MPP – 057 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP – 057 (Review)

Monthly Prize Puzzle – 057

February 2017

Substitutions by Alchemi

Congratulations to Gazza, who has entered the competion many times, is usually first or second to submit his answer, but had yet to win.  Well, Mrs BD has changed that and drawn his name fom the electronic hat so that he can claim his choice of any of the Telegraph Crossword Books published by Hamlyn.

This month solvers had to follow the instructions:

All clues are normal, and all grid entries are real words and phrases.
However, each across solution clashes with a down solution.
No down solution clashes more than once, and two do not clash at all.
The downs are correct, so a letter has to be dropped from the across word.
These dropped letters, taken in clue order, spell out a WW II campaign,
the target of which is the answer to enter in the box.

Although this at first appeared to be quite complicated, once the grid started to be filled it made more sense.

The following grid shows the positions of the substituted letters:

The letters that were replaced spelt out, in order, Operation Husky which was the codename for The Allied invasion of Sicily.  So the answer that needed to be supplied was Sicily.


The first answer given is the one to be entered into the grid, the second is the one indicated by the clue.  The substituted letters are highlighted in red.

9a    Policemen reportedly removed seeds of conflict (7)
DISCARD – DISCORD: DIs (policemen) followed by what sounds like (reportedly) CORED (removed seeds)

10a    Uselessly fill space around tabloid paper having spent money (4,3)
LAID OUT – PAID OUT: PAD OUT (uselessly fill space) around I (tabloid paper)

11a    British army unit’s feeling pain getting through (9)
BROACHING – BREACHING: B(ritish) followed by RE (army unit) and ACHING (feeling pain)

12a    Earth formally to stop turning without the Sun (5)
TETRA – TERRA: the reversal (turning) of ARREST (stop) without S(un)

13a    Fools don’t start a lot (5)
ESSES – ASSES: {M}ASSES (a lot) without its initial letter (don’t start)

15a    Get too upset concerning about-turn (9)
OVERREACH – OVERREACT: A charade of OVER (concerning), RE (about) and ACT (turn)

16a    Lozenges over the Italian coat-of-arms at last (7)
PASTELS – PASTILS: a charade of PAST (over), IL (the Italian definite article) and the final letter (at last) of [coat-of-arm]S

I couldn’t find a video of Pastille Pinchin’ Mama, the 1970s advertising jingle for Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles, so here is Gene Vincent singing the song on which it was based.

17a    Axed Charlie was on one leg (7)
CHIPPED – CHOPPED: C(harlie) followed by HOPPED (was on one leg)

19a    Gold medallist we backed into apparently dieted (3,6)
THE WINTER – THE WINNER: the reversal (backed) of WE inside THINNER (apparently dieted)

22a    Chart ultimately wrong – blame Henry! (5)
GRAPE – GRAPH: a charade of the final letter (ultimately) of [wron]G RAP (blame) and H(enry)

24a    Make fun of relative after end of concert (5)
TAINT – TAUNT: AUNT (relative) preceded by (after) the final letter (end) of [concer]T

25a    Note healthy journalist boomed (9)
REDOUNDED – RESOUNDED: a charade of RE (note), SOUND (healthy) and ED (journalist)

27a    Expel knight, one diminished after receiving heavy blow (4,3)
PICK OUT – KICK OUT: K(night) followed by I (one) and CUT (diminished) around (after receiving) KO (heavy blow)

28a    Calls for help some time after the prime minister (7)
MANDAYS – MAYDAYS: DAYS (some time) after [Theresa] MAY (prime minister


1d    I bleed badly, but it’s not poisonous (6)
EDIBLE: anagram (badly) of I BLEED

2d    Backs sixth sense over customs (8)
ESPOUSES: ESP (extrasensory perception, sixth sense) followed by O(ver) and USES (customs)

3d    Hand in coat to get a drink (4)
MARC: R (right, hand) inside MAC (coat)

4d    This time, shields policy officials (8)
ADVISORS: AD (Anno domini, in the year of the Lord, this time) followed by VISORS (shields)

5d    Continually annoy rector leaving European city for Luxembourg (6)
PLAGUE: PRAGUE (European city) with R(ector) replaced by (leaving for) the IVR code for Luxembourg

6d    14 pounds of gold can stop BBC man presenting a misleading picture (10)
DISTORTING: I ST (one stone, 14 pounds), OR (heraldic term for gold) and TIN (can) inside (stop) DG (Director General, BBC man)

