< Slip No. 62 View the clue list Slip No. 70 >



1.  C. O. Butcher: A bit of silliness – being in love is just that (s ens in none).

2.  S. Goldie: Pish-Tushery? Japanese drama with small currency in all quarters but the West (no + sen in N, S, E; ref. The Mikado).

3.  D. V. Harry: In reverse, going backward, backward, backward – BAM! (on (rev.) + ESN ESN (rev.); ESN = educationally subnormal).


Mrs E. Allen: Being on the Sabbath, nobody comes round for the rubbish (S + ens, all in none).

C. Allen Baker: Humbug… God’s being taken in by no part of it (’s ens in none; ’s = God’s).

F. D. H. Atkinson: Man’s last oneness shattered by Babel (n + anag.).

E. J. Burge: It’s not illuminating – no gas – put decimal coin (5p) in (sen s in no Ne; Ne = neon; s = shilling).

E. Chalkley: Anne’s heart, full of love and understanding, didn’t dictate this unromantic reply (0 in (A)nn(e) + sense).

J. Gill: Like all monster stories, Ness disturbed – not one seen around (anag. in none).

D. Hawson: Verse from Lear spoken by the Fool (2 mngs.; ref. King L., Edward L.).

Mrs S. Hewitt: Fudge, stale since nobody has eaten it (sens in none; sens (obs.)).

R. E. Kimmons: Not classical, tenor, pop! (non + sense; pop = poppycock).

Dr P. D. King: Grass is lying about name put before copper: it’s obviously false (n sen in nose; nose, grass = informer).

J. H. C. Leach: Logician’s last to appreciate this stuff (n + on + sense; on = to).

P. W. W. Leach: Paris negatives – slyly seen stuff. What next? (nons + anag.; ref. stuff and n.).

L. F. Leason: Stuff supplied by nark split by northern coppers (N sen in nose; nose, nark = informer).

Mrs B. Lewis: Nobody should go round bemonstered Ness in moonshine (anag. in none).

H. W. Massingham: E.g., no retarded grades are backward (no + ESN ESN (rev.), & lit.; ESN = educationally subnormal).

W. L. Miron: Lear’s lines, spoken by Fool (2 mngs.; ref. King L., Edward L.).

C. J. Morse: It’s absurd the President putting out his second and third interpretation (N(ix)on, sense; ref. Watergate).

M. Newman: Tripe and onions (cored) seen in hash (anag. incl. on(io)ns).

F. R. Palmer: Tripe and onions being English I love – they’re super ((0)n(I)ons ens E; super = supernumerary).

Dr R. J. Palmer: End of Lambton and member of upper house, caught by snooper trifling (n + Sen., all in nose; ref. Anthony L., MP in tabloid scandal).

E. Robinson: Postulating that there is no north, being in the south-east, is balderdash (no N + ens in SE).

W. K. M. Slimmings: Nobody’s to eat bits from a mint humbug (sens in none).

Rev L. M. Styler: Play duplicate with teams two short? It’s absurd (no4 + NSE, NSE; ref. bridge).

Mrs M. P. Webber: Trifling with an indefinite number is a strange way of achieving oneness (n + anag.).


Col P. S. Baines, J. C. Barnes, E. A. Beaulah, Mrs K. Bissett, A. G. Bogie, Mrs A. Boyes, D. A. H. Byatt, A. H. P. Cardew, P. M. Coombs, Mrs M. P. Craine, A. L. Dennis, F. A. Dobinson, P. Drummond, P. S. Elliott, J. J. Goulstone, Mrs E. J. Holmes, E. M. Hornby, J. Humphreys, Mrs N. Jarman, K. W. Johnson, G. Johnstone, A. H. Jones, J. P. Lester, G. A. Linsley, D. F. Manley, H. S. Mason, L. May, T. W. Melluish, C. G. Millin, F. Moss, W. H. Pegram, M. L. Perkins, W. Rodgers, T. E. Sanders, F. B. Stubbs, G. A. Tomlinson.

About 310 entries; a handful of mistakes, almost all UZBEG for UZBEK (who was ‘little’ incidentally because Uzbekistan was one of the ‘Little Russias’). A smaller entry than usual for a plain competition, though I don’t think it was significantly harder than the norm. Weather too good for crosswords, I suspect.
Not a particularly easy word to clue though with lots of scope in the definition. I expected, and got, plenty of references to compass points and bridge players. I have always felt that ‘point’ was too vague an indication for N, S, E or W since it can refer to all the other combinations as well. ‘Quarter’ narrows the field to four and is thus more acceptable. ‘Pole’ does even further and is quite OK for N or S. So I don’t much like a clue such as ‘Point after point after point after point after point after point after point – and nothing in it’ even though, with a bit of help, it is probably quite solvable. Since there was a fair number of unsound as well as vague clues this month, here are a few more examples. I hope their authors will not mind being picked on in this way. They are by no means the only culprits. Indirect anagram: ‘A crumpled gascape is fit only for rubbish’ (anagram of NEON NESS); Failure to indicate part of speech: ‘Sturdy sailor I laugh at’ (a clue to ABSURDITY in any case); Grammatical unsoundness: ‘It has an end, no end, inset centre end, inset centre inset? Absurd!’ (‘an end’ cannot mean ‘end of an’ or ‘inset centre’ ‘centre of inset’); Gratuitous misuse of words: ‘Verse form that identifies the worthlessness found in Landor’s competitor’ (‘worthlessness’ isn’t ‘worthless ness’) Excessive length and complexity: ‘The Sunne Rising: Donne’s intimately bedded with near-nude, having it off. “Busie old foole…,” is this what he uttered?’ (anagram of s(un)ne (D)onne’s, but surely unrecognizable as such). I know it’s very easy to get obsessed by an idea which seems a good one but the soundness of a clue should never be sacrificed to it.
Two apologies for misprints in recent slips. Mr. Leason’s VHC clue to SOLITAIRES (No. 62) should end with the word ‘refreshed’, not ‘afresh’, and Mrs Jarman’s splendid prizewinning P.D. clue to MINARET (No. 57) should have ‘starts’ inserted as the second word. I am sorry about those (my own carelessness) and about the printer’s rush of blood to the head in misspelling Mr. Butcher’s winning clue in the Observer. Pure sillyness!
Finally may I say how much I enjoyed meeting and talking to some of you at the recent London final of the Times National Crossword Championship. It compensated for my own singular lack of success in the event!


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