◀  No. 8014 Oct 1987 Clue list No. 809  ▶



1.  W. Jackson: Resisting gush in dyke stands one small boy (I tot in les).

2.  F. P. N. Lake: So title not good? (anag. & lit.).

3.  P. Drummond: ‘Only a little one’ as cover for whoppers – or just the opposite (tot in lies).


E. J. Burge: Tie lost (given thrashing). ‘Not one of our better games’ (representative) (anag.).

N. C. Dexter: With this, what’s large to begin with could become so little (comp. anag. & lit.).

G. & J. Ferris: Is no little love lost in battle? That’s an understatement (anag. less nil).

N. C. Goddard: Rum islet? – that rings of understatement (to in anag.).

R. R. Greenfield: Slovenly one with this could be not so elite (comp. anag. & lit.).

J. I. & B. C. James: Conservative statement gives heart to slim organisation for a better society ((s)li(m) tote S).

M. S. Taylor & N. C. Johns: —— is found to include what’s not exactly O.T.T. (anag. in lies, & lit.; ‘over the top’).

P. W. W. Leach: It makes little of something in deceptive terms (tot in lies, & lit.).

J. P. Lester: Not house-agents’ usual style, ‘Building is to let’ (anag.).

R. D. Lyall: Munchausen stories, not a whopper amongst them? That’s not his style! (tot in lies).

D. F. Manley: Meiosis? It lets ovum initially form (anag. incl. o).

R. S. Morse: New edition of T. S. Eliot? No mean feat, perhaps, for English student (anag.).

T. W. Mortimer: A lad seething? With this it could be said e.g.: he’s not a little upset! (comp. anag. & lit.).

G. Perry: What one can make of Aristotle without a second in Greek – not a lot perhaps? (anag. less a r).

P. Pridmore: Kids swallowing slug – as an example, that’s not good (tot in lies; kid n.).

W. J. M. Scotland: At boxing this could get Muhammad against tough assignment – no small purse, say? ((A)li to tes(t)).

Dr W. I. D. Scott: Little’s spelt out here – no length – nothing added (anag. less l incl. 0, & lit.).

W. K. M. Slimmings: It suggests no great whopper in economics with truth (tot in lies, & lit.; ref. Sir W. Armstrong, Spycatcher, etc.).

Mrs M. P. Webber: This shows a bit in ‘is economical with the truth’ (tot in lies).

R. J. Whale: Little chap into deception? ‘Not a lot…’ perhaps (tot in lies; ref. Paul Daniels’ catchphrase).

M. G. Wilson: Shedding pound, so little changed – no great slimmer, one might say! (anag. less l).


W. Arthur, M. Barley, E. A. Beaulah, J. D. D. Blaikie, H. J. Bradbury, C. J. Brougham, C. J. & M. P. Butler, C. A. Clarke, A. J. Clow, B. Cozens, A. E. Crow, Dr V. G. I. Deshmukh, J. H. Dingwall, H. F. Dixon, M. Earle, L. K. Edkins, C. M. Edmunds, Mrs P. Edwards, C. J. Feetenby, Dr I. S. Fletcher, H. Freeman, S. Goldie, J. F. Grimshaw, I. F. & L. M. Haines, P. Henderson, G. B. Higgins, S. Holgate, G. Johnstone, A. H. Jones, R. E. Kimmons, J. H. C. Leach, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, L. K. Maltby, H. W. Massingham, C. G. Millin, W. L. Miron, Dr R. G. Monk, T. J. Moorey, H. B. Morton, D. S. Nagle, R. F. Naish, F. E. Newlove, F. R. Palmer, R. M. Penrose, D. Price Jones, H. L. Rhodes, E. R. Riddle, D. R. Robinson, S. Rose, T. E. Sanders, A. J. Shields, D. M. Stanford, F. B. Stubbs, J. B. Sweeting, R. C. Teuton, M. A. Trollope, V. C. D. Vowles, W. Woodruff.

417 entries, about thirty of which spoiled their chances with DEMONIAC for DEMONIAN. I know DEMONIAC is the commoner form, the other apparently only appearing in Milton, and it was deliberately impish (!) of me to opt for the latter, but do make sure you understand the answer to a clue before you enter it and beware of accepting something that seems good enough. It is normally a bad clue that leads to more than one possible solution and I always strive to avoid ambiguity of this kind (while striving equally hard for ambiguity in the wording of clues to render the solving process more testing, which is all part of the game).
This was, it seems, a puzzle of moderate difficulty. The clue that attracted most comment (laudatory, critical and puzzled) was that for TWO-HANDER with its reference to Sleuth, a play (later a film) by Peter Shaffer for (as it finally emerges) two actors. Severest critics objected not so much to the wording of the clue, which was sound, but to my having given the game away and spoilt it for anyone who may still go to a production of Sleuth in blissful ignorance of its special twist. Guilty, I’m afraid. It never crossed my mind that I was being a spoilsport. I suppose I thought everyone knew by now but when I reflect that I haven’t a clue who does the murder in The Mousetrap I realise that such as assumption was unwarranted.
I hoped LITOTES would prove an amusing challenge and I wasn’t disappointed. Vandalised toilets and T. S. Eliot proved rather too popular but most essayed definition by example, this being one of the commonest tropes in our language. (Contrary to what a couple of older hands suspected, Ximenes had never chosen the word for a competition, though doubtless he clued it himself more than once). When giving an example of litotes as a means of defining it, however, many forgot or omitted to indicate this clearly (by a question mark, an ‘e.g.’ or whatever) thus seriously weakening their clues. This is a point I made in the UPHOLSTERY slip (No. 796) hut I make no apologies for repeating it again so soon. Congratulations to Mr Jackson for his winning clue, which for me stood out clearly as the best in a good month (tiny quibble I’d have preferred ‘child’ for ‘boy’ – it can be either). And finally, I have recently acquired a copy of Chambers Twentieth Century Thesaurus, an alphabetically-arranged synonym dictionary based on TCD and one that complements it admirably. With Christmas as approaching, a few hints might be dropped to relations racking their brains for ideas for suitable presents. It’s £8.50 in hard covers.


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