MPP 115 – Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP 115 – Review

Monthly Prize Puzzle 115 – Review

December 2021

Medal Table by Alchemi

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

The instructions were as follows:

Scattered around the grid, in continuous squares in a forward direction, are a number of instances of gold, silver and bronze. Giving 3 pts for a gold, 2 for a silver and 1 for a bronze, what is the total score of medals?

The phrase “in continuous squares in a forward direction” was added to ensure that, for example, O R in separate columns and RO were not to be included.

We have 10 instances of OR, 7 instances of AU and 1 instance of GOLD as a full word, all for gold, so a total of 18 instances of gold appearing in the grid and fetching 18 x 3 = 54 points. Next, there are 6 instances of AG or silver getting 6 x 2 = 12 points and finally another 6 instances of BR or bronze earning 6 x 1 = 6 points. Therefore, the total score of all the three medals when added up gives 54 + 12 + 6 = 72.

The points scored, wordwise, are as follows:

From across clues: FORAGES = 3 + 2 = 5, BRAGGED = 1 + 2 = 3, BRILL = 1, IN SUPPORT = 3, AGREE = 2, CENTAURS = 3, AUBRETIA = 3 + 1 = 4, AUTHOR = 3 + 3 = 6, ORATORIES = 3 + 3 = 6, OMBRE = 1, LASAGNE = 2. Total comes to 36

From down clues: FEBRILE = 1, AURORAL = 3 + 3 = 6, VIBRATORS = 1 + 3 = 4, GOLD PIECE = 3, SCRAG = 2, SECTOR
= 3, DIVORCEE = 3, BEAUTIES = 3, PAUSED = 3, AGORA = 2 + 3 = 5, TAUTOLOGY = 3. Total comes to 36

Hence, the grand total comes to 36 + 36 = 72.

What I now imagine is that if across and down were two teams, they would have been joint winners.

Congratulations to Fez for arriving at the correct total score of the three medals and winning this month’s prize competition.


1a    Gathers food over a long period (7)
FORAGES: A charade of FOR (over) as during and AGES (a long period) as colloquially a long time, however short, leads to the definition of a verb meaning goes about and forcibly carries off food for horses and cattle

5a    Boasted of having successfully shot across river (7)
BRAGGED: BAGGED (having successfully shot) as having successfully shot an animal hunted as game and put it in a bag spanning (across) R (river) as the abbreviation of river, arriving at the definition of a verb in the past tense meaning said something in a boastful and blusterous manner

9a    Advert contains recipe for fish (5)
BRILL: BILL (advert) as a poster or handbill advertising an event, product etc. has inside (contains) R (recipe) as the abbreviation of the Latin word recipe meaning ‘take’, taking to the definition of a European flatfish that resembles a turbot

10a    If a locust cooks dessert … (9)
CLAFOUTIS: An anagram (cooks) of IF A LOCUST leads to the definition of a baked French dessert of fruit, traditionally black cherries, arranged in a buttered dish and covered with a thick flan-like batter

11a    … for one never starting to drink wine (2,7)
IN SUPPORT: I (one) followed by
N (Never starting), SUP (to drink) as to take a liquid into the mouth by sips or spoonfuls and PORT (wine) as a red or tawny fortified wine, originally from Oporto, Portugal lead to for (in support)

12a    Engineers arrive in time for match (5)
AGREE: RE (engineers) as the abbreviation of Royal Engineers reach (arrive) in AGE (time) as a period of time, taking to the definition of a verb meaning to correspond or cause to correspond in some essential respect or make or be harmonious

13a    Competed after headless chicken was jealous (6)
ENVIED: VIED (competed) as competed eagerly with someone in order to do or achieve something preceded by or following (after) [H]EN (chicken) as a female domestic fowl without the head or the first letter (headless), leading to the definition meaning desired with emulation or rivalry

15a    Nurse volunteers surrounded by dogs and horsemen? (8)
CENTAURS: A combo of EN (nurse) as the abbreviation of Enrolled Nurse who has completed a Diploma of Enrolled Nursing through TAFE or a similar training centre and TA (volunteers) as the abbreviation of Territorial Army that is a reserve force of active-duty volunteers is embraced (surrounded) by CURS (dogs) as worthless dogs, of low breed, arriving at the definition of mythical creatures each with the body and legs of a horse and the head, arms and torso of a man

18a    Plant a rotating air-tube (8)
AUBRETIA: A from the clue is followed by an anagram (rotating) of AIR TUBE, guiding to the definition of a dwarf evergreen Eurasian trailing plant of the genus Aubrieta with dense masses foliage and purple, pink or white flowers, much grown in rock-gardens

19a    Astronaut horrified in part by writer (6)
AUTHOR: Part of or hidden inside (in part) astronAUT HORrified takes to the definition of the original writer of a book, article or document

22a    Ways one sticks around (5)
ROADS: A (one) as one single surrounded by (around) RODS (sticks) as wands as symbols of office, authority or power or sticks used for caning or flogging as punishment, arriving at the definition of wide ways leading from one place to another, especially those with a specially prepared surface which vehicles can use

