AZED CROSSWORD 2504
1. D. F. Manley: What hand is raised for – needing pee, about to burst, wanting the loo ultimately? (anag. less e, o).
2. A. J. Wardrop: What one involved in winning flutter might be? (a in up bet, & lit.).
3. N. Connaughton: Universal lead having earth beside positive (U Pb + e at; ref. wiring).
D. & N. Aspland: Cooking pub food that’s out of date and hoping for the best (anag. + eat).
M. Barley: Tuba starts off piece exuberantly, playing a cheery note (anag. incl. p, e).
C. J. Brougham: Thoroughly tanned? It’s sunny (up beat).
W. Drever: Gleeful doctor starts to examine page three beauty’s unique assets (anag. of first letters).
P. Evans: Confident about the beginnings of pandemic’s eradication, if nothing goes wrong (anag. incl. p, e, less 0).
Dr I. S. Fletcher: Small pieces of uncooked potato done in chipper? (u, p + beat).
H. Freeman: Crudely put – embracing ‘cup half full’ (bea(ker) in anag., & lit.).
R. J. Heald: Arses? Here’s one overturning restriction to tour outskirts of Barnard Castle (B, e in tapu (rev.); sv arsis; ref. D. Cummings).
T. D. Nicholl: At university high table, no lecturer is bullish (up + anag. less l).
S. J. O’Boyle: Rattle paused baton, and so this might be indicated? (comp. anag. & lit.).
D. Price Jones: Despite delayed opening, hostelry with food as before is heartening (pub with p ‘delayed’ + eat).
S. Randall: Promising to topple from throne, establishing lead for new society (unseat with Pb for n s).
A. D. Scott: Out of bed, former carrier? Temperature makes one hopeful (up + BEA + t).
Dr S. J. Shaw: Openings of public bars eagerly anticipated to occur after 2nd of July – that’s optimistic! (u + first letters; ref. easing of COVID lockdown).
R. C. Teuton: A little underspending’s appropriate to live within means like Micawber (u + be in pat).
A. J. Varney: Promising, having delayed opening, bar food as before (pub with p moved + eat).
Ms S. Wallace: Early indications of reopening dates leave struggling pub trade hopeful (anag. less r, d).
L. Ward (USA): Buoyant United lead with penalty (nothing odd, there) (U + Pb + even letters).
R. J. Whale: Smiley? Alec unparalleled but only first and third of the sequence adapted (anag. of a/e, u/p, b/t; ref. A. Guinness in TV adaptations of Le Carré trilogy).
A. Whittaker: Seeing glass half full, pub drunk gets last of bottle before time (anag. + e, a, t).
G. H. Willett: Smiley’s People’s leading character snared by fickle beauty with no end of subtlety (P in anag. less y).
P. B. Alldred, T. Anderson, D. Appleton, T. C. Borland, R. Bowden, Mrs S. Brown, Dr J. Burscough, M. Calverley, D. Carter, A. G. Chamberlain, C. A. Clarke, P. Coles, J. Grimes, M. Hodgkin, J. R. Howlett, J. Kitchen, M. Lloyd-Jones, M. Lunan, Rev Prebendary M. R. Metcalf, C. G. Millin, T. J. Moorey, R. J. Palmer, J. Pearce, C. Reed, T. Rudd, A. J. Shields, N. G. Shippobotham, P. A. Stephenson, P. L. Stone, P. Tharby, J. R. Tozer, T. West-Taylor, K. & J. Wolff.
143 entries, a fair number (over 30, including several regulars) having GOBBO for GOBBI (‘Such as Quasimodo, producing ring in big belfry’s No. 1, swinging’). I know that ‘such as’ could indicate either a singular or a plural noun, but it should have been clear that the rest of the clue can only lead to the plural form. It’s worth stressing that if you don’t fully understand how an answer you think is correct fits the clue exactly, then it’s worth considering possible alternatives. Along with several others I made a similar mistake in a Ximenes competition decades ago and was duly furious with myself thereafter. (Ximenes was quite stern in castigating our carelessness, as I recall!)
Of 15 clues receiving votes, your favourite was ‘Hear this for anguish, Charley?’ (TACHE), well ahead of the rest. Many expressed relief that the puzzle was less demanding than last month’s, but, that being so, I could have expected a larger entry overall. Perhaps the way of life imposed on us all by lockdown is taking its toll. That said, UPBEAT proved a friendly word to clue, and many took full advantage of the wide range of possible ways to define it, either as adjective or noun. It may be stating the obvious, but I’m always on the look-out for the possibility of synonyms of the target word which themselves suggest other semantic contexts to lead the solver astray (legitimately, of course). Experienced solvers know to look out for this technique, but the more cleverly it is used the longer can be the delay before the penny drops, and perhaps more pleasing the resulting satisfaction.
As often happens, many of the clues submitted took their inspiration from a dominant news item of the moment, this being currently the ongoing coronavirus business. I’ve sometimes thought it would be interesting to look back over the years of the Azed series and to see how far competition clues have reflected developing public concerns in this way. It has the makings of an amusing research project perhaps!
I apologize to Rev. Prebendary Metcalf, whose VHC last month was inadvertently omitted from the slip, though it is recorded in the online archive. His clue was ‘This fortifies ‘lockdown’ mechanism the English Government planners broadcast – at first locally ignored (anag. incl. E G less l).’
In conclusion, I’m grateful to John Tozer for pointing out that 24 June was the 75th anniversary of the first Ximenes puzzle and competition in 1945, three months before my third birthday.