< Slip No. 1646 View the clue list Slip No. 1650 >



1.  N. C. Dexter: Item gran arranged family slides in? (clan in anag., & lit.).

2.  Dr E. Young: Can manger lit with newborn form still show its mystery? (anag.; still pictures).

3.  D. F. Manley: Rage until cinemas developed – no longer having use, I suspect (anag. less anag., & lit.).

VHC (extra prizes)

D. Arthur: This could display still calm, retaining not one ripple (anag. less I).

M. Barnes: Repositioning cine-art with ‘M’, Lang’s purveyor of flickering images (anag.; ref. Fritz L.).

E. J. Burge: Lag met narc in stir. Case for screening? (anag.).

B. Burton: Means of screening devious emigrant concealing family (clan in anag.).

B. Cheesman: Spry twiddling with this is needed for half-glimpsed transparency (comp. anag. & lit.).

C. A. Clarke: A shining light revealing a tableau, Wise Men meeting a family group of three (Magi clan tern).

D. C. Clenshaw: It shows translucent photographs can mingle, art nouveau style (anag.).

A. J. Dorn: Wise men three gathered around family: this created a vivid image (clan in Magi tern).

W. Duffin: Source of light and images brings wise men to a family group of three (Magi clan tern).

D. W. Grice: I see this can produce an image, screen-lit (comp. anag. & lit.).

J. P. Guiver: Is G. Mercator enabling representation of orb with, e.g., this means of projection? Yes and no (comp. anag.).

J. Harries: Cause of slide shows faulty car alignment (anag.).

P. F. Henderson: It projected indefinable aura around family providing occupant for rickety manger (clan in it in anag.).

G. Johnstone: Projector of rays? The Wise Men see luminance heading before trio (Magi c L + an. tern).

J. P. Lester: What can produce glim anent arc by means of slides (anag. & lit.).

C. Loving: What’s a lecturer naming as a novelty? It’s out of use long ago (anag. less ure, & lit.).

M. McMahon: Projector (mirror/arc-light type) needs modification to arc alignment (anag.).

C. G. Millin: I show pictures representing the little child’s beginnings in a manger (anag. incl. first letters).

C. J. Morse: I entrance with glam slides (anag. & lit.).

R. Phillips: What lights scene, bringing Wise Men (three) to crib family? (clan in Magi tern; crib = confine).

A. J. Redstone: Source of amusement for grandad in the blackout? Sorry, can’t name girl (anag.).

P. L. Stone: Displaying this at a shop is giving curious clients phantasmagoria (comp. anag. & lit.).

J. B. Sweeting: It throws light, picturing sages, cold by end of travel, before king, the centre of attention (Magi c l ante R n).

A. J. Wardrop: Powerful source of light shows Wise men, a threesome, gathered round family group (clan in Magi tern).


A. Alman, D. Appleton, M. Barley, E. A. Beaulah, J. R. Beresford, R. E. Boot, C. Boyd, C. J. Brougham, Dr D. J. A. Brown, J. Burscough, C. J. & M. P. Butler, A. Callaghan, D. A. Campbell, M. Clarke, G. P. Conway, R. M. S. Cork, M. J. Corlett, T. & B. Coventry, E. Cross, G. Cuthbert, L. J. Davenport, V. Dixon, C. M. Edmunds, G. Engelhardt, C. D. S. & E. A. Field, B. Grabowski, C. R. Gumbrell, W. Gundrey, M. T. Hart, P. Heffernan, R. Hesketh, M. Hickman, A. Hodgson, R. J. Hooper, Mrs D. B. Jenkinson, A. Kimbell, J. Knowles, M. A. Lassman, P. R. Lloyd, P. Long, E. Looby, D. J. Mackay, Mrs J. Mackie, A. H. Marland, P. W. Marlow, L. Marzillier, R. J. Mathers, G. M. May, P. McKenna, R. A. Norton, C. Ogilvie, D. J. R. Ogilvie, M. G. Ollerenshaw, R. J. Palmer, G. & J. Parsons, D. Pendrey, G. Perry, T. Powell, W. Ransome, D. R. Robinson, M. G. Rupp, Mr & Mrs G. R. Scott, V. Seth, G. S. A. Smith, D. H. Tompsett, J. R. Tozer, Ms S. Wallace, M. J. E. Wareham, R. J. Whale, A. R. Whelan, A. J. Whittaker, Ms B. J. Widger, R. Zara.

An enthusiastic entry, 297 in all, with many appreciative comments, for which I thank you kindly. The only mistakes, a handful, were over Q(U)EENE, which I warned you in the preamble is not in Chambers, giving the OED as my source. Part of the trouble was that ‘queen’ was a word in the clue (‘Old trollop, queen of Scots eyes English’, i.e. q + een + E). But ‘queene’ is a variant spelling of ‘quean’, which is etymologically distinct from ‘queen’ (though the linguistic history of the two words may have overlapped somewhat), so I don’t think I was really guilty of careless obfuscation.
I have given you this pangrammatic variety of ‘Letters Latent’, with a dash of ‘Playfair’ thrown in, twice before, always at Christmas, though the last time was ten years ago (No. 1,128). I borrowed the idea from a puzzle called ‘Alphabetic Deletion’ devised by the American setters Emily Cox and Henry Rathvon (aka Hex) and included in their Atlantic Monthly Puzzler Book (1986). Since many of you asked, it does take quite a time to construct (I couldn’t say just how long). I settle on the code phrase first (and may be running out of appropriate choices!), then fill in a pattern of bars, and then start to work on filling the grid. While the latent letters in one direction are already fixed, those in the other can of course be juggled as one proceeds if necessary. This certainly happened more than once with this puzzle. The bottom right-hand corner proved especially tricky to finish off (hence my having to resort to Q(U)EENE). (P)LUME (P)O(PP)IES was a particularly lucky find. I was also less than totally happy with two unches each in CARAC(K) and (B)ALMED, but reckoned that since these were effectively six-letter words this would be acceptable.
Your favourite clues, with the same number of mentions, were those for STU(CC)OD and (F)IASCOES (‘Some passed out, some returned plastered’ and ‘Turkeys like company and a bit of exercise during lives’ respectively), with a total of eighteen getting at least one mention. As for MAGIC LANTERN, I can see that the breakdown MAGI CLAN TERN simply begs to be exploited at Christmastime, though when I chose it this didn’t occur to me (really!). There was accordingly a large number of clues with the Wise Men and the holy family, the threesome being one or other of these groups. As always in a situation like this only the best clues that used this idea scored higher than HC. The overall winner from NCD more or less chose itself: a gem of an ‘& lit.’, short, witty and bang on the sweet spot.
A frivolous postscript. One or two of you commented favourably on my clue to RETROMINGENT in a recent non-competition plain (‘Comfortable with “back slash”? Gormless (not half) struggling with internet’). By an extraordinary coincidence I had included the word in a grid I had not yet clued when I received a note from Mr Brian Burton, who had chanced upon it in Chambers and been inspired to produce the following limerick:

When addressed by the ‘dot com’ contingent,
My feelings become quite astringent.
To get hold of my cash
They insist ‘forward slash’:
Do they think I might be retromingent?

This in turn provided the inspiration for my own clue.


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