MPP 120 – Review – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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MPP 120 – Review

Monthly Prize Puzzle No 120 – Review

May 2022

A puzzle by Prolixic

We were asked: How many solutions form heteronyms – words that change their meaning depending on how they are pronounced?

I wonder how much time solvers spent muttering the various solutions out loud until they found the ten heteronyms.

Congratulations to our May winner, Frank Greaney, who wins a Telegraph Crossword Puzzles Book of his choice.


1 Beer barrel in front of a ship (4)
BASS – B (abbreviation for barrel) A (from the clue) SS (Ship)

3 Pilot light’s fuelled with a drop of acetylene (4)
LEAD – LED (light) ‘fuelled’ with the first letter (drop) of Acetylene

6 Near miss after beginning to corner (5)
CLOSE – LOSE (miss) goes after the beginning to Corner

10 A roll and wine devoured by Blair (9)
ORWELLIAN – An anagram (devoured) of A ROLL and WINE

11 Comes across European in baseball team (5)
MEETS – E (European) in METS (baseball team)

12 Without a break oust assembly (7)
TURNOUT – TURN OUT (oust) without the ‘break’

13 Take away AC/DC back on board vehicle (7)
MINIBUS – MINUS (take away) into which is inserted (on board) a reversal (back) of BI (AC/DC)

14 Players from two states (4)
WIND – WI and ND – Wisconsin and North Dakota -two states

16 European officers leaving this French southern hotel (6)
POLISH – POLIce (officers without the French word for this), S (southern) H (hotel)

18 Abridged opus about quarrel (3)
ROW – A reversal of an abridged WORk (opus)

21 Alpine facility loses equipment for broadcast (3)
SOW – A SKITOW loses KIT (equipment)

22 Lawyer accepting American ambassador’s measure (6)
BUSHEL – BL (Bachelor of Law) ‘accepting’ US (American) HE (ambassador)

23 Synonym for bomb oddly seen in thesauri (4)
TEAR – Seen in the odd letters of ThEsAuRi

25 Place beneath sack (7)
PLUNDER – PL (place) UNDER (beneath)

27 We learn about resurrection (7)
RENEWAL – An anagram (about) of WE LEARN

29 Order I issue to tenant in this situation (5)
TENSE An anagram (order) of I ISSUE TO TENANT produces the solution and the word SITUATION

30 Painful condition of deer reportedly seen by brook (9)
HEARTBURN – A homophone (reportedly) of HART (deer) seen by BURN (brook)

31 Respond to some leisure activity (5)
REACT – Hidden in some leisuRE ACTivity

32 Goto hitparty (4)
BASH – Triple definition

33 Verses director penned in part of soft-shoe shuffle (4)
ODES – D (Director) ‘penned in part of shOE Shuffle


1 Pole meets drag partners in prosperous areas (4,5)
BOOM TOWNS – BOOM (pole) TOW (drag) N S (bridge partners)

2 Prophet gives home to Welsh tailor (5)
SEWER – SEER ‘gives home to’ the abbreviation for Welsh

4 English principles bar conservative expulsions (9)
EVICTIONS – E (English) conVICTIONS (principles without the CON for Conservative)

5 Material’s dug up 5)
DENIM – A reversal (up) of MINED (dug)

6 Catholic country suppresses revolutionary native Americans (8)
COMANCHE – The abbreviation for Catholic, OMAN (country) CHE (revolutionary)

7 Responsible for country briefly being subdued (9)
OVERBORNE – OVER (responsible for) BORNEo (briefly telling you to remove the last letter)

8 Loosens stands after removing third of bolts (5)
EASES – EASElS (stands) remove the L that is the third letter of boLts

9 Co-worker acquires old gunmetal? (5)
ALLOY – ALLY (co-worker) ‘acquires’ O (old)

15 Mint coin for island (3,6)
NEW GUINEA – NEW (mint) GUINEA (coin)

17 In case of emergency yells head off to get treats (3,6)
ICE CREAMS – ICE (In Case of Emergency – used in your mobile phone directory to indicate the person who should be contact if, for example, you have an accident – and sCREAMS (yells with its ‘head off’)

19 Military equipment‘s blueprint found among merchandise (9)
WARPLANES – PLAN (blueprint) found in WARES (merchandise) [The Hurricane and the two Spitfires have been flying over us regularly in the last couple of weeks, presumably getting ready for a Platinum Jubilee flypast]

20 Law-abiding parliament welcomes new order first (8)
OBEDIENT – OBE (Order) goes first before a DIET (parliament) ‘welcoming’ N (new)

24 Join college on outskirts of Tonbridge (5)
UNITE – UNI (college) on the ‘outskirts’ of TonbridgE

25 Safe made from tungsten free metal (5)
PETER – PEwTER (metal) without the W which is the chemical symbol for tungsten

26 Retiring swimmer has time out for recovery (5)
REHAB – A reversed (retiring) BAtHER without the T (time)

27 Leaders of world organisation undo nuclear disarmament creating hurt (5)
WOUND – The ‘leaders’ of World Organisation Undo Nuclear Disarmament

Thanks once again to Prolixic and the BDs

This crossword marks the end of ten years of Monthly Prize Puzzles.  Sadly, due to the poor number of entries each month, they will only appear quarterly in future.

