AZED CROSSWORD 853
1. R. J. Whale: This situation, with letters in extremis, could make you cable Azed! (anag. less A, Z, & lit.; ref. postal strike).
2. N. C. Dexter: Elbe, with extremes of cold, possibly needs one to break it? (a in anag. incl. c, d, & lit.; d. = sudden flood).
3. H. Freeman: Seb Coe medal blunder – some —— in selection? (comp. anag. & lit.; ref. S. C. not selected for 1988 Olympics).
M. Barley: Entries to Competition Azed being held up in strike – disaster! (C A b (rev.) in dele; ref. postal strike).
H. J. Bradbury: Entries to COMPETITION AZED being held up by strike, it may be a wash-out (C A b (rev.) in dele; ref. postal strike).
Mrs A. R. Bradford: First three in Debenham sale (wanting a hat) caught in stampede (Deb + c in (s)ale).
C. J. Brougham: Rush entry up by taxi in strike (cab (rev.) in dele; ref. Azed comp, postal strike).
E. J. Burge: This absorbing bit of mail could become becalmed? Disaster! (anag. less m; ref. postal strike).
C. A. Clarke: Rush managed to return North, almost back in – the end of Aldridge? (bac(k) in led (rev.) + e; ref. Ian R., John A., Liverpool FC).
G. P. Conway: Disastrous conclusion – socialite’s presentation leads to this, perhaps, if non-U (deb + a cl(u)e).
L. J. Davenport: Cracking the last two letters in Scrabble! As a start, the first five are easily deployed (anag. of ABCDE + le).
Dr I. S. Fletcher: Crash? EC bedlam with millions lost in panic (anag. less m).
S. C. Ford: A. Border’s knocked up 150 prior to English collapse (a bed (rev.) + CL + E; ref. Allan B.).
N. C. Goddard: Channel rises and one’s left in sudden flood (bed (rev.) + l in ace).
R. Hooper: Half of MCC able bats? That won’t debar English collapse (anag. of DC able + E).
A. H. Jones: E.g. this month’s competition entry, possibly cabled around the 8th of September (e in anag.; ref. postal strike).
F. P. N. Lake: EETPU blacked and could be kaput! End this break-up (comp. anag.; ref. postal union on strike
C. W. Laxton: Possible result of bad leg, with Coe being out – leading pair for Gold both missing (anag. less go; ref. Seb C. and Steve Ovett not selected for 1988 Olympics).
S. G. G. MacDonald: The French front five in a scrum collapse (anag. of le ABCDE).
L. K. Maltby: A flop? Plot needs a lift and a fifty per cent cut (bed (rev.) + a cle(ave)).
D. F. Manley: Dee would have melting ice table with it breaking out (D + anag. less it, & lit.; d. = sudden flood).
R. F. Naish: Taking last three for nought, Alec Bedser compounded collapse (anag. less ser; ref. Sir A. B., cricketer).
H. L. Rhodes: What lower class supplanting society would surely produce (debase with cl. for S, & lit.).
Mrs G. M. Barker, E. A. Beaulah, B. Burton, C. J. & M. P. Butler, B. Costin, Mrs M. P. Craine, D. J. Dare-Plumpton, R. V. Dearden, M. Earle, C. J. Feetenby, S. Gaskell, H. J. Godwin, D. V. Harry, C. R. Harvey, P. Henderson, I. A. Herbert, G. B. Higgins, E. Hornby, A. Lawrie, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, H. S. Mason, L. May, J. R. C. Michie, T. J. Moorey, J. J. Murtha, F. R. Palmer, Mrs E. M. Phair, D. Price Jones, A. Rivlin, J. H. Russell, W. J. M. Scotland, A. D. Scott, D. M. Stanford, F. B. Stubbs, R. C. Teuton, D. A. T. Wallace, M. G. Wilson.
237 entries, not quite the debacle it might have been. After some hesitation I decided to proceed with the competition (more or less) as normal, despite the strike, and applaud those who took pains to by-pass the postal system to ensure delivery of their entries. Every entry which (as far as could be determined) was posted before the closing date was deemed eligible. But it all meant that I needed an extra week for the judging. My task was made somewhat easier by the large number of entries with MITE for MIKE (‘Small bug? It’s often eyed in the lab’). I can see that a mite is a small bug, but the rest of the clue supplies no cryptic indication of the word, whereas what I had in mind was the two words (microphone/microscope) for which Chambers gives ‘mike’ as the colloquial contraction. Fair, I think.
That apart, there were some lovely clues, many of them understandably playing on the disaster threatening the competition. In this context I was disposed to accept the original meaning of the Latin phrase used in Mr Whale’s clue rather than the meaning current usage assigns to it. I was also a little worried by the use of ‘entry’ to mean ‘first letter’ in the clues of Messrs Barley and Bradbury. This seems unsupported by the definitions given in Chambers, yet instinctively acceptable like the similar use of the word ‘source’. Does anyone object?
I have an abject apology to make. My friend and fellow-classicist EAB gently but justly chastises me for stating, m the notes to the solution of Azed No 853, that Nero killed his mother Livia. Nero did indeed kill, or at least arrange the killing of, his mother, but that redoubtable woman’s name was Agrippina, not Livia (the mother of Tiberius). I can’t think how I made such a blunder.
On a lighter note, Azed solvers might be amused by Lost for Words, a paperback cartoon/crossword book published by Angus and Robertson on 15 October at £2.95. As Ozymandias I am the co-author (with Jon Riley) of this wittily-illustrated Christmas lollipop.
Finally, I should add that this competition will count towards the annual honours list.