AZED CROSSWORD 2500
1. G. H. Willett: The uncanny faculty, the number and range staggering – what makes you better and better? What’s the catch? (ESP + anag. incl. n).
2. H. Freeman: What’ll reinforce ‘lock’ measure’s keeping distances back, measure incorporated in the ‘R’ (gaps (rev.) in en + en in the R; ref. lockdown).
3. T. Anderson: Note in parenthesis is missing eg squiggly closure bracket (n in anag. less is).
D. Appleton: Wielding e.g. the spanner, something that adds steel bolt (anag.).
D. & N. Aspland: What makes strong? What makes fast? Genes, heart and extremes of physical exertion are involved (anag. incl. p, n).
M. Barley: Especially tricky, the latest in Azedian range – locked down we may find it something heartening (esp. + anag. incl. n).
C. J. Brougham: Catch pregnant she forlornly ringing base builder up (e in anag.).
R. J. Heald: Sun newspaper’s original page three spread not for all to see, something to enhance a locker (anag. incl. n less U).
T. Jacobs: Catch gannets here with a bit of pilchard at sea shore (anag. incl. p).
D. F. Manley: One’s locked indoors, cracking latest from the top Sun. man – he’s great provider of extra toughness! (anag. incl. e, p, n, n).
P. W. Marlow: Boost that’s applied as means of securing a good number in the present struggling with no end of confinement (a g n in anag. less t).
P. McKenna: Fastening cleat? Nearly get the spanner tight (anag. less t).
Rev. Prebendary M. R. Metcalf: This fortifies ‘lockdown’ mechanism the English Government planners broadcast – at first locally ignored (anag. incl. E G less l).
J. R. C. Michie: Catch panther seen prowling around the end of Chittagong pier (g in anag.).
C. Reed: For Windows security additional support – enter pc changes, take out copies, reconfigure (anag. less cc).
Mrs L. J. Roberts: Bolt fish e.g. snapper, gutted, then cooked (anag. less p; see fish2).
Dr S. J. Shaw: Anger resolved with the pen’s what gets one more potent closure (anag.; ref. ‘the pen is mightier ...’).
C. Short: What doesn’t kill you proverbially is this vacuous Eeyorish anger spent furiously locking and unlocking bar (anag. incl. E, h; ref. ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’).
P. L. Stone: What confirms puzzling phenom’s greatness? No ordinary month’s special, an engaging device (anag. less o, m’s, s).
J. R. Tozer: What’s needed to firm up a door lock? Most get the spanner out (anag. less t).
Ms S. Wallace: What makes more robust locking device? The spanner, for example, works (anag. incl. eg).
T. West-Taylor: Enter A & E with NHS GP for treatment – a fitting means of securing something restorative (anag.).
D. Whisstock (Italy): Fastening mechanism, eg spanner, usable around the brace (the in anag.).
K. & J. Wolff: What might secure dissipation of anger he’s pent? A stiffener (anag.).
M. Barker, M. Barnes, T. C. Borland, Dr J. Burscough, A. & J. Calder, D. Carter, C. A. Clarke, T. Clement, M. Coates, Ms L. Davis, E. Dawid, W. Drever, J. Duggan, I. Elliot, Dr I. S. Fletcher, G. I. L. Grafton, J. Grimes, A. H. Harker, M. Hodgkin, G. Johnstone, B. Jones, J. C. Leyland, A. MacDougall, C. G. Millin, T. J. Moorey, T. D. Nicholl, S. J. O’Boyle, R. J. Palmer, M. L. Perkins, D. Price Jones, S. Randall, W. Ransome, Dr J. B. Reid, S. Reszetniak, T. Rudd, A. D. Scott, A. J. Shields, N. G. Shippobotham, M. Sloman, R. C. Teuton, K. Thomas, A. J. Varney, A. Vick, J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter, L. Ward (USA), A. J. Wardrop, R. J. Whale, A. Whittaker, R. Zara.
Well! I’m sure we all need several stiff drinks and a straightforward ‘Plain’ or two after that. Special congratulations to the 130 who stuck with it and submitted entries. I didn’t spot any mistakes, though in truth I wasn’t looking very hard for these! I guessed it would be a really tough challenge for you, but if it’s any consolation it took me many many hours to complete the thing. I started pondering on a suitable theme months before the deadline and was getting pretty desperate before the 502 idea occurred to me and the thing started to take shape. The main problem was not so much the construction of the grid (all entries having to have an even number of letters, at least four of each but not too many 4-letter words and these not having more than one unchecked letter each). Rather it was the clue-writing itself and then checking that I’d accounted for each repositioned half. (One competitor asked if I’d noticed that ZA represented 2,500 in medieval Latin, with the implication that that might have formed the basis for a theme. Alas I had not, and the opportunity has passed for good!)
Given the special restraints imposed, writing convincing (and reasonably short) clues was also not easy, and on the whole I was much impressed by your efforts. Many still took the time to pick favourites: 12 received votes with most going to ‘Severely criticize constitutional activity when limited by the crown’ for PAS(EAR/BER)ATE. Of clues submitted most were on the themes of either the coronavirus scourge or the milestone represented by the puzzle. Many of the latter, including Mr Willett’s fine winner, were blush-makingly complimentary to me and I do hope I do not appear too self-regarding in quoting them above. I was quite overwhelmed by the large number of special messages, cards and other ways of acknowledging the event which you kindly sent. I hope you will understand that I cannot reply personally to them all, but it did make the whole thing gratifyingly memorable for me. Thank you all so much for your continuing loyalty to the series.