AZED CROSSWORD 1752
1. R. J. Hooper: Time around which man taking sack maybe appears after dark’s returned (dim (rev.) + t in winer, & lit.; sack3).
2. J. Grimes: Carol’s bleak period in time R. W. died tragically (anag. incl. d; ref. C. Vorderman, the late Richard Whiteley in ‘Countdown’, and C. Rossetti carol).
3. I. Simpson: —— e’en – here could be time when reindeer set out (comp. anag. & lit.).
VHC (extra prizes)
M. Barley: Christmas day sees me and mine round tree, endlessly excited (d in mi win + anag. less e; me2).
E. J. Burge: England finally merit win … but abroad? It’s the time to think of the better days! (anag. incl. d; ref. fluctuating fortunes of English cricket team).
N. C. Dexter: Now ’tis time dormice regularly get curled up (anag. of alternate letters, & lit.).
V. Dixon: You’ll find reverse of soft with ‘earth … long ago’ in this (dim (rev.) + w + inter, & lit.; earth (obs.) = bury; ref. C. Rossetti carol, “… hard as iron”).
C. M. Edmunds: Seasonal present, substantially widens trim figures (as was) (anag. incl. widen(s); figure (obs.) = form, shape).
P. D. Gaffey: Fantastic male in red/white. He is out in this season (anag. incl. m less he, & lit.; ref. S. Claus).
J. P. Guiver: It’s just before Christmas – cut down Scots pine, deck with fancy trim, and put in base (dwin(e) and e separately in anag.).
R. Hesketh: Term taken roughly to include one day/week during the present time? (I d w in, all in anag.).
P. W. Marlow: Term devised to encapsulate single day with earliest signs of impending nightfall? (I d w + first letters, all in anag., & lit.).
W. Murphy: Time when timid wren is stoned? (anag. & lit.; ref. old custom of stoning a wren to death on ‘Wrenning Day’ (St Stephen’s Day); see Brewer’s).
F. R. Palmer: Shivery time, end of year, in which ‘wind doth blow’ (anag. in anag. incl. r, & lit.; ref. nursery rhyme/carol).
R. J. Palmer: You may find stormy and snowier times in this season (comp. anag. & lit.).
T. Powell: When a drawing in with time is finished, it’s this again (comp. anag. & lit.; ref. solstice).
Ms L. Roberts: New trim I’d fashioned for height of season (anag.).
D. A. Simmons: When we find it dim, with extremes of rain, and we shiver (anag. incl. r, n, & lit.).
J. R. Tozer: Days seem so short now: old energy gone I wonder, time for a change? (anag. less o E).
M. Wainwright: Dratted wind comes mixed with rime, / Making dread —— time (comp. anag. incl. t, & lit.).
J. D. Walsh: Mulled red wine time is … now? I see! (comp. anag. & lit.).
F. J. B. Wheen: Then Christina felt the chill – so ached, shivered in windcheater (i.e. anag. in middle of winter; ref. C. Rossetti).
A. J. Young: Wind curls to fit in headdress – one might manage it better with a pair of combs (anag. in miter; combs = combinations).
T. Anderson, D. Arthur, D. & N. Aspland, M. J. Barker, J. R. Beresford, Mrs F. A. Blanchard, J. G. Booth, J. M. Brown, Dr J. Burscough, B. Burton, C. J. & M. P. Butler, D. A. Campbell, P. Cargill, H. Casson, A. G. Chamberlain, C. A. Clarke, M. J. Clarke, D. C. Clenshaw, R. M. S. Cork, E. Cross, P. Dendy, A. J. Dorn, W. Drever, C. D. S. & E. A. Field, W. P. Field, Dr I. S. Fletcher, R. P. C. Forman, H. Freeman, J. Gill, B. Grabowski, G. I. L. Grafton, R. R. Greenfield, R. Haddock, R. J. Heald, P. F. Henderson, A. Hodgson, G. Johnstone, E. C. Lance, D. T. R. Lawson, J. C. Leyland, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, W. F. Main, D. F. Manley, R. J. Mathers, R. J. Mayled, J. R. C. Michie, K. Milan, T. J. Moorey, C. J. Morse, R. S. Morse, R. Murdoch, C. Ogilvie, D. J. R. Ogilvie, M. L. Perkins, D. Price Jones, W. Ransome, D. R. Robinson, N. Roper, M. Sanderson, D. Sargent, S. & J. Shaw, D. J. Short, M. Sloman, Mrs A. Terrill, K. Thomas, A. J. Wardrop, Dr M. C. Whelan, A. J. Whittaker, G. H. Willett.
221 entries, almost no mistakes. I am very sorry I defined CLOACA as ‘sinks’; since this made it look like a possible Letters Latent clue it was doubly reprehensible. I suppose I was unconsciously thinking of the cloaca maxima, the great sewer system of ancient Rome (largely, I read, the work of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa in 33 BC) which I’d always regarded as a plural thing, despite all the evidence. The use of SIETH, with its various alternate spellings, as a DLM word, was also (unintentionally) unkind. All in all, the puzzle was a tough challenge for a Christmas competition, even with the extra time allowed. I have given you ‘Mixed Foursomes’ once before, also at Christmas (in 1999), though with a slightly different mix of clue types. Your favourite clue this time was ‘Wood housing nuthatches, see? Such birds can cause clinical disease’ for PSITTACINE, with its somewhat outrageous anagram ANTISEPTIC; 21 clues received one mention or more.
MIDWINTER produced a nicely varied crop of entries. Sadly, the highly appropriate anagram of ‘wind’, ‘rime’ and ‘t’ (usually for ‘time’) proved so popular that none who used it managed higher than an HC (hence the extra-long list). It always seems unfair when this happens, but I don’t think there’s much I can do about it. There are always other approaches to try if you suspect that your idea, however neat, may have occurred to lots of others. And here are a couple of nearly good clues from regular competitors which to me are flawed, for the reasons given. (1) ‘Wretched time with stormy wind before end of December’. The wording here indicates an anagram of ‘time’ followed by an anagram of ‘wind’, not an anagram of the two words mixed in together. (2) ‘Its was a bleak time for Carol such’d merit win in jungle’ (a reference to Carol Thatcher’s recent antics). I don’t accept that you can begin an anagram within an apostrophized word in this way, and even if it were acceptable the syntactic function of ‘such’ in the cryptic reading is a bit odd.
Further to my comments last month about the 1,750 lunch in Balliol, I carelessly omitted to mention the major part Tim Moorey played in planning the whole thing, and to thank him very warmly for this on behalf of us all. I can report that the fruit trees are now planted in our garden and waiting for midwinter to pass into spring.
And a final plea on behalf of Martin Perkins, keeper of the scores for the annual honours list. Would all competitors please sign themselves in the same way each time they compete, i.e. using the same set of initials when there are more than one? There have been cases of genuine uncertainty recently over competitors with the same surname and first initial but (possibly) different middle initial(s).