The Crossword Centre Clue-Writing Competition

CCCWC June competition voters’ comments

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90 comments were received for this competition (from 9 competitors, 1 other)
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Comments on the competition
I think that the solution cannot be defined alone as children, since "the young ones" is not a dictionary phrase for children. If this were allowed, it would imply that any artificially constructed phrase such as "the short ones" or "green car" or far more esoteric phrases are valid solutions in a crossword, which would lead to chaos. However, the definition for children is fine in a double definition clue where the other definition(s) defines the film, song, and/or TV series. "Young one(s)" without the definite article is however in the American Collins.
Once I’d got past the clues that defined young ones rather than The Young Ones, and anagrams that included ‘the’ or ‘one(s)’, it was almost a case of “yes, not enough” left to give points to. It’s difficult to pitch a cultural reference like this just right, but one or two like 1 and 41 managed it well.
I'm afraid I rejected the many clues that relied on cultural knowledge from the sixties….some of it quite niche. Clues should surely be accessible to today's young people if we don't want Gen X being the last to do cryptics…
5 wins for me, by a mile. I think you needed to define the phrase by either song or film or TV series — using a definition that merely suggested a group of youths wasn't good enough.
Too many submissions depended on Cliff Richard or tv series (obviously to accommodate the awkwardness of "THE"). This reliance stifled severely any hope of originality.
I found too many clues referred to the same singers, songs and films. More universal and original clues would be more interesting.
Plenty of anagram opportunities and definitions available. I discounted any clue that relied on more than broad knowledge of the tv show or the Cliff Richard film on grounds of fairness to the solver and I did wonder how fair some of the very general definitions were given that the definite article was a feature of the words to be clued. There were plenty of different story lines and, as ever, I was attracted to those clues which combined a novel but plausible surface story with very good wordplay.
Comments on the clues
1. 60s film not sexy enough when sloppy kiss cut
1.The additional X makes this stand out from all the ‘yes not enough’ clues
2.Nice clue, 6th on my shortlist….
3.Novel fodder, wordplay and storyline – def a bit broad but my winner nevertheless.
2. Absurdly, no-one yet hugs grandchildren for instance
1.Very good surface but def doesn’t lead to The Young Ones
2.Hyphen was needed?
3.Would "unfortunately" be a better anagram indicator?
3. Anarchic Gen X comedy outshone Gen Y rubbish
1.Good, but "outshone" seems wrong tense since Gen Y came after's polite to say what the anag fodder is
4. Bananas not enough? Yes, for children (3,5,4)
1.Does “bananas” work as anagram indicator when indicated before the fodder ? While one could argue any adjective could be either before or af
5. Before university, they regularly snog on pills? Could be an episode of this (3,5,4)
1.I enjoyed this clue, but snogging on pills is a bit awkward
6. Book, film, TV series … three words
1.Too broad, many things are book, film, TV series
7. Brains developed in bars? With non-use they go to waste.
1.I tried and failed to understand the definition!
8. Children's TV show
1.There are many TV shows that fit this clue
9. Cliff air in 1961 concerned minor group of the population
1."concerned" is not in either definition and doesn't work as a link
10. Cliff air reinvigorated one honest guy (3,5,4)
1.Straightforward good clue.
11. Cliff sung one version. The boy (no bachelor) joined in (3,5,4)
1.Doesn't work as (semi-)& lit as "Cliff" is not in wordplay but not a definition, even if whole clue is
2.The surface needs ‘sang’ not ‘sung’.
3.Nice play on Bachelor Boy, but sung is grammatically wrong
12. Cliff track found on Guernsey, overlooking rock face to west of Herm (3,5,4)
1.Clever idea, but the wordplay is a bit too strained
2.I enjoyed checking whether this was geographically possible, which it is. Wordplay just a bit too tortuous for my points.
3.I liked this despite its length as being different but 'found' is not an anagrind I can substantiate.
13. Cliff's hit with fledglings and juveniles, for instance
1.'For instance' is a bit clunky in the surface; perhaps a question mark would do the job?
14. Cliff's would have been illegitimate, if he had remained a Bachelor Boy.
1.Interesting – the def is not for the song, but for children, but still uses Cliff Richard
2.This clue leads to 'young ones' but not 'The young ones'
3.Falls short on cryptic element
15. Definitive article Jung once slightly misquoted raises particular issues
1."The" is a definite article, not "definitive" article
2.Definitely one of the more ingenious submissions. I enjoyed the discomfort of the homophones!
3.'Particular' seems unnecessary although I liked the homophone. Not sure definitive = definite
16. Elton's first hit single, from the early '60s (3,5,4)
1.Nice misdirection
17. Frantic, you then disappeared with small children (3,5,4)
1.Clever wordplay, but in the surface you're more likely to be frantic if the children disappeared…
2.Different approach and wordplay deserve a point
18. Free-range hens: You get no small eggs from them!
1.I do not get definition at all
20. Honey 'nut' goes mad in TV show
1.I assume 'Honey' is a show of some kind… I'm afraid to me a Honey Nut is a breakfast cereal.
