MPP 048 – Review

Monthly Prize Puzzle – 048

May 2016

A Puzzle by Radler

Congratulations to Nigel F who successfully managed solve this tricky Radler puzzle, see the Nina that ran from the first letter of 9d diagonally down to the final letter of 32a – FRUIT AND NUTS – and realise that the solution to 1a was BANANAS.   This enabled him to enter the competition and, as he was the lucky person picked from the electronic ‘hat’ by Mrs BD, Nigel can  now  claim a Hamlyn Telegraph Crossword Book as his prize.

I did smile at all the comments about what a beast the NW corner was.   When I first met this crossword, I had four goes at it, including asking both  Mrs Bradford and the Chambers Crossword Dictionary for assistance, and sent it back to our deviously difficult setter with the NW corner unfilled apart from one solution.    Interestingly, the final version  only had one clue changed in that corner, so well done to all the people who finished the crossword and submitted an entry.

Do tell, after all the struggle to solve the crossword and find the answer to submit to the competition, how many people actually noticed it was a pangram?!



1a           See preamble (7)
BANANAS –  a word that can mean either a fruit or nuts in the sense of crazy.


5a           A long way from politically correct… pinching bottom! (6)
PARSEC –   PC (politically correct) ‘pinching’ an ARSE (bottom)

11a         Sly Max reserved funds to divorce wife (7)
ARCHEST –    The most (max) sly –  ‘divorce’ the W (wife) from a WARCHEST.

12a         Conceivably quaint, conclusively vintage (7)
ANTIQUE   –   An anagram (conceivably) of QUAINT plus the concluding letter of vintagE

13a         This country’s all about Open Society (5)
SYRIA –  A reversal (all about) of AIRY (open) and S (society)

14a         Iris radically customised Morris Motor, spending thousands (5-4)
ORRIS-ROOT  –  An anagram (customised) of MORRIS MOTOR, once you have removed the Ms (spending thousands in Roman numerals).

orris root

15a         Hide jacket and collars (3)
TAN –   Hidden in (collars) jackeT ANd

16a         Patch puncture after leaving race in pole position (5)
PIECE –   The letter R is in pole position in the word Race –  it should be removed from PIERCE (puncture) to give us the solution.

17a         Reminder for day (4)
PROD –   PRO (for) D (day)

18a         Without finishing beer, compare skirts below the knee (4)
CALF –  CF (compare) ‘skirts’ or goes round ALe (unfinished beer)


20a         Just a day before the first of November (4)
EVEN –   EVE (a day before) N (the first of November)

22a         Note, not quite thigh-length (4)
MINI –  Not quite a MINIm (note)

23a         Beaming pedestrian overtakes characters on roundabout (2,3)
ON AIR –  Hidden and reversed (roundabout) in pedestRIAN Overtakes.

26a         Opening speech “The European Dung Beetle” (3)
DOR –   A homophone (speech) of DOOR (opening)

Dor beetle

27a         Adult on Ecstasy pickets church, returning damned (9)
EXECRATED  –   X[-]RATED (adult) goes on or after E (Ecstasy) and pickets (surrounds) a reversal (returning) of CE (Church of England).

28a         Shoulder   joint (5)
ELBOW –  Double definition, the first one meaning to push someone out of the way.

29a         Illicit? Japanese school subject (7)
CITIZEN  –  The ? indicates that  you are to make an anagram (ill) of ICIT and then follow it with ZEN (a Japanese school).

30a         With it you bet right, I guarantee (7)
INSURER –   IN (with it, SURE (you bet) R (right)

31a         Lessen from head doctor (6)
SHRINK –   Another double definition, the second one being an informal term for a psychiatrist.

32a         Spun long story outlining mission plans (7)
AGENDAS –   SAGA (long story) reversed and put outside END (mission)



2d           Prosecutor raised hand to condemn (7)
ACCURSE –   ‘raise’ the R (right) hand in ACCUSER or move it further back in the word

3d           Experts admitted flavour lacking soupçon of sea salts (8)
ACETATES  –   ACES (experts) admitted or had inserted TASTE without the S that is a  ‘soupcon’ of sea.

