The Crossword Centre Clue-Writing Competition

CCCWC January competition voters’ comments
Clue no. 54: Woolly merchandise India's exported?

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A clue to CASHMERE.
5 comments refer to this clue (from 4 competitors, 0 others)
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Here is the text

Comments on the clue
1.A concise and sharp &lit clue worth lots of points.
2.Nearly excellent but convention requires a second anagram indicator, and IND from India is indirect
3.Good idea, but I don't think 'India' can indicate an anagram of 'IND' for removal. 57 does this better.
4.Nearly works, but as IND is actually NDI it needs a separate anagram indicator – 'woolly' can't do for both.
Comments on the competition
A lot of clues to judge this month! Some very fine clue-writing was in evidence for the first competition of the new year and it was tough to pick out my favourites. I dished out a plethora of merits to clues which I enjoyed but didn't quite make it to my top half-dozen.

Understandably there were a plenty of CASH + MERE clues (7, 13, 24, 25, 28, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41 and 52 – and I might have missed one or two). While almost all of them were sound, clues really had to stand out to score – so much direct comparison was possible. I chose 7, 28 and 41, mainly for the strength of their surface readings.

There was a smaller number of CAS(HMER)E clues and again I felt I could only reward the top two. This time 29 and 26 earned the points – I particularly liked 29's cheeky surface!

We also saw some very good attempts at the &lit clue (19, 20, 32, 53, 54, 57), many of which I thought were very worthy entries, all scoring at least a merit. 54 really did feel exceptional and earned my highest score – a clue of the highest calibre.

More original ideas included 6, 8 and 11 and 18 which all earned points from me. I enjoyed the two clues (18 and 41) which used "butter" as a definition (which I thought was fair enough) – particularly 18 for its general neatness.

Interestingly, Chambers lists cashmere as only the fabric (the goat listed only under Kashmir), but even the briefest of references to the Internet shows that the goat can most definitely be spelled both ways.

The only difficulty I had was sharing out my points among all the worthy clues! Unfortunately it really couldn't be done whilst still awarding the best sufficiently highly, so some had to make do with only a merit.

What a super start to the year – I hope all the competitions continue at this standard!