< Slip No. 1402 View the clue list Slip No. 1411 >



1.  R. J. Hannam: Version of Athos’s piece that is rifled? (anag. less i.e., & lit.; ref. The Three Musketeers).

2.  D. H. Tompsett: I could lay fire quicker than Brown Bess: can Mary Jane? (chassé + pot; can = dismiss, pot = marijuana).

3.  D. Appleton: I got out of overturned post chaise and was carried in Sedan (anag. less I; ref. 1870 battle).


R. E. Boot: Obsolete firing mechanism disrupts space shot (anag.).

Rev Canon C. M. Broun: It was shot in France, with indecent poses punctuating dialogue (anag. in chat).

E. J. Burge: ‘Top/second’ chase involved Arsenal man from France (anag. incl. s; ref. Premiership race, A. Wenger).

B. Burton: Out-of-date firing device scuppered space shot (anag.).

P. Cargill: Obsolete French missile launcher misguides space shot (anag.).

V. Dixon: It may have given a French infantryman less hesitation and increased stomach (chasse(ur) + pot, & lit.).

Dr I. S. Fletcher: One on way to Winchester not repeating train cost (heaps) (anag.; ref. repeating rifle).

P. D. Gaffey: Obsolete missile launcher botched space shot (anag.).

C. R. Gumbrell: Type of rifle distributed to chaps suppressing last traces of Paris Commune? (s, e in anag.; ref. events of 1871).

M. Jones: A deadly old arm put Capes’ shot (anag.; put = converted; ref. Geoff C., shot-putter).

F. P. N. Lake: Old French banger endlessly overtaken in Switzerland, climbing summit ((p)asse(d) in CH + top (rev.)).

J. P. Lester: OTC phases out obsolete rifle (anag.).

D. F. Manley: What would be supplied with shot, having chamber placed close to butt? (chasse + pot, & lit.).

T. J. Moorey: Petit left out of top clashes lacking discipline, issue for Gunners in Europe (anag. less l; ref. Emmanuel P.).

J. Mortleman: Revolutionary gun, loading in rear (ass in Che pot, & lit.).

F. R. Palmer: What might be licensed by the cops as an antique fire-arm? (anag.).

S. L. Paton: Sack outmoded tipple – Martini took its place (chassé + pot; ref. Martini(-Henry) rifle).

A. Roth: OTC phases out old weapon (anag.).

H. R. Sanders: Can-can went with a bang in France (chassé + pot; can = dismiss, chimney pot).

J. R. Tozer: With Paris’s centre surrounded it could be brandished in ‘stop and search’? (anag. less r, & lit.; ref. siege of Paris).

R. J. Whale: I got fired from post chaise suffering attack? (anag. less I, & lit.).

D. Williamson: A poilu fooling around with this? Upshot’s alopecia, possibly! (comp. anag. & lit.; see etymology of poilu).


D. Ashcroft, R. L. Baker, M. Barley, E. A. Beaulah, J. R. Beresford, Mrs F. A. Blanchard, C. J. Brougham, Dr J. Burscough, C. J. & M. P. Butler, D. A. Campbell, M. Casserley, M. Coates, R. M. S. Cork, E. Cross, G. Cuthbert, E. Dawid, R. Dean, N. C. Dexter, A. J. Dorn, H. Everett, A. G. Fleming, R. Ford, E. Gomersall, Mrs E. Greenaway, R. R. Greenfield, J. Grimes, D. Harris, R. J. Heald, R. Hesketh, T. Jacobs, J. C. Leyland, C. J. Lowe, G. T. McLean, J. R. C. Michie, C. G. Millin, C. J. Morse, W. Murphy, J. Pearce, G. Perry, D. Price Jones, D. R. Robinson, Mrs E. J. Shields, J. Smith, R. G. Smith, M. C. Souster, A. P. Vincent, G. H. Willett, W. Woodruff, W. Wynne Willson, Dr E. Young, M. P. Young.

292 entries and a few mistakes, mainly over CLEW. I usually think ‘hidden’ clues, as this was, are a bit of a give-away (“filler” for article-writer’) but perhaps this was more subtly concealed than most. RITT was also not understood by some, ‘centres’ here being used to indicate central letters, but I don’t think anyone got it wrong. Otherwise I think it was a relatively straightforward plain (meaning that some found it easier than usual and others found it tougher than usual!). Most welcomed the clue-word as one that offered a wide range of possible treatments, but looking at it from the judge’s chair I have to say that it defied real brilliance. It’s one of those words that some dictionaries label ‘(hist)’ because although the word itself is not archaic it refers to an outdated object. This clearly left some clue-writers uncertain how or whether to indicate the historical nature of the word. In such cases I normally incline towards clues which attempt some indication of the fact that the article or word in question is not in current use. A handful of competitors (including Mr Tompsett) who are obviously keen Savoyards reminded me of the fact that in The Pirates of Penzance Major-General Stanley (‘the very model of a modern m-g’) mentions this particular weapon in his famous solo (‘When I can tell at sight a chassepôt rifle from a javelin’ -please note that circumflex!).
A number of clues submitted referred directly or otherwise to Martini, an acceptable short form of Martini-Henry. Fine, as long as the capital initial was preserved. I was worried by the otherwise excellent clue which unnecessarily gave Martini a lower-case ‘m’: ‘A dram after coffee to tipple once, something like martini’. Every reference I can find gives both the drink and (more important) the rifle a capital initial, so I can’t understand the clue-writer’s decision to downgrade this to a lower-case ‘m’. As I’ve said before I think it’s OK (just) to capitalize in a clue the initial letter of what would normally be a lower-case word, but I’m less than happy about ‘demoting’ a proper name.
That said, I have to admit to a major lapse last month. Mr Beaulah’s VHC clue for the April competition did not satisfy the specified requirements, being a straight cryptic clue to PENTOSE. EAB (typically) was the first to ‘own up’ to this, and only four other competitors drew attention to it (perhaps the slip is not read with the assiduous attention to detail its author would hope for) but I do apologize for not being as on the ball as I encourage my solvers to be. My thanks to those who responded to my query last time about what motivates Azed solvers to enter the competitions, or not, as the case may be. I hope to come back to this in a future slip.
Finally, solvers in the know may have noticed the appearance in No. 1,407 of my sons Tom and Ned. Tom is about to start his finals (in English) at Clare College, Cambridge. Fingers crossed. (Ned, doing French and Italian at Trinity College, Dublin, still has a bit to go.) There was no other particular reason for working them into the puzzle.


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