MPP – 025 (Review)

Monthly Prize Puzzle – June 2014

A crossword by Alchemi


Reviewed by crypticsue

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

Congratulations to David Whisstock whose name was drawn out of the electronic ‘hat’ by Mrs BD.   David solved the crossword, spotted the words ‘No Nobel’ in column 6 and then (if he was anything like me!) did a bit of investigoogling and found that the only author named in the grid who hadn’t been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature was Peter Ackroyd.


1a           Author with weird ankle fur (8)
FAULKNER –   An anagram (weird) of ANKLE FUR.

5a           Writer with time to pad out long recipe (6)
PINTER –   PINE (long) with T (time) inserted (pad out) and R (recipe) added at the end.

10a         Niggle starts about way to work 24/7 (7)
NONSTOP – N (the start of Niggle) ON (about) ST (street, way) and OP (operate, work)

11a         A group of words heard in riots (7)
AFFRAYS –   A homophone (heard) of A PHRASE (a group of words).

12A        Game fails to get underway on East German land (5)
HESSE –   Remove the first letter from the game of CHESS (fails to get underway or start) and add an E (East).

13a         It will cover church after religious text is found in pub (9)
INSURANCE – Insert SURA (a chapter of the Koran, religious text) into INN (pub) and finish with CE (Church of England).

14a         Writer‘s request for composer to use different keys? (7)
LESSING –   Split 4, 2, 1 this writer’s surname  could be a request to a composer not to use the key of G.

16a         Writer Brad tours Pyrenean city (7)
NAIPAUL – Misleading capital time.   A brad or NAIL has the Pyrenean city of PAU inserted.

18a         When the news used to be about Scottish sides getting over evidence of cold (7)
ATISHOO –   AT IO is when the news used to be, insert S and H (the sides of Scottish) and finish with O (over in cricket scoring).

20a         Old author begins with nice new books (7)
ANCIENT –   A (the beginning of author), an anagram (new) of NICE and NT (the books of the New Testament).

22a         Bites neck, irritating author (9)
STEINBECK –   An anagram (irritating) of BITES NECK.

24a         Author from Scottish island (5)
LEWIS –   A double definition.

26a         In the 80s, Jimmy Knapp did back keeping zero armour (7)
ROUNDEL – In the 1980s Jimmy Knapp led the  National Union of Railwaymen – reverse (back) LED NUR and insert an O (keeping zero) inserted.

27a         Applause for Athenian losing money on eggs (7)
OVATION – OVA (eggs) and TIMON (of Athens) losing the M for money.

28a         Woman kneels, occasionally dropping bits of Middle Eastern bread (6)
SHEKEL –   SHE (woman) and the ‘occasional’ bits of KnEeLs.

29a         North Leeds is badly affected by unemployment (8)
IDLENESS –   A badly affected anagram of N (north) and LEEDS IS.

1d           Solemn ceremony gets honoree deputising for Queen in Madeira (7)
FUNCHAL – In a FUNERAL (solemn ceremony) the Queen’s cipher – ER – should be replaced with CH (the abbreviation for a Companion of Honour).

2d           Headless fishes containing 50 bones (5)
ULNAS –   Remove the T (headless) from TUNAS and insert an L (containing [the Roman numeral for] 50).

3d           Thinks tie is horrible but playful (9)
KITTENISH is an anagram (horrible) of THINKS TIE.

4d           Discerning oriental agent gets home with moneybag in the end (7)
ESPYING – E (Eastern, oriental) SPY (agent) IN (home) and G (the end letter of moneybag).

6d           Reason friend nearly collapses (5)
INFER –   An anagram (collapses) of nearly all the letters of FRIEND.

7d           Melted fat rare in contents of buffet car? (5,4)
TRAIN FARE –   The ? indicates a cryptic definition – an anagram (melted) of FAT RARE IN.

8d           Author‘s publisher in the end needs American market (7)
RUSSELL – R (the end of publisher) US (American) SELL (market).

9d          Norwegian author‘s highly-rated manuscript stolen by mediaeval warrior (6)
HAMSUN –   Insert into HUN (mediaeval warrior) A (the letter used to indicate a high rating of something) and MS (manuscript).

15d         Old mathematician’s assistant tempted one to get up in the middle of maths lesson (5,4)
SLIDE RULE –   A reversal (to get up in a down clue) of LURED I (tempted one) into the middle letters of mathS LEsson.

17d         I can’t clue strange word for “drill” (9)
INCULCATE – to drill something into someone by frequent repetitions – an anagram (strange) of I CANT CLUE.

18d         Guarantees playing, then takes action over resistance (7)
ASSURES – AS (then) SUES (takes action) with R (resistance) inserted.

19d         A sick American author (1’5)
O’NEILL or split 3, 3, ONE ILL (a sick).

20d         Returning toward York, camels carrying author (7)
ACKROYD –   Hidden (carrying) and reversed (returning towards) in towarD YORK CAmels.

21d         Instruction to stop slouching includes reasonable drinks (7)
TISANES –   An instruction to stop slouching would be to SIT up, here indicating the need to reverse SIT and then insert SANE (reasonable).

23d         Gently push golf in bare surroundings (5)
NUDGE – G (golf) surrounded by NUDE (bare).

25d         Australian author and chessplayer (5)
WHITE –   And a double definition to finish.

Thanks to Alchemi, Mrs BD and Hamlyn Books for their parts in this month’s Prize Puzzle Competition.



  1. KiwiColin
    Posted June 22, 2014 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations David. Thought this a most enjoyable puzzle. I would have been totally lost without Wikipedia help on who the possibilities could be but guess I was not alone in this.
    Thanks again Alchemi and Sue for the review.

    • Alchemi
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      The setter would have been totally lost without Wikipedia help when setting the puzzle, so it’s not surprising that solvers needed it too!

  2. Kath
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations to David from me too.
    I thought this was a wonderful crossword.
    The main problem I had, having finished it, was sorting out the answer. I had two authors who hadn’t been awarded a Nobel prize – anyone who wants to can call me dim if they like – I automatically thought of C.S.Lewis for quite a while.

    • Alchemi
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Sinclair Lewis must be one of the least deserving recipients of the prize – not that the Narnia books stake much of a claim either.

    • Kath
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      PS The manners seem to have escaped today – thanks to CS for the unravelling of a couple of my answers.

  3. Catnap
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations to David from me, too. Well done!

    A super puzzle with a super theme! Found the hidden message, and was pretty certain of the odd man out. Did check the list of laureates online when I’d completed the puzzle just to make sure. (This is not to say I didn’t make good use of our reference books to check on authors’ bio-bibliographical details!) I did have to rely on Google, though, for Jimmy Knapp in 26a.

    I thought there were some delightfully devious clues, e.g. 20a and 24a. Too many excellent clues to select a fave.

    On reading through Crypticsue’s lovely clear review, I am very glad to find I had no problems with the parsing. But — I did miss the double definitions in 24a and 25d. Oh my!

    Very many thanks to Alchemi for the super MPP and to Crypticsue for her excellent explanations.

  4. Hoskins
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Nice stuff as always, Alchemi.

    I went for Doris Lessing being the odd one out on account of her being the only woman in the group and being defined as ‘A LASS’ in the 1d & 18d vertical column (as in, only one of the authors is ‘a lass’.

    Looking forward to the next one