24a    Prayer houses of barely moral conservatives (9)
ORATORIES: [M]ORA[L] without the letters at both ends (barely) and TORIES (conservatives) as members or supporters of the Conservative Party take to the definition of small chapels, especially for private worship

26a    Pooh’s friend extracts oil for car accessories (4,5)
ROOFRACKS: A charade of ROO (Pooh’s friend) as friend of the character of Pooh in the Winnie-the-Pooh books and FRACKS (extracts oil) as extracts oil by injecting liquid into a subterranean rock formation, borehole, etc. at high pressure takes to the definition of frameworks for carrying luggage on the roof of cars

27a    Mexican gentleman not starting card game (5)
OMBRE: [H]OMBRE (Mexican gentleman) as the term for gentleman in Spanish language as spoken in Mexico without the starting or first letter (not starting), leading to the definition of a game played with a pack of forty cards, usually by three person, one against the others

28a    Something fun about getting into street food (7)
LASAGNE: GAS (something fun) as something that gives pleasure is written backwards (about) as a reversal and going inside (getting into) LANE (street) as a narrow passage or road, arriving at the definition of a pasta in the form of flat sheets or wide strips

29a    Troubled by dead son’s sofas (3,4)
DAY BEDS: An anagram (troubled) of BY DEAD is followed by S (son) as the genealogical ab
breviation for son, taking to the definition of couches or sofas that can be converted into beds


1d    Feverish anger after a month (7)
FEBRILE: RILE (anger) as to make someone annoyed or irritated preceded by or following (after) FEB (a month) as the abbreviation for February, leading to the definition of an adjective meaning having or showing the symptoms of a fever

2d    Republican assists with attacks (5)
RAIDS: A charade of R (Republican) as a person who advocates a republic form of government, in which the supreme power is vested in the people and their elected representatives and AIDS (assists) as helps or supports in the achievement of something takes to the definition of rapid surprise attacks on enemies by troops, aircrafts or other armed forces or incursions of police for the purpose of making arrests

3d    Unscrambled deep logic of high-value coin (4,5)
GOLD PIECE: An anagram (unscrambled) of DEEP LOGIC leads to the definition of a gold coin or a coin of high-value in numismatics

4d    Religious group or area guarded (6)
SECTOR: SECT (religious group) or a group of people with somewhat different religious beliefs from those of a larger group to which they belong is followed by OR from the clue, taking to the definition of an area or portion that is distinct from others

5d    Peaches, but I see a problem (8)
BEAUTIES: An anagram (problem) of BUT I SEE A guides to the definition of beautiful persons, especially girls or women

6d    Bottom half of poisonous plant seen in Greek market (5)
AGORA: 50 per cent of the lower part (bottom half) as in down clue of [MANDR]AGORA (poisonous plant) as the Latin and Old English term for mandrake, when used as a narcotic, taking to the definition of a public open space used for assemblies and markets in ancient Greece

7d    Suffer old German getting violent (2,7)
GO THROUGH: A charade of GOTH (old German) as a member of an ancient Germanic people and (getting) ROUGH (violent) as brutal or savage guides to the definition of a verb meaning undergo a difficult period or experience

8d    The German woman meeting singular fast runners (7)
DASHERS: A charade of DAS (the German) as the neuter definite article in German language, HER (woman) as the woman over there or a slang term for a female and (meeting) S (singular) as the abbreviation for singular leads to the definition of persons, animals or things that dash or run in a great hurry

14d    Non-European riverboats recycled as sex toys (9)
VIBRATORS: An anagram (recycled) of RIV[E]RBOATS without the use of E (non-European) that stands as the abbreviation for European as in EU or European Union, arriving at the definition of devices that are used for massage or sexual stimulation

16d    Time you gloat about redundancy (9)
TAUTOLOGY: T (time) as the abbreviation for time is followed by an anagram (about) of YOU GLOAT, leading to the definition of a noun meaning use of words, especially as an error of style, that repeat something already implied in the same statement

17d    Ex-husband possibly forced naked into seedy club (8)
DIVORCEE: [F]ORCE[D] as nude (naked) or having taken off or removed the outermost letters placed into DIVE (seedy club) as a sordid and disreputable nightclub, bar or similar establishment, taking to the definition of a divorced person who is a male

18d    Troops captivated by hearing of lights in the sky (7)
AURORAL: OR (troops) as other ranks in the military is captured or contained (captivated) by AURAL (hearing) as of, relating to, or received by the ear, arriving at the definition of an adjective meaning of or relating to the aurora or displaying a luminous atmospheric phenomenon appearing as streamers or bands of light sometimes visible in the night sky in northern or southern regions of the earth

20d    Sport school gets hard apples (7)
RUSSETS: RU (sport) as the abbreviation of Rugby Union followed by S (school) and SETS (gets hard) as fixed or rigid, taking to the definition of dessert apples of a variety with slightly rough brownish skin

