AZED CROSSWORD 1372
1. J. R. C. Michie: A major coup (Masters troke, & lit.; ref. golf; coup2).
2. P. L. Stone: Season’s coup (Murdoch’s)? (master’s troke, & lit.; ref. takeover of Manchester United; coup2).
3. J. R. Tozer: It’s great playing with conkers, etc., on first sign of autumn in the country (mast erst roke).
A. Brash: Knockout hash smoker’s treat (anag.).
C. J. Brougham: Original swimming-pool style is what fairy feller has in painting (master stroke; ref. David Hockney, and Richard Dadd’s ‘The Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke’).
D. C. Clenshaw: Coloured rosettes mark superior performance (anag.; coloured = disguised).
Ms S. C. Cockburn: Performance of leader slammed by K. Starr tome – ‘Sex not unknown!’ (anag. less x; ref. Clinton troubles).
R. M. S. Cork: Ploughing rosette marks superior performance (anag.).
R. Dean: Fancied starters lapped by inferior horse at Melbourne – what a coup! (anag. in moke).
A. J. Dorn: Work up to Maker’s rest? (anag. & lit.; ref. Creation story).
B. Grabowski: Distribute rosettes and mark triumph (anag.).
C. R. Gumbrell: In which one’s pulled off staggering sortie and queen mates king? (anag. incl. R, K, less I, & lit.).
R. Hesketh: The ultimate in performance and knack or smartest move around? (anag. incl. e, k, & lit.).
R. J. Hooper: Sea-going Pole, under sail at first, then steam, and begetter of Victory? (mast erst roke; misleading ref. to J. Conrad).
J. P. Lester: Special presentation of rosette marks superior performance (anag.).
G. T. McLean: Rosettes mark cooking achievement of the highest standard (anag.).
K. Milan: Upper cut? Knockout! (master stroke; ref. cricket, boxing).
C. G. Millin: Kind of performance given standing ovation, high marks and rosette (anag.).
T. J. Moorey: For instance, the disheartened mother’s final flourish in Madam Butterfly? (as t(h)e (mothe)r in ’m stroke, & lit.; ref. M. B.’s suicide by sword).
C. J. Morse: Coup needs leaders up front to make it a real coup (masters + troke; coup2).
D. Price Jones: Restarts Moke which has been tuned for superior performance (anag.).
A. Roth: For coup, ape Mister Trotsky, revolutionary without pity (anag. less pity).
L. Ward: Original hit for Lulu? (master stroke).
D. Appleton, W. G. Arnott, D. Ashcroft, B. Balfour, M. Bath, E. A. Beaulah, Mrs F. A. Blanchard, R. E. Boot, Rev Canon C. M. Broun, C. A. Clarke, K. J. Crook, E. Cross, S. Darby, P. A. Davies, E. Dawid, R. V. Dearden, N. C. Dexter, R. P. Dowling, C. M. Edmunds, Dr I. S. Fletcher, D. A. Ginger, Mrs J. Girling, G. I. L. Grafton, R. R. Greenfield, D. Harris, J. Hastie, R. Heald, A. Hodgson, Mrs S. D. Johnson, G. Johnstone, J. F. Knott, F. P. N. Lake, M. D. Laws, J. C. Leyland, J. D. Lockett, R. K. Lumsdon, D. F. Manley, B. McCarthy, R. Parry-Morris, R. Phillips, Dr T. G. Powell, D. R. Robinson, J. H. Russell, N. G. Shippobotham, Mrs J. E. Townsend, A. P. Vincent, M. Whitmore.
377 entries, no mistakes. The delay in the announcement of the results this month, for which I apologize, was caused by strike action for a crucial few days at my local postal sorting office, all most frustrating. The puzzle itself was, I think, relatively straightforward and most of you seem to have found the clue word a friendly one. There’s something rather pleasing about 12-letter words which can be broken down into three 4-letter words which are etymologically unrelated to it. Where many clues submitted fell down was in breaking the word down for cryptic cluing purposes at its natural etymological break (i.e. master stroke) and then defining each part (especially the master part) too literally, thus weakening the cryptic element. In other words, the master part of MASTERSTROKE is very close in meaning to one or more of the senses given for master (noun, verb or adjective) given in the dictionary, and to us one or other of these definitions in the cryptic part of a clue is to risk rendering it insufficiently cryptic. That said, there were still plenty of excellent clues to admire this month. The first two quoted above, for instance, are models of concision and cleverness, the troke/coup link being a particularly happy find. Of the many anagrams used I especially liked ones based on ‘rosettes’ and ‘mark’. The rowing connotations of ‘stroke’ were also widely exploited, though I was unhappy with ‘M. Pinsent, say’ where M was being used as an abbreviation for Master. I cannot find this in Chambers and assume it is based on the first element in abbreviations such as MA. If I allowed this I would logically have to allow A = Arts and the floodgates would open.
Incidentally the new edition of Chambers is now published and I shall start using and recommending it from November onwards (October puzzles having been compiled before I acquired my copy). To tell the truth there don’t seem to be many changes apart from some new typefaces, though I’ve no doubt I’ll find the occasional new word to include in the puzzles from time to time. My attention is drawn to the fact that the price is £25, rising to £30 on 1 January 1999, so Christmas hints may be in order.
I should have mentioned sooner the death (in June) of my old friend and mentor Alec Robins, a major authority on cryptic crosswords and the author of the excellent Teach Yourself Crosswords (1975, reissued as The ABC of Crosswords in 1981 but now sadly out of print). His puzzles, under the pseudonyms Zander and Custos, appeared in the Listener and the Guardian for many years and with Dorothy Taylor he wrote the Everyman puzzles in the Observer for over 30 years. All serious crossword setters and enthusiasts respected his views on good practice in clue-writing and his meticulous attention to accuracy. The crossword world has lost one its most influential figures, and he will be greatly missed.