7d    Shakespearean trio messed up in Pennsylvania (6)
PORTIA: an anagram (messed up) of TRIO inside P(ennsylvani)A

8d    Linked director with case (8)
ATTACHED: D(irector) preceded by (with) ATTACHÉ (case)

14d    Freeze up under pressure for the first time in channel, evolving a new form (10)
SPECIATION: ICE (freeze) reversed (up in a down clue) preceded by (under in a down clue) P(ressure) which replaces the first T(ime) in S[T]ATION

16d    End up second at most when cars get refuelled (3,5)
PIT STOPS: TIP (end) reversed (up in the second consecutive down clue) followed by S(econd) and TOPS (at most)

17d    Socialist I don’t know arrested by policeman gets memory recorded (4,4)
CORE DUMP: RED (socialist) and UM (I don’t know) inside (arrested by) COP (policeman) – I saw more than my fair share of these during my time in IT!

18d    Quiet artist new face at dinner (8)
PRANDIAL: a charade of P (musical notation for quiet) followed by RA (Royal Academician, artist) N(ew) and DIAL (face)

20d    In Gene Vincent’s show (6)
EVINCE: hidden (in) inside the clue

21d    Request help from one of 26 in the middle of unbuttoning (4,2)
TURN TO: URN (one of the answer to 26 Down) inside the middle letters of [unbu]TTO[ning]

23d    Most senior colonel destabilised houses (6)
ELDEST: hidden (houses) inside the clue

26d    Poet gets rid of black tea suppliers (4)
URNS: [Robert] [B]URNS (poet) without (gets rid of) B(lack)

Thanks to Alchemi for providing the entertainment.

12 comments on “MPP – 057 (Review)

  1. Congratulations, Gazza! Very well deserved!

    Many thanks to Alchemi for a brain-stretching challenge and to BD for the review.

  2. Well done indeed, Gazza. Many congratulations.

    Having won last month, I thought I’d give others a chance this time. (That translates to “I took one look at the preamble and thought that looks too tough for me”!). Having looked just now at the review, I wish I had attempted it after all now.

    Thanks to Alchemi and to BD.

  3. Heartiest congratulations to Gazza for winning the Monthly Prize Puzzle – 057! Tonnes of thanks to Alchemi for the mind-boggling moments that were spent by me in arriving at the final answer, which I finally did arrive at but in the final moments! But the system would not respond and click after click went in vain till it was past midnight! However, a desperate, late and single click before cockcrow did not go unanswered and I became happy. Happier when I later found out that the closing date had been extended! Finally, I thank BD for the excellent review!

  4. Well done, Gazza – hard to believe that the electronic hat has by-passed you for so long – and what an excellent puzzle for your winning entry.
    Thank you for the review, BD – I hadn’t quite got there with the full parsing of 14d and 17d was a ‘guess and look up’. Unlike your good self, IT and its language has never been my forte.
    I do, however, remember only too well having to learn Portia’s speech by heart for the GCE course – sadly I’m not word perfect these days!

  5. What a very pleasant surprise! Thanks to BD for the review, Mrs BD for her skill with the electronic hat and to Alchemi for his enjoyable and very clever puzzle.

  6. Congratulations to Gazza.
    Thanks to Mrs BD for the draw.
    Thanks to BD for the review and for the bottle of Garlaban.
    Thanks again to Alchemi for a wonderful crossword.

  7. Congrats Gazza, just realised upon reading this that I gave my answer as Operation Husky and not Sicily . D’oh. Having solved a difficult challenge it really was rather lazy not to read the final instruction. :-)

    Thanks again Alchemi for a wonderful challenge and to BD for the blog and making me realise my laziness.

  8. Congratulation Gazza – I’m so pleased that you’ve finally won a prize.
    I confess that I got about three-quarters of the way through the crossword and my brain just gave up so I’m really glad to see where I went wrong.
    Thanks to Alchemi for the crossword and to BD for sorting it all out.

  9. Gazza has already made his acceptance speech … but can we be certain that Mrs BD has drawn the right name from the electronic hat ?

    I remember this crossword very well … great fun. Thanks to Alchemi!

  10. Congratulations to Gazza. I’m sure the prize has been wrestled away from Moonlight by now.

    I got the right answer, but more by guesswork than proper solving.

    Thanks to Alchemi for a great deal of amusement and to Big Dave for explaining it all.

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