The Crossword Centre Clue-Writing Competition

CCCWC July competition voters’ comments

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A clue to NEVER SAY DIE.
75 comments were received for this competition (from 7 competitors, 1 other)
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Comments on the competition
Very clever disguised anagrind in "New Year's Eve" in clues 5 and 36, getting 4 and 3 points respectively, the former edging ahead with the disguised def

Some entrants incorrectly claimed to have written &. Lit clues, and some of these weren't even semi-& Lit., so were fatally broken as clues. For an actual &. Lit that works and is excellent, see 22, which got 4 points from me

49, 37, 12 all good enough for points too, with nice anagramming. I also gave 7 clues merits!

Very clever disguised definition "Carry On Regardless" in clues 8, 9 and 43. I also noticed but did not use “Seven Year Itch” wordplay and am happy 43 successfully worked it in.

Lots of potentially great clues ruined by a mistake: flawed grammar, wrong indication syntax, poor choice of anagrind, clunky surface etc. Worst is when a clue looks superficially good, but has the wrong grammar — indicating the wrong part of speech (e.g. verb instead of noun) or wrong tense of a verb, which is very unfair to the solver.

29 has some flaws with the wordplay and indication, but their "immortal words" with a question mark would've made a brilliant cryptic definition by itself.

A few clues such as 25, 26, 28, 38, 48 defined the adjective "never-say-die" rather than "never say die" which I didn't penalise, since the solutions would have the same letters in the same squares in any potential grid.
I found this quite challenging to clue and failed miserably at finding a succinct but not too obvious definition. I was drawn, therefore, to those clues providing an original definition with good word play/surface reading which did not rely on solvers to have knowledge of the 1954 Epsom Derby winner or an 80 years old Bob Hope film. Even 'Carry On Regardless' is nearly 60 years old.

As ever, a good and entertaining variety of clues with the letters available inviting many inventive anagrams. To avoid repetition, I have commented on clues individually, where, I hope, appropriate.
Too many anagrams, including mine.
The rating depends on who has made better use of words supplied by the anagram.

