XIMENES CROSSWORD No. 300
1. Mrs E. M. Simmonds (Cookham Dean): An assortment of 300! Love-a-duck! Dished up on Sunday and, maybe, dispatched by Friday! (anag. of CCC 0 0; Sunday Island, Man Friday; ref. puzzle; 16 breedest, 23 cocco, 30 pucer, 33 stots).
2. R. Stephenson (Altrincham): 300? There’s nothing in that: when you add another nought you’ll really be taking root (0 in CCC + 0; ref. puzzle; same, except 30 puces).
3. E. S. Ainley (Harrow): Fare at Christmas or Easter—two codsheads: I’m mildly surprised about that (c,c in coo!; C. and E. Islands; same, 30 pacer).
H. G. L. Cooper (Glasgow): (clue not given; same as prizewinner, 30 puces).
J. A. Maxtone Graham (Crieff): (clue not given; same as prizewinner, 30 pucer).
H. J. Henderson (SW16): (clue not given; same as prizewinner, 30 puces).
J. Macintyre (Ruthin): (clue not given; same as prizewinner).
A. R. McInroy (Edinburgh): (clue not given; 16 breeders, 23 cocco, 30 pucer, 33 Stoss (German sculptor)).
C. J. Morse (SW1): (clue not given; 3 changes—23 cocco, 30 Pucio, 33 stogs (old Chambers’s, not new)).
D. A. Nicholls (Chester): (clue not given; 16 greedier, 23 cocco, 30 Pucio (Point in Philippines), 33 stork).
Prof A. J. S. Pippard (SW19): (clue not given; same as prizewinner).
J. Thomas (Bangor): (clue not given; same as prizewinner).
RUNNERS-UP (too many to give names)—200 or so senders of 5 changes, with greedier and cocco or cocci: 14 senders of 5 changes, with breeders, cocco, Stalky, luces or Lucea and ytost: one ditto with freedoms and Luçon: 20 senders of 4 changes with stogs: 3 senders of 4 changes with stosh (also old Chambers’s, not new).
Next in merit.—100 or so senders of 6 changes, with eccritic in S.E. corner: 17 senders of 6 changes in N.E. corner, words used including cyclic with unhallow, Utrillos or Othellos, and cystic or citric with cocco or cocci and Utrillos or Othellos: 50 or so senders of 5 changes with cyclic and rehollow (not in C. but perhaps just passable): 5 senders of 5 changes with laccic (old C., not new) with Othellos or unhallow. (E. & O.E.!).
COMMENTS.—A record entry of 879, with, I should say, between 750 and 800 correct solutions: the number correct is not given precisely, as I had to stop checking the solutions of those that were clearly not going to get prizes, because of the immense size of the final batch: of the 311 dealt with by the week-end 276 were correct. (The previous record was 827 entries for No. 213 in Jan. 1953). On the moot subject of authority I decided that “our normal standards” means “admissible without a footnote at the end of the clues”: this seems to me the only fair interpretation of the word “normal.” This rules out words not in the Mid-Century Version of C., unless very familiar (e.g. slang), and also proper names that I would not myself pass (here difficult individual decisions became inevitable). It also certainly rules out words given only in the etymological notes in C., which I never use. In the end I stretched a point for the only genuine 3-change entry, regarding old C. as slightly better authority from our point of view than other dictionaries and Pucio, though not in my atlases, as just passable (it is in Enc. Brit. Atlas, 1946): but 1 did not consider this entry eligible for any of the first three prizes, nor those of Mr. McInroy (Stoss is only just passable), Mr. Nicholls (because of Pucio), and Mr. Greenwood (I had qualms about Free Deal). There is sure to be some heart-burning: no decision could have satisfied everyone’s views on “our normal standards”: I have tried to he as fair as I can. If the winning version needs defence, I would say that while I should avoid “breedest” in a diagram if I could, it certainly cannot be called unsound and it wouldn’t demand a footnote, and that I see no reason why “puce”—should not have a plural and a comparative. I sincerely hope that I haven’t done any injustices by inadvertently putting an entry in the wrong pile or by faulty scrutiny: if I made absolutely certain, the result would hardly be published this month! I was as careful as I could be in the time available.
Many thanks, in conclusion, for all the congratulations and kindly messages: and I am very glad that this problem gave pleasure, especially to many who do not regularly compete.
[Note (to doubters):—CAPRICCETTOS (sic) is in Webster, 1934 edition].
[Archive note: The objective of the competition was to alter the grid to add another thematic word containing three C’s, with the fewest changes to the original. Clues to the new thematic word were taken into account to separate entries having an equal number of changes.]