MPP – 056 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP – 056 (Review)

Monthly Prize Puzzle – 056

January 2017

A Puzzle by Prolixic



Congratulations to Silvanus who solved the crossword, looked carefully at the grid, found the nine synonyms for cross, answered the question, entered the competition and was the lucky person drawn from the electronic hat by Mrs BD, and so wins a Telegraph Crossword Book.


Nine solutions share a synonym.   How many really do so?”

The nine solutions are all synonyms for cross, but as you’ll see in the grid below, only two of them – CELTIC and SALTIRE  actually cross each other.  Another four synonyms ‘touch’ or share a letter.  ‘Two” and “Six” were both accepted as correct answers to the question.   If I’d been allowed to enter, I’d certainly have chosen two as my answer.



 1a          American attorney leaves her difficult singer (4)
BASS – take DA (American attorney) from BADASS (US slang for an aggressive or difficult person)

 3a          Burrito with a pickle one found after brief search (10)
QUESADILLA – QUESt (‘brief’ search) A (from the clue) DILL (pickle) A (one). 

10a         Note a couple of journalists covering Yves’ first fabric design (3-4)
TIE-DYED – TI (musical note) and a couple of journalists – ED and ED (the latter ‘covering’ Y (Yves’ “first”)

11a         Vast quantity of crack cocaine (7)
OCEANIC – An anagram (crack) of COCAINE

12a         Theatre in capital city making a comeback with Mikado? (7)
EMPEROR – REP (repertory theatre) inserted into ROME (capital city) and then reversed (making a comeback)

13a         Check part of a boat (6)
THWART – A verb meaning to check or part of a boat

15a         Mix with fair person after change of heart (5)
BLEND – Change the ‘heart’ of BLOND (fair person)

16a         Rudimentary form of my rib once (9)
EMBRYONIC – An anagram (form of) MY RIB ONCE

18a         Evergreen song about a universal form of transport (9)
ARAUCARIA – ARIA (song) goes about A (from the clue) U (universal) and CAR (form of transport)

21a         Firm support for emergency committee (5)
COBRA – CO (firm, company) BRA (support)

23a         Books found in slave station (6)
AVESTA – The Zoroastrian scriptures can be found in slAVE STAtion

25a         Father holds key emblem (7)
SALTIRE – SIRE (father) ‘holds’ ALT (one of the keys on your computer keyboard)

27a         Length of wood, reportedly pine (7)
FURLONG – FUR (a homophone, reportedly, of FIR, wood) and LONG (pine [for])

28a         Cook maybe drops no good pilot... (7)
AVIATOR –  ‘Drop’ N  and G (no good) from NAVIGATOR, Captain James Cook being a famous example, maybe, of a navigator

29a         … responsible for brief military manoeuvre (10)
OVERFLYING – OVER (responsible) FLYING (brief)

30a         Fresh team of oxen (4)
SPAN – Double definition – an adjective meaning fresh, quite new, or a term for a team of oxen


1d           Goat on mountain eating a vegetable (6,4)
BUTTER BEAN – One of my least favourite vegetables is obtained by following BUTTER (because a goat will butt you if it can) and BEN (mountain), the latter ‘eating’ A (from the clue)

2d           Metal pole originally put in base of nave tower (7)
STEEPLE – P (Pole originally) inserted into STEEL (metal) and followed by the ‘base’ of navE

4d           Continental articles stand the test of time as lingerie (9)
UNDERWEAR – UN and DER (French and German, Continental, articles) followed by WEAR (stand the test of time)

5d           Curt   chess player    lacking money to pay for   drink (5)
SHORT – Four definitions here, the chess player being Nigel

6d           Regularly advise war weary to disappear (3,4)
DIE AWAY – The ‘regular’ letters of aDvIsE wAr WeArY

7d           What Mo Farah does in the future (4,3)
LONG RUN – double definition

8d           Pollarded tree in Bow (4)
ARCH – Misleading capitals time.   Bow here is a verb rather than part of East London – pollard or remove the top from lARCH (tree)

9d           Old volunteers leave riotous birthday with mule? (6)
HYBRID – A mule being an example of a hybrid animal.   An anagram (riotous) of BIRTHDAY once you have removed the TA (old volunteers ‘leave’)

14d         Another cod’s filleted into shape (10)
OCTAHEDRON – An anagram (filleted) of ANOTHER COD

