XIMENES CROSSWORD No. 656
1. J. Fryde (NWl0): Plays about with internal control-rod? It’s all malarkey to the Yanks (stick in fiddles [see comments]).
2. P. W. W. Leach (Fareham): Observer’s instrument in fantastic space flight becomes jammed in moonshine! (fiddle sticks; ref; “The cat & the fiddle…”).
3. C. E. Gates (Kettering): Caustic comment evoked by traffic jams! (fiddle sticks; traffic = trade disgracefully).
C. Allen Baker (Milnathort): Bows and scrapes and old-fashioned bobs may merely make one twist stays! (fiddles ticks, fiddle-sticks; bob, tap = tick (obs.), twist = fiddle).
D. B. J. Ambler (Kew): Financial wangles? With credit squeeze only just started, that’s absurd! (fiddles tick s).
J. W. Bates (Westcliff-on-Sea): A device for preventing things from slipping is attached—they wear a G-string! (fiddle sticks).
J. M. Bennett (Sutton Coldfield): Junk, as used in scouting, is kit and furniture (fiddle sticks; scout = mock, kit = violin).
F. E. Dixon (Dublin): Regenerate sick flies with D.D.T.! Nonsense! (anag.).
Dr W. M. Easther (Eastbourne): Pooh Bah bows but hesitates to indulge in trivialities at first (fiddle + sticks, 2 defs.; interjections; ref. Mikado, Act 1).
Mrs N. Fisher (Stroud): The bows and scrapes executed by parasites (fiddles ticks).
S. Goldie (Enfield): Moonshine! Art trifling with ’empen ’omespuns? (fiddlest ’icks; ref. MND).
J. H. Grummitt (Belfast): Bow Group monkeys with credits (fiddles sticks; ref. Conservative think tank).
F. G. Illingworth (Burley): Davidson’s beginning to split the ragged field, and stays the rot! (D in anag. + sticks ref. Alan D., Aus. cricketer).
Mrs E. McFee (Rhos-on-Sea): What makes flies sick mixed with D.D.T.? Fudge! (anag.).
T. W. Melluish (SE24): Musical staves demanding clefs. Kits did also (anag. & lit.).
D. P. M. Michael (Newport): See these! Gus must be about to have a stab (stick in fiddles, & lit.; plural of gu).
C. J. Morse (SW10): Toy spears and bows,—pooh! You play with them when you’re in leading strings! (fiddle sticks; toy, spear, vbs.).
J. W. Parr (Reigate): If D deck’s listing, toss off the last gin cocktail and scramble for the bows (anag. less anag.).
H. Rainger (SW6): Mess about with stays—things to draw over tight-stretched guts (fiddle sticks).
R. E. Scraton (Hayes): Adverse comment from stalls after play? (fiddle sticks, & lit.).
F. T. Walton (Birmingham): Doodlebugs round the sun? You must be Gaga! (s in fiddle ticks; doodle, vb.).
F. D. H. Atkinson, G. F. Bamford, Mrs K. Bollag-Bower (Kuwait), A. H. P. Cardew, J. C. Charasse, P. M. Coombs, G. H. DuBoulay, J. H. Eyre, M. C. Foakes, F. D. Gardiner, A. B. Gardner, S. B. Green, Mrs M. Henderson, Lt Cdr M. J. Hickman, P. Jubb, M. J. Lanchester, Capt G. Langham, A. Lawrie, Mrs R. D. Lemon, A. F. Lerrigo, Miss G. M. May, E. L. Mellersh, T. J. Moorey, K. Neale, F. E. Newlove, D. C. Pope, G. H. Ravenor, Rev H. B. Roberts, T. E. Sanders, E. O. Seymour, Mrs E. Shackleton, H. J. Snelgar, J. G. Stubbs, J. B. Sweeting, Col R. G. Turner, J. Ward, J. F. N. Wedge, Dr J. G. P. Williams.
COMMENTS:—267 entries, 247 correct. A rather small but good and accurate entry, with plenty of variety in the clues, though, as has happened several times lately, one obvious idea produced so many similar clues that only the best of them could even be runners-up: this time it was trifle(s) and jam(s). The winner’s brilliant topical clue was accompanied by the following press cutting, which I quote here in full:—“Mr. C. Stark Draper, chief of aeronautical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said at a conference of scientists in California that Russian claims that Titov controlled the course of his space ship were ‘malarkey’.”
I must apologise for a bit of very loose thinking in my clue to 25 down, TWEEL. Weavers produce it, not spinners! So the clue might have read:—“Product of Glasgow weaver, or the Bradford spinner?” I thank the three or four competitors who called attention to the inaccuracy, which doesn’t seem to have worried many people. The history of this bad clue may be of interest! A very long time ago, in No. 30, TWEEL was the word set for competition: when one of these recurs, I generally use the old 1st prize clue. On looking back at the slip this time, I found it was a “straight” clue—“Jean is north of the Border.” I should now regard that as a bit fierce for an unfamiliar word, so I went on to No. 2, which was “Spinning in Yorkshire? No, woven in Scotland.” The note was “t’wheel”: it didn’t seem to me now that this was any too sound. I fooled about with the idea, and found with interest that “weel” was a whirlpool: this seemed better for “spinner” than the mere sound of “wheel.” So, with a good deal too much spinning going on in my mind, I ended up with the disgraceful version published! I have just looked through the rest of the clues in the slip, and they don’t now seem very exciting—but that was 1946! In case the word occurs again, I should welcome suggestions: I think it’s a bit of a brute!