MPP – 058 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP – 058 (Review)

Monthly Prize Puzzle – 058

March 2017

Portfolio by Phibs     

How much did it cost me to assemble the portfolio –   £1,570, £1,730, £1,940 or £2,100?

First the easy bit, congratulations to David Broatch, whose correct entry was pulled from the electronic hat by Mrs BD, and so he is this month’s winner of a Hamlyn Telegraph Puzzle Book of his choice.

Now for the complicated bit – not since MPP No 9 back in February 2013 has so much crossword  time been spent doing ‘sums’.

The portfolio in question is that of properties Phibs bought while playing Monopoly (14a and 29a).   So, once I’d dusted off the top of the box (it’s been a while since we played the game) and looked at the board and the relevant property cards, I worked out that the costs were:



PALL MALL £140 which has a HOUSE on it, so you need to spend another £100, totalling £240

And PARK LANE £350 which has a HOTEL on it at a cost of £200. 

However, if you read the Park Lane card very carefully, you’ll see that you have to have four houses (totalling £800) before you can put a hotel on it, so the total cost of this part of your portfolio is £1,350.  

Therefore, the cost of the portfolio as originally intended by Phibs was £150 + £200 + £240 + £1,350, a total of £1,940

However, a lot of people commented that it wasn’t as straightforward as that, as the following ‘conversation between Rabbit Dave and Phibs illustrates.

Perhaps I am being over pedantic (not unusual for me, I know J) but my first calculation came to £3,440.    I’ve now entered £1,940 as my answer comprising:

Kings Cross                            £200

Water Works                        £150

Park Lane                              £350

Pall Mall                                 £140

House in Pall Mall                £100

Hotel in Park Lane            £1,000                  4 houses @ £200 + a hotel @ £200

Total                                    £1,940

But, you can’t put a house on a property unless you have a complete set so you need to add:

Mayfair                                  £400

Northumberland Ave.         £160

Whitehall                               £140

 And you need to have 4 houses (or a hotel) on Mayfair before you can buy a hotel for Park Lane:

4 houses in Mayfair             £800  or

Hotel in Mayfair                £1,000

 I guess that’s a bit OTT and I certainly wouldn’t want to detract in any way from Phibs’ marvellous creation.”

  … and Phibs reply:

 “Fair point, well made!  

It’s a bit like those questions on TV quizzes along the lines of “What’s the minimum number of times a player must serve to win a best of three set tennis match?”, where the answer is given as ‘24’ and I’m shouting ‘Zero! The opponent could commit 24 time violations resulting in the loss of every point when receiving serve…’.

The correct answer to the question of how much the portfolio cost me to assemble is, in truth, ‘nobody knows (except me)’. I could, for instance, have landed on Park Lane, declined to buy the property, and in the subsequent auction obtained it for £1; equally I might have had to buy the hotel for Park Lane at auction and paid £3,000 for it.  The problem with bringing the rules of the game into play is that there is then no single answer, as the question becomes ‘how much did the portfolio cost me to assemble in an actual game of Monopoly?’. So the reality is that I’ve made up my own rules (surely the setter’s prerogative? J) by providing four options, three of which have no reasonable justification and one of which reflects the ‘book’ price of the assets directly revealed in the grid, such that the solution could be derived from the completed grid, the Monopoly board, and the two relevant title deeds.  Even with that constraint, as BD has previously pointed out, the cost of ‘PARK HOTEL LANE’ could be interpreted as £1,000, the cost of a hotel on Park Lane, and that of PALL HOUSE MALL as £100…

I was very keen to keep the preamble simple…I think that the ‘required solution’ is undoubtedly the best answer of the four offered, and the most ‘accessible’, but it is, as quite rightly noted, certainly not the only possible answer! “



2a           Chap serving at table spilling one’s drink (5)
WATER – Remove the I (spilling one) from WAITER (chap serving at table)

5a           Full Monty    turns out well (5)
WORKS –  The Fully Monty is an informal term meaning everything there is or one needs – as in ‘I’ll have the works’.   When something works, it turns out well.

