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XIMENES CROSSWORD No. 721

KERB-MERCHANT

1.  S. B. Green (NW10): St. Leger? Sometimes—but the backing of horses is rare for me nowadays (cryptic def.; i.e. Street swindler; leger1).

2.  R. E. Scraton (Hayes): Can Mr. K. be troubled with the finality of war? He often makes a bargain at the brink! (anag. incl. the r; ref. Khrushchev (or Kennedy), Cuban missile crisis).

3.  A. B. Gardner (Haslemere): Take Fender and that fellow Chapman for instance—ready to flog anything whatever the pitch (kerb + merchant; ref. Percy F. and Percy C., cricketers).

H.C.

R. B. Adcock (N5): Result of hearing may be to restrain me over start of racket to swindle customers (‘curb’ me r chant, & lit.; chant = sell horses fraudulently).

E. A. Beaulah (Felsted): Old tramp, under the influence, we hear, found hawking at the side of the road (‘curb’ + merchant (= merchantman, obs.)).

Capt A. S. Birt (Twickenham): One works on margin in the street. The broker can lose nothing and gain a thousand—crazy! (anag. less 0 plus M).

Rev C. M. Broun (Cambuslang): A semi-yorker bowled great Indian batsman; he hates a full pitch—it means he has to alter his stance ((yor)ker + b + (V. M.) Merchant).

C. O. Butcher (E4): Under-skirt specialist—a Petticoat Lane chap, perhaps? (cryptic def.).

P. R. Clemow (W5): I may be found by market bench, carefully arranged with façade of ripeness (anag. incl. r, & lit.).

Mrs N. Fisher (Stroud): What makes me rank Brecht high? He deals with the man in the street (anag.; ref. Bertolt B.; high = drunk).

C. E. Gates (Kettering): “A bit stony and on edge? Take after me and flog some horse-flesh,” suggests a barrow-boy (kerb me r chant; chant = sell horses fraudulently).

E. J. Griew (Ruislip): Market bench, with the necessary licence, might be about right for me (r in anag. & lit.).

Mrs E. McFee (Rhos-on-Sea): I’m a gutter-man—a non-U butcher—me rank’s uncertain (anag. less U).

C. J. Morse (SW10): Common marketeer whose interest is on the verge of flagging (cryptic def.).

M. Newman (Hove): Market bench is roughly about right for me, but stall or barrow suits me better (r in anag.).

S. L. Paton (Peterborough): Guard bloke expert at flogging (kerb merchant).

T. J. Pimbley (St Albans): Fender introduces another Test cricketer, Chapman, perhaps (kerb + (V. M.) Merchant; ref. Percy F. and Percy C., cricketers).

R. Postill (Jersey): Outside supplier, with licence, of cauliflower, kale, haricot, artichoke, melon and rhubarb! (anag. of outside letters, & lit.).

H. Rotter (NW7): Newspaper extremists make Brecht appear eccentric: I have my own stall and will get my money’s worth—with rotten tomatoes, possibly! (anag. incl. n,r; ref. Bertolt B.).

J. W. Taylor (Stoke-on-Trent): What sounds like restriction on trade for dealer operating on margin (‘curb’ + merchant, vb).

L. E. Thomas (Bangor): A kind of highwayman who’ll hold you up and take your money if he can. Guard against the fellow! (kerb + merchant).

M. Woolf (W9): Police move me on, making me branch off and trek aimlessly around (anag. in anag.).

RUNNERS-UP

F. D. H. Atkinson, A. J. Barnard, J. W. Bates, R. N. Chignell, P. M. Coombs, V. A. R. Cooper, C. R. Dean, N. C. Dexter, G. H. Dickson, Cdr H. H. L. Dickson, J. Goldman, E. Gomersall, C. P. Grant, V. Jennings, L. Johnson, A. H. Jones, A. Lawrie, A. F. Lerrigo, J. D. H. Mackintosh, Dr T. J. R. Maguire, D. P. M. Michael, E. J. Miller, P. H. Morgan, A. C. Morrison, D. A. Nicholls, B. G. Quin, Mrs J. Robertson, W. Rodgers, T. E. Sanders, W. K. M. Slimmings, T. L. Strange, J. B. Sweeting, Mrs J. Thomas, A. D. Walker, A. R. Wheeler, G. H. Willett.
 

COMMENTS:—A very accurate entry—329 correct out of 340—and a most successful united attempt to deal with a not very tractable word. I think the winning clue is one of the most brilliant ever. At first I wondered if the obsoleteness of “leger” ought not to have been indicated, and I still think that perhaps the addition of “in the past” after “sometimes” would be a good thing; but it is fair as it is. After all, the solver can look up “leger” without being told that it is obsolete: the case of a word that is the answer being obsolete is quite different. I want to quote one R.U. clue which was very good except for one point—“Chapman?—or Fender—there was a skipper for one!” Here “one” represents “merchant,” the second part of the word: I don’t think it is fair for it to represent anything but the whole word.
 
Several clues were eliminated for giving indications of “curb” without hinting that only its sound was meant. C. gives “kerb” under “curb” as an alternative spelling only in its use to mean “pavement edge”: “kerb” cannot possibly be indicated by other meanings of “curb”.
 
Now I must apologise for my oversight which robbed you of the normal information that “Carolina pink” was two words It is there in my MS copy: it somehow got left out of the final copy sent to the printers, and I stupidly didn’t notice it in the proof. I hope it didn’t cause too many people trouble.
 
Finally, a few suggestions:—(1) Check your solutions. Two of the 11 incorrect ones had a letter not filled in. So that others may not wonder if they suffered in this way, I will mention that the senders were J. H. Grummitt and W. H. Thornton. (2) Do make sure that your name is on the clue-sheet. There are always some anonymous ones. The fact that an addressed envelope is enclosed is useless to me, as I do not deal with these. (3) It would be helpful to me in handling the entries if you would all use a piece of normal-sized writing-paper. Most people do, but some of you use very small or very large pieces of paper, and these are a bit of a nuisance. Thank you! (4) In your own interests, always write a note when you refer to a person I may not know about: you’ve no idea how ignorant I am.
 

 
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