AZED CROSSWORD 1061
1. T. J. Moorey: Skilful deception practised by Nixon – and Johnson? (2 mngs.; ref. US Presidents, David N., TV magician, and ‘Magic’ J., basketball star).
2. D. F. Manley: Johnson was followed by Nixon (2 mngs.; ref. US Presidents, David N., TV magician, and ‘Magic’ J., basketball star).
3. G. H. Willett: Art with pulling power when PD is at work, perhaps (mag(net)ic; PD = Printer’s Devilry/Paul Daniels).
J. Abernethy: Two of diamonds coming to light after inane banter (mag + ic(e), & lit.).
M. Barley: Tricky little touches from Gascoigne Motson inevitably characterises as ——? (anag. of first letters, & lit.; ref. Paul G., John M., football cliché).
E. J. Burge: There’s backing for the school in a hundred producing exceptional results (gam (rev. ) + i’ C).
C. A. Clarke: August, not, looking back, endlessly fine spell (magnific less fin(e) (rev. )).
D. J. Dare-Plumpton: Marks are given initially in G.C.S.E. (excluding bad e.g.s) for skill in spelling (m a g i’ + GCSE less anag.).
V. Dixon: Ace, three kings, about what one expects from partners who call ‘Double…’? (Magi c., 2 defs.; ref. witches in ‘Macbeth’, bridge).
R. A. England: Share this craft and turn into archimages (comp. anag. & lit.).
R. P. C. Forman: Johnson’s spelling aid? (2 mngs.; ref. ‘Magic’ J., basketball star, and Dr Johnson).
F. D. Gardiner: I am the alpha and omega of conjuring turns (anag. incl. c, g, & lit.).
N. C. Goddard: Snare cast by hypnotic spell (mag(net)ic).
J. F. Grimshaw: Epithet for addition in square KJDQW/RLFXE/YS***/**VOP/BUTHN? (i.e. magic square with A=1, B=2, etc.).
R. W. Hawes: Girl I’d spirited away, another cut in half about sums it up (ma(I’d) + gi(rl) + c., & lit.).
P. F. Henderson: Work the —— – conjuring ace might! (comp. anag. & lit.).
F. P. N. Lake: Cooper’s art in defence – not leaving his head exposed! (Magi(not) + C; ref. Tommy C., Henry C., Maginot Line).
B. MacReamoinn: E.g. rabbit in conjuror’s hat? (mag (= chatter) i’ c, & lit.).
R. S. Morse: Great! The Azed’s home and one has Chambers (for the required spelling) (mag I C., 2 defs.; i.e. Observer Magazine).
R. F. Naish: Cambridge reforms bred such facility in spelling (comp. anag.).
R. Phillips: What could make one see spell? (mag2 I c, & lit.).
D. Price Jones: ‘Every Second Counts’: amusing, many agree, with MC like Paul Daniels? (second letters; ref. TV quiz show hosted by PD).
R. J. Whale: Little fag (American)? The reverse! (cig Am (rev.), & lit.; ref. ‘Magic’ Johnson, tall and heterosexual).
W. G. Arnott, D. Ashcroft, B. Ashworth, F. D. H. Atkinson, M. J. Bath, Mrs P. A. Bax, E. A. Beaulah, J. R. Beresford, Mrs F. A. Blanchard, Mrs A. Boyes, C. J. Brougham, I. Carr, E. Chalkley, E. S. Clark, Mrs D. Colley, D. B. Cross, R. Dean, N. C. Dexter, D. Dixon, C. E. Faulkner-King, H. Freeman, M. Freeman, P. D. Gaffey, S. Goldie, R. R. Greenfield, C. R. Gumbrell, R. S. Haddock, Mrs B. E. Henderson, V. G. Henderson, R. J. Hooper, G. Johnstone, M. D. Jones, R. E. Kimmons, A. Lawrie, R. K. Lumsdon, Mrs J. Mackie, P. W. Marlow, H. W. Massingham, Rev M. R. Metcalf, C. G. Millin, J. J. Moore, C. J. Morse, R. A. Mostyn, C. Pearson, D. Pendrey, Rev E. H. Pyle, J. H. Russell, M. Sanderson, W. J. M. Scotland, N. G. Shippobotham, W. K. M. Slimmings, I. C. Snell, P. A. Stephenson, R. Stocks, P. L. Stone, R. C. Teuton, A. J. Wardrop, Mrs H. D. Williams, Dr E. Young.
471 entries and only a handful of mistakes (mostly over INBREAK). The worst mistake was of course my own in the clue to SPINETTE, the cryptic part of which indicated SPINNETE. Sincerest apologies for this, especially to those who remained convinced that the error must be theirs. As usual, those who spotted what I had done were generously forgiving (talk of ‘Homeric nods’ and suchlike). I also offended a few purists by defining ‘train’ (in the INTRA clue) as ‘locomotive’. Guilty as charged, I’m sure.
Nice (I think) to have a short clue-word for a change. You certainly found all sorts of different ways of dealing with it, as the best, quoted here, demonstrate. Short words tend to produce a plethora of ‘initial letters’ type clues, and this one was no exception. I’ve no objection to this clue type but it does often result in easy or obvious clues unless worded cleverly (see Mr Barley’s VHC above). What I don’t like is the inclusion of one-letter words (a or I) in the relevant portion of the clue. The word a’ can surely not be said to begin with the letter ‘a’ (or end with it for that matter). A beginning implies (to me) a separate end.
Surprisingly few of you thought of using ‘Magic’ Johnson in your clues (what with all the media hoo-ha) and only the top two winners linked him with Nixon – a lovely idea offering just the right amount of difficulty. On which subject I pondered hard when considering Mr Grimshaw’s ingenious concoction. For those who don’t understand it, when the asterisks are replaced (in order) by MAGIC and the five five-letter groups are arranged (in order) in a 5 x 5 square and given numerical values, all the rows and columns and both diagonals total 65 – try it! Only Z is missing. Mr Grimshaw claimed that ‘solvability is OK’ and I think I agree. What I’d like to know is how he tumbled to this remarkable discovery in the first place!
Azed competitions are nothing if not educational (in a rarefied kind of way). This month, for example, I learnt that ‘gazza’ means ‘magpie’ in Italian. And with reference to the nice word TAGLIACOTIAN which I used not so long ago, a regular submits the following snippet from a magazine article: ‘The first nose job was performed in the 16th century by Tagliacozzi, a field surgeon depicted on wood engravings attempting to graft part of a soldier’s forearm to what was left of his nose after it had been swiped off in battle. The woodcut clearly shows the soldier with his nose stuck to his forearm where he had to keep it while it healed. But Tagliacozzi’s arm-to-nose efforts were not appreciated by the Church, who excommunicated him after his death for trying to improve on the work of the Almighty.’