◀  No. 253020 Dec 2020 Clue list No. 2534  ▶



1.  R. C. Teuton: Narrow chimney top (and a fat belly!) can lead to Santa getting caught out (pot + lat + S + anag.).

2.  E. C. Lance: Total shambles after start of pandemic – Boris ultimately caught dithering (p + anag. + s + anag.).

3.  R. J. Whale: Ugh, latest comp format needs changing to deliver me from —— (comp. anag.).


T. Anderson: Denied tail, lusty goat needs sorting out in bed! (anag. less y in patch; tail = sex).

M. Barker: It’s descriptive of an expanded waistline, muscles caught wobbling (pot + lats + anag.).

M. Barley: See lots of spice from the East carried by trio of potentates to child (la + gust(o) (rev.) in pot + at ch.).

T. C. Borland: Spinning top littlest’s opening has tag cut off (top (rev.) + l + anag.).

S. Collins: Trump’s finale, raving loony bagging Georgia after total’s in a tangle (p + anag. + Ga in (Screaming Lord) Sutch).

P. T. Crow: Returning countertenor in part, mostly sweet, with tenor choir (alto (rev.) in pt + suga(r) T ch.).

E. Dawid: Trophy can endlessly sweeten the champion (pot + lat + suga(r) + t’ ch.).

W. Drever: Period during which winds gust a lot? (anag. in patch).

Dr I. S. Fletcher: Turkey for some stuffed with a lot wasted, number absent in time celebrated (anag. + t + su(n)g in patch2; turkey = fool).

J. E. Green: Frantically caught last post with a second to spare (anag. less s).

R. J. Heald: Recall exuberant enjoyment receiving special gift (not half!) inside parcel (tal(ent) in gusto (all rev.) in patch).

G. Johnstone: Horrid Henry with catapult got schoolmistress’s rear! (anag. incl. H, s).

P. McKenna: Corporation is caught out securing office (lat in pot + anag. incl. ’s).

A. Plumb: Stokes, following excellent over, towards the end almost caught out (top (rev) + lat(e) + S + anag.).

Dr T. G. Powell: Desperately with seconds to go, last post somehow caught (anag. less s + anag.).

A. D. Scott: Tankard a sudden blast of air knocked over in bar (pot + a + gust (rev.) in latch).

P. A. Stephenson: Trio of potentates indeed majestic, leaving gold from the East to child (pot la2 (Au)gust (rev.) at ch).

J. Vincent & Ms R. Porter: Consuming sweet stuff mostly, bulging tum starts to look awful throughout the Christmas hols (pot + suga(r) in first letters).

G. H. Willett: Saint: ‘Lo! A peasant’s outside, caught in a blizzard’ (anag. incl. st a p, t; ref. King Wenceslas).


D. & N. Aspland, Dr J. Burscough, P. Cargill, C. A. Clarke, N. Connaughton (Ireland), C. M. Edmunds, H. Freeman, J. Grimes, J. C. Leyland, D. F. Manley, P. W. Marlow, Rev Prebendary M. R. Metcalf, J. R. C. Michie, T. J. Moorey, C. Ogilvie, M. Ollerenshaw, R. Perry, D. Price Jones, W. Ransome, C. Reed, Dr J. B. Reid, Dr S. J. Shaw, I. Simpson, M. Sloman, P. L. Stone, J. R. Tozer, A. J. Varney, A. M. Walden, Ms S. Wallace, L. Ward (USA), A. J. Wardrop.

142 entries. No noticeable mistakes, unless one includes the handful with ETRSTORAXENNE for ETRSTYRAXENNE. I decided to accept this, although TOR as a rare(?) alternative spelling for THOR is not in Chambers, as TYR is. (And while on the subject of coverage in C, don’t forget the proper names appendix, where, for example, Idris may be found.) I didn’t notice STORAX myself, as it happens.
A tough but enjoyable Christmas challenge, by general consent. It’s not the first time I’ve asked for clues to non-existent compound items, and it’s perhaps just as well that they don’t come up very often. I was much amused by Mr Whale’s third-place winner, accompanied as it was by the comment that he couldn’t ‘take much pleasure from trying to think up a clue to a non-word with no definition’. Fair enough, but the level of creativity you displayed was overall very impressive. Many opted, reasonably, for a Christmassy theme or something broadly topical. Mr Whale and others may take some comfort from the fact that the judge’s task on these occasions is correspondingly more difficult than usual! Favourite clue, by the way, of 17 mentioned, was ‘Scotch twins rarely like conjoined ones, i.e. separated’ for SAMES.
Constructing the grid presented quite a challenge once the theme had occurred to me, with frequent recourse to various synonym dictionaries. It was a fair bet that the 13-letter entries would be thematic, and I was quite pleased to fit five of these into the grid. My only real worry was over REMIBOT, ‘remit’ being a bit of a stretch for ‘present’, but 10 special entries seemed to me a reasonable minimum number to aim for.
Sadly I must report the recent death of R. J. (Richard) Palmer, who had been ill for some time. He was a regular Azed competitor from the start and the author of many elegant clues, enjoying considerable success over the years. Most pleasingly, the last clue he submitted was ‘—— brood could be tutored by dons’, a beautifully neat comp. anag. & lit. which won second prize last month. Richard also, as Merlin, set crosswords for several papers. In 2007 he received an MBE for services to scientific publishing.


The Azed Cup

Dr S. J. Shaw wins First Prize in competition 2603.

TERAS def. PRATT (Wrong Number)

After dismissing jolly, Starmer’s ordered to reveal what could lie behind dreadful Labour experience

This year’s honours table

The next Azed competition puzzle will be on Sunday 5th June

Latest  AZED  No. 2,605  15th May

All online Azed puzzles

Dr Watson reviews Azed 2603

From the archive

Such works are nothing special (never entertaining English) (9)

First prize winner by P. F. Henderson in competition 835