MPP 054 – Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP 054 – Review

Monthly Prize Puzzle – 054

November 2016

A Puzzle by Phibs

Two men who share a profession both need her to be found.

Identify them and put their surnames in the box


This crossword put up quite a fight but eventually I solved it all, saw where Nina fitted at the bottom of the grid and then had the biggest d’oh moment when I saw how she fitted in at the top.   Two famous books are revealed – Three Men in a Boat and Anna Karenina and so the surnames we needed to put ‘in the box’ were the authors (sharing the profession of writing) of the two works – Jerome and Tolstoy.

Thank you to Mrs BD for her assistance in drawing the winner  from the electronic ‘hat’ – many congratulations to R C Teuton  –  I hope he enjoys his prize of a Daily Telegraph puzzle book.

Thanks to Phibs for the challenge – writing the review I certainly appreciated some lovely surface readings.



9a           Northern dude and Nora Batty, naked (9)
UNADORNED – An anagram (batty) of N (Northern) DUDE NORA

10a         Man at football perhaps wearing spectacles and cap (5)
OUTDO – UTD (Man[chester] United) wearing or having O O (spectacles) outside

11a         Moved gradually closer to telling Millibands apart (5)
EDGED –  Make ED and ED (Millibands) apart by inserting G (the ‘closer’ of telling)

12a         Cut into short crust of croissant (9)
INTERSECT – IN (into) TERSE (short) CT (the ‘crust’ or outside of CroissanT)

13a         Socialist leaving Germany pens book about cause of domestic unrest (6)
REMOTE – Possession of the TV remote is not a cause of unrest in our house but I know it is in others.  Remove the IVR code for Germany – D – from RED (socialist) and insert a reversal (about) of TOME (book)


14a         Dislikes shows not featuring piano (7)
RESENTS –  Remove the P (the musical abbreviation for piano, softly) from PRESENTS (shows)

17a         One’s striking bottom? (7)
SPANKER or  SMACKER?? –  Not sure which of these two words,  that both fit with the checking letters,  is the solution our setter wanted for  the cryptic definition but either would work.


19a         Satellite television screening European ‘concept’ arts broadcast (7)
TELSTAR – “Screening European” tells you to ‘hide’ the E at the end of TELE (television) and add an anagram (broadcast) of ARTS.  Yes I do know I’m “showing my age” using this as an illustration!


21a         Boris ultimately keeping a very low profile following advance of nationalist party (7)
SHINDIG – Take S (the ultimate letter of Boris) and add HIDING (keeping a very low profile) after you have advanced the N for Nationalist.

24a         Tick bit nursing sister seen scratching backside (6)
MINUTE – MITE (tiny bit) ‘nursing’ NUN without the final N (scratching backside)


26a         Wake when honor students start putting away their calculators? (9)
AFTERMATH – Honor tells us that these students are in America where they take MATH lessons rather than MATHS lessons, so they’d put their calculators away AFTER MATH    One of two clues I marked with a *

27a         Without or without a spot of custard on the side it’s tasteless (5)
CRUDE –  If you removed the C (without a ‘spot’ of Custard) this solution would still be something tasteless

29a         I guess you regularly will get confused with duck? (5)
 GOOSE – This solution had a ? by it.  I am assuming that it is an anagram (confused) the regular letters of GuEsS yOu and O (duck in cricket scoring)


30a         Description of US resident as compared to US President? (9)
POWERLESS – A timely clue!  The President has a P for power whereas the resident doesn’t.


 1d           Australian can save boomerangs reaching end of life (4)
TUBE – An Australian slang word for a can of drink – BUT (save) boomerangs or flies upwards and is then followed by E (the ‘end’ of life)

2d           Bargain Scottish delicacy is wasted on the French (6)
HAGGLE – HAGGis (is ‘wasted’ or removed) goes on LE (the French definite article)

3d           Trial for motorist abandoning Sierra in preparation for a fight (8)
ROADWORK – Remove (abandoning) the S (Sierra being the NATO phonetic alphabet word used for S from ROADWORKS (trial for motorist) and you are left with a method of training for boxers involving running on roads

4d           Bring about call for Duke to be banished when interrupting troubled reign (8)
ENGINEER – Another remove a letter clue – ‘banish’ the D (duke) from NEED (call for) and insert the remaining letters into an anagram (troubled) of REIGN

5d           Tried desperately to hide love for woman in rags? (6)
EDITOR – An anagram (desperately) of TRIED hiding O (love).  I wonder who else spent a while thinking of Cinderella before they realised they needed a lady in charge of a newspaper(rag)

6d           Feels the loss of instant hot drink dispensers (6)
MOURNS – MO (instant, short period of time) URNS (hot drink dispensers)

7d           It helps PC to get information etc about missing lady’s bag (8)
ETHERNET – Remove the C (c, circa, about, ‘missing’) from ETc HER (lady’s) NET (bag)

8d           Case of armpit with unpleasant smell?   The answer could be roll-on (4)
BOAT – The boats were actually roll-on roll-off ferries and I’ve never see the boat as just a roll-on on its own but never mind.   BO (unpleasant smell) and AT (the case or outside of ArmpiT

