< Slip No. 1485 View the clue list Slip No. 1492 >



1.  J. R. Tozer: I’m highly political – that’s form for one involved in marches (bench for I in frontier).

2.  R. J. Whale: Cook R (cf. Benn T) – he or another Labour minister? (anag.; ref. Robin C., Tony B.).

3.  R. Hesketh: Blind Pew turned on Hawkins, for instance (front bench + re (rev.); blind (noun); ref. ‘Treasure Island’ and Nick H., Tory front-bench spokesman for Home Affairs).


M. Barley: Top politician Bush’s inauguration – you’ll find CNN there for broadcast covering it (B in anag.).

Rev Canon C. M. Broun: It’s possibly confusing, Brethren not using any minister (anag. less using).

E. J. Burge: French T-bone restrictions initially upset minister? (anag. incl. r; ref. French ban on UK beef).

B. Burton: Female minister completely disheartened: ‘Have French been deserted by English, dear Mr Prescott?’ (F, r + ont (Fr.) + be(E)n + cher; ref. John P.’s encounter with Mme Voynet at The Hague conference).

D. A. Campbell: Two Jags, maybe, with Vanguard and SEAT (Spain) right behind (front bench E r; ref. J. Prescott’s nickname).

N. C. Dexter: Name for Brown – the CE, New Labour, say (anag. of n for br the CE n, & lit; ref. Gordon B.; labour vb).

H. Freeman: —— i.e. … term for Gordon Brown, often squirming next to Blair? (anag. incl. n, br + Cher(ie), & lit.; ref. C. Blair).

C. R. Gumbrell: See Benn linked with Thatcher for having worn this hat (comp. anag. & lit.).

T. Jacobs: A person like Darling Dickie – far from truly intimate, dear (front + (far) ben (qv) + cher; ref. Alistair D., Richard Attenborough).

D. W. Mackie: Brethren, including elements of old and new church, perturbed after female’s instated as minister (f + anag. incl. o, n, c).

P. W. Marlow: Foot or Benn etc, leading character in House, when recollected? Right! (f + anag. incl. H + r, & lit.).

C. J. Morse: Leading MP applies Robespierre’s language about top-heavy consumption to our queen (on TB in French + ER; ref. current republican stirrings).

F. R. Palmer: Maybe Prescott’s tone getting French upset with British? (anag. incl. Br.; ref. John P. at EU conference).

R. J. Palmer: Foot, T. Benn or frightful Thatcher’s no longer that (f + anag. + (That)cher, & lit.).

D. J. Short: Position for T. Benn and Thatcher that’s on no more (anag. + (That)cher, & lit.).

Mrs J. E. Townsend: Minister gets seat in marginal after ousting Independent (bench for I in frontier (adj)).

Ms S. Wallace: Leading member savaged T. Benn for taking on church and sovereign (anag. + ch. + ER).

L. Ward: It’s strange for T. Benn and Thatcher to reject that minister of Blair’s? (anag. + (That)cher).

A. J. Wardrop: French, mostly très bon, volatile? Cook fits this description (anag. less s; ref. Robin C.).

D. C. Williamson: ——, Tory or otherwise, might be seen as Thorneycroft reborn (comp. anag. & lit.; ref. Peter T.).


D. Appleton, W. G. Arnott, W. A. Bentham, J. R. Beresford, K. P. Boughton, C. J. Brougham, B. Butcher, C. J. & M. P. Butler, B. Cheesman, C. A. Clarke, E. Cross, G. Cuthbert, D. J. Dare-Plumpton, V. Dixon, A. J. Dorn, D. Durrance, C. M. Edmunds, H. Everett (Verwood), R. E. Ford, P. D. Gaffey, G. I. L. Grafton, Mrs E. Greenaway, R. R. Greenfield, R. J. Heald, G. Johnstone, Mrs J. Mackie, B. MacReamoinn, D. F. Manley, J. McGhee, R. Murdoch, M. O’Hagan, C. Pearson, D. Pendrey, D. Price Jones, A. Roth, J. H. Russell, M. Sanderson, Mrs E. Shields, N. G. Shippobotham, R. G. Smith, P. L. Stone, P. Thacker, J. S. Witte, W. Wynne Williams, Dr E. Young.

256 entries, with a fair number of mistakes, mainly HUGH or HUGE for HUGY. I thought the very public 13-year love affair and subsequent split of the film stars Hugh Grant and Liz Hurley would be sufficiently familiar to justify my rather playful choice of clue, and I’m still inclined to that view. Only one competitor grumbled that it was old news and therefore questionable. Several of you had also clearly not heard of the novelist Josephine Tey (the pseudonym of Elizabeth Mackintosh, who also wrote plays under the pseudonym Gordon Daviot). She died in 1952 but was widely read at one time (Brat Farrar, The Franchise Affair, Miss Pym Disposes, etc), so I had no hesitation in referring to her in the TEDY clue. Favourite clues of the month were those to HUGY (despite the above) and ANILE.
I thought FRONT-BENCHER would be a popular clue word and was a bit taken aback by the growls of protest from a minority. Several actual front-benchers, both past and present, were used to good effect, especially Cook, Benn, Prescott,Thatcher and Foot. Nick Hawkins, used by Mr Hesketh, is less well known that some, but his clue was so clever over-all that I couldn’t resist it. Is a front-bencher by definition a minister or a shadow minister? I think he/she probably is (and Chambers seems to confirm this), but I will no doubt be corrected if I’m wrong. Many of you found the Breton French anagram but just failed to exploit it well enough in linking it to an effective definition, the key (as I never tire of saying) to turning a passable clue into a first-rate one. John Prescott’s antics in connection with French policy on environmental issues also turned up quite a lot, often amusingly.
A number of you commented favourably on the new ‘permanent’ location of Azed puzzles in the Escape section of The Observer. Typically, I was given no advance warning of the move, and I know better than to assume that it will be any more permanent than any of its many former locations, but it certainly makes more sense than the previous one, even if the type-face is now rather smaller than it was. And a couple of notes on names: the newish competitor Mr T. M. Crowther, who was HC last month, is not a relation. Neither my son Tom (TEC) nor his younger brother Ned (CEJC) has the slightest interest in crosswords, alas. And I’ve indicated the home town of Mr H. Everett (HC above) to distinguish him from the other Mr H. Everett who regularly competes.
I must now move on to the two other competitions awaiting my attention. Thank you for your patience in putting up with the delay in announcing the results of this and the Christmas comps, and for the many friendly good wishes on our silver wedding anniversary. The trip to Australia was a hugy success and it was especially nice to be there for the country’s centenary celebrations. How on earth are we going to beat them at cricket?


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