9a           Mature dowager’s imprisoned (3)
AGE – Imprisoned in or lurking inside dowAGErs

10a         Breakdown service covering good range (3)
AGA – The AA (Automobile Association, breakdown service) ‘covering’ G (good)

11a         Go abroad to have sex, getting hold of one Greek (7)
MIGRATE – MATE (have sex) ‘getting hold of’ I (one) GR (Greek)

12a         Delayed taking first taste of Turkish coffee (5)
LATTE – LATE (delayed) ‘taking’ the first letter (taste) of Turkish

13a         McCartney could have created this fine music (5)
FROCK – If she was called Stella rather than Paul – F (fine) ROCK (music)

14a         Tick certainly not going into just one ear (4)
MONO – As opposed to stereo, going in both ears.   MO (tick, small period of time) NO (certainly not)

15a         Girl who’s admired a couple in class A (7)

A couple of Class A drugs – HEROIN and E (Ecstasy)

16a         One has axes to knock in heads of ghastly husbands (5)
GRAPH – RAP (knock) in ‘heads’ of Ghastly Husbands

18a         Preservative in dessert initially withdrawn (5)
NITRE – Lurking in reverse (withdrawn) in dessERT Initially

20a         City‘s backing new uniform that includes vibrating bra (5)
URBAN – A reversal (backing) of the abbreviations for New and Uniform, between which is inserted (includes) an anagram (vibrating) of BRA

22a         Man races round small post (length very restricted) (5)
TWEET – TT (the races on the Isle of Man) go round WEE (small) – I’m not a Twitterer myself but I understand that these posts are limited to 140 characters

23a         Judge snubbed American bums (5)
ASSES – American bottoms – ‘Snubbed’ indicates the need to remove the final S from ASSESS (judge)

26a         Office module, a very big one by the sound of it (5)
EXCEL – The Microsoft application for spreadsheets –  sounds like XL (extra-large or very big)

27a         One caught getting stuck into best bitter (largely) in local (7)
TOPICAL –  I (one) C (caught) stuck in TOP (best) and ALe (bitter ‘largely’)

29a         Thickness besets one leading Oxford college (4)
POLY – PLY (thickness) ‘besets’ the letter (one) leading Oxford

30a         Half-heartedly washed scooter (5)
MOPED – Remove half of the heart of MOPPED (washed)

32a         Strange bit of vulgarity hosted by Edmonds? (5)
NOVEL – V (a ‘bit’ of vulgarity) ‘hosted’ by NOEL (Edmonds)

34a         Delighted former lover stopped doing head in (7)
EXALTED – EX (former lover) [ALTED (stopped without its head)

35a         Ingredient required by Nigella – cannabis resin (3)
LAC – An ingredient of, or lurking in, NigelLA Cannabis

36a         Tenor loses a little excess weight (3)
TON –  Tenor here isn’t a singer but character of sound – take away the last letter and you have a weight

37a         Scandinavian pirates killing six men on board (5)
KINGS – ‘Kill’ the VI (Roman numeral for six) of VIKINGS (Scandinavian pirates)

38a         Like this clue, leaving one in a bad mood (5)
CROSS – This is the last ACROSS clue and all you have to do is ‘leave’ out the A (leaving one)


1d           Blanket recalled Priscilla Presley’s clothing (4)
PALL – ‘Clothing’ indicates that there is a lurker in PrisciLLA Presley – and ‘recalled’ indicates that it is reversed

2d           Feel the heat, removing top in confusion (6)
WELTER-   Remove the top of SWELTER (feel the heat)

3d           Tango with Nigel as I’m gay, a product of Greenwich (4,6)
TIME SIGNAL – T (the letter represented by Tango in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet) followed by an anagram (gay) of NIGEL AS IM

4d           I am welcomed by most of Prince George’s government (7)
REGIMEN – IM (I am) ‘welcomed’ by most of the [Prince] REGENt

5d           Every so often we heap tins onto small piece of furniture (7)
WHATNOT – Every so often indicates that we need the odd letters of We HeAp TiNs Onto

6d           Free nuts in bar (4)
REEF – An anagram (nuts) of FREE

7d           Spoiling heyday of wooden shoes? (8) SABOTAGE – The heyday of wooden shoes would be the SABOT AGE

