XIMENES CROSSWORD No. 177
1. J. F. N. Wedge: Flat, empty, to lease, by arrangement, after beginning of December (D + anag.).
2. J. A. Blair: Feeling lonely? Present retiring miss with an engagement ring (lose (rev.) in date).
3. T. W. Melluish: Such people often assume weeds seed a lot, all over the place (anag.; widow’s weeds; weed2).
Rev B. Chapman: A clue is wasted here, so you’ll have to carry on without it! (so in delate).
C. E. Gates: Descriptive perhaps of Mary’s plight—dramatically alone with the tiny sandbank beginning to be encircled by the Dee (sola3 + t(ee) in Dee; ref. Kingsley, ‘The Sands of Dee’ [see comments]).
S. Goldie: Stormy sea led to wreck (anag.).
E. L. Mellersh: Clement in this kind of place? Certainly not. But soon, perhaps! (cryptic def.; ref. C. Attlee and imminent Gen. Election).
D. P. M. Michael: Left alone could be so elated in a muddle! (anag. [see comments]).
Rev E. B. Peel: Wasted time rings in returning ruin (lose (rev.) in date).
A. Robins: I must be abandoned, to carry on embracing in this way (so in delate).
W. K. M. Slimmings: If I lose my seat, I can still get the dole—that’s how the Left feel (i.e. desolate minus anag. of seat = dole; ref. imminent Gen. Election [see comments]).
L. E. Thomas: It’s waste of time embracing retiring miss (lose (rev.) in date).
H. T. Young: Simply left to waste, a Brass Hat being in charge (SO in delate).
J. S. Young: Without the backbone to carry on alone (os1 (rev.) in delate).
C. A. Baker, Rev L. Blackburn, F. L. Constable, Mrs N. Fisher, P. G. W. Glare, C. P. Grant, G. M. Gwynn, R. J. Hall, C. Koop, Capt G. Langham, A. F. Lerrigo, W. L. Miron, C. J. Morse, M. Newman, D. A. Nicholls, Mrs A. M. Osmond, T. E. Sanders, E. T. Smith, O. Carlton Smith, H. L. Tinkler, Capt C. Tyers, W. G. Webb, D. J. Williams.
COMMENTS—232 correct and few mistakes. The number of strangers—to whom I offer a welcome—and the scarcity of mistakes in the entry both make me think that the puzzle was not harder than usual, but that many regulars either missed the puzzle because of the alteration in dates or were put off by what proved an uninspiring word to clue. It had seemed to me a simple and promising one, but the results were rather disappointing and the lists are short. There were naturally many topical election clues, but several of them seemed to me rather forced: not a few were marred by ignorance of the fact that Mr Attlee has two Ts! I will offer some criticisms of individual clues.
H.C.s—C. E. G—Long, and the “t-ee” is a little weak—a tee, even before the day of pegs, was hardly a “bank”—but the unity of the idea is excellently worked in. D. P. M. M.—Very neat, but suffers from the fact that the misleading idea wouldn’t strike one as readily as the intended—and supposedly concealed—idea: hence one wouldn’t he misled for long. W. K. M. S.—This would be really excellent but for the looseness of the indication of letters—there is no suggestion that the letters of “seat” are not in order.
RUs—“Not so elated as I might be!” A neat portmanteau, but not sound: who is the “I” in the definition sense ? “I” can hardly be used when “one” is intended.—“So you admit to the charge? It may mean ruin!” Good, but spoilt, in my view, by “the” with what is in fact a verb. I don’t think that ought to pass—I hope it hasn’t done so on previous occasions.
Some not-quite-R.U.s—“What’s in a date? Only trouble, if you’re left this.” Date—sole: the one whose letters are not mixed is given, the other defined: this is the wrong way round. And surely the “if” isn’t true: “only-trouble” is in date whether you’re left this or not!—“Nothing here to get so terribly elated about!” Neat, but signally fails to define “desolate” as an adjective: it must be either that or a verb: the adjective is clearly intended, but it isn’t indicated: the answer to this clue should be a noun.—“The time in which you back nearly all losers—that’s just how you feel!” Good at first sight, till one notes that “nearly all losers” is only 4 letters out of 6—nearer half than all! In any case, I think a backer who felt desolate—a pretty strong word—after having backed any winners at all would hardly be justified: so this one doesn’t quite get in.