◀  No. 10874 Apr 1993 Clue list No. 1095  ▶


SAPSAGO (Spoonerisms)

1.  P. F. Henderson: Puff on stale fags a good deal (stuff on pale; saps a go; pale3).

2.  J. R. Beresford: Gracious cub renders OAPs a turn (waiving bob for nothing) (caseous grub; OAPs a go with s for 0).

3.  E. J. Burge: What Brum prefer to see: action coming up on uplift to Bull Ring (some … Brie; pas (rev.) + gas (rev.) + 0).


D. Appleton: It starts in pleasure surely since it starts in a kiss. Wow! (Swiss cow; SA + p, s + ago).

M. J. Balfour: From Base IV might one attempt rocky pass to summit? (bait for mice; anag. + a go).

M. Barley: Mousetrap’s been great hit – time it’s packed in? (green bait; SA in sap go).

Mrs F. A. Blanchard: After good puzzle some gasp as word’s second letter is wrong (pud guzzle; anag. incl. o; ref. ‘stag-haired’ error).

R. V. Dearden: Idiots past could provide fabulous content of the Goons’ mirth (moon’s girth; saps ago).

Dr I. S. Fletcher: Is knackering a life satisfying knackers’ creed (cracker’s need; saps a go).

C. R. Gumbrell: Heed chars, chiefly wise in the working of soap (hard cheese; sag(e) in anag.).

P. W. Marlow: Caring for lone adult confined inside drains energy (fare in Cologne; A in saps go).

Dr E. J. Miller: Natural juice – what palms produce – that braces girl in Delhi (graces Berlin deli; sap sago).

T. J. Moorey: Few dons could have such a success with plodding students (fondues; saps a go).

C. J. Morse: To get possibly leaner choose juice and something like tapioca (lunar cheese; sap sago).

R. J. Palmer: Having humour, sex-appeal and vitality could make a crooner lust (lunar crust; sap SA go).

A. D. Scott: Eat Brie with Mandy, perhaps – it’s soft and it’s to be consumed (me with brandy; SA p SA go).

R. C. Teuton: ‘What you could get from a kiss, wow!’ gasps a palpitating love (Swiss cow; anag. + 0).

R. J. Whale: Bing is not above a pass, suffering crooner lust (lunar crust; i.e. go below anag.; bing2).

Sir David Willcocks: Who imagined the main mood of this? Fools of yore! (moon made; saps ago).


D. Ashcroft, E. A. Beaulah, R. C. Bell, C. Blackburn, Mrs A. Boyes, Rev Canon C. M. Broun, J. M. Brown, B. Burton, C. J. & M. P. Butler, D. Buxton, P. Cargill, P. A. Cash, C. A. Clarke, P. A. Davies, T. G. Evans, C. J. Feetenby, H. Freeman, P. D. Gaffey, G. I. L. Grafton, R. G. Gray, R. R. Greenfield, A. W. Hill, R. J. Hooper, J. Horwood, Ms D. Howarth, W. Jackson, F. P. N. Lake, C. W. Laxton, R. K. Lumsdon, D. F. Manley, H. W. Massingham, A. R. N. Matthews, C. G. Millin, A. C. Morrison, R. S. Morse, R. A. Mostyn, R. F. Naish, G. M. Neighbour, S. J. O’Boyle, F. R. Palmer, D. Pendrey, B. Pitt, J. T. Price, D. Price Jones, J. H. Russell, L. G. D. Sanders, W. J. M. Scotland, D. P. Shenkin, W. K. M. Slimmings, Ms J. Steel-Jessop, Ms M. Stokes, P. L. Stone, A. Thomas, K. Thomas, Dr I. Torbe, Mrs M. Vincent, A. A. Vinson, A. J. Wardrop, G. H. Willett, Ms S. Wise, Dr E. Young.

301 entries and no mistakes, apart from my own use of the non-existent STAG-HAIRED. I’m still cross with myself about this and I apologize profusely to anyone who spent hours agonizing over it. What happened is easily explained and points up the main weakness of the Spoonerisms format: I had spotted both SHAG-HAIRED and STAG-HEADED as Spoonerizable possibles, and then stupidly conflated them. Since clues for such words contain no definition of the words themselves I had no need to consult the dictionary again. Had I done so, of course, the error could and would have been easily corrected. Your comments were characteristically tolerant, and I accepted both SHAG- and STAG HAIRED, naturally. Only Mrs Blanchard made mileage out of my blunder in her clue.
As a type of special puzzle Spoonerisms is generally popular – every so often. It does impose quite a strain on the setter and this shows itself in some of the more questionable Spoonerisms (DEBAR/BE DARRE and NOMARCH/ MOW NARK, for instance), but these were nothing compared with some of those submitted (e.g. PLAZA CAT/ KÄSER PLATTE and AINTREE GEES/A GREEN CHEESE!) Others spoiled their chances by either including a Spoonerism of the cryptic indication of SAPSAGO (e.g. POOL’S FAST/FOOLS PAST) or redefining the Spoonerism (e.g. MEN DAMAGED BY FIRE = CHARRED HES). This is to add an element of fiendishness I never intended and one which would render a puzzle extraordinarily difficult to solve if applied throughout.
Despite its unpromising appearance and meaning, SAPSAGO proved quite a friendly word so far as the cryptic indication was concerned. Finding a satisfactory Spoonerism was another matter. ‘HE’S CHARRED’ immediately presents itself but was Just too popular and probably better avoided for that reason. The list quoted above demonstrates what can be achieved by taking a more oblique tack. Being unfamiliar with sapsago I’m uncertain how it is eaten (in fondues, on crackers, or grated like parmesan) so I was not fussy on this score. A few of you essayed references to the Grand National fiasco but this tended to yield extra-long and tortuous wording. Overall, though, a lot of fun.
I must return briefly to the question of indicating the part of speech of a clue-word. Especially in the context of my remarks about PIERCEABLE two months ago, there were a few discontented comments about my (Spoonerized) clue to GAEA, viz. ‘Ted brightens’ (‘bred Titans’), on the grounds that it should indicate a verb in the past. tense. I have however argued in slips on a number of occasions that a finite verb can be used to clue its (understood) subject; indeed I use this device from time to time in my own normal clues. Thus ‘Comes down the chimney at Christmas’ naturally prompts the question ‘Who does?’, whereas (say) Wearing a big red cloak does not naturally prompt ‘Who is?’ So I am unrepentant about the GAEA clue and about my comments on PIERCEABLE, merely adding that ‘is/are pierceable’ could indicate a subject noun as well as a finite verb.
Finally, two further corrections to recent slips: in No. 1,084 Mr R. S. Morse’s prize-winning clue should end with the words ‘matchless grails’, and in No. 1,087 Mr R. K. Lumsdon’s ‘disorderlol’ should be ‘disordelol’. Poor proof-reading by me, I’m afraid.


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