MPP-070 Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP-070 Review

Monthly Prize Puzzle 070

March 2018

A puzzle by Phibs

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Connect 5


The preamble said: The solutions to five consecutive clues (with spaces inserted appropriately) provide the clue for 11 across. What is the solution to this clue?

Congratulations to Jez Wagg, whose name was drawn from the electronic hat by Mrs BD and so wins their choice of a Telegraph Puzzle Book

Definitely a competition-level crossword – I’ve had some easier solving experiences in ‘Times Towers’. I ended up with a solution for every clue and then, in order to enter the competition, I resorted to typing all the solutions out in one long line and eventually ‘saw’ the clue for 11a. There’s a completed grid illustrating that clue which will reveal all if you never did quite find the clue. Parsing and drafting the review has been fairly hard work too.


1a     Label promissory notes ‘iffy’ (7)
DUBIOUS – DUB (label, name) IOUS (promissory notes)

5a     Partial to US soldier, having a roll in the sack (7)
BIGOTED – Having a roll indicates a reversal of TO (from the clue) GI (US soldier) which should then be inserted into BED (the sack)

9a     Further suspect vital in winning case (9)
CULTIVATE – An anagram (suspect) of VITAL inserted into CUTE (winning)

10a    Scoffs éclairs, putting away first couple excitedly (5)
RAILS – Remove (putting away) the first two letters of ecLAIRS and an anagram (excitedly) of the remaining letters will provide the solution

11a     See preamble (5) Neat ending of angst intended (5)
MEANT – MEAN (neat) plus the ending of angsT

13a     Advocate disregarding opening for Cornish tin producer? (5)
BAKER – The tin in question being a type of loaf. Disregard the C (opening for Cornish) in BAcKER (advocate)

14a     Take booty, mainly diamonds (4)
READ – Most of REAr (booty) plus D (diamonds in a pack of cards)

16a     Elvis, talented boxing prospect (5)
VISTA – Lurking in ElVIS TAlented

18a     Shady dealings ultimately inappropriate in sun lounge? (6)
SLEAZE – The E at the end (ultimately) of inappropriatE is inserted in S (sun) LAZE (lounge)

21a     Craft beer left Big Dave regularly unable to move (7)
RIVETED – An anagram (craft) of the regular letters of bEeR lEfT bIg DaVe

22a     First bit of nookie polished off groom (6)
NEATEN – N (the first bit of Nookie) EATEN (polished off)

23a    Dog in wild? (5)
DINGO – I really liked this clue – an anagram (wild) of DOG IN produces a wild dog

24a     Irritation surrounding new tooth (4)
FANG – FAG (irritation) surrounding N (new)

25a     Term time infestation going around (5)
STINT – A reversal (going around) of T (time) and NITS (infestation)

27a    Put a stop to what Fred and coed do? (5)
ENDED – Another one I liked (but not quite as much as 23a!) Both Fred and coed END [in] ED

31a     Returned to whizz and Ecstasy trafficking (5)
TRADE – A reversal (returned) of DART (whizz) followed by E (Ecstasy)

32a     Tease couple taking checkout assistant on vacation (9)
TITILLATE – TIE (couple) into which is inserted (taking) TILL (checkout) and AT (vacate or remove the inside letters of AssistanT)

33a     Degenerate star making a comeback and releasing book – he’s on a roll (7)
ELECTOR – A reversal (making a comeback) of ROT (degenerate) CELEB (star), the latter ‘releasing’ the B for book

34a     They go all the way round the bend (7)
BONKERS – Double definition


1d    Crouch‘s failure to score (on pitch, specifically) (4)
DUCK – Another double definition – the first one a verb, the second a failure to score on a cricket pitch specifically

2d     Soccer player leaving foot in on A Shearer, perhaps? (9)
BALLERINA – Here you have to remember Moira Shearer, despite the misleading references to Alan the footballer. Remove the ‘foot’ from footBALLER and add IN A (from the clue)

3d     One’s squeezed between legs? That could bring tears to the eyes (5)
ONION – Another of those ‘crickety’ ones – I (one) is ‘squeezed between’ ON and ON (on relating to one leg or side of a cricket pitch)

4d     Close main line (4)
SEAL – SEA (main) L (line)

5d     Gathered brother got married around end of June (6)
BREWED – BR (brother) and WED (got married) ‘around’ the E at the end of June

6d     Boast about pinching one supermarket biscuit (9)
GARIBALDI – A reversal (about) of BRAG (boast) ‘pinching’ or having inserted I (one) followed by ALDI (supermarket)

7d     Take Jiffy bags for a joke (5)
TRICK – TICK (jiffy) ‘bags’ R (take)

