MPP – 022 (review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP – 022 (review)

Monthly Prize Puzzle – March 2014

A crossword by Radler

Reviewed by Prolixic

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 The instructions for this crossword told us that “Radler tried to construct a puzzle with all 26 letters around its perimeter.  Unfortunately he didn’t quite succeed.  However, after solving the puzzle you may notice that if he had replaced one of the answers with an anagram of itself, he would have achieved his aim.  What is the word he ought to have used?”  The denouement is at the end of the review.

Congratulations to StanXYZ whose name was drawn from the electronic hat.  He wins not only a Hamlyn Telegraph Crossword Book of his choice but also congratulations from the runners up.


7a Karl’s overture: German half-heartedly plucked instrument (4)
KOTO – The first letter (overture) of Karl followed by OTTO (German) with one of the Ts removed (half-heartedly).

9a Merited pupil did as pupil should, both of us taking the lead (4-6)
WELL-EARNED – L (the abbreviation for a pupil) followed by LEARNED (did as a pupil should) all preceded by (taking the lead) WE (both of us).

10a Force or velocity etc.? (6)
VECTOR – An anagram (force) of OR V (velocity) ETC.  The whole clue gives the definition as force and velocity are both examples of vector quantities.

11a One exclamation of annoyance interrupting another special game (8)
DRAUGHTS – UGH goes inside DRAT (one exclamation of annoyance interrupting another) followed by the abbreviation for special.

12a Opposites, North and South may not mix (8)
ANTONYMS – An anagram (mix) of N (north) S (south) MAY NOT.

14a Location of Germany before a new and sudden change of direction? (6)
DANZIG – D (the IVR code for Germany) followed by A N (new) and ZIG (a sudden change of direction).

16a Twit(ch) (4)
JERK – Double definition.  The answer means both twit and twitch.

17a I’m hurt, timid, restrained – just the opposite! (5)
SHOWY – The opposite of someone who is hurt, timid or restrained.  OW (I’m hurt) goes inside (restrained) SHY (timid)

18a Hillside in the North East, followed intermittently by road (4)
BRAE – The odd letters (intermittently) of By RoAd followed by E (east).

19a Italian island’s hip parts (6)
ISCHIA – Double definition of an Italian Island and a posterior bone of the pelvic girdle.

21a K for Kir perhaps (8)
COCKTAIL – Kir is an example of this type of drink.  The answer might also be a clue for the letter K as in the tail (final letter) of cock.

23a Inquisitive about America? Not Charlie’s interest, that’s excessive (8)
USURIOUS – CURIOUS (inquisitive) goes around US (America) and the C (cocaine or Charlie) is removed.

26a Speed limit due to frozen surface (6)
ICECAP – Radler likes his drugs!  ICE (another word for the drug speed) is followed by CAP (limit).

27a Hunting for family exhibit (5,5)
BLOOD SPORT – BLOOD (another word for family) followed by SPORT (exhibit or wear for show).

28a Dad returned earlier to make point (4)
APEX – Reverse PA (dad returned) and follow it with EX (earlier).


1d Part impressed by old couple’s dancing technique (8)
FOOTWORK – O (old) and TWO (couple) go inside (impressed) FORK (part).

2d Characteristic arrangement, Queen pulled up short trousers on youth leader (6)
QWERTY – … of keys on a keyboard.  Q (Queen) followed by a reversal of TREW (short trousers (trews) pulled up) and Y (youth leader).

3d Cycled pedal cycle dressed in clothes (4)
CLAD – The answer is hidden (dressed) and reversed (cycled) inside PEDAL CYCLE.

4d Nothing odd in Arthur Daley’s dodgy pageantry (8)
HERALDRY – An anagram (dodgy) of the even letters (nothing odd) in aRtHuR and DALEY.

5d Beginning with nothing, forge one’s name (6)
ORIGIN – O (nothing) followed by RIG (forge) I (one) and N (name).

6d Disappear, missing a mealtime? (4)
MELT – Remove the A from MEAL and follow this with a T (time)

8d DeLorean crashed into small trees (9)
OLEANDERS – An anagram (crashed) of DELOREAN followed by an S (small).

