< Slip No. 263 View the clue list Slip No. 272 >



1.  C. J. & R. S. Morse: This month’s exercise might produce ‘1: C. and R. Morse …’ (anag. incl. I).

2.  E. Chalkley: 1. C. and R. Morse – could be the result of this month’s exercise (anag. incl. I).

3.  Mrs R. B. Hunt: Bells, and a goodly measure; Dr. Cameron is fuddled (anag.; brand of whisky).


H. Bradbury: Oxford man appears before Dean about skipping work for hobby (Morris + anag. incl. c; ref. William M., carmaker, and hobby horse).

E. J. Burge: Traditional Mayday demonstration – comrades in Russia’s capital suitably moved (anag. incl. R).

C. O. Butcher: Car breakdown ? You could still hoof it in the age-old way (Morris dance; breakdown (q.v.) = dance).

M. Coates: Hopping and skipping carried on on the First of May, with a pole in the middle? (M + S in anag., & lit.).

M. A. Cooper: First of May heralds dancing in cadres – or ——? (M + anag., & lit.).

Mrs M. P. Craine: Holding end of streamer, come, sir, and trip it (r in anag., & lit.).

S. F. Edwardson: What can result in raised corn after First of May ? (M + anag.; fertility symbolism).

S. Goldie: Steps maybe seen first at the Alhambra; a crimson red, tessellated (anag.; morris dance ‘perh. of Moorish origin’).

R. B. Harling: Revel’s start, sir, come and prance : see the jolly ——! (anag. incl. r, & lit.).

R. J. Hooper: First of May: what’s carried on energetically around centre of Padstow? (M + s in anag.; ref. hobby in Brewer).

M. D. Laws: In which you’ll see a gentleman turning, and jigging about, surrounded by more (sir (rev.) + anag. + c. all in more, & lit.).

D. F. Manley: Sir can do right jig around in me (anag. incl. r in me, & lit.).

L. May: Adjunct to Oxford’s spring symbolises first of May, to accompaniment of cries and/or jangling (Morris + dance, M + anag.; Morris Oxford car).

J. D. Moore: First of May game carried on round a pole of sorts (M + S in anag., & lit.; game adj.).

R. A. Mostyn: Hey, why was the Lincoln-green? … Because it saw the ——! (i.e. … Morris dance; hey2; types of car).

D. A. Nicholls: A nice set of figures for the Fiesta – outcome of Cowley capers? (i.e. Morris dance; ref. Ford F. and Morris Co. based in Cowley).

W. M. Orriel: Wretched corn raised with start of May: as a result of doing this? (anag. incl. M, & lit.).

F. R. Palmer: Frantic broadcast in morse boats in distress put out? Mayday’s the signal for it (anag. less anag.).

R. J. Palmer: With this air, men with rods weave round about (c. in anag., & lit.).

C. J. B. Powell: Twist car men do sir? (anag. & lit.; ref. Morris Co.).

J. T. Price: It could be spring on May 1st. Car trip? (Morris dance).

A. J. Redstone: Finish a crimson red ? Its participants may perhaps (anag. & lit.; may vb. = participate in May sports).

M. J. Suckling: Popular English vehicle for wheeling in Spring (Morris dance & lit.).

J. R. Tozer: Mark turns, holding lace, and waving cane – that’s necessary to perfect this (orris2 in DM (rev.) + anag., & lit.).

M. E. Ventham: Comedians cavorting – without a Rolls Royce? Presumably! (RR in anag., & lit.; Morris car).

Rev C. D. Westbrook: Seen in Oxford, for example, ushering in spring (Morris + dance, & lit.; Morris Oxford car).


C. Allen Baker, F. D. H. Atkinson, W. Bauer, A. Bottoms, Rev C. M. Broun, R. S. Caffyn, Mrs M. J. Cansfield, R. M. S. Cork, J. W. D. Cunningham, J. H. Dingwall, J. E. Dorrington, J. H. Frampton, E. A. Free, N. C. Goddard, H. Hancock, A. H. Harker, D. V. Harry, C. M. Hatton, D. Hawson, A. Hodgson, E. M. Hornby, C. H. Hudson, W. Islip, R. Jacks, Mrs N. Jarman, V. Jennings, B. K. Kelly, R. E. Kimmons, A. D. Legge, C. J. Lowe, M. J. Lunan, Lieut Col D. Macfie, Mrs S. M. Macpherson, S. M. Mansell, R. A. Megan, M. R. Metcalf, D. P. M. Michael, Dr E. J. Miller, W. L. Miron, J. L. Moss, D. S. Nagle, F. E. Newlove, J. A. Plowman, R. C. Reeves, L. G. D. Sanders, T. E. Sanders, W. J. M. Scotland, Mrs E. J. Shields, Miss D. Shopland, Mrs B. Simmonds, W. K. M. Slimmings, Mrs I. G. Smith, M. D. Speigel, F. W. R. Stocks, Brig R. F. E. Stoney, F. B. Stubbs, A. R. Tettenborn, P. C. Thornton, M. A. Vernon, D. T. Wallis, A. J. Wardrop, R. A. Wells, D. C. Williamson.

Another excellent entry, 429 all told. A handful of late arrivals had to be disqualified for breaking the deadline. In these days of postal uncertainty I do urge everyone to post entries in good time instead of leaving them to the last minute waiting for that stroke of inspired brilliance. In my own experience first ideas (with a bit of polishing) are often the best. A fair number had HARD (and a few HARL) for HARN. The clue was : ‘Coarse linen gear left by character next to tee’ and the explanation HARNESS less (left by) ESS (s). I can’t make either of the others work. Otherwise I don’t think there were any mistakes though not everyone saw how to get SILKS from ‘Herrick’s damsel? —— charmed ’er madly’. Few quotations are more frequently resorted to in crosswords than Herrick’s ‘When as in silks my Julia goes’, and ‘silks charmed ’er’ is an anagram of ‘Herrick’s damsel’. O.K.?
That reminds me that I have been asked to say a word on blanks and dashes and their usage in clues. I try to distinguish these in my own clues by instructing the printer to make a dash not more than one em long (i.e. longer than a hyphen) and a blank at least three ems long. To my mind the latter can only indicate that a word or words have been left out that are required to complete the sense. Usually this is the word which answers the clue though occasionally it could be a homophone or some other form of it which the solver requires, the precise form being determined by the wording in the rest of the clue. The dash is merely the printed form of a pause. I almost always use it between the cryptic part of a clue and the definition part especially when the two interrelate. I am saying to the solver, in effect: ‘That’s the end of the first (usually cryptic) part of the clue; what follows (the definition part) must be read in the context of what has gone before’.
Other forms of printed pause are the colon, the semi-colon and the row of full points. For strict accuracy the latter should be limited to three, or four if the passage to be understood is to be seen as including a full stop at the end of a sentence. A colon indicates a longer pause than a semi-colon and is more frequently used when what follows it is treated rather as a definition of or enlargement upon what precedes it.
My Mayday competition was a delight to judge. Good ideas proliferated, as I always hope they will when choosing the clue-word, though I’m sometimes disappointed. I was quite unable to resist the Morses’ clue and should mention that they apologised in advance of my decision for a ‘self-regarding’ clue. I for one forgive them. Congratulations too to Mr. Chalkley for a similar treatment of the same idea, with fractionally less felicitous wording to my eye. And thank you all for much amusement, often I fear at the expense of those beribboned prancers. It was quite a difficult task making the idea work in practice, but certainly worth the effort and probably repeatable.


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T. J. Moorey wins First Prize in competition 2508.

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First prize winner by C. J. Morse in competition 1216