MPP 087 – Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP 087 – Review

Monthly Prize Puzzle 087 – Review

August 2019

Upper Case Places by Alchemi

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Alchemi’s question was “How many capital cities are there in the completed grid?”  There were 14 in total.  They are highlighted in the grid at the end of this review.

This month’s winner is Mr K, who wins a Telegraph crossword book of his choice.


1a Dress horse, roughly normal, performs (9)
CAPARISON: CA (circa / roughly) followed by PAR (normal) and IS ON (performs)

6a Ditches doctor having reached Serbia’s capital (5)
MOATS: MO (Medical Officer / doctor) fb AT (having reached) and the initial letter (capital) of Serbia

9a He weeps right after seeing books in colour (7)
BLUBBER: R(ight) follows B B (books) inside BLUE (colour)

10a Hush established during advertisement (2,5)
BE STILL: EST(abolished) inside (during) BILL (advertisement)

11a Return some salmagundi – not a girl’s dish (8)
RIGATONI: hidden (some) and reversed (return) inside the clue

12a Status-less band strange enough people to meet (6)
QUORUM: [Status] QUO followed by RUM (strange)

14a Ladies’ man roused, oddly missing being rejected in more than half the UN’s countries (7)
EURASIA: the reversal (being rejected) of the even letters (oddly missing) of three words in the clue

16a Working girls waste time painting and dancing? (4)
ARTS: TARTS (working girls) without (waste) one of the T(ime)s

17a Babylonian god to live large (3)
BEL: BE (to live) followed by L(arge)

20a Starts to overcome boycott on lovely old Greek capital (4)
OBOL: the initial letters (starts) to four words in the clue – capital = money

21a Sort of bathroom drugs keeping Tunis high (2,5)
EN SUITE: E and E (ecstasy / drug) around an anagram (high) of TUNIS

24a Animals all right when eating most of pie (6)
OKAPIS: OK (all right) followed by AS (when) around (eating) most of PI[E]

25a Staff physician sick – his bottom is blue! (8)
MANDRILL: MAN (staff) followed by DR (physician) and ILL (sick)

28a Palaeontologist not unknown to hide silver oozing out (7)
LEAKAGE: [Richard] LEAKE[Y] (palaeontologist) without (not) Y (mathematical unknown) around (to hide) the chemical symbol for silver

29a Tense time involves that woman covering it (7)
THEREON: T(ense) and EON (time) around (involves) HER (that woman)

30a Owner of 9 with empty drink (5)
WHALE: W[it]H without its inner letters (empty) followed by ALE (drink)

31a Shillings expended by some in exchange for instrument (9)
BAROMETER: [S]OME without (expended by) S(hillings) inside BARTER (exchange)


1d Scots log clear grape (8)
CABERNET: CABER (Scots log) followed by NET (clear)

2d Organ among a society’s instruments (which mostly suck) (8)
PLUNGERS: LUNG (organ) inside (among) PER (a, as in 2p per/a lb) and S(ociety)

3d American drinking establishment put up by junction in capital city (5)
RABAT: A(merican) and BAR (drinking establishment) reversed (put up in a down clue) followed by T (junction)

4d Could get smaller horse skating here in black (10)
SHRINKABLE: H (horse when referring to heroin) and RINK (skating here) inside SABLE (heraldic term for black)

5d National disease points to writer (4)
NIBS: N(ational) followed by IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome / disease)

6d Pests go round punching supermodel (9)
MOSQUITOS: QUIT (go) and O (round) inside (punching) [Kate] MOSS (supermodel)

7d In the outskirts of Ankara, detective tracks insects here (6)
APIARY: PI (Private Investigator / detective) inside the outer letters (outskirts) of A[nkar]A followed by R[ailwa]Y (tracks)

8d Look into identical dancer (6)
SALOME: LO (look!) inside SAME (identical)

13d Villain in play, one putting flame out earlier (10)
MALEFACTOR: ACTOR (in play, one) preceded by (earlier) an anagram (out) of FLAME

15d But emails fail to turn to vapour (9)
SUBLIMATE: an anagram (fail) of BUT EMAILS

