MPP 076 – Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP 076 – Review

MPP 076 – Review

ATOMIC by Bufo

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The instructions were:

All the answers share a common property. The name of which English cathedral city also shares this property? And the name of which English cathedral city has nothing in common with the answers?

There was a strong hint, A to M, in the title.  This very clever puzzle uses all of the letters in the first half of the alphabet and none from the second half.  There is only one English cathedral city that shares this property and that is Lichfield and only one, Truro, that has no letters in the first half of the alphabet – a brilliant observation.

Congratulations to Prolixic, who took advantage of the fact that he was not involved in any way with this puzzle and submitted the successful entry – he wins his choice of a Daily Telegraph Puzzle Book.


5a German man receives a message on the computer (5)
EMAIL: EMIL, a first name that could be German, around the A from the clue

7a Midfield player could be an arts graduate as far as we are concerned (8)
HALFBACK: the answer, split (4,4), could lead to an art graduate (half of BACK)

10a Move slowly on horse with difficulty in battle (8)
EDGEHILL: a verb meaning to move slowly followed by H (horse, slang for heroin) and ILL (with difficulty)

11a Wingless insects devouring man’s fruit (6)
LICHEE: LICE (wingless insects) around (devouring) HE (man)

12a More than one tea dance (3-3-3)
CHA-CHA-CHA: no explanation needed!

14a Foreign song was missing a verse in the middle (4)
LIED: LIVED (was) without (missing) V(erse)

15a Happened to live on high ground (6)
BEFELL: BE (to live) followed by FELL (high ground)

17a Prophet and priest on pilgrimage heading west (6)
ELIJAH: ELI (an Old Testament priest) followed by the reversal (heading west in an across clue) of HAJ (the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca)

20a I would laze on vacation being this (4)
IDLE: I’D (I would) followed by L[az]E without its inner letters (on vacation)

22a Small hound holding ends of lead going after a bird of prey (4,5)
BALD EAGLE: a BEAGLE (small hound) around (holding) the outer letters (ends) of L[ea]D after the A from the clue

24a Doctor Kildare’s heading for Lucerne, perhaps (6)
MEDICK: a MEDIC (doctor) followed by the initial letter (heading) of K[ildare] – lucerne, also called purple medick and alfalfa, is a plant resembling clover

25a Hollow-eyed and gaunt from exhaustion with possibly writing out a hard Jewish text (8)
HAGGADAH: HAGGARD (hollow-eyed and gaunt from exhaustion) without R (writing, as part of the 3Rs) and followed by the A from the clue and H(ard) gives a part of the authoritative book of Jewish civil and religious law and tradition

27a One Spanish hero is in agreement about doing away with gods (8)
DEICIDAL: I (one) and CID (El Cid, Spanish hero) inside DEAL (agreement)

28a Farmer initially lied about where he sometimes keeps his cows (5)
FIELD: he initial letter of F(armer) followed by an anagram (about) of LIED


1d Girl caught between two men. It’s a worrying problem (8)
HEADACHE: ADA (a girl) and C(aught) between HE and HE (two men)

2d Even members of Hizbullah turn up in this French commune (4)
ALBI: the reversal (turn up in a down clue) of the even letters of Hizbullah

3d Cup of Earl Grey and a (not small) piece of cake? (7)
CHALICE: CHA (tea, Earl Grey) followed by [S]LICE (piece of cake) without (not) S(mall)

4d Agree to set up electronic record label (6)
ACCEDE: the reversal (set up in a down clue) of E(lectronic) and Decca (record label)

6d Wolf that’s been introduced into Lakeland (5)
AKELA: the wolf from Kipling’s The Jungle Book is hidden inside (introduced into) Lakeland

8d Alicia Lee arranged the flowers (9)
LILIACEAE: an anagram (arranged) of ALICIA LEE – the answer is the name for the Lily family of flowers

9d Bugs Bunny and company intended letting Lulu in at first (7)
BACILLI: the initial letters (at first) of seven words in the clue

13d Daft as all fruitcakes must have been once (4-5)
HALF-BAKED: how all fruitcakes must have been halfway through the baking process

16d Blend of English and Gaelic used in serious poetry (7)
ELEGIAC: an anagram (blend) of E(nglish) and GAELIC

18d Help accepted by female singer in state capital (8)
ADELAIDE: AID (help) inside (accepted by) ADELE (female singer) – the answer is the capital of the South Australia

19d Anglo-Saxon scholar gets mad with hell breaking loose (7)
ALDHELM: an anagram (breaking loose) of MAD with HELL

21d Considered setter to be caught in the act (6)
DEEMED: ME (the setter) inside (caught in) DEED (act)

23d That part of Bangladesh where no trees are growing? (5)
GLADE: hidden inside (part of) Bangladesh

26d The Queen leaving an old man’s house (4)
GAFF: drop (leaving) ER (the Queen’s regnal cipher) from GAFF[ER] (an old man)

Thanks to Bufo for the puzzle and to Mrs BD for her usual magnificent effort in clicking the mouse to select the winner.


10 comments on “MPP 076 – Review

  1. Congrats Prolixic and Thanks to Bufo.
    At first pass this was quite tricky and I doubt I would have got the theme if Dave Gorman hadn’t mentioned Lichfield Cathedral on an episode of Pointless Celebs that weekend as I was tinkering with the theme. I always had Lichfield down as having a T in there but twigged at about the same time as I realised the significance of A to M ic.
    Thanks Bufo and BD and Mrs BD and well done Prolixic.

  2. Congratulations Prolixic.
    I remember it being a very clever puzzle and a lot of fun working it all out.
    Thanks again Bufo and BD for the review.

  3. Very clever indeed to fill a grid with just half the alphabet – many thanks to Bufo and congratulations to Prolixic. I wonder whether Bufo could compile a puzzle with just the ‘other half’, i.e. N-Z, which I think would be even harder to achieve?

  4. Congratulations to Prolixic.

    Spotting the relevance of the title early on helped – particularly with the spelling of lychee, as I had it.

    Thanks again to Bufo for a good challenge

  5. Thanks to BD for the review and thanks to Bufo for the brilliant puzzle.

    I failed miserably to solve the riddle – but just looked at my printout and in the margin I had scrawled No – O, No – U. Close, but no cigar!

  6. Many thanks to BD for the review and heartiest congratulations to our own Prolixic – a fine MPP to win.
    I wonder whether Bufo will take up Gazza’s challenge?

  7. Goodness me! That was unexpected. I half assumed that bloggers and setters might have their entries disqualified.

    Thanks to Bufo for an excellent MPP and to Big Dave for the blog. In the circumstances it is just as well that I overlooked the fact that I should have reviewed this one!

  8. Sorry Bufo,
    Started but didn’t find the time to finish.
    Enjoyed what I managed.
    Congratulations to Prolixic and thanks to BD for the review.

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