Clue #2 used a different approach and got 5 points.
Comments on the clues
2. Always stumm, Fulham! That’s the goal of a lifetime!
1.clever use of stumm and fulham.
3. Artfully driven, easy English Epsom Derby winner
1.Better of the Derby winners clues, but it’s more general knowledge than cryptic
4. At the end of operation, lady doctor is ready to provide words of encouragement (5,3,3)
1.Should be providing , not provide
2.Some clever wordplay
3.A very nice clue except for using lady = eve which is too broad without eg 'first' to qualify it.
5. Bash on New Year's Eve in doubt at first
1.On is redundant and cryptic grammar doesn’t work
2.Neat and misleading. Very good.
3.Great disguised anagram and def; smooth surface
4.A succinct disguised definition with excellent anagram – the runner-up clue for me.
6. Be dead-set and see one very composed
1.Surface meaning ?
2.Surface reading is awkward.
7. Become immortal embodying, for example, an expression of indomitable spirit
1.Never die and never say die – same root .
8. 'Carry On Regardless' is even ready to be broadcast
1.Does “to be broadcast” work in the same way as broadcast ?
2.Great def and appropriate use of broadcast as anagrind, but slightly odd-sounding surface
9. “Carry On Regardless” is very endearing… until just over half way through anyway
1.Good until “anyway” as anagrind imo, which also needs a comma before it
2.Good definition and nice surface
10. Continually entertained by a Disney revamp? – Just keep going
1.Needs better def, fitting with wordplay (which is nice). What’s with the dash?
11. Criminal is even ready to keep going! (5,3,3)
1.To is redundant
2.Like the similar 9, slightly unnatural surface: “is even ready”
12. Do I deserve any encouragement?
1.Definition is vague
2.Satisfying and succinct clue. Definition is a bit vague.
3.I like this clue a lot and gave it a point, but def is a bit vague which cost it more
14. Don't give in to an embargo on naming a royal, they say.
1.Never – same root in clue and solution
2.Wrong grammar: “an embargo…” = “Never saying Di”
3.Not ideal for the clue to contain one of the same words as the answer ("say")
16. Don't give up in adverse conditions with enemy outside
1.“enemy outside” is wrong grammar for picking ends of the word “enemy”. It sounds like containment indicator
17. Don’t mention Charles’ ex in soundtrack for Carry On
1.Never – same root
18. Don't quit, sever any modified part of the pedestal (5,3,3)
1.Surface ?
19. Envy – a desire, difficult to give up? On the contrary (5,3,3)
1.A definition should say what the word means not what it doesn’t
2.Good clue but reservation about the position of (adjective) anagram indicator.
21. Excruciating day in Everest with no end in sight ? Don’t give up ! (5,3,3)
1.Good clue except you can't really be "in" Everest
2.It’s on Everest, surely?
22. Expressing it in adversity, endlessly keep fighting!
1.Very good & Lit.
23. Hope vehicle registered in Spain drives any better around England (5, 3, 3)
1.Good idea, but Chambers gives E = English, not England
2.1939 Bob Hope film reference is just too obscure to be fair to solvers.
24. I deny, as ever, any way to surrender? (5,3,3)
1.Role of “to surrender”
2.Not &lit – “to surrender?” is not part of wordplay, and as a semi-&Lit “surrender?” is an anti-def so unfair
3.I can’t see what ‘to surrender’ contributes to the wordplay.
25. Indomitable invaders eye pillage
1.Isn’t there a difference between the adjective NEVER-SAY-DIE and the expression NEVER SAY DIE ?
2.def is for “never-say-die” not “never say die”, but this is fine. Not a fan of the nounal anagrind
27. Invaders eye new order – "Don't give up!"
1.imo it needs to be “… eye’s” for anagrind to work, which ruins the surface
28. Inviolable spoils invaders eye
1.def is for “never-say-die”, fine. But “spoils” doesn’t work before the fodder as an anagrind. But good idea
29. It's not very sane to be late with these immortal words. become late = die. To be late = be dead. “Not” is not a valid anagrind. However, “Immortal words?” would’ve been brilliant alone as CD
2.‘It’s not’ doesn’t indicate an anagram
30. Keep going like old soldiers — put into words being captured here?
1.Isn’t &lit – whole clue does not define “never say die” but would cutting “being captured here”, but that ruins wordplay
2.Original idea, but I find the wordplay a bit clumsy
31. Keep going on French town day out – Nice occasionally
1.Surface doesn’t make sense, despite nice use of Nice to link with French town
32. Keep on having deviant sin every couple of days with a handy partner (5,3,3)
1.Surface not quite right. Good disguise of def
33. Keep trying! Scratch the head, try ideas, even when confused (5,3,3)
1.Should be “scratching.” Fine otherwise
34. Let's keep hoping for a Derby winner (5 3 3)
1.Superfluous “let’s” ruins clue. Without that, I might have given it some points
36. New Year's Eve din? Grin and bear it!
1.Great disguised anagram; smooth surface.
2.Well-spotted useful anagram material but definition does not cut it.
37. Not giving up messy events diary? Time to go electronic
1.Clever wordplay, but surely the time to go electronic is when you are giving up your old diary
2.Nice anagram and surface
38. One needs a very flexible attitude for success (5,3,3)
1.Good. Defines “never-say-die”, not “never say die”
2.Anagram and definition nicely combined
39. Perversion in every Sade? Just don't give up!
1.Nounal anagrind doesn’t work. Imaginative clue though
40. Problems with the needy varies, but one shouldn't give up hope.
1.Incorrect grammar. Not a fan of “problems with” as anagrind either
2.Grammatically, 'varies' cannot support a plural noun ('Problems').
41. Sadly every idea essentially gainsaid: don't give up hope!
1.Nice try at a different approach.
42. Scatter earth and sand very loosely, i.e. don’t pack it in
1.Good misleading def. At first sight brilliant but unfortunately has too many anagrinds – scatter and loosely – with which it’s unfair
2.Refreshingly different surface reading/word play with clever disguising of anagram fodder and split anagrind (ok I think) – my winner.
3.Excellent surface; I am a little uneasy with e = earth
43. Seven Year Itch director originally produced Carry on Regardless
1.The first of "on" should be capitalised. Otherwise great
2.If it were true, this would be a brilliant clue.
3.Nice idea, but better wording might have been: "Seven Year Itch's original director worked on Carry on Regardless"
4.Best of the Carry on Regardless clues, although, in fact, this film came after 'Seven Year Itch'.
46. Strive incessantly, but silently, to cash in.
1.Wrong grammar: "silently" is adverb, "never say" is imperative so can’t be synonyms
48. This attitude verges on noble virtue, refuses ardently to perish (5,3,3)
1.Defs never-say-die, which is fine I am guessing. But grammar is wrong
49. Turning evil, Daenerys kills many but don't lose hope
1.Nice anagram spot
2.Great idea marred by the superfluous 'but'
51. Very sad indeed losing two of diamonds in play but don't give up (5,3,3)
1.Nice construction, different word play but surface reading stretching it a bit.