MPP 074 – Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

MPP 074 – Review

Monthly Prize Puzzle 074 – Review

June 2018

Pangrammatical Error by Phibs

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

As others have said, a veritable tour de force. To set a good crossword is a thing of wonder, to make it a pangram, another, and to create one where, once you have swapped two letters in one solution, you have four separate pangrams in one 15 x 15 grid, is to take crossword setting to a whole new level. Congratulations and many thanks to Phibs on this splendid crossword setting achievement

Congratulations also to Mark Nichols who worked out that an F was missing from the white NW corner and a T from the green NE corner – changing the word REDUCED in 15a to REFUTED produced the new word required to enter the competition. Our July winner wins their choice of a Daily Telegraph Puzzle Book.


1a     Basil is surprised initially by Manuel’s repeated plea for soup (6)
BISQUE – The initial letters of Basil Is Surprised followed by QUE, the repeated plea of Manuel in Fawlty Towers

5a    ` Indian dish made by diligent person tackling pilgrimage (6)
BHAJEE – BEE (diligent person) ‘tackling’ or going round HAJ (annual pilgrimage to Mecca)

10a     Turn over important information about prospective international cricketer? (7)
CAPSIZE – The selection of someone for a national team is symbolized by a cap, the size of which would definitely be an important consideration

11a     Past noon I start on eels, introducing indeterminate quantity to stew (7)
AGONIZE – AGO (past) N (noon) I (from the clue) and the ‘start’ on Eels ‘introducing’ Z (an indeterminate quantity in mathematics

12a     Cattle bearing young discharged gas (6)
OXYGEN – OXEN (cattle) ‘bearing’ YounG (young ‘discharged’ or emptied out)

14a     Heads of space exploration largely put down a film like Aliens (6)
SEQUEL – The ‘heads’ of Space and Exploration and most (largely) of QUELl (put down) – Aliens is the second in of four films in the original Alien series

15a     Ruminant eating partially-digested food the wrong way got smaller (7)
REDUCED – A reversal (the wrong way) of DEER (ruminant) ‘eating’ CUD (partially-digested food)

17a     Hard work catching adult bird of prey (4)
HAWK – H (hard) WK (work) ‘catching’ A (adult)

19a     Beard returning encouraged conclusion of masculinity (4)
DEFY – A reversal (returning) of FED (encouraged) followed by the ‘conclusion’ of masculinitY produces a verb meaning to oppose resolutely (beard)

20a     Finishing touch for service uniform, in a range of colours? (9)
EPAULETTE – E (the finishing ‘touch’ of servicE followed by PALETTE (range of colours) into which is inserted U (uniform)

21a     Earnestly hope sun emerges from mist (4)
PRAY – S (sun) emerges from, or is removed from, sPRAY (mist)

23a     Mate emptied warehouse providing parts (4)
WIFE – Emptied indicates the need to remove all the inside letters of WarehousE and then ‘part’ the two you have left by inserting IF (providing)

25a     Male and female can golf together? That’s uplifting! (7)
HEFTING – HE (male) F (female) TIN (can) G (golf in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet)

27a     Did quail let out sound like duck not enjoying cold? (6)
QUAKED – QUAcKED (sound like duck) without the C (not enjoying cold)

28a     Instrument from Africa opens anchovy cans (6)
SANCHO – Lurking in (as indicated by cans) openS ANCHOvy

32a     Strange things former partner found in ear taste of aniseed (7)
EXOTICA – EX (former partner) OTIC (found in ear) A (a taste or one letter of Aniseed)

33a     Just not holding it steady (7)
EQUABLE – Remove (not holding) IT from EQUitABLE (just)

34a     Greek god ‘acquiring’    good mother for son? An interesting choice of words (6)
ZEUGMA – ZEUS (Greek god) ‘acquiring’ G (good) and MA (mother) instead of S (son) gives us a figure of speech by which an adjective or verb is applied to two nouns.

My attention was recently drawn to a particularly splendid zeugma in Flanders & Swann’s Have some madeira, m’dear:

she made no reply, up her mind and a dash for the door”

35a     English vote backing split close to unhappy ending? (6)
EXPIRY – E (English) X (vote) a reversal (backing) of RIP (split) and the ‘close’ to unhappY


2d     Suggest merely squeezing out a little spot (5)
IMPLY – Squeezing out or removing the S (a little [bit] of Spot) from sIMPLY (merely)

3d     Short note I penned dismissing American case for bearing arms (6)
QUIVER – Take a QUAVER (short note) and insert I (from the clue) in the place of (dismissing) A (American)


4d     Observed rising part-way through rude yearnings (4)
EYED – Seen in reverse (rising) part-way through ruDE YEarnings

5d     Bill desolate after giving up Latin (4)
BEAK – BlEAK (desolate) after giving up, or deleting, the L for Latin

6d     Admitted Virginia turned up to get married with nothing on (6)
AVOWED – A reversal (turned up in a Down clue) of VA (the abbreviation for the State of Virginia) followed by WED (married) with O (nothing) inserted

7d     Foodie transformed pie with kipper (7)
EPICURE – An anagram (transformed) of PIE with CURE (kipper as a verb)

8d     Janitor at first reluctant    to ring about item of cleaning equipment (1-5)
J-CLOTH – J (Janitor ‘at first’) and LOTH (reluctant) to ‘ring’ or go round C (circa, about)

