MPP – 021 (review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP – 021 (review)

Monthly Prize Puzzle – February 2014

A crossword by Alchemi

Reviewed by crypticsue

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Congratulations to Jez Wagg who followed the instructions in rows 2, 8 and 14 of the grid and  correctly spotted that not only were there 11 ‘aitches’ in the solutions to this crossword but that there were two  black H shapes in the grid, making a total of 13.  [Some entrants included the word “aitch” as a 14th occurrence and these were also included in the draw.  BD]  He wins a copy of The Telegraph Centenary Crossword Collection,  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).


1a           Towers over policeman restraining conflict by force (6)
DWARFS –  A DS (Detective Sergeant, policeman) restraining (having inserted)  WAR (conflict) and F (force)

5a           Muscle-bound Mark decides not to take part (8)
ABSTAINS  –  STAIN (mark) is bound by, or inserted into ABS (abdominal muscles).

9a           Domestic aid in appalling conditions cut off quietly (4,4)
HOME HELP –   IN (home) and HELL  – appalling conditions cut off, or with the second L removed   and replaced by P (quietly) .

10a         Back four can be sufficient to get things done (6)
VIABLE –   A reversal (back) of IV, the Roman numeral for four,  plus ABLE (can be)

11a         Solid month, 23 leaving Australia behind and not coming back (10)
DECAHEDRON –  DEC (the month of December) , the solution to 23d omitting the second A (leaving Australia behind) and a reversal (coming back) of NOR (not)

14a         Celebrated   dynasty (4)
SUNG –  double definition – celebrated or the Chinese dynasty from 960 – 1279.

15a         Sound broadcast one likely to succeed (4)
HEIR –   A homophone (broadcast) of AIR (sound).

16a         Anger follows lifeless tie (4,4)
DEAD HEAT –   DEAD (lifeless) followed by HEAT (anger).

19a         Result of fight possibly sees devoted servant having to live outside (5,3)
BLACK EYE –   A LACKEY (devoted servant) is inserted into BE (to live).

20a         Bugs fight back (4)
TAPS – Places a bug to listen secretly to telephone calls – a reversal (back) of SPAT (fight).

22a         Malfunctioning computer left in lobby (4)
HALL –   The malfunctioning computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey:  HAL with L (left) inserted .

24a         Disinclined to join in action as I break with Labour leader (10)
ANTISOCIAL –    An anagram (break) of ACTION AS I followed by the ‘leader’ of Labour.

25a         At Lourdes, this person possibly clubs religious devotee (6)
JESUIT –   JE, the French word (Lourdes being in France)  for I (this person) and SUIT (clubs possibly being an example of a card suit).

26a         Old fight about dry dish (8)
OMELETTE –  O (old)  and MELEE (fight) with TT (teetotal – dry) inserted.

28a         Extra bit to gladden Dumas’s heart (8)
ADDENDUM –   Hidden in the heart of glADDEN  DUMas

29a         Hit back at commercial enterprise closing in March (6)
PARADE –   Misleading capital time.   A reversal (back) of RAP (hit) followed by AD (commercial)and the last (closing) letter of enterprisE


2d           What bread can be, but probably isn’t (9)
WHOLEMEAL –  A very nice &Lit.

3d           Eggs right round Spain (3)
ROE – R (right) O (round, like a circle) and E (the IVR code for Spain).

4d           Country our people study after completing applications (6)
SWEDEN –  S (the completion or end of applications)   WE (our people) and DEN (study).

5d           Makeover missing vicar’s current measurement (3)
AMP –   Remove the REV (missing vicar) from a REVAMP (makeover).

6d           Somewhere in Georgia, leading group in hospital express  surprise (8)
SAVANNAH –   Insert VAN (leading group) into SAN (hospital) and finish with AH (express surprise).

7d           Teaches Latin badly, lacking lecturer’s number (11)
ANAESTHETIC –   Not a mathematical number but something that produces a loss of feeling –  an anagram (badly) of TEACHES LATIN  without the L (lacking Lecturer).

8d           Stocking some vinyl once (5)
NYLON –   Hidden in some of viNYL ONce.

12d         Curtail urge to disrupt country pursuit (11)
AGRICULTURE –   An anagram (to disrupt) of CURTAIL URGE.

13d         Monkey coming in not long ago worth damn all in the US (3,4)
RED CENT –   Formerly made of copper, this coin was considered to be worth a very small amount.   A monkey is a slang term for £500 so  the Roman numeral for 500 – D –  should be inserted into RECENT (not long ago).

17d         Stopped after snake covered the road (9)
ASPHALTED –   ASP (snake) followed by (after in a down clue) HALTED (stopped).

18d         Occupied before getting nurse around (8)
TENANTED –   ANTE (before) is inserted into TEND (nurse).

21d         Probably in bed when former PM got up (6)
ASLEEP –   AS (when) followed by a reversal (got up in a down clue) PEEL (a former Prime Minister.

23d         American chief getting up (5)
AHEAD –   A (American) HEAD (chief).

26d         A measure of resistance to old queen (3)
OHM – O (old) HM (Her Majesty the Queen).

27d         Queen gets Republican to make a mistake (3)
ERR –   The abbreviation for Republican inserted into the Queen’s cipher – ER.

Thanks to Alchemi for the crossword –  one where reading the instructions for the competition very carefuly helped no end!

10 comments on “MPP – 021 (review)

  1. Congratulations to Jez – I wonder if he is the same as Jezza who comments regularly.
    I did eventually finish this crossword although a few explanations were necessary – thanks CS.
    Then came the really tricky bit – finding the question, which took an age.
    I know that Alchemi can be devious so decided that if he was asking how many H’s there were in the whole puzzle he would have said “How many aitches are there“. Since he said here rather than there I decided that there was only one H . . . Oh dear – you win some, you lose some!
    With thanks to Alchemi and CS.

    1. It’s not me Kath :)
      I submitted my entry, but I cannot remember that far back if I even had the right answer!

  2. Congratulations Jez, enjoy the prize, I really treasure mine from last month. Are you someone who we would recognise by a different name as a commenter?
    I am one of the people who had counted the word ‘aitch’ in the question as part of the answer too and submitted 14 as my answer.
    An enjoyable solve, not devilishly tricky, the tricky bit came after the solving was done. Good fun.
    Thanks Alchemi and CS.

  3. Congratulations to Jez, and enjoy the prize.
    This puzzle was thoroughly enjoyable. I managed it all save 22a, where I needed the explanation for ‘Hal’. Clues I particularly liked were 19a, 25a, 2d and 12d.
    Alchemi was altogether too sneaky and I fell into the same trap as you did, Kath!
    Many thanks to Alchemi for a super fun puzzle and to CS for the excellent review.

  4. Many thanks to Alchemi for an enjoyable crossword and devious solution. Congratulations to Jez winning the prize.

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