< Slip No. 1294 View the clue list Slip No. 1303 >


OXFORD (extra O)

1.  G. H. Willett: Symbol of orotundity, Times cross over lightweight material (rotundity; O x ford).

2.  D. Pendrey: Steer too close to old Morris saloon (to; ox for (ol)d; ref. Morris Oxford car).

3.  C. G. Millin: ‘Morse’s manor’ – a cartoon (not book) adapted to Dexter’s leading character (carton; (b)ox for D).


Ms E. Allen: This cloth could get bull too cross (to; ox ford).

J. G. Booth: Where pantos are likely to be blue as well as loose? (pants; 2 mngs.; ref. O. bags).

E. J. Burge: A goodly group place something in collecting-box for down-and-outs (godly; hidden; ref. O. Group).

H. Freeman: Take POPE here? That’s, to a degree, unorthodox for deacon (PPE; hidden; ref. PPE course).

P. D. Gaffey: Where moods can lead to a degree of cross linkage (mods; o’ X ford).

R. R. Greenfield: I’ll carry pedestrian, aged about 100, round road (10; X in of + O rd).

P. F. Henderson: Centre of religious movement supporting following of Christ? Good (God; o’ X for D).

J. D. Lockett: The Board twinned it with Ipswich – a tie we are bent on securing (Bard; 2 mngs.; ref. Henry VIII 4, 2; tie = shoe).

Mrs J. Mackie: Enter fox with door unhinged – it’s come of banging at last (dor; anag.; shoe).

W. F. Main: You will find a mathematical proof here using ‘cipher plus ten equals five hundred’ (prof; 0 X for D).

D. F. Manley: Today’s Fawley might come up here – boy entering from ring road? (by; x in of + O + rd; ref. ‘Jude the Obscure’).

D. Mitchell: Fabric spangle effects turned and reshaped rood (rod; 0 + FX (rev.) + anag.).

T. J. Moorey: Where there’s many a student boy about the start of Xmas, right into overdraft (by; X in of + r in o/d).

C. J. Morse: The aging steer towards centre of goodly university (godly; ox for d; ref. gathering for AZ dinner).

C. J. Napier: Neat place for woading – get blue here? (wading; ox ford).

F. R. Palmer: Beef with destination Germany – too manifest a representative of lost causes? (to; ox for D; ref. M. Arnold: ‘Home of lost causes’).

G. Perry: Cambridge’s lead lost – cox gets too cross in wet – opposition’s home! (to; (C)ox ford).

P. L. Stone: Boy the Thames location is fantastic for post-Ximenean’s fifth do! (by; anag. of for X do; ref. AZ dinner).

R. S. Sullivan: Low heeled shoe displayed by neat Anona perhaps (Anna; ox Ford; ref. broadcaster).

P. H. Watkin: Good’s unknown force when there’s no church in English city (God; x for(CE) in od).


D. Appleton, D. Ashcroft, M. Barley, M. J. Bath, J. R. Beresford, Dr J. Burscough, B. Burton, C. J. & M. P. Butler, Mrs M. J. Cansfield, P. Cargill, J. & B. Chennells, G. Cuthbert, R. V. Dearden, N. C. Dexter, V. Dixon, R. P. C. Forman, N. J. Forsdick, M. Freeman, C. R. Gumbrell, R. S. Haddock, Ms A. Hunt, T. Jacobs, F. P. N. Lake, M. D. Laws, P. Leather, C. Loving, C. J. Lowe, P. W. Marlow, C. Pearson, M. Sanderson, Mrs E. J. Shields, R. C. Teuton, Mrs J. E. Townsend, J. R. Tozer, I. J. Wilcock, Ms J. Wilkie.

296 entries and no mistakes that I spotted, though a handful clued the wrong word or included the wrong extra letter. I’m grateful for the many appreciative comments on the puzzle itself and on my reaching the 1,300 milestone. I hadn’t realized it was 25 x 52 until it was pointed out to me. Had I done so I might have come up with a different theme. The one I chose took ages to work into an acceptable puzzle of the right sort of difficulty. As it is the date is pretty vague. I found it in a reference book I have called The Timetables of History by one Bernard Grun, ‘based upon Werner Stein’s Kulturfahrplan’. None of the literature available in St Mary’s itself (the University church) is as precise about when building work actually began, but since my wife and I were married there (in 1975) and since I liked the idea of giving you OXFORD to clue, it was good enough for me. No one challenged the date anyway.
I knew I was being tough in insisting that clues should make some sort of sense without as well as with the extra ‘o’, but having for purist reasons imposed this stricture on myself I thought it was a worthwhile discipline. Where a number of otherwise successful clues failed was in being equally valid with or without the extra letter (like mine to UNDERSEA, which I had no time to redo after noticing that ‘a’ is an abbreviation for both ‘are’ and ‘area’ in Chambers.) Not a major unsoundness, this, but a definite weakness, I think you’ll agree. So definitions like ‘where Zuleika’s charms were t(o)asted’ or ‘scholars may be b(o)red here’ were reluctantly marked down.
Azed solvers certainly get around. My clue to GOLOMYNKA was rightly criticized on the grounds that this particular fish is unlikely to be sold, still less shelled. It is, I’m told, ‘so oily that it essentially dissolves on contact with air, leaving only a greasy blob.’ Well, well.
The dinner for No. 1,300 at the Randolph Hotel, Oxford, was a splendid occasion, thanks chiefly to a lot of hard work by Don Manley, the main organizer. About 110 of us enjoyed a delicious meal and there were speeches by Tim Moorey, Mike Laws, my son Tom (‘a word from the back’ (get it?) of which I had no advance warning) and myself. Many absent friends sent warm greetings and the whole occasion was very jolly, made even more convivial by a generous donation from The Observer of nearly 100 bottles of wine. I am personally very grateful to all of those solvers who contributed towards the generous gift which was presented to me. As I said in my speech I plan to spend the money on a state-of-the-art computer on which to key my future offerings (and who knows what else besides?). I only hope I’m not too old to acquire the skills needed to exploit it to even a fraction of its full potential! The speeches were all recorded and can be made available on cassette if there is sufficient demand, at reasonable cost. Please write to me if you are interested.


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