◀  No. 22915 Jun 2016 Clue list No. 2300  ▶



1.  J. C. Leyland: How intimate embraces lead to rakish Don Giovanni maybe getting end away? (r oper(a) in imply, & lit.).

2.  Dr S. J. Shaw: Doctor acting thus to get priority GMC panel (comp. anag. & lit.).

3.  T. C. Borland: Disgracefully sloppy primer leaving beginners confused (anag. less first letters).


D. K. Arnott: Suggest vices or perversion, wanting variety so? (anag. less version in imply, & lit.; vice = grip; version = variety).

D. & N. Aspland: Declaration of profession by hooker, a lady wanting publicity in an unseemly way (I’m pro + per + l(ad)y).

C. J. Brougham: Mean lassoer encapsulated how cowboys work (roper in imply).

Dr I. S. Fletcher: Signify catching one with lasso, perhaps, ‘cowboy-style’? (roper in imply).

D. V. Harry: Europhile Tory MP’s pestered to reject ‘Out’ – he’s wavering unacceptably (anag. less anag.).

R. J. Heald: Widdy and partner’s close intimate holds displaying ineptitude (Strictly it ain’t!) (rope r in imply; ref. Anne Widdecombe in ‘Strictly Come Dancing’).

M. Hodgkin: Unseemly to suggest sticking in Europe after rejecting EU rule ((EU)rope r in imply).

R. J. Hooper: Might one who’s into bondage demand intimate embracing thus? (roper in imply).

D. R. Jones: Inaptly confuse prim reply with love (anag. incl. 0).

E. C. Lance: Ropy prelim results from revising thus? (anag. & lit.).

M. A. Macdonald-Cooper: To suggest holding referendum initially works, though ultimately failing in unseemly manner (r oper(a) in imply).

D. F. Manley: What Chilcot’s written shortly coming up, with hint about how Iraq War’s bunglers acted? (repor(t) (rev.) in imply).

T. Rudd: Suggest getting e.g. a cowboy in, to construct ——? (roper in imply, & lit.).

I. Simpson: Not a little shoddy, without qualification, fencing cowboy might work like this? (roper in (s)imply, & lit.).

P. L. Stone: A troop playing crimes wantonly could be acting so —— (comp. anag. & lit.).

J. R. Tozer: In an unfit way? I advocate exercise half hourly (I’m pro PE (hou)rly).

Mrs A. M. Walden: Inappropriately intimate, embracing one making lunge? (roper in imply; see lunge2).


M. Barley, Ms K. Bolton, Mrs S. Brown, J. A. Butler, D. Carter, P. Coles, V. Dixon (Ireland), W. Drever, Dr M. Ewart, J. Fairclough, Ms N. Fullarton, G. I. L. Grafton, Mrs E. Greenaway, J. Grimes, P. Halse, J. R. Howlett, C. Loving, W. F. Main, G. Maker, P. W. Marlow, P. McKenna, C. G. Millin, T. J. Moorey, D. J. R. Ogilvie (USA), J. Parke, D. P. Shenkin, N. G. Shippobotham, Dr G. Simpson (Australia), J. Smailes, P. A. Stephenson, P. Taylor, K. Thomas, A. J. Varney, Ms S. Wallace, A. J. Wardrop, A. Whittaker, Dr E. Young.

179 entries, no mistakes. Favourite clue: of 14 nominated at least once, the runaway winner was ‘What happens when name’s forgotten? Ask!’ for EVET, mainly, no doubt because of the pleasing ambiguity of the word ‘ask’, a bit of a gift for setters. The puzzle as a whole was clearly of about-average difficulty (though this seems to have had little effect on the size of the entry, smaller than I hope for). A few competitors, not only from overseas, were foxed by the clue to READER, and in retrospect this was a bit unfair. Few, I guess, will have more than a hazy recollection of Ralph R. and his Gang Shows, which featured groups of wholesome-looking boy scout types performing jolly songs and dances and were very popular in their day (between the 1930s and the 1970s). Their best-known song was probably (We’re Riding Along) On the Crest of a Wave. These cases involving bits of specialized knowledge do involve a certain amount of fine judgement. Several clues submitted included references to Mildred and George, without explanation until I came to one which told me that M. & G. Roper were characters in the old TV comedy series Man About the House. How widely known was this surname, I wonder? Not very, I guess, though I’m being highly subjective in my judgement. (There was also one clue which included reference to the character played by Hugh Laurie in the recent Le Carré-inspired television series The Night Manager, also called Roper. I did recall that, having watched it, but still regarded it as a bit too specialized.) Another bit of specialized knowledge was needed to understand the clue to CRIER, namely that encrier is French for inkwell (itself a somewhat dated item). I’m not averse to the use of relatively common words from some European languages in my clues, and I was scratching my head what to do with CRIER, a horrid word to clue interestingly. No one actually complained, beyond one oblique comment about my expecting solvers to be as familiar with French, German, Italian, etc as I am, i.e. a bit.
Adverbs present their own cluing problems, especially when it comes to the definition. There are of course ways round simply finding an appropriate ‘-ly’ synonym, as many of the clues quoted above illustrate. Always look for ways of defining a word by means of exemplification rather than straight definition. IMPROPERLY offered plenty of scope for this, being pretty broad in its range of senses.
Along with several regular Azed solvers I recently attended the memorial service for Jeremy Morse in New College Chapel, Oxford, at which I was also invited to speak. It was a very moving occasion in a glorious setting, dedicated to the memory of a remarkable man who excelled in so many different fields and will be greatly missed.
The result of the EU referendum has just been announced and I can write no more.


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First prize winner by P. F. Henderson in competition 1180