The Crossword Centre Clue-Writing Competition

CCCWC August competition voters’ comments

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144 comments were received for this competition (from 15 competitors, 1 other)
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Comments on the competition
I have ruled out at least twenty clues that don't distinguish between bibliomania and bibliophilia. And I'm not sure it's fair to refer to "Emma", for example, without indicating that a book title is intended.
I enjoyed the cryptic definitions but unfortunately (where no wordplay was offered) had to discount the ones which indicated a mere 'love' or 'passion' of books, as 'bibliophily' also fits the bill, and has 11 letters.
I really didn't like anyone else's clue, so am mostly passing this time, A stiff challenge clearly too hard for the clue-writers!
With this month's word, cryptic all in one clues seemed to work better than the longer wordplay ones and the word did not seem to lend itself to workable anagrams – which also made a change.
Comments on the clues
1. A bi man bursting with libido, spurning Dee but desiring Emma and Maurice among others
1.Nice anagram. Def needs a ? I think
2.Haha – points for the amusement factor!
3.An entertaining short story
2. A bimbo ailing? No good getting upset. Could be annual fever. (11)
1.Good wordplay, and definition is OK, although, not having children, I have no idea what "annual fever" signifies.
3. A passion for undercover work resulting in many charges, … and sentences (11)
1.I don't understand the reference to charges.
2.I keep looking at this clue and can't see how it works.
4. A worm’s love of leaves?
1.This gave me a broad grin
2.Made me smile
5. Abridged holy book , primarily inspiring and old , a main cause for shelf-stacking?
1.Bibliomania is derived from Bible
2.I don't see how 'cause' can indicate an anagram
6. Alibi in a mob cooking the books excessively
1.The clue does not seem to define Bibliomania
2.& lit? I can't see how this sentence defines bibliomania.
3.I like the anagram; not sure if 'the books excessively' provides a fair definition
4.In what way is this &Lit?
8. Animal, hominid, regularly crazy with books
1.Crazy 'with' books doesn't sound natural
2.not a pure &lit – the surface describes a bibliomaniaC rather than his passion
3.Does the definition have the right part of speech? The clue as a whole is describing the subject, a human animal, and not their bibliomania
9. Arab follows detailed Bible interpretation initially – a passion for books! (11)
1.Bibli – of the Bible. Same root
10. Being mad about books androgynous British rugby player takes old lady to Iowa (11)
1.The wordplay is too complicated for me, sorry. (Not to mention the bizarre surface.)
2.This only happens in crossword clues
3.Slightly far-fetched, but amusing
4.I am happy to accept the British is not doing double duty – the surface is nonsense though
11. Book love one librarian developed after giving up rights for first manuscript (11)
1.Good construction . Should have been first of manuscript
2."first manuscript" for M is horrible!
3.Super clue
12. Book one topless bimbo to dance with uninitiated Taliban (11)
1.Looks like an interesting book, although rather too obscure. I like the humour though.
2.Obscure def, and a most unlikely scenario
3.An entertaining scene and a tight clue. Book is perhaps too generic as a definition of bibliomania? I have reservations about using bimbo
4.Bit of a stretch to assume anyone's heard of that book, I feel.
13. Condition a librarian embodies, eclipsing readers' passion for books
1.Being strict, a second anagrind for "readers" is required here, but still worth a point.
2.Good idea, but needs to indicate the subtracted letters are out of order
3.Great clue!
15. Crazy minion Ali Baba has not an ardour for books
1.The surface is just clunky and not quite English
16. "Destroy bio lab!" —I. Amin's book, Obsession
1.Ingenious anagram but fragmented and unconvincing surface.
2.But Idi Amin never wrote a book called Obsession and why is the book wanting destruction of bio labs
17. Good book edited by an Arab with a passion for the written word (11)
1.'Edit' doesn't mean 'delete last letter'
2.Needs to be ‘one Arab’
3.Never heard of Iomani … Omani? I'd have thought an editor would not remove a letter to leave a non word – abridged might have been better
4.On the long side, but good wordplay.
18. Graduate has no alibi. "I'm involved in a craze for books" (11)
1.Two seemingly unrelated statements.
19. Graduate’s extraordinarily glib — not good, I cry over humanity’s obsession with books
1."Humanity's obsession with books" is not something I recognize.
