AZED CROSSWORD 816
POTLACH (with extra O in word)
1. M. Barley: Trio of potentates behold a child; now gifts are given (pot + lo + a ch).
2. P. F. Henderson: Some fetch coal to point up a winter festival (hidden rev.; ref. first-footing).
3. G. Perry: Time to celebrate win – spinner has last four out for a duck (pot Lach(esis) 0).
VHC (extra prizes)
E. A. Beaulah: Celebration for a brave child after operation and suffering a lot (op. + anag. + ch,).
E. Chalkley: Time to knock down the buildings? Prince upset a lot with expression of impatience (P + anag. + och; ref. Prince Charles’s views on modern architecture).
L. J. Davenport: When it comes to present-giving, Father Christmas’s tops – house is packed from floor to ceiling! (loto (rev.) in pa Ch).
M. Freeman: Hard lump of fuel best brought over as a present (H coal top (rev.)).
R. R. Greenfield: Cannabis resin, taken with moderation, induces orgy of generosity (pot lac ho).
B. Greer: Party with gifts (beginning from Persia?) turned up to behold a child (P + to (rev.) + lo a ch.).
V. G. Henderson: Gift from the Most High, heaven-directed: behold a child (top (rev.) + lo a ch.).
Dr I. G. Higginbotham: When a great deal is turned over and housing is chop chopped (a lot (rev.) in anag., & lit.).
A. W. Hill: It’s time for a bean-feast – pile up hot fuel under cauldron (pot + H coal (rev.)).
T. M. Hoggart: Festive time: large sum of money (very large sum) needed – dear me! (pot lac oh).
A. Lawrie: Crazy plot leads a child to love ‘Beano’ (anag. + a ch. + 0).
J. D. Lockett: What’s Christmas to the brave? Holy communion and much work all round (HC a lot op. (rev.)).
M. A. Macdonald-Cooper: Unlimited chocolate supply (nothing less) – what Bunter’s expecting around festive season (anag. of (c)hocolat(e) less 0 in PO; supply adv.).
H. W. Massingham: Behold one swaddled in source of a high church festival (lo a in pot Ch.).
C. J. & R. S. Morse: Competitive present-giving requires a lot of money – and then a lot more by golly! (pot + lac + oh!).
T. E. Sanders: Look! Azed’s foremost champion’s got spot with top cast on the box at Christmas ((s)pot + lo A Ch.; ref. Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse film).
W. J. M. Scotland: A gift’s a lot, tight Caledonian said, inspired by ‘extremes of poortith’ (anag. + co’, all in p, h).
Mrs E. J. Shields: A lot of money indeed goes on endless food for this feast (pot la cho(w)).
Mrs J. Waldren: Fuss and confusion, with eastern King off gathering fuel up in festive time of gifts (coal (rev.) in poth(E R); ref. Wenceslas).
J. F. N. Wedge: Offering of Indian hemp, a possible for getting hooked (pot loach).
K. Aaronovich, R. B. Adcock, D. K. Arnott, Mrs G. M. Barker, W. Barrow, P. F. Bauchop, P. F. Bauchop, Dr & Mrs R. J. Bell, Dr P. M. J. Bennett, Mrs A. Blanchard, Dr J. G. Booth, S. Branson, Rev Canon C. M. Broun, J. M. Brown, E. J. Burge, B. Burton, C. J. & M. P. Butler, D. A. H. Byatt, Mrs M. J. Cansfield, P. Cargill, B. E. Chamberlain, C. A. Clarke, Mrs D. M. Colley, P. T. Crow, Ms S. Cunliffe, W. Davies, R. V. Dearden, Dr V. G. I. Deshmukh, N. C. Dexter, P. Drummond, R. A. England, A. S. Everest, G. & J. Ferris, E. G. Fletcher, F. G. Fletcher, H. Freeman, P. D. Gaffey, F. D. Gardiner, N. C. Goddard, S. Goldie, J. F. Grimshaw, D. V. Harry, J. Higgins, B. M. Hornby, E. M. Hornby, R. Jacks, Mrs D. B. Jenkinson, C. L. Jones, J. F. Jones, J. R. H. Jones, J. H. C. Leach, J. C. Leyland, A. Logan, C. J. Lowe, R. Lumsden, R. K. Lumsdon, J. H. Macdonald, L. K. Maltby, D. F. Manley, S. M. Mansell, L. May, J. R. C. Michie, C. G. Millin, Dr R. Moore, T. W. Mortimer, H. B. Morton, F. R. Palmer, R. J. Palmer, W. H. Pegram, C. P. Rea, Ms F. Reid, D. R. Robinson, B. Roe, R. Rogan, N. Rowlinson, J. H. Russell, A. D. Scott, D. P. Shenkin, A. W. Taylor, A. J. Wardrop, Mrs M. P. Webber, R. J. Whale, T. A. Whitemore, M. R. Whiteoak, M. G. Wilson, Dr E. Young.
572 entries and no solving errors that I spotted. A fair number however failed to read the instructions properly and included extra letters chosen at random instead of the 0 which was needed to complete the first of the down presents. The size of entry would seem to indicate about the right level of difficulty for a Christmas puzzle, and this was borne out by the (largely) favourable comments. Contrary to what some of you imagined, it wasn’t a particularly difficult puzzle to construct (easier than a pure Letters Latent tends to be, for example), once I’d had the initial idea. The floating letters in the down words give an extra degree of flexibility, after all. The difficulty comes in the clue-writing. Though I did not specify this, it seems to me fairer to the solver to indicate where in the treated form the extra letter appears, and in virtually all cases I did this in my own clues. This tends to rule out anagrams, except for parts of words in which the added letter does not occur. Not surprisingly the most popular treated form for cluing was POTLOACH, with many a fish being caught, cooked or preserved for the winter festival. All such clues were perfectly sound but uninspired. More imagination was required to gain special mention, as should be apparent from those quoted above.
POTLACH (or POTLATCH – the OED and Webster give both spellings) was a happy discovery I made some months ago and put aside for use at Christmastime in some way. One solver points out that as a festival it is also held in parts of Canada, and recalls attending one hosted by an Eskimo in North Alaska.