◀  No. 15242 Sep 2001 Clue list No. 1533  ▶


STROP (Spoonerisms)

1.  R. J. Heald: Top performer starved of acting work would make Caine bleed (keen blade; st(a)r op; ref. Michael C.).

2.  D. W. Mackie: Sot’s wench: a prostitute flirting with one half gone? (what’s censure; anag. of prost(itute)).

3.  A. J. Young: Feature of gastropod – cone for safer hut! (hone … cut; hidden).


D. Ashcroft: Tops second to green: ‘Ruined round, the demons,’ said I, ‘That iron banned!’ (seaman’s dead-eye … band; anag. incl. r).

E. A. Beaulah: Owner of hedges starts to secure the resurgence of passerines (honer of edges; first letters).

J. R. Beresford: Weather that lets us cook outside recipe is over (leather that whets; ’s + r in pot (rev.)).

E. J. Burge: Thought of song? Sort out at piano (sort of thong; anag. + p).

B. Burton: Cavers shouldn’t do without one once pot’s churning with onset of rain (shavers couldn’t; anag. incl. r).

D. A. Campbell: Flock from Bass, maybe, wheeling, bearing south (flak from boss; port S (rev.)).

E. Cross: What’s used for boning in harbours east to west, Grimsby and Padstow, say? (honing in barbers; ports (rev.)).

L. J. Davenport: Prost proving positive in drunkenness test? (It’s applied to users before race) (razors before use; anag.; ref. Alain P.).

R. V. Dearden: Prost crashes – coning hit (honing kit; anag.).

N. C. Dexter: Weather for letting sun top right off (leather for whetting; S + anag. incl. r).

P. D. Gaffey: Fine weather let her sport undressed (leather whetter; anag.).

C. R. Gumbrell: Sort blasted by leader of prohibitionists’ band downed red-eye (round dead-eye; anag. + p).

J. P. Lester: Lone on heather tors wandering quietly (hone on leather; anag. + p).

P. R. Lloyd: What City cries is ‘Gates must make an about-turn!’ (criticizes; ports (rev.); ref. Bill G.).

R. K. Lumsdon: Hedge owner happy so I’ve dug out privet (edge honer; anag. of so pr(ive)t).

R. A. Norton: I downed a red-eye after knocking back classier drinks (round a dead-eye; ports (rev.)).

R. Perry: Ideal weather for letting Spot and Rex out (leather for whetting; anag. incl. R).

D. Pritchard: Dope found on Red: I damaged sport (rope … dead-eye; anag.; ref. Russian athlete).

A. Roth: South easterly port harbours boning equipment (barber’s honing; S + port (rev.)).

J. R. Tozer: Slack and flagging, lacking energy, verve and power (flak and slagging; (E)stro + p).

A. J. Wardrop: What should reduce risk for caver – some robust rope (could…shaver; hidden).


D. Arthur, M. Barley, S. Best, C. J. Brougham, Rev Canon C. M. Broun, Ms J. Burrows, Dr J. Burscough, P. Cargill, I. Carr, M. Casserley, C. A. Clarke, D. C. Clenshaw, M. Coates, W. Duffin, C. M. Edmunds, Mrs E. Greenaway, J. Grimes, J. P. Guiver, R. B. Harling, M. Hodgkin, A. Hodgson, Mrs D. B. Jenkinson, G. Johnstone, M. D. Laws, D. J. MacKay, Mrs J. Mackie, W. F. Main, D. F. Manley, P. W. Marlow, R. J. Mathers, C. G. Millin, C. J. Morse, Ms M. Nelson, C. Pearson, Mrs E. M. Phair, R. Phillips, D. Price Jones, D. P. Shenkin, N. G. Shippobotham, P. L. Stone, J. B. Sweeting, K. B. Taylor, P. Thacker, P. O. G. White.

246 entries, no mistakes. A welcome return for what is clearly a popular special, with much less unsoundness in clues submitted than usual. Favourite clues included those for BRAS, CREDO, PALAMA and SITAR, with several others getting a mention. Those which gave the most difficulty were the ones for CHORIA, INTERNET (strangely), STRIG and PINEAU, the last of which I could only find in the New SOED, as I mentioned. Pineau des Charentes (to give its full appellation) is an apéritif made with unfermented grape juice and brandy, similar to Floc de Gascogne. Though a little sweet for some tastes, it is delicious served very cold (with, say, a plate of olives on the side). One or two of you though I’d blundered in my clue to DIETINE by implying that is dissyllabic. The relevant part of the clue was ‘to limit a unit of force’, i.e. ‘tie a dyne’, the indefinite article being essential for the Spoonerism to work.
I was asked how I set about constructing a Spoonerisms puzzle. The main priority is to ensure that half the acrosses and half the downs are Spoonerisable. This means a grid pattern with a fair number of longish words, as these tend to lend themselves more readily to such treatment (a useful point to bear in mind while solving). A secondary consideration at the back of my mind as I build the grid is that the remaining words should be ones whose definitions yield reasonable scope for Spoonerisation. Some inevitably (it seems) prove more difficult that expected, and the resulting clues are probably correspondingly difficult to solve. In practice this time I ended up with a few extra grid words that could have been used in the Spoonerisable category, a useful situation to be in in case of emergency!
Judging the entries was especially hard. Perhaps predictably, ‘red-eye...dope/dead-eye...rope’ proved extremely popular, so only the best of those submitted made it to the VHCs. I found clues containing one-word Spoonerisms (e.g. ‘parking’ for ‘carping’) generally a little uninspired. A few of you attempted ‘& lit.’ clues, usually based on the ‘hacking barbers/backing harbours’ idea, but none quite achieved satisfactory wording. The best near miss was also the only one to use the very promising ‘set’ as a synonym of ‘sharpen’: ‘It’s capital for setting before harbour gets backing’. Unfortunately I could find no justification for ‘capital’ meaning ‘initial’ rather than ‘upper-case’. The other main stumbling-block for otherwise promising clues involved wording that indicated STROP as an intransitive verb, i.e. a phrasal definition that included a transitive verb and a direct object (e.g. ‘net a wife/whet a knife’ or ‘blown hay’d/hone blade’). The point is that as a definition ‘whet a knife’ can only indicate an intransitive verb as a one-word equivalent. In none of the many dictionaries I consulted (including the OED itself) is the verb ‘strop’ given as intransitive. When dictionary writers want to indicate a typical object of a transitive verb they often put it in brackets to avoid giving the false impression that the verb can also be intransitive, e.g. ‘to sharpen (a knife, etc)’.

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