15d         Family either side of starlet (4)
SORT – S OR T – either sides of StarleT

16d         Works on avoiding responsibilities (4)
USES – Remove ON (avoiding) from ONUSES (responsibilities)

18d         Flying ace going through a bit of turbulence (no one’s thrown up) (8)
  AVIATION – A (ace) VIA (going through) T (a ‘bit’ of turbulence) and a reversal (thrown up) of NO I (no one)

19d         One’s required to get scalp treatment – only mild astringents initially on offer (8)
TOMAHAWK – My other starred clue – The initial letters of Treatment Only Mild Astringents on HAWK (offer for sale)


20d         Climber put off getting stuck into Snowdon, maybe lacking energy when ascending (8)
LONICERA – The Latin name for honeysuckle which will climb wherever it wants if you let it.  ON ICE (put off) inserted into a reversal (when ascending) of EARL (Snowdon, for example) without the E (lacking energy)


22d         Cloud over Gove, finally ratting on lovable ex-Mayor of London? (6)
DARKEN – Yet another remove a letter!   The final letter of GovE leaving (ratting on) DEAR (lovable) followed by KEN (Livingstone, the ex-Mayor of London)

23d         Lambast provisional driver clipped by reversing Silver Spirit (6)
GRAPPA – RAP (lambast) P (provisional driver) inserted into a reversal (reversing) of AG (the chemical symbol for silver)


25d        EU tart supply increasingly stretched (6)
TAUTER – An anagram (supply) of EU TART

26a         Seen lying on beach – twin girls, one topless, one bottomless (4)
ALGA –  Seaweed can be found lying on a beach.  gAL and GAl – twin GALS, one topless, one bottomless

28d         To relax, Jezebel regularly made out? (4)
EASE –  A homophone (made out) of the regular letters of jEzEbEl, which are of course all Es.


9 comments on “MPP 054 – Review

  1. Many thanks for the review, CS and congratulations to Mr. Teuton.
    This was one of those puzzles where, on reading the review, I wonder how on earth I managed to complete it!
    I didn’t, however, manage to fully parse either 1or 16d so thank you for those, CS. I also recall that 15&20d took me ages to work out.
    17a – I went for ‘spanker’ thinking along the lines of a ‘spanking new car’ being rather striking – but agree that either works.
    29a – definitely a question mark from me as well.
    18d – I think the anagram fodder is ‘no 1’ rather than ‘not I’ as the ‘T’ is already accounted for in ‘turbulence’.

    Thanks again to Phibs – I’m just happy to have arrived at the correct answers!

    1. Thanks Jane – now if only I’d looked at the notes on my sheet of paper, you’d have had no ‘undeliberate’ errors to find!

      1. Hope you don’t think I do it on purpose, CS – just that if I notice anything I assume you’ll want to know!
        By the way – I was watching the Celebrity Antiques Road Show the other night and they showed some of the collection of political cartoons stored at the University of Kent. What an interesting dept. that must be to visit – have you had a nosy round it?

        1. I have been to a few exhibitions – lots of non political stuff too including comics such as The Eagle, the Giles cartoons and Andy Capp too

  2. Congratulation R C Teuton.
    I remember the puzzle as one of the more difficult MPPs we have had and very satisfying to eventually get it all sorted out.
    Thanks again Phibs and CS.

  3. Remember that I got nowhere with this one although a lot of the answers seem familiar. Don’t know where I put it.
    Thanks to CS and congratulations to RC Teuton.

  4. Congratulations to R C Teuton – are you someone we know? I find it odd when someone unknown just ‘pops in’ and is off again.
    I have just managed to find the print off I did a couple of weeks ago – I didn’t get very far with this one so I applaud those who did.
    I thought 26d was brilliant – it really made me laugh.
    With thanks to Phibs, and thanks and well done to CS for sorting it all out – to quote someone from the ‘other side’ this was way beyond my pay grade.

  5. Thanks to CS for the review, and to everyone who attempted the puzzle. I realise it was quite tough (I’ve got another one on the production line which is definitely a tad ‘gentler’), but I hope that solvers who did ‘find’ Nina felt a (well deserved!) sense of achievement. Congratulations to all those who submitted correct answers.

    A few points:

    17a The intended solution was SPANKER. I agree that someone doing the striking could be a ‘smacker’, but a striking posterior can only I think be a ‘spanker’ (BRB: ‘any person or thing particularly striking’).

    19a The intention here was that TELEVISION was ‘screening’ E (European) VISION (‘concept’). CS – the solution will forever be associated with The Tornados in my mind too…sadly the youth of today probably think Heinz is a food processing company :(

    29a A dangerous trap for the clue writer involves coming up with what seems like a good idea for a particular word and then being unwilling to give up on the idea even when satisfactory execution proves elusive…I think I fell into that trap hereabouts!

    8d I felt that the definition part was just about ok, since the BRB gives ‘roll-on’ as ‘(of a boat, etc) roll-on roll-off’, but since it was on the loose side I did try to ensure that the wordplay wasn’t too tricky.


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