◀  No. 7013 Nov 1985 Clue list No. 709  ▶



1.  N. C. Dexter: What psychiater could effect with a trio of Moussorgsky’s? (anag. incl. Mou, & lit.).

2.  H. J. Bradbury: Is chorea put mistakenly in my medical records? (anag. in my).

3.  F. B. Stubbs: Presenting my Orpheus act I supply a soothing influence (anag.; supply adv.).


M. Barley: Involve Beethoven’s 7th in this, and it might be ‘symphonicurative’! (comp. anag. incl. v, & lit.).

Mrs A. R. Bradford: Makes psycho mute with air capriccioso? (anag. & lit.).

E. J. Burge: Included in my treatment of upset – a choir? (anag. in my & lit.).

Dr I. S. Fletcher: This may cure – op involved? (anag. & lit.).

S. Goldie: A medley of Arthur Sullivan’s overtures to cure my hip? (anag. incl. A S, & lit.).

R. J. Hooper: In which we’d see rhapsodic air mute psycho? (anag. & lit.).

G. Johnstone: What’s treating a psycho with ut-re-mi? (anag. & lit.).

F. P. N. Lake: May this with brief opus cure nuts? (anag. incl. op).

A. Lawrie: What can work at a ‘symphonic’ cure? This can (comp. anag. & lit.).

M. D. Laws: EPs charm you, undergoing treatment with it? (anag. & lit.).

J. H. C. Leach: Initially maddening, this caper you contrived – something ‘to soothe the savage breast’ is needed (anag. incl. m).

J. C. Leyland: Wherein doctor hums operatic overture to you (anag. + y, & lit.).

D. F. Manley: This cure Op. may work (anag. & lit.).

H. W. Massingham: I suspect harmony’s used in this, with extremes of neuroses (comp. anag. incl. n, s, & lit.).

T. J. Moorey: Ravel may cure extremes of psycho with this (anag. incl. p, o, & lit.).

D. Oakes: Playing ut re mi with a psycho (anag. & lit.).

R. J. Palmer: Pieces from Philharmonic Orchestra? – this may cure nuts (anag. incl. P O, & lit.).

M. E. Ventham: Much as poetry, I heal (anag. & lit.).

J. F. N. Wedge: Upset? Choir may give this treatment (anag. & lit.).

S. Woods: Nastily cite your mishap? Not I, treatment being noted (anag. less I; ref. AZ’s blunder).

A. J. Young: As to hypericum, transported it may bring a little composition to the beds (anag.).


R. Abrey, R. H. Adey, C. Allen Baker, D. W. Arthur, E. A. Beaulah, J. D. D. Blaikie, Mrs A. Blanchard, C. J. & M. P. Butler, M. Clarke, M. Coates, R. P. Dowling, P. Drummond, C. J. Feetenby, G. & J. Ferris, H. J. Godwin, J. F. Grimshaw, G. T. Hewitt, G. B. Higgins, J. I. James, M. S. Taylor & N. C. Johns, A. B. Jones, A. H. Jones, C. L. Jones, J. W. Leonard, A. N. Macdougall, L. K. Maltby, L. May, J. P. Mernagh, W. L. Miron, C. J. Morse, R. F. Naish, F. E. Newlove, S. J. O’Boyle, F. R. Palmer, W. H. Pegram, Mrs A. G. Phillips, J. T. Price, R. F. Ray, H. L. Rhodes, H. R. Sanders, T. E. Sanders, W. J. M. Scotland, W. K. M. Slimmings, B. D. Smith, Mrs E. Thurlow, D. J. Webb, Mrs M. P. Webber, Rev C. D. Westbrook, D. Williams, D. O. Williams, Dr E. Young.

Oh dear, what can I say? Perhaps initial comment should be left to you. ‘PAH! MISTER C., YOU bungled,’ wrote one; ‘SCATHE YOUR IMP,’ another. ‘STUMER I discovered working with POCHAY,’ commented a third, while a fourth pointed to ‘H AS U TYPO CRIME’ (in the preamble). The basic error, in which two coded clues got switched, was, I must confess at the outset, mine entirely and nothing to do with typesetters or printers. I’m terribly sorry about it and did what I could to make amends before it was too late by inserting a note the following week alongside the announcement of prizewinners of the previous week’s puzzle. Most regular competitors either saw this or had worked out what was wrong already. To the few who still feel that an unfair trick was played upon them I offer my abject apologies and ask them to appreciate the dilemma I found myself in. Of the 280 + entries I finally received, fewer than twenty were incomplete through failure to arrive at the code-word, so I decided that the competition should not be scrapped. Whatever I did I was likely to offend some, but this seemed the path of least resistance. Many of the messages included with entries were very generous in forgiving my blunder but I’m haunted by the thought of the wasted hours so many of you must have spend wrestling with an unsolvable problem while I remained powerless to do anything about it. May I simply advise that if on any future occasion you suspect that something has gone wrong, you contact The Observer (in the admirable person of Mrs Denise Brotherwood) for reassurance? At the same time I devoutly hope that a disaster of this magnitude will never recur.
That said, I resoundingly plead ‘not guilty’ to the charge made by not a few to the effect that ‘wax’ should have read ‘wane’ in my clue to ABLATE (‘Melt away one end of seal in wax ‘). This was meant to be read as A + L in BATE (= fit of rage, temper) rather than L in ABATE and was therefore quite sound, though the misunderstanding was, in retrospect, easy to account for. I also received some stick for my definition of BEBOP as ‘something like rock’; as a self-confessed ignoramus where jazz is concerned I tend to confuse all types of music which rely for effect on heavy rhythmic emphasis. My apologies to the cognoscenti.
The one compensating factor in an otherwise somewhat blighted competition was the plethora of excellent clues to a word that was clearly rich in possibilities. I had the greatest difficulty picking the winner and those very highly commended, exact choice of wording being often the deciding factor between mention in the lists and relegation to HC or below. ‘Playfair’ is not everyone’s cup of tea – especially when the setter doesn’t play fair himself! – but the following notes from FBS may convert the lukewarm: ‘1. Each letter encodes into one which is co-linear with it, i.e. in the same tier or in the same column of the code square. Conversely, each encoded letter is co-linear with its original. 2. If an original pair is co-linear, the encoded pair must be in that same tier or column. 3. If the original pair forms a diagonal, each of its letters encodes into one on the same line. 4. If an original letter in a pair is repeated in the reverse position after encoding, the letters form a consecutive trio; the repeated letter is central, with the other original letter in front of it. 5. If, say, X becomes Y, and elsewhere in the puzzle Y becomes X, then X and Y are diagonally related. 6. This is very flexible, but frequent. The codeword usually extends to 2+ lines, and the residual letters of the alphabet to the remaining 2 + lines.’


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