◀  No. 16287 Sep 2003 Clue list No. 1637  ▶



1.  M. Barley: In vintage form, champion English tramp gleefully upon dismal Welsh and cross tryline (E + anag. + on; W + anag.).

2.  C. R. Gumbrell: Bleak victory, Troy prematurely discounting a bad omen about trap, managed back in days gone by (win t e(a)rly; anag. in anag.).

3.  A. J. Wardrop: Desolate, having blown rent in crafty perm rashly including a ton on one-time champion (anag. in wily; a t in anag. + on).


J. R. Beresford: Men cut short patrol at sea to help Arctic tern oiled in slick (anag. less l; anag. in wily).

C. Boyd: Miserable, weak and entirely lacking energy, wretched tramp giddily takes refuge in one battered old haunt (w + anag. less E; anag. in anag.).

B. Burton: Needing to be cheered up? Tasting is just starting in winery (litre included – a port men especially favour) (t and l in winery; anag.).

E. Cross: Dismal? Try wine blended with a spot of Lipton’s port, name to conjure with – champion! (L in anag.; anag.).

D. J. Dare-Plumpton: Drab Milan team, missing header, held by astute champion ‘Roma’ with power net shot ((I)nter in wily; anag. incl. P).

N. C. Dexter: To cheer unhappy men with a port wine? Try mixing a dash of lemon in when needing cheer (anag.; anag. incl. l).

V. Dixon: Success with the box (translating left to right) is not inspiring me on part that’s tricky – help! (win + telly with r for l; anag.; ref. puzzle).

L. K. Edkins: Smile on, pert Mona with scant mirth, entirely enigmatic with head turned (anag.; anag. with W for E).

Dr I. S. Fletcher: Dull women in reality? Ones coming out loosely involved romp at heart of calendar the old support (w in + anag. less a, i; anag. incl. en; ref. WI calendar).

M. Freeman: Tramp, one desperate to frequent old tavern in horrid wet railway station, cold and unpleasant (anag.; in2 in anag. + rly; station vtr.).

R. Hesketh: Welsh football team in Italy, lousy on the wings – dismal team prone to collapse without bit of enthusiastic support (W + Inter + l, y; anag. less e).

M. Hodgkin: What light from yonder window breaks? Dodging the —— hour, how dreary east softly enters at morn’s crack – perchance Juliet’s back (comp. anag.(?); E + p in anag.).

J. C. Leyland: I’ll try new left parting after rinse, blue as before, back combed not a perm (anag. less l; anag.).

D. F. Manley: Depressing gain dreadfully made with wife abandoned to champion offering new deal in open mart (win + ter(rib)ly; anag.; ref. ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge’, ch. 1).

J. R. C. Michie: Favour old, dishevelled tramp with one truly non-U wine, poured without cheer (anag.; anag. less U).

C. G. Millin: Champion team with new pro unusually sombre, with Milan team taking league final in May (anag. incl. n; w Inter l y).

W. Murphy: ‘Porter man’ refusing right out to humour miserable old drunk imbibing long after time, so, no go (anag. less r; t + er(go) + l, all in winy).

A. Roth: Top A&R men mistakenly give encouragement to miserable Welsh nit jigging around with broken lyre (anag.; W + anag. + anag.).

N. G. Shippobotham: Try wine left to mature, wanting sunshine to promote early port – means nearly all fermenting (anag. incl. l; anag. less s).

Dr M. C. Whelan: Frequent toper, man crashes wetly in, runs shakily, cheerless (anag.; anag. incl. r).


D. Appleton, D. Arthur, J. Baker, E. A. Beaulah, Mrs F. A. Blanchard, Rev Canon C. M. Broun, E. J. Burge, J. Burscough, T. Butcher, Mrs M. J. Cansfield, R. Cohen, A. Cox, K. W. Crawford, G. Cuthbert, L. J. Davenport, P. A. Davies, Ms N. Davis, W. Duffin, C. M. Edmunds, Ms D. Fairhall, P. D. Gaffey, P. Gately, N. C. Goddard, R. R. Greenfield, R. Griffin, D. V. Harry, P. Heffernan, A. Hodgson, R. J. Hooper, J. R. H. Jones, Mrs J. Mackie, W. F. Main, M. Martin, L. Marzillier, P. McKenna, T. J. Moorey, F. R. Palmer, R. Phillips, D. Price Jones, W. Ransome, D. R. Robinson, M. Sanderson, V. Seth, D. P. Shenkin, D. J. Short, T. Smith, J. R. Tozer, G. H. Willett, C. Young, Dr E. Young.

213 entries, very few mistakes. A toughish special, clearly (‘a gorgeous pig of a puzzle’, one of you called it), hence the low entry, I guess, not helped by the faulty clue to TROULE (the result of careless late tinkering with word order). Favourite clue by a long way was the one for NEELE/GREVE, with that for DUNNO/SEGUE in second place. The ‘9/11’ idea only occurred to me after staring blankly at the pair for quite some time, and the near-anniversary date was purely serendipitous. The extra difficulty of deciding where to place members of a pair like PAYOLA/SEROSA, with identical letters at two positions, was not deliberately intended, I assure you. These things just happen sometimes!
As I’ve said before, the special challenge in writing double clues is to contrive something that makes reasonable sense as a whole, thus establishing some sort of link (verbal, semantic or other) between the two unrelated words and as far as possible disguising the ‘join’. In the process of doing this each of the two joined clues must be syntactically sound (even if perhaps it doesn’t individually make too much sense)and complete in itself; so words in either should not refer across the join to something in the clue to other member of the pair. All the best clues achieved this, despite what seemed at first sight an unpromising pair of clue words. Several otherwise good clues fell foul of the last requirement just mentioned, a mistake that’s all too easy to make. There were some which also used ‘back’ to indicate a reversal, which in down words I’ve always disliked since to me ‘back’ indicates horizontal, not vertical, direction. Quite a number of clues submitted, even some of those in the list above, failed to indicate that EMPATRON seems only to be found in Shakespeare and is therefore rare or obsolete. I tende.d to be lenient on this point: as some of you mentioned, the word only occurs once in Shakespeare (in his rarely read poem The Lover’s Complaint, line 224), and in most editions it’s spelt ENPATRON anyway. Another Chambers error? Various points not specifically related to this competition. (i) Anthony Ellis asks me to say again how much he appreciates the generous comments he receives from many subscribers to the Slip, especially at this time of the year, when subs are due for renewal. His task was not helped by the Observer’s printing an old Rules and requests paragraph this month, giving the old subscription rates. They are currently £12 per year (13 competitions) and £15 for overseas subscribers. (ii) The idea that the Slip should be renamed received a resounding thumbs-down. (iii) The Native Americans who named the Teton Mountains, if indeed it was they, were clearly French-speaking, as the linguists among you pointed out, drawing my attention inter alia to the ‘conjectural proto-Germanic titta’ and the lyrics of Maurice Chevalier’s chanson ‘Valentine’. What a learned lot you are. (iv) And a regular reasonably asks if I can keep off the new edition of Chambers until you’ve had time to be given it for Christmas. So be it.


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