MPP 033 – Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP 033 – Review

Monthly Prize Puzzle – 033

February 2015

Mousetrap – A puzzle by Prolixic

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Prolixic returns to the MPP slot, this time with a puzzle that required you to have heard of the game Mousetrap.   People like me who had played the game were at a distinct advantage when finding the nine component parts of the game hidden in the solutions to the puzzle. I remain quite disappointed that there wasn’t a chance to clue the ‘Thing-a-ma-jig’!


I wonder if this month’s lucky winner, Nigel Walters, was a player of Mousetrap or an investigoogler to find the nine game pieces hidden in the puzzle? Congratulations to him – I hope he enjoys whichever Hamlyn Telegraph Puzzle books he chooses as the prize


1a           Record most recent sign (1-5)
L-PLATE –   LP (long playing record) and LATE (most recent).

4a           Charms when describing dream (6)
AMUSES –   AS (when) ‘describes’ or goes round MUSE(dream).

9a           City toured by Frankie Vaughan (4)
KIEV –   Hidden in the middle of (toured by) FranKIE Vaughan.

10a         Harmed after a little red is drunk (3-7)
ILL-TREATED –   An anagram (drunk) of A LITTLE RED.

11a         25% of Uranium found in river (6)
FOURTH – U (the chemical symbol for Uranium) inserted into the river FORTH.

12a         Star leaving Britain with speed (8)
CELERITY – Remove B for Britain from CELEBRITY (star).

13a         Journey – one touring Iran and Tyre (9)
ITINERARY –   I (one) and an anagram (touring) of IRAN and TYRE.

15a         American composer‘s notes (4)
CAGE –   The musical notes C A G and E.


16a         Pledge  assistance (4)
HAND – Double definition

hand17a         Turn out corps in state crisis (9)
EMERGENCY – EMERGE (turn out) followed by NY (New York State) into which is inserted C (the abbreviation for Corps).

21a         Excellent singer’s trade (8)
PLUMBING –   PLUM (excellent, choice) and BING (Mr Crosby, the crooner).


22a         Come down heavily on young man meeting Ethyl (6)
BUCKET –   BUCK (lively young man) followed by ET, the chemical symbol for Ethyl.


24a         Past Beatles song with much longer ending! (10)
YESTERYEAR –   Change the ending of the Beatles song YESTERDAY by replacing the DAY with that much longer period of time, the YEAR.

25a         Frighten duke away from relative (4)
AUNT –   Remove the D (duke away) from DAUNT (frighten).

26a         Goes back to wrap up South American plaything (6)
SEESAW –   A reversal (back)of WEES (goes) into which is inserted (wrap up) SA (South American).


27a         Old king wears expensive French necklace (6)
CHOKER –   O (old) and K (king) inserted into CHER, the French word for expensive.

1d           Took measures to call up public (4,3)
LAID OUT –   A reversal (up) of DIAL (call) followed by OUT (public).

2d           Force outcast to leave quietly for Vatican City (5)
LEVER –   Remove the P (the musical instruction to play quietly) from a LEPER (outcast)and replace with V (the IVR Code for Vatican City).


3d           Author finally crushed by article about best seller “On the Far Side” (7)
THITHER –   An adverb meaning ‘on the far side’. HIT (best seller) inserted into THE (definite article) put on top of (crushed by) the final letter of author.

5d           Hard mother reportedly spent endlessly (6)
MARBLE –   MAR (a homophone – reportedly –of MA, mother) followed by the first three letters (endlessly) of BLEW (spent).


6d           Ace involved in scariest manoeuvre in flight (9)
STAIRCASE –   A (Ace) involved in or inserted into an anagram (manoeuvre)of SCARIEST.


7d           Cover provided by Scots Heather (7)
SHEATHE is hidden in ScotS HEATHEr.

8d           Eccentric earl and gent come on time to get attractive object (13)
ELECTROMAGNET –   An anagram (eccentric) of EARL GENT COME followed by (on) T (time).

14d         Distance from Northern Angola’s remote ruins (9)
NANOMETRE –   N (northern) A (Angola) and an anagram (ruins) of REMOTE.

16d         Henry adjusts women’s bodices (7)
HALTERS – H (the SI Unit, the Henry) and ALTERS (adjusts).

