< Slip No. 152 View the clue list Slip No. 161 >



1.  J. R. Kirby: A wayfarer going into a desolate moor pub’s unlikely to want water! (hobo in anag.).

2.  S. L. Paton: Broom bewitched – drink up around bum – much happier if dry (anag. + hobo in sup (rev.); ref. Sorcerer’s Apprentice).

3.  A. H. P. Cardew: I’m allergic to rain or going outside doctor – there’s nothing the matter with a tramp inside (MB in or + 0 + hobo in pus).


C. Allen Baker: Hobo – poor bum’s frowzy, not being overfond of water (anag.).

Col P. S. Baines: Variety of broom, quiet rambler, American, unsuited to Manchester garden (anag. + p hobo US).

R. S. Caffyn: Disreputable pubs with room to accommodate tramp reluctant to take showers (hobo in anag.).

E. Chalkley: Poor bums huddled around another unable to endure heavy rain (hobo in anag.).

Mrs M. P. Craine: Desolate moors – pub – enter tramp. Rain makes life difficult for such (hobo in anag.).

A. J. Crow: Bedraggled hobo – poor bum’s not happy in the rain (anag.).

D. H. Curzon: Unable to endure rain boom, poor bush decomposed (anag.).

R. Dean: New broom needed – matter involves moving worker unhappy in wet conditions (anag. + hobo in pus).

J. A. Fincken: Poor bums, pie-eyed, beset another not disposed to soak (hobo in anag.).

Rev S. W. Floyd: Poor boob hums out of tune? Unlikely to be ‘Singin’ in the rain’ (anag.).

I. M. Gurney: Drunken, poor bums hang around tramp that can’t stand soaks (hobo in anag.).

W. Jackson: Such an umbrella pine might pine for an umbrella (cryptic def.).

Lieut Col D. Macfie: Oho! Rump and boobs entangled? This condition derives from over-precipitation I fear (anag.).

B. Manvell: Poor hobo bums disconsolately. Hating the rain? (anag.).

L. May: Lousy hobo – poor bum’s allergic to water? (anag.).

C. G. Millin: Poor bums need changing – one wrapped up is unable to stand much wetting (hobo in anag.).

D. S. Nagle: Tramp finds shelter in pub’s room in storm – such can’t bear to get soaked (hobo in anag.).

Mrs E. M. Phair: Poor bums wretchedly tramp in, unable to stand the rain (hobo in anag.).

J. A. Revill: Messy bum? Poor hobo’s intolerant of many showers (anag.).

F. B. Stubbs: Poor hobo bums aimlessly around, enjoying the Costa Brava, perhaps (anag.; ref. ‘the rain in Spain...’).

P. C. Thornton: Shrivelled up broom? O bosh! Dry weather’s not what such plants object to (anag.).

Mrs M. P. Webber: Preferring bed dryish and soft, vagrant American lies under wild broom (anag. + p hobo US).

A. Wright: Elements of water in porous bomb ruined? Yes, by rain! (H, O in anag.).


M. J. Balfour, E. W. Ball, A. G. Bogie, Mrs A. Boyes, C. S. Bradshaw, Rev C. M. Broun, E. W. Burton, T. G. Cordes, Cdr H. H. L. Dickson, A. L. Freeman, W. S. Gilbert, A. H. Harker, D. V. Harry, D. Hawson, Miss N. Hobbs, R. H. F. Isham, W. Islip, B. K. Kelly, N. Kemmer, A. Lawrie, R. H. D. Lean, H. S. Mason, K. M. McDermid, Mrs E. W. McLean, D. P. M. Michael, W. L. Miron, C. J. Morse, R. S. Morse, J. L. Moss, R. A. Mostyn, F. E. Newlove, P. G. O’Gorman, R. J. Palmer, M. L. Perkins, P. S. Peters, Mrs A. G. Phillips, D. R. Robinson, W. Rodgers, B. Russell, W. K. M. Slimmings, T. A. J. Spencer, J. C. P. Taylor, K. Thomas, G. A. Tomlinson.

About 325 entries, with about 30 or 40 mistakes. Almost all of these were SNIPPETS for SNIPPETY, which I suspect was carelessness in many cases. If I remind offenders of the clue (‘Trivial types, larking about, embracing pin up’) I’m sure they’ll concede that only SNIPPETY will do. A handful of competitors actually had OMBROPHILOUS instead of OMBROPHOBOUS, a curious error in view of its quite opposite meaning. And there were a few queries over WADI whose clue was suspected of containing a misprint. It didn’t. ‘Lose sight of foot in paddling over one? No’. ‘Wade’ as a noun means the act of wading, or ‘paddling’. Losing sight of its ‘foot’ one gets WAD, which ‘over one’ makes WADI. Since a wadi is a dried-up river-bed one is unlikely to lose sight of one’s foot in paddling over it. A bit contrived, perhaps.
Well, the poor hobos were bumming around in droves this month, and I don’t blame them. They were a pretty obvious anagram. I had to resort to the most rigorous critical analysis to pick out the best of the bunch. This included rejecting from highest commendation all clues which treated OMBROPHOBOUS as though it can be applied to other things beside plants (which it can’t) or at least that such usage was questionable and/or tongue-in-cheek. Where wording was chosen which was ambiguous and could have applied either to plants or to e.g. hobos, I had no complaints. Ambiguity is a prime tool of the clue-writer, after all. A more basic cause of unsoundness, which always crops up more often when the clue-word is an adjective, was failure to indicate the part of speech of the word clued. ‘Can’t stand rain’ as a definition can only lead to a verb or a noun, never an adjective. ‘What an awful downpour!’ is even vaguer, and miles from suggesting, let alone defining, OMBROPHOBOUS. One keen competitor questions whether a third person singular (or plural) verb can be a fair definition to a noun. I certainly think so, and use the device from time to time. I’ve been looking through Ximenes’s book for his imprimatur and can find no reference to it, but I’m quite sure he used it too.
Latest news on my book: my publisher is now standing over me with a whip because he wants to get the thing out in time for this Christmas. I think it can just be done, but if there are any of you who would still like to submit puzzles, please let me have them by the end of April (typed, if possible).
Those of you who read Games and Puzzles may have been piqued, as I was, by an article in the March issue condemning the use of obscure words in cryptic crosswords. The editor invited me to reply, which I have done. I think my piece will appear in June. I’d welcome comments in due course.


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