MPP 034 – Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP 034 – Review

Monthly Prize Puzzle – 034

March 2015

A puzzle by Alchemi

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Alchemi’s latest MPP had an interesting twist.  Eleven of the twelve three-letter abbreviations for the months of the year were hidden in the puzzle – solvers had to identify AUG as the missing month.  The awkward bit in the instructions, “though in one case it isn’t actually an abbreviation”, was there to cover the fact that MAY didnt need to be abbreviated.  The eleven months, highlighted in yellow below, were not included in the wordplay.

This month’s lucky winner is Dutch, who has chosen one of The Telegraph: All New Cryptic Crosswords series as his prize.


1a    Spot singular representation of top Tory? (6)
PICKLE: this spot or predicament is the “singular representation” of Eric PICKLE[s]

4a    Had lunch at home, switching the order to do something new (8)
INNOVATE: a verb meaning had lunch and a two-letter word meaning at home, with the order reversed

10a    Make up trick with fantastic end (7)
CONCOCT: a trick followed by the final letter (end) of [fantasti]C

11a    Bar to order (7)
TAPROOM: TO and the Order of Merit

12a    Seriously injure one being carried by short pack animal (4)
MAUL: A (one) iside most of (short) a pack animal

13a    Email friend almost devastated sea creatures (6,4)
MARINE LIFE: an anagram (devastated) of EMAIL with most of FRIEN[d]

16a    About to begin chastising boy getting dressed again (6)
RECLAD: a two-letter word meaning about followed by the initial letter (to begin) of C[hastising] and a boy

17a    A second winning position to last a long time (7)
PERSIST: “a” or “for each” followed by S(econd) and 3 letters that look like first (winning position)

20a    Knight swallowing a cocktail (7)
SIDECAR: the title given to a knight of the realm around (swallowing) the A from the clue

21a    Grand old man accepts the blame for strong drink (6)
GRAPPA: G(rand) and the two-letter old man or father around the blame or censure

24a    Kleenex perhaps what’s at the end of fight with children (4,6)
HAND TISSUE: the letters at the end of [fig]HT expressed as H AND T followed by some children

25a    Time to return money – nothing less would be honest (4)
TRUE: T(ime) followed by the reversal (to return) of some money or currency without (less) the O (nothing)

27a    Feverish anger (7)
FEBRILE: a verb meaning to anger

29a    Good-naturedly decapitated pigeon in cathedral (7)
EQUABLY: a young pigeon without its initial letter (decapitated) inside a the three-letter name of a cathedral in Cambridgeshire

30a    Having lost hope, kicked the bucket around the beginning of spring (8)
DISMAYED: a verb meaning kicked the bucket or passed away around the initial letter (beginning) of S[pring]

31a    Religious sect having hearts of blessed oneness (6)
ESSENE: the middle three letters (hearts) of [bl]ESS[ed] and [on]ENE[ss]


1d    Blemish policeman turning up with two-thirds of US racist group (8)
POCKMARK: the reversal (turning up in a down clue followed by two-thirds of a US racist group

2d    And perhaps I switch position after Queen leaves recital (11)
CONJUNCTION: I from the clue and one of two positions for a switch preceded by a recital from which ER (the Queen’s regnal cipher) has been removed (leaves)

3d/26d    Little animals Colin treated before crash of ’28 (4,4)
LION CUBS: an anagram (treated) of COLIN followed by an anagram (crash) of the answer to 28 Down

5d    Norway and Iceland detaining cliched radicals (8)
NITRITES: the IVR codes for Norway and Iceland around (detaining) an adjective meaning clichéd or hackneyed

6d    Work on iron horse stripped by cruel overlords (10)
OPPRESSORS: a musical work followed by a verb meaning to iron and [h]ORS[e] minus its outer letters (stripped)

7d    The beginning of air travel in the past (3)
AGO: the initial letter (beginning) of A[ir] followed by a verb meaning to travel

8d    The Spanish satellite is blocked by Europe having more of a certain type of tree (6)
ELMIER: the Spanish definite article followed by a Russian satellite / space station around (blocked by) E(urope)

9d    Relaxed about heading for rodent (5)
STOAT: a verb meaning relaxed around a preposition meaning heading for gives an animal, sometimes regarded as a rodent, which is actually a small carnivorous mammal of the weasel family which feeds on small rodents

14d    Popular Middle Easterner and the French are the very best of friends (11)
INSEPARABLE: a two-letter word meaning popular followed by a Middle Easterner and the French definite article

15d    Composer crashed airplane over the road (10)
PALESTRINA: an anagram (crashed) of AIRPLANE around the abbreviation for ST(reet) (road) – the name of this lesser-known Italian composer, chiefly known for his sacred music, is the price a setter pays for squeezing a theme into his puzzle: it is important that obscure words like this one are clued, as here, in a straightforward manner

18d    Give a military setting to old songs – that’s great entertainment to start with (3,5)
LAY SIEGE: some old songs followed by the Latin abbreviation for “that’s” / “that is” and the initial letters (to start with) two words in the clue

19d    4G network hosting online year book (4,4)
JANE EYRE: a 4G mobile phone network, formed by a merger between T-Mobile and Orange, around the prefix used to indicate online and Y(ea)R

22d    Further education in what was seen hanging in Florida once got irritating (6)
CHAFED: the abbreviation for Further Education inside one of the little bits of cardboard punched out of cards that famously affected the US Presidential election in 2000


23d    Record drink (5)
JULEP: a four-track gramophone record

26d    See 3 Down

28d    Transport from Belgium to America (3)
BUS: the the IVR code for Belgium followed by the two-letter abbreviation for America

13 comments on “MPP 034 – Review

  1. Congratulations Dutch.
    Looking back at the puzzle I note that I had highlighted the MAR in 13a as well as noting the one in 1d. Not that it made the slightest difference to the answer of course. Remember it as a good fun puzzle.

        1. Still getting used to using a touch screen keyboard and getting into all sorts of mess.

  2. Many thanks for the review, BD – sorted out a couple that I hadn’t managed to fully parse – but I still don’t understand 19d. I get EE for the network and Y for year but that’s as far as I can go. Can you explain further, please?

    1. If you look carefully at the hint, i have given YR as the abbreviation for year. The other E is for E(lectronic) as in e-mail, e-banking, e-commerce etc..

  3. Congratulations Dutch.
    Can’t believe it’s already the end of the month.
    Time just flies.
    Bring on April.
    Thanks again to Alchemi and to BD.

  4. Many thanks for the congrats, much appreciated, of course they should go to alchemi for a delightful puzzle.

  5. Thanks for the review, BD, and thanks to everyone else who said they enjoyed it. And congrats to Dutch.

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