with an L to get strikes a large bell.

18a         A recipient with no desire for change (8)
INDORSEE –  An alternative spelling for an endorsee – someone to whom something has been assigned – is an anagram (for change) of NO DESIRE.

20a         Lad with attitude has problem welcoming Unionist (6)
POSEUR –  Insert the abbreviation for Unionist into a  POSER (problem).

22a         Last course – go in a blaze potentially (10)
ZABAGLIONE –   Potentially indicates an anagram of GO IN A BLAZE.

23a         Eruptions some teenagers produce (4)
ZITS –   A cryptic definition of what I always think of as an American term for teenage spots.

24a         Threads fifty keys together (6)
LISLES –   L (the Roman numeral for 50) and ISLES (keys) produce some long-stapled, hard-twisted cotton yarn.

25a         Trumpets executive demands (8)
EXCLAIMS  –   EX (executive) and CLAIMS (demands).


1d           European city’s street is the best (6)
NICEST –   The French city of NICE and ST (the abbreviation for street).

2d           Reservation expressed by man in the morning (4)
AHEM –  Put HE (man) into AM (morning).

3a           Other woman‘s married I emphasise (8)
MISTRESS –   M (Married) I STRESS (emphasise).

4d           First Lord of the Treasury briefly leaves awful premiere with stranger (6)
EERIER –   The First Lord of the Treasury is also the Prime Minister  –   Remove the abbreviation  PM (briefly leaves) from PREMIERE and make an anagram (awful) of the remaining letters.

5d           Economist’s supporting tramp in routine jobs (10)
TREADMILLS –   TREAD (tramp here being a verb meaning to walk heavily) and MILLS (John Stuart Mill, the philosopher and economist – the S in the solution coming from economist’s)

6d           Ambassador’s superior returns with amazing ladies (8)
HEROINES –   HE (His Excellency the Ambassador) followed by a reversal of SENIOR (superior returns).

8d           Church teaching native about financial arrangement (6)
SERMON –  Insert ERM (Exchange Rate Mechanism – financial arrangement) into SON (native).

13d         Henry leaves dilapidated herbal store in salvageable condition (10)
RESTORABLE –   Remove H (Henry leaves) from an anagram (dilapidated) of HERBAL STORE.

15d         Arrangement of music for child not in the Orient (8)
FANTASIA –   Remove (not in) the IN from INFANT (child) and add ASIA (the Orient).

16d         Not a lot of sheep dash off when pursued by gutless collie (8)
TUPPENCE –  TUP (a ram)  PEN (write, dash off a letter) and CE (gutless telling you to remove the middle from ColliE.

17d         Something sweet – stockings worn by old flame! (6)
HEXOSE –  A sugar I’d never heard of – apparently it has six  carbon atoms to the molecule – hence the ‘hex’!   An EX (old flame) is wearing (or has on the outside) HOSE (stockings);

19d         Wet   form of publicity (6)
SPLASH –   Double definition.

21           Exhume bishop buried under a French prostitute (6)
UNTOMB –   UN (the French word for ‘the’) TOM (slang term for a prostitute) and B (bishop).

23d         Radical books thrown away in anger? (4
ZEAL –   Remove the OT (Books of the Old Testament) from a radical ZEALOT.



Yes, it was that simple – all you had to do was name the setter – Prolixic – to whom many thanks for another excellent crossword.  A big thank you  also to Phil McNeill for the prize and Mrs BD for once again so expertly casting the mystic runes.

17 comments on “MPP – 020 (review)

  1. As Kiwi Colin turned down the prize last time, I will post this one to him! This is NOT a precedent, but I reserve the right to use my discretion in the future.

  2. WHEEEE!
    I have been away for a week, out of contact with all crosswords and computers and what a big thrill to come on line this morning to find I had been especially lucky. When I saw what the prize was to be my thoughts were, ” I would really love to have that book signed by all those people we have come to admire so much” and was working out how I could deal with the postage if I got so lucky. I will be having my 70th birthday in about 3 weeks time so will regard the book as my very special birthday present.
    Thank you everyone, especially Prolixic for a great puzzle and extra especially Big Dave for your kindness to us.

  3. Many Congratulations to Kiwi Colin!

    Glad I didn’t hunt out my old shin pads from the loft. I only kick myself when something really obvious is revealed. Whereas this was anything but obvious!

    Totally in awe of Prolixic for setting this puzzle! A very humbling experience! WOW!

    Thanks to CS for the review.

    ps. Follow the clues to find and answer a question hidden in the grid

    I still don’t understand the instructions.

    1. Please, put me out of my misery!

      Was “Follow the clues to find and answer a question hidden in the grid” grammatically correct?

  4. How remiss of me, please accept my apologies.
    Many thanks to Prolixic for the puzzle and CS for her review..

  5. Best congratulations to Kiwi Colin! Very well deserved.

    What a brilliant crossword! found it very difficult indeed, and kept putting it down and coming back to it over the weeks. In the end, I managed to get the correct parsing and answers to all but three clues — two of which were 23a (have never heard of ‘zits’) and 23d, which I should have got but didn’t. The third, 1d, was a wrong answer because I didn’t read the clue properly. (No excuse for that.) Clues I liked the most were 5d, 15d, and 17d. I got 17d from the word play but had to Google it to make sure it was a word! I haven’t heard of it before.

    I have bruises on my shins! How very clever of Prolixic!

    Many thanks to Prolixic for a splendid puzzle and to Crypticsue for a beautifully lucid review.

    1. I’d say this is really making use of all the “little faces”!’m all for it – I love them. and you!

  6. I found this very difficult.
    I ended up finishing it apart from four answers (and two wrong ones!)
    I kept on having another little look every time it came to the surface of the piles of stuff on our kitchen table but never got any further and failed to find anything that looked remotely like a question.
    Congratulations to anyone who managed this and also to Prolixic for thinking it all up.
    With thanks to CS for putting me out of my misery.

  7. Congratulations to Kiwi Colin and an early many happy returns.

    My thanks to CS for the review and to her and Gazza for test solving the crossword.

    Well done to everyone who persevered and thanks for all your comments. The next one will not be quite so devious!

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