AZED CROSSWORD 2265
1. D. F. Manley: Prof. RD’s an atheist – and has this designation possibly? (comp. anag. & lit.; ref. Richard Dawkins).
2. T. C. Borland: Turn to ref: trip’s outside the box, he thinks (anag.).
3. D. P. Shenkin: One to shake up trite profs? (anag. & lit.).
D. K. Arnott: Libertine’s très sportif, cavorting with no end of sportives (anag. less s; see libertine).
D. & N. Aspland: I’m unfit for pi set, having what’s original in religious thought? (anag. + r, t, & lit.).
M. Barker: Blair finally to be cleared in redraft of first Report? I’ve an open mind (anag. less r; ref. Chilcot).
M. Barley: Introducing element of rationalism, I protest vigorously about the lead faith provides (f in anag. incl. r, & lit.).
R. Gilbert: For him, the early principles of Enlightenment savants prove religion is the foe of rational thought (first letters & lit.).
G. I. L. Grafton: If superstore trolley’s beginning wobbling, there’s no use grumbling – one’s an independent mind! (anag. incl. t less anag.).
R. J. Heald: Turbulent priest receives knight’s terminal stab, having rebuffed king who opposes Church’s authority? (t for(k) in anag.; ref. Thomas à Becket).
Mrs D. B. Jenkinson: Troubled priest (Knox?) not a bien pensant type (anag. + Fort).
M. A. Macdonald-Cooper: Wry self-portrait left artist’s face obscured – Francis Bacon, perhaps? (anag. less l, a; ref. FB philosopher and FB painter).
K. Milan: ‘FT report is tampered with’ (Independent) (anag.).
T. J. Moorey: Excluding nothing, report of Chilcot (finally!) is prepared independently? I think so (anag. incl. t less 0; ref. Iraq war inquiry).
R. S. Morse: Who’ll show a bit of reason in spite of being persecuted, right? (r in anag. + rt, & lit.).
R. J. Palmer: Fellow engaged in Liberal protest about religious instruction (anag. incl. F, RI, & lit.).
A. Plumb: Fir spotter possibly could also make forest trip, one thinks rationally (double anag.).
J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter: Chilcot’s conclusion: report is heading for finish, surprisingly. I’m sceptical (anag. incl. t, f).
Dr S. J. Shaw: Term for rationalist (French in origin) or embodied by rebellious priest (t, F, or in anag., & lit.).
A. J. Wardrop: Reformed priest, such as Knox? Probably not (anag. + Fort).
R. J. Whale: High priest? Pah, say I (anag. + fort, & lit.; ref. pah1,2).
A. Whittaker: This could be troubled priest in quest of truth, remorselessly (anag. + for + t(ruth)).
P. B. Alldred, D. Appleton, D. J. Bexson, R. Bowden, P. Cargill, D. Carter, S. L. Claughton, A. Colston, N. Connaughton, P. T. Crow, C. Daffern, V. Dixon (Ireland), W. Drever, C. M. Edmunds, A. S. Everest, Dr I. S. Fletcher, P. Halse, M. Hodgkin, G. Johnstone, J. P. Lester, W. F. Main, K. Manley, P. W. Marlow, L. Marzillier (USA), Ms J. McNally, C. G. Millin, C. J. Morse, T. D. Nicholl, C. Ogilvie, Dr T. G. Powell, J. & A. Price, T. Purcell, W. Ransome, N. G. Shippobotham, C. Short, P. L. Stone, P. Taylor, R. C. Teuton, J. R. Tozer, A. J. Varney, Mrs A. M. Walden, Ms S. Wallace, L. Ward (USA), T. West-Taylor, D. Wilyman, Dr E. Young, R. Zara.
179 entries, no noticeable mistakes. Equal favourite clues, of 24 receiving one or more votes: ‘Sea-gulls are possibly (not eagles, silly)’ (LARUS) and ‘Priest leading High Requiem Mass leaving pungent smoke’ (PERIQUE). I can take no credit for the second of these; as a number of you spotted, it won a prize (third, actually) in Competition No. 1,988 for Mr Borland, whose name occurs again in the top three quoted above. It’s satisfying that his earlier winner also found favour with many of you this time around. (I make no apology for recycling former gems like this from time to time when the opportunity presents itself, and when my memory has not faded. They deserve a fresh airing.)
The clue that caused the most trouble was ‘Bird e.g. once famously in tow, left dull fatty’ for LUMP, which exploits the abbreviation ‘ump.’ and refers to Dickie Bird, the former test match umpire and professional Yorkshireman, who I thought was sufficiently well known, even to non-cricket-lovers. The fact that my clue only received one vote may indicate that I was mistaken (or simply that it wasn’t a particularly good clue anyway)!
I had some misgivings about ESPRIT FORT, a lexical item not previously known to me and, I guess, rarely used these days. It is not in my Concise Oxford Hachette French Dictionary (1995), which translates ‘freethinker’ as libre penseur/-euse. You still managed to come up with plenty of good ideas. Variations on ‘turbulent priest’ were understandably popular, so extra-clever wording was called for to raise such clues above the average level, but then that is so often the case. ‘Libertine’ was also a nice find. Although Chambers refers to its historical use, it does not label it as obsolete, so I tended to be lenient. A significant few used the idea of ‘Harry Potter’ to indicate an anagram of POTTER. I haven’t read the books but I recognized this as a promising approach, though none who used it really managed to produce a complete clue that was totally convincing.
In conclusion I’d like to say, as I rarely do, how much I appreciate the comments so many of you include with your entries, on all manner of issues. You will appreciate, I’m sure, that I cannot respond to all but a handful of these. If I think they deserve a wider audience I try to allude to them in the slip, but if you have a particular query you want me to answer, do please include a stamped addressed envelope and I’ll do my best not to keep you waiting unduly.