◀  No. 8051 Nov 1987 Clue list No. 814  ▶



1.  R. Dean: Does cad love it? You can bet it! (anag. & lit.; ‘bet your sweet life’).

2.  J. B. Sweeting: Party (Liberal) active but in disarray. Swing-of-a-lifetime is needed (do L + anag.).

3.  E. J. Burge: Oval cited for redevelopment. Is it the end of the swingers? (anag.).


R. H. Adey: It’s lived at Como, happily, but without distinction (anag. less OM, & lit.).

Mrs M. J. Cansfield: Bit of earth shifted back to show path with primroses (clod (rev.) + Evita; ref. musical; ‘primrose path’).

M. Earle: Luxuriation – six soggy cold tea bags (VI in anag.).

Dr I. S. Fletcher: Style to live, c.-à-d.? (anag. & lit.; live = enjoy life).

S. C. Ford: Party plus naughty live act – it’s enjoyed by the hedonist (do + anag.).

S. Holgate: To cad, evil is riotous self-indulgence (anag.).

F. P. N. Lake: Not exactly cold life, roughly accommodated on boards! (anag. + Evita, & lit.; ref. musical).

C. Loving: One forsaking Octavia led dissolute sort of life with Cleopatra (anag. less a; ref. Antony and C.).

D. J. Mackay: Is it inhabiting old cave, wretchedly? Yes and no (it in anag., & lit.).

D. F. Manley: Social advancement: means this can start (comp. anag. & lit.).

H. S. Mason: Casanova’s skirts loved it madly! (anag. incl. C, a, & lit.).

L. May: Possibly dope circles associated with a rich and influential woman (clod (rev.) + Evita, & lit.; ref. Eva Peron).

R. F. Naish: A great life for holders of lire as dollar meets active trading (dol. + anag.).

F. R. Palmer: What’s laid out with ‘Vote Conservative’? (anag. incl. C, & lit.).

R. J. Palmer: Effortless affluence in TV oil ad shattered, City’s reverse intervening (EC (rev.) in anag.; London postcode).

D. Pendrey: What Calvinist does reject, sins being involved? (comp. anag. & lit.).

L. G. D. Sanders: This life style could turn lad to vice (anag.).

W. J. M. Scotland: ‘A-wine, a-women and a-song’, perhaps, exhaust Latin with active bent (do L + anag.).

A. D. Scott: See one in oddly located rose garden (v I in anag.).

F. B. Stubbs: Retrograde in initiative, clodhoppers appreciate feather-bedding (hidden rev.).

W. Woodruff: It might pervert lad to vice (anag. & lit.).


D. Arthur, Mrs G. M. Barker, M. Barley, P. F. Bauchop, Mrs P. A. Bax, R. V. M. Benn, C. Blackburn, J. D. D. Blaikie, Mrs A. Blanchard, A. Brash, B. W. Brook, C. J. & M. P. Butler, C. A. Clarke, Mrs B. Cole, J. L. Costley, G. Craig, Mrs J. M. Critchley, L. J. Davenport, J. G. Diamond, C. M. Edmunds, A. R. Esau, H. Freeman, F. D. Gardiner, R. R. Greenfield, J. F. Grimshaw, I. F. & L. M. Haines, D. V. Harry, E. L. Hayward, P. F. Henderson, A. W. Hill, E. M. Hornby, Mrs D. B. Jenkinson, M. S. Taylor & N. C. Johns, C. L. Jones, R. E. Kimmons, C. W. Laxton, P. W. W. Leach, J. C. Leyland, C. J. Lowe, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, H. J. McClarron, J. R. C. Michie, C. G. Millin, W. L. Miron, Dr R. G. Monk, C. J. Morse, R. S. Morse, D. S. Nagle, S. L. Paton, J. Phillipson, Mrs A. Price, D. Price Jones, J. E. Reynolds, D. Riley, B. Roe, T. E. Sanders, D. P. Shenkin, R. Skues, W. K. M. Slimmings, J. R. Stagles, W. Swift, L. C. Tudor, A. J. Wardrop, M. J. E. Wareham, Mrs M. P. Webber, R. A. Wells, R. J. Whale, J. R. Widdowson, M. G. Wilson.

429 entries, no mistakes. The grid for the puzzle was constructed some months ago shortly after a very agreeable dinner in Oxford arranged (by DFM) to mark the handing over of the Azed Honours List salver to this year’s co-holder Colin Dexter. The venue for this event was an Italian restaurant called La Dolce Vita. The phrase seemed a natural for cluing once I’d spotted it, albeit without the definite article, in Chambers. And so it proved, though with much repetitiveness of a few basic ideas. The commonest of these, which it grieved me to have to mark down for that reason, was variation on the ‘Cato lived differently’ theme, with reference to Marcus Porcius of that ilk, stern critic of the Roman fleshpots of his day. One type of treatment of this idea prompts me to analyse a selection of nearly good clues (all, I think, from seasoned competitors) which I regard as faulty in some way. No names. I. ‘Cato lived otherwise/very differently/at odds with this/to reform this, etc.’ All neat attempts at an ‘& lit.’ clue but failing, it seems to me, to convey to the solver that the answer is a noun (phrase). In other words the cryptic element of the clue is fine: the literal definition part (in an & lit. clue the same thing) is too vague and exerts too great a strain on the syntactical structure of what is to be understood, viz. ‘Cato lived differently (from this – and it is this that is required).’ Very little extra wording is needed to make the clue acceptable, e.g. ‘Roman life-style: Cato lived differently.’ So beware of being too elliptical. 2. ‘Life for rotten cad to live.’ Here I object to the use of ‘for’. According to the natural and logical solving process the cryptic indication of the clue-word is ‘for’ the literal definition of it (and hence the word itself), not the other way round. This (to me) inaccurate use of ‘for’ is widely used in other (dare I say less rigorous?) crosswords. 3. ‘It could lead lad to vice’. I don’t regard ‘lead’ as an adequate anagram indicator here. What the clue-writer means (but does not say) is ‘It could lead lad to vice astray’ or’ It could lead to lad to vice. ‘Of course he doesn’t say them because they make no grammatical sense. Again, with some rewording, the idea can be salvaged (see Mr Woodruff’s clue above, for example). 4. ‘Lived, to a fault, round the clubs?’ I’ve mentioned before my aversion to adjectives being used to define nouns. ‘Lived’ here, though participial, is used adjectivally. ‘It’s’ at the start of the clue would solve the problem though it would create another one by rendering ‘fault ‘unworkable as a verb for the cryptic reading of the clue. I’m also not very happy about ‘the clubs’. As an abbreviation C stands for ‘clubs’ and I can’t really imagine a context in which the definite article would intrude. Too nit-picking?
A final of apology to Mr Mackay whose name I carelessly omitted from the list of VHCs given to The Observer when announcing the results of this comp. in the paper.


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