MPP 083 – Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP 083 – Review

Monthly Prize Puzzle 083 – Review

April 2019

Faulty keyboard by Alchemi


The instructions said:  Clues are normal.  However, when composing the grid, one of the keys on Alchemi’s keyboard was stuck, so he just left that letter out. Had the stuck key been Z (it wasn’t), PIZZAS would have appeared as PIAS and ZOOLOGY as OOLOGY. Most answers (though not all) are affected, and the results are rarely real words.
When you have finished, count the number of letters omitted and put that number in the box provided.

The answer of 40 was correctly given by all entrants.

To be sure of the correct number, all clues in this puzzle needed to be solved!  What looked at first as a near-impossible task became easier as it went along.  Just filling the grid must have been a giant task for the setter, but to couple that with an excellent set of clues made the solving exercise very enjoyable.

This month’s winner, selected by Mrs BD from the electronic hat,, is Anne Skipper.


1a Trait of chickens and other farm animals crossing road and railway
COWAR[D]LINESS: COW and ASS (other farm animals) around (crossing) R(oa)D and LINE (railway)

7a Left party, returning more rum
O[DD]ER: RED (left) and DO (party) all reversed (returning)

9a The sound of gongs interferes
ME[DD]LES: sounds like medals (gongs)

10a Drug user with aged relative gets a musical entertainment (Two words)
GRAN[D] OPERA: DOPER (drug user) preceded by (with) GRAN (aged relative) and followed by the A from the clue

11a Disturbing canaries, I make a great fuss (two words)
RAISE CAIN: an anagram (Disturbing) of CANARIES I

12a Wasted hours (with daughter covering)
SHROU[D]: an anagram (wasted) of HOURS followed by D(aughter)

13a Sadly enraged by singular weapons
GRENA[D]ES: an anagram (sadly) of ENRAGED followed by S(ingular)

15a Make fun of the German fish
[D]ERI[D]E: DER (the German definite article) followed by IDE (fish)

18a On the way back, do I regularly dig deep for salt?
IO[D]I[D]E: the reversal (on the way back) of DO I followed by the even letters (regularly of DIG DEEP

20a Clumsily knits with writer’s kit
INKSTAN[D]: an anagram (clumsily) of KNITS followed by AND (with)

23a Time to imitate duck? Rubbish!
TWA[DD]LE: T(ime) followed by WADDLE (imitate a duck)

24a 15 hours, 9 gloomy
SATURNINE: 5 of the 8 letters (15 hours = 15/24 = 5/8) in SATUR[day] followed by NINE (9)

26a In port, pass round uniform which is greyish (hyphenated)
[D]OVE-COLOUR: inside DOVER (port) put COL (pass), O (round letter) and U (the letter represented by Uniform in the NATO Phonetic alphabet)

27a Reduce section of orchestra left in Delaware
[D]WIN[D]LE: WIND (section of orchestra) followed by L(eft) inside DE (the two-letter abbreviation for the US state of Delaware)

28a Squad is occasionally foam
SU[D]S: the odd letters (occasionally) of the first two words in the clue

29a Movement of troops enemy let drop by mistake
RE[D]EPLOYMENT: an anagram (by mistake) of ENEMY LET DROP


1d University doctor free, in prison
CAMBRI[D]GE: MB (Medicinae Baccalaureus / doctor) and RID (free) inside CAGE (prison)

2d Spooner’s systematically put away cables cause conflagrations
WIL[D]FIRES: Spoonerism of filed (put away) wires (cables)

3d Prepared theologian to welcome lively seers
[D]RESSE[D]: DD (Doctor of Divinity / theologian) around (to welcome) an anagram (lively) of SEERS

4d Idiots from German club involved in rackets
[D]INGBATS: D (the IVR code for Germany) and BAT (club) inside DINS (rackets)

