◀  No. 24731 Dec 2019 Clue list No. 2480  ▶



1.  D. F. Manley: What pets are for ultimately – uncertain period extending a bit beyond Christmas Day! (anag. incl. r; ref. ‘A pet is not just for Christmas’).

2.  M. Lloyd-Jones: Trump’s latest rash tweet, a mad recipe for end-of-year gloom (anag. + r).

3.  Ms S. Wallace: Gloomy days at end of year – wet, perhaps windy, with no end of damp (anag. incl. r less p).


T. Anderson: Leaving in winter phase, trio of trawlers are out for this? (anag. less in incl. tra, & lit.).

M. Barley: Sun being hidden, it’s short odds that we’re miserable in such (Ra in SP + anag., & lit.).

Dr J. Burscough: In the Bleak Midwinter, seasonal poem originally with transformed earth and water (s, p + anag.; ref. poem/carol with words by Christina Rossetti).

Ms U. Carter: Sadly, a wetter, sharp and overcast Advent perhaps (anag.).

C. A. Clarke: Short odds on a rather wet stormy outlook at this time of year (SP + anag.).

W. Drever: Time at end of November where one starts to ponder sunshine abroad? (anag. incl. t, r, a, p, s, & lit.).

R. J. Heald: Time around which short aquatic creature may be caught in sea, before the end of December (t in praw(n) in sea + the r, & lit.).

G. Johnstone: Sun in short supply, part we hate at end of year? (S + anag. + r, & lit.).

J. C. Leyland: Onset of pitch-dark winter blowing in as earth tilts? (anag. incl. p less in, & lit.).

T. J. Moorey: Fish overlooking historic storm not a fine time for the Met Office (sprat + weather; ref. Michael F.).

S. J. O’Boyle: What repeats liltingly round the end of the year – the Bleak Midwinter? (r in anag.).

R. J. Palmer: Gloomy time to be Prince Andrew initially tense going into what he says he didn’t do with that girl (Pr. + A + t in sweat + her).

A. Plumb: A time to endure mainly before the end of December, with, above all, a little sun present (S + pr. + a t wea(r) the r, & lit.).

A. D. Scott: A good time for those who fish the waters, with endless parr jumping? (anag. less r).

C. Short: Midwinter hustings at end, clown to come safely through? (s prat weather; ref. election).

R. C. Teuton: After a little smack on the bottom, mite finally threw a wobbly – time for an early night? (s + prat + anag. incl. e).

J. R. Tozer: When you’ve more dark than light in mixed wash, pre-treat (anag.).

A. J. Varney: This dreary time might be wasted rather lazily with head on pillow for day (anag. with p for d).

Mrs A. M. Walden: Theatre was busy with PR in pre-panto period (PR in anag.).

A. Whittaker: In this one could see parts wreathed in fog, without a smidgin of doubt (anag. less d, & lit.).

A. J. Young: These days have little sun, with fall over, are wet, windy and hard going therein (S + prat + h in anag.).


D. & N. Aspland, C. J. Brougham, A. Chamberlain, D. Clay, T. Clement, M. Davies, Ms L. Davis, E. Dawid, V. Dixon (Ireland), J. Fairclough, J. Felton, Dr I. S. Fletcher, H. Freeman, R. Gilbert, Ms S. Hart, M. Hodgkin, B. Jones, W. Krzanowski, J. Liddle, M. Lunan, P. W. Marlow, L. F. Marzillier (USA), P. McKenna, J. R. C. Michie, K. Milan, C. G. Millin, J. & A. Price, D. Price Jones, W. Ransome, C. Reed, Dr J. B. Reid, D. Rosendorff (Australia), T. Rudd, Dr S. J. Shaw, P. L. Stone, P. Tharby, K. Thomas, J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter, N. Walker, A. J. Wardrop, R. J. Whale, G. Willett, K. & J. Wolff, Dr E. Young.

166 entries, a few with THREAD for THREE-D, which can only have been a guess, I imagine. Fifteen clues received votes for clue of the month, the clear winner (with 14 votes) being ‘J. Laurie’s ardent one giving him orders at Walmington?’ for ALOWE, from ‘Like Adam after Eve’s arrival, in green mode of existence?’ for ECOSTATE (11 votes). The reference to Dad’s Army may have been puzzling to some overseas competitors, though I dare say repeats of the show may still be shown in various countries around the world. (I’ve never found the series very funny myself, though the frequent reruns on British television clearly indicate its wide following.).
For once, the choice of clue word received almost unanimous approval. It’s not hard to see why. An intriguingly odd lexical item, it combines a friendly set of letters, a pleasing topicality, abundant anagram possibilities, and obvious opportunities for ‘& lit.’ treatment. It’s strange that Chambers does not mention the literal origin of the term, as other dictionaries do if they include it at all. The clues quoted above give a good idea of the range of possible options available, making the judge’s task a pleasurable but tricky one. Congratulations all round for a high-quality entry overall.
This is always a busy time for me, with the Christmas competition coming shortly, closely followed by the January one, so I’ll be brief. You’ll have seen the announcement about the lunch to mark Azed No. 2,500 in May 2020; I hope to see as many of you as can make it at that. And I must sincerely thank all those who sent cards and Christmas greetings to me and my family. Your continued devotion to the Azed series is enormously gratifying.


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The next Azed competition puzzle will be on

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First prize winner by D. F. Manley in competition 2504