17d         Barrel on wagon holds cereal for ship manager (9)
BOATSWAIN – B (abbreviation for barrel) and WAIN (wagon) ‘hold’ OATS (cereal)

19d         Inauspicious commercial jingle (7)
ADVERSE – AD (commercial) JINGLE (verse)

20d         Remove stitches from second-hand coat? (4-3)
CAST-OFF – A knitting term or an item of previously loved clothing

21d         Maybe Scottish Electric’s in liquidation after departure of retiring engineers (6)
CELTIC – An anagram (in liquidation) of ELECTRIC once you’ve removed (departure of) the reversed (retiring) abbreviation for the Royal Engineers

22d         Encouraged the Italian in bar to get high (5-2)
BUILT-UP – IL (‘the’ in Italian) inserted into BUT (bar, objection) followed by UP (high)

24d         Raging in English lines (5)
ANGRY – ANG is an abbreviation for the Latin word ANGLICE (in English) RY is an abbreviation for railway lines

26d         Characters in Doctor Faustus raised in Barnet (4)
AFRO – Another misleading capital B – barnet here is Cockney rhyming slang for hair and there is the  hairstyle that appears to be cryptic crossword setters’ word of the month hidden and reversed (raised) in DoctOR FAustus

My usual thanks to Prolixic, Mrs BD and BD for their parts in this month’s puzzle competition.



14 comments on “MPP – 056 (Review)

  1. Congratulations to Silvanus.
    Failed miserably in spotting the synonyms.
    Thanks to Prolixic and to CS for the review.

  2. Well done Sylvanus. Like jean-luc I was totally mystified by the ‘problem’ part, but I did solve the puzzle.

    Thanks to Prolixic and to CS.

  3. Had I entered, I would have got the right number for entirely the wrong reason! I picked arch and span as the only two that go across something. I did not identify Celtic in and of itself as a synonym, and don’t really understand why it is. I thought the other one was adverse, though I did have a question mark by it. Thanks, CS for the review and enlightenment, and to Prolixic for a great puzzle.

  4. Congratulations to Silvanus and thanks to Prolixic and CS.
    If I’d been allowed to enter I’d have got the answer wrong. I thought it was four – the number of the synonyms which cross the grid (i.e. are written horizontally) as opposed to descend.

  5. Wow, what a pleasant surprise! Two was my answer.

    Thanks for your kind messages of congratulation. I hope to see most of you next Saturday.

  6. Congratulations Silvanus. I had put six as my answer. I did realise that other interpretations could be possible but went for the one where the definition of cross was intersect. The puzzle was good fun to solve.
    Thanks Again Prolixic and CS.

  7. Congratulations Silvanus. Very well done.
    I got as far as thinking the synonym must be ‘hybrid’, and that’s where I stalled.
    It was a super puzzle which I thoroughly enjoyed solving. Appreciative thanks to Prolixic and to Crypticsue.

    1. Me too, Catnap. I found nine examples of what I considered to be hybrid words or answers. Six of these were two words (in some cases hyphenated), so my answer was three as the number of single word answers which could reasonably be considered as hybrids!


      1. You and I seem to have been on exactly the same wavelength. I didn’t have the courage to give an answer! Yes, we were wrong!

  8. Brilliantly done, Silvanus!

    Sometimes, when the MPP review appears, I wonder how I ever managed to solve it in the first place. This was one of those times – which perhaps explains why my brain was so addled by the end that, having meant to enter 6 as my answer, I actually entered 4 and now agree with CS that the correct answer should have been 2!
    An excellent work-out which I appreciated all over again reading the review. Many thanks, Prolixic and thanks also to CS for all the continuing hard work on our behalf.

  9. So annoying! I decided that we were to choose the synonyms of cross rather than the types of cross, so submitted seven as my answer. Didn’t even think about looking at placement in the grid. Grr!

    I enjoyed the crossword though – many thanks Prolixic. Congratulations to Silvanus and thanks to Crypticsue for the review.

  10. Thanks to Crypticsue for the review and to all for the comments. Hope to see some of you on Saturday for the Blog Birthday Bash.

  11. Congratulations to Silvanus.
    I managed to solve the grid but got nowhere with the question.

    Thanks to Prolixic and to crypticsue for the review.

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