AZED CROSSWORD 2376
SOW(PIASTRE)ENS (Christmas Pudding)
1. R. J. Heald: Among barnyard animals lies holy son whose love has become a symbol of Christmas (pia2 son with tree for 0, all in sows).
2. Dr S. J. Shaw: Wandering star is seen welcoming three leaders from Orient with presents (first letters in anag.).
3. A. H. Harker: Scatter needles when pine perhaps is brought inside (sow + as tree in pins).
VHC (extra prizes)
D. K. Arnott: Implant like mine nurses snigger about (sow + as in pit + sneer (rev.)).
M. Barley: The essence of Christmas: family members gathering in one place for presents, snow swirling outside (s + 1 in pas + tree, all in anag.).
J. G. Booth: Surely our weakened PM is actively seeking terms re ensuring European nationals’ security primarily? (first letters).
J. M. Brown: Unusual star seen in holy evening with farm animals around (anag. in pi e’en in sows).
Dr J. Burscough: Winter stall by devout saint found,/Nativity’s first to have animals around (pia st + ree + n, all in sows).
A. & J. Calder: What’s this confection? Well, it’s rap mixed up in old fancies (so + anag. in weens; rap, coin).
C. A. Clarke: Following broadcast, Spain’s in turmoil about divided structure (sow + tree in anag.; ref. Catalonia).
M. D. Cooke: Broadcast finished, Queen’s seen relaxing, imbibing one (1 in sow past + anag.).
V. Dixon (Ireland): Spread confusion about residents abroad losing identity (sow pi a + anag. les ID; ref. Brexit alarmism).
W. Drever: Terrible snows brought about the end of office parties, sadly (anag. incl. e in anag.).
D. Harrison: Ian’s tree’s lit up after a wee drammie (sowp + anag.).
B. Lovering: That will do! Starts to wolf pudding – there’s a coin in it, flipping scoff (so + w, p + as in it + sneer (rev.)).
D. F. Manley: Turkey devoured by glutton, not really virtuous when seen bolting? (TR in sow + pi + as + anag.).
R. J. Palmer: Boy-child’s sheltering was encapsulating religious symbol of Christmas (pi in was + tree, all in son’s).
R. C. Teuton: Finishes off Christmas beano with mince pies, a couple of truffles and nuts (s, o + w anag. incl. tr + ens).
J. R. Tozer: Broadcast writer’s embracing crude satire (sow + anag. in pen’s).
Mrs A. M. Walden: After a wee dram resistance is crumbling, about to evaporate (sowp + anag. less c).
Ms S. Wallace: Early signs from sky offer worshippers plentiful illumination – wondrous star seen (first letters + anag.).
G. H. Willett: There’s something appealing about Wenceslas’s preliminary symbol of logs in loco parentis (W + e in anag., all in SOS).
T. Anderson, D. Appleton, D. & N. Aspland, Ms K. Bolton, G. Borooah (USA), A. Brash, M. Cerny, A. G. Chamberlain, P. Coles, N. Connaughton, B. & T. Coventry, Ms L. Davis, A. Esau, Dr M. Ewart, A. Fabian, J. Fairclough, C. D. S. & E. A. Field, Dr I. S. Fletcher, R. Gilbert, Ms J. Gore (France), G. Hobbs, R. J. Hooper, J. R. H. Jones (Mexico), E. C. Lance, J. P. Lester, M. J. Lunan, A. MacDougall, P. W. Marlow, P. McKenna (China), G. L. McStravick, J. R. C. Michie, C. G. Millin, T. J. Moorey, M. Oshin (USA), M. L. Perkins, W. Ransome, G. J. H. Roberts, N. Roper, T. Rudd, D. P. Shenkin, N. G. Shippobotham, P. A. Stephenson, P. L. Stone, P. Tharby, K. Thomas, J. Vincent, J. D. Walsh, A. J. Wardrop, N. Warne, R. J. Whale, D. C. Williamson, Ms S. Wise, K. & J. Wolff, A. J. Young, Dr E. Young.
163 entries, no mistakes. Plenty of nominees for favourite clue (19) with no runaway winner (the way I like it), first-equal being those for SU(AS)ET (thematic) and TINAJA (non-thematic). I was pleased that many found the puzzle as a whole fun to solve and of about the right degree of difficulty for Chritmas-time, with all its other distractions. I couldn’t recall seeing this idea being used before, though some of you may remember Azed No. 2,012, ‘Christmas is Coming’ in 2010, which was not dissimilar in its basic theme.
Has the practice of hiding small coins in Christmas puddings died out? (‘Rite’s passé now?’, as one clever anagramming competitor surmised.) It was certainly going strong in my family when I was a boy. My mother had a collection of silver threepenny bits which she used in this way every year, but we had to return them to her after each Christmas dinner. They dwindled in number over the years and were replaced by sixpences. We don’t do it nowadays, though my mother’s wonderful pudding recipe, learnt from her mother and possibly grandmother, is still used by my wife.
The clue competition presented an unfamiliar challenge, but one which I reckoned was worth trying. With no definition required there was no immediate point of focus, so one needed to be created. When devising my own thematic clues, I tried to aim for wording that suggested Christmas food, and though this didn’t always prove possible I hoped that you would attempt something seasonal, thematic or topical. More important, it seemed to me that wordplay in clues should indicate the position of their coins. Without this the solver would be unable to determine the exact solution and thus position the entry precisely in the grid. So straight anagrams of the full entry were less than satisfactory, being unfair to the solver. Many of you spotted this, but many did not. That said, there was lots to admire overall, and I commend you all for entering into the spirit of the thing.
There were a couple of mistakes in last month’s slip, one of them more serious than the other. My keyboarding skills are far from perfect, I’m afraid. Brian has kindly included a corrected slip with the current one, for those who like to add them to their collection.