8d    Pronounce as missing in action or gone AWOL (8)
DESERTED – Remove (missing) the AS from asSERT (pronounce) and insert the remaining letters in DEED (action)

12d     Facility set up at school (5)
TRAIN – A reversal (set up) of ART (facility) followed by IN (at)

15d    Gunners largely ignoring closure of Emirates Stadium (5)
ARENA – Remove the L and the S (the closure) of Emirates from ARSENAL (the Gunners)

17d     Delicatessens essentially split about cooked meat handling (9)
TREATMENT – The T in the middle (essentially) of delicaTessens and RENT (split) go about an anagram (cooked) of MEAT

18d     Bog plant succeeded at front of border (5)
SEDGE – S (succeeded) goes at the front of EDGE (border)

19d     Accumulated, say, in silver jar (9)
AGGREGATE – EG (say) goes between AG (chemical symbol for silver) and GRATE (jar)  Rabbit Dave’s comment @1 reminded me that I meant to mention the fact that the definition didn’t need the D at the end if it was to match the solution

20d     Current compiler dropping resistance after one drink (8)
ANISETTE – I (electrical current) SETTEr (compiler ‘dropping’ the R for Resistance) goes after AN (one)

24d     Ingredient in favour of entertaining play (6)
FACTOR – FOR (in favour of) ‘entertaining’ ACT (play)

26d     Picture reason why beauty is behind me? (5)
IMAGE – Because I’M AGE – and as we all know age always goes before beauty

28d     Stocking only liquid nitrogen (5)
NYLON – An anagram (liquid) of ONLY followed by N (chemical symbol for Nitrogen)

29d    Try leading policeman after con’s escaped (4)
STAB – This clue has caused me more grief than all the others put together. I’ve decided that you take away the CON (escaped) from conSTABLE (policeman), and then the word STAB is ‘leading’ the letters you’ve got left.

30d     People brought together by eating disorder (4)
MESS – A double definition to finish.

Thanks to Phibs and Mr and Mrs BD

11 comments on “MPP-070 Review

  1. Congratulations to Jez Wagg and many thanks to CS for the review.

    CS, I was hoping for clarification regarding the wordplay for three clues. 8d now makes sense but I am still puzzling over the other two:

    1d – I can’t see the need for “on pitch specifically”. The clue seems to me to work well without this phrase. What do you think?
    19d – There seems to be a mismatch between the case for the definition and the case for the answer. Shouldn’t the clue be, “Accumulate, say, in silver jar”?

    1. I thought the ‘on pitch specifically’ worked well as I liked the link to the cricket pitch

      As for 19d, I did have a big circle round the D at the end of accumulated, but what with one thing and another I ended up with less than my usual time to spare for an MPP and overlooked that while I was typing the explanations.

    2. You are quite right about the extra bit in 1d (although I felt that it did pinpoint the context for the term ‘duck’) – it was intended as a reference to the Peter Crouch quote which came up in the discussion of MPP-066,

      In 19d, the ‘aggregate’ being defined is the adjective, as in ‘aggregate [=accumulated] total of runs for the season’.

      1. Thanks very much, Phibs. That’s a splendid reference to Peter Crouch which I really should have picked up on, particularly as I was part of the MPP-066 discussion. It’s got me chuckling all over again.

  2. Thanks, CS – it’s an A+ from me for parsing all the clues as I intended :good:

    Thanks also to everyone who attempted the puzzle, and congratulations to Jez Wagg.

  3. Well done Jez.

    Although I managed it, I found this difficult – especially parsing much of the NE corner. I entered 8D as ‘DESERTER’.

    Thank you Phibs & crypticsue.

  4. Congratulations Jez. I seem to have mislaid my copy of the puzzle but remember it as challenging and a lot of fun.
    Thanks again Phibs and CS.

  5. Well done indeed, CS, that review must have taken quite some doing!
    My parsing issue with 8d is now satisfied, thank you, but I still think 29d was a bit of a stretch.

    Congratulations to Jez – not an easy solve by any means.

  6. Heartiest congratulations to Jez Wagg on winning the Monthly Prize Puzzle 070! Tonnes of thanks to CS for the brilliant review! This puzzle gave me a lot of satisfaction, more particularly when I could locate the dreamt clue and send in my answer!

  7. Well done Jezz Wagg. A very clever puzzle which I thoroughly enjoyed, particularly finding the last clue.

    I am usually not a huge fan of puzzle variants, but this one was nicely done and a very inventive idea, though I do agree with Jane re 29d.

    Thanks Phibs and CS

  8. Congratulations to Jez Wagg!
    A fantastic and highly enjoyable puzzle.
    Thank you CS for clearing up some of my unsatisfactorily parsed clues and to Phibs for the brain workout. :)

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