MPP 073 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP 073 (Review)

Monthly Prize Puzzle 073 – Review

June 2018

A Puzzle by Prolixic


How many solutions cryptically describe a bad hair day?

Congratulations to  LetterboxRoy who submitted a correct answer, had his name drawn from the electronic hat by Mrs BD, and can now choose a Telegraph Puzzle Book as his prize.

There were eight solutions where ENDS were ‘split’ – 5a, 10a, 11a, 14a, 22a, 26a, 27a and 20d – I’m still of the view that split ends are more of a permanent problem than a bad hair day (unless of course you are the current POTUS) which is probably why, when test solving this puzzle, I couldn’t see what I was supposed to be looking for to answer the question.



1a    Part of chest in which Charlie has permission to store silver? (8)
CLEAVAGE – C (NATO Phonetic Alphabet Charlie) with LEAVE (permission) to ‘store’ AG (the chemical symbol for silver)

5a    Drug to catch small animals (6)
ELANDS – E (Ecstasy, drug) LAND (catch) S (small)

10a     Jockey fondles and embraces (7)
ENFOLDS – An anagram (jockey) of FONDLES

11a     Offers extra objectives (7)
EXTENDS – EXT (extra) ENDS (objectives)

12a     Revolutionary American character comes back with girl (5)
MARIA – Two reversals (revolutionary) firstly of AM (American) followed by another of AIR (character)

13a     Picts maybe head off what slave traders did (3,6)
OLD PEOPLE – Slave traders [S]OLD PEOPLE

14a     Fasteners made from twisted satin cable by surgeon (7,5)
ELASTIC BANDS – An anagram (twisted) of SATIN CABLE followed by DS (Dental Surgeon)

19a     Notice secret air defence (10,2)
CLASSIFIED AD – CLASSIFIED (secret) AD (Air Defence)

22a     Ken should be running around with dogs (9)
ELKHOUNDS – AN anagram (running around) of KEN SHOULD

25a     Wheat held by Moslem merchant (5)
EMMER – Lurking in (held by) MoslEM MERchant

26a     Grows old with Penny and Bob (7)
EXPANDS – EX (old) P (penny) AND (from the clue) S (bob being the way we used to refer to a shilling)

27a     Makes a mistake describing joiner’s tasks (7)
ERRANDS – ERRS (makes a mistake) ‘describing’ or going round that most useful of joining words AND

28a     Native’s final poem (6)
SONNET – SON (native) NET (final)

29a     Guarantees for El Salvador blocked by security service as one might see it (8)
PROMISES – PRO (for) MIS (because you might see MI5 as MIS) ES (El Salvador)


1d     Beats and laughs head off (6)
CREAMS – Remove the ‘head’ from SCREAMS (laughs)

2d     Swear with troopers over start of the trouble (6)
EFFORT – EFF (swear) OR (Ordinary Ranks, troopers) go over (in a Down clue) the T at the start of The

3d     See uniform in potentially salable assets (9)
VALUABLES – V (vide, see) plus U (Uniform) inserted into an anagram (potentially) of SALABLE

4d     Rush over with enthusiasm (5)
GUSTO – GUST (rush) O (over)

6d     Gas filling new machine (5)
LATHE – H (Hydrogen gas) ‘filling’ LATE (new)

7d     Square holds game (8)
NINEPINS – NINE (a square number) PINS (holds)

8d     South American author’s bearing doubt (8)
SUSPENSE – S (South) US (American) PENS (authors0 E (compass bearing East)

9d     Description of fringe part of newspaper! (8)
HEADLINE – Double definition

15d     Liking smooth head (8)
SOFTNESS – SOFT (smooth) NESS (head)

16d     Car part inclined to be found in Birmingham (5,4)
BRAKE DRUM – RAKED (inclined) to be found inserted in BRUM (Birmingham)


17d     Those who plan chess moves to include modern opening with queen (8)
SCHEMERS – An anagram (moves) of CHESS to include M (the ‘opening’ of Modern) with ER (the regnal cipher of our current Queen)

18d     Rugby player’s leg and ball movement (8)
BACKSPIN – BACKS (rugby player’s) PIN (leg)

20d     Changes send me bonkers (6)
EMENDS – An anagram (bonkers) of SEND ME

21d     Tops of beetroot finally cut into salad leaves (6)
CRESTS – T (beetrooT ‘finally’) cut into or inserted into CRESS (salad leaves)

23d     University exhibition centre dropping European measure (5)
OUNCE – OU (Open University) NEC (National Exhibition Centre) dropping the E in the middle to the end

24d     Drive a young ox (5)
STEER – Another double definition to finish

Thanks to all the people who played a part in this month’s Prize Puzzle production

11 comments on “MPP 073 (Review)

  1. Congratulations Roy.
    That puzzle was great fun and a real penny-drop moment when I twigged what the question was asking for.
    Thanks again Prolixic and Sue.

    PS. In the preamble you have put 6a instead of 10a as one of the split ends answers Sue.
    PPS. The last letter of 25a is an R and not a T.

  2. Well done LbR – so nice when someone we know wins the MPP.
    Despite having the answer to the riddle, I managed to miss one out in the count up – how silly is that.

    Many thanks to CS for the review and the pics – especially those of the ‘bad hair day’!

    1. Yes indeed, well done LBR. As Jane says nice to know the winner.

      I too was one short of a full set but for a different reason. I had confidently put SKUNKS for 5a (and, as a result, had left 6d unsolved).

      Thanks again to Prolixic for the challenge (even though hair is not my specialist subject). Thanks too to CS for the review.

  3. Didn’t have to submit again as I had the right answer. Just wondered if I got the gist.
    I’m even getting used to cryptic instructions.
    BD’s wonderful site is certainly responsible for this.
    Thanks for being there and congratulations to LbR.

  4. Well done Roy
    I’d be interested to know how many correct entries there were compared to usual, as that was quite a hurdle to get over after completing what was already a tricky puzzle.

  5. Congratulations to LBR.

    Could not finish the NE corner of this one, so had no chance of counting the bad hair days…even if I had figured out the riddle…which I hadn’t and doubt if I ever would have. I’m with crypticsue on the subject of split ends.

    Thanks to Prolixic and to crypticsue.

    Roll on July!

  6. Congratulations LetterboxRoy. :)

    Having solved the puzzle and worked out (eventually!) what was required, I didn’t actually get round to making the count and submitting an answer. This is vintage me: do all the hard work then contrive to end up with nothing to show for it.

    Not that I mind at all in this case – I’m very happy that LbR won. Much enjoyed the puzzle too, for which thanks to Prolixic. Thanks also to Sue for the review and to the rest of the prize puzzle team for their parts.

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