AZED CROSSWORD 1511
1. R. K. Lumsdon: Old fencing épées, boxed set (anag. in dated; box = mix).
2. R. Phillips: Crank up ‘mongrel’ debate, wanting British entrenched (speed (drug) (rev.) + anag. less B).
3. E. J. Burge: Teased with spin, hooked to outfield … firmly held (deep + anag.).
D. Arthur: Plutonic: located like Neptune? (2 mngs.).
J. R. Beresford: Low return of service breaking superior player in set (deep + TA (rev.) in seed).
J. G. Booth: Entrenched weed is pulled up before grain is spread about a bit of terrain (peed (rev.) + a t in seed).
C. J. Brougham: Aged career over, what you might call Heath is ‘unshakeable’ (ae speed (rev.) + Ted).
C. A. Clarke: Profound debate rages about sacrificing the essential character of Britishness after race is brought up (speed (rev.) + anag. less B).
M. Cutter: Low-fat spread trims mass fast (deep sea(m) ted; seam2, fast2).
R. V. Dearden: Extremes of bigotry of this sort might be reformed in speedy debate (comp. anag. incl. b, y, & lit.).
N. C. Dexter: Out fencing épée’s not normally so embedded (anag. in dated).
C. R. Gumbrell: Old-fashioned fencing involved épées? That’s firmly established (anag. in dated).
J. Horwood: Implanted? Yes – developed past ‘double D’ (anag. incl. dee dee; ref. bra sizes).
J. C. Leyland: E-date’s fixed after getting leaked all over – is it constitutional? (peed (rev.) + anag.; ref. EU summit).
D. F. Manley: Hide seed potatoes after digging – such should be —— i’ sooth! (comp. anag. & lit.).
C. G. Millin: Two drugs turned up on a young lout, inveterate (E speed (rev.) + a Ted).
C. J. Morse: Ocean growing rough? Not on the surface (deep-sea + Ted).
S. J. Shaw: Underlying rate rises worry journalist (speed (rev.) + eat ed.).
D. J. Short: Part of the main Heath political philosophy may be this (deep sea Ted).
P. L. Stone: Very fast in the outfield, dry and withered, yielding runs for Dexter, say? (deep + sear with Ted for r; ref. cricketer).
J. R. Tozer: Like certain prejudices race turns up: recurrent but not representative (speed (rev.) + (rep)eated).
L. Ward: Intimate act takes place in gym (seat in PE in deed).
W. G. Arnott, M. Bath, Mrs F. A. Blanchard, Rev Canon C. M. Broun, Dr J. Burscough, B. Burton, C. J. & M. P. Butler, D. Carchrae, I. Carr, B. Cheesman, N. Connaughton, A. Cox, L. J. Davenport, R. Dean, V. Dixon, H. Freeman, N. C. Goddard, H. J. Godwin, B. Grabowski, G. I. L. Grafton, R. R. Greenfield, D. A. Harris, D. W. Mackie, Mrs J. Mackie, P. W. Marlow, T. J. Moorey, R. Murdoch, F. R. Palmer, C. W. Robins, D. R. Robinson, D. A. Simmons, J. B. Sweeting, R. C. Teuton, C. W. Thomas, D. H. Tompsett, D. J. Ward, A. J. Wardrop, R. J. Whale, W. Wynne Williams.
A low entry this month: only 242, quite a number having TREE for TRUE (‘Right half returned cross’). I can see that ‘cross’ is a definition of ‘tree’ but the rest of the clue bears no relation to that as an answer. It may be argued, perhaps, that ‘cross’ is not common and therefore less than satisfactory as an anagram indicator, but given its adjectival sense of ‘hybrid’ it doesn’t strike me as very different from the many adjectives with comparable meanings regularly used to perform this function, without apparently giving offence. Another clue of mine which puzzled several was that for MACRO (‘Set this up? A computer’s programmed’). I imagine this was the result of assuming that Mac was the computer bit and failing to see how the rest worked. It was in fact a composite anagram, ‘set macro up’ being an anagram of ‘a computer’s’. Clues which attracted favourable comment included those to LYMANTRIIDAE, SCAPAS, LOFT and INNERWEAR.
This month’s clue word was not generally well received. ‘Too many e’s,’ was a commonly-expressed complaint. A couple of you reminded me that I’d given you INGRAIN years ago. (I’d forgotten, of course.) Sir Edward Heath and his former fondness for sailing were understandably very popular – possibly too popular – as a theme for clues submitted. I’m not even sure that he did very much deep-sea racing, his activities being largely confined to shallower coastal waters. Relatively few of you used the nice EPEES anagram combined with ‘fencing’ to indicate a ‘container and contents’ clue. I had momentary misgivings about Mr Lumsdon’s use of ‘boxed’ to mean ‘mixed’ since Chambers describes this as Australian and New Zealand usage in the context of sheep farming. I don’t however regard this as a serious objection to an otherwise very neat clue, and in any case ‘boxed’ in the sense of ‘hit sharply’ would pass muster equally as an anagram indicator. I wonder all the same whether Mr Lumsdon himself considered this a risk and contemplated a safer choice of wording (‘subtly wrought’, for example).
An interesting footnote to the competition was provided by a competitor who noted that the noun SEA-BOTTOM was in the 1983 edition of Chambers, but like many of the SEA compounds it had become unhyphenated by 1993, although it is used with a hyphen in definitions elsewhere, e.g. at ground (noun and intransitive verb). I’ve noticed this phenomenon repeatedly in the current Chambers and it always niggles. It represents sloppy lexicographical practice though as one who has edited a fair number of dictionaries I sympathize with the problem faced by the lexicographers. Hyphenation is one of those exasperatingly imprecise areas of language. Short of listing all the possible variant forms that can be found in print (perhaps the safest option, but space-consuming), dictionary editors must plump for the commonest current form, but having done that they must remember to be consistent wherever else the headword appears throughout the dictionary. Computer searches are the most reliable way of doing this.