20. Hankering for storied treasures, Ali Baba's mission in disarray, not having a satisfactory small scout.
1.How are you indicating subtracting only the initial letters of "satisfactory small scout"?
21. Hence one into books and literature endlessly scouring nation's capital?
2.Original idea and good use of ‘one into books’
3.I don't understand this at all!
22. I am in Bilbao madly collecting books
1.Great anagram spot, poor definition, unless you allow "madly" to do double duty.
24. "I love going after endless collection of books", man accepted following onset of intellectual condition
1.In a semi-&lit part of the clue is the wordplay and the whole is the definition. Here it's just the very weak "condition".
2.Needs some indication that it’s semi-& lit., e.g. ‘… condition – such as this?’
26. "I'm anal, I love books" – one suffering ——— (11)
1.Do only professional setters use this blank space device? Minor quibble – one would suffer FROM bibliomania.
2.A good & lit clue, skilfully and economically constructed
3.Easy to solve but ingenious
4.The cleverest & lit.
5.Elegant and concise – does it all!
6.Definition is of a bibliomaniaC, so sadly not an &lit
27. I'm in a bio-lab cultivating a passion for bookworms (11)
1."Cultivating" doesn't work as an an anagrind here; transitive verbs should precede their object.
2.Lovely idea, but I would have much preferred an intransitive verb such as "developing" as anagrind.
3.Great idea. The anagram material is ‘being cultivated’ rather than ‘cultivating’ I think
4.Considerably better than the other "bio lab" clue… which was my own.
28. I'm in Bilbao — travelling's a passion
1.Definition is too vague, and defines bibliophilia rather than bibliomania.
2.My favourite of the Bilbao clues
3.Others do this better by stating what sort of passion it is
29. I'm in Bilboa madly embracing a passion for books (11)
1.Embracing does not work as a link word between wordplay and definition
2.Defines bibliophilia rather than bibliomania.
3.Best of the Bilbao venturers, I think.
30. In a lib. I am book mad — showing this, OK?
1.Pity there isn't a better way to indicate "lib", and what purpose does "OK" serve?
2.A neat and ingenious clue
3.Neat anagram & lit., though the ‘OK?’ at the end is rather forced
31. Indian wife inspiring liberal Arab, one showing extreme fondness for books (11)
1.Bibi is too obscure and I'm not sure it means "wife" exactly.
2.Some original (Bibi) and interesting wordplay.
32. Interestingly, Namibia boils down, in the end, to a state of people obsessed with books
1.Good if rather wordy definition, but "interestingly" is a horrible anagrind.
2.The coupling of Namibia with 'state' is very nice but "down in the end" for "drop the last letter" feels a bit of a stretch
33. Italian bimbo lacks time to develop love of books
1.Defines bibliophilia rather than bibliomania.
2.Is that all that’s lacking?
3.A well constructed clue (albeit using a word that does little for gender parity)
34. Lack of volume control?
1.Nice cryptic definition, and a welcome relief from all that convoluted wordplay.
2.The best CD style clue in this competition
3.Good cryptic def., but I prefer a whole clue
4.My favourite of the volume control clues
5.Really nice pun – would benefit from a second half to give the solver more to work with
6.Short and effective.
35. Liam, Bob and Iain developed a passion for collecting books
1.Defines bibliophilia rather than bibliomania.
2.Ha – good spot!
3.Original but a little bit too straightforward wordplay.
36. Librarian's disease?
1.Too vague.
37. Main alibi boy detailed sadly leaves a lot to be desired
1."Leaves a lot to be desired" doesn't work as the definition.
2.Definition is very ingenious – not sure how fair it is, but I like it!
3.I like the use of 'leaves a lot to be desired'
38. Man wearing apron stirring aioli is fancy for a librarian (11)
1.Defines bibliophilia rather than bibliomania.
2.Nicely disguised definition although not sure how fair it is
3.Delightful scene and well coded
39. MC leaves minicab with a mobile endlessly vibrating showing passion for texts
1.The 'mobile' + 'texts' combination is nice
2.I like “passion for texts”
3.Best of the mobile/text clues
40. Mobile libraries abominated tidying van readers left in disorder.
1.Definition is too vague, and I don't see how libraries can abominate anything.
