XIMENES CROSSWORD No. 512
1. E. R. Prentice (Clifton): She can spin a yarn about love after fifty—she’s no beginner either! (L 0 in anag., nay L or).
2. J. Thompson (Stafford): She’ll make do with any queer fellow with a title, even if he hasn’t a penny: round about fifty there’s no alternative (anag. + lor(d), L in nay or).
3. A. N. Clark (Portsmouth): She sounds quite capable of getting her man; has already had to refuse fifty or more (because of her shape!) (‘nailer’ (nail = catch), nay (vb.) L or; more = in addition).
C. Allen Baker (Milnathort): She’s one that lifts; watch your pockets! (an (rev.) + lo in yr.; pockets = encloses).
C. O. Butcher (E4): She’ll show you a bit of leg in rayon negligé—and she’s actually fifty or more! (l in anag., nay L or).
R. N. Chignell (SW19): She gives you “Only a rose” with ’er stockings off, tipsily—she sounds a piercing type (anag. less ’ose, ‘nailer’).
P. R. Clemow (W5): She is ornamentally but improperly posed, not without reason. Sounds like a pin-up type (anag. of orna(mental)ly, ‘nailer’).
A. E. Crow (Brentwood): She sounds as though she should make a catch, but any doddering, penniless husband would do! (‘nailer’, anag. + lor(d)).
F. E. Dixon (Dublin): No penniless peer for her; she’ll intrigue only with a King (nay lor(d), anag. incl. a R).
P. A. Drillien (Harpenden): She has to refuse a penniless peer—only a king could satisfy her! (nay (vb.) lor(d), anag. incl. a R).
S. B. Green (NW10): She’s a bit of a podge with a vague sort of figure—and that’s a put-up job! (roly(-poly) a n (all rev.)).
Mrs L. Jarman (Brough): She sounds capable of catching any foolish boss who wants a bit of dalliance (‘nailer’, anag. + lor(d)).
P. H. Morgan (Torquay): No lady, penniless and generally drunk—that covers the recipe for her! (r in anag. less d).
C. J. Morse (SW10): No penniless peer for her—only a Rajah’s capital could supply all she needs! (nay lor(d), anag. incl. a R).
Miss D. W. Taylor (Worthing): Her tack, one hears, is to get gold—no penniless peer will do! (‘nail’ + or, nay lor(d); tack = strategy).
J. F. N. Wedge (Carshalton): No penniless peer for her—but any rough with a pound or more will do! (nay lor(d), anag. + L or).
M. Winterbottom (Oxford): She wants no penniless peer! Only a Rockefeller’s capital will do for her! (nay lor(d), anag. incl. a R).
J. W. Bates, Mrs G. Bonsall, A. H. Clough, P. M. Coombs, B. Franco, A. L. Freeman, P. Gill, D. Godden, S. Goldie, W. Hough, V. Jennings, A. L. Kneen, A. Lawrie, Mrs E. McFee, D. P. M. Michael, G. Perry, T. J. Pimbley, Lady Reay, Mrs J. Robertson, A. Robins, Mrs E. Shackleton, Mrs E. M. Simmonds, L. T. Stokes, L. E. Thomas, Mrs J. E. Townsend, Mrs M. Wishart.
COMMENTS:—309 entries, 183 correct. ESAR-HADDON was the main trouble. The clue was a réchauffé, with a new twist, of one I used in No. 263—but then there was no unchecked letter. He was an Assyrian who overthrew Tyre: had-don (to put on) was here the spare, i.e., unused part. And I fear he can’t be spelt with a Z. I’m sorry he came down like a wolf on so many wolves! But I think he was fair, with his footnote.
Before judging I thought some competitors might go rather further with their “libelles” than I had, and I decided that there must be a limit, and that anything that I wouldn’t have ventured to print must he ruled out! Sure enough, the ban had to fall on several highly diverting efforts, among which the end of Piccadilly was a feature! I also decided to give preference to double clues, which I had used in almost every case myself. Mr. Allen Baker’s and Mr. Green’s clues are perhaps the neatest and most brilliant, but I came to the conclusion that they were really a shade too hard—hence my choice of prize-winners. One or two points of cluemanship: “I” should be the letter, the figure, or word being clued, unless it is used in quotation or for some special reason represents the setter. I don’t think it should be an impersonal sort of “I” as in “I hear” for “one hears”: in such a case one is left wondering who it is! Then “back” should not be used for “reversed” in a “down” clue; and I also come again to the accuracy of various “heads.” I cannot see that “redhead” can indicate R: a redhead is not a head belonging to red, so it doesn’t say what it means. On the other hand “masthead” for M would be perfectly sound. This seems to me to be simply a question of fact. Lastly, I don’t really like very much, though I use it myself occasionally, “a bit of,” because of its vagueness as to the number of letters intended. One can’t call it unsound—it does say, though vaguely, what it means—and I have allowed three of them amongst the H.C.s: that is only fair, when I do it occasionally myself: but I am never very proud of it, and I think it calls for considerable compensating excellence to make it palatable.
I should have liked to reward a pleasant clue from one of the “victims”:—“She isn’t half a pudding!—got up, with an assembly of rayon, bust about fifty!” But I couldn’t quite swallow “isn’t = is NA,” all in one word and with no reference to Scottishness. I was glad to receive so mary entries, and kindly and appreciative comments, from the “victims”: they seem to have enjoyed it as much as the men did theirs, and my fears of gaol are already alleviated.
[Archive note: Ximenes no. 512 follows the pattern of no. 442 ‘Libel’ in which X provided somewhat scurrilous wordplay-only clues to the surnames of current and former male competitors. See Slip no. 443 for comments on ‘Libel’. In no. 512 ‘Libelle’, similar clues were given to the names of lady competitors, and solvers entered their own clue to ‘Naylor’. Miss M. Naylor made only one appearance in a Ximenes slip, as a runner-up in the first competition of 1948.]