8d           Place head on prodigious chest (4)
PARK – P (the ‘head’ of Prodigious) and ARK (chest)

15d         Firm rear of Lulu held in by tights? (5)
HOUSE –  U (the rear of Lulu) held by HOSE (tights)

16d         Stand and operate zip (3-2-3-2)
GET-UP-AND-GO – GET UP (stand) AND (from the clue) GO (operate)

17d         Inn has no end of crackers – Ritz, perhaps (5)
HOTEL – Remove the S (no ‘end’ of crackers) from HOSTEL (inn)

19d         Fine to dump just a bit of nuclear waste? (3)
ICE – Dump or remove the N (bit of nuclear) from NICE (fine)

21d         Graduate with Calvin Klein suits (set of four) in bag? (8)
BACKPACK – BA (Bachelor of Arts, graduate) CK (Calvin Klein) PACK (a set of four suits of cards)

24d         Nearly all songs involved phrases being regularly repeated (7)
SLOGANS – An anagram (involved) of nearly all of ALl SONGS

25d         Astringent preparation initially stops eye swelling and twitching (7)
STYPTIC –  P (preparation ‘initially’) ‘stops’ or goes inside STY (eye swelling) and is following by TIC (twitching)

28d         Longs for Tesco bananas, pinching five (6)
COVETS – An anagram (bananas) of TESCO ‘pinching’ V (the Roman numeral for five)

30d         Mum’s going to shopping centre (4)
MALL- MA’LL (Ma will, Mum’s going to)

31d         Character who’s desperate to hug English clergyman (4)
DEAN – DAN (Beano character who’s Desperate) ‘hugs’ E (English)

33d         Aircraft avoiding quiet road (4)
LANE – pLANE (aircraft) ‘avoiding’ the musical abbreviation for quiet

If I was going to be picky, there’s an awful lot of take a letter off, use a letter from or an abbreviation for something in these clues.   However, a wonderful feat to get the theme sorted and give us a sum to solve too.

Thanks to Phibs and the BDs for their parts in this month’s Prize Puzzle competition





7 comments on “MPP – 058 (Review)

  1. Congratulations David. Nice to see that I did opt for the correct answer and remember pondering that the instructions could be interpreted in several different ways but only one that I could see came up with one of the possibilities on offer. All good fun.
    Thanks again Phibs and CS.

  2. Very happy to be a runner up. My calculations took some thinking though.
    Loved the fact that the “house” was in pall mall and the “hotel” in park lane.
    Very clever.
    Congratulations to the winner and to Phibs again for the great fun.
    Thanks to CS for the review.

  3. Congratulations to David – and many thanks to CS for the review. I’d got all the right answers but failed to fully parse 23&24a (IT stuff again in the latter!) along with 30d – must admit I winced a little over the explanation of that one.
    Had no problem with the cost of the portfolio – my knowledge of Monopoly is obviously very outdated compared to RD’s!

    Thanks again to Phibbs – great puzzle – and to the BD’s for organising these MPPs for us all.

  4. Thanks to Sue for the review. I was a bit sad with this because it was one of the first MPP I had managed to complete but as an isolated only child who never played board games I had no idea how to find the final answer. Even my usual friend in need Mr Google failed me as I did not really know what to look for. Better luck next month.

  5. Not having played Monopoly for over 60 years, I downloaded the rules & ended up with an unsuitable answer as, apparently, did many of my fellow solvers. A rethink and a bit of arithmetic finally got me there.

    Thank you to Big Dave, (and especially to Mrs BD!) Phibs and CrypticSue for their efforts and to all well-wishers. Winning twice feels slightly odd – especially since I did not spot 14a & 29a until I read CrypticSue’s explanation!

    With all best wishes to everyone.


  6. So the “right” answer is “wrong”?

    Even though I had a “get out of jail free” card … BD still put me in the naughty corner,

    MPP – 058

  7. Heartiest congratulations to David for winning the Monthly Prize Puzzle – 058! Tonnes of thanks to CS for the review! I could not parse only 14a and chose the wrong answer for the wrong reason. I again liked the placement of the house and hotel in Pall Mall and Park Lane respectively. Splendid! Once again, thanks to Phibs for the great, entertaining puzzle!

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