2.It's a good story, but these subtractive anagrams get less and less fair the longer they are
41. Must always turn up volume with this thing?
1."Thing" could equally mean a condition such as deafness,
42. Netanyahu imbibes a litre, Arab pursues a jones for tomes.
1.Bibi for Netanyahu is rather obscure, pursues is the opposite of precedes, overall surface is poor.
43. No volume control?
1.Unfortunately 34 does this better.
2.Nice play on words, but quite a big leap for the solver?
44. Obsession involving Emma and Rebecca, perhaps
1."Lolita" is another example. Minor quibble: book titles would normally be italicized (not possible here) or in quotes.
2.Nicely disguised CD but lacking sparkle needed for top marks
45. Obsession of the Greeks with Phoenician papyrus
1.A little too obscure.
46. Obsession with titles ? (11)
2.Neat succinct cryptic.
47. Obsession with titles means taking on unnecessary works!
1.Why would it mean that? "means" doesn't work as a link between the two definitions.
48. One's gripped by books, I'm anal, I start to obsess suffering this!
1.Why not 'I'm gripped'….
2.Needs a pause before ‘this’ to indicate semi & lit.
3.Unnatural sounding surface, and shouldn't it be suffering FROM this? (I don't suffer fools gladly / I suffer from hayfever.)
49. Passion for collecting books – most of abominable ones trashed
1.It's a good clue and accessible to most solvers
50. Putting out squishy recliner, nice mobile librarian develops passion for books
1.Hard to imagine this scenario, and a squishy recliner doesn't sound very appealing. Defines bibliophilia rather than bibliomania.
2.Good example of a subtractive anagram that isn’t impossible to solve. Wouldn’t a mobile librarian already have a passion for books?!
3.Clever to get librarian into the anagrind. Amusing story!
51. Repeated book collecting in a mainly unending love I fancy!
1.Remarkable bit of wordplay although a bit too contrived for me, and "mainly unending" sounds unnatural.
2.A deftly crafted clue
3.A clever clue. Quite tough too – there's a lot going on.
52. Rocky Balboa: I’m In Boxing in compulsive collection of autobiographies?
1.Good anagram spot and definition.
2.Very good. Marginally prefer 60 but gets points.
53. Rocky Balboa in film regularly about one's love for Emma?
1.Neat idea to use Rocky Balboa. I'm unclear on the reference to Emma as a definition (Austen book or character in Rocky?)
2.I quite liked this until the 'Emma' which sort of limits the definition to love of just one book
54. Scramble for a Miliband bio, on date being released?
1.One of the better entries, although the definition is too specific and doesn't really indicate bibliomania.
2.Good anagram, if an unlikely cause of bibliomania!
4.… and the 'ON'? …. suggests that the three letters OND are removed
55. Shelves crammed? That speaks volumes for this obsession.
1.Not really cryptic.
56. Terrible habit in a mobile – the obsession with texts (11)
1.Great definition, but mobile phones don't have habits.
2.A very nicely disguised definition with a surface reading that threw me in the wrong direction
3.To by sound cryptically, it needs to be “the this obsession …”
4.Elegant story and riff on texts
5.No fan of composite anagrams but this one I liked but for the (necessary) 'in' ruining the surface story.
58. Those opening books in British Library expressing joy with this craze
1.Mania clued as mania .
2.How does "IO" mean expressing joy?
3.‘Mania’ being used In the same sense in def and wordplay is a bit weak
4.Nice work!
59. Volume control defect?
1.A bit too elliptical for me.
60. What draws crowds to the bookshop? A Miliband bio, oddly – Ed’s latest is out
1.Great bit of wordplay, not convinced by the definition though. Bibliomania is a psychological disorder.
2.Really like this, Not 100% sure about the definition but the QM helps.
61. What’s one ensconced in books (extremely infatuated and anal, moi?) suffering? (11)
1.Very ingenious, but extremely won't really do to indicate the first letter, and the surface reading is very contrived.
62. When one's invested in books—a million pound squandered foolishly—one displays this?
1.Good except for the S that pound ought to have.
2.Neat & lit., perhaps better cryptically without ‘when’
63. With dark rooms this might result in mirabilia mixed up with random books.
1.Very clever bit of anagramming, but the definition isn't very convincing.