21. I'm backing opponents of gun reform making a film
1.I don't think that THEY = opponents is a fair indication
22. Is this what Ben Elton would call Falkirk F.C.?
1.Nice idea, but I don't think this works
2.Unfair on 99.9% of the world….
23. It sounds like a male shows the sprogs.
1.Rik Mayall? Who's he? Okay I know but is it fair?
24. It's a song people love, one sung all over the place
1.Good, though the fact "ones" is not really anagrammatised is a minus
2.People = THEY is pushing it; maybe 'those people' would be fairer?
3.Nice surface with appropriate anag ind.
25. Kids splashing honey on guest
1.Does honey get splashed?Maybe "smearing" instead?
26. Little lambs, they bound out of bounds, southbound (3,5,4)
1.Very hard but I liked the bounds
27. No toy guns here – skipping ropes primarily diverting children
1.Nice clue, nearly made my top 5
2.Fodder is 'no toy guns here – r'. Novel fodder, wordplay and storyline – my runner-up.
28. No-one got upset with the guys in this show
1.This isn’t literally true of course – a lot of people got upset with the show – but a good anagram idea
2.I liked this clue but THE in both the fodder and the answer was a weakness.
29. Not a good song, yet enough play Elton's 80s hit
1.The "a" adds confusion (looks like you want to delete A, not G) and could just be removed
31. One of Cliff’s film musicals has honey-tongued characters lacking drama initially but achieving vigorous finale.
1.Plenty of & lit. material, but clue ends up rather too long
2.Using 'honey-tongued' as fodder forces some rather cumbersome adjustments
33. Scumbag College housemates tongue honeys with gusto
1.I didn't watch all the episodes, but I can't imagine they had much success with girls!
34. Shadows hit an arrangement of nearly enough honesty
1.Surface is non-sensical
2.It works technically but the surface doesn't make a lot of sense
35. Show students depicted in Stonehenge rave endlessly entertaining you
1.Deletion indicator should be before anagrind. After Stonehenge is mixed up, who's to say what the last letter is? 'endless Stonehenge rave'?
36. Show the calves?
1.Nice hint of Victorian eroticism, but didn't quite make the cut for me.
37. Song with youth seen shuffling about (no 'Elvis' ultimately!)
1.All the & lit. elements fit nicely together
2.The wordplay works but the surface doesn't
38. Students ran wild in this house, with oddly tangy rum left inside
1.They would definitely not have left any rum undrunk!
39. Teen guys hoon around making anarchic sitcom.
1.Good anagram. Definition is fair. Could modify into & lit, which would be better
2.Once I’d looked up ‘hoon’ my rating of this clue greatly increased.
3.Good anagram. But I had to look up hoon….
40. Teen song you associate with Richard, essentially?
1.Where is the anagrind? Almost great
2.Good anagram but where’s the anagram indicator?
4.'Essentially' weakens a nice clue
5.Worth a point for wordplay.
41. Teen song youth played, top of the pops
1.Clever wordplay
2.Nice clue, just missed points from me
3.The way that the deletion is indicated is great
42. That 80's Show was bit boring (3,5,4)
1.Far too niche… a well-educated 20-year-old would have no chance of getting this
43. The guys on one outlandish TV programme!
1.A nice clue, but it has THE in the fodder as well as in the answer, doesn't seem right
44. The rising generation – they regularly hot up no-go jokes
1.Nice idea but hot-up doesn't ring true
45. There's a song to be sung by them best, brags composition
1.The & lit. definition is not really a definition for the solution
2.Very clever, but in surface reading, how does a composition brag? There must be an anagrind that could be a person or people, 'ensemble' ?
46. These, mostly junior 11, are all kids.
1.Not happy about 'These mostly' = THE. Also, ALL seems redundant.
47. They essentially sound almost close to psychos in extremely graphic nineteen eighties sitcom (3,5,4)
1."extremely" indicates both extremes, so would give GC NN ES
2.Essentially, close to, extremely, are all indicators that shout 'Indicator' Three in one clue seems to me like two too many
3.almost and close to redundancy?
48. Tiny tots are grown ups on radio? (3,5,4)
1.Lol, wondering what accent is required for this homophone to work?
2.I liked the "young once" but think there might be a better homophone indicator that gives better surface meaning.
51. Yes, not enough is done for American children
1.Not sure why 'American' is required. Surely all children are young ones?
52. Yes, not enough rocking in film from Cliff
1.Best of the ‘yes not enough’ clues
53. Youth seen on idiot box leading in gag show
1."leading in gag" (a gerund) doesn't give G like "lead(er) in gag" does
54. Youths, for example, none doddery?
1.Clueing young with youth?