Prize Puzzle – 034

Monthly Prize Puzzle (March 2015)

A Puzzle by Alchemi

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Why not have a go at our latest Monthly Prize Puzzle?

The winner will receive their choice of any of the Telegraph Crossword Books published by Hamlyn.

Please note that, due to punitive postal charges, while the competition is open to all, the prize is only available to UK solvers.

 A review will follow after the closing date (21st March 2015).

Crossword logo

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

I’ve left this post open for comments, but if you don’t want your comment to be deleted then avoid asking for or giving help with the clues.



  1. Alchemi
    Posted March 7, 2015 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I am pleased to announce the opening of Alchemiland. Since I have been composing puzzles at the rate of 2-3 a week and have publishers for 2-3 a month, I have rather a backlog of puzzles which won’t otherwise get seen. So I’m publishing just about all the puzzles I composed up to the end of 2013 plus those which were published elsewhere in 2014 and whose original publishers don’t mind them being published a few months later. It also includes my specialist cricket-themed puzzles which I did for Cricinfo, including some newer ones which I composed after the series ended. So there are about 240 puzzles all told at present.

    You can find it here:

  2. pommers
    Posted March 7, 2015 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    That was fun! Took a while to twig what was going on but once I did it all went together quite smoothly. Some very nice clues along the way and not always the ones with the 3-letter abbreviations in them.

    Thanks Alchemi

    P.S. I had a peek at the website a couple of days ago and it’s well worth a look.

  3. Beet
    Posted March 7, 2015 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Alchemi. The instructions made no sense to me at first, but I thought I would just press on and hope that all would become clear, and it did. 22 down was my favourite.

  4. Expat Chris
    Posted March 7, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    I loved this! It was so much fun to solve. Thanks Alchemi! I found the theme with my second answer, so that was a help. I did have to google to fully parse 19D. 24A was my last one in and raised a smile when I finally worked it out. Loved 1D, too, but 22D is far and away my favorite and I laughed out loud when I got it!

    • Expat Chris
      Posted March 7, 2015 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      I’ve added your website to my favorites bar.

  5. Dutch
    Posted March 7, 2015 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Alchemi, that was a lot of fun. Took a bit to figure out what was going on, but then the theme helped me solve some of the last entries. Quite clever, I think, very impressive. Some lovely clues, I liked many, 2d possibly my favourite. 23d was one of my last and quite special I thought.

  6. KiwiColin
    Posted March 7, 2015 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    I surprised myself by guessing what the series might be before I had even glanced at the clues. It turned out I was right and it did help a little, but it still did not make the puzzle an easy solve to arrive at the final answer. Some very clever clues here. Much enjoyed.
    Thanks Alchemi.

  7. andrewkiwi
    Posted March 8, 2015 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    Wow that was a real challenge! And some really clever constructions which made me smile – especially 22d – my favourite. I’m still confused by 9d and 24ac (first part) – I have credible answers but can’t seem to understand the word play to get them…
    Thanks very much to Alchemy for a lot of fun and a rewarding one to finally finish (I think…)!

    • andrewkiwi
      Posted March 8, 2015 at 4:19 am | Permalink

      Ha! The penny just dropped on 24a – very very clever! My new favourite now…

    • andrewkiwi
      Posted March 8, 2015 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      Hmmm… I bet new bloggers who start sentences with “I don’t wish to be a pedant but…” are really popular here! But here goes anyway: I wonder if my confusion regarding 9d is due to there being an error of fact in the clue itself?

      • gazza
        Posted March 8, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        I think that you’re right.

      • Alchemi
        Posted March 8, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        An interesting nitpick. You are, to my chagrin, correct.

        I wonder, though, how many taxonomists it takes to change a lightbulb do crosswords and would actually know that. I suspect that general ignorance is such that had the clue specified “mustelid”, there would have been howls from the non-pedants.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted March 8, 2015 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        I don’t wish to be a pedant, Andrew, but are you not a commenter rather than a blogger?

        • Jane
          Posted March 8, 2015 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

          Come on, Chris – we’ve got enough problems on our hands with 9d x 2 ‘rodents’ at the moment!

        • andrewkiwi
          Posted March 8, 2015 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

          Give me time Chris – I have my eyes on 2 Kiwis’ spot…

          • Jane
            Posted March 8, 2015 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

            Don’t even joke about it, Andrew – you’ll be recruited before you can say ‘rodent’.

  8. jean-luc cheval
    Posted March 8, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I was very lucky indeed to solve 14d first which allowed me the get the theme straight away.
    The hardest one to find was 11a for me as 8d is a bit of a strange word.
    2d was very good I thought.
    Thanks to Alchemi for the super fun and even if I know that I will never win, It’s always a pleasure to participate.
    Thanks also to BD and may I suggest that the setters use a different font from this one as all the letters were very close to each other and not very easy to read.

  9. Jane
    Posted March 8, 2015 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Pretty much at the top end of my solving abilities and there are still a couple that I haven’t yet fully justified. Recitals and 4G networks are giving me grief! Fortunately, finding the theme helped considerably.

    Had the same problem as AndrewK with regard to 9d – ‘mustelid’ would have made life far easier.

    Some very clever clues but I’ll opt for the simplicity of 29a for my favourite.

    Many thanks, Alchemi – I’ve learnt a couple of new words, a new Florida hanging and a word I doubted could exist! A most enjoyable tussle.

  10. Toro
    Posted March 8, 2015 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    A fun exercise and a nice puzzle in its own right. I started in the SW corner and 30a gave me my “in”. Picks were 1a, 24a, 31a and 2d.

    Thanks Alchemi and congratulations on the new site. I enjoyed reading your thinkpieces and hope you will write more.

  11. Rahmat Ali
    Posted March 15, 2015 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    It was real fun and thanks to Alchemi from the core of my heart for setting such an amazing puzzle. I started with 14d while guessing the theme and 30a confirmed it. 9d and first part of 24a troubled me till the end, but still the required answer was right there then in front of my eyes. My favourites were 31a, 1d, 2d, 19d, 22d and 23d.

  12. Kitty
    Posted March 17, 2015 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I can pretty much just repeat Kiwi Colin’s comment verbatim.

    After an initial case of smug having guessed the theme and made good initial progress, I slowed right down. There were some that took me an age to get and/or justify, but think I have it all sorted now.

    Thanks Alchemi. Nice one