AZED CROSSWORD 712
1. R. Brain: ‘I can appear as thespian or mome,’ articulated stage hack (anag.).
2. H. J. McClarron: Men (front and back) operate him so hilariously (anag. & lit.).
3. D. A. Crossland: Mare? Pooh! It’s men dressed up (anag. & lit.).
VHC (extra prizes)
D. Ashcroft: Hot tip to he backed? (Can’t be!) I’m appearing in a production of Mother Goose, letting go, prancing (could be!) (nap (rev.) + anag. less go & lit.).
M. Barley: Part in some burlesque involving a couple of men with a pair of hooves? (me, ho in anag. & lit.).
Dr P. M. J. Bennett: Antic duo galumphing harmonise tempo (anag.).
C. J. Brougham: Galumphing pair men hoot’s me! (anag. & lit.).
D. A. Campbell: Two actors at once playing Steed gives Emma her options, varied (anag.; ref ‘The Avengers’).
C. A. Clarke: Term associated with Homo sapiens in disguise (head of rear section out of sight) (anag. less s & lit.).
W. Davies: Seasonal double act could, with suitably designed set, be on at the Moss Empire (comp. anag. & lit.).
M. Earle: Hope monetarism worked for Christmas ‘business’ partnership (executive on boards) (anag.).
M. B. Fisher: Short poem mine, a comical couplet with irregular feet (anag. & lit.).
Dr I. S. Fletcher: I’m, in performing art, some one hp? (anag. incl. I’m & lit.).
B. Greer: What could make Thespian more comical, with second in back? (mo (rev.) in anag. & lit.).
P. F. Henderson: After start of performance, I and some other man will cavort in this rôle (p+ anag.).
R. J. Hooper: In me (some part!) couple of ‘hoofers’ clown (anag. incl. ho & lit.).
R. K. Lumsdon: Mare? – pooh, it’s men prancing (anag. & lit.).
L. K. Maltby: Posh mare? Not me, I fool about (anag. & lit.).
H. R. Simpson: Could be home to men pairs (anag. & lit.).
W. K. M. Slimmings: It does harmonise tempo, dancing – after partner gets guidance from behind (anag.; after (adj), behind (n)).
Mrs M. P. Webber: It’s a romp with those in me cavorting about together (anag. & lit.).
C. Allen Baker, D. W. Arthur, M. J. Balfour, M. Barnes, J. D. D. Blaikie, Mrs F. A. Blanchard, H. J. Bradbury, E. J. Burge, P. & C. Burnett, B. E. Chamberlain, A. F. Coles, P. F. Coltman, E. Dawid, R. V. Dearden, N. C. Dexter, C. J. Feetenby, Mrs C. Firth, F. D. Gardiner, N. C. Goddard, D. R. Gregory, J. F. Grimshaw, J. M. Houghton, A. H. Jones, N. Kemmer, Dr D. R. Laney, J. C. Leyland, P. R. Lloyd, D. F. Manley, L. May, A. McIntyre, Rev M. R. Metcalf, D. P. M. Michael, C. G. Millin, J. J. Moore, T. J. Moorey, C. J. Morse, T. W. Mortimer, G. F. Mulhern, F. R. Palmer, R. J. Palmer, D. P. Shenkin, R. G. Smith, D. M. Stanford, B. Stuart, F. B. Stubbs, G. A. Tomlinson, G. Vinestock, A. J. Wardrop, M. H. E. Watson, J. F. N. Wedge, Mrs B. Wharf, G. H. Willett, S. Woods, Dr E. Young, and an unnamed entry beginning ‘Capering mome – or Thespian?’.
580 entries, the only mistakes resulting from failure to spot the RED RUM variations. Most enjoying solving these though one or two, unreasonably I feel, regarded them as unfair or seemed to expect actual horses’ names that reversed as types of crime (a tall order!). I was careful to avoid saying in the preamble that all answers appeared in Chambers except for the proper names, and in fact was following a Ximenean precedent. Years ago (before my time, actually) X based a T & V puzzle on the ‘rude mechanicals’ in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the variations on SNUG being reversals of types of gun.
I was delighted at the size of the entry, suggesting that the degree of difficulty and ‘solver-appeal’ was just about right for the festive season. One solver, a peer of the realm, noted that after 54 years of solving Torquemada, Ximenes and Azed this was the first time he’d submitted an entry, because ‘it was such fun to do.’ I soon realised I would have to accept ESSAY as an alternative to ASSAY at 13 Down (definition: ‘experience ‘), the difference in meaning of the two words being minimal. Otherwise I don’t think there were any major problems. The 14-letter clue ‘word’ proved quite difficult to clue originally. Almost everyone submitted anagrams, with or without an ‘& lit.’ dimension, and my task was really to decide which clues contained sufficiently precise definitions of the compound in question. A number of you spotted the attractive near-anagram METAMORPHOSING, with only one letter different, but no one quite exploited it to persuasive effect. Mr Lumsdon came very close to being third equal with Mr Crossland but here again I finally decided there was a slight difference in the quality of wording which gave Mr Crossland the edge.
A number of recent competitions (not including the Christmas ‘special’) have had their results published after three weeks rather than two because of the erratic postal service between London and my home. I am tempted to suggest to The Observer that we make three weeks the standard period between puzzles and the announcement of results, unless you feel strongly that this is too long a period over which to retain any recollection of the puzzles. All comments welcome.
My thanks for all the kind sentiments received with the Christmas competition entries. Good solving to you all in 1986!