11 comments on “MPP 120 – Review

  1. Congratulations to Frank and many thanks to CS for the review. So very sad to note that the MPP is getting insufficient entries to justify its continued monthly slot – will it be called a QPP henceforth?
    I suppose it will mean that the Radler fiend has less opportunities to mess with my brain but, perversely, I always enjoy those battles!

    Thank you to the BDs for having brought us these extra ‘goodies’ every month for the past 10 years – keep that sorting hat somewhere safe until its next outing.

    So discombobulated that I almost forgot to mention that I found all the heteronyms – I’m sure the answer was to go with your initial ideas and not think too deeply about it!

  2. Sorry to read about the change in frequency of MPPs. I always look forward to the challenge involved. Henceforth I will have to look forward with eager anticipation for just a bit longer!
    Congratulations to Frank on his prize. I did submit the correct answer, although I dithered about ALLOY for a while until deciding it might be pronounced in two different ways but that both have the same meaning. Thanks once again to Prolixic for the puzzle and to you, CS, for another fine review. I especially like the photo of the Battle of Britain flight. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to see a Spitfire fly overhead most days in our area of Kent – and if we’re too slow off the mark to watch the plane we still get to hear the distictive sound of the Merlin engine :smile:

  3. Congratulations Frank.
    I changed my mind three times about ALLOY before deciding not to include it.
    A good challenge and satisfying to solve.
    Sad to see the necessary change to frequency after a decade of fun puzzles.
    Thanks all round.

  4. Congratulations Frank, and thanks to Prolixic for a super puzzle and CS for review. Amongst several tricky clues I struggled most with 29a … but eventually remembered the setter’s penchant for suibtractive anagrams.
    I’ll miss the MPP, but understandable – and very much look forward to the QPP – big thanks to Mr & Mrs BD!

  5. Congratulations to Frank. We also struggled over ‘alloy’ but made the wrong decision to include it, hence an incorrect 11 from us. A very enjoyable puzzle. Thank you to Prolixic and also to CS for the review. We have enjoyed the MPPs so sad to read they will be reduced but happy that they are not disappearing completely. Thanks also to BD.

  6. Well done Frank.

    I got the right answer and enjoyed it very much.
    Thanks to Prolixic and Mr and Mrs Big Dave.

    Very sorry to hear that the MPP is going quarterly….and surprised that few people enter it. I enjoy trying it every month .
    Thanks for all the fun over the past few years and looking forward to the QPP.

  7. Congratulations to Frank.

    Thanks to Prolixic for the puzzle & CS for the review.

    I got the correct answer even though I failed to parse 29a.

    Sorry to hear that it won’t be a regular monthly feature. It was always the puzzle I looked forward to the most.

    Many thanks to all the setters who have provided such ingenious and imaginative puzzles over the last 10 years.

  8. Thanks for all the MPP’s. I enjoyed trying to solve them.
    I was fortunate enough to win early on so decided not to submit my solutions subsequently to allow other entrants a better chance.
    Will the first QPP appear on the first saturday in August?

  9. Heartiest congratulations to Frank Greaney on his winning the historic last MPP. I am feeling very sad as I have been too much attached with the MPPs for the past so many years and now have to console myself with QPPs. For me, the MPP Contest was a jewel in the crown of Big Dave’s Crossword Blog. I personally feel that this should not have been discontinued, irrespective of whether the participants are few or many. Incidentally, this time, I am not among those who arrived at the correct number and answer and my congratulations to them, too. I was way below TEN. My answer was EIGHT. I felt disturbed with 14a WIND and 27d WOUND and finally settled for an erroneous WANY as my answer to 14a, still can’t make out why. Not only that, I did not include BASS among the heteronyms. Perhaps my mistake was to reserve the dying moments of submission of the answer for doing the research work for arriving at the solution to the riddle.

    Countless thanks to all the setters who have provided such splendid and magnificent puzzles throughout the decade.

    Although I will be looking forward to meeting the QPPs with one-third happiness, my thanks to BD and his team and the setters involved in the publications will be full-hearted as ever.

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