AZED CROSSWORD 2443
ERATHEM (Printer’s Devilry)
1. E. C. Lance: In Mozart’s op/inion, Figaro must outwit his master.
2. D. K. Arnott: In Paris I was introduced to Gertrude Stein and her lov/ing ways (Hemingway’s).
3. J. R. Tozer: So A. Pop/e addressed the subject of ‘Rape’ (ref. ‘The Rape of the Lock’).
M. Barley: Ev/e of Brexit now here, is there consensus among MPs?
P. Bartlam: V/ain sleuth in Northumberland always cracks the case (ref. TV series ‘Vera’).
J. M. Brown: Usually abstemious hunk might try be/anshoot.
Mrs S. Brown: ‘Like some Roman c/akes?’ women cry.
A. G. Chamberlain: Almira and Fernando in love – this is first-hand – elop/e (ref. Handel, ‘Almira’).
N. Connaughton (Ireland): Nice estate agent unsurprisingly sold your ivi/ed abode.
Ms L. Davis: H/ate of arrogant and cruel Zeus was behind the attempt to dethrone him (ref. challenge to Z. by Hera, Poseidon and Athena).
H. Freeman: Adultery and abuse are common, so a pop/e’s forgiving audience tension.
J. Grimes: That divine woman is h/ot, her figure awe-inspiring to mere mortals.
D. Harris: In Argos you’d find h/ost revered goddess.
R. J. Heald: For a crossword-setting pro, gramm/atically complex puzzle should be easily achievable.
B. Lovering: I’ve solved Azed’s latest and it end/ed clue with a misprint.
J. R. C. Michie: It’s acknowledged by many that Verdi often wrote to pop/es.
J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter: By freely applying temp/os tarty effects can be obtained by a maestro.
T. Rudd: Miss Morse? V/ain character in ITV’s detective series might fit the bill (ref. TV series ‘Vera’).
Dr S. J. Shaw: Relatively speaking, Zeus considered h/ost suitable for alliance.
P. A. Stephenson: Some women in gym may be le/an with toned muscles.
P. P. Voogt: For a visit to the op/en, all wore tuxedos.
A. Whittaker: If only Paris had shown h/ost respect.
G. H. Willett: A marital rival of h/is is the toast of the bar (ref. Themis, goddess of Law).
D. & N. Aspland, T. Blakeson, Ms K. Bolton, J. G. Booth, T. C. Borland, C. J. Brougham, M. Coates, T. Coventry, V. Dixon (Ireland), W. Drever, C. M. Edmunds, J. Fairclough, Dr I. S. Fletcher, S. C. Ford, D. Grice, M. Hodgkin, J. R. Howlett, T. Jacobs, Mrs M. Janssen (Ireland), P. Jenkinson (Switzerland), M. Lloyd-Jones, D. F. Manley, I. D. McDonald, P. McKenna (China), Rev Prebendary M. R. Metcalf, K. Milan, C. G. Millin, T. J. Moorey, D. J. R. Ogilvie (USA), R. J. Palmer, D. Price Jones, W. Ransome, C. W. Reid Dick (Germany), S. Reszetniak, D. P. Shenkin, I. Simpson, P. Tharby, K. Thomas, A. Vick, Mrs A. M. Walden, L. Ward (USA), A. J. Wardrop, R. J. Whale, A. Wilson, K. & J. Wolff, Dr E. Young.
131 entries for what was clearly a very tough puzzle, even though PD is a popular as ever. A sizeable minority had EASTERS for MASTERS, which I had to accept as a possible alternative, albeit a not entirely satisfactory one. The clue was ‘I’ve rarely heard magistrates criticis/e in summing up’, the intended undevilled version being ‘I’ve never heard magistrates’ criticism as terse in summing-up’. A version that reads ‘I’ve never heard magistrates criticise as terse in summing up’ or similar does not strike me as very convincing English. (On a related point, the juxtaposition in the grid of TIGER and MASTERS, which was fixed long before the US Masters at Augusta, was pure coincidence (unnoticed by me) and certainly not a remarkable feat of prescience!)
17 clues received one or more mentions for clue of the month, the favourite by a long way being ‘Furious madam at her toilet fired tall domestic’ for CATAMENIA, with ‘Verily they approached us with gentle words and lowly responded’ (EAST-ENDER) in second place. Many of you commented that locating the omissions in several of the devilled clues was harder than usual. I think it’s fair to say that in PD the words which present your setter with the stiffest challenge (some of which seem to offer only one approach) are likewise the toughest to solve. Those that are easier for me to deal with prove correspondingly easier to solve. The image of the bad-tempered lady in her boudoir pelting her servant with powder only occurred to me after much futile head-scratching. The fact that it caused many of you to smile was a decided bonus. (A handful of entries had CATAMANIA, whether inadvertently or through failure to spot the correct solution I cannot say.)
The entry, though small, was of a generally high quality, with plenty of good ideas. What PD clue writers should aim for is text that reads smoothly (thus rendering the location of the omission less easy to spot), without producing sensible devilled text at the expense of the undevilled version. In practice this usually means that both versions should contain a main verb, reading as complete sentences. And the temptation to let the devilry run riot, however ingenious, should on the whole be resisted. This is not an attempt to stifle creativity so much as an encouragement, as always, to keep fairness to the solver uppermost in one’s mind.