MPP 093 – Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP 093 – Review

Monthly Prize Puzzle 093 – Review

February 2020

A Puzzle by Radler

The instructions said: The wordplay in each of the across clues provides an extra letter, not needed for the answer. In clue order, the extra letters spell a phrase (1,6,3,6) which is a clue to one of the down entries. The down clues are normal. What is the answer to the clue formed from the extra letters?

The extra letters produce the phrase: I WORKED OUT THINGS which is a clue to 2d where I plus an anagram (worked out) of THINGS produces INSIGHT or indeed like the solution to the original clue IN SIGHT 

Our February winner is Anne Skipper,  who wins a Telegraph Puzzles Book of her choice


1a    One secures troubled airline (6)
NAILER – An anagram (troubled) of AIRLINE

4a    West Indian capital in London Borough (8)
KINGSTON – KINGSTOwN – The capital of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the West Indies

9a    Piece of cake, drinks, light meal, sandwiches: staff feast (6,3)
EASTER DAY – EASY (piece of cake) ‘drink’s TEA (light meal) which in turn ‘sandwiches’ RoD (staff)

11a    Grass on Polish diver (1-4)
U-BOAT – OAT (grass) goes on or after rUB (polish)

12a    Scoundrel discarding drug, make conviction (5)
DOGMA – DOG (scoundrel) Make – the E for ecstasy (drug) being discarded

13a    Ruined barbeques, about fifty one in a row (9)
SQUABBLER – An anagram (ruined) of BARBeQUES goes about L (Roman numeral for 50)

14a    Hound head of the family to cut whiskers? (6,4)
MUTTON CHOP – MUTT (hound) dON (head of a mafia family) CHOP (cut)

15a    Niche acting work for artist (4) APSE – A (acting) PoSE (work for artist)

17a    Chicken away from base, up to bay (4)
YELP – Remove the LOW (base) from YELLOW (chicken) and add uP (from the clue)

19a    Placed it in out-tray like instruction (10)
TUITIONARY – An anagram (placed) of IT IN OUT tRAY

22a    Italian food? Bath city slum gets it for nothing (9)
SPAGHETTI – SPA (Bath) GHETto (city slum) where IT (from the clue) replaces the O (nothing)

23a    Car dash from Holland, agent leads spies (5)
FACIA – the ‘leads’ of Holland and Agent followed by CIA (spies)

25a    Go on stage in the interval (5)
ENTER – Lurking in thE iNTERval

26a    Thinkers run to gatecrash party halfway through (9)
MIDSTREAM – MInDS (thinkers) and R (run) which ‘gatecrashes’ or goes inside TEAM (party)

27a    German state delighted unknown local woman (8)
LANDLADY – LAND (German state) gLAD (delighted) Y (mathematical unknown)

28a    Obscure friends regularly having a joint (6)
MITRED – MIsT (obscure) and the regular letters of fRiEnDs


1/2d    Apparently not stopping, one drunk crashes during darkness (2,3,2,5)
NO END IN SIGHT – An anagram (drunk) of ONE and DINS (crashes) during NIGHT (darkness)

3d    Building transport to reveal positions (8)
ELEVATOR – A anagram (positions) of TO REVEAL

5d    Excuse me assuming that you’re not a nurse (2,3,4,4)
IF YOU DON’T MIND – assuming that you don’t look after anyone as a nurse would

6d    Infested, like food? (6)
GRUBBY –  Not that anyone would ever say this to mean like food!

7d    Tramp tucking into first bun (7)
TROLLOP – ROLL (bun) ‘tucking into’ TOP (first)

8d    Scandal denial, that’s what finally brings politician round (9)
NOTORIETY – NO (denial) and TORY (politician) into which is inserted IE (that is) and T (the final letter of what

10d    Underworld suspect claims working girl rid of habit (13)
? DISACCUSTOMED – DIS (underworld), and ACCUSED (suspect) into which is inserted (claims) TOM (working girl)

14d    Mexican wave? Why not? (3,2,4)
MAY AS WELL – MAYA (Mexican) SWELL (wave)

