◀  No. 25472 May 2021 Clue list No. 2556  ▶


SPAVIN (Spoonerisms)

1.  W. Drever: After Augusta’s fifth, US golfer heading for par in ‘Juniper’ makes a silly four (filly sore; s + (Corey) Pavin, p in savin; ‘Juniper’, par 3 6th hole at Augusta).

2.  R. J. Heald: What might Hubble track? Scattered outer parts from supernova, it having exploded (trouble hack; anag. less anag.; part vi; ref. space telescope).

3.  S. Hicks: Head of store, by flagging shelving ‘good’, heeds stock complaint (steed’s hock; s + pavin(g)).


D. Appleton: Originally, stalking provided a viable income, nowadays this adversely affects many a ghillie’s fate (filly’s gait; first letters).

D. K. Arnott: Whore meant to tax immorality, netting a little profit on average (torment to hacks; p av in sin).

M. Barley: With onset of spring, see golfer hanker for the course (canker … horse; s + (Corey) Pavin).

T. Borland: What might male heir claim, when Queen passes, in turn (ail mare; av(ER) in spin).

C. J. Brougham: Country vicar’s opening barbs that would shame liars (lame shires; v in Spain; barb = pierce).

N. Connaughton (Ireland): Sore humour on tax sometimes very noticeable among monarchy? (tumour on hacks; v in Spain).

J. Doylend: Bob and Kay’s problem with hock leads to somebody purchasing a French wine (cob and bay’s; s, p + a vin).

P. Finan: Hanker, of course, after resort’s wine (canker of horse; spa + vin).

A. Gerrard: Scratching top of scalp in middle of movie Saps at Sea – what could make Laurel continually act same? (sorrel … lame; anag. incl. in v, less s; ref. L. & Hardy film).

M. Hodgkin: Special platform’s opening via disguised terminus in London, from which Potter may get train (trotter … pain; s + p + anag. + n; ref. Harry P.).

J. C. Leyland: Bridge accommodating six trainspotters (pains trotters; VI in span).

M. Lloyd-Jones: Jack’s hip still not up to sex in vessel (hack’s gyp; s(till) + VI in pan; sex (L.) = six).

D. F. Manley: Lillee’s fame? It may be due to that Australian with velocity in play (filly’s lame; A v in spin; ref. Dennis L.).

T. J. Moorey: What’s made Lily’s fame? Pop that’s bubbly, for example on debut with ‘Smile’ (fillies lame; S + pa + vin; ref. L. Allen).

J. Pearce: What might make lad primp is finally going to a formal dance (prad limp; s + pavin).

Dr S. J. Shaw: What got Lillee fame? Primarily slinging projectile at victims batting! (filly lame; first letters + in; ref. Dennis L.).

A. J. Shields: Head of victim buried in land around Marbella – this could lead to naming of lag (laming of nag; v in Spain).

P. L. Stone: Saucy whore, sexy vamp, taking money in sin (horsy sore; anag. less m in sin).

J. R. Tozer: What’ll shame a liar, one very involved in manipulative PR? (lame a shire; a v in spin).

A. J. Varney: A couple of vixens between a pair of horses inflamed foxhound to cause this problem (hock’s found; vi in span).

A. J. Wardrop: Stir up VIPs with an unwelcome code for nobs (node for cobs; anag.).

T. West-Taylor: Heeds stock condition well in introducing start of vaccination (steed’s hock; v in spa in).


P. B. Alldred, D. & N. Aspland, P. Cargill, D. Carter, H. Casson (USA), A. G. Chamberlain, C. A. Clarke, M. Coates, T. Coates (Australia), M. Davies, Ms L. Davis, Dr I. S. Fletcher, R. Gilbert, G. I. L. Grafton, A. H. Harker, D. C. Jones, E. C. Lance, K. MacKenzie (Ireland), L. F. Marzillier (USA), C. G. Millin, T. D. Nicholl, J. & A. Price, D. Price Jones, S. Randall, A. D. Scott, D. P. Shenkin, I. Simpson, P. A. Stephenson, R. C. Teuton, J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter, Mrs A. M. Walden, R. J. Whale, Dr M. C. Whelan, D. Whisstock (Italy), A. Whittaker, K. & J. Wolff.

139 entries. Apart from one entry with LASSI for MESSI (wild guess or careless slip?) there were no mistakes. The return of a clearly very popular special (‘but not too often, please’!) yielded a fine crop of Spoonerisms, especially the brilliant first three above. I’ve now given you 18 of these puzzles since the first, No. 314, and though both grid and clues take a considerable time to devise, it is an enjoyable challenge, the trickiest bit being to produce clues containing Spoonerisms in which the surface reading makes reasonable sense. As several of you guessed, this puzzle began with BUSTER KEATON. I’m sure I’m not the first to have spotted this very satisfying Spoonerism but once I did it was just irresistible, and proved your favourite by a very long way. Second (of 18 mentioned) was ‘Suggesting Pliny may cane lot carelessly neglecting Latin’ for ONE-ACT.
Faced with the task of dreaming up a decent Spoonerism, I find that my head becomes filled with possibilities many of which don’t work and only a few pass muster (sometimes only one). Fortunately SPAVIN offered plenty of equine and veterinary synonyms to work with (the main reason I chose it). A few competitors lost sight of what was required, e.g. ‘Moany couple showing set text in a favourable slant’, which required a double move to arrive at the Spoonerism (moany couple ? groany both ? bony growth), or ‘Flash Harry – one trashing very fashionable resort’, i.e. Spoonerized SPIV AN and an (indirect) anagram of v in spa. I sympathize with those who found such mental gymnastics almost too much to cope with. Perhaps the preamble is a bit too complicated (as one competitor suggested) but I’d rather it was too long than too short.
Finally, I must thank Mr Chris Edmunds, who was prompted by my remarks in last month’s slip to do some further research into the pelta. He writes: ‘I was aware that hoplites carried the aspis or hoplon rather than the pelta. A little research led to the reforms of Iphicrates, who (according to later writers at least) had his hoplites’ shields replaced by the lighter pelta. One could even say that at that stage in the 4th century, the hoplite was in fact fitted out with one – rather pleasing!’


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