AZED CROSSWORD 2356
1. S. J. O’Boyle: Speculate about liberal Sir V. Cable becoming PM, possibly (anag. in punt).
2. J. R. H. Jones: Sir V. Cable replaced Farron finally in vote, official (anag. + n in put).
3. I. Simpson: One might have a taxing job, struggling to nab silver cup with a round to go (anag. less O).
D. & N. Aspland: Preparing club sarnie with slices of tongue, veal and pork (or TVP) makes one Master of the Rolls, perhaps? (anag. incl. t, v, p; see TVP).
M. Barley: Official victor among cryptic clue brains is revealed in slip list’s final placings (V in anag. in p, t; ref. annual honours list).
Dr J. Burscough: For Liberal one such, put in Sir V. Cable (comp. anag. incl. I, & lit.).
D. Carter: Government appointee surprisingly cut verbal spin (anag.).
N. Connaughton: Bent Cup rivals nobbled an official (anag.).
G. P. Conway: One like Sir Humphrey, masking panic with bluster – and a touch of verbosity (anag. incl. v; ref. ‘Yes Minister’).
Ms L. Davis: General Kitchener, perhaps? (public, servant, & lit.).
R. J. Heald: Quant skirts very short and basic revitalized clothing line, one contributing to nation’s prosperity? (l in anag. less y in punt; ref. Mary Q., miniskirt designer).
M. Hodgkin: Mandarin perhaps found very inscrutable by westerner in Peking (P + anag. incl. v; found2).
J. C. Leyland: ‘Hacker’s Nemesis?’ Specially programmed antivirus PC able to block AI (anag. less AI; ref. Sir Humphrey, Jim Hacker in ‘Yes Minister’).
M. A. Macdonald-Cooper: Mixed up Latin verbs with a bit of Cantonese or Mandarin? (anag. incl. C).
D. F. Manley: With exceptional virtues plain, one may become CB (anag. with CB for I; ref. honour for civil servants).
P. W. Marlow: Recorder, maybe, and clarinets played with bit of vigour behind piano and refined bass (p, U, b + anag. incl. v).
T. J. Moorey: Trump’s extreme bluster can lead to vilification outrageously involving one? (I in anag. incl. p, v, & lit.).
P. L. Stone: In private clubs when bursting one goes for one in office (anag. less I; office = lavatory).
R. C. Teuton: Cup rivals bent on cluing one that does for the rest of us? (anag.; ref. AZ comps).
J. R. Tozer: Quietly inscrutable and very crafty, I’m at home in Whitehall (p + anag. incl. v).
A. J. Wardrop: Such as Sir Humphrey, knight seen in various private clubs (N in anag.; ref. ‘Yes Minister’).
R. J. Whale: Live crabs, boiled in pot. May I serve now? (anag. in punt; pot = large bet; ref. Theresa M.).
G. H. Willett: Sir Humphrey is never, not ever, found in dodgy private clubs (n in anag.; ref. ‘Yes Minister’).
D. K. Arnott, M. Barnes, Ms K. Bolton, J. G. Booth, T. C. Borland, G. Borooah (USA), A. Brash, C. J. Brougham, J. M. Brown, C. A. Clarke, V. Dixon (Ireland), W. Drever, J. Fairclough, P. Finan, G. I. L. Grafton, Mrs M. Janssen (Ireland), M. Jones, E. C. Lance, B. Lovering, A. MacDougall, Rev Prebendary M. R. Metcalf, D. J. R. Ogilvie (USA), R. J. Palmer, A. Plumb, J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter, D. Price Jones, S. Randall, T. Rudd, Dr S. J. Shaw, D. P. Shenkin, Dr G. Simpson (Australia), P. A. Stephenson, P. Taylor, A. J. Varney, Mrs A. M. Walden, Ms S. Wallace, L. Ward (USA), N. Warne, A. Whittaker, M. Wright.
ANNUAL HONOURS LIST (13 competitions)
1 (equal). R. J. Heald (1 prize, 11 VHCs), A. J. Wardrop (2, 9); 3 (equal). M. Barley (2, 8), J. C. Leyland (4, 4); 5. T. J. Moorey (2, 7); 6. Mrs A. M. Walden (1, 8); 7 (equal). Dr S. J. Shaw (2, 5), D. F. Manley (1, 7), J. R. Tozer (0, 9); 10 (equal). T. C. Borland.(1, 6), P. L. Stone (0, 8); 12 (equal). Dr I. S. Fletcher (2, 3), T. Rudd (1, 5), R. C. Teuton (1, 5); 15 (equal). D. K. Arnott (1, 4), D. & N. Aspland (1, 4), Dr J. Burscough (1, 4), M. Hodgkin (1, 4); 19 (equal). N. Connaughton (1, 3), V. Dixon (1, 3), M. A. Macdonald-Cooper (0, 5), P. W. Marlow (0, 5), S. J. O’Boyle (1, 3), I. Simpson (2, 1), J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter (1, 3); 26 (equal). C. J. Brougham (0, 4), W. Drever (0, 4), G. I. L. Grafton (1, 2), J. Grimes (2, 0), J. R. H. Jones (1, 2), A. Plumb (0, 4), P. Tharby (0, 4), R. J. Whale (0, 4).
J. R. Tozer, P. L. Stone, M. A. Macdonald-Cooper, P. W. Marlow, C. J. Brougham, W. Drever, A. Plumb, P. Tharby, R. J. Whale.
149 entries, no noticeable mistakes. Favourite clue by a long way, out of 13 mentioned, was ‘Hush before undressed female drops bloomers’ for STRAWFLOWERS, with ‘Not thinking straight: —— to get dead, eh?’ (MUDDLE-HEADED) in second place.
There was a generally warm welcome for the return of Playfair, the first since No. 2,226 over two years ago. A number of you said they appreciated the extra help I gave you in identifying the code word(s) from the answers to coded clues. It was by no means the first time I’ve introduced such an element or something similar. I’d always thought that having to solve a number of clues completely blind as in Ximenean times was distinctly unfair, especially since solving a Playfair code in itself can be quite a challenge. (One or two competitors confessed to not having spotted the bit about this in the preamble (printed in bold) until after solving the code. Always read the question carefully and in full, as my teachers of yesteryear regularly intoned.) I also noticed quite late in the day that I could give you two extra code pairs by creating the two oddly-placed 3-letter words ERN and PIR (and also giving myself two extra clues to write!). One further quibble regarding the preamble concerned my use of the term ’rectangle’ to include ‘square’, but may not a square also be considered a rectangle, despite the final phrase in the Chambers definition?
PUBLIC SERVANT, with its very broad sense, proved quite difficult to define elegantly, but offered anagrammatists a field day. I especially liked the use of Sir V. Cable, which only a few went for. One of the neatest ideas was ‘Who’s working in private clubs? Not I’ or minor variants thereof. This proved just too popular for mention above HC level, but I did also have some reservations as to whether the implied definition was precise enough. Just think how many people not working in private clubs are also not public servants.
Another year of competitions, and another tie at the top of the honours list. Many congratulations to Messrs Heald and Wardrop for their consistent excellence throughout the year, and to all those listed above who gave them a good run for their money. I am indebted as always to Martin Perkins for keeping the score and thus easing my job considerably.