< Slip No. 857 View the clue list Slip No. 866 >



1.  Dr E. Young: Periodical: ‘The Field’? (i.e. off and on; ref. cricket).

2.  E. J. Burge: Occasionally leave gets cancelled for sailor (abandon with off for AB).

3.  D. F. Manley: Erratic concerning what’s needed to shift a windmill, Quixote? (of fan Don).


D. Ashcroft: ‘Donna mobile’: not keen on it, being at times without regular tenor (off + anag.; ref. Mozart aria).

Mrs F. A. Blanchard: Heartless cavalier going steady? Far from it (off(h)and on, & lit.).

A. Brash: By turns, curt, heartless, then forward! (off(h)and on).

E. Chalkley: Like a wavering alliance getting away with a new party name (off a n do n; ref. Lib-Dem merger).

R. V. Dearden: See dodgy computer circuit performing thus (off AND on, & lit.).

N. C. Dexter: With regard to frequency, starting then stopping – one has to assume (of f and on, off an don, & lit.).

P. F. Henderson: Concerning thing that may blow hot or cold – unfinished amour, possibly (of fan don(a), & lit.).

W. Jackson: ‘Constant never’? Right – if applied to donna mobile! (off + anag.).

J. C. Leyland: Sometimes in seedy end of town you’re given a crafty nod (a + anag., all in off n).

M. A. Macdonald-Cooper: Sometimes, with an incompetent, party suffers bouleversement – a real possibility (naff in do (all rev.) + on; ref. Govan by-election; on n.).

C. G. Millin: With respect to a supporter, not quite committed (of fan don(e), & lit.).

T. J. Moorey: Constant’s opposite where Bird stands, intermittently (2 mngs.; ref. cricket umpires).

T. W. Mortimer: In a manner that characterises devotee’s activity? Never, not in any degree (of fan do n(ever), & lit.).

I. Munro: Out of form, Bradman drove runlessly in the middle. Occasionally! ((r)an in off Don; ref. cricketer).

D. Norwood: Only two sides to a square? Most irregular (2 mngs.; ref. cricket).

R. O’Donoghue: Nothing very loud – no objection to playing andantino occasionally (0 ff + anag. less anti).

P. J. Peters: Without ’esitating? No, the reverse: waveringly (off’and + no (rev.)).

P. D. Stonier: Food fan crazy about noodles? Not a lot, only occasionally (n(oodles) in anag.).

Mrs P. M. Stuffins: Occasional nod of fan is coquettish (anag.).

D. H. Tompsett: In the manner that characterises female – Donnamobile! (of f + anag., & lit.).

Mrs M. P. Webber: City losing head about unrestrained gaffs arising intermittently ((g)aff(s) (rev.) in (L)ondon).

M. G. Wilson: Sometimes there’s no abandoning ring after food ruined boxing devotee (fan in anag. + n(o)).


C. J. Anderson, F. D. H. Atkinson, M. J. Balfour, M. Barley, W. Barrow, R. C. Bell, H. J. Bradbury, B. W. Brook, C. J. Brougham, B. Burton, D. A. Campbell, Mrs D. Colley, B. Cozens, F. H. Cripps, Mrs J. M. Critchley, L. J. Davenport, R. Dean, H. F. Dixon, R. P. Dowling, G. & J. Ferris, S. C. Ford, G. Gargan, S. Gaskell, N. C. Goddard, S. Goldie, G. S. Halse, D. V. Harry, G. B. Higgins, T. M. Hoggart, S. Holgate, Mrs D. B. Jenkinson, G. Johnstone, C. L. Jones, N. Kemmer, R. E. Kimmons, F. P. N. Lake, A. Lawrie, J. W. Leonard, J. P. Lester, A. N. MacDougall, D. J. Mackay, L. K. Maltby, L. May, Wg Cdr J. D. deS. McElwain, G. D. Meddings, Rev M. R. Metcalf, W. L. Miron, J. J. Moore, C. J. Morse, R. A. Mostyn, A. W. T. Mottram, R. F. Naish, F. E. Newlove, F. R. Palmer, R. J. Palmer, L. Paterson, S. L. Paton, W. H. Pegram, G. Perry, B. A. Pike, C. Quin, C. P. Rea, H. R. Sanders, L. G. D. Sanders, W. J. M. Scotland, A. J. Shields, W. K. M. Slimmings, M. C. Souster, D. M. Stanford, F. B. Stubbs, J. B. Sweeting, R. C. Teuton, Dr I. Torbe, L. C. Tudor, Mrs M. Vincent, A. J. Wardrop, A. J. Willis.

363 entries, and no noticeable mistakes. Many commented on the high proportion of unfamiliar words in the grid, making it a tougher puzzle to solve than usual. I don’t consciously aim to exclude ‘easier’ words, but on the other hand I’m always on the look-out for interesting or bizarre members of the lexicon, particularly ones I haven’t clued before, so from time to time (off and on!) more rather than fewer of these will turn up in a particular puzzle. And while we’re on the subject I do think it’s important when including reference to a rare or obsolete word in a clue, to indicate its rarity, etc in some way. The word FAND is either Scottish or obsolete according to Chambers’ labelling: it is unfair to the solver not to say so, however obliquely.
OFF-AND-ON proved to be one of those words to which the neatest clue was also the most popular by far. So I had many variations on the wording. ‘Switch positions occasionally’, with or without additional reference to the cricket field. This accounts for the long H.C. list, it being impossible for me to split them up or elevate some above others. Other treatments were possible (they always are) if not exactly there in abundance. Another very popular idea was the ‘fond of an …’ anagram, though rather too many followed these words with a noun (‘affray’, etc), which cannot grammatically indicate an anagram of the preceding verbiage. This is an age-old fault that still persists and, I suppose, always will.
I’m sorry for the lateness of this month’s results and slip. I was abroad on business (not on holiday) at the crucial time. This won’t happen often. One or two of you commented generously on the neatness of my clue to NED in the puzzle. Only one competitor seems to have spotted TOM symmetrically opposite him in the diagram. Tom and Ned are my two sons, but how and why they got into the puzzle I can’t say. Anyway they and my wife join me in wishing Azed solvers everywhere all the best for the festive season, and a happy and prosperous 1989.


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