MPP – 083 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

MPP – 083

Monthly Prize Puzzle (April 2019)

Faulty keyboard by Alchemi

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Why not have a go at our latest Monthly Prize Puzzle?

The winner will receive their choice of any of the Telegraph Crossword Books.

Please note that, due to punitive postal charges, while the competition is open to all, the prize is only available to UK solvers.

A review will follow after the closing date (20th April 2019).

The competition is now closed

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Please read the instructions carefully.

I’ve left this post open for comments, but if you don’t want your comment to be deleted then do not provide any help for other solvers or mention any detail about the puzzle, especially references to individual clues, until after the closing date.

17 comments on “MPP – 083

  1. Started off well enough but once it came to fitting in the intersecting answers there was some hair-pulling involved!
    14&21d were the last to fall and I had plenty of ticks on my sheet – 23&24a raised the biggest smiles.

    Hopefully, I concentrated hard enough on the final count.

    Thanks, Alchemi, what a devious mind you have!

  2. This proved to be a very unusual but quirkily enjoyable challenge. I shall take a breather before starting to count missing letters. When Mrs RD saw my completed grid not having read the preamble, she was totally perplexed by most of the answers. Like Jane I had lots of ticks, and 24a was my outstanding favourite.

    I did notice the repeated use of a particular device, which caused my greatly inferior version of Silvanus’ repetition radar to bleep, and there is a one letter abbreviation that I can’t find in the BRB. I’ll try to remember to follow up on these when the review is published.

    Well done on a truly inventive creation, Alchemi, and thanks very much for the entertainment.

    1. :oops:
      All the missing letters makes parsing a very hazardous exercise, and I was completely barking up the wrong tree with my comment about a one letter abbreviation not in Chambers.

  3. I’ve just printed Alchemi’s MPP out and read the instructions but haven’t tried any of it yet.
    I had a brilliant great-aunt, my gran’s sister, who was almost totally blind so she couldn’t read or write – quite often the first sign of an imminent visit from her was the delivery of several huge parcels – they were Braille books. We used to get really long letters from her but because she couldn’t see to write she used a typewriter. Every so often she started off on the wrong row of the keyboard so several sentences were in code and we had to have a typewriter in front of us to decode. I can see that trying to do this crossword is going to be a bit like having Aunty Mar back!

    1. I’ve been staring at the last few all day and it’s doing my head in. Wine o’clock, methinks…

  4. Very enjoyable, a puzzle that needed to be taken at a steady pace to ‘tickle out’ some of the answers.

    Now whether I have got the correct answer to the riddle only time will tell.

    Thanks Alchemi.

  5. I really enjoyed that – my last few answers were proper d’oh moments – I just hope I’ve got the right number

    Thank you Alchemi

  6. We’ve been away so later than usual getting on to this one.
    A real challenge, quite unlike anything I have ever tackled, but slowly and surely it all started making sense.
    Just hope I have got my count correct.
    Thanks Alchemi.

  7. Very enjoyable puzzle, thanks Alchemi – ingeniously structured. A couple of clues caught me out and I entered the ‘missing’ letter in the grid more than once, but I think I’ve solved it now.

  8. Thanks everyone. This is a practical example of my belief that 15×15 blocked puzzles can overlap with the nursery slopes of the 12×12 Listener/Inquisitor barred puzzle range, as long as the setter keeps within some informal limits – particularly in not having obscure words no-one’s ever heard of in the grid.

    It’s rather more common to have the definition be for the unmutilated word and the wordplay to be for the grid entry, but I found that I couldn’t make the answers unambiguous and it would be hell for BD to have to cope with several different possible answers, so I decided to make the clues completely normal, so that the only problem was how to fit the answers together.

    Anyway, I’m pleased that enough people weren’t too daunted to try it and found that it wasn’t quite as bad as they might have thought initially.

  9. The puzzle is really very enjoyable for which I owe my gratitude to Alchemi. I liked 7a and 2d in particular. But I am yet to parse 18a and 21d to my satisfaction before sending in the correct number as my answer.

    1. Uptil now, it was somewhat like the ‘errors and omissions excepted’ of accountancy. But now, with the required number so clear, it seemed like pure mathematics and thus the desired button has been pressed. Interestingly, the omissions of the acrosses and downs are well-balanced.

  10. Great fun – a great twist on the more usual puzzles with lots of head-scratching clues.

  11. I really enjoyed this. In many ways the experience was like solving a jigsaw cryptic, as in most cases I found that it was necessary to solve the clues in isolation because of the unknown word lengths and the uncertainty of the positions in the answers of any checked letters which were already in place in the grid. Congratulations to Alchemi for providing such a good challenge and for the very impressive grid fill. (The penny-drop moment in 24A deserves a special mention.)

  12. That has taken a while but it was never less than entertaining. The printout I have been working on since Sunday is very messy and I think I will reprint to check before submitting my answer. I am impressed with all the ball juggling to fit the shortened answers in a grid and finding combinations that only missed one letter. Thanks Alchemi.

  13. Only a couple of hours left and haven’t managed to finish.
    Quite difficult although I had the letter very early from the obvious anagrams.
    Thanks to Alchemi for the challenge.

Comments are closed.