AZED CROSSWORD 2421
1. G. Borooah: À la PM’s disco dancing? (anag. & lit.; ref. Theresa May at Tory conference).
2. Dr I. S. Fletcher: Sips do calm a burst of hiccups, maybe (anag.).
3. M. Barley: Occasional unsound entry to Azed comp is, sadly, not unknown (anag. incl. A less y).
T. C. Borland: Starting trouble as coil’s damp (anag.).
D. Carter: Isolated PM’s coda is a deal finally unravelling? (anag. incl. l).
N. Connaughton (Ireland): Jerky is sun-imbued spiced meat Aldi & Co. supply (S in Spam + anag.).
V. Dixon (Ireland): Jerky – old? I see Spam as like that (anag. incl. c).
H. Freeman: As disco lamp, flickering? (anag. & lit.).
J. Grimes: As disco lamp’s flickering? (anag. & lit.).
R. J. Heald: Twitchy face of smuggler an indicator of stress when stopped by customs (s + modi in pascal).
V. Henderson: Ache —— – so a medical chap’s puzzled? (comp. anag. & lit.).
M. Hodgkin: Social media’s essential content hacked with spam in bursts (anag. incl. d).
B. Ingoldsby (Ireland): Now and then pass ill-organised medical taking nothing for energy (anag. + medical with 0 for E).
D. F. Manley: Muscle pain has doc so uncertain – is one such ——? (comp. anag. & lit.).
J. R. C. Michie: Broken compass dial not fixed (anag.).
T. D. Nicholl: Following stokes, damp coal is flickering on and off (s + anag.).
J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter: A disco lamp’s flickering, going on and off (anag.).
Dr S. J. Shaw: Such throes, intermittently present, could develop from isolated cramps (comp. anag. incl. t, r, e, & lit.).
I. Simpson: Special area with customs in balance? Arlene’s latest to go twitchy (sp + a + modi in scal(e); ref. Arlene Foster).
J. R. Tozer: Jerky might if it’s hot make ‘Spamaholics’ a little dyspeptic (anag. incl. d less h).
Mrs A. M. Walden: Camp old actor’s opening is reviewed on front of stage periodical (s + anag. incl. a; on = just after).
Ms S. Wallace: Fitful snatches of madness and depression left Picasso troubled (anag. incl. m, a, d, l).
K. & J. Wolff: Portion of Asari clams, poisoned (one gone off), spewed like a geyser! (anag. incl. A, less one).
P. B. Alldred, T. Anderson, D. Appleton, D. & N. Aspland, M. Barker, M. Barnes, D. J. Bexson, J. Brown, Dr J. Burscough, A. Chamberlain, J. Clare, M. Coates, Dr P. Coles, E. Dawid, W. Drever, P. Finan, R. Gilbert, Ms Y. Grantham, A. & R. Haden, A. H. Harker, J. R. H. Jones (Mexico), J. P. Lester, J. C. Leyland, B. Lovering, Ms C. Lovett, G. Maker, P. W. Marlow, L. F. Marzillier (USA), P. McKenna, Rev Prebendary M. R. Metcalf, C. G. Millin, T. J. Moorey, C. Ogilvie, R. J. Palmer, M. Price, S. Saunders, A. D. Scott, J. M. Sharman, Dr G. Simpson (Australia), B. Solomons, P. A. Stephenson, P. L. Stone, P. Tharby, K. Thomas, D. Thomson, A. Vick, L. Ward (USA), A. J. Wardrop, R. J. Whale, J. Woodall (France), A. J. Young.
202 entries, no mistakes. By general consent, a relatively benign competition plain. Favourite clue, from 17 nominated at least once: ‘Dog or kitten mostly excluded round small cooking area’ (CHENET), with one vote more than ‘Headlong fall? Nothing to ease the pain at cut’ (NOSE-DIVE).
Moving on to SPASMODICAL, I note that adjectives are less popular as words to clue than nouns or verbs (I rarely give you other parts of speech, but why not, in future?), to the point where a number of entries fail to indicate in their definition part that the target word is adjectival, e.g. ‘may involve convulsions’, which if anything indicates a noun. A phrase like ‘in fits and starts’ is borderline acceptable, feeling to me more adverbial if anything without e.g. ‘occurring’ before it. And those of you who are less than thrilled by having to clue adjectives won’t be encouraged to know that Ximenes and I have given you no fewer than six ‘-ical’ words over the years: UNMETHODICAL, ERISTICAL, FRENETICAL, PROSAICAL, THRENETICAL and now SPASMODICAL. My thanks to JRT for drawing my attention to this. It’s fair to say that I normally base my choice of clue word more on meaning and structure/constituent letters than on part of speech. Despite its lack of e’s this month’s clue word lent itself well to anagrams. Unfortunately the attractive ‘compass dial’ was just too popular to win a high place in the lists; anagrams including ‘disco lamp’ proved a better bet because of its ‘comp. anag.’ possibilities. Mr Borooah’s clue, with its reference to Mrs May’s rather embarrassing interpretation of ‘Dancing Queen’ at the recent Tory party conference, was for me irresistible. I should also mention, since it came up several times this month, the practice I find unacceptable of wording in which the definition is also made to do double duty as an anagram indicator, as in ‘Irregular compass dial’ (the whole clue).
Over-compression, I’d say.
And finally, Tim Moorey asks me to mention the publication of a major update of his How to Crack Cryptic Crosswords (Harper Collins), which might make a very good Christmas present.