MPP 045 – Review

Monthly Prize Puzzle – 045

February 2016

A Puzzle by Radler

The instructions for this puzzle were:

All except one 28ac may be found in the completed grid (as whole or partial solutions). What is the missing member of the set?

 Congratulations to Dutch who found eleven of the Houses of the Zodiac in the solutions.   The missing one is Aquarius – the Water Carrier – the Radler Award for Particularly Observant Solvers goes to Beet for noticing the other water carrier at 15d


1a           Incline angle based on speed of light ray (5-4)
CRAMP-FISH (Aries)(Pisces) –   Hands up if you’d heard of this electric ray or torpedo fish? RAMP (incline) FISH (angle) all put after or ‘based on’ C, the speed of light.

6a           Around 50:50 accept the truth of tyrant (5)
BULL(Taurus) –   BUY (accept the truth of) ‘accepts’ two lots of the Roman numeral for 50.

9a           Doubles bet, finally hits the jackpot (5)
TWINS (Gemini) –   The final letter of beT and WINS (hits the jackpot).


10a         Liven orgy with boobs smothering (9)
OVERLYING – An anagram (with boobs) of LIVEN ORGY.

11a         Island Muslim revolutionary arrested over fare from Cyprus (8)
HALLOUMI –   A reversal (revolutionary) of I (island) MULLAH (Muslim) into which is inserted (arrested) O (over).

12a         Insides of bottles filled with so-called tea (6)
VITALS – VIALS (bottles) ‘filled with’ T (sounds like, so-called) tea).

14a         It‘s figuratively art, if subverted (8)
GRAFFITI – An anagram (subverted) of FIG (figuratively) ART IF.


16a         Capital between China and Iran (5)
NAIRA –   The monetary unit (capital) of NIGERIA is hidden in ChiNA IRAn

18a         Fresh food (5)
CRISP – Double definition, one an adjective, the other a not particularly healthy food.


20a         Lifts up vest – she’s right, ale’s liberating (8)
ELEVATES –   An anagram (liberating) of VEST E (the ‘right’ hand letter of she) ALE.

23a         Bow Bridge (6)
ARCHER (Sagittarius)  – One who uses a bow or a description of a bridge.

24a         One leg’s claimed ordinary faced with nearly twenty eight legs and a tail (8)
SCORPION  (Scorpio) – PIN (one leg) ‘claimed’ or had inserted an O (Ordinary) preceded by (faced with) SCOR(e) (‘nearly’ twenty or a score)


27a         Low carbon alternative? No! (5,4)
BROWN COAL – This fuel which is not low carbon can be found in an anagram (alternative) of LOW CARBON.

28a         Theatre music (5)
HOUSE – This double-definition clue gives us the necessary information to enable us to see that the theme is Houses of the Zodiac.

29a         Goal, and another gutted! It s all over (5)
ENDED –   END (goal) and E[n]D (another goal ‘gutted’)

30a         International tax correspondent (4,5)
TEST MATCH –   TEST (tax as a verb) MATCH (correspondent).

1d           See why we’re told about letter – selfless and unforgettable (6)
CATCHY – C Y (homophones, we’re told’ of see and why) put about an AITCH (letter) once you have removed the I (‘self’ less).

2d           Central characters, taxi almost runs over (5)
AXIAL – Hidden (runs over) in tAXI ALmost

3d           Counterfeit ticket not up to usual standard (4,3)
PASS OFF – PASS (ticket) OFF (not up to usual standard)


4d           Band providing box for the Prince of Wallachia? (4,6)
IRON MAIDEN  (Virgo) – The name of this band is also a box lined with iron spikes in which someone like Vlad the Impaler (the Prince of Wallachia) might use.

Iron Maiden

5d           Mark of the man, would you say? (4)
HEED – Mark or listen to – a homophone (you say) of HE’D (the man would).

6d           Will I get supported by very many? (7)
BILLION (Leo) –   BILL (Will being another abbreviated form of Wiliam) I (from the clue) ON (supported by)

7d           Rejected ace is top scorer on first team (4,5)
LAID ASIDE –   A (ace) inserted into (scores) LID (top)   and followed with A SIDE (first team).

8d           Old European fellow upset Big John (8)
YUGOSLAV –   GUY (fellow) reversed (upset) followed by OS (oversize, big) and LAV (John being an informal term for the toilet, as is lav)

13d         Perhaps years, maybe decades wasted as ice melts (10)
TIMESCALES  (Libra) –   An anagram (wasted) of AS ICE MELTS


15d         Retro 2-litre car keeps cool: it carries water (4-5)
RAIN-CLOUD – Reverse (retro) DUO (2) L (litre) CAR (from the clue) and insert IN (cool, fashionable)

rain cloud

17d         Claw of small crustacean more adept without shell (8)
SCRABBLE  (Cancer) – Here claw is a verb – S (small) CRAB) crustacean) and BLE (aBLEr (more adept) without it’s shell or outside letters).

19d         Earl interrupted before conclusion, getting congratulated (7)
PREENED – Congratulated oneself.   E (earl) interrupts PRE END (before conclusion)

21d         A top husband, mother builds up father (7)
ABRAHAM – The Hebrew patriarch (father) – A (from the clue) BRA (top) H (husband) and a reversal (builds up) of MA (mother)

22d         She schemed with men to devise trap (6)
ENMESH –   An anagram (schemed) of SHE and MEN.