18d         Spiritual awakening of revolutionary group in Croatia (7)
REBIRTH –   Insert a TRIBE (group) into HR (the IVR code for Croatia) and then reverse (revolutionary) the result.

19d         Scout is less productive after college (7)
CLEANER –   C(college) and LEANER (less productive).

20d         Old car for Romeo’s follower (6)
SIERRA –   The name of this old car is the letter that follows Romeo in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet.

23d         Turn cold and rank (5)
CRANK –   C (cold) and…. er… RANK – this clue originally had the word ‘foul’ instead of rank.


13 comments on “MPP 033 – Review

  1. All good fun – but I was amongst those who had to rely on a Google description of the game. Sadly, it doesn’t refer to a seesaw!
    I also missed plumbing – there was a reference to a bathtub but all the other pieces were so specific that I decided that would be a bit of a stretch.

    Thank you, Prolixic – I thoroughly enjoyed both the puzzle and reading about the origins of the Mousetrap.

  2. Congratulations Nigel Walters. I am another one relying on Mr Google for details of the game which I had not previously encountered. I spent quite some time considering whether to include plumbing as one of the list and in the end decided to not include it. Much the same logic as Jane used. However, good fun to solve and I enjoyed learning about the game.
    Thanks again Prolixic and CS.

  3. Somewhat ironically this was the first mpp I entered where I was unsure I had the right answer (though I was happy I had the grid filled in right), so was doubly surprised to be the winner! I had played mousetrap as a child, but did indeed do some ‘investigoogling’ to come up with an answer.

    Thanks to CS for the review and again to Prolixic for a most entertaining puzzle.

    Sprocker (aka Nigel)

    1. Wow – brilliant – I just love it when the winner of the MPP is someone we all “know”! Fantastic and a big to Mr Spaniel, which is how I think of you.

    2. Congratulations Sprocker – your victory means that you have been outed!

      Thanks to Prolixic for a lovely themed puzzle, I twigged what the reference to mousetrap meant, and I got as far as completing most of the grid and remember being confused that none of the gaps I had left looked like they were going to turn out to be bathtub. “plumbing” was obviously one of my gaps. I meant to come back after some googling and then apparently got sidetracked. Great idea for a theme – I remember playing it so it brought back memories. I’ve just watched a video on youtube of the full thing in action for full nostalgia effect.

      Thanks to Sue for the review

    3. Well done indeed Sprocker ! Thanks to Sue for the review as well.

      As others have mentioned, the puzzle was extremely evocative, although my abiding memory of the game in the late 1960s as an impatient child was that it took simply ages to set up !!

      Now to tackle your latest submission to Rookie Corner which I’m sure will be equally fun !

  4. Congratulations to Nigel. I was miles away as usual.
    Filled the grid correctly though.
    March is only around the corner. Can’t wait.

  5. I did this MPP so long ago now that not only had I forgotten about it but, as is usual in our house, it had ended up at the bottom of a horizontal pile of ‘stuff’ waiting to be sorted out – such is the muddle we live in!
    All that means that I’ve now had the chance to enjoy it all over again – well, once I’d retrieved it from aforementioned pile of stuff.
    I was one of the ones who didn’t know that ‘Mousetrap’ was a game which meant I was searching the internet for ‘mousetraps’ – surprising what you learn!!
    A friend told me that it was a game but by then real life had overtaken me – and I’d lost the crossword. Isn’t this where we came in?!
    I never did get 26a having stupidly spelt 14d as if I lived on the other side of the pond. I didn’t put in 23d as I couldn’t believe it could be right and got in a muddle with 20d – must learn phonetic alphabet!
    Whatever – I did enjoy it some time back in the dim and distant past.
    I liked 17 and 21a and 5 and 16d. My favourite was 27a because of the image of a king wearing a necklace!
    With thanks to Prolixic and to CS and congratulations to Sprocker/Nigel.

  6. Postscript.

    I became aware of the confusion over “seesaw / diving board” and “staircase / rickety stairs” early on and all entries with an answer of 7, 8 or 9 went into the draw.

    1. A ‘scout’ is a college servant (especially at Oxford University) who performs various duties including cleaning.

  7. Many thanks for the explanation Crypticsue, I’d googled it but obviously missed that meaning. I enjoyed the puzzle but find the MPP’s quite a bit harder than the daily cryptic’s. Thanks for the review too.

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