The Crossword Centre Clue-Writing Competition

CCCWC Xmas Special competition voters’ comments

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A clue to Christmas Cocktails (Right & Left).
73 comments were received for this competition (from 10 competitors, 0 others)
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Comments on the competition
One of those competitions where it was awfully difficult to pick good clues to make the shortlist, many having some flaw or the other. And a few ended up clueing Christmas/Cocktails – maybe the title gave rise to the confusion. Addition of 'Cranberry' seems to have been done later, I'm surprised I never received a notification mail. In fact, I rejected those clues initially, then rechecked the 'more information' tab to find updated instructions incorporated. Strange.
Some long-winded entrants clearly need a tutorial in how to write explnatory notes! I more or less picked five out of the hat that made sense and were grammatical and gave them three points each. No absolute stand-out winner. Just too bad that I realised just now that I should have shortened Agnes — ouch!
Sadly several cluers didn't read the instructions.

Not many clues disguised the definitions.

Majority of clue surfaces very clunky, which I guess is not surprising for right-and-left with longish words.

Most clues had a smooth and disguised join between the right and left clues.
Not easy to clue two nine letter words in the same clue using no link word(s) between the two and still arrive at a credible surface story in as few words as possible. For me the standout clue which delivers this is clue 8 – although the use of girl = g is not supported in the major dictionaries, I think it probably is supported in common usage; and 'to' as a link word has its critics (but to me here implies 'leading to' and is ok). An admirable clue, nevertheless, getting top marks from me.
Comments on the clues
1. A characteristic of Margarita's treatment of a neurotic horse in French country region
1.Good effort, but can't find h=horse in Chambers, also 'French country region' sounds a bit forced
2."characteristic" a stretch for "ingredient" here. Champagne and campagne are same etymology, not ideal
2. A winter fest, you’ll have heard, is made merrier by black and white Russians.
1.Seems to be clueing the theme and not the required entries
2.Doesn’t meet the requirements of the competition
3.Sadly I think you completely misunderstood the instructions.
4.Sorry but you didn't read the instructions…
5.The challenge is to clue for CRANBERRY/CHAMPAGNE/COINTREAU 2
3. Actioner shot around posh part of cosmopolitan region has hero Cagney robbing banks
1.I like the champagne wordplay.
2.Great idea but can't see how "robbing" is a deletion indicator, unlike "robbed of"
4. Airing open wine to make out with a nicer drink
1.Not a fan of "to make <fodder> <definition>" as anagram clue
5. Angers spirit? A neurotic's convulsed with simulated agony, they say, becoming bubbly.
1.Nice idea, but there should not be a linking word ("with") between the clues.
6. Best bubbly a true icon mixed with ice and tequila for margarita
1.Couldn't find a reference for 'Best'; 'ice and tequila' just unnecessary padding?
7. Bubbly cocktail of peach with cut mango, mint and essence of matured rum liqueur (9)(9)
1.The break between the two halves makes this not so ideal
2.Different inventive wordplay – not my winner but a good clue nonetheless.
8. Bubbly girl kept by mean chap, sadly a neurotic, turned to drink (9)(9)
1.sadly spoiled by that 'to'
2.G = girl not in Chambers or Collins, otherwise would have given points
3.Standout winner for me – bravo.
9. Bubbly Guy, me (half-cut) and little Agnes are in court with no end of beer, drunk at Xmas!
1.Sorry, but this surface doesn't seem very natural at all
12. Bubbly winner's date drinks new liqueur with funny reaction for all to see
1.A small grammar issue with 'drinks', should ideally have been 'drinking'
2.‘s reads as “has drinks new liqueur” in the parsing 12
13. Campaign not one he planned for bubbly liqueur a true icon blended
1.Surface sounds strange
2.Campaign and champagne are etymologically linked and similar words, so first anagram's not ideal for me
3.Surface doesn’t come across well 13
14. Carer with Bryn's new fruit liqueur, drunk to cure an infection, primarily.
1.Good clue although 'Bryn' rather signals anagram fodder.
15. Chap (man), e.g., stirred bubbly liqueur a true icon shook
1.Heads the list of rather strange surfaces
16. Cordial captain selected for three Italian "golden" clubs fled the best, in singular fashion – the sauce!
