AZED CROSSWORD 2074
1. J. P. Guiver: Dry stale slice of bread and marmalade served up (b + tenné (rev.); stale4).
2. D. F. Manley: Name recurring in book with three of the five in teens (novel) (n, n in b + anag., & lit.; ref. B. sisters in ‘Pride and Prejudice’).
3. Dr S. J. Shaw: Novel by Austen (made into films) reveals —— family maids to us (comp. anag. & lit.).
R. D. Anderson: Novel family member’s been misled about new tenant’s origin (n in anag. + t; ref.’Pride and Prejudice’).
Ms K. Bolton: Dead grass at Wimbledon? Live tennis is cancelled after knocking up (be + tenn(is) (rev.)).
T. C. Borland: Fuzz nab teen concealing a bit of grass at Glastonbury? (anag. less a).
C. A. Clarke: A common habit of an Austen heroine (marriage finally for love) such as Elizabeth or Jane? (bonnet with e for 0).
W. Drever: What’s found in baseline’s edges, and on Wimbledon Centre Court ultimately? (b, e + last letters, & lit.).
Dr I. S. Fletcher: Name borne by any of Five Sisters, central characters of great fiction (n in ben1 + e, t, & lit.; ref. ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and F. S. of Kintail in Scottish Highlands).
R. J. Heald: Lydia ——: a teen blindly gallivanting, losing heart to scallywag (comp. anag. less l; ref. ‘P & P’).
R. J. Hooper: Bath bun? It’s not quite fresh, getting dunked in cup of tea (ne(w) in bent1; see bun2).
T. Jacobs: Kecks buffo finally dropped in one penned by farceur like Georges F ((o)ne in Ben T(ravers); ref. G. Feydeau).
G. Johnstone: Bun, baked with its top having turned orange-brown (b + tenné (rev.)).
J. C. Leyland: Bun in oven? Not half, after a bit of a bounder’s seen to score (b + (ov)en + net).
M. A. Macdonald-Cooper: What smitten Nebuchadnezzar’s gobbling up – bit of grass (hidden rev.; ref. Daniel, 4, 30).
P. W. Marlow: Elizabeth encapsulating the ultimate in Jane Austen characterisation? (last letters in Bet, & lit.).
P. McKenna: Kecks? Dodgy trousers recently made shortened (ne(w) in bent).
J. R. C. Michie: A bit of grass, a lot of speed and Ecstasy lead to thrills (benn(y) + E + t).
C. J. Morse: Signs of black earth, new and clear evidence of drought in S. England (b, e, n + net; ref. hose-pipe ban).
R. Perry: Stalk game, nothing captured, nothing lost (n(0)ne in bet).
R. G. Smith: E.g. Elizabeth: Queen, perhaps, given time, taking to heart uttermost parts of nation (n, n in bee + t; ref. E. B. in ‘P & P.’).
Ms S. Wallace: Strangely —— (S. area form) turns out to be name for sear bent grass stalk (comp. anag.).
D. K. Arnott, D. & N. Aspland, M. Barley, C. J. Brougham, Dr J. Burscough, P. Coles, E. Cross, P. T. Crow, T. Crowther, P. A. Davies, E. Dawid, V. Dixon (Ireland), M. Draper, T. & D. East, C. M. Edmunds, J. Fairclough, J. Glassonbury, M. Goodyear, G. J. Gostling, G. I. L. Grafton, Mrs E. Greenaway, A. & R. Haden, Dr C. P. Hales, D. V. Harry, Dr S. B. Hart, P. F. Henderson (New Zealand), E. C. Lance, P. Lloyd, C. Loving, M. Lunan, I. D. McDonald, D. Mitchell, T. J. Moorey, C. Ogilvie, M. Owen, M. J. Pinches, T. Rudd, N. G. Shippobotham, I. Simpson, P. L. Stone, Mrs A. Terrill, R. C. Teuton, S. J. J. Tiffin, J. R. Tozer, C. J. A. Underhill, L. Ward (USA), T. West-Taylor, R. J. Whale, A. Whittaker, J. Woodall, R. Zara.
214 entries, no mistakes. A few of you clued MILLE(R), which can only have been the result of guesswork, and a further few clued TREK, an anagram of the last letters of the four theme words, not what I asked for at all. Equal favourite clues of the month were ‘Part of famous coaster’s cargo damaged in water’ (TINWARE) and ‘Pan got thrown in taunt’ (GOAT-GOD), with 17 clues receiving one or more mentions.
I began thinking about how I might mark this milestone quite a long time ago, but it took a while before Beyond the Fringe and Alan Bennett’s hilarious play Forty Years On occurred to me. I assume he took the title from that of the Harrow school song. I never saw the revue itself (though I have a recording of it on CD), but I did see the play, starring Paul Eddington as the headmaster of Albion House and Bennett himself as one of the assistant masters. The idea of curtailing Bennett’s name to give a clue word came a lot later, and it was much later again that I noticed how all the theme words could be curtailed in the same way (and even doubly curtailed if you accept CO as a word). BENNET is not the most exciting word to clue (though bun and stale were happy finds), so it was lucky that the central family in Pride and Prejudice are spelt thus, though I see that they are mis-spelt ‘Bennett’ in my copy of the Larousse Dictionary of Literary Characters (1994) which I consult quite regularly. I wasn’t very keen on clues which defined BENNET as a synonym for herb bennet, though one or two of you sought to justify this by referring to an obscure and dated dictionary of plants. Neither did I care for ‘straw’ as part of the definition. To me (and to the lexicographers I consulted), straw comes from cereal crops, not grass. (I first encountered bennets when they were referred to as such by our next-door neighbour in the Oxfordshire village we were then living in, and where he had lived all his life. He complained that the bennets on his lawn stubbornly resisted the blades of his ancient lawn-mower and stuck up after the rest of the grass had been cut short.) The word is clearly related linguistically to bent2, so clues that treated them as distinct in their definition part struck me as weak. I ought also to mention that when judging clues submitted I treated BENNET as either across or down, on the grounds that it did not appear in the completed grid as such, so my usual objection to words like ‘back’ to indicate reversal in clues to down words did not apply. And to quote a clue that at first appeared very promising but which ultimately failed to achieve distinction, consider: ‘Battle with grid? There could be many of these in couch, following roast’, with its pleasing hints at the weekly tussle with the AZ puzzle after Sunday lunch. For me the basic flaw lies in the word ‘these’, which can only indicate a plural solution, which BENNET is not.
And so I press on into the my fifth decade of puzzles. I am very grateful for the kind remarks so many of you included with your entries on the series having reached this point. Quite a large number of solvers have followed it from the start or for most of the journey. John Tozer offered the following statistics ‘as a testament to the loyalty of [Azed] solvers’: there are six competitors who have appeared in the Slips in all forty competition years: Canon C. M. Broun, G. Johnstone, D. F. Manley, C. G. Millin, C. J. Morse and R. J. Palmer. 57 competitors have appeared in 30 or more different years, and 151 in 20 or more different years.