AZED CROSSWORD 2131
DIVES / MALIK
1. N. Warne: Boxer has cut mark – head drops, doesn’t survive round 5 (Ali in mk; V in dies).
2. D. K. Arnott: Goes down, ends round five heading for knockout after C. Clay’s big shot (V in dies; M. Ali + k).
3. R. J. Heald: Art? Klimt wastes time gallivanting round Austria, time spent in strip joints (A in anag. less t; dives(t); ref. Art M., actor, Gustav K., Austrian artist).
M. Barker: One who has featured in scam, a likely fat-cat, craftily goes to ground (hidden; 2 meanings).
Ms K. Bolton: You get low clubs and diamonds, I have small spades. Hearts of Omar alike, I own (d I’ve s; middle letters; ref. O. Sharif).
T. C. Borland: Dismal Ikea store boss sounds worried: ‘I’ve surplus stock’ (hidden; hidden).
R. Fentem: Having botched milk round one employer runs out of leads for pitches (a in anag.; d(r)ives).
Dr I. S. Fletcher: Indian boss exhausted marijuana crop suiting US joints one’s rolling (m, a lik(e); 2 meanings).
P. F. Henderson (New Zealand): Owner’s millions – not quite matching take from various bars? (m alik(e); dive(r)s).
R. Hesketh: Lapses involving very fat cat owner before breaking milk bottles (v in dies; a in anag.).
B. Jones: Dramatic Art in cinema like ‘Downfall’, chillingly shot in scenes of underground refuge (hidden; dive + s(hot); ref. Art M., 2004 film re Hitler’s final days).
E. C. Lance: ‘Endless strip joints disfigured centre of Dorking’ – Mail leader (dives(t); anag. incl. k).
J. C. Leyland: Proprietor possibly makes a milk bar front for Tehran strip joints (anag.; dives(T)).
D. F. Manley: Group inspired by Mahatma, like Indian leader, pitches campaigns, wanting rule done away with (hidden; d(r)ives).
C. J. Morse: One richly endowed goes down, a figure of authority. Almost maternal? (2 meanings; ma-lik(e); ref. death of Lady Thatcher).
Dr S. J. Shaw: Originally Muslim aristocratic leader in Kashmir bars shabbily presented Dervishes if whirling without special order of sherif (initial letters & lit.; anag. less anag.; ref. Muslim mendicant order).
P. Taylor: Serving of korma likely to make Indian who owns seedy pubs a rich man (hidden; 2 meanings).
R. C. Teuton: India’s big hitter miles out of form, disheartened Kapil Dev is sadly getting ducks (m + anag. less p; anag.; ref. former Indian all-rounder).
Mrs A. M. Walden: Indian head seen in mahatma-like objects of worship, very Eastern, singular incarnation of opulence (hidden; di + v E, s).
A. J. Wardrop: Indian who owns a milk round fails to keep very wealthy customer (anag.; v in dies).
G. H. Willett: Indian chief’s country with 1000 islands, not a bad condition for scuba trips, perhaps (Mali + k; (Mal)dives).
T. Anderson, M. Barley, J. G. Booth, Dr J. Burscough, C. J. Butler, B. Cheesman, C. A. Clarke, V. Dixon (Ireland), A. J. Dorn, W. Drever, J. Fairclough, D. Freund (USA), G. I. L. Grafton, J. Guiver, D. V. Harry, Mrs D. B. Jenkinson, G. Johnstone, J. R. H. Jones, J. P. Lester, E. Looby, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, W. F. Main, K. Manley, P. W. Marlow, P. McKenna, T. J. Moorey, R. A. Norton, D. J. R. Ogilvie (USA), R. J. Palmer, J. Vincent & R. Porter, A. M. Price, G. Raven, N. G. Shippobotham, I. Simpson, P. L. Stone, Mrs A. Terrill, J. R. Tozer, M. Wainwright, L. Ward (USA), R. J. Whale, A. Whittaker, Ms B. Widger, Dr E. Young, R. Zara.
200 entries, no mistakes (apart from a couple of uncompleted grids). Favourite clue, of 14 mentioned, was ‘The old suppose good German writer drug-addicted? He gets zonked with OD having injected certainly’ for GHESSE/HOOKED. To judge from the many comments, R & L is still a very popular special, and this one seems to have posed few real problems. Perhaps 1 Across was a bit of a give-away, and the two 12-letter double down clues (not something I think I’ve done before) must also have helped, but I see no harm in that. I don’t usually go out of my way to make life extra-difficult for you!
The key, of course, to writing good double clues is to disguise the break between the two clues as effectively as possible and to make the whole thing read fluently, even when the two words involved have little or no semantic connection, are different parts of speech, etc. One thing they should definitely not contain is linking verbiage of any kind (hence the part of the preamble that reads ‘side by side but not overlapping’). This time you were helped somewhat by the fact that both words to be clued were nouns with (potentially) similar meanings. Perhaps I should have gone for a more challenging pair. I did seriously consider giving you INTERACT/WARIMENT but finally decided against them in view of that fact that WARIMENT appears to be a Spenserism. That said, it was clearly difficult to come up with something outstandingly inventive. I hope those above who achieved distinction will forgive me if I say that I looked in vain this month for clues in the alpha-plus category. That’s just how it is sometimes.
Offensive language (positively my last words on the subject for the time being). A fair number of you offered opinions, for which I am very grateful. Despite comments from a minority who said they had no problem with such vocabulary and couldn’t see what all the fuss was about, the clear consensus was that if there is any chance that certain (especially racial) terms will or might cause offence, they should be avoided in crossword clues. This makes sense to me, even though there are clearly varying degrees of offensiveness. Interestingly, one comment pointed out that, according to the Wikipedia entry, the particular word in question varies in its offensiveness according to the way it’s pronounced. On a more frivolous note, I once (many years ago) included the plural of the musical term ‘arsis’ in a puzzle, and was assured by an eagle-eyed sub at the Observer that the paper had no objection to this and was ‘right behind me’!