AZED CROSSWORD 114
1. Mrs E. Allen: This grass will do for a picnic – there’s no one about (anag. less I c.).
2. C. G. Millin: There’s confusion around – one gets caught in it (an in pi c.; see pie2).
3. T. A. J. Spencer: Grass – one source of information retained by a policeman (an i in PC).
E. Akenhead: Heads of police ask narks ‘Identify criminals – grass’ (first letters).
T. Anderson: Shown by one in confused state, caught without anything on? (an in pi + c(aught); see pie2).
G. Aspin: Excruciating pain about the appendix gives alarm (anag. + c.).
Rev C. M. Broun: Not what you’d expect from the playing-fields of Eton! (double mng.).
C. O. Butcher: Bit of consternation 1 down’s brought about? (c I nap (rev.), & lit.; 1 down = ossifrage).
R. S. Caffyn: What passengers on a sinking ship show – no thanks to drunken captain! (anag. less ta).
T. Clement: Initially precipitates a nervousness in capitalists (first letters & lit.).
D. M. Duckworth: It’s quiet, with one in charge? Quite the opposite (p an i/c).
P. S. Elliott: 100-1 certainty comprehensively backed – bookie’s reaction? (C I nap (all rev.)).
A. L. Freeman: What may precede a bolt or a rush? (double mng.; panic-bolt, -grass).
M. A. Furman: First signs of perturbation and nervousness in crowds lead to this (first letters & lit.).
N. Gambier: The fear of god (2 mngs.; i.e. Pan-ic).
Dr G. B. Greer: If criterion for manhood is avoiding this, a lot of blades make it (2 mngs.; ref. Kipling poem ‘If’; blades of grass).
Mrs E. J. Holmes: Cold sweat, pain, sick – the onset of colic (anag. + c).
R. Jones: The fear of god (2 mngs.; i.e. Pan-ic).
J. R. Kirby: I can erupt with the onset of pressure (anag. incl. p, & lit.).
D. F. Manley: Source of hay fever? (2 mngs.).
L. W. G. Oxley: Not having had handicap, perhaps? Don’t broadcast it on the greens! (anag. less had).
F. B. Stubbs: An inglorious outcome of operations having mug in charge (pan i/c).
R. H. Tillcock: Get the wind up – do in a cop, and lose one’s head (anag. less o).
C. Allen Baker, F. D. H. Atkinson, J. C. Barnes, Mrs P. A. Bax, T. E. Bell, Mrs A. Boyes, P. E. Bugge, E. Chalkley, P. R. Clemow, Mrs D. Colley, J. C. B. Date, E. Davies, R. Dean, J. H. Dingwall, H. F. Dixon, P. Drummond, E. R. Evans, J. A. Fincken, Mrs E. A. George, S. Goldie, G. J. Gostling, R. R. Greenfield, R. Herbert, E. G. Illingworth, Mrs N. Jarman, K. W. Johnson, B. K. Kelly, J. H. C. Leach, P. W. W. Leach, H. R. Lockhart, J. S. Lucking, L. K. Maltby, L. May, F. E. Newlove, P. I. Norton-Ellis, P. G. O’Gorman, F. R. Palmer, M. L. Perkins, A. J. Polson, J. A. Revill, E. R. Riddle, A. H. Rodgers, T. E. Sanders, A. D. Scott, J. T. Shaughnessy, M. D. Speigel, J. G. Stubbs, J. B. Sweeting, A. W. Taylor, Mrs M. E. Thomas, T. Thomas, G. A. Tomlinson, C. Watts, L. J. Wayman, B. C. Wilcox, D. C. Williamson, S. E. Woods, and an unnamed entrant from Wrea Green, Preston.
Almost 440 entries, almost no mistakes. Some of you were puzzled by the clue to MESSMATES, suspecting an anagram but unable to make it work. I hope the notes with the solution have made it clear that it’s simply ME + SS + MATES (with or without an accent on the E). I don’t think I’d ever use ‘take’ to indicate an anagram, it’s much too vague.
PANIC itself yielded quite a good crop of clues and no one seemed to mind the short word for a change. I found myself preferring simplicity of wording in differentiating those listed from the rest. A lot of people used the ‘first letters’ idea and where this produced neatness and/or nice ‘& lit’ clues I was generously disposed though it’s worth making the point that very often such clues are easy to solve. Nevertheless, this is vastly preferable to the short essays I sometimes get as clues even for short words. Thirty-six of those on the page and there’d be no room for Messrs. Golombek and Reese!
I’m occasionally asked for guidance on punctuation and the degree to which it can be manipulated to suit the clue-writer. My views on this are quite easily stated. You cannot pretend that punctuation marks do not exist once you’ve put them in, and you cannot ask them to perform different punctuations to those habitually assigned to them. Some setters in the Listener, for instance, state blithely in their preambles: ‘Ignore punctuation’, but this has always struck me as cheating, and lazy cheating at that. For example, a hyphen is a hyphen and put between two words it makes them into one. You can’t just wish it away if it happens to suit you. The same goes for apostrophes. The only situation in which punctuation may be permissibly ignored is when words forming an anagram incorporate one or more punctuation marks which will of course not appear in the diagram. Even this I regard as a concession to laxity (though I do it myself, I know), this being par excellence the purist’s pastime. And finally on the subject of punctuation, I would discourage exclamation marks when all they mean is ‘I’m rather pleased with my clue – isn’t it witty?’, something we’re all prone to from time to time. Save them for genuine exclamations.