AZED CROSSWORD 2168
CENTURY (with missing C)
1. C. J. Morse: Five sore backsides to physic grieve Matron – not you, Dr Busby (score; last letters; ref. the Rev. Dr Richard B., famous flogging headmaster of Westminster1638-1693).
2. M. Barley: Years spanned by crossword anon after its first appearance, entertaining for all (canon; c + U in entry).
3. A. Brash: Batting uncertainty isn’t gone – five sore results (score; anag. less ain’t; ref. England’s woeful test results in Australia).
VHC (extra prizes)
J. Abernethy: Row about discordant tune in Strauss’s score? (crow; anag. in cry; ref. Andrew S., former test cricketer).
Dr J. Burscough: Ten sore – you’re dismissing one in two possibly (score; anag. of alternate letters & lit.; 200 × ½).
C. J. Butler: Turn ye falteringly after the onset of old age? (cold; c + anag.).
M. J. Clarke: Stokes’s mighty sore in Perth, start of comeback yet urn is wretchedly lost (score; c + anag.; ref. fruitless century by Ben Stokes in Perth test).
H. Freeman: Clubs getting heads snapped off, express holer with three-figure score (choler; c + (v)ent (f)ury; ref. golf).
R. Gilbert: Five sore old regulars caught for all to see nipping into erstwhile hostelry (score; c + U in entry).
R. Grafen: It’s all about adventures in middle age (call; entu in cry).
J. Grimes: Old soldiers in a bath, introduction of Noel truce ending in muddy play (batch; anag. incl. N, y; ref. WWI incident).
B. C. & J. I. James: Tune broadcast for all to take in occasion of Queen’s message? (call; anag. in cry; ref. Queen’s telegram).
J. P. Lester: Weep about rumbling tune in score of quintets (crumbling; anag. in cry).
C. G. Millin: A top batsman’s sore, with a one followed by two ducks (score; 1, 0, 0).
T. J. Moorey: Stokes apart, runs yet to be hit with side in crisis – this sore needed (score; anag. incl. c less s; ref. test century by Ben S.).
M. Owen: Puzzle this old? Could be expressed as ‘ton’, rudely (crudely; comp. anag.).
J. Vincent & R. Porter: Cook sometimes makes this – half of Xmas bird with last of gravy and, beforehand, starters of hunky edam and nibbles (chunky; c, e, n + tur(key) + y; ref. Alastair C., England captain).
Dr S. J. Shaw: Top batsman’s sore perhaps when taking nothing from Courtney bowling (score; anag. less 0; ref. C. Walsh, former WI fast bowler).
P. A. Stephenson: Cook’s opening with run yet failed making one mighty sore! (score; C + anag.; ref. Alastair C., England captain).
P. L. Stone: A number of men carving old turkey with new cutting edge to knife (cold; c + anag. incl. n less k).
J. R. Tozer: Five sore years resolved by new year truce (score; anag. incl. n, y).
A. J. Wardrop: Urn etc lost before finale in Sydney, Stokes’s sore in Perth (score; anag. y; ref. test century by Ben S.).
A. Whittaker: Military unit one despatched, we hear, united army’s regulars (once; ‘sent’ U +(a)r(m)y).
G. H. Willett: It’s acceptable in the old guard and pleases anyone with the MC (MCC; U in centry).
A. J. Young: Duration of one major conflict – it’s true involving limits to nationality can provide the answer (truce; anag. incl. n, y; ref. 100 years war).
D. K. Arnott, M. Barnes, T. C. Borland, C. J. Brougham, P. Cargill, D. Carter, C. A. Clarke, N. Connaughton, E. Dawid, V. Dixon (Ireland), Dr I. S. Fletcher, G. I. L. Grafton, D. Harris, D. V. Harry, R. J. Heald, R. Hesketh, J. R. Howlett, G. Johnstone, M. Joslin, Dr D. T. Lambert, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, D. F. Manley, T. D. Nicholl, J. Nicholson (Spain), M. L. Perkins, A. Plumb, D. Price Jones, T. Rudd, C. Short, I. Simpson, P. Taylor, R. C. Teuton, M. Wainwright, Mrs A. M. Walden, L. Ward (USA), R. J. Whale, Dr E. Young, R. Zara.
203 entries, no mistakes. 19 nominations for favourite clue; no runaway winner, but ‘Ma’s making more racket, row that is curbed by bishop’ (ROARIER) just pipped the rest. The puzzle seems to have posed about the right challenge for a Christmas special, and although there was nothing particularly Christmassy about it I did feel that some acknowledgement of the crossword centenary was called for. (Non-crossworders often express surprise that they haven’t been around considerably longer.)
Devising good clues wasn’t easy, especially in view of my stipulation that they should make some sense with and without the omitted ‘c’. Why did I insist on this, when I normally don’t for Misprints or Letters Latent clues? No special reason, though it seemed an attractive refinement at the time. It certainly caught some of you unawares. Quite a few entries ignored or overlooked it, or produced Letters Latent-type clues for (C)ENTURY. Several were also flawed in failing to take into account the fact that the omission of the ‘c’ made no difference to the cryptic reading, e.g. by the use of ‘rushed’ which could indicate an anagram in the same way that ‘crushed’ does. As the clues quoted above suggest, ‘s(c)ore’ was the most popular way of dealing with the missing ‘c’. No harm in that – the range of possibilities was bound to be somewhat limited – though I marginally preferred clues which did not reuse words that featured in my own clues. And I was not too bothered by the upper/lower case distinction, e.g. where the omitted ‘c’ came at the start of the clue, leaving a lower-case start to the clue after its omission.
The inclusion in the grid of (Eddie) Cochran and Ry Cooder, both perhaps requiring specialized knowledge, got me out of a couple of tight corners. Only one competitor said they were unknown to him. I’ve always rather admired Cooder, who has done a huge amount to revive interest in folk music worldwide and is perhaps best known for bringing the Buena Vista Social Club to public attention some years ago. And on the subject of proper names, CJM’s first prize-winner stood out for me despite my ignorance of Dr Busby, though I have since learnt what a towering figure he was, for all his belief in the efficacy of corporal punishment. (His pupils included Christopher Wren and John Dryden.) Reading about him merely increased my respect for this clue.
Enough for now, except to apologize to Mr N. G. Shippobotham for carelessly omitting his VHC clue from the December slip. If he can remind me what it was I shall take care to set the record straight in due course. And yes, our trip to south India was everything we’d hoped for, and more.