XIMENES CROSSWORD No. 412
1. J. A. Fincken: Does Hubby not get one at the lunch table? Then you’ve set it ever so carelessly! (anag. & lit.).
2. E. O. Seymour: N—— discharged from Vine Street after much rumpus goes down under to cover many a lap (anag. less N; ref. Nina?, police station).
3. W. K. M. Slimmings: Inside so thoroughly parched I’ve scrapped being on the wagon—may finish dinner under the table! (anag. + TT, all in sere).
C. Allen Baker: In an unconventional set, a form of tie cover used when no company is present! (anag. less co. in anag., & lit.).
Miss A. W. Baldy: It’s dry without and dry within after living in Paris, where it’s still drier (vie (Fr.) TT in sere; s. (Fr.) = towel).
V. E. Brooke: A model Table Mountain? Cover part in snowy stuff to make it Everest! (anag.; cover = knife, fork, etc.; stuff = material; s. folded into peak).
R. N. Chignell: I’ve come to grief in blitzed street involved in mopping-up operations (anag. in anag.).
Cdr H. H. L. Dickson: In very non-U circles it protects, roughly, vest, tie and a bit of the trousers (anag. incl. (trous)er(s), & lit.).
F. E. Dixon: I’ve got involved in a street accident: this will do to collect the bits and pieces (anag. in anag.).
T. C. Fitzpatrick: I get very dry—about five, that is—not touching the stuff at all: I usually have a drop or two after dinner, though (V i.e. TT in sere).
M. S. Y. Fowler: Supported by a waiter’s arm, I find myself in Vine Street, confused with no end of gin (anag. less n; ref. police station).
C. E. Gates: I’ve gone broke—in Queer Street. If you don’t give me a ring, I’ll just fold up! (anag. in anag.; napkin ring).
A. D. Izzard: This is clearly wrong as a trivet—see, it is supported by two legs only! (anag.).
C. Koop: What a sitter Eve would make as illustration of a front cover for The Fall! (anag.; ref. Camus novel).
A. D. Legge: Test Revie made to discover a means to counteract dribbling (anag., ref. Don R., footbalIer).
C. J. Morse: Brought in to help diners, it conceals the outline of the embonpoint! (e,t in it in serve, & lit.).
Dr W. D. Oliver: If one has to contend with an abstainer in dry surroundings, one can at least put this to one’s lips (vie TT in sere).
H. R. Perkins: After life in the lycée on the wagon in totally dry surroundings, I soak up every drop I can (vie (Fr.) TT in sere).
L. E. Thomas: Gives sign of hesitation to compete in unusual test and doesn’t cover lap in fast time (er vie in anag.; fast3).
F. D. H. Atkinson, A. J. Barnard, C. O. Butcher, R. F. S. Chignell, E. F. Clayton, P. M. Coombs, C. R. Dean, L. E. Eyres, D. I. Gatfield, E. Gomersall, J. B. Grubb, Miss D. Hill, C. H. Hudson, C. J. Lowe, H. Lyon, Mrs E. McFee, I. McGivering, D. P. M. Michael, Miss M. J. Patrick, E. G. Phillips, R. Postill, Maj J. N. Purdon, G. H. Ravenor, N. J. Reed, Rev E. G. Riley, A. Robins, W. Rodgers, Mrs E. M. Simmonds, E. B. Stevens, R. I. Sutherland, H. G. Tattersall, Miss D. W. Taylor, M. A. Vernon, J. F. N. Wedge, R. A. Wells, C. E. Williams, D. M. H. Williams, C. P. Wroth, H. T. Young, L. J. Young.
COMMENTS—348 entries, 215 correct—an even higher proportion of failures than last time. There were two chief causes: the greater of them was OBED. I had not spotted that “Obad” was so strongly indicated by the subsidiary part of the clue, but I should hardly offer you an abbreviation in the diagram when a complete word available, and, as far as one knows, Obadiah had no naughty royal grandson. Bed, channel of river, sea or lake bottom, fits “base”: the Bathsheba story is well known, and I don’t think so many solvers should have fallen. The other cause was WHAT (U, for non-U par-don): I’m afraid there was some good and bad luck here, with a fifty-fifty chance for those who didn’t see the point. Those who tried to make a straightforward clue of it overlooked that there were only nine non-U clues without this one.
I’m glad the idea proved enjoyable: thank you for kind comments. I am at one with many solvers who confess themselves non-U in some of the eleven respects involved. While I am, I think, blameless as to lounge, cycle, kiddies, radio, pardon and couch. I am only semi-U on puddings and sweets, being apt to use the latter term for such things as trifles and fruit salads, and on jacks and knaves, where I am indiscriminate: I should seldom speak of either a counterpane (except in the Nightmare Song) or a coverlet, preferring bedspread: and on mantelpieces and (Gath newspapers please do not note) serviettes I am invariably and unashamedly non-U! I wonder if there are twenty people in the entire country whose practice on all eleven things coincides? And yet one can be vehement in one’s prejudices: I loathe lounge, pardon and radio—but then I don’t like the wireless much either! I loathe “due to” used prepositionally more than any of these—but that is, I suppose, another story.
One unusual point was overlooked by some competitors. A “straight” clue to “serviette” was almost certain to lead to “table-napkin” as well: this is contrary to the idea of the puzzle, so “straight” clues were out, unless they led to some meaning of “serviette” which “table-napkin” does not possess, e.g the French “towel” meaning. Very few wrote clues to other words than “serviette”: there was no absolute objection to this, but none of the few achieved distinction.
I must find a little room for yet another reference to indirect (and useless) anagrams in clues, due to so many people still using them! Even experienced solvers still do it, regardless of my many bleats. Here is one from this entry:—“Use me at mealtimes, for quite discordant a note to sound!” This is supposed to lead to veriest anag, plus te (a note). “Quite” would do as a definition of “veriest” if “veriest” were the answer: but there are so many other words that “quite” might define that it is of very little use to solvers as part of a clue. For an indirect anagram to be justified, the answer to it must stick out a mile with no likely alternatives.
Please note that there will be an extra competition on the Sunday before Christmas: greetings to you all.
Correction:—In the slip to No. 408, in C. E. Gates’s clue, for “revolution” read “revulsion”: apologies.