MPP 114 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP 114

Monthly Prize Puzzle (Nov 2021)

Septet by Phibs

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Why not have a go at our latest Monthly Prize Puzzle?

The winner will receive their choice of any of the Telegraph Crossword Books.

Please note that, due to punitive postal charges, while the competition is open to all, the prize is only available to UK solvers.

A review will follow after the closing date (20th Nov 2021).

The competition is now closed

The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.

Please read the instructions carefully.

I’ve left this post open for comments, but if you don’t want your comment to be deleted then do not provide any help for other solvers or mention any detail about the puzzle, especially references to individual clues, until after the closing date.

25 comments on “MPP 114

    1. Thanks, Gazza – well spotted! Probably a Freudian slip resulting from peckishness at the time of setting :wink:

      I’m hoping BD can do the necessary correction-wise.

  1. Struggling with this one – as for a thematic connection, a total mystery to me at the moment. Will plough on

    1. You’ve made me feel so much better, Dutch! The SE is a barren wasteland here at the moment and I haven’t got the faintest idea about any theme. The title isn’t exactly helping very much either……………

    2. I found the theme easily enough, but have only managed just over half the grid, so far.
      Enjoyed it. Thanks.

  2. Phase one completed! I always love Phibs’ crosswords and this one was no exception. As usual it took me a while to complete but persistence paid off and it all came together nicely with just two hiccoughs.

    I had worked out an answer for one clue (which will remain nameless until the review is published) which fitted the wordplay and definition as well as the checking letters that I had in place at that time. Unfortunately it was wrong and made solving another crossing clue impossible until the penny finally dropped. There is also one answer which I haven’t been able to parse yet.

    Now it’s time for a breather, before returning to try to discover the theme and answer the question.

    Many thanks, Phibs, I always enjoy the tussle in solving your puzzles. Thanks too to whomever posts the review.

    1. A short break, a nice (large) glass of red, and inspiration struck with the penny dropping followed by a loud clang! It’s all done and dusted so I can now submit.

      Congratulations, Phibs, this was very ingenious.

  3. I managed to get a filled grid last night and felt satisfied with all the parsing. I confidently thought that over-night cogitation would help with the end-game. How wrong I was! Perhaps a contemplative beach walk will do the trick.

  4. I struggled with three clues from the SE and one clue from the NE corners for long many hours, but despite having now a filled grid, I have not been able to parse the latter one from the NE to my satisfaction. At the moment, notwithstanding the final answer, to find out the theme itself seems to me a hard nut to crack and I leave that part for another day as there is plenty of time. Clues worth mentioning are 1a, 14a, 15a, 16a, 30a, 4d, 10d, 18d and 19d, but 23a seemed best to me.

    1. The deployment of quite a few electrons has resulted in a filled grid (although there a number a can’t parse) – a theme is not, however, apparent!!

  5. Thank you, Phibs, for setting us an excellent puzzle, with so many ticked clues that my podium is vastly overcrowded :good:

    I’m encouraged to read that a thematic link can indeed be found, as it has eluded me thus far. I have found several candidate words suitable for amending as Phibs has instructed us – but which and why… :scratch:

    1. A pleasant walk on a fresh autumnal day must have done me some good as the thematic link has at last become apparent. Thanks again, Phibs, for an excellent puzzle with a fine denouement! :yes:

  6. It has taken me days and days of cogitation and several meditative walks but at last I have got it sorted.
    As Dutch says ‘NICE’.

  7. Yesterday, I tried to find out the theme for the second time and that too for more than three hours, but to no avail. But this morning, after a sound sleep, I did not get up from bed, but rather an idea prompted me to recollect all the thirty-two words of my filled-in grid. Not only could I recollect those words, I also chanced upon the answer supposed to be that wasn’t there as discovery after discovery set in. I also felt satisfied with all the parsing. After returning from the Friday prayers, I submitted my answer. Thank you so much, Phibs, for the magnificent puzzle where all the solutions except one were truly and excellently thematically-linked, but I would take an unread word, which incidentally I noticed only after submitting my answer, to be the most appropriate reason for the delay.

  8. The fateful day has finally arrived when I will be put out my misery.

    I still haven’t any idea as to the answer even though I have fastidiously tried all combinations of the unchecked letters more times than I care to mention. Perhaps I haven’t filled the grid correctly?

    Great puzzle from Phibs … especially 16a.

  9. Thanks, Jepi. Sorry to have been the cause of so much vexation :sad: Before the review is published, I will mention that an alternative title that I had for the puzzle was ‘Full Scale’…

    1. Maybe that would have made things slightly easier – hard to tell because one of our more observant commenters did agree to let me in on the answer this morning, once the submission date had passed. I knew there’d be something in there to let us know when we’d overcome the final hurdle but sadly I fell long before that!

    2. Thanks, Phibs, for the alternative title … but I don’t want to look at that grid ever, ever again.

      The more I look at it the more I seem to develop some sort of nasty itch!

      I will wait patiently for the review.

  10. Just waiting for the casting of the sacred runes and then once BD has let me know the name of the winner, I’ll publish the review

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