25d         One it’s said, was acquainted with computing language (5)
INUIT –   I (one) NU (a homophone, it’s said, of KNEW, was acquainted with) IT (computing)

26d         One horny gazelle, head to tail (4)
GOAT  (Capricorn) – GOA (a grey-brown gazelle of Tibet) and T (the ‘head’ to Tail).


Thanks once again to Radler, Mrs BD and BD for their parts in this ‘production’.

MPP_045 to see the completed grid.


  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted February 21, 2016 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations to Dutch, and many thanks to CS, particularly for the parsing of 26d as I had never previously heard of the gazelle in question.

  2. jean-luc cheval
    Posted February 21, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Thanks again to Radler for the super crossword and congratulations to Dutch.
    After getting the answer I had this in my head and watched the musical all over again:
    I read the instructions for including a link in the FAQ. Let’s hope it works.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted February 21, 2016 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      And it does.
      Thanks to CS for the review.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted February 21, 2016 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      It does! :good:

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted February 21, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        Incredible what a few brackets and wiggly bits can do.

        • Posted February 21, 2016 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

          Perhaps I ought to put how to do this in the FAQ as well:

          • jean-luc cheval
            Posted February 21, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

            Oh yes please :yes:

            • Posted February 21, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

              I’ll see what I can do – if I just put the code into the FAQ it will display the video, not the code. There are websites that can translate the code into a displayable format.

              • Posted February 21, 2016 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

                I think this is it – just replace vvvvvv with the YouTube code, e.g. kjxSCAalsBE

                <iframe title=”YouTube video player” width=”309″ height=”250″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

                • Rabbit Dave
                  Posted February 21, 2016 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

                  That will come in handy!

                  On a similar issue, how do you paste a picture into a blog comment rather than doing it via a link?

                  Sorry if this already in the FAQs but I can’t find it.

  3. Jane
    Posted February 21, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks for the review, CS and the unravelling of the two or three half-parsings I’m quite willing to admit to. Not sure that your explanation of 7d is quite correct?
    Very relieved to learn that I got the correct answer – I’d picked up on 15d and it made me jittery about committing.

    Well done, Dutch – don’t forget to bring your prize for the official ‘signing’ at the next birthday bash!

    • crypticsue
      Posted February 21, 2016 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      I had it right in the first place and then rushed finishing everything off because Mr CS called to say lunch was ready to dish up and I over corrected it.

      • Jane
        Posted February 21, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        How nice to have a Mr CS to deal with lunch – does he put out the bins as well? If so, I must get myself one!

        • crypticsue
          Posted February 21, 2016 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

          He alsways does the bins as I drive off to work :( I did all the lunch preparing and putting on to cook, he just had to finish off the veg while I added the winner’s name to my draft review so that I could get it posted before lunch as I had other things to do this afternoon.

          All done now apart from Skyping at 5 with my lovely grandson (and his mum and dad)

        • Rabbit Dave
          Posted February 21, 2016 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

          I do bins but not lunch or ironing.

  4. jean-luc cheval
    Posted February 21, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Lets have a go:

  5. jean-luc cheval
    Posted February 21, 2016 at 4:12 pm | Permalink
  6. jean-luc cheval
    Posted February 21, 2016 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Silly me, I missed a bit.

  7. jean-luc cheval
    Posted February 21, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Last try.

  8. jean-luc cheval
    Posted February 21, 2016 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Can’t see where I am going wrong.

    • Posted February 21, 2016 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      It may be that you need to be logged in – leave it for now and I’ll have a further look when I’ve got time.

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted February 21, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, I didn’t see your post.
        Paso seems to be able to do it all the time. Don’t let it drive you mad.

  9. KiwiColin
    Posted February 21, 2016 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations Dutch. I realised the day after submission that I had put in an incorrect answer. I had missed the fact that there were two answers hiding in 1a and not just one and had also thought I had found my own sign in 15d. I remember it as being good fun to solve.
    Thanks again Radler and CS.

  10. jean-luc cheval
    Posted February 21, 2016 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Should have copied the whole thing from BD instead of writing it all over again.
    That should work:

    • Kitty
      Posted February 21, 2016 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      JL, if you just put the youtube link in your comment the magic happens automatically. If I recall correctly, it only works at the end of a comment – it certainly needs its own line. It also mates up (I’ll use that term again just for you!) if you go back to edit.

  11. Kitty
    Posted February 21, 2016 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    I found this hard but very satisfying. Congratulations to Dutch, and thanks to Radler for the challenge and to CS for the review.

  12. Radler
    Posted February 21, 2016 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Thank you to Crypticsue, Big Dave & Mrs Big D

    Congratulations to Dutch

    Hope to see many of you at my local S&B in Macclesfield in March

  13. Beet
    Posted February 22, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    I am honoured to win the inaugural Radler Award for Particularly Observant Solvers! Normally themes, pangrams and Ninas fly over my head so I will treasure it.

  14. Ora Meringue
    Posted February 24, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Cngratulations to Dutch.
    Thanks to Radler for a great puzzle and to Crypticsue for much needed help with the parsing.