MPP 116 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP 116

Monthly Prize Puzzle (Jan 2022)

A Puzzle by Prolixic

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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 (15th Jan 2022 ).

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.


16 comments on “MPP 116
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    1. I have now a completed grid. The preamble is clear and thanks to Prolixic for the entertainment, but I am not in a hurry to pluck out the five hidden pairs and arrive at the theme and would like to leave it for another day. However, I would wish to mention some clues that I enjoyed solving here in this puzzle, such as 10a, 13a, 20a, 27a, 1d, 5d, 6d, 14d and 18d and more particularly, 10d.

  1. Well into Toughie time and I only have a sniff of an idea as to the required answer
    Thanks for a good challenge Prolixic

  2. I’ve spent ages and ages trying to get the last two pesky four letter answers and finally I have twigged them both.
    Now for the task of finding the paired solutions that form a theme. Could be a while yet.

  3. Still a lot of gaps in the SE and only inklings of a theme here. I will pause this and await inspiration after caffeine or whisky.

  4. Struggling in the SE corner and no idea as yet what the theme is or what links them. Enjoyed 10d, 20a and 22d so far. Thank you, Prolixic. Happy New Year to all and thank you to Big Dave for this wonderful site.

  5. Came to a grinding halt with, like ColinK, two pesky 4-letter answers missing – probably the same two! One of them I may now have found but not a sniff where the other is concerned. Knowing my luck, that missing answer will be the key to the theme……..
    Best clues for me were 4&15a plus 1&10d.

    Many thanks for the puzzle, Prolixic, could take me quite some time to find the link!

    1. The penny eventually dropped this evening regarding the theme which allowed me to reverse engineer my last answer, even though I still can’t fully parse it. I can now confidently solve the final question (and understand KiwiColin’s problem).

      1. I was so pleased to have solved the mystery that I forgot my manners. Many thanks to Prolixic for the cunning but very enjoyable challenge.

  6. Tricky, and one of the 4-letters took a loooong time to parse (very nice PDM) but got there in the end. Got the theme quickly enough, though – one pair needed Googling for me. Super puzzle, many thanks Prolixic.

  7. Grid says I’ve completed, but more than a couple of answers are bung-ins and not completely parsed despite staring at them for ages and knowing they’re right!! Can’t see a link yet … Happy New Year Prolixic!

  8. I’m in the “two 4-letter words short” club but should, in theory, be able to decipher the theme without them, not seeing one at the moment though.
    Clues of note for me are 4&15a plus 1&18d.
    Thanks Prolixic for the (considerable) challenge.

  9. Despite writing out all the answers on a separate sheet and staring at them for hours, I still have not spotted pairs that could make a theme. Have a horrible feeling that it might be like the clue for 1a and require specific UK knowledge that I don’t have.
    I’ll just keep trying.

  10. Some tricky clues in this puzzle slowed my progress, but remaining loose ends were tied nicely when the theme emerged. My LOI was one of the “4-letter words” already commented on. I was confident of my answer but the penny-drop moment came a while later! My podium clues were 4a, 27a and 18d; but 5d deserves a special mention for being very apposite to our time. Thank you, Prolixic, for devising this challenging and enjoyable MPP. My fate now rests in the hands, or should I say digits, of the ‘Random Number Generator’.

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