MPP 049 – Review

Monthly Prize Puzzle – 049

June 2016

A Puzzle by Prolixic


Many congratulations to Maize, the winner of the June Prize Puzzle competition, who wins one of the Hamlyn Telegraph Puzzle books as his prize.

If MPP’s had subtitles this one would definitely be called “What a coincidence” – regular readers of the blog will be aware that every time a setter calls a particular chess piece a castle, there will be a number of comments from the pedantic about how it isn’t a castle, it’s a rook.  Rooks have appeared in a number of crosswords over the last few weeks, leading some readers to comment on the coincidence and others to wonder what on earth they were going on about.    Interestingly, when searching for a picture of a rook, most of the illustrations are very castle like, including one where there are instructions as to how to draw a ‘chess castle’! 

The undefined clues were all connected to the game of chess, so even if you didn’t manage to solve all the clues, once you’d worked out the theme and solved 1d, you could fill in the entry form and submit it.


1a           Extensive penalty on financial centre (8)
CITYWIDE – WIDE (penalty in a cricket game) goes on or after CITY (financial centre)

5a           Fruitcake consumed by tipsy choir (6)
PSYCHO –  Hidden in (consumed by) tiPSY CHOir

9a           Poorest sister foolishly welcomes soldiers (8)
SORRIEST –   An anagram (foolishly) of SISTER ‘welcomes’ OR (Other Ranks, soldiers)

10a         Maybe 7 includes film cell (6)
GAMETE –   The solution to 7d is a GAME into which is inserted (includes) Crosswordland’s favourite film, ET

12a         Disreputable cur has change of heart (5)
LOOSE – Change the middle letter (heart) of LOUSE (cur) to get LOOSE.

13a         Informs sanctimonious person about boxes (3,6)
TEA CHESTS   – TEACHES (informs) goes about ST (sanctimonious person)

14a         Broken hip bones opponents left behind (6)
BISHOPS –   An anagram (broken) of HIP BONES without the opponents in a game of bridge: N and E.


16a         Maybe Darwin’s not first to be without affectation (7)
NATURAL  –   Darwin was a NATURALIST so all you have to do is remove the IST (first)

19d         Want to hold back sheep for French evolutionist (7)
LAMARCK  –   LACK (want) holds a reversal (back) of RAM (sheep)

21a         Works of Mozart close with final part of minuet (6)
KNIGHT –   Mozart’s works are listed with K numbers; follow the K with NIGH (close) and the final part of minuet


23a         Introduces book about timeless fashion designer touring island (9)
ACQUAINTS –   ACTS (the New Testament Book) goes about [Mary] QUANt (t for time-less fashion designer) into which is inserted I (touring Island)

25a         City college invested in bank (5)
BLACK  –   The American city of Los Angeles – LA and C (college) inserted into BK (bank)


26a         Class clipped coins (6)
SPECIE –   Clip or remove the last letter of SPECIES (class) and you get coined money

27a         They may allow access to texts in deadlock situations (8)
IMPASSES –  IM (instant messaging, texts) PASSES (they allow access)

28a         Officer‘s fury about nationalist resistance (6)
RANGER –  RAGE goes about N (nationalist) and then R (resistance) is added at the end

29a         Good sieves and other kitchen equipment (8)
GRIDDLES – G (good) RIDDLES (sieves)


1d           Tense lecturer involved in dispute (6)
CASTLE –   T (tense) and L (lecturer) ‘involved in’ CASE (dispute)



2d           Note broken mirrors creating a source of danger (9)
TERRORISM –  TE (musical note) and an anagram (broken) of MIRRORS

3d           Suspicion, not very strong, over leader of the English (5)
WHITE –   WHIff (suspicion without FF, the musical notation meaning very strong) goes over T (the leader of the) and is then followed by the abbreviation for English


4d           Newspaper department’s better computer system (7)
DESKTOP –   DESK (newspaper department) TOP(better)

6d           Just the captioning is redesigned for this junction (9)
SPAGHETTI –   An anagram (redesigned) of JUST THE CAPTIONING produces the name of this JUNCTION

7d           A bit of cloth material Scotsman discarded (5)
CHESS –   C (a ‘bit’ of cloth) HESSian (material from which IAN the Scotsman) is discarded.


8d           Made too much of silver balls at first (8)
OVERSOLD –  OVERS (balls in cricket) goes first before OLD (older people eg silver surfers)

11d         Women found in part of toilet (4)
PAWN –  The abbreviation for Women inserted into PAN (part of toilet)


15d         Giving great encouragement to republican French film maker in south coast resort (9)
HORTATIVE –  An adjective meaning encouraging or inciting –   Insert R (republican) and TATI (French film maker) into HOVE (south coast resort)

17d         Helium and Argon in powerful light shown up in test run (9)
REHEARSAL –   HE (helium) and AR (argon) in a reversal (shown up) of LASER (powerful light)

18d         What an American theatre orderly does using this? (8)
CLEANSER –   Split your solution 6,2 and you’ll see what the theatre orderly does.

20d         Slowing down without support (4)
KING –   Remove the BRA (without support) from BRAKING (slowing down)


21d         Report of material in troubled region (7)
KASHMIR –   A homophone (report of) CASHMERE (material)

22d         Supports European country supplanting British edicts (6)
UKASES –   The B in BASES is supplanted by UK (European country)

24d         Question over colour (not grey) (5)
QUEEN –   QU (question) goes over [gr]EEN (colour without the GR for grey)


25d         Poet describes love BOARD –  
BARD ‘describes’ or goes round O (love)

Thank you to Prolixic, BD and Mrs BD for their roles in the Monthly Prize Puzzle production.