18d Being thorough, get in after cover-up (8)
DILIGENT: an anagram (trouble) of GET IN preceded by the reversal (up in a down clue) of LID (cover)

19d Be right on top of ship’s newspaper format (8)
BERLINER BR and R(ight) followed by (on top of in a down clue) LINER (ship)

22d Sailor bathed in light as form of industrial action (2-4)
GO-SLOW: OS (Ordinary Seaman / sailor) inside (bathed in) GLOW (light)

23d Cigar from Virginia found in Chinese area (6)
HAVANA: VA (Virginia) inside (found in) HAN (Chinese) and A(rea)

26d Ideal mother about to be confined (5)
DREAM: RE (about) inside (to be confined) DAM (mother)

27d Maybe plot against Belgium? Without hesitation! (4)
VERB: V (against) and the IVR code for Belgium around (without) ER (hesitation)

The following grid shows the 14 capital cities:

Many thanks to Alchemi, and to Mrs BD for her casting of the magic runes!


17 comments on “MPP 087 – Review

  1. Congratulations Mr K! Thank you Alchemi for a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle and thanks to BD for the review. I’m sure some of those Capitals didn’t exist when I did Geography O level many moons ago!

  2. Yeah! Well done, Mr K, so nice when the winner is one of our regulars.
    I did learn three new things from this puzzle but a month’s a long time and I’d already forgotten them by the time the review came out. Ho hum, such is life – at least I found all 14 of the countries.

    Thanks again to Alchemi for the puzzle and to Mr & Mrs BD for keeping the MPP alive and well.

  3. Congratulations Mr K.
    When I submitted my answer I had a few doubts with BERN as it has an alternate spelling I found that is BERNE, and wondered if this meant count it twice. In the end I decided that as the question asked for ‘capital cities’ and not ‘names of capital cities’, I settled for 14 as my answer too.
    A good fun solve and a fascinating search to find the capitals.
    Thanks again Alchemi and CS.

    1. Whoops. Looks like I thanked the wrong reviewer.
      Apologies to both.

      Ps I note that while the grid has 14 highlighted capitals the text says 12.

  4. Very well done, Mr K. As Jane says it’s always nice when one of our regular contributors wins the prize.
    I had no chance of my name being pulled out of the hat this month as my answer was 13 :sad: I missed Malé even though I went through the filled grid several times.
    Thanks to CS for the review and again to Alchemi for the fun.

      1. Thanks, BD. Stupidly I didn’t check who wrote the review – I just assumed that Kiwi Colin had got it right!

    1. I missed Malé too, great minds etc, eh?!

      Heartiest congratulations to Mr K and thanks to Alchemi for the challenge.

  5. I made a complete dog’s breakfast of this one and got the answer wrong because I’d never heard of Apia or Dili. I suspected that I’d got it wrong when Alchemi added a comment saying that he hadn’t known some of the capitals.
    Congratulations to Mr K and thanks to Alchemi and BD.

    1. I enlisted the help of Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Lists which found Apia and Dili for me but I still missed Malé!

      1. The list of capital cities in Chambers Crossword Dictionary helped me find the couple that I didn’t know.

        1. I was far less organised than either of you – I just took ‘stabs in the dark’ and then looked them up!

  6. Very well done to all those that finished the puzzle, never mind found all 14 answers – I certainly didn’t so couldn’t even enter. Like Gazza, I made a bit of a mess of this one
    Thanks again for a proper challenge Alchemi, to BD for the enlightenment and Mrs BD for the casting of the runes
    Hearty congratulations to Mr K

  7. Heartiest congratulations to Mr K on winning the Monthly Prize Puzzle – 087 and tonnes of thanks to BD for the excellent review. Of course, once again thanks to Alchemi for the superb innovation. I was short by one as I failed to locate APIA.

  8. What a nice surprise to wake up to! Thanks to Mrs BD for drawing my entry, to BD for the review and for running everything, and to Alchemi for a most enjoyable and educational puzzle.

  9. Well done, Mr K!

    I struggled with the crossword a bit, but did eventually get all the capitals…including several that were unknown to me and that I will undoubtedly immediately forget.

    Thanks to Alchemi and to BD. (And Mrs BD.)

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