The Crossword Centre Clue-Writing Competition

CCCWC March competition voters’ comments
Clue no. 42: Skipper's always about when close to port

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A clue to EASTER (Misprint).
6 comments refer to this clue (from 5 competitors, 0 others)
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Comments on the clue
1.I have given preference to clues that avoid a link implying equality between definition and wordplay
2.Works well enough cryptically but who or what does "when close to port" refer to?.
3.Originally different from all the other MASTER TASTER FASTER clues.
4.Very nicely done on a different tack to most!
Comments on the competition
Great to see such a large number of entries this month – more to chose from than the Grand National ! A couple of clues (13and23) did fall at the first, unfortunately. The rubric specifically required the clue word (EASTER) to be distinguishable by wordplay, effectively ruling out the use of 'double definition' clues. Imagine if the misprinted letter were unchecked, the solver would not know which word to enter ! The second hurdle was avoiding link words. I may be wrong, but it seems untenable to use the customary 'wordplay' FOR 'definition' or 'definition' FROM 'wordplay' structure for 'misprint' clues, as by their nature the 2 elements differ by one letter. I therefore preferred clues without such an explicit connection, accordingly marking down 8,11,15,20,21,25,35,36,38,39,40,41,42,43,47,48and52. On the other hand, the '& lit' clue was quite acceptable, though only 4 were attempted, with varying degrees of success.

Other fallers included a nounal anagram indicator 50 and a few dubious single letter indicators (20,24 and 44).

Of the 13 possible choices for an EASTER misprint just 4 were absent (BASTER,LASTER,PASTER and VASTER) and 2 had single entries, so the best EASTED (9) and GASTER (51) were easy to choose ! Of the other clues, exactly half (26/52) defined MASTER (14) or TASTER (12), and 6 of these received my points, along with 2 WASTERs and 1 EASIER. My favourites for the 5 commonest definitions chosen were 53,6,27,29 and 19.

It only remains for me to wish good luck to all the runners and riders in this month's competition, and may the best clue win !
Lots of people (8, 11, 15, 20, 21, 25, 35, 36, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 47, 48, [58]) used link words (is, 's, gets, has, making, from, giving, as, for, revealed, etc). These say that the letters of the word defined are the same as the letters the wordplay produces. For clues like this that's not true so some very nice ideas were wasted on unsound clues.