◀  No. 23693 Dec 2017 Clue list No. 2376  ▶



1.  R. J. Whale: A stomach accruing fluid might make human this (comp. anag. & lit.).

2.  Dr S. J. Shaw: Such persons may be disposed to gripe, so can act cross (comp. anag. & lit.).

3.  P. L. Stone: See the undoing of tragic Tosca – tense going with stomach churning (c + anag. less t; ref. Verdi opera).


M. Barker: Australia caught MCC going all to pieces: it could be this mauling triggering heartburn (comp. anag. incl. c).

M. Barley: A cigar combined with endless Scotch – might some end thus after scoffing Xmas dinner? (anag. less h).

T. C. Borland: About Cape, original course for cargo, it’s often windy (ca. + C + anag.).

Dr J. Burscough: Dyspeptic suggestion of Cato as conclusion to speech: delenda est Carthago (sic) (anag. with C for h).

A. Chamberlain: See old pulley losing end of rope? A wheel ’as to be secured with gripes! (a cog ’as in c tric(e)).

J. Grimes: Round a bowl to throw up with middle in crick? (a cog in cast + ric, & lit.).

R. J. Heald: Suffering upset tummy? See preparation of cascara coping with it, relieving terrible pain (anag. less anag.).

M. Hodgkin: Having such problems travelling, got carsick, heaving last after drive in Trossachs (ca’ + anag. less k).

J. C. Leyland: Off-colour comic act gags border on racially offensive, though avoiding Manning’s extremes (anag. incl r less M, g; ref. Bernard M., racist comedian).

M. Lloyd-Jones: Acrostic hints of Azed’s gratify crossword nuts in need of a relaxant (anag. incl. A, g, c).

M. Lunan: Got sick internally with endless cascara upset, having gyppy tummy (anag. incl. (s)ic(k) less a).

D. F. Manley: Having a bad gut feeling about Australia? Then start to cheer Craig O’s introduction to test batting! (c + A + C + anag. incl. t; ref. C. Overton, Ashes tour).

P. W. Marlow: See adjective applied to cases of consuming too acidic ingredients possibly? About right (c + a + anag. of outer letters incl. r, & lit.).

J. R. C. Michie: Contrived acrostic – CAG: Characterising Acid Gut (anag.).

C. G. Millin: Suffering collywobbles? – a deception in class regularly, with heartless teacher in charge (a cog in c, a, s + t, r + i/c).

J. Smailes: A minor functionary in company with endlessly splendid livery (a cog in cast + ric(h)).

R. C. Teuton: Getting this with evening out revelling? Could be I counteract with e.g. Gaviscon (comp. anag. & lit.; ref. brand of indigestion remedy).

J. R. Tozer: Causing upset inside ICC, Croat unexpectedly ingests poison (gas in anag.; ref. suicide of Gen. Praljak at International Criminal Court).

T. West-Taylor: Having a bellyache about company cars’ vintage. taking every other one for a refit (ca. co. + anag. incl. alternate letters).

Dr E. Young: Windy Chicago, blowing hard – time cars crash? (anag. less h incl. t; ref. ‘Windy City’).


T. Anderson, D. Appleton, D. & N. Aspland, Dr P. M. J. Bennett, H. J. Bradbury, P. Brown, C. J. Butler, J. Doylend, W. Drever, J. Fairclough, E. Hodgson, G. Johnstone, B. Lovering, A. MacDougall, P. McKenna (China), T. J. Moorey, D. R. Ogilvie (USA), S. Randall, T. Rudd, S. Saunders, A. D. Scott, N. G. Shippobotham, P. Tharby, Mrs A. M. Walden, Ms S. Wallace, A. J. Wardrop, P. Wickens, G. H. Willett, J. Woodall (France), A. J. Young.

172 entries, no mistakes that I spotted. Favourite clue, of 16 nominated once or more, was ‘Uxorious husbands abound there, principally, abroad!’ for UTAH, one vote ahead of ‘Isis orants might have rattled these with endless noise’ (SISTRA). The puzzle was, by general agreement, a bit tougher than average, probably because of the above-average number of obscure words it contained. I never consciously regulate the number of these in any one puzzle, working on the assumption that like me you enjoy meeting uncommon vocabulary items for the first time. And they don’t come any odder than CACOGASTRIC. According to the OED it is a nonce-word invented by Thomas Carlyle and appearing in one of his miscellaneous essays (on Diderot), published in the 1850s. Why on earth the Chambers lexicographers saw fit to include it is a mystery. The Oxford definition, based presumably on educated guesswork, is, charmingly, ‘Having a deranged stomach’. I imagine that Carlyle had in mind a purely physiological context, not the extended or metaphorical senses of ‘dyspeptic’, though one can’t be sure.
Anyway, it was a bit of a brute to clue. More than a few competitors did themselves no favours by defining it as a noun (despite my comments in a recent slip). Anagrams involving Castro and his cigars were popular but not easy to link convincingly to a definition part. I don’t think Fidel was particularly dyspeptic, was he? And do beware of misspellings in your clues. These (e.g. ‘occuring’) lead to instant disqualification by the judge, draconian though this may appear.
No time for more now, with the Christmas competition looming. I hope you enjoy it. My thanks to all of you who sent cards and Christmas greetings, May I wish you all in turn a very happy Christmas and all the best in 2018, notwithstanding the omens.
A final brief footnote: I’m very grateful for the uniformly sympathetic comments I received on the swastika issue mentioned in the last slip.


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First prize winner by D. F. Manley in competition 1801