MPP 055 – Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP 055 – Review

Monthly Prize Puzzle – 055

December 2016

A Puzzle by Radler

Congratulations to our December competition winner – Bufo – who corrected identified that July was the missing month – I hope he enjoys whichever Hamlyn Telegraph Puzzle book he chooses as a prize


1a           Assassin Jack trapped using setter’s secret message (5)
NINJA – J (Jack) trapped in NINA (crossword setter’s secret message)

4a           Most characters in the clinic nursing old age (9)
NEOLITHIC – An anagram of most of the characters in THE CLINIC ‘nursing’ O (old)

9a           I enjoy good food, but smell regularly provided no-no to bites test (3,6)
BON VIVANT – BO (Body Odour, smell) and the regular letters of No No T ‘biting’ or ‘eating’ VIVA (test)

10a         Louisianan prison guards not quite the same (5)
CAJUN –  Two informal terms for prison – CAN ‘guards’ not quite all of JUg

11a         Room full of desks, or just one (6)
BUREAU –  A department or office which would have several people working at desks or a type of writing table with drawers

12a         Resistance fighter in more battles; try to capture (8)
GERONIMO – GO (try) captures an anagram (battles) of IN MORE

14a         Where some drink and some pee facing the other way (4)
CAFÉ – Lurking and reversed (facing the other way) in some of peE FACing

15a         Drink up North tense as rioting behind bar (7,3)
BARENTS SEA – Drink being an informal term for the sea –  An anagram (rioting) of TENSE AS goes behind BAR (from the clue)

18a         Powerful people can do it at English Society (10)
POTENTATES –  POTENT (can do it) AT (from the clue) E (English) S (Society)

19a         Traditional American home wanting original fencing equipment (4)
EPEE – Wanting indicates the need to remove the ‘original’ letter from TEPEE (traditional American home)

21a         Bring new ideas, it’s naïve not to change (8)
INNOVATE – An anagram (to change) of NAÏVE NOT

23a         Recall unit of radioactivity: no-one born with super powers (6)
BIONIC – A reversal (recall) of CI (the abbreviation for the Curie, unit of radioactivity) NO I (no one) and B (born)

26a         Numbering system just 60% agree on over 100 (5)
OCTAL – O (over) C (Roman numeral for 100) and TAL (just over 60% of TALLY, agree)

27a         Put down and evaluate first of seven features (9)
 LANDMARKS – LAND (put down) MARK (evaluate) S (the ‘first’ of Seven)

28a         Minder unarmed, is shot (9)
NURSEMAID – An anagram (shot) of UNARMED IS provides a chance to use a lovely E H Shephard drawing

29a         Possessing drug, arrest revolutionary poet (5)
YEATS – A reversal (revolutionary) of STAY (arrest) ‘possessing’ E (Ecstasy, drug)


1d           One with wealth, around billion, has small port (5)
NABOB – A reversal (around) of B (billion) and OBAN (small port)

2s            Not in for unrestrained penny-grasping? (3-6)
NON-PROFIT – An anagram (unrestrained) of NOT IN FOR ‘grasping’ P (penny)

3d           A constant amount of heat at the top (6)
APICAL – My original notes on this one say that I thought it was hard and that it had taken the combined efforts of me and my boss to sort it out.   A (from the clue) PI (constant) CAL (calorie, amount of heat)

4d           Similar newspaper editorials as red tops (4)
NEAR – The ‘tops’ of Newspaper Editorials As Red

5d           Going uphill, la bicyclette circled then cycled straight (2,3,5)
ON THE LEVEL – Reverse (going uphill) LE VELO (la bicyclette) and insert NTHE (then ‘circled’)

6d           Just beginning a nice hot brew (8)
INCHOATE – An anagram (brew) of A NICE HOT

7d           He s been to Mecca Bingo! Just Jim initially, then myself (5)
HAJJI – HA (bingo!), the initials of Just and Jim and then add I (myself)

8d           Pounding of turbulent Indian Ocean, islands abandoned (9)
CANNONADE – An anagram (turbulent) of INDIAN OCEAN without the Is (Islands ‘abandoned’)

13d         Eight hairy legs turn out for the Spanish dance (10)
TARANTELLA – a TARANTULA has eight hairy legs.   Remove the U turn and replace with EL (the Spanish definite article) and you’ll get the dance

14d         Agricultural policy fix not good on cereal and butter (9)
 CAPRICORN – This ‘butter’ is a goat.  CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) RIg (rig, fix, without the G for good) CORN (cereal)

16d         Bouncing Bet’s pair, as on a run (9)
SAPONARIA – An anagram (run) of PAIR AS ON A gives us a perennial plant of the carnation family, one of the informal names for which is Bouncing Bet

17d         Shell providing controlled access to higher education? (8)
UNIVALVE – Split 3, 5 this might be something that controlled access to education at a university

20d         Give up or get out my union said (6)
DISMAY – An anagram (get out) of MY in union with SAID

22d         One who writes music for the recorder (5)
NOTER – Double definition

24d         Shy on introduction to sexy models (5)
CASTS – CAST (shy in the sense of throw) goes on the ‘introduction’ to Sexy

25d         Famous v Writer’s resolve to constrain ego (4)
ENID – Sneaky use of the V which is the Roman numeral for Five.   The writer of the Famous Five is of course ENID Blyton.   END (resolve) ‘constrains’ I (ego)


BD has kindly provided the highlighted grid to enable you to find all the months you may not have spotted before!


Thanks to Radler and the BDs for their parts in this month’s puzzle competition.

6 comments on “MPP 055 – Review

  1. Congratulations Bufo. I remember that as being quite a challenging puzzle and good fun.
    Thanks again Radler and CS for the review.

  2. Well done, Bufo – it’s so nice when someone we ‘know’ wins the prize!
    Many thanks for the review, CS and the full parsing of 9a – the VIVA had thrown me.

    Thanks again to Radler for the challenge, thankfully I did arrive at the correct answer.

  3. Heartiest congratulations to Bufo for winning the Monthly Prize Puzzle – 055. Thanks once again to Radler for the splendid treat. I also arrived at the correct answer, but I remember I had chosen the abbreviated JUL instead of entering the full spelling of JULY and I am not sure whether both JUL and JULY were accepted as the correct answer. However, my special thanks to crypticsue for the excellent review. Finally, it’s time now to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2017!

  4. Congratulations to Bufo and thank you as always to Big Dave and Crypticsue

    @Rahmat Ali – I’m fairly sure JUL and JULY would have been equally acceptable. The competition question isn’t there to catch people out, but to show that you’ve solved the puzzle, and to provide a little extra interest after you’ve filled the grid.

  5. Well done Bufo!

    Thanks to the setter and many thanks indeed to crypticsue for the parsings……I ‘bunged in’ quite a few of these with no idea of why… to the answer, though!

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