MPP 088 – Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP 088 – Review

Monthly Prize Puzzle 088 – Review

September 2019

Hail Caesar! – A Puzzle by Prolixic

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A Caesar cipher encodes words by shifting the letters by a set number of places. For example, with a Caesar cipher of 2, CAT becomes ECV. Applying a Caesar cipher of 13, how many solutions in this crossword have recognisable words that result from the encoding process (proper nouns included).

The following table will assist:

I took quite a long time to solve this crossword and as I couldn’t enter the competition, didn’t bother to work out the answer to the question. Someone who did do so was James McGaughey and, having correctly entered the competition with the answer TEN, his name was drawn out of the electronic hat by Mrs BD and he can now choose his prize of a Telegraph Crossword Puzzles Book

The ten words were:


New Word























8a    Decline to support college being reduced by 50% (4)
BALK – Change C for College (also the Roman numeral for one hundred) in BACK (support) to an L (50) thus being reduced by 50%)

9a    Priest is free to discard a chess piece (5)
CLERK – Remove the A (discard A) from CLEaR (free) and add a K (King, chess piece)

10a    Goes out with bishops in half of dioceses (4) 
EBBS – BB (two chess Bishops) inserted into the second half of seES (dioceses)

11a    Cambridge college has foremost of table wine (6) 
CLARET – CLARE (Cambridge college) plus T (the foremost letter of Table)

12a    Top winger tackles united line (8) 
PULLOVER – PLOVER (winger, bird) ‘tackles’ or goes round U (united) and L (line)

13a    Rise and dash out to get salad ingredient (8) 
RADISHES – An anagram (out) of RISE and DASH

15a    Visitors in the auditorium imagined opening of Spellbound (6) 
GUESTS – A homophone (in the auditorium) of GUESSED (imagined) followed by S (the ‘opening’ of Spellbound)

17a    Out of the running with two presents (7) 
NOWHERE – NOW and HERE – two synonyms for present

19a    Prison reformer follows prison cook (4,3) 
STIR FRY – FRY (Elizabeth, the prison reformer) goes after STIR (a slang term for prison)

22a    Bumbling antihero wins within this (6) 
REASON – The letters of WITHIN REASON are obtained from an anagram (bumbling) of ANTIHERO WINS

24a    First treaty oddly ignored ionizing radiation (5,3) 
ALPHA RAY – ALPHA (first) and the even (oddly ignored) letters of tReAtY

26a    Leaves model secretary going for sailor (8) 
TARRAGON – Remove the PA (secretary going) from PARAGON and replace with TAR (sailor)


28a    Soldiers and partners embracing each other joined up again (6) 
RESEWN – RE (Royal Engineers, soldiers) and the bridge partners S and N ’embracing’ E and W

30a    Gather up gold bearing lode for bank (4)
REEF – Triple definition

31a    Odd toy captures the heart of America (5) D
ROLL – DOLL (toy) ‘captures’ the R that is the ‘heart’ of AmeRica

32a    Part of living nature (4) 
GNAT – Lurking in part of livinG NATure


1d    Criticise transport guard (4) 
RAIL – Another triple definition

2d    Fight resistance in militant Sikhism (8) 
SKIRMISH – R (resistance) in an anagram (militant) of SIKHISM

3d    Stop function held by Bob Champion (6) 
SCOTCH – Insert COT (cotangent, function) in between S (shilling – bob) and CH (champion)

4d    Joined up with troublemaker for play (7) 
TEMPEST – A reversal (up in a Down clue) of MET (joined) followed by IMP (troublemaker)

5d    Broadcaster’s entertaining opening for the Sun (8) 
SKYLIGHT – SKY (broadcaster) LIGHT (entertaining)

6d    Give testimony of what model does after photoshoot! (6) 
DEPOSE – A model might DE POSE when a photoshoot was finished

7d    At the end of The Third Man pair return strong and healthy (4) 
ABLE – The third man in the Bible was ABEL – reversing the ‘pair at the end’ produces a synonym for strong and healthy

14d    Residence of person in hospital department (5) 
ABODE – BOD (person) in A [and] E (hospital department)

16d    Tip to stop removing sulphur and earth (5) 
TERRA – Reverse (tip) ARREST (stop) and then remove the S that is the chemical symbol for sulphur

18d    Treacherous oath once taken by Magritte? (8) 
RENEGADE – EGAD (old oath) ‘taken by’ RENE (Magritte)

20d    Dragon is flying around fallen rocks? (4,4) 
ROAD SIGN – An anagram (flying around) of DRAGON IS

21d    It contains hints of red and indigo not black or white (7) 
RAINBOW – The initial letters (hints)of Red And Indigo Not Black Or White

23d    Stumped by current conflict (6) 
STRIFE – ST (stumped) RIFE (current)

25d    Exclusively carry out trade around Yorkshire river (6) 
PURELY – PLY (carry out trade) around the Yorkshire River URE

27d    Senior impressionist briefly stood up (4) 
AGED – A reversal (stood up) of almost all (briefly) of DEGAs (French impressionist)

29d    Something regularly extracted from two hearts (4) 
WHAT – Extracted from the regular letters of tWo HeArTs

Thanks to Prolixic and Mrs and Mr BD for their parts in this month’s Prize Puzzle proceedings


8 comments on “MPP 088 – Review

  1. Correct number here but no luck with the electronic hat – congratulations to James and hope the win inspires you to become a regular on the site.
    Many thanks for the review, CS, made me appreciate yet again what a clever compilation this was before one even considered the cypher!
    My printed copy was liberally sprinkled with non-words – thanks for the challenge, Prolixic.

  2. Hey, that’s me! What a strange and unexpected pleasure to be picked by a random number generator – it’s never happened in 40 years of owning premium bonds.
    I found this a very tough puzzle to finish, only getting there after putting it aside for a week, but now glad to have persevered.
    Many thanks to Prolixic, Mr & Mrs BD & CS.

    1. Hi Mucky James – feel so much better now that you’ve outed yourself as being ‘one of us’. Know what you mean about premium bonds :cry:

    2. Congrats Mucky/James, and ‘see’ you tomorrow in Rookieland

      PS Having Doughty (Irish) and Grant (Scottish) heritage, interesting Gaelic surname when I looked it up

  3. Congratulations Mucky.
    Very satisfying to find out that I had sorted out everything correctly. It was certainly a significant challenge to do so for me.
    Thanks again Prolixic and CS for the review.

  4. Well done, Mucky!

    I only found 9 so didn’t even make the hat……the reason I only found 9 was because I could not solve 9a so just bunged in what I had found …..
    Also failed to solve 5d. Could not get further than Daylight from Sir Robin…..showing my age there.

    Enjoyed the fight with this one even though I lost it.

    Many thanks to Crypticsue and to ProliXic. I’ll beat you next time……maybe !

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