PS:  If you’ve never seen the delightful Lewis Chessmen at the British Museum, I highly recommend that you do so soon.



  1. Jane
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 6:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Many thanks for the review, CS. Ashamed to say that several of the new words I supposedly learnt from this one had been erased from the memory bank in the meantime!
    Think the explanation of 3d needs adjusting to allow for the ‘T’. I did wonder at the time of solving whether the clue should have read ‘leaders of the English’ rather than just ‘leader’.
    Having followed the bizarre coincidence re: ‘rook’ I’m now interested to know what RD’s other coincidence was. Perhaps he’ll let us know.

    Thanks again to Prolixic for a great puzzle and many congratulations to Maize for winning the prize.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 7:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I was planning to post that before anyone else leapt in, but Mrs RD served up dinner when I was in the middle of typing. All is revealed in comment 3 below!

  2. Rahmat Ali
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Heartiest congratulations to Maize for winning the Monthly Prize Puzzle – 049. Thanks to Prolixic for the entertainment and to crypticsue for the review. Although I could not work out the theme and also could not solve 1a, 1d, 7d, 15d, 18d and 21d, I still enjoyed the puzzle to my heart’s content. However, in 3d as above, ‘goes over E’ (the leader of English) could have been better expressed as ‘goes over TE’ (leader of the English) to make it WHITE. Again, the explanation of the anagram (redesigned) of JUST THE CAPTIONING given in 6d is not clear to me despite correctly guessing SPAGHETTI as the only word for the clue.

    • Jane
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 7:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Hi Rahmet,
      The anagram gives you SPAGHETTI JUNCTION so the answer to the question posed ‘this junction’ is SPAGHETTI.

    • crypticsue
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 7:02 pm | Permalink | Reply

      My original version of this review had the letters JUNCTION crossed out in the anagram fodder. Transferring them from Word to the blog has for some mad reason known only to the technology lost the deletions.

  3. Rabbit Dave
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 7:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Many thanks from one of the pedants to CS for her excellent review (and for the pictures of one of my passions), and congratulations to Maize for winning the prize.

    In addition to the coincidence pointed out by CS, those of you who read the blog at the time the puzzle was posted may have noted my reference to a different unconnected coincidence. I described this as a “bizarre coincidence” but, in deference to this being a prize puzzle, I was constrained from given further details until now.

    I was not planning to tackle this puzzle as I often find Prolixic’s offerings quite a struggle However I saw that Silvanus (who is aware of my penchant for chess) had commented that he expected I would enjoy it, so I gave it a go and very enjoyable it was too!

    The “bizarre coincidence” was that for some perverse reason the first clue I looked at was 25d. Immediately I thought of putting love (“O”) into the name of the poet “Ovid” giving “Ovoid” as an undefined answer which precisely fits the wordplay. As Ovoid is an adjective, not a noun, and the related noun is “Oval”, I immediately jumped to two wrong conclusions: (a) that Ovoid was the answer needed; and (b) that the theme was either geometric shapes or, more likely, cricket grounds, knowing that Silvanus was aware of cricket as one of my other passions. How weird is that?

    • Beet
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 7:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Memory is fuzzy but I’m pretty sure I had OVOID too. Great minds, Rabbit Dave.

    • silvanus
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Perhaps a third coincidence (winning the prize) was too much to ask!

      I was also planning to commend to you Beet’s stunning NTSPP yesterday, but I’m pleased that you found it without my assistance, I knew that you and everyone else would thoroughly enjoy it having had a sneak preview at the test-solving stage.

      Congratulations to Maize, by the way does anyone else remember the Two Ronnies sketch set in the restaurant that served only rook?

  4. Maize
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 7:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thrilled to win the MPP – the only time I’ve ever won a crossword competition before was playing Monopoly.
    It was a great puzzle by the Maestro and now I might go and play a game of chess in celebration.
    Many thanks to Prolixic, Big Dave, Cryptic Sue for the review but most of all to Mrs BD for your magic fingers. ;)

  5. KiwiColin
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 7:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations Maize.
    Although I found the theme and subsequently the answer without too much of a fight, there were a couple of clues in the SW that took a long time to sort out. 15d and 28a being the worst offenders for me. Good puzzle and much enjoyed.
    Thanks again Prolixic and Sue.

  6. Prolixic
    Posted June 19, 2016 at 7:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations to Maize on getting the top spot and to Sue for the review.

    In my defence for 3d, the wordplay was leader of the giving the T and then the abbreviation for English.

    • Jane
      Posted June 19, 2016 at 8:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the explanation, Prolixic – I should have known you wouldn’t have made a mistake!

  7. Posted June 20, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations to Maize. Thanks again to Prolixic for the puzzle, to Crypticsue for the review and to RD for the extra little puzzle – and explanation!

  8. jean-luc cheval
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 1:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations to Maize for winning the prize.
    In French, the rook is definitely not a castle either but just a plain tower and the bishop is a fool.
    Thanks to Prolixic and to CS.

  9. Catnap
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Congratulations to Maize for winning the prize. Well done!

    Big thanks to Prolixic for such a super puzzle. The theme brought back many a memory of my father teaching me to play as a child. The ‘rook’ was always the chess piece, and ‘to castle’ was a move.

    Many thanks to CS for the review with its beautiful pics.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted June 20, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Full marks to your father! He was spot on!

      • Catnap
        Posted June 20, 2016 at 5:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, RD. My father loved his chess.

  10. Rahmat Ali
    Posted June 25, 2016 at 1:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to Jane for her superb explanation and to Prolixic for his brilliant defence.

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