13d One accepting one’s limited by high cost (5)
STOIC – An I (ones) inside (limited by) an anagram (high) of COST.

15d Cold unless aroused, I am not totally anti-men (9)
INANIMATE – An anagram (aroused) of IA (I am not totally – final letter removed) ANTI-MEN

17d Fish understand froggy speech (3,5)
SEA HORSE – A homophone (speech) of SEE (understand) and HOARSE (froggy).

18d Including hard bits means getting aside from the main subject (2,3,3)
BY THE WAY – H (hard) goes inside BYTE (bits in computing terms) followed by WAY (method).

20d Hospital partner of Bow School (6)
HARROW – H (hospital) followed by ARROW (partner of bow).

22d Czech Republic guards trace material (6)
CHINTZ – CZ (IVR code for the Czech   republic) goes around HINT (trace).

24d Shortlist (not short on reflection), it’s particularly fine (4)
SILT – The answer is hidden and reversed in SHORTLIST when the outer letters (short) have been removed.

25d With little delay, then working (4)
SOON – SO (then) followed by ON (working).

Having solved the crossword, the letters around the perimeter omit the letter R.  As there are two words ending in E (SEA HORSE and BRAE), one of these must provide an anagram for a word ending in R.  It did not take a second to see that BRAE could become BEAR and still fit in the completed grid.

10 comments on “MPP – 022 (review)

  1. Congratulations to Stan.

    I really enjoyed solving this one – the ‘question’ intrigues and you have to keep going to find out the answer – luckily this particular crossword was at the easier end of the Radler spectrum.

    Thanks to Radler and Prolixic.

      1. Ooops!!!

        Many Thanks to PROLIXIC for explaining all the bits that I didn’t understand.

        I feel a bit of a fraud (Mrs D Diddling) as I managed to answer the question without finishing the crossword completely!

  2. Congratulations Stan.
    I found it quite challenging. As usual the four letter words giving the biggest fight but knowing that eventually there would be a pangram (or nearly one) around the perimeter was some help. Really enjoyed working through it and satisfying to find the right answer eventually.
    Thanks again Radler and Prolixic for the review.

  3. Best congrats to StanXYZ — very well done!

    This was a fascinating and very clever puzzle. Even with electronic help, it must have taken some doing to fit every letter of the alphabet around the perimeter. Not just that, to have one of the words with an anagram of itself. My fave clue was 17a, but I enjoyed them all.

    Crypticsue, I agree that this puzzle must have been ‘at the easier end of the Radler spectrum’ because it is the first Radler I’ve ever been able to finish! Even so, it is one of the most difficult crosswords I have ever managed to complete. And I did complete it all and arrived at the correct answer. Albeit, it took ages.

    I missed the double definition in 10a. (Double definitions are my Achilles heel.) I needed Prolixic’s excellent explanations of my answers to 1d and 18d. My inexperience shows. In 15d, I removed the ‘m’ from ‘am’ instead of from ‘men’, because I mistakenly understood the ‘not totally’ to refer to ‘I am’. I parsed the remainder of the clues correctly.

    Many thanks to Radler for a superb puzzle.

    And many thanks to Prolixic for an excellent review. The explanations are lovely and clear. Really enjoyed listening to the Koto and seeing Widdy’s footwork.

    1. Me too – don’t think I’ve ever finished a Radler crossword either – I think they’re really tricky.

  4. Congratulations to StanXYZ and him.
    I’m always irrationally pleased when the winner of the monthly prize crossword is someone we “know” rather than someone who has just popped in to get a quick hint.
    I really enjoyed this crossword – I found it really difficult but then I always find Radler puzzles difficult – I think it’s the first of his that I’ve ever finished.
    I liked16, 17, and 20a. My favourite was 17d.
    With thanks to Radler and to Prolixic.

  5. Congratulations to Stan and to everyone else who solved the puzzle.
    And thank you Prolixic for the illustrated review.

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