4d           Anticipating no changes to Jackson’s work (6,8)
ACTION PAINTING –   An anagram (changes) of ANTICIPATING NO gives us the type of painting for which Jackson Pollock is known.

Action painting

6d           Arthur’s time as a performer (6)
ARTIST –  ART  IS  (abbreviated Arthur, extended ‘s) T (time)

7d           This, having elephantine trunk, providing quasi eco case for evolution (7)
SEQUOIA –   A really really large (elephantine) tree  is obtained from an anagram (providing for evolution) QUASI and EO (the latter being the case or outside of ECO)


8d           American Bureau makes shrewd forecast (5,2,7)
CHEST OF DRAWERS –   What an American would call a bureau is an anagram (makes) of SHREWD FORECAST

chest of drawers

9d           Misrepresentation overlooks nurses regularly sloshed before 10 (5,9)
FALSE PRETENCES –   FACES (overlooks) goes round (nurses) the regular letters of sLoShEd and PRE-TEN (before 10)

10d         Adequate air to male choked by use of strings (4,2,8)
FAIR TO MIDDLING –   AIR TO (from the clue) M (male) choked by, or inserted into, FIDDLING (use of strings)

19d         Danish chemist burning with just 2/3 of burner (8)
SORENSEN –   SORE (burning) with the last two thirds of a buNSEN burner.

21d         Leaving seat, run away from someone in denial (7)
EJECTOR –   Remove the (run) from a REJECTOR (someone in denial)

ejector seat

24d         Last bear in wild, migrated from South American province (7)
ALBERTA   –   An anagram (wild) of LAST BEAR without the S (migrated from South)

25d         Saucy strip requires epilation at front for naked Lilian (6)
BRAZEN  –   BRAZILIAN (a waxing process that makes one’s eyes water just to think about it) needs the E (epilation ‘at front’) in place of the ILIA (the inside or naked letters of lILIAn



Thanks to Radler and Mr and Mrs BD for their parts in this MPP production.



  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted May 22, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    In my original comment about this tough but excellent puzzle, I said that I had three questions and three half-parsed answers. Many thanks to CS for resolving all of those for me.

    I also mentioned that one of the answers involved a pet hate of mine. There should be no such word as “agendas” which is a plural of a plural. Sadly it has become such common usage that, to misquote Winston Churchill slightly, it is something up with which I will have to put.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted May 22, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I remember having this discussion with Gazza but he quoted the BRB. Nothing can be done now.

  2. jean-luc cheval
    Posted May 22, 2016 at 3:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations to Nigel F.
    Got the last two in 11a and 2d with a little big help from a friend. But missed the NINA totally.
    Didn’t enter the prize.
    Thanks again to Radler for the brain teaser and to CS for the review.

  3. Jane
    Posted May 22, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Never did settle on the answers for 11a&2d, despite the fact that both of the words that turned out to be correct appeared in my scribbles along the way. The most galling thing is that, whilst I was attempting to get 2d to begin with ‘AD’ for a raised prosecutor, I did pencil in ‘bananas’ as a potential for 1a! Without the vital R & U of fruit, I couldn’t spot the hidden clue so that was the end of any hope of the prize.
    Thanks (I think!) to Radler and congratulations to Nigel F.
    Much appreciated the review, CS – particularly the parsing of 18a and that wretched reverse hidden in 23a. As for the pangram – totally missed it!

  4. KiwiColin
    Posted May 22, 2016 at 7:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations Nigel F. A really challenging prize puzzle and I remember a very satisfied feeling when I eventually got it all sorted.
    Thanks again Radler and Sue for the review.

  5. Radler
    Posted May 23, 2016 at 7:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thank you Sue and Congratulations to Nigel

    In hindsight, I should probably have taken account of the missing checking letters from 1 across and compensated by providing slightly easier clues in that quadrant. However, BD told me that he received a lot of correct entries, so well done to everybody who completed the puzzle. (And apologies to those of you who were cursing me.)

Leave a Reply, but please read the Comment Etiquette (under Contact on the menu) first, especially if you are asking a question

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *