MPP 111 (Review) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

MPP 111 (Review)

Monthly Prize Puzzle No 111 – Review

Aug 2021

Song Title by Alchemi

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Congratulations to Anne Skipper for winning this month’s prize competition.

The instructions were as follows:

13 down clues contain a superfluous word which must be removed before solving. Either the first or the last letter of that word should be written above or under the answer, depending on which end touches the perimeter.

Looking at the completed grid and additional inscription, what song have you illustrated?

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

One end of each of the answers of the first eight down clues touches the upper perimeter which are sequentially numbered from left to right as 1d, 2d, 3d, 4d, 5d, 6d, 7d and 8d. All these eight clues contain a superfluous word each, viz., 1d – MASSIVE, 2d – OFFICIAL, 3d – USELESS, 4d – NORWEGIAN, 5d – THROUGH, 6d – AERIAL, 7d – IRISH and 8d – NASTY. The first letters of the superfluous words, when placed above the answer, combine seriatim to give the word MOUNTAIN. Again, one end of each of the answers of the last eight down clues touches the lower perimeter which are sequentially numbered from left to right as 13d, 24d, 19d, 17d, 22d, 21d, 16d and 26d. But only five of these eight clues contain a superfluous word each, viz, 24d – LAWYER, 19d – ORIGAMI, 17d – ROMANOV, 22d – EXPLORE and 21d – COMPUTER. The last letters of the superfluous words, when placed under the answer, combine seriatim to give the word RIVER. Hence, a total of 13 letters from the 13 down clues form two words, MOUNTAIN RIVER, which leads to the song title River Deep, Mountain High.

Additional Mountains in the top half of the grid and Rivers in the bottom half are highlighted in the explanations.


1a Force to give evidence carrying most weight (7)
FATTEST: The symbol F (force) as in physics, ATTEST (give evidence) in a charade

5a Photographer said to have continued dropping ice crystals (7)
SNOWDON: A homophone (said) of SNOWED ON (have continued dropping ice crystals) as heard by the audience takes to the definition of the British photographer and film maker whose name was Antony Armstrong-Jones and who, by virtue of his marriage to Princess Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth, became the 1st Earl of Snowdon and acquired the title of Lord Snowdon

9a Arbiter I see obscuring director-general’s source of power (5)
JUICE: JUDGE (arbiter) where IC (I see) as the abbreviated online version of the phrase or used by social media in text messages is masking (obscuring) the abbreviation DG (director-general)

10a Day starting terribly badly, losing a new calligraphers’ quality pen (4,5)
MONT BLANC: Monday in its abbreviated form MON (day) is followed by the first letters (starting) of Terribly Badly Losing A New Calligraphers’, leading to the definition of a celebrated writing implement of a German manufacturing company, based in Hamburg, of the same name

11a Northern town lets hens out (2,6)
ST HELENS: An anagram (out) of LETS HENS takes to the definition of a large town in Merseyside, England in the southwest of the historic county of Lancashire

12a Birdman to take 10% (5)
TITHE: A charade of TIT (bird) and HE (man) denoting a male person leads to the definition of a tax of one tenth or 10% of the annual produce or earnings

14a Shares out onions as silence falls (6)
ALLOTS: [SH]ALLOTS (onions) as the interjection hush or SH (silence) drops (falls)

15a Early-closing order at mine, being old and creaky (8)
DECREPIT: DECRE[E] (order) without its last letter (early-closing) followed by (at) PIT (mine)

18a Closing numbers include good devious manoeuvres (8)
FINAGLES: The last songs of a stage musical or FINALES (closing numbers) have inside (include) the abbreviation G (good)

20a American staff acquire hybrid retailer (6)
AMAZON: A charade consisting of the shortened version A (American) and to MAN (staff), around ZO, a kind of hybrid domestic cattle

23a Managed to restrain party’s dangerous element (5)
RADON: RAN (managed) to hold (restrain) DO (party) as a feast or social event, arriving at the definition of a chemical element which is, under standard conditions, gaseous and easily inhaled, and therefore hazardous to health

25a Slow down with engineers filling in sewer (4,4)
DRAW REIN: A combo of the abbreviation W (with) and the abbreviation RE (engineers) for Royal Engineers is getting inside (filling in) DRAIN (sewer)

27a Drain colour from French island flower (5,4)
WHITE NILE: Bleach out colour or WHITEN (drain colour from) and ÎLE (French island) as the French word for island in a charade, leading to the definition of one of the two main tributaries of the Nile in Africa that comprise stretches of river draining from Lake Victoria through to the merger with the Blue Nile, the other tributary and that its name comes from colouring due to clay carried in the water

28a Turkey remains rubbish (5)
TRASH: A charade comprising the IVR code TR (Turkey) and ASH (remains) or that which is left of a body after cremation or burning leads to the definition of waste material

29a Country secure, holding information back (7)
SENEGAL: SEAL (secure) confining (holding) GEN (information) as a slang for general information in a reverse order gives the name of the westernmost country in the continent of Africa

30a Gold coin melted down by old womble (7)
ORINOCO: OR (gold) as in heraldry is followed by an anagram (melted down) of COIN having beside (by) the abbreviation O (old), leading to the name of one of the fictional creatures inhabiting Wimbledon Common in London, characterised as clearing up litter and recycling it in creative ways


1d Film company originally financed using [massive] joint investment (4)
FUJI: The initials or first letters (originally) of Financed Using Joint Investment give the name of the Japanese multinational conglomerate headquartered in Tokyo, Japan

2d Hint at [official] role mostly changing in Olympic event (9)
TRIATHLON: The anagram (changing) of most of the letters (mostly) of HINT AT ROL[E], leading to the definition of the Olympic game containing three components – a 0.93-mi swim, 25-mi cycle and 6.2-mi run

3d Surveyor-General of India, the day before [useless] holiday (7)
EVEREST: A charade of EVE (the day before) and REST (holiday) leads to the name of the Surveyor-General of India from 1830 to 1843 whose first name was George

4d [Norwegian] Wood‘s translator receives independent award (6)
TIMBER: The abbreviation TR (translator) accepts or takes in (receives) the abbreviation I (independent) and Member of the Order of the British Empire in its abbreviated version MBE (award)

5d Endless stress gone [through] after massage by Tina Turner? (8)
SONGSTER: After an anagram (massage) of STRES[S] and GON[E] without their last letters (endless), the definition of the American-born Swiss singer, widely referred to as the ‘Queen of Rock and Roll’, is arrived at (and a nudge towards the song title

6d As an alternative, refuse collector finally to take part of satellite [aerial] (7)
ORBITER: OR (as an alternative), scrap or BITE (refuse)and the last letter (finally) of [COLLECTO]R

7d [Irish] doctor behind banker’s order (5)
DRAFT: The abbreviation DR (doctor) and AFT (behind) in a charade

8d Gathering in the centre, maybe having [nasty] dinner after wasting hours in terrible lunch (10)
NUCLEATING: EATING (having dinner) is preceded by (after) wasting the abbreviated H (hours) or removing it from an anagram (terrible) of LUNC[H]

13d Money for Holbein, say, to outline large French bird (4-6)
HALF-CROWNS: The first name of German painter HANS (Holbein, say) to demarcate (outline) or define the outer edge of a combo of the clothing abbreviation L (large), the abbreviated F (French) and CROW (bird)

16d Picked picture featuring one taking a nap at job centre (9)
PIZZICATO: PIC (picture) having inside (featuring) the Roman numeral I (one) having beside ZZ or catching some Z’s (taking a nap) from the ZZZ in the word bubble over sleepers heads in comics or in speech bubbles to represent the sounds a person makes when sleeping, followed by AT from the clue and the middle (centre) or inner letter of [J]O[B], arriving at the definition of a playing technique term, a borrowing from Italian, that is also translated as picked, pinched or plucked, as it involves plucking the strings of an instrument

17d School prefect glad [Romanov] heir gets beaten up (4,4)
HEAD GIRL: An anagram (beaten up) of GLAD and HEIR

19d [Origami] traps English root (7)
GINSENG: A charade of GINS (traps) and the abbreviation ENG (English), takes to the definition of the fleshy root of plants, in the genus Panax, that has been used in traditional medicine over centuries

21d Rahmat Ali omitting almost all complicated [computer] language (7)
MARATHI: An anagram (complicated) of RAHMAT [A][L]I leaving out (omitting) most of the letters AL (almost all), leading to the definition of a language that is primarily spoken in India in the state of Maharashtra and parts of neighbouring states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Telangana and in two union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Naveli

22d [Explore] on north-flowing river, stare at Belvedere (6)
GAZEBO: Upon (on) OB (river) of Central Russia that is going upwards (north-flowing) as a down-clue reversal, GAZE (stare) is placed, leading to the definition of a small building, especially one in the garden of a house, that gives a wide view of the surrounding area

24d European [lawyer] said to condescend (5)
DEIGN: A homophone (said) of DANE (European) or an inhabitant of Denmark in Europe, as heard by the audience

26d State occasion honouring intelligence organisation’s leaders (4)
OHIO: Occasion Honouring Intelligence Organisation’s first letters or the heads (leaders) lead to the name of a state in the midwestern region of the United States of America which is historically known as the ‘Buckeye State’ after its buckeye trees

Thanks to Alchemi and BD for playing their parts in this month’s competition process. [Mrs BD is still in hospital, so I drew the winner  BD.]


11 comments on “MPP 111 (Review)

  1. Congratulations to Anne Skipper, thanks to Rahmat Ali and to BD, and, most of all, best wishes to Mrs BD for as speedy a recovery as possible.

  2. I continue to pray to the Almighty for the speedy recovery and sound health of Mrs BD. Heartiest congratulations to Anne Skipper on her fifth win.

  3. Congratulations to Anne on her win and many thanks to Alchemi for the puzzle and to BD for the review and video clip.
    Thoughts and good wishes to Mrs BD, the MPP isn’t the same without her steady hand guiding the electronic hat!

  4. This was a very enjoyable puzzle – thanks to Alchemi. Thanks also to BD for the review and congratulations to Anne Skipper.
    Best wishes to Mrs BD for a recovery to full health.

  5. Congratulations Anne Skipper.
    Certainly a challenging solve and very satisfying to get it all sorted. But then I stuffed up the endgame by mis-remembering the song title when submitting my entry. Ah well, better luck next time.
    Thanks to all concerned and best wishes to Mrs BD.

  6. Clever puzzle — with a satisfying endgame. Don’t like the song much though :). Excellent and comprehensive blog too!

  7. Congratulations to Anne Skipper. Many thanks to Alchemi – we enjoyed the puzzle and we are pleased we arrived at the correct answer. Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Mrs BD.

  8. Thank you everyone for the kind congratulations. I felt a bit guilty having a fifth win, but they are spread over nearly seven years of entering almost every month. Always enjoy the challenge of the MPPs….this one was certainly taxing on the grey matter.
    Thanks to Alchemi and BD

  9. I’ve just realised the result and review have been posted, so I’m a bit late to the party. Congratulations to Anne Skipper, and I’m sorry to read that Mrs BD is unwell – my very best wishes for a speedy recovery.
    Another excellent MPP from Alchemi, great fun to solve and unravel the song title; then it got even better when I realised the grid was appropriately bedecked with high mountains and deep rivers! Also my compliments to Rahmat Ali on a very thorough review.

  10. Thank you so much, Rabbit Dave and Spartacus, for your precious words of encouragement on the review.

Comments are closed.