5d One kept brewing tea I need
[D]ETAINEE: an anagram (brewing) of TEA I NEED

6d Promises credit with small concealed weapon
SWOR[D]STICK: WORDS (promises) and TICK (credit) preceded by (with) S(mall)

7d Act tailored to looking shabby (hyphenated)
[D]OG-EARE[D]: DO (act) followed by GEARED (tailored)

8d Dud flare exploded, which is bad
[D]REA[D]FUL: an anagram (exploded) of DUD FLARE

14d More than get on without deception (hyphenated)
ABOVE-BOAR[D]: ABOVE (more than) followed by BOARD (get on)

16d Second missile almost hits church, being very loud
STRI[D]ENCE: S(econd) followed by most of (almost) TRIDEN[t] (missile) and CE (Church of England)

17d 10 tries awkward return
INTEREST: an anagram (awkward) of TEN (10) TRIES

19d Noddy tees off, reaching old lighthouse
E[DD]YSTONE: an anagram (off) of NODDY TEES

20d Tapir led astray with a pair of wings
[D]IPTERAL: an anagram (astray) of TAPIR LED

21d Unpleasant fates overwhelm extremely toxic internet businesses
[D]OTCOMS: DOOMS (unpleasant fates) around (overwhelm) the outer letters (extremely) of T[oxi]C

22d Canoeists turn bad in present society
PA[DD]LERS: ADDLE (turn bad) inside PR(esent) and S(ociety)

25d Ready to retire from fights in Benin
[D]ROWSY: ROWS (fights) inside DY, the IVR code for Benin (known as Dahomey until 1975)

7 comments on “MPP 083 – Review

  1. Heartiest congratulations to Anne Skipper. The closing date for submission was April 20. Interestingly, the acrosses and the downs were well-balanced as there were 20 omissions in the acrosses and 20 in the downs. I would say it was a novel height of cruciverbal pulchritude. Hats off to Alchemi! Tonnes of thanks to BD for the excellent review! However, as above, in 29a, ‘Movement of troops’ needs to be underlined; in 3d, DD to welcome or contain RESSE (lively or anagram of seers); in 4d, (reckets) to appear as (rackets) and in 16d, TRIDEN[t] needs to be followed by (missile).

  2. Many thanks for the review, BD, and congratulations to Anne for being first out of the hat.
    Looking back at it now, the grid-fill looks so ridiculous although I could well imagine a ‘twale’ and a ‘winle’ being some sort of ancient pieces of farming equipment!

    Thanks again to Alchemi, that was a lot of fun.

  3. Congratulations Anne.
    Was somewhat surprised to read that everyone who entered the competition submitted a correct answer. So as well as congratulations to Anne it is a “Well done” to all the other entrants too.
    It certainly was a really good fun challenge getting it all sorted. When I was solving I carefully entered the number of missing D’s around the margins of the puzzle as I solved each clue. This made adding up the number of missing letters from the filled grid a straightforward task.
    Thanks again Alchemi and BD.

  4. This was a fun puzzle that followed me around for several days. The printout is so full of scribbling and various attempts to keep track of the missing letters that it is virtually illegible. Well done to everyone who got to 40 D’s it is almost like the theme tune to Match of the Day. D D D d d d D….. but particular Well Dones to Anne Skipper, Alchemi and BD.

  5. Thanks for the very generous review, BD, and to others for their kind comments.

    The missing letters device will have been familiar to those who solve barred puzzles with complicated rubrics. I’ve long been convinced that the 15×15 blocked puzzle can play around on the nursery slopes of the mountains of Crosswordland, and the reaction to this confirms it.

    The gridfill wasn’t a particularly giant task, though. It became an order of magnitude easier once I decided I could have the odd word which wasn’t mutilated. I imposed a restriction that it wouldn’t be possible to change the tense of the word by adding a D, basically because it would make it unfair to use an ambiguous tense form in the clues as an attempt to mislead. But otherwise, being able to stick one or more Ds anywhere in the word widens the selection considerably.

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