1.Couldn't quite follow this
17. Corruptly Simpkin, we hear, pretended sheet of stamps confused non-European auctioneer. It's essentially orange.
1.A somewhat forced surface and a definition that 'stands apart'
18. Cosmopolitan French quarter – ice ran out, re-ordered Charlie's drink? Fizz!
1.Definition not right for me, should be "Cosmopolitan's"when there's another adjective after
19. Drink fizzy tonic water in Reims after a bit of robust bubbly, whipped ganache and slices of mouthwatering pastries
1.Like "fizzy tonic water in <French place>" (also considered it). No disguise of "bubbly." Not fan of "slices" as first letter selector
20. Drink making a neurotic bubbly, leads to party adopting mood change, correct
1.Correct as anagram indicator would be better used in the imperative
21. French drinks producing fuddled neurotica and sad dampening ignoring drunken din after tea
1.This doesn’t meet the requirement for two distinct clues
22. French region's map change ruined a Nice tour; supply drink
1.Not quite seamless to merit the shortlist
2.End feels tacked on but rest is good
23. Going astray, change Pam for bubbly cutie Nora, unsteady in drink
1.The 'change Pam' bit doesn't work so well imo
24. Hearing foul tales may make a certain coward merry.
1.Referring to Christmas Cocktails not Champagne/Cointreau
2.Doesn’t meet the requirements of the competition
3.Sadly I think you completely misunderstood the instructions.
4.Sorry, but I don't think you read the brief…
5.The challenge is to clue for two drinks, not for cocktails 24
25. ILL town sounds like a wine liqueur cocktail a true icon.
1.Grammar seems totally off
2.Surface ungrammatical
26. I'm drunk and spirited, awful loveless roué, action man grabbing married 'holy' woman being bubbly
1.Not enthused with the surface
2.A bit more interesting than most of the ‘bubbly drink/drunk’ clues, but unfortunately second clue leads to CHAMPAGNES
3.Doesn’t the wordplay lead to champagnes ? 26
27. Moan about barren ground, fruit a pale yellow, mangy peach after year spent spraying
1.Surface a bit forced
2.Should ideally be "year's spent", as "year" is the object of "spent"
28. Nice guy Alexander McQueen starts ordering cheap sparkling wine for all after avant-garde creation featured in Cosmopolitan
1.Position of letter picking and anagram indicators not quite ok
2.I like it, but not keen on the anagrind being in the middle of fodder without it being clear that both sides can be fodder.
3.anagrind doesn't work in middle of fodder!
4.Wordplay for Champagne doesn’t suggest NGAM* is again anagrammed with CHEAP* 28
29. Play game regularly with panache, getting some bubbly orange drink creation prepared by university
1.Surface a bit forced, doesn't have a natural ring to it
30. Pop vocalist’s faux anguish spilled out in a record? Not half, it’s bittersweet and heady
1.Perhaps the best of the 'sham pain' homonyms in terms of novel wordplay but the defs are quite broad.
31. Sadly neurotic after swallowing a liqueur with bubbly, to feign distress we hear.
1.'With' acts as a connector between two halves, redundant, and not seamless
2.'with' – ?
there should not be superfluous words separating the clues
3.A very good clue but for using 'with' as a link word to the 2nd clue – not allowed in this month's comp .
4.Don’t think the connector “with” is allowed 31
32. Victor and Agnes mostly drink liqueur at our nice club
1.Succinct with a surface that works, but 'AGNE' as a straight string doesn't seem to be ideal in clueing
2.Club seems like a stretch as an anagrind, but I felt this deserved points for brevity.
3.I don't think 'club' is an acceptable anagrind. 'Clubbed' might be, but then wrecks the surface
4.imperative anagrind needs to be before fodder
33. Victor has time to consume new bubbly liqueur that's producing the beginning of unforgettable reaction
1.Should have been 'unforgettable'?
34. Victor takes his time grasping new, bubbly type of bog – gets sort of red need for 'his'
2.The extraneous "his" is misleading
35. Vintage fashion mag, cheap and new, worried a neurotic contributor to Cosmopolitan
1.A break between the two halves, so not very seamless
2.Best of many similar clues
36. Winner's corner having a good bubbly drink unfortunately ice ran out
1.Does need some punctuation, a comma after 'drink' perhaps
2.I like your story in the clue here, and the clue runs nicely.
37. Without hesitation substituted cheap magnum in place of wine liqueur (ice ran out unfortunately) (9,9)
1.'liqueur wine' rather than the other way round would be the generally acceptable norm
2.Nice idea, but there should not be a linking word ("in") between the clues.