MPP 098 – Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP 098 – Review

Monthly Prize Puzzle 098 – Review

July 2020

Century – A Puzzle by Phibs


Congratulations to our July winner – David Whisstock – who wins his choice of a Telegraph Crossword Puzzles Book to add to his collection (this is his third MPP win)

Phibs said:

I wanted the numbers contained in the solutions, read either forwards or backwards (eg ONE, ENO, TWO, OWT etc), to add up to exactly 100. I’ve managed to include sixteen numbers, but the total still falls a bit short. By changing two consecutive letters in one entry (thus producing two new words, and eighteen numbers in total), I believe the century can be reached. What is the pair of letters that must be replaced, and what is the replacement pair?

I am always happy when Phibs sets the MPP as, not only am I in for a good time as a solver and blogger, but this is one of the fairly rare times when, as I haven’t seen the crossword before the rest of you, I can actually enter the competition. Apart from having instructions requiring the reader to have a little lie down once they’d read them, this was an enjoyable crossword to solve, although I will say that my mathematical skills were severely challenged as I found I found that you could change two letters in 32a to get a new number but this didn’t add up to the required century. I looked at the solved grid on and off for more than a week until I finally noticed the obvious – changing the AT in 31d to an ON produces both a one and a ten, thus producing the required century, and so in went my entry – sadly I’m not as lucky as David, but I’ll keep trying every times Phibs sets the MPP and one day…. who knows?  


7     Reassurance given to trapeze artist involved arrangements for communicating (8)
NETWORKS -A trapeze artist would be reassured to learn that his [safety] NET WORKS  (10 2)

9     Thrash gatecrashed by current setter? (6)
CANINE – CANE (thrash) ‘gatecrashed’ by IN (current)  (9)

11     Skin treatment’s not confined to chest (3)
BOX – Remove the TO from BOTOX (skin treatment)

12     Exactly how tenant addresses complaint about property? (2,3,6)
TO THE LETTER – A tenant would address his complaint to his letter or landlord

13     Smashed set as gripping tie swung back to Orient (9)
EASTWARDS – An anagram (smashed) of SET AS ‘gripping’ a reversal (back) of DRAW (tie)

18     Empty tittle-tattle boring nurse rigid (5)
STERN – The outside (empty) letters of Tittle-tattlE ‘boring’ or going inside SRN (State Registered Nurse)

22     Fudge etc on front of counter in foyer? (13)
CONFECTIONERY – An anagram (fudge) of ETC ON C (the front or first letter of counter) IN FOYER  (1)

23     Make up Keith Richards, maybe concealing ultimate in wrinkles (5)
ATONE- Keith Richards is A STONE – conceal or hide the ultimate letter of wrinkleS (1)

26     Hardy girl in running shoes entertaining ladies (9)
HOSTESSES – TESS (Thomas Hardy female character) inserted into an anagram (running) of SHOES

31     Adding to the double gin he prepared (11)
HEIGHTENING – An anagram (prepared) of THE GIN GIN (double ‘gin’) HE  (8, 10, 9)

32     It’s said to unnerve follower of Yogi when repeated (3)
BOO – Adding another BOO (when repeated) produces a friend of Yogi Bear My favourite Across clue

33     Secure the anaesthetic mentioned by Yorkshire doctor? (6)
TETHER – T’ETHER (as a Yorkshire doctor might say)

34     Wilder, say, about first woman saint from Swiss city (8)
GENEVESE – GENE (Wilder, say) goes ‘about’ EVE (first woman) and S (saint)  (7)


1     Authorize travel ban – employees going over limits (6)
ENABLE – Hidden in reverse (going over limits) in travEL BAN Employees

2     Pay court fine, coming up with large part of settlement (6)
KOWTOW – A reversal (coming up in a Down clue) of OK (fine)  W (with) with most (large part) of TOWn (settlement)  (2)

3     Dean is famous one Will’s spouse introduced to sister (6)
SKATER – KATE (Mrs Prince William) ‘introduced’ to SR (sister)

4     Clergyman’s wife not against one cuddle (6)
CARESS – I’ve never heard of a clergyman’s wife being called a VICARESS? V (versus, against) and I (one) need to be removed from the word

5     Honour female’s lost to furtive fumbling (6)
VIRTUE – An anagram (fumbling) of fURTIVE without the F (female’s lost)

6     It’s long – not finished by November (4)
YEAR – YEARn (long) without the N (November in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet)

8     Occupants of stand demand I start to score (5)
TAXIS – TAX (demand) I (from the clue) S (the ‘start’ to Score) (6)

10     Botch communications, wasting ages (4)
MESS – Simply ‘waste’ or remove the AGES from MESSages

14     A boozer that has framed college tie (5)
ASCOT – A (from the clue) SOT (boozer) has ‘framed’ C (college)

15     Scribbled note: “Clinton finally inhaled part of joint” (5)
TENON – An anagram (scribbled) of NOTE plus the final letter of ClintoN  (10, 1)

16     Egg on toast’s heart risk (4)
ABET – The ‘heart’ of toAst and BET (risk)

17     Those leading Italy towards turmoil brought in to achieve same here (5)
DITTO – The letters ‘leading’ Italy Towards Turmoil ‘brought in’ to DO (achieve)

19     Gather round – small son is crawling! (5)
TEEMS – A reversal (round) of MEET (gather) and the ‘small’ abbreviation for Son

20     Her bust’s received well when boosted size-wise, perhaps (5)
RHYME – An anagram (bust) of HER receives a reversal (when boosted) of MY (well.. I never)

