XIMENES CROSSWORD No. 534
1. Capt A. S. Birt (British Forces PO 53): Mock headache? One can make a real bar against unwanted company! (rail splitter).
2. H. Rotter (Edgware): Curse the chap who won’t keep his mouth shut—he must have his cut before the stuff reaches the fence! (rail splitter).
3. D. P. M. Michael (Whitchurch): He renders first-aid to fencer—supports patient’s head, calling for stretcher (rails p litter).
J. W. Bates (Westcliff-on-Sea): I’ll start pier fences (anag. & lit.; fences = conceals the truth).
J. H. Eyre (Enfield): A guy who cuts up rough posts curt letters in a perverted form of reprisal (litt. (= letters) in anag.).
M. S. Y. Fowler (Worcester Park): Guy preparing to deal with a fence in Chicago is sure to curse an informer (rail splitter; sure = surely, Amer.).
E. Gomersall (York): I saw trunks especially for the pale in America—fancy little pairs, the last thing in underwear! (anag. + r).
S. B. Green (NW10): Water-hens, for example, quietly brood in this American river (rails p litter; r.= one who rives).
Mrs E. J. Holmes (W5): Guard against the informer! He’ll make things rough for the fence! (rail + splitter).
Mrs L. Jarman (Brough): What I part, trellis could be made of (anag. & lit.).
B. K. Kelly (Clevedon): He reduces the thickness of trunks but gives banter a severe headache (rail + splitter; see banting1).
P. H. Morgan (Torquay): A bar-wrecker may be a chestnut-cracker whose efforts cross the pale! (rail splitter).
C. J. Morse (SW10): What American’s interested in fencing?—messing about with sawn-off little rapiers! (anag. less e of little).
B. G. Quin (Whitley Bay): He has all the makings of a liar and a sneak; and he turns out a bit of a bounder! (anag. + splitter; bound3).
T. E. Sanders (Walsall): I’ve a nose for a bar—pale is what I make for! (rail + splitter; nose = informer; pale ale).
W. K. M. Slimmings (Worcester Park): Guard against leaving no children: have a big brood—one to make you pale! (rail + sp (abbr.) + litter).
E. B. Stevens (Morden): For fences I part logs one way, and trellis I part another way (anag.).
Lt Col P. S. Baines, C. Allen Baker, G. F. Bamford, Wing Cdr P. L. Barrow, R. S. Caffyn, Mrs J. Chalkley, R. N. Chignell, P. M. Coombs, N. C. Dexter, G. H. Dickson, F. E. Dixon, J. Donnington, E. C. Double, Rev J. A. Easten, Dr W. M. Easther, M. B. Fisher, Mrs N. Fisher, E. Gabbitas, F. D. Gardiner, C. E. Gates, Maj A. H. Giles, M. J. Hickman, A. L. Jeffery, E. C. Lance, D. R. Laney, Mrs R. D. Lemon, H. Lyon, A. W. Maddocks, H. B. McCaskie, W. L. Miron, W. G. Mowforth, S. L. Paton, W. H. Pegram, E. J. Rackham, R. G. Ralph, W. G. Roberts, A. Robins, W. Rodgers, J. R. Scarr, E. O. Seymour, Mrs E. Shackleton, Mrs E. M. Simmonds, L. T. Stokes, P. H. Taylor, J. F. N. Wedge, A. J. Wilson, R. G. Wilson, J. S. Young.
COMMENTS:—328 entries, 293 correct—most errors caused by TITUP. Some said it was much harder than usual, others that it was much easier (one claimed his record time): this seems to me most satisfactory! There were some very good clues sent but also rather more unsoundly worded ones than usual; so I will devote my space to these in the hope of being helpful. Note that some of the clues below are quoted in part only: the unquoted parts are sound.
“He … will bitterly abuse a squealer”: will is redundant and cannot be fairly interpreted in a description of the parts of the word. “A headache after you travel by train?...”: a similar case—you is redundant. “I’m preparing the fence … the wild part trellis, I think, the rest wattle”: a worse case—the last four words are padding and unfair to the solver: wattle = fencing material doesn’t help, as it isn’t coherently worked in. “For those who stake the limit in fair-sized fields, the Racing journalists all tip triers to be placed”: (1) the definition is of a plural word, (2) it is a questionable definition, I think, anyway, (3) the R.j. are redundant and unfair, (4) to be placed is a questionable indication of an anag., not suggesting mixture. “He who grumbles quietly before a pile of rubbish”: amusing in its “& lit.” implication, but He who is redundant and misleading in the indication of “rails”—this ruins the clue—bad luck. “Whilst a woodworker makes trellis I part the logs”: this is excellent in its “& lit.” implication, but the indication of the anag. is not clearly given—the solver is asked to read it as “a woodworker makes trellis I part” and to disregard the beginning and the end for this purpose: he cannot fairly be expected to do so—again, bad luck. “Informers who make things hard for receivers of stolen goods”: a clue to a clue, which is not fair—rail-splitters make things hard for fences, but not for fences in that sense: this type of indication violates the principle that one must say what one means. “He got into a spin, crashed and was taken away on a stretcher (turbulent air started it)”: this violates almost every principle at once, I fear! (1) spin for spiral is an unfair indirect anag. (2) was taken away on is redundant (3) there is not even a definition of the whole word at all, (4) why is the whole thing in the past tense?
There are some excellent ideas embodied in these clues, but sound wording is essential if the solver is to be satisfied. I hope the writers will accept my assurance that I am trying to help and not to be abusive!