MPP 099 – Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP 099 – Review

Monthly Prize Puzzle 099 – Review

August 2020

Faulty Keyboard 2 by Alchemi

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[Regular MPP solvers may recognise the name Rahmat Ali. He has won once (December 2019), but enters nearly every month. He sent me this review, which I am happy to publish with only very minor changes. BD]

Congratulations to KiwiColin for winning this month’s prize competition. …….

The instructions were as follows:

Alchemi’s keyboard wasn’t working properly again when filling the grid, so he just stuffed the words in without a particular letter. The clues are normal, but the answers must be entered leaving out all occurrences of the letter; if the letter were D like last time, IODIDE would be entered as IOIE and DREAM as REAM. (In other words, if the grid entry is a real word, it’s a coincidence.) After completing the grid, count the number of letters omitted and put it in the box provided.

That particular letter of Alchemi’s keyboard going haywire was R. But what was required to be put in the box was 48 (the number of ‘R‘s omitted). So here below are the answers that happily filled the grid, leaving out all occurrences of the letter R, and followed by the actual answers with R shown in red.


1a Vessel containing odd bits of Wilde or the symbol of a 60s city gent (two words)
from BOWLER HAT: BOAT (vessel) having inside (containing) odd bits of WiLdE oR tHe

5a Someone looking for small organ getting expensive in France
SEACHE from SEARCHER: S (small) EAR (organ) getting CHER (French word for ‘expensive’)

10a Dog leaves research centre for prayer house
from ORATORY: abbreviation of Labrador, that is, lab (dog), comes out of (leaves) labORATORY (research centre)

11a Sticklers for procedure slowing down celebs in America
from RITUALISTS: RIT (musical notation for slowing down) followed by A-LIST (celebs) inside (in) US (America)

12a Naval vessel‘s flexible rear is correct (two words)
from ESCORT CARRIER: an anagram (flexible) of REAR IS CORRECT

13a Make unreliable car to conserve energy
from CREATE: CRATE (unreliable car) to retain (to conserve) E (energy)

14a Salesman probably in bed writing back
from REPLYING: REP, abbreviation of representative (salesman probably) followed by LYING (in bed)

15a Forecast spin order
from PREDICT: PR (spin) (PR-spin is arguably a form of propaganda) followed by EDICT (order)

18a Go past hiding sin at golf course
from TURNBERRY: TURN (go) BY (past) shielding (hiding) ERR (sin)

20a Arranged to block local story
from NARRATIVE: abbreviation ARR (arranged) to stop (block) NATIVE (local)

23a Hearing a rule put on trial
from ARRAIGN: homophone indicator (hearing) involving two words, ‘a reign’ (a rule) heard as one-word ARRAIGN

25a Purloined sailors, Turkey did
from ABSTRACTED: AB, abbreviation of Able-Bodied (seaman, sailor) followed by S (plural), TR (IVR code for Turkey) and ACTED (did)

26a See author puzzled by Jack’s yucca palm (two words)
from JOSHUA TREE: an anagram (puzzled) of SEE AUTHOR beside (by) J, abbreviation of Jack

27a Bit back at a fur-hunter
from TRAPPER: PART (bit) going back as TRAP followed by PER (a)

28a Resists troublesome nuns
from SISTERS: an anagram (troublesome) of RESISTS

29a Concerning sodium smell rising again
from RENASCENT: RE (concerning) followed by chemical symbol NA (sodium) and SCENT (smell)


1d Gauges capital they regularly put into drinking establishments
from BAROMETERS: ROME (capital), alternative letters of ThEy (regularly) placed inside (put into) BARS (drinking establishments)

2d Picture solver finishing with a clue or two wrong (hyphenated)
from WATER-COLOUR: anagram indicator (wrong) involving last letter (finishing) of solveR plus (with) A CLUE OR TWO

3d Airline say why said couple cross Thailand (two words)
from EGYPT AIR: EG, abbreviation of ‘exempli gratia’ meaning ‘for example’ (say) followed by Y (why) as homophone (said) and PAIR (couple) crossing or lying across T (IVR code for Thailand)

4d Praise Cary Grant for collecting birds (three words)
from AFRICAN GREY PARROTS: anagram indicator (collecting) involving PRAISE, CARY, GRANT and FOR