16d    New format for FT, once it discarded coloured paper (8)
CONFETTI – An anagram (new format for) FT ONCE IT

18d    Building propped up with pole used as support (5,2)
LEANT ON – LEAN-TO (propped up building) with N (North pole)

20/24d    Hard to follow American sophisticated calm and assured (2,5,2,3)
AS CLEAR AS MUD – A (American) and an anagram (sophisticated) of CALM and ASSURED


21d    Limited beer after brief task involving singers (6)
CHORAL – ALe (beer without its ‘limit) goes after CHORe (a brief task)

24d    See 20d    

Thanks once again to Radler and Mr and Mrs BD

21 comments on “MPP 093 – Review

  1. Congratulations to Anne Skipper, and thanks to CS for the review.

    Sue, the capital of Jamaica is Kingston not Kingstown. I was initially confused by this because that would have meant there was no W to be removed from the wordplay, This foolishly led me to think that Radler had made a mistake. I “phoned a friend” who pointed out that the capital of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the West Indies is Kingstown. Very devious, Radler!

  2. I’m always confused by Radler. I think because I had to make the W ‘extra’ I just thought of the capital of Jamaica as being the right one without the W, if you see what I mean. Told you it was confusing. I’ve corrected the review now

  3. Congratulations, Anne, nice to have a new name on the MPP roll of honour.
    Sometimes, on reading through a Radler MPP review, I wonder how on earth I managed to solve the puzzle in the first place, this was one of those times!

    Many thanks to all those involved in its production – Radler (the fiend), CS and Mr & Mrs BD.

    1. Thanks Jane, and all others. Have to confess I am not a new name though. This is my fourth time on the list – albeit spread over 5 years – two Alchemis and two Radlers. Think I had better stop entering! Anne

    1. Take MAKE, discard the E (Ecstasy, drug) and you know you only need the MA to form the second part of the solution, so K is your ‘extra letter’ needed for the phrase which will help you answer the question and enter the competition

  4. Congratulations Anne.
    It was a very challenging puzzle with an excellent penny-drop moment when I eventually twigged the answer to the question.
    Thanks again Radler and CS.

  5. I always enjoy a Radler puzzle and this was a very enjoyable one. Thanks to him and congratulations to Anne Skipper. Thanks also to Mr & Mrs BD and to CS for the explanations.

  6. Well done Anne Skipper!

    I was close to solving this one…..but no cigar.

    Thanks to Radler and special thanks to crypticsue for the review.

    There’s always next month……

  7. Heartiest congratulations to Anne Skipper on her 4th win! That’s indeed splendid! Once again tonnes of thanks to Radler for the innovation and challenge which I really enjoyed. Thanks also to Mr and Mrs BD and to CS for her outstanding review.

  8. Thank you to crypticsue and to Mr & Mrs BD
    Congratulations (again) to Anne Skipper for being first out of the electronic hat (and of course for solving the puzzle in the first place)
    Thanks also to everyone else who has provided feedback via their comments

  9. Warmest congrats to Anne Skipper! Enjoy your super prize.

    Big thanks to Crypticsue for an excellent review. This was a very tricky puzzle which I started but never finished, alas! And many thanks to Radler. I’m very sorry I didn’t complete it.

  10. Would it not be possible to have an ordinary MPP as I never have the faintest idea what the instructions mean! But would love to have a crack at one.

    1. From the very first MPP, the intention was that the solver would only have to submit a brief answer to enter the competition. That has often involved searching for something in the completed grid, though every MPP has been a little different. In this one, the special instructions related to the clues, but usually the clues are normal and it can be treated like a normal puzzle, with an extra bit to work out at the end.

  11. I really enjoyed this puzzle not least because the exact wordplay had to be understood to ensure the extra letters were found.
    Please can you explain LAND for GERMAN STATE in 27a and TOM for WORKING GIRL in 10d

    1. Hello Robert,
      Our trusted companion is the Chambers dictionary, otherwise known as the BRB ( Big Red Book).
      It’s all there.
      A Land is a state or province of Germany or Austria.
      Tom is a criminal slang term for a prostitute.

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