< Slip No. 1611 View the clue list Slip No. 1619 >



1.  J. R. Tozer: Dramaturge wanting a stiff drink, struggling with lines (anag. less dram).

2.  D. Harrison: Possibly wicket is after a game! (RU + gate, & lit.; ref. cricket).

3.  C. J. Brougham: Covered in creases? Pity iron’s broken! (gat in rue; iron = gun).


J. R. Beresford: It’s what skin can become if you’ve worried away (i.e rugate less ate = rug, & lit.; e.g. bearskin rug).

E. J. Burge: ‘Wrinkly’ class the old loathe being put in (ug in rate).

D. A. Campbell: Put away by wig with wrinkles, regret carrying gun (rug + ate, gat in rue; wig = judge).

P. Cargill: Creased with laughter – with L. Henry going mad! (anag. less L H; ref. Lenny H.).

D. C. Clenshaw: Having sunken lines, lowly Japanese fishes with no nets around (eta gur(nets) (all rev.)).

R. Dean: Wrinkly needs to use innards in frugal stew ((f)ruga(l) (s)te(w)).

N. C. Dexter: Showing – sadly enough – initial signs of ageing? True! (anag. incl. ag, & lit.).

V. Dixon: Class the old loathe being put in like prunes? (ug in rate; prune, 2 mngs.).

W. Duffin: Sale could have attracted this crowd that’s gathered (RU gate; Sale rugby club).

C. M. Edmunds: Tabloid term for Carling cover-up, possibly prompting complaint about press? (i.e. RU-gate; analogy of Watergate, etc.; ref. Will C., England rugby captain).

M. Goodliffe: Rugby to punish schoolboy with many lines? (RU gate).

C. R. Gumbrell: Urge to move seizing characters heading to America, going west like old Auden (t A (rev.) in anag.; ref. Auden’s emigration, and his face in later years).

D. F. Manley: The guise Nora Batty contrives in —— hose! (comp. anag. & lit.; ref. N. B.’s crumpled stockings in ‘Last of the Summer Wine’).

P. W. Marlow: Moggy scratching head close to home on mat – characteristic of old puss? (rug + (c)at + e; puss2).

T. J. Moorey: Wrinkly’s great tum going pear-shaped, tips of many toes not visible! (anag. less m, t).

W. Murphy: In need of face-lift perhaps to camouflage most features of true age (anag. less final e).

F. R. Palmer: Attendance at Twickenham, perhaps, is showing signs of decline (RU gate).

R. J. Palmer: Being this, disguised true age getting face finally lifted? (anag. less e).

R. C. Teuton: Wrinkly whips up the urge – he goes for Viagra finally (anag. with a for he).

C. W. Thomas: Such could be true about grandma’s extremities (g, a in anag., & lit.).


D. Appleton, P. Bartlam, Mrs P. A. Bax, E. A. Beaulah, R. E. Boot, C. Boyd, Rev Canon C. M. Broun, Mrs M. J. Cansfield, C. A. Clarke, R. Cohen, N. Connaughton, M. J. Corlett, A. Cox, G. Cuthbert, W. P. M. Field, Dr I. S. Fletcher, N. C. Goddard, E. Gomersall, R. R. Greenfield, J. P. Guiver, R. J. Heald, R. Hesketh, Mrs S. G. Johnson, Mrs J. Mackie, Rev M. Metcalf, C. G. Millin, R. Perry, R. Phillips, M. Sanderson, R. Stocks, P. L. Stone, D. H. Tompsett, Ms S. Wallace, M. J. E. Wareham, D. C. Williamson, M. P. Young.

277 entries, many mistakes. It was the most error-strewn competition for a long time, possibly ever, the main stumbling-blocks being DORTER and RUTTER, for which many had DORMER and/or RITTER. I can see that the wrong answers were close in meaning to the correct ones, but I can’t see how the cryptic indication in each clue can have led to any solution but the correct one. To remind you, the respective clues were ‘Venue for “midnight feast” again stepped up?’(retrod (rev) ) and ‘Old cavalryman for hire king put in circulation’ (R + utter). The midnight feasts I had in mind were those (in my time, at least) habitually held in boarding-school dormitories, usually near the end of term and more enjoyable in the anticipation than in the participation. There were several nominees for favourite clue of the month: among those most often mentioned were those for NEPETA, GLOVER, RE-EDIT, OLD-FOGYISH and TARADIDDLE. My clue to BLET was, it seems, flawed, for which I apologize. It implied that the word can be an adjective meaning ‘sleepy’, of fruit, but I can find no evidence for its use as other than a noun or an intransitive verb. (I have distinct memories of its being used in my own family as an adjective when I was growing up in north-west England, and this explains my failure to check the dictionary entry carefully enough. Does anyone have similar experience of the word? I’ve even written about it to Diarmaid Ó Muirithe, who writes regularly on dialect words in The Oldie. Watch this space.)
The large number of incorrect entries this month reduced my workload proportionately, but there were still plenty of good ideas to savour, the best of them being those featured above. One that nearly made it was ‘Sampling of drug at Eton or Rugby gets detention with lines’ (hidden; RU + gate), but I could find no evidence that ‘gate’ is ever used as a noun in the sense of ‘school punishment. Pity. The same competitor made the interesting comment that dictionary entries for RUGATE don’t make it clear what sort of objects it is normally used to describe (anatomical features, animals, plants, clothing, or whatever). Given that it’s hardly an everyday word in any case, I’d say that gives the clue-writer carte blanche. Which reminds me to thank those who took the trouble to thank me for the recent non- competition’Carte Blanche’, even though (perhaps because) it was clearly a brute to solve.
To save my having to render David Ashcroft’s Latin Azode, printed in last month’s slip, in an unworthy prose translation, Tony Beaulah (to whom many thanks) has submitted the following splendidly blush-inducing verse translation:

And yes, of course, the AZ 1,000 lunch was at St Hugh’s, not St Hilda’s, Oxford. I must be getting blet!


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