21d    Took a break every year with previous owner (6)
PAUSED: A charade of PA (every year) as the abbreviation for per annum or every year and second hand or USED (with previous owner) as already made use of by previous owner leads to the definition of a verb in the past tense meaning made a short break or caused to stop briefly

23d    Decline accepting credit cut (5)
SCRAG: SAG (decline) as of industrial activity or prices to decrease or dwindle taking in (accepting) CR (credit) as the abbreviation for credit, arriving at the definition of a cut of mutton from a lamb’s neck

25d    With lecturer away, Alchemi’s down to teach (5)
IMBUE: I am or I’M (Alchemi’s / Alchemi is) is followed by B[L]UE (down) as melancholy, sad or depressed with L (lecturer) as the abbreviation for lecturer removed (away), taking to the definition of a verb meaning to inspire or permeate with a feeling or quality

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


27 comments on “MPP 115 – Review
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  1. Many thanks to Rahmat Ali for a very detailed review and congratulations to Fez for being this month’s lucky winner.
    I did manage to get the required number of medals and to do my sums correctly so I’m more than happy with that!

    Thanks to Alchemi for the puzzle and to Mr & Mrs BD for laying on the monthly fun challenge.

    1. Thank you so much, Jane, for your words of encouragement on the review. Congratulations also to you for arriving at the correct answer. I was in a dilemma whether or not to take GOLD, but finally I decided to include it in my count and hence submitted the correct answer.

      1. I almost included SS (sterling silver) but thought better of it at the last minute.
        By the way, referring to you by your full name sounds a little formal when you contribute so much to the blog these days but I’m never sure which way round I should write it – are you Rahmat or Ali?

        1. Jane, it’s Rahmat.

          There are only gold, silver and bronze medals as we observe in the Olympic Games, the Asian Games etc. There is also a total figure of each country, but the official medal standings are not listed by total figures but are instead medal-wise, starting with the name of the country winning the maximum gold medals. Gold and silver are wholly metals while bronze and silver sterling are metal alloys, but the preamble spoke of the medals only. Hence, your choice of not including the silver sterling was correct.

  2. Congratulations Fez.
    Like Jane I have a pleased feeling that I too managed to arrive at the correct score.
    Thanks again Alchemi and Rahmat Ali for another excellent review.

    1. Thank you so much, KiwiColin, for your words of encouragement on the review. Congratulations also to you for arriving at the correct answer.

    1. Congratulations also to you, Rabbit Dave, for getting the right answer and thanks a lot for your words of encouragement on the review.

  3. Yay! Many thanks Mr & Mrs BD, and Alchemi for a lovely puzzle. Despite Alchemi’s assurances, I was sure I’d have missed something tricky in the sums – so a very pleasant surprise!

    And thanks to Rahmat Ali for a super review too – details, pics and medal-highlighting all much appreciated.

  4. Well done, Fez!
    I got the right answer so I am very pleased .

    Thanks to Alchemi for a great puzzle and to Rahmat Ali for a great review.

    1. Thank you so much, Ora Meringue, for your words of encouragement on the review and congratulations also to you for arriving at the correct tally.

  5. Many thanks to Alchemi for the puzzle – I’m glad to find out that my arithmetical skills were up to the task and I got the right answer.
    Thanks also to RA for the review and to Mr and Mrs BD for facilitating it all.
    Congratulations to Fez on winning the prize.

    1. Thank you so much, Gazza, for you words of encouragement on the review and congratulations also to you for arriving at the correct score.

  6. Congratulations to Fez, and thank you once again to Alchemi for providing the fun and games. I had 4 clues vying for just 3 podium places but, as in the Olympic high jump, I am going to award them all gold medals – 11a, 15a, 7d and 21d. Thanks also to Rahmat Ali for confirming my correct answer and preparing a very comprehensive review. To everyone, I hope you have an enjoyable Christmas – most especially our host, to whom I also send my best wishes for a speedy recovery.

    1. Thank you so much, Spartacus, for you words of inspiration on the review and congratulations also to you for arriving at the correct score.

  7. Congratulations Fez and thank you to Rahmat for a great review. I’m embarrassed to say I missed a gold somewhere along the line, my mathematical skills (or lack of) rather than cruciverbal being my downfall. Also thanks to Mr&Mrs BD, wishing them both speedy restoration to full health.

    1. Thank you so much, Stephen L., for your words of appreciation on the review and wish you success in your next endeavour.

  8. Thanks everyone. When it was published, I was careful to disclaim any complications with regard to abbreviations. Those who suspected there was a catch were right: I expected that a few people might get so caught up by the abbreviations that they’d fail to notice the plain GOLD staring them in the face.

    Merry whatevers and happy new other things to anyone who wants them.

  9. Did anyone else make the same mistake as me, assume the ‘Russet’ in 20d was meant to be picked up as a Bronze, and therefore put 73 ?

    1. I didn’t make that ‘mistake’, but mulled over it for 24 hours before deciding it wsn’t ‘bronze’ enough and submitting the correct answer! You can’t be too careful with this group of scheming and devious MPP setters… :wink:

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