◀  No. 15503 Mar 2002 Clue list No. 1559  ▶



1.  C. J. Morse: With this gem, is setting done? No, coral would add further lustre (2 mngs.; coral anniversary = 35 years, lustre = 5 years; ref. AZ series).

2.  F. R. Palmer: What hangs in cowslip ear, lyrically? (hidden & lit.; ref. MND 2, 1, 15).

3.  M. Barley: Feature of pretty decoration suspended from earlobe (p + earl(OBE), & lit.).


J. R. Beresford: Thunderous clap’s about right for one that shines in setting (r in peal).

C. J. Brougham: One of a treasured string – the opposite of ‘plain’ type (3 mngs.; ref. non-plain puzzle).

G. Cuthbert: One on a list with Ruby, along with Sue can give pleasure (comp. anag.).

N. C. Dexter: Resounding clap about 3rd of March (Azed’s anniversary) (r in peal).

Dr C. D. S. & Mrs E. A. Field: Gem marking 30 years on from Azed’s first in series of super logodaedaly (A in perl (hidden)).

C. R. Gumbrell: One cuts through middle of shellfish to get it (a in per + l, & lit.).

R. Hesketh: Perhaps Orient could be joining, say, Conference League shortly (pear + l; ref. Leyton O.’s lowly place in Div. 3; type of pearl).

R. J. Hooper: Colleague of Dean and Rector dwelling within the sound of bells (R in peal; ref. P. & D. film advertisements).

G. Johnstone: Primus inter pares? A noble jewel in setting (p + earl).

J. P. Lester: It’s snowdrop’s last real unfolding as bulb frosted (p + anag.; i.e. lightbulb).

J. C. Leyland: Marshal Earp facing outbreak of lawlessness – one way to make Buck? (anag. + l; ref. Wyatt E. and Pearl B., US author).

D. F. Manley: Orient? Conference maybe – clinging to League (pear + l; ref. Leyton O., football leagues; type of pearl).

P. W. Marlow: Possibly baroque representation of Raphael lacking in joyful expression (anag. less ha; b. = type of pear).

T. J. Moorey: A character connected with Q, Spike left one regularly in stitches (P ear l; ref. S. Milligan, knitting).

J. Pearce: A paragon, first appearing in Listener, Azed’s regularly provided entertainment in an original manner (anag. of first letters).

R. Phillips: Here’s a prize specimen (not plain) in a brilliant line (pear l, 2 defs.).

V. Seth: Small round object: the core of barley? (pea + rl, & lit.).

D. J. Short: It can be just right when set in a ring (r in peal, & lit.).

R. Tillcock: Leads to prized example and ribbon loop (first letters & lit.).

D. H. Tompsett: Setter’s latest in resounding sequence – his next is ruby (r in peal; ref. typesetter’s sizes).

L. Ward: Model of excellence, brilliant, sat around doing nothing? Not AZED! (pear + l(azed)).

G. H. Willett: You may find one in a mollusc’s heart (a in per + l, & lit.).

W. Woodruff: XXX celebration ale brewed with reduced price (anag. incl. pr.).


M. Barton, Mrs F. A. Blanchard, Rev Canon C. M. Broun, E. J. Burge, Dr J. Burscough, C. J. & M. P. Butler, M. Casserley, C. A. Clarke, L. J. Davenport, R. Fishleigh, H. Freeman, N. C. Goddard, M. Goodliffe, R. Grafen, G. I. L. Grafton, D. Harrison, M. T. Hart, S. Hayes, C. J. Lowe, W. F. Main, Rev M. Metcalf, C. G. Millin, J. B. Nash, R. J. Palmer, D. Price Jones, H. R. Sanders, M. Sanderson, N. G. Shippobotham, P. L. Stone, I. Waller, M. J. E. Wareham, R. J. Whale, Dr M. C. Whelan, Ms B. J. Widger, I. J. Wilcock.

A disappointing entry, only 204 in all. I had intended a relatively easy puzzle to mark the event and was genuinely surprised that it proved so tough. The main problem of course lay in the variations on BARLEY (with uncertainty as to whether it might be BAILEY - how many these days remember Pearl Bailey?). These defeated many of you and claimed some quite distinguished scalps. The difficulty was compounded by the fact that the F of FALLOW was unchecked, and that although MAIGRE and FALLOW are explicitly given at the entries for bar4 and lea2 respectively the reverse is not the case. I still think there will be some red faces. This wasn’t very far-fetched as variation types go - certainly far less so than the justifications given for the various wrong alternatives to FALLOW submitted, none of which I could accept. But I am sorry for causing such anguish.
Many of you were also puzzled by LOEB, though with an easy clue and no unchecked letters you couldn’t really get it wrong. He was rather forced upon me, I’m afraid, and I thought that this Loeb would be more familiar than the one who gave his name to a series of classical texts in translation which we were never allowed to use as cribs (but did) when I was studying classics at school. As those with access to the Internet may have discovered, Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold were young men from wealthy Chicago families who in 1924 committed what they thought was the perfect (because motiveless) murder, simply for kicks - the US press called it a ‘thrill killing’. Thanks to the skill of their defence lawyer Clarence Darrow they escaped the death penalty. Loeb was later killed in prison; Leopold was eventually released in 1958 and settled in Puerto Rico. Hitchcock based his film Rope on the case, hence the clue reference, partly spoiled by the annoying post-proof downcasing of the initial R.
Anyway, these difficulties apart, the puzzle was clearly much enjoyed. The favourite clue was the one for ALME (though I’ve a vague recollection that I used the ‘belly dancing’ idea once before). It’s a very long time since I last gave you a ‘Theme & Variations’. This was the first since 635 in July 1984. It seemed to suit the occasion, somehow, and PEARL offered plenty of scope and a nice range of meanings, of which you took full advantage. Many clues were extremely flattering; I hope I shall be forgiven for including quite a number of these in the lists above. Thank you for all your kind comments on my reaching the thirty-year mark (and on the celebration of it in the media). Ifs especially heartening that so many of you, having joined the series at the start or along the way, are still with it whether or not you have had success in the monthly competitions. I have no plans to stop, either, so barring the unforeseen you’ve got me for a while longer yet.
Finally, a regular competitor has asked me to draw your attention to a new website set up by a friend (www.freecrosswords.net). I’m afraid I haven’t looked at it myself so I can’t tell you anything more about it.


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From the archive

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Third prize winner by M. A. Macdonald-Cooper in competition 1286