MPP 079 – Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP 079 – Review

Monthly Prize Puzzle 079 – Review

December 2018

A puzzle by Alchemi

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This month’s lucky winner is Mike Ewart who correctly identified 12 creatures around the perimeter of the grid and now gets to select a Daily Telegraph Crossword Book as his prize

There were a variety of answers, but in the end 10, 11 or 12  was considered to be a valid response and went into the ‘electronic hat’ for Mrs BD to pick the winner.

Very few of the answers lend themselves to illustration, so I have decided to leave them out this month.


1a See preamble (15)

9a Gripped by pain, leading group cross a line and have disastrous fall (9)
AVALANCHE: VAN (leading group) around A L(ine) all inside ACHE (pain)

10a Silly person wept about crossing river (5)
TWERP: an anagram (about) of WEPT around (crossing) R(iver)

11a Sport reflected joke approach (3-2)
RUN-UP: RU Rugby Union / sport) followed by the reversal (reflected) of PUN (joke)

12a Dependence down, in a manner of speaking (9)
ADDICTION: D(own) inside the A from the clue and DICTION (manner of speaking)

13a Her anger is dissipated by multiple trials (10)
REHEARINGS: an anagram (dissipated) of HER ANGER IS

16a This country’s sailor returns to port (4)
BAKU: UK (United Kingdom /this country) and AB (sailor) all reversed (returns)

18a Last of the gathering eating delicious food (4)
EGGS: the final letters (last) of four words in the clue

19a Was extravagant and left the country (4,2,4)
WENT TO TOWN: two definitions  – note that in the second definition country is the rural area rather than a nation!

21a Is star sign devotee receiving millions in tax haven? (4,2,3)
ISLE OF MAN: IS from the clue followed by LEO (star sign) and FAN (devotee), the latter around (receiving) M(illions)

23a Maybe wide pictures are coming back following example (5)
EXTRA: the reversal (coming back) of ART (pictures) preceded by (following) EX(ample)

25a Yellow team misses good stops in this (5)
ORGAN: OR (heraldic term for yellow) followed by GANG (team) without (misses) the final G(ood)

26a Bad weather levy comes in – excellent to get transport (4,1,4)
HAIL A TAXI: HAIL (bad weather) followed by TAX (levy) inside AI (excellent)

27a See preamble (15)


1d See preamble (15)

2d King and knight find out (5)
LEARN: LEAR(Shakespearean king) followed by the chess notation for kNight

3d Come back and harvest fruit (8)
REAPPEAR: a charade of REAP (harvest) and PEAR (fruit)

4d Fruit crate smashed in square (9)
NECTARINE: an anagram (smashed) of CRATE inside NINE (3 x 3 / square)

5d University object after pressure to turn upside-down (5)
UPEND: U(niversity) followed by END (object) after P(ressure)

6d Opposed to evacuating Cleethorpes for annoying behaviour (6)
ANTICS: ANTI (opposed to) followed by C[leethorpe]S without its inner letters (evacuating)

7d Show Mike had to put in order (3,6)
THE MIKADO: an anagram (put in order) of MIKE HAD TO

8d See preamble (15)

14d Tallness of Spooner’s story the main feature (9)
HIGHLIGHT: a Spoonerism of LIE HEIGHT (tallness of story)

15d Have good relations to make progress (3,2,4)
GET ON WITH: two definitions

17d On the other hand, that’s why people use blonde hair colouring (2,2,4)
TO BE FAIR: two definitions – the second being cryptic

20d Socialise finally with a couple of former pupils around noon (6)
HOBNOB: the final letter of [wit]H and OB OB (a couple of former pupils) around N(oon)

22d Jewish official I’m surprised punches first person left (5)
MOHEL: OH! (I’m surprised) inside (punches) ME (first person) and L(eft)

24d Old airline, popular author (5)
TWAIN: TWA (old airline) followed by IN (popular)

Thank you to Alchemi for this month’s Prize Puzzle.

In case you were wondering the animals were (in order) orang utan, antelope, penguin, guinea pig, iguana, narwhal, halibut, trilobite (the one long extinct), tetra, and armadillo, together with ant (from antelope) and pig (from guinea pig).


10 comments on “MPP 079 – Review

  1. Well done Mike and thanks again to Alchemi and Mrs BD’s electronic hat for allowing 10 11 or 12 as answers. That puzzle seemed just right for a MPP in that it was too hard to solve in a single sitting but a few days cogitation reveals more.

  2. Congratulations Mike.
    My first submission was TWELVE, those listed above. When I had a closer look I came up with 3 more and changed my entry.
    PEN (a female swan) as part of PENGUIN
    LOB (a fish) as part of TRILOBITE
    and the somewhat dodgy one ORANG which gets a mention in BRB but appears to be the same animal as ORANG-UTAN.
    Seems like I did not need to have looked quite so closely.

    Really good fun to solve and sort out. Much appreciated.
    Thanks again Alchemi and BD.

    1. I don’t suppose anyone’s still looking, but, congrats to Mike, and thanks to Alchemi for the fun, the crossword was just my level.
      I seem to have arrived at the same 15 as you Colin, but discarded LOB and ORANG as a shortened forms of LOBWORM and ORANGUTAN.
      I ended up with 14. the extra one i found was tant a sort of spider.

  3. Congratulations, Mike.
    Like Colin, I’d included PEN but missed LOB and thought better of ORANG so I finished up with 13.

    Many thanks to Alchemi for the challenge and to both BD for the review and Mrs BD for tending the electronic hat.

  4. Heartiest congratulations to Mike Ewart. Thanks to Big Dave for the brilliant review and once again thanks to Alchemi for the great fun in visiting the zoo. My initial answer was 11, but somehow I was convinced that that number could not be the correct answer as I thought that since it was December, the twelfth month, Alchemi must have had the number 12 in mind. After a long search, I found out the Pig out of the Guinea-Pig and sent in 12 as my entry. And that’s why, “It was really a December to remember!”, for me at least.

    Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Very, Very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2019.

    1. An interesting way of arriving at what I thought was the correct answer. However, when I started to compose this puzzle in August, I was unaware that it would appear in December.

      In fact, the first version of this had 13 animals, two of them very obscure, and when it came back from test, it was obviously too difficult, so I revamped the NW corner and ended up with 12.

      Anyway, thanks to everyone who said they enjoyed it, and compliments of the season to everyone.

  5. Thanks, everyone; and particular thanks to Alchemi for a fun solve and a very clever bit of construction. “Orang utan” got me started on the perimeter with fond memories of Malaysian Borneo.

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