MPP 116 – Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP 116 – Review

Monthly Prize Puzzle No 116– Review

January 2022

A Puzzle by Prolixic

Five pairs of solutions form a theme. What links them?

I am beyond delighted to welcome back Mrs BD to her important role as ‘caster of the sacred [electronic] runes’ to find the competition winner – the person she has selected this month is Brian Betker, who as an overseas entrant will have to settle for the honour and glory of winning the January Prize Puzzle Competition.

Five pairs of solutions linked to give us the names of large UK shopping centres/retail parks:  Bluewater in Kent; Lakeside in Essex; Westfield in London; Meadowhall In Sheffield and White Rose in Leeds.  I’ve shopped in the first three, had heard of the fourth and found the fifth by looking at suitable solutions and then investigoogling


1`Former Newcastle player heading off audience member? (6)
HEARER – sHEARER (former Newcastle player without the first letter of his surname (heading off)

4 Grasping odd pieces of jewellery (8)
RUMBLING – RUM (odd) BLING (pieces of jewellery)

9 Flood in Iowa Territory (5)
WATER – Hidden in ioWA TERritory

10 Butterfly with colour on edges (9)
BRIMSTONE – TONE (colour) goes on or after BRIMS (edges)

11 Cardinal’s to turn rector out (4)
WEST – Remove the abbreviation for Rector from WrEST (turn)

12 Slashed watercolour! (4)
LAKE – If you slash or separate WATER and COLOUR, you get two meanings of the word LAKE

13 Pilots had life restored in this hospital (5)
FIELD – Prolixic does like a compound anagram – here an anagram (restored) of PILOTS HAD LIFE produces FIELD HOSPITAL

15 Make a note in organ book (7)
EARMARK – EAR (organ) MARK (Book of the New Testament)

16 Regularly swindle team (4)
SIDE – The regular letters of SwInDlE

19 Obscene Tory sportsperson‘s livid (4)
BLUE – Quadruple definition

20 Leaf obtained from pale notebook (4,3)
LILY PAD – LILY (pale) PAD (notebook) – a clue which made me think fondly of my granddaughter who is obsessed with lily pads and whether frogs are sitting on them! (the picture isn’t her!)

23 Paper‘s representative entering church (5)
CREPE – REP (representative) ‘entering’ CE (Church of England)

24 Wine increased in price (4)
ROSE – Double definition

25 Reportedly take one’s place to eat? (4)
HALL – A homophone (reportedly) of HAUL (take)

27 Support student leaving America to tour India (9)
UNDERGIRD – an UNDERGRaD without (leaving) A (America) and then going round (to tour) I (India in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet)

28 Chess player with success on-line (5)
WHITE – W (with) HIT (success) E (on-line)

29 Jug’s covered in grey-green effluent (8)
SEWERAGE- EWER (jug) covered in SAGE (grey-green)

30 Light-hearted book about Ezra’s introduction to Yiddish (6)
BREEZY – B (book) RE (about) EZ (the Biblical abbreviation for the Book of Ezra) Y (the ‘introduction’ to Yiddish)


1 What a drug pusher may do with plant (8)
HAWKWEED – A drug pusher may HAWK WEED

2 Bogart is trying to embody creative flair (8)
ARTISTRY – Hidden in (to embody) bogART IS TRYing

3 Make reduction of noble gas (4)
EARN – Reduce an EARl (noble) and add the chemical symbol for the gas Nitrogen

5 Made general denial with viruses spreading (13)
UNIVERSALISED – An anagram (spreading) of DENIAL with VIRUSES

6 It’s instrumental in beer maker’s scam (4,6)
BASS FIDDLE – BASS (maker of beer) FIDDLE (scam)

7 Few in Iran like form of chemical (6)
ISOMER – SOME (few) inserted into IR (the IVR Code for Iran)

8 Concurred one exiting yard is selfish (6)
GREEDY – aGREED (without the A – one exiting) Y (yard)

10 Picking phone maker’s phone up right away (13)
BLACKBERRYING – BLACKBERRY (phone maker) rING (phone up without the R – right away)

14 Supporter of everyone visiting bar with peer getting drunk (4-6)
PALL-BEARER – ALL (everyone) ‘visiting’ an anagram (getting drunk) of BAR with PEER

17 Expressing a wish over past musical making a comeback (8)
OPTATIVE – O (over) PT (abbreviation for past) and a reversal (making a comeback) of EVITA (musical)