9d     Mixture my tea lady Emma regularly brought round (6)
MEDLEY – A reversal (brought round) of the regular letters of mY tEa LaDy EmMa

13d     Denied necessity to possess moral standing (7)
NEGATED – NEED (necessity) to ‘possess’ a reversal (standing) of TAG (a moral to a story)

14d     Lovemaking precedes lashings for clergyman’s attendants (7)
SEXTONS – SEX (lovemaking) precedes or goes before TONS (lashings)

16d    Whole houses left without any illumination (5)
UNLIT – UNIT (whole) ‘houses’ L (left)

18d     Secret escape? (3)
KEY – The secret or answer to something’; the escape key being one of the keys on your computer keyboard

19d     Something falling by night we lifted by day (3)
DEW – A reversal (lifted) of WE goes after (by) D (day)

21d     Private investigator curtailed search for narks (6)
PIQUES – PI (private investigator) and a ‘curtailed’ or truncated QUESt (search)

22d     Accepted tripe, ignoring last shellfish (7)
ABALONE – A (accepted) and BALONEy (tripe – ignoring the last letter)

24d     Called up First Lady about right term for Donald… (6)
EVOKED – EVE (First Lady) goes about OK (right) and is finished by the D at the end of DonalD

25d     …making cuts to hospital where Melania has her operation? (6)
HEWING – H (hospital) E WING (the East Wing being part of the White House, home of Melania Trump and family)

26d     Renege on deal with Government, essentially amazed when supported by Unionist MP (6)
GAZUMP – G (Government), AZ (the essential or central letters of amAZed) supported by or on top of in a Down clue, U (Unionist) and MP (from the clue)

29d     At Highland Games one’s required to stay in vehicle (5)
CABER – BE (stay) in CAR (vehicle)

30d     Coffee available in Internet café? (4)
JAVA – An internet café might well have JAVA coffee as well as computers with JAVA the object-oriented programming language widely used in web-based systems

31d     Jack’s summer in Paris following spring in Covent Garden, perhaps (4)
JETE – J (jack) ETE (the French word for summer) producing a spring or jump found in ballet venues such as the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden

The usual thanks to Mrs BD for her sterling work with the electronic ‘hat’. Extra special thanks to BD for not only providing the two grids showing before and after, but also for posting this review for me while Mr CS and I are enjoying lunch at the restaurant where No 2 works in Zandvoort as part of our long weekend visiting him in Amsterdam.

The solution grid is shown on the left and the adjusted grid on the right.



12 comments on “MPP 074 – Review

  1. I thought that this was absolutely amazing. To construct a puzzle with a quadruple pangram is brilliant, To have each of the pangrams (after the change) in a separate corner of the grid is stupenous and to do all that without using obscure vocabulary and with largely sensible surfaces is mind-blowing. Many thanks to Phibs for this excellent puzzle.
    Thanks to CS for the write-up and congratulations to Mark Nichols.

  2. Oh I did love this puzzle as said it was a veritable tour de force. Congratulations Phibs.
    I loved it so much I kept the printout with all my scribblings and alphabets and then reprinted it as the perfect pangram.
    I assume it was initially constructed as the perfect pangram first and altered for the purpose of the question. If so I would love to know how Phibs would have clued REFUTED.

    Congrats to Mark Nichols.

  3. Congratulations to Mark and many thanks to CS for the review of this astonishing puzzle.

    I was grateful for the explanation of ‘sequel’ in 14a – haven’t seen the films but the choice of titles seems to lack a little in the way of imagination! Also, thanks for the definition of ‘tag’ as ‘moral’ – something new for the old grey matter to cope with.

    Another round of applause for Phibs – what a masterpiece.

  4. Very inventive, Phibs – what an idea! Well done.
    Some really good clues to boot.
    Congrats to both Phibs and Mark Nichols

  5. Congratulations Mark for winning the prize and extra special congratulations and thanks to Phibs for putting together such an amazingly clever puzzle.

  6. How clever is that!
    Got it totally wrong. Changed Beak to Feat.
    Was misled by all that talk about a tour de force and great achievement.
    Should have been more attentive as BD said he managed 4 pangrams.
    And I thought I almost put my foot in it with my post… But as Phibbs didn’t….
    Congratulations to Mark and thanks to phibbs again and to CS for the review.

  7. Brilliant puzzle, well done Phibs and congratulations Mark. You have to laugh at yourself sometimes, Completed the puzzle 100% correctly but somehow managed to send in the wrong answer doh. Is Refuged a word? :-)

  8. Amazingly clever puzzle, and great fun to solve to boot. Many thanks to Phibs, and thanks also to Sue and BD. Congratulations Mark.

  9. Thank you all for your kind comments, I’m very glad that the puzzle was enjoyed. Thanks to CS for the review, and congrats to Mark Nichols, who is on a good run at present if he is the same Mark Nichols whose name recently popped out of another electronic hat over at the Crossword Centre.

  10. Heartiest congratulations to Mark Nichols on winning the Monthly Prize Puzzle 074. Thanks to CS for her superb review. This brilliant puzzle of Phibs had already provided a lot of excitement and entertainment and the capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of his creative ability at the time when I finally sent in the correct answer. Once again, hats off to him.

Comments are closed.