21     Some know true love (4)
NOWT – Hidden in some kNOW True  (2)

24     Surgical procedure I view positively after getting shot of right narcotic (6)
OPIATE – OP (surgical procedure) I (from the clue) rATE (view positively without the R for right)

25     English mostly decided to accept European repercussions (6)
ECHOES – E (English) and most of CHOSe (decided) to ‘accept’ E (European)

26     Notice that man had boxes in back of vehicle (4)
HEED – HE’D (that man had) ‘boxes in’ the back of vehiclE

27     I sent out piano parts for harpsichord-like instrument (6)
SPINET – P (piano, musical instruction) ‘parts’ an anagram (out) of I SENT  (10)

28     Birdie? One wants something better when standing on tee (6)
EAGLET – In golf scoring an EAGLE is better than a BIRDIE. Stand your EAGLE on T (tee)

29     One might get rattled while upset about embracing bishop (5)
SABRE – A reversal (upset) of AS (while) followed by RE (about) ’embracing’ B (Bishop in chess notation)

30     Tea-time treats, special things you associate with jam? (6)
SCONES – S (special) CONES (things you associate with [traffic] jams!) My favourite Down clue  (1)

31     Feel revulsion at the merest suggestion of ants in the pants (4)
HATE – the first letter (merest suggestion) of Ants inserted into an anagram (pants) of THE

Thanks to Phibs and the BDs for playing their parts in this month’s competition process

15 comments on “MPP 098 – Review

  1. This was a bit of a dwindler for me
    Congratulations to David and thanks to CS & BD

  2. Many thanks to Phibs for another splendid puzzle and congratulations to David (a three time winner? – he must have found a whole fieldful of 4-leaf clovers). Thanks also to Mr & Mrs BD and CS for the write-up.
    I can’t remember too much about solving the puzzle but I do remember that I had problems finding the final couple of the 16 numbers in the first place. Once I’d found them the change to get to 18 was fairly easy to discover.

  3. Congratulations to David – apart from being a repeatedly lucky winner, do you leave comments on the blog? I do hope so.
    I found the puzzle itself to be quite a challenge, finding the required letter change was a whole different ball game!

    Many thanks for an absorbing challenge, Phibs, and thanks to CS for the review and the BDs for organising our regular MPPs.

  4. Congratulations David.
    That was certainly a tough challenge for me, both solving the puzzle and then answering the question. The second part took ages and a huge Eureka moment when I got it sussed. An excellent diversion.
    Thanks again Phibs and CS for the review.

  5. Heartiest congratulations to David Whisstock on his third win and thanks once again to Phibs for his splendid creation. Thanks also to Mrs & Mr BD for organising the regular MPPs.
    I was short of 18 in the 18 numbers which totalled 100, but only after not HATE but HOSTESSES had grabbed my attention and I discovered that HOSTESSES could be split up into two words: HO and STENOES after replacing SS by NO and two numbers, namely, TEN and ONE (reversal), could be obtained from it. So my entry was SS NO.
    Finally, thanks to CS for her review. It’s good to see that, alongside the relevant explanations, the numbers totalling 89 are also indicated in the brackets. Incidentally, some are missing. In 7a, from NETWORKS, besides TEN (reversal) (10), there is also TWO (2); in 23a, ATONE has ONE (1) and in 8d, TAXIS has SIX (reversal) (6). Other than these, in 18a, it should be going inside SRN (State Registered Nurse) instead of SEN (State Enrolled Nurse); in 2d, with will be with (W) and in 15d, it should be anagram (scribbled) of NOTE in place of NONE.

    1. Thank you – all rectified now – I think I spent so long on the sums that I got muddled up with the words

      1. That was so nice of you and I thank you for the same. However, I want to add something. On the top, it has been mentioned that ‘changing the AT in 31d to an ON produces both a one and a ten’. The word for 31d is HATE and if HATE is replaced by HONE, no doubt two words, namely, HO and NE are formed, but there is not both a one (1) and a ten (10) in HONE, but only a one (1). Then what is the correct answer (the replaced and the replacement pairs)?

        1. I had reached the point where I didn’t want to look at this crossword or its sums again! But if you change the HATE to HONE that gives you the one, but it also produces a reversed TEN in 33a

  6. Well done David & thanks to Phibs, CS & BD.

    For the second month running I was unable to submit an answer despite spending hours looking at the completed grid. Unlike Gazza, “the charge to get to 18” never materialised. As a mere two-time winner it hurts to know you weren’t even in with a shout!

    I look forward to completing my hattrick any time soon. (!)

  7. With so many congratulatory comments strewn in my path, I feel it almost a duty, certainly a pleasure, to acknowledge your remarks. No doubt many had correctly solved the puzzle and related question (a number which could be of interest to all participants) and can take as much satisfaction as the winner chosen fortuitously. These puzzles are always a delightful challenge and, probably like quite a few of you, I don’t complete every month!
    So to the next one, happy solving and ….good luck.

    1. So pleased that you popped in, David. Maybe, now that you’ve made yourself known, we can look forward to seeing you on the daily blog sometimes?

  8. Hearty congrats to David W, and thanks to the BDs, CS, and all who have commented.

    My apologies to those who struggled with the arithmetical step, but I’d like to think that anyone who ended up getting ‘A TON’ was in no doubt that they had the correct answer.

    Even with the assistance of Google I am unable to establish what a ‘dwindler’ is, so I suspect it’s probably best that I remain in ignorance… :scratch:

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