18 Not the behaviour of lady with true breeding! (8)
ADULTERY – An anagram (breeding) of LADY with TRUE

21 Turns out only child and dogs (6)
OCCURS – OC (Only Child) CURS (dogs)

22 Green drink officer brought up (6)
MEADOW – MEAD (drink) and a reversal (brought up) of WO (Warrant Officer)

26 Scotland’s past that hurt the Queen (4)
OWER – A Scottish way of saying over, past -OW (that hurt) ER (the Regnal Cipher of our current Queen)

Many thanks to Prolixic and the BDs

14 comments on “MPP 116 – Review

  1. Congratulations to Brian Betker.

    I managed to solve the puzzle but had no clue as to the linked solutions.

    Welcome back Mrs BD hope your health continues to improve.

    Thanks to Prolixic and crypticsue

  2. Thanks again, Prolixic, for a fun puzzle and MPP challenge. My congratulations also to Brian Betker, and I’m very glad to read that Mrs BD is back to ‘rune-casting. Thanks to CS for the review and confirming EZ, PT and OC as accepted abbreviations – all of which I had assumed without evidence! Two reviews posted by CS in one day – no wonder she can’t find time to bake scones! :wink:

  3. Many thanks for the review, CS, and for setting my mind at rest regarding the theme. Have to say that I’ve only heard of two of them and have never visited any of them – only Cheshire Oaks which didn’t appear in the puzzle. However, that’s no excuse given that this month’s winner is an overseas contributor, well done indeed to Brian.
    I’m constantly amazed by the number of acceptable abbreviations that our setter is aware of – I was tripped up by three of them in this puzzle.

    Thanks to Prolixic and to CS plus the BDs – so good to hear that Mrs BD is back in charge of the electronic hat.

  4. Quite happy for the honor (sic) and glory on this one. Fortunately Westfield is a global brand (plenty of them in the US), but for a while my reaction was, well, that can’t be it, can it? But there is a Wikipedia page “List of shopping centres in the United Kingdom by size” that I eventually stumbled upon, and despite the dicey spelling of “center” it confirmed the other 4. Thanks to BD (Mr and Mrs) for picking my name and keeping the contest running. Thanks also to Dave for not rejecting my entry over the spelling of “center”.

    1. Good of you to pop in and acknowledge your win, Brian. Wish I’d stumbled across that site but in fairness I didn’t even realise what I was looking for!

  5. Well done, Brian, and welcome back to the MPP team to Mrs BD.

    Thanks to CS for the review and thanks again to Prolixic for an enjoyable puzzle,

  6. Many thanks to Prolixic, BD, Mrs BD and CS and congratulations to Brian Betker.

    When I test solved this puzzle amongst the first answers I got were Rose and West and for a horrible few minutes I thought we were looking for infamous murderers. :D

    1. I got there as well, Gazza, then I found West and Side so started searching for musicals…………..

  7. Congratulations Brian.
    I spent many hours trying to make sense of this, even enlisted the help of other family members and still could not get there. Not surprisingly we had never heard of any of them.
    Enjoyed solving the puzzle though.

  8. Like CS, I am also beyond delighted to see Mrs BD back to her important role of bringing the competition winner out of the electronic hat. Heartiest congratulations to Brian Betker on winning the MPP 116 and congratulations also to all those who could crack the thematic query. This is the first time after long many, many months that I submitted an incorrect answer. Even after noticing the repetition of words in the combinations like meadow hawkweed, field hawkweed, rumbling rose, blue rose, white rose, water lily etc, I unhappily submitted FLOWER as my answer despite being pretty sure that something proper and not a common term would be the answer and that words would not be repeated. Now after seeing the answer, I think I might have arrived at those pairs, had I not reserved only the last day for the research work. Thanks once again to Prolixic for the entertainment and challenge, to CS for the excellent review and to Big Dave and Mrs BD for hosting the event.

  9. Thanks Prolixic and CS, and congratulations Brian. Another super puzzle in the MPP series. 12a (eventually!), 28a and 5d faves. Found the theme… having had the misfortune to visit 4 of the thematic locations. Thanks again!

  10. Enjoyed the crossword but failed to see the shopping centres.
    Congratulations to Brian and thanks to Prolixic and CS.

  11. This was my first MPP. I thought the theme was easier than the puzzle.

    Many thanks to Prolixic

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