6d Succeeded putting English Premier League account into debt?
from REPLACED: English Premier League and ACcount placed inside (into) RED (debt)

7d Price near halved for one sharing the bill (hyphenated)
from CO-STAR: COST (price) and neAR (halved)

8d Deletions outside certain times
from ERASURES: ‘outside’ SURE (certain) goes ERAS (times)

9d Singer needing submachine gun to go round rescuing pets in trouble (two words)
from BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: BREN (submachine gun) going round (embracing) anagram (in trouble) of RESCUING PETS

16d Church rector comes first, then that woman’s man
from CHRISTOPHER: a charade of CH (church) R (rector) IS TOP (comes first), afterwards (then) HER (that woman’s)

17d A number of French are still extremely gentle
from TENDEREST: TEN (a number) followed by DE (French word for ‘of’) and REST (are still)

19d Burton loses weight in vain for Arabic dress
from BURNOUSE: BUR (Burton loses weight) from BURTON minus TON and NO USE (in vain)

21d Working post-RADA, they make connections
from ADAPTORS: an anagram (working) of POST-RADA

22d Janet and Michael Jackson are originally given empty rooms and glass containers
from JAMJARS: first letters of (originally) Janet And Michael Jackson Are given empty or hollow RoomS

24d Cleans sirens out
from RINSES: an anagram (out) of SIRENS

Thanks to Alchemi and Mrs & Mr BD for playing their parts in this month’s competition process.


12 comments on “MPP 099 – Review

  1. Congratulations, ColinK, and well done to Rahmat Ali for putting together a nicely illustrated review for us.
    For some bizarre reason, my fur trapper had three ‘Rs’ so I was doomed, but nevertheless enjoyed this one from Alchemi.

    Thanks to him and also to Mr & Mrs BD for keeping our MPPs flowing – we do have some fun with them.

  2. Congratulations, Colin. Many thanks to Rahmat Ali, BD & Mrs BD; and once again to Alchemi for the excellent challenge and without whose deviousness this puzzle would never have existed.

  3. Thanks to Alchemi for another excellent MPP – I was delighted to find out that my ‘sums’ skills were up to the task (I did add up the numbers at least three times so I should have been disappointed if I’d got the answer wrong).
    Thanks also to Rahmat Ali for a very good debut review and to Mr & Mrs BD for their part in the exercise. Finally, congratulations to KiwiColin on his victory.

  4. I have no idea what is going on with the rless puzzle but thanks to Rahmat Ali for taking the trouble to Write a review and to Alchemi for giving something to review

  5. WHEEE !
    I remember having to work very hard on this one. Not knowing how many Rs were missing from each answer certainly added an extra level of difficulty to get sorted. I had carefully noted the numbers around the perimeter of the puzzle as I solved each clue so just had to add these up when I had a completed grid.
    Well done and thanks for an excellent blog Rahmat Ali and thanks again Alchemi for another brilliant puzzle.

  6. Congratulations Colin – I went wrong in the golf course corner so missed a few Rs; never heard of the answer and not convinced I should have
    Many thanks to Rahmat Ali for the review and to Mr & Mrs BD for hosting

  7. First of all, heartiest congratulations to KiwiColin on his fourth MPP win.

    In April 2019, the D of Alchemi’s keyboard got stuck, but that did not prove to be a deterrent factor to him and he went on to compose the grid for MPP 083 and I, besides being the first one to comment on the review of that MPP, voiced my opinion therein on his work as having reached ‘a novel height of cruciverbal pulchritude’. This time, the R of his keyboard went haywire and he went on to create another masterpiece. Furthermore, I wished him well with his majestic creation in future even if he stood to lose more than one key.

    I express my gratitude to BD for making the relevant changes and publishing my debut review. I am, indeed, feeling motivated.

    Last, but not the least, thank you Jane, Rabbit Dave, Gazza, Zelda Fitzgerald, Aftab Alam, LetterboxRoy and of course KiwiColin for your words of encouragement on the review.

  8. Well done Kiwi Colin. Many congratulations.

    I solved the grid (with a lot of electronic help) but failed on the addition, coming up with 47 instead of 48…….always was a bit careless……

    Many thanks to Alchemi and to Rahmat Ali for his excellent review.

    Roll on next month!

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