◀  No. 20786 May 2012 Clue list No. 2087  ▶



1.  R. C. Teuton: To —— I afflict with obi etc (comp. anag. & lit.).

2.  P. L. Stone: Spell after tea without runs, pitch losing a bit of pace (b(r)ew + (p)itch).

3.  J. C. Leyland: Those introducing hosepipe ban ignore complaints and wet, stormy spell (anag. of initial letters & wet).


T. Anderson: Bravo! Ronnie’s final with century breaks to enthral (B, e + c in with; ref. R. O’Sullivan, world snooker championship).

M. Barker: Hex, black magic ultimately mixed with white (B + c in anag.).

M. Barley: Spell one had in the W.C., ill after onset of bellyache (b + I in anag.).

T. C. Borland: Spell Gewicht wrong, getting B for German (anag. with B for G).

C. J. Brougham: Gossamer creation from the East with long obi (web (rev.) + itch).

C. J. Butler: Charm and humour featured in a book of Updike’s (wit in ‘Bech’ (novel by J. Updike)).

C. A. Clarke: Court with sex appeal firing heart? (w it for n in bench, & lit.).

W. Drever: Leaders of bridal entourage wait in the church hall entrance (first letters).

R. J. Heald: Botham’s no. 1 hate, exhausting bowler perhaps with long spell (B + (hat)e + w itch).

M. A. Macdonald-Cooper: West Indies being put in make deep impression after Broad’s opening spell (B + WI in etch).

P. W. Marlow: Unrest in much of Tibet (with West intervening) is seen by Chinese as intrigue (W in anag. less t + Ch.).

C. J. Morse: The internet’s regressive with a persistent urge to spell badly (Web (rev.) + itch).

D. Pendrey: England’s opener caught and bowled with devilish spell (anag. incl. E, c, b).

N. G. Shippobotham: Constant companion rarely retains charm (c in be with).

Mrs A. Terrill: Charm school’s number two brought in to chaperone? (c in be with).

J. R. Tozer: Bride’s outside, bar a delay, by church entrance (b(rid)e + w(a)it + ch.).

Mrs A. M. Walden: Live through biting cold spell (be + c in with).

Ms S. Wallace: Charm concocted with Hecate’s brew exuding her sweat foully (comp. anag.).

A. J. Wardrop: Grumble about backward-looking people in general strike (we (rev.) in bitch).


G. Alderman, Ms K. Bolton, Dr J. Burscough, D. A. Campbell, M. Coates, E. Cross, T. Crowther, C. M. Edmunds, R. Gilbert, J. Glassonbury, Mrs E. Greenaway, J. P. Guiver, D. V. Harry, R. Hesketh, M. Hodgkin, R. J. Hooper, Mrs D. B. Jenkinson, Mrs J. M. Johnson, E. C. Lance, E. Looby, N. MacSweeney, D. F. Manley, K. Manley, G. McStravick, J. R. C. Michie, K. Milan, T. J. Moorey, M. Moran, P. Muller, M. Owen, A. M. Price, W. Ransome, G. Raven, Dr S. J. Shaw, D. P. Shenkin, I. Simpson, C. M. Steele, P. Taylor, D. H. Tompsett, M. Wainwright, L. Ward (USA), N. Warne, R. J. Whale, A. Whittaker, G. H. Willett, A. J. Young, Dr E. Young.

220 entries, few mistakes (mostly BALE for PAVE, using the alternative spelling ATHABASCAN, which doesn’t fit the clue to ATHAPASCAN). 20 clues were nominated once or more than once as favourites, the winner being ‘Bar that handles sherry bottles’ for LESS, closely followed by ‘One badgers adult for a refreshing drink’ (ICE TEA) and ‘Cobble this up for oration? One’s drying’ (PAVE) in equal second place.
Most who commented said they found BEWITCH a reasonably friendly clue word in a plain puzzle of average difficulty, presenting few real problems, i.e. the kind I ideally aim for. One factor which caught several out was the need to indicate that BEWITCH is exclusively a transitive verb, i.e. one that always takes a direct object. Wording in clues that led to a definition indicating intransitivity weakened such clues as a result. That said, there were lots of good ideas for me to savour. I’m especially pleased that the top three exemplify three different approaches, embodying three completely different surface readings, which only goes to show how abundantly fertile cryptic clue writing can be and how diversely creative clue writers can be when confronting a relatively innocuous word.
I am very grateful to Mr MacSweeney for responding to my implied query in last month’s slip about the frequency with which 1 April occurs on a Sunday. The answer, as many of you probably know, is that this will happen every seven years on average, but that it will not happen exactly every seven years. ‘Leap Years occurring every fourth year mean that the calendar repeats in 28-year cycles. So e.g. the calendar for 2012 will be exactly the same as that of 28 years earlier, i.e. 1984, and 28 years before that, i.e. 1956, and so on. Within those 28 years, each date falls on each day of the week exactly four times. The next four 1 April Sundays will be 2018, 2029, 2035 and 2040.’ So I’ve got a bit of time to devise my next April Fool puzzle. I’d rather not think beyond that